That was an easy one! Luckily Tressa's close by, so we'll head over to the town of Rippletide to recruit her shortly.
Music: The Flatlands
Let's explore a bit before we continue on.
Signs are very useful, as it's not always clear which direction leads where, though at least here it's a bit obvious.
Occasionally there may be a NPC or two wandering about, but the Flatlands don't really have any wanderers.
There's a variety of fauna to exterminate, of course. Aggressive Ants hurt a good bit, but they're weak to staves and thus go down easily.
Generally for the Chapter 1 regions the enemies of an area will be weak to the weapons and elements of that character and also the two adjacent characters.
Noxroot is one of the components to Concoct, and one we can buy in some towns. Others can only be obtained from end-battle rewards, stealing them from enemies, or stealing/buying them from NPCs.
Most, if not all Chapter 1 areas have a side dungeon that essentially bridge the level gaps between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. We won't even think of tackling these until we have a full party.
Most of the enemies in the Flatlands will be Froggen. They don't really have much in the way of attacks yet.
Noblecourt is one of the Chapter 2 towns, and if we tried to get there we'd probably get crushed, especially at this low a level.
You can see where the Frostlands begin. That'll be for another time though, for now let's head back.
There are different tiers of the Grapes/Plums/Olives, as you may expect.
There are several tiers for most enemies, but for "palette" swaps they actually have new sprites.
Also we can fight pigs. Sure, why not.
I could not resist.
Another Concoct component, one we cannot buy.
That's the Flatlands! Two whole screens, not much of note. But that's why we're just breezing through these.
Music: The Coastlands
Feel that ocean breeze! Definitely an interesting contrast between the sprite aesthetic and the modern graphical touches on things like the lightning and the water.
Boosts Physical Attack. Kiiiiinda pointless for Cyrus.
The terrain changes are pretty sudden between regions. It's a JRPG, what did you expect?
This is a Sea Birdian I, an avian archer.
A nice touch is the water occasionally splashing in the foreground. I never actually noticed that until getting screenshots for the footage!
Most foes are pretty simple attack-wise. This one's weak to fire and lightning, at least.
The main purpose of doing these updates is to show off the amazing scenery.
Here's Tier II!
And here's a Hermit Conch.
This one actually does something besides attack! This fella likes to start battles with Hide in Shell, which buffs its physical and magical defenses for three turns. The defensive buffs reduce total damage by 1/3, while the respective attack buffs boost that damage by 1/2. There are also stat buffs for Speed, Evasion, Critical Hits, and Accuracy up that also seem to boost by 1/2, though these haven't been tested so it's more speculative.
And of course there are a lot more buffs than that, but all in due time.
You're not guaranteed to run, and it's harder to run away from higher-level enemies. Ophilia has a late-ish passive that boosts run chance, at least.
The dungeon here is, uh, one we won't be visiting anytime soon. I go in and out solely to add them to the world map for future reference.
If you're feeling daring, you could try to make a quick run into one of these for loot, hoping you don't trigger any encounters, and then fast travel out immediately after getting something, but generally the good stuff will be deep in the dungeon.
Caits are this game's Metal Slimes. They run away quickly, have very high evasion, and their only weaknesses are weapons, but if you can kill them before they flee, you can get a lot of experience.
A Medium-tier Soulstone is enough to kill one, and I do have one from Scrutinizing every living thing in Atlasdam, but it'd be kind of a waste for only Cyrus to get experience at this point, especially since he's generally going to be overleveled compared to the rest of my party anyway.
All that wandering around gets me to 100JP, which means it's time for a new ability!
As I planned before, I picked up Analyze, bumping up my next ability to a whopping 500JP cost. But with my fourth ability, I now unlock my first passive skill!
This ability cuts down on random encounters significantly, making exploring trivial and allowing me to beeline dungeons and other areas much more easily than before, if I feel so inclined. I also like it because it means my team's going to be underleveled, which means I'll be forced to use more tactics and keep boss battles interesting.
On to the next screen!
Enjoy more scenery.
Boosts Magic Attack. Now this is something Cyrus loves.
Going further south would take us to Cobbleston, where Olberic resides.
Instead, we'll be heading to the west, toward our next destination, and our next character.
Next time, we begin Tressa's story!