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    Deus ex Mahanon

    Reichu
    Reichu

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    Post by Reichu on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:34 pm

    As if my avatar didn't give it away, I find the version of Deus encountered in Mahanon delightfully weird and grotesque, but certain things about that encounter never quite sat with me the right way. Lots of things that don't seem to quite add up.

    Alright, we know that the Deus that we are abruptly thrown into a fight with is a grown-up version of the giant embryo glimpsed during the opening movie. Over the course of thousands of years, Deus has managed to increase in size and physically mature. So, then, if it is clearly still a functioning organism, why is it also described as "partly-rotted" and "fossilized"? I suppose if Deus were just rotting that would be one thing, since it's hardly unknown for an organism to succumb to decomposition while still alive, but ... being fossilized, too? Aren't these things mutually exclusive? What is it supposed to mean, anyway?

    Another thing that bothers me is the way Deus seems to go out of its way to intercept the party. Deus rising up from the deeps is described as though NOT something the party initiated by poking at glowing panels. It's as if Deus detected them somehow and resolved to take care of them herself. But why? Deus going on the offensive while her body is in such shoddy shape seems a wee bit antithetical to this multi-millennium restoration plan. Why not just make the ship attack them instead, like in the opening movie? (Is there some reason she couldn't?)

    To me, the most mysterious thing of all is that the God that had been hyped up from the beginning of the game ends up basically destroying herself ("halve all HP! halve all HP! this is a very sound battle tactic for a terrifying destroyer of worlds!"), is mysteriously said to "disintegrate" or "self-destroy" (could the Japanese be any more vague here?) after her fallen body is conveniently off-screen, and... nothing is ever spoken of this again. Deus shows up again perfectly fine within Karellan's giant nanoreactor and nobody thinks to even question this. No, "Wait a minute, we owned that shit! Deus crumbled into rotten chunks! It's over, Karellan, so what the hell are you blabbering about now?" For me, the Mahanon Deus fight comes unnervingly close to a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.

    I scoured Perfect Works for anything resembling an answer, and the best it offers is this: It says that by the time we've beaten up the 'Second Stage' Living Weapon Deus in Mahanon, Karellan had already moved "the part that had become the core"* to his facility in Merkabah. This is... difficult. Raziel tells us outright in the scene right after the Deus fight that the creature we found is the core of the Deus System. But Perfect Works seems to indicate that, no, Raziel was relaying outdated information to us (as if we had any way of knowing!). What we fought had mysteriously stopped being the core at some undisclosed point, and some extremely vague "part" that had somehow become the core of Deus instead was mysteriously spirited out of Mahanon by Karellan off-camera. Either this is just terrible, terrible writing (which I wouldn't put past Xenogears), or there is something I haven't picked up on that might resolve this whole conundrum.

    In the meantime, if I had to fanwank a solution from whole cloth, I guess it would go something like this:

    Unforeseen complications that I can only guess at (the crash? prolonged separation from vital components? I dunno) resulted in Deus' maturing body barely holding up over the millennia. She instinctually knew that a replacement would be needed. However, trapped within the central hull of the Eldridge, waiting for the revival and currently without access to spare parts, Deus poured all her energy into asexually generating an offspring. All of her vital essence (e.g., a soul if she has one) went into the new Deus System core. Once the transfer was complete, the mother body -- now a rapidly deteriorating husk -- deposited the new organism into the safest place available. Meanwhile, the 2nd Stage body entered stasis to stave off degradation, laying in wait to provide a first line of defense against threats to the child if one were ever needed.

    So according to this, Karellan would have reached Deus' chambers before our heroes got there and, via mysterious Karellan means, signaled he wasn't a threat. This would have enabled him to bypass Mama Husk Deus and access the child, whom he recognized could benefit greatly from his technology. Even with Neo Deus removed, the husk left behind -- having nothing better to do, really -- stayed firm on its "mama bear" protective trajectory, therefore immediately leaving stasis and attacking the party (to its own detriment and destruction) when they show up.

    I just made that up on the spot, so I'm sure even that explanation has problems.

    * Ugh. I hated this sort of language in Eva, and I hate it here, too.
    Yikari
    Yikari

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    Post by Yikari on Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:13 am

    'Nobody thinks to even question this' could be said about the half of things in Xenogears, unfortunately.

    Personally, I think that this section of the game is in need of some explanation in the form the POV shifting away from the main characters and showing what's K-man's doing. Needs to be simple though.

    Hmm... I can't remember the timeline of events, but, in tradition of every villain stealing a McGuffin ever, this core thingy could've been stolen after our characters beat down that glitchy boss, no? The player party being used to bludgeon through the rotten defenses that still remained and all that?

    The yellow plate with that eye and the Wave Existence trapped within being away from Deus' reach seems like as good explanation for Deus suddenly having trouble surviving the ship's self-destruction and atmospheric entry (and thus going for this 'spawn some humanity' long-term gambit in hopes to be able to recover sometime down the line) as any.

    There is also always a possiblity that the whole thingamajig with 'seeking out the party' and 'using hp-halving attacks that harm oneself more than the enemy' may be 'is being suicidal' in dev-speak? Doesn't seem too unlikely for a being that's rotting away for thousands of years while being aware for every moment of it, does it?

    It certainly would be ironic for this long-term plan Miang was supposed to oversee to become unneeded because it took too long and Deus doesn't wanna live anymore, wouldn't it?
    Reichu
    Reichu

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    Post by Reichu on Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:04 pm

    @Yikari wrote:in tradition of every villain stealing a McGuffin ever, this core thingy could've been stolen after our characters beat down that glitchy boss, no? The player party being used to bludgeon through the rotten defenses that still remained and all that?
    Unfortunately, Perfect Works says that the new core had already been moved by the time the boss battle happens.

    The yellow plate with that eye and the Wave Existence trapped within being away from Deus' reach seems like as good explanation for Deus suddenly having trouble surviving the ship's self-destruction and atmospheric entry (and thus going for this 'spawn some humanity' long-term gambit in hopes to be able to recover sometime down the line) as any.
    Distance doesn't seem to matter for the Gears' slave generators, since they can tap the Zohar no matter where on the planet they are. It doesn't seem like Deus should be any different, especially having achieved contact and all.

    That said, I'm still not precisely clear on why Deus would bother cultivating human flesh over 10,000 years when the infinite energy potential of the Zohar would make energy-to-matter conversion a simpler proposition in a rubber physics world like this. Maybe Deus just has a sense of irony and doesn't mind waiting ten millennia for pay-off. I need to get a firmer grasp on this aspect of the plot.

    There is also always a possiblity that the whole thingamajig with 'seeking out the party' and 'using hp-halving attacks that harm oneself more than the enemy' may be 'is being suicidal' in dev-speak?
    I guess if you're a semi-autonomous husk and on the brink of falling apart anyway, may as well go all-out.

    Though, yeah, there might be a widening chasm between Deus/Miang's programmed objectives and what she wants on a conscious level.
    Yikari
    Yikari

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    Post by Yikari on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:27 am

    Hmm... I'm afraid I'm all out of ideas on that front then.

    About the only assumption I can make is that the self-destruct mechanism the captain triggered permanently prevented Deus from accessing the Zohar in some way. Because if it didn't, the creation of humanity ceases to have even the most flimsy of purposes.

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