I never thought I’d get a chance to play Revenant Wings, but by golly there’s a nice open source emulator, DeSmuME, which works like a charm. (So far.) Thanks to FinalFantasyThings on Tumblr for alerting me to its existence!
So let’s jump aboard the Ivalice train, now with more Chibi.
An opening FMV picks up where FFXII left off. There’s a sweet rendition of the Final Fantasy main theme to get us in the mood:
Scrappy kids Penelo and Vaan have taken off in their glorified pod racer in pursuit of their sky pirate mentors Balthier and Fran, after they reclaimed the airship they’d left in the kids’ care.
And I warn you right now, Vaan and Penny are easily young enough to be my children, so I’m going to be Gamer Mom through this whole playthrough, cheering them on and encouraging their fridge art endeavors.
The vertical split-screen would originally have been displayed on two screens of a tiny clamshell display. I’m going to upscale the itsy bitsy 256-pixel-wide screenshots to 400 pixels for those of us with granny eyes.
Cutesy chibi graphics would have irritated me once upon a time, but I’ve graduated from world-weary cynic to second childhood, and I’m absolutely in the mood for something heartwarming instead of yet another grimdark dystopia.
Last time, our youthful band of sky pirates cut their teeth on their first adventure by flying to mysterious islands in the sky and rescuing a tight-lipped winged chap named Llyud from some not-so-friendly sky pirates.
Revenant Wings has a simple, clever feature I wish every game had, for those of us who come back to a game six months later and…
An orange flag marks the Path of Plot Advancement on the map, and each new destination has a Mission Synopsis telling us what’s just happened and what we’re supposed to do next.
In we go, climbing up to the Fane of Gucuma Qul via a rope ladder, probably left by the “bad” sky pirates.
I like the little helipad for winged visitors. Which raises the question: why do aegyl buildings have steps? And for that matter, why does Lyud walk everywhere outside of battle? His pink friend flew away, during the brief time we saw her.
Etymology break: Confusingly, “aurum” is Latin for gold, whereas Greek “αὔρα” is “breeze, moving air, spirit.” Probably “breeze” in this case. Also, fanum is Latin for temple (fane). No clue about Gucuma Qul.
The Golden Vaanity bobs gently above Zephyr, the Windward Isles, aka that very first dungeon which will later be tinged with a sense of homelike nostalgia because you can squish all the starter monsters there like bubble wrap:
We sail away, flush with the sweet taste of victory and the knowledge that we thoroughly cased the jointwhumped some baddies who thought it would be fun to use inept angels for target practice.
Where to next, Llyud? I keep wanting to call you Lloyd.
*finds official render of Llyud*
I’d quote George Takei’s favorite quote, but he’s a little young. Ahem.
He says we need to trot ourselves over to the next island to defend a giant crystal that the Judge of Wings wants to swipe.
I’m sure this quest will in no way resemble the “We Suck” segments of Final Fantasy III, IV, and V, wherein we totally failed to prevent the villains from stealing and/or smashing the Crystals of Light.
Last time, Clan Vaanity backed up their claims to be “good” sky pirates with an act of selfless heroism, taking oodles of arrows and cactus spines to protect four whole aegyls from evil sky pirates. Even Ba’Gamnan took some for the team, thanks to Tomaj’s enslavement gadget whose ethics are deeply problema— la la la I can’t hear you I have a continent of hapless natives to save!
Llyud says we need to hurry into the Fane of Something Vaguely Egyptian-Sounding to stop more sky pirates from desecrating the auralith (bigass magical crystal) at the heart of sky island #2. However, Tomaj’s notice board has been bleeping at us about sidequests that opened up back on sky island #1.
Should we hurry on to the Path of Plot Advancement? Or indulge in Sidequests Before Saving the World? Well, a little bird told me that Revenant Wings sidequests often evaporate before the next chapter. And the current chapter has the ominous name of “What Goes Up…” Look. I wasn’t born yesterday. I recognize an RPG Point of No Return when I see it.
Therefore, I’m going back to Zephyr Island one more time to perform pest control and treasure mop-up duty. I’m sure the evil sky pirates will play cribbage or something until we return.
First off, there’s a bug hunt mission prosaically called “Bug Hunt.”
Kytes: Get a load of that!
Yes, Kytes, believe it or not, there are lots of bugs. Sometimes I think these characters don’t bother to read title screens at all.
Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, Clan Vaanity continued the hallowed Final Fantasy tradition of letting the villain smash the vitally important thing we were supposed to protect. Oh, and Balthier supposedly died next to a Fran-shaped pile of pixels.
Unfortunately, after an End of Act One climax, there is often a lull. So I’m afraid this installment has only a brief segment of plot before Tomaj hijacks the story for airship remodeling and sidequests. I’ll warn you when we get there, in case you want to skip ahead.
The Music of Comic Relief strikes up to take our minds off our recent failure. Remember how I said Ba’Gamnan slipped away at the end of the last battle? My bad. He falls in behind the party as we exit Fane #2 with our tails between our legs. Yes, I know, he’s the one with the tail.
Outside, we are accosted by Ba’Gamnan’s bangin’ bangaa gang (Say that five times fast: the sobriety test for Ivalician speed traps).
Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, we caught up with Ba’Gamnan’s old pals, explored our newly-remodeled airship, crafted custom weapons with ridiculous names, and stopped dastardly sky pirates from exploiting and robbing the aegyl.
While engaging in some of the same behavior ourselves. Oopsie.
Alas, it is time to bid farewell to Clan Wee Sprats:
…and return to Clan Vaanity, because really I can’t think of a better name.
(Don’t worry, I haven’t played this game for godawful numbers of hours; apparently the clock keeps ticking if I leave the emulator on pause).
And now it’s time to visit the Skysea on a new and exciting island!
Last time on Let’s Play Revenant Wings, we took a break from our vitally important mission to enjoy canoodling canoeing around the Skysea, catching some rays at Port Marilith, and participating in Rikken’s scavenger hunt. There’s always time for sidequests before saving the world, after all.
Then the party wearied of Penelo’s reminders that we had a job to do. So now we’re back on the Path of Plot Advancement, chasing after rumors of the Judge of Wings.
Back in Port Marilith, an aegyl mentioned “the shrine that lies beneath the waves.” So I was all set for an underwater dungeon, possibly using a barrel, diving helmet, or submarine.
However, it turns out that Yapih Caverns are adjacent to the Skysea, not under it, and they’re full of molten lava. This is a sure recipe for a Krakatoa-style eruption if seawater ever seeps in.
In our last Let’s Play Revenant Wings, I predicted we’d fail to save another hugely significant crystal from the Judge of Wings. Boy, was I wrong. It was an island approximately the size of Australia that bit the dust. Also, tomboy and all-around go-getter Filo was put in her place with a well-timed Damsel in Distress mission.
Now that that’s out of the way, Clan Potholder can get on with the business of trying and failing to save the world. Go us!
Chapter Five fades in with our airship resting on some jungle treetops. The camera pans down to show our party scattered around a grassy clearing, sitting or standing in a daze.
I wonder if anyone in this crew knows how to repair an airship.
Signs point to “No.”
The music of Depressing Things Just Happened kicks in. I never thought I’d say this, but I feel a sudden pang of longing for Ondore’s lies. He’d be alliterating all over the aftermath of Bahamut’s smackdown with his florid prose.
On the bright side, I can now stop checking every few lines of this playthrough to make sure I haven’t accidentally written “Sandsea” in place of “Skysea.”