12/03/2016

KotFE Chapter by Chapter - Chapter 6: Asylum

Instead of moaning about the bugginess of the latest chapter, let's get back to my detailed discussion of all KotFE chapters that have been released so far and where I was only up to chapter five last time. As usual, spoilers abound.



After successfully escaping the Eternal Fleet, the Gravestone and her crew make their way to a planet port that's unsubtly called Asylum... and supposed to be completely unknown to Arcann and  the Eternal Empire and therefore a safe haven. Yeahhh... you know what happens to every single super secret and totally safe rebel base in the Star Wars universe, right? Not very genre savvy there, guys.

The damaged Gravestone manages to dock at Asylum, even if it's a bit rough. Upon exiting, it seems like you're about to be accosted by a band of thugs... except that they turn out to be Koth's crew. Koth has a crew? And he didn't bring any of these guys along? I guess that your rescue was meant to be a very small scale assault, but still...

One of them is the former Republic solider that didn't want to leave anyone behind in chapter one. Based on your decision there, he's either pleased to see you or not particularly impressed.

While Lana is off to get in touch with her "network", your character gets roped into looking for Tora, apparently the best engineer on Koth's crew, who has gone missing while trading in the so-called free zone. HK-55 comes with you since he actually knows what she looks like. As you run around Asylum, you get to enjoy some neat background dialogue... from the Gorak Vendor you get warned about, who likes to scam those of his customers who are lacking in maths skills (I was so disappointed that you can't actually buy anything from him!) to various refugees discussing the situation on Zakuul and on Asylum.

The free zone is full of thugs and other petty criminals, so you get a bonus mission to clean up a bit, something that's actually hard to avoid if you don't have stealth.  Eventually you find Tora, a petite with blue hair who initially made me think of Kaylee from Firefly for some reason, though their personalities are nothing alike, as Tora is rude and abrasive. As it turns out she's being held over a sort of "trade dispute", after she tried to steal some thermal detonators which she felt were way overpriced. The one doing the holding is no other than Tanno Vik, formerly of Havoc Squad and previously a trooper companion. You can settle things peacefully, using the fact that your offing of various crime bosses has just improved Vik's own standing in the area as a bargaining chip, or you can insult Vik in hilarious ways before shooting/stabbing both him and his gang, which will earn admiration from Tora and leads to the hilarious exchange of: "Where have you been all my life?" "Stabbing things."

With Tora saved one way or another and on her way back to the Gravestone, you are supposed to meet up with Senya and some mysterious contacts of hers next. You meet her in a dark and foreboding alleyway and enter what initially looks like an abandoned warehouse together, at whose entrance HK-55 gets electrocuted and knocked out. You can express displeasure at the apparent trap, but Senya assures you that the droid is simply not part of what has to happen and that you are free to leave any time. Ghostly Valkorion chimes in again to encourage you to go along with whatever Senya's planning.

She explains that her mysterious allies are the Scions of Zakuul, like the one you briefly saw defying Arcann in chapter one. They used to be protectors of Zakuul, just like the knights, but no longer serve Arcann. Apparently they don't know what to make of you, unsure of your place in the destiny they believe in, and want to test you. You have to fight some ghostly Scions and their leader Heskal tells you that most of their kind were slaughtered by Arcann. Senya stands by your side but admits to being ashamed of her order having been complicit in the slaughter.


We cut to a shot of Tora helping Koth repair the Gravestone, when Lana shows up with a disoriented HK who can't remember what happened to you. They are alarmed and want to track you down. Meanwhile the Scions preach about how it is Arcann and Vaylin's destiny to die but that you need to agree with their cause to get their support. They also question Senya's commitment.

Eventually Heskal himself comes down to fight you, and he's a very annoying opponent, vanishing every couple of hits and summoning illusions of Arcann and various characters from your past. Suddenly Valkorion "stops time" again and offers to end the fight without further bloodshed if you'll only accept some of his power. In practice I haven't found this to make much of a difference to the fight - if you accept, you get some fun temporary abilities but have to finish beating Heskal all the same.

When the fight is finally over but it's still uncertain whether the Scions will join up with you, your companions arrive, ready for a shoot-out. Everyone stands down as Heskal suddenly realises that Valkorion is in your head and has a vision that you will indeed take down Arcann and Vaylin. Lana is shocked about the revelation if you didn't already tell her in the swamp in chapter four, while Koth is immensely pleased, because surely his beloved Emperor being alive and on your side is a good thing. Because one bombshell is never enough, Senya then reveals the real reason she got involved in this whole thing: Arcann and Vaylin are her children.

We cut to another scene at the Eternal Throne, where Vaylin confirms that Senya was among the people fighting at the Gravestone and that their own mother has turned against them. In the end, neither of them are too worried about her though - they know they've got the power.

Conclusion

Chapter six strikes a good balance between combat and dialogue, plus it helps that this is the first chapter in which you don't have to fight any skytroopers (yaaay)! The first half, the search for Tora, doesn't seem that important to the greater story and mostly just seems to be there to introduce a minor character, however it also helps to set the scene and shapes your overall impression of Asylum.

Being given the option to kill a former class companion comes as a bit of a shock. For all the moaning I've done over the years about not liking Tanno Vik, I have to admit that I still shied away from killing him on my trooper and made nice instead. I was just disappointed that you couldn't re-recruit him, which almost makes me regret letting him live, considering some of the hilarious dialogue you miss out on by doing so.

I have very mixed feelings about the second part of the chapter. Cinematically, it's extremely well orchestrated and atmospheric, with the Scions continually speaking to you from the shadows and coming across as both mysterious and a bit creepy. And while they are not particularly fun to fight, they still make a nice change from having faced nothing but skytroopers for several chapters. On the other hand though: What is the point? It's never made clear what the Scions would actually contribute to an alliance. They are supposed to have these mysterious Force powers that let them tell the future, however we see no actual evidence of this being true/useful and Heskal just keeps going on about "destiny" like a crazy person. Why do we want these guys on our side again?


Senya's revelation at the end is perfectly timed though and makes you forget all about the Scions and their drama. I think I actually shouted out loud the first time she dropped that bombshell. It's also a throwback to chapter two, when Valkorion talked about having found love on Zakuul and you could bring up the question of his children's mother.

One thing that bothers me and that I don't think I've brought up before is that with Koth being such a huge Valkorion fanboy... why hasn't he had any issue with freeing the person who killed his beloved emperor (or was at least framed for it, depending on your choice)? I find it strange that he keeps mentioning how great he considers Valkorion yet somehow this particular matter is never addressed.

3 comments :

  1. That twist with Senya at the end was the best twist up to that point in KOTFE..I shouted at the screen as well.

    Keep up the good work, Shintar. I stumbled on your blog and Njessi's last month..and have been reading up your previous posts. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! If you enjoy reading through the archives, you should be busy for some time. ;)

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    2. Lol..I am now at September 2013. I like your writing style and sense of humour. Good luck with this blog. Hopefully you will continue it for quite some time!.

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