- Estimated trophy difficulty: 6/10 (personal estimate) (Trophy Difficulty Rating)
- Offline trophies: 42 (22, 18, 1, 1)
- Online trophies: 0
- Approximate amount of time to platinum: 100+ hours, depends heavily on speed through last 5-6 plays (Estimated Time to Platinum)
- Minimum number of playthroughs: 8 (one for each character, multiple character endings in one playthrough do not register, see additional posts in thread)
- Number of missable trophies: technically 0 thanks to a very friendly NG+ system but 1 trophy has tricky prerequisites and in that sense is very missable (see Lost Limb and Youth Restored )
- Glitched trophies: 0
- Does difficulty affect trophies?: No
- Do trophies stack?: Yes, the Global shared PS4 & Vita version, stacks with the Asia PS4 release.
- Do cheat codes disable trophies?: No cheats available.
- Additional peripherals required?: None
Well, here we are. It may have taken 24 years but Square Enix finally localized Romancing SaGa 3! Many consider the SaGa series the "black sheep" of Square Enix franchises and for good reason. The mechanics are strange, the stories are presented in non-traditional, non-linear ways and you'll often feel lost and/or punished for making what seemed like decent decision-making in your mind. It's not for the faint of heart but with some grit (and a walkthrough), this JRPG can be conquered without too much of a headache.
Before moving forward, some basic tips for getting started with this beast of a game:
1) When you start a new game, you'll be prompted as to whether or not you want to use additional content. While none of the trophies actually make use of the additional content, you may as well select "Yes." This adds optional dungeons with some equipment that may be worth your while.
2) Though "grinding" technically makes the game harder (at certain battle counts, standard enemies and bosses upgrade HP and stats significantly), you should use your first two playthroughs to fight a lot of battles. Specifically, by the time you are reaching endgame of your second playthrough, you should have a sense of which characters you want to use regularly for your remaining NG+ runs, then work to max out combat and magic skills for said characters, which will also boost SP and MP in a major way.
3) Unlike Romancing SaGa 2, this game does not have a "global skill level." Instead, each character has skill levels, SP and MP that remain permanently leveled even across New Game+ plays! With each NG+, the only stat that gets reset is HP. In this way, looking at your protagonist's HP gives you a sense as to where you are in terms of monster progression.
4) If you feel like you screwed up and need to start over, you do not have to finish the game first! You can start a NG+ at any time! Just start a new game, and the game will ask if you want to carry data from a previous save: that save file can be any file you currently have. What is carried over? Skill levels + SP + MP on each character, globally learned skills (they appear in black text instead of red in your "skill level"), purchased magic for each character, inventory (minus some special items and money on-hand (up to 10,000 aurums).
5) Combos in Romancing SaGa 3 can be very powerful but they are also few in number and can be difficult to execute. See the linked walkthrough for more details.
6) There are lots of menus but one very important place you'll want to keep track of is when you hit , then , which brings up a list of events completed. This guide will sometimes refer to those completed events, as they generally act as flags for opening access to or actively starting further events.
7) Though it's not a cross-platform purchase, the Vita and PS4 games are virtually identical. I did not personally test but a colleague who has the game on both platforms assured me that trophies don't stack by region or by platform.
Finally, take note of the save slots. You have 16 save files; use them wisely. This is a nice addition compared to RS 2's measly 4 save files. Unfortunately, Quicksave/Quickload is gone so make a manual save whenever you can to avoid losing any progress if your game crashes.
BlogSpot Walkthrough: Romancing SaGa 3 (Remaster) -- This resource has everything you need. Given that the trophy guide is designed to help you get the trophies, and not necessarily to prepare for *very* difficult battles, this is where you want to go. At the time this trophy guide has been posted, this comprehensive walkthrough is based on a fan-translation ROM of the original Super Famicom version. In the "remaster" page (linked) you will find a table that compares people/place/item etc. names from the fan-translation to this official version.
Step 1: Basic recruitment and facing Forneus
It's your choice who you want to use in your first playthrough. My recommendation is to use any Sinon Settler other than Sarah i.e Julian, Thomas or Ellen. Everyone else has special events during the game, or in one case, at the end of the game. For your first playthrough, a "vanilla" experience that allows you the opportunity to maximize character recruitment is what you need.
After playing through the game's introductory scenario (Sinon, Podorui and Podorui Cave), the player is dumped in Loanne without any heroes recruited. What to do? In this case, you want to maximize recruitment and recruitment opportunities. To that end, I recommend turning down all of the main characters in the pub and elsewhere, at least for now. You see, unlike RS 2 (which gave you recruitment trophies just for unlocking the opportunity to join your party), RS 3 requires actual recruitment into your party. There are a total of 6 slots: 5 for combat, and 1 for reserve. Once that's maxed out, you can't recruit anyone else. To remove someone from your party, go to any Pub and ask the bartender to "Part With Ally." However, there are many party members who are "sticky" and will not leave for long periods of time, or in some cases, ever. Some of the "sticky" characters include the Minstrel, the Young Boy, and Herman. In some scenarios, other main characters can be sticky. As for Tatyana (pink-haired girl who joins your team whenever you run into her in various towns, always gives herself a dessert-themed name), the only way to get her out of your party is to travel to Ryblov.
Now, without attempting to tackle any of the four Sinistrals, simply through free-roaming and completing side quests and talking to characters, you will get the following characters with ease:
In Search of Tale and Song
Youth with a Dark Past and Eyes
Mysterious Caped Crusader
Great Huntsman of the North
For Mysterious Caped Crusader, there are technically two characters but you can only have one of them at a time (fans refer to them sometimes as "Robin" and "Fat Robin"). The trophy pops for either one, there are not separate trophies for each Robin.
Keep in mind that with sticky characters, especially the Minstrel, you are free to save, recruit, then re-load and move on without him. There are better characters to keep around. Furthermore, take care *not* to look for the Dolphin Statue in Great Arch yet. We need to wait for a special flag first.
For the two trophies below, it is important to act quickly. To recruit Nora ( Smithing Knows No Gender) you must watch her yell at Cain in the workshop in Pidona, then follow her back down and recruit her right then and there. If you do not agree to help her in that dialogue or your party is full, you've missed your shot. For Say No to Thugs, there are two different ways to recruit Paul. The quickest way involves skipping the Kyrdlund sacrifice quest in its entirety and getting caught (intentionally losing battle to brigands) in the smuggle quests from Lance to other cities, with one female party member (Tatyana works) in party.
Smithing Knows No Gender
Say No to Thugs
With these recruitments out of the way, with a party of four or fewer, we are going to complete the Forneus route and get the coveted pirate "Black" (Sparrow) by regaining his youth. First, if you've not yet been, head to Vanguard (500 aurum fee from Pidona). Enter the town, talk to various NPCs including mayor and Pub NPCs. Leave town, return to town and you will witness a gruesome cutscene where some heinous creature murders a nice couple. Ask mayor about it, save your game, then stay at the inn. You will engage in a fight with these creatures overnight! Next, talk to mayor yet again, and as long as you've heard it elsewhere (young boy in town gives this information), you will recommend reverting Vanguard into the island-ship it once was! The mayor agrees and asks you to seek out an entrance. Leave his house, come right back and tell him you haven't found anything, then the dialogue leads to the fact that the mayor is standing on a trap door! He opens it, you proceed through a dungeon and eventually reach a high-tech room that appears to do something. Try pressing the button in the middle and the hollow point up front as well, then return to the mayor.
Next, the mayor will request help from the Genbu Mages, as they will be skilled in controlling the ship. If you have not already undertaken the quest to recruit Undine, you will be able to do so while completing this subquest. Head to Mahzoz.
There are three ways to clear the major quest in this city: kill Undine, kill Volcano, or kill nobody (and get the Archfiend Shield). Killing Undine means you will miss a trophy, but you will recruit the Genbu Mages in any case. Of course, the best solution is to kill no one. To do this properly: 1) talk to Undine in north Mahzoz and agree to kill Volcano; 2) talk to Volcano in south Mahzoz and agree to kill Undine; 3) talk to the Shucho Mage blocking the entrance to north Mahzoz and they'll let you pass -- then talk to both mages in front of the well and they will leave on your authority; 4) enter the well, which is a dungeon, and stock up on goodies (including the shield!); 5) upon exit, ready yourself for a difficult fight against Undine and Volcano working together against you! When you win, though, neither have perished, and Undine will join your party if you go speak to her at her HQ! Note: Undine is a great magic user in this player's opinion, worth keeping around. Also, while he looks cool, Volcano is isn't a playable character.
The Face of Genbu Magic
With Undine and the Genbu Mages at your disposal, return to Vanguard and talk to the mayor one more time. He will ask you about a Dolphin Statue, which you've never seen before (if you have seen it before i.e. you already went to the Treasure Cave and got it, you missed your shot at Black so do it in another playthrough). Remember those Pub folk that talk about the Bartender's fear of dolphins? Great, now go talk to the Bartender 3x, keep pressing him on the Dolphin Statue, and he reveals that he sold it in Yarmouth. Head to Yarmouth and go to the item shop in center square. When you ask about the Dolphin, the shopkeeper first demands you buy something. The cheapest item is 1,200 aurums, so be ready to pay up. Afterwards, he tells you that the pirate Black Sparrow stole the dolphin. You probably already knew this from other NPCs by now, but for whatever reason, you have to go this route to make everything work.
Now, head to Great Arch (1,000 aurums from Pidona), and look for the elderly pirate in the Southwest part of town. Normally, he would offer you knowledge of the Treasure Cave on the map for 100 aurums. But if you've followed these steps and ask about the dolphin specifically, it jogs his memory a bit, and he joins the party. He is weak right now, so feel free to keep him in the reserve spot.
He takes you to the Treasure Cave, and as a bonus, he tells you exactly where to go and what traps to avoid. There's a boss battle to get the Dolphin Statue. Now, head back to Vanguard, place the Dolphin Statue in its rightful place, then hit that big button in the center. After a lengthy cutscene, you are free to sail but sail where? Hit the button again and you'll have the option to go to the End of the World! Head there, talk to all the lobsters and you'll learn the location of Forneus' Palace, and you'll also learn about a sub quest involving a water dragon (that you can see from the town). Take out the dragon if you wish to save the town and get some treasure! Furthermore, there is a recruitable lobster here named "Boston," which is just a great name. If you don't have a free slot, go back to Vanguard and remove a character and have Boston join. He's a decent tank with some natural immunities built into him.
Inhabitant of World's End
Now, back to Vanguard's dock. Select "Undersea Palace" then hit the button and select it again and Vanguard switches to submarine mode! The Genbu Mages will keep telling you they can't find anything so choose to dive deeper, three times until you've reached the dungeon! Now that you're here, if you struggle with the dungeon or the boss, I again refer you to the walkthrough I linked to earlier. Once you clear Forneus and so long as Herman is in your team, the following will occur:
Sea Demon Defeated
Lost Limb and Youth Restored
Special note: the character Anna in Lance (Northeast house), who has a whole bunch of information, will teach you the ultimate Genbu magic spell for free. In fact, as you clear out each archfiend, you can return and learn ultimate magic! Personally, I did not know this until my third playthrough and I wish I had, because some of these spells (especially the Genbu spell) are very useful!
Step 2: Tricky recruitment and Aunus
Next, let's take on some more complicated recruitment. Remember to keep a minimum of one slot open as you continue through. First, let's pick up Charl and Muse.
You may have already done this (if you're playing as Thomas, it was a requirement), and you need to do this to pursue the Heroes of World Trade trophy later on but for this quest, we need to start in Pidona Old Town. The entrance to Old Town is west of the first screen. In the house furthest southwest, you meet a young lady named Muse, whom the Old Town residents venerate as a saint, perhaps even a goddess. She is protected by a young boy named Charl. If you have not done the "saving Gon" quest, this will come first: a child will report that another child was playing hide-and-seek in the Archfiend Palace, and is lost in there. Go in there, head down two floors, jump over a little pit (from the left door to the right) and Gon is no longer "gone." Hurray!
Leave town and return to Muse's home, and a new quest will begin. Turns out some nut from the Divine Order gave a potion to a child, who in turn gave it to Muse, and said potion sends her into a dark dream. You can let Charl go into the dream on his own, and everything will work out, but you'll be barred from getting both characters. Instead, have one slot open and agree to join Charl in drinking the potion. At this point, you enter Muse's dream and Charl joins the party. Clear the dungeon (there is a confusing puzzle, details here: LINK) and Muse is now recruitable as well. Hurray!
Goddess of Old Pidona
Claudius's Loyal Vassal
Speaking of the Gon quest, if you've cleared Gon's quest successfully and you add Thomas to your party (or if you are Thomas) head to Thomas' home in Pidona. A man named Fullbright XXIII will show up and introduce you to a trading game, which has a total of 3 challenges. We'll discuss this challenge later (you can start it whenever you wish). With one party slot open, however, Fullbright will join you either from Thomas' home in Pidona, or Fullbright's home in Wilmington.
A Merchant of Great Ambition
Next, one of my favorite quests. A prerequisite for this quest is to follow through with Ward's subquest in Justerm, hunting creatures in the northern area, and your main character having approximately 350 HP or more. With this in place, talk to Anna in Lance and ask about the Aurora. With the prerequisites complete, she states that it will appear tonight. Make sure you have an open slot and your party and now for the craziest part of all, stand in Lance, then hit twice, taking you from the area map to the world map (with the big scroll). Now put down your control for 60-90 seconds, and you'll see the northern lights (aurora) appear in the background!! Once this occurs, enter the area map again and you'll see a new icon north of Lance: enter! It's a town of snowmen who don't talk or maybe they're just playing games with you. Check the houses and try talking to each snow man. The one that blows his cover is the same one that will join your party. Upon initially joining, you get the trophy. If you wish to keep this character with you, there is a gem that you get alongside the sword Frostrend by completing the quest/dungeon outside of town and that gem allows the snowman to never melt and hence join you on your travels.
Where No Snowman Has Gone
In our last recruitment for this step, we will be getting the fairy, Peony! You may have already seen this fairy around different towns but there's a world-tour fair with shady exhibitions, including one with a fairy. If at any point you watch the fairy and then immediately sleep at the inn of the same town, you will wake up and hear the fairy crying. Of course, you should go back to the tent at night and free the fairy. This is a prerequisite not only for recruiting the fairy but for reaching Aunus, the fire Sinistral.
Once you've done this, head to the city Ache (what an unfortunate name!). To reach this city, go to Great Arch first, then ask the man by the row boat for a ride, and he offers either Pidona or Ache. Once in Ache, talk to some NPCs to gain some information about a secret fairy village. Now head South of town to enter the jungle. This jungle is a silly maze with intentionally re-used backgrounds to confuse your navigation. In one particular map you will see a large tree with a ladder-like vine running up it. There is only one way to reach it and that is from the right side of the screen so you'll have to exit left from another screen to get there. Once there, you'll find many many fairies who like to tell you lies. Each one tells you that a different colored butterfly will lead you to the Fire Fortress. Technically one of the colors is right (which one it is, is random with each playthrough) but you cannot trust them so their information is unhelpful. Also, there is a fairy in the central tree that offers tea: don't bother drinking it. Just take the path to the center tree, as high up as possible, then a walk to the left (upper-left room of the village) and you'll find the fairy you freed. Even with an empty slot, she will not join you just yet. First, she will tell you which butterfly leads to the Fire Fortress. Using that information, head back to the jungle and whenever you see the butterfly of the proper color, go to the exit they are nearest to. You will quickly find your way to the Fire Fortress. Enter the fortress! Now both the Fairy Village and Fire Fortress appear on the world map so you can fast travel to both!
Should you wish it, you are now able to go back and recruit the fairy Peony or you can wait until you've cleared the Fire Fortress and defeated Aunus, then you'll be good to go. One practical tip for defeating Aunus: Make sure one of your party members knows Shucho magic, especially the spell "Fire Wall." Every turn you cast this, it renders all fire damage to your party 0, including the damage that Aunus does to front-line attackers as an auto-counter. Once done, you will have earned the following:
Mischievous Forest Fairy
Infernal Demon Defeated Step 3: Heading East and Tying Loose Ends
Before continuing your hunt for Sinistrals (Buné and Alloces remain) we're going to recruit a bunch of characters and clear some miscellaneous trophies. First, you must head East. If you have not already, talk to all NPCs in Ryblov and you will hear about the Naj desert. From the desert, there are many locations to seek out. If you head 4 screens West, you will reach the Archlord Tower (now on your world map), which you will need for later. If you head 4-5 screens east, you will enter a desert zone with no-return sand-falls. Once you commit to going east, you cannot head back until you finish a series of subquests. Also, be sure to keep an open character slot and be ready to save/reload if you do not want to keep any of these characters.
After making it through the Eastern sand you will hit the Great Plains. from that first screen, go north one screen to an area with no enemies, then head to the eastern exit to the Muenge village. In the Southeast hut, there are two playable characters. One, Bai Meiniang, will not join just yet. Instead, she'll pull a magic-user from your party (because she likes magic) and she will have Zhi Ling automatically join you for a quest to search the area South of the plains.
Archer of the Great Plains
Here you'll find the Neft's den, a place where friendly insectoid critters live. However, it's currently overrun by demons. Also, that Psychic Hat you were given does not need to be equipped so just leave it in your inventory if you do not want to equip it.
In this dungeon, the humanoid beasts known as Zelnam are the key. Specifically, two that do not walk around, one to the Northwest and one to the Southeast. Once you have defeated them, the enemies clear out and you head to the Southwest to talk to the one Neft that actually understands you but no, you don't get to recruit the Neft.
After gaining their support in fighting the Zelnam, return to Muenge Village. You get your magic-user back and Zhi Ling leaves (you can re-recruit later if you wish). Based on the dialogue, exit the village to the east you will enter Xuan City. Note that if you have three or fewer party members, the next sequence will automatically allow Bai Meiniang and Yang Fan join you (at four party members, only Bai tags along). Otherwise, with five or six party members, you will be released from jail and you can talk to Bai for her to join you from her home in the north end of Xuan City. Note also: there is a magic-seller at the Inn here who sells ALL Solar and Lunar magic. The Solar magic Parhelion and Lunar magic Shadow Servant cost 9,999 aurum each, and there is no money manager in this city so you will want to wait until you again have access to the world map but I highly recommend Shadow Servant for your full endgame party (and Parhelion for anyone you want to master Solar magic instead).
Assuming you're like most players, you'll be able to grab Bai (not really worth keeping around) but you won't get Yang Fan yet. If you do, good for you, else we'll pick up him near endgame!
The Old Mistress of Soryu Magic
Now, you will head to the Great Plains and then North all the way to the Zelnam hideout. The boss of this zone is actually the Archfiend Armor. As in, the item you can then equip for yourself. Every turn or two, it summons enemies in front of it, so you want to have all-enemy damage or targetable back row damage, or just be ridiculously strong. Anyway, once you've cleared this dungeon and had a final chat with Bai and Yang, you can hit from Xuan City and re-enter the world map. Welcome back!
For the next trophy, time to make room. Unless you are Sarah already, you need to have two free spots: one for Sarah, and one for the person we are recruiting. Get Sarah on your team and head for the elephant village Rashkuta. How do you get there, you ask? Before clearing all of the above "East" quests, you can return to Muenge Village through fast travel on the world map. Talk to a male NPC in yellow and he'll tell you about walking west and finding a strange village. Now head to Xuan City, hit and look two screens West to find Rashkuta! This is the Elephant Village and it sure is strange. In the Northwest corner of town, talk to an elephant outside, then head inside to find a sleeping elephant. With Sarah on your team, the elephant should awaken (if this does not work, try including the Young Boy as well!). After that elephant awakens, return to the elephant outside the home, named Rukh, and Rukh will join you!
Warrior of Rashkuta
Next, we will be working very hard to recruit a super cool, super-undead character. They teased him at the game's beginning: Leonid, the vampire ruler of Podorui. This is a lengthy two-part quest and you will need to be well-geared, well-leveled etc. to complete it. First, head to Zweig and talk to the guards in the Northwest to enter the tournament. You can attempt the tournament as many times as you like. It's 1vs1 and each time has five characters as opposed to your six (with one exception, Hell Wall has a special sixth fighter). Some teams are much easier than others so in some ways it is luck of the draw. Anyway, once you clear it, the ruler of Zweig rewards you with 10,000 aurums and then asks you TO SEEK ... THE HOLY GRAIL! He already knows that Leonid has it, though. Now, with one open slot, head to Podorui. Upon asking about the grail, Leonid says he indeed has it but that he'll only give it to you if you can reach him. Then he disappears, presumably teleporting to the bottom of his very dangerous castle. Take the stairwell to the left and ... well, good luck? There are five different bosses along the way, areas where the enemy icon does not move. The last of them, "Yami," is absolutely brutal, arguably harder than some of the Sinistrals. Should you make it all the way, Leonid lets you take the grail, and offers you his services. Note that Leonid cannot learn any magic but already has special "abyss" magic of his own. He also has 0 LP, which means he turns to dust if he hits 0 HP in battle but he never leaves your team either (i.e. he cannot run out of LP like all other characters). Also check out that starting HP ... 666, of course.
Holy Grail in Unholy Hands
Next, if you haven't done it by accident already, let's beef up that workshop in Pidona. After having the initial talk with Cain about restoring the workshop to its former glory, you can find a total of five workers to join the workshop. Note that Nora's fate (party member, workshop member, or nowhere to be found) has nothing to do with this trophy. Once you find a workshop member, you talk to him, and then you automatically transport to the Pidona workshop and assign that worker to either weapon or armor work. You cannot put more than three workers to a category so you will end with 3 weapon 2 armor or 2 weapon 3 armor, presumably with Cain filling out the 6th spot to even things out.
Here is where you can find them all: 1) Pidona, at the Claudius Family House (North, North-Eastern corner); 2)Stanley, at the Pub; 3) Faros, at the Pub; 4) Ryblov, at the Pub; 5) Wilmington, at the Inn.
World's Greatest Workshop
Every other trophy we need now, will require finishing off the other two Sinistrals. We will do this, then get those trophies before heading to point-of-no-return abyss for the final battle. Step 4: Buné, Alloces and endgame nonsense
Okay, this one is fairly simple. Alloces is waiting at the bottom of the Archfiend Palace outside of Old Town in Pidona. You need to fully explore this one, though. You need to find a chest that, when you open it, details a "prayer of death." Additionally, there is a warp portal that you can unlock by defeating a monster on the lower portion of the dungeon. This is important, because the third thing you need to do is reach a big black door near the end of the dungeon that speaks to you, saying it wants "the ring..."
Once you have done all of that, head to Lance and enter the big house in the Northwest corner. This is the home of the descendant of the Matriarch. Talk to the other NPCs, then the individual on the second floor and you should be presented with the Royal Ring. This is the ring you need to open the door. Now head back to the Archfiend Palace, take the warp portal, then to the door and finally to Alloces. Alloces is the earth Sinistral and it has an awful earth-based spell that works similar to Aunus' firewall, except it's an earth wall that drastically increases physically defense for the turn, then does earth magic damage to your front row. He also likes to use "Branding Iron", which is actually a fire-based attack so you can use firewall to block that.
Demon Warlord Defeated
Finally, there is Buné. There are two ways to defeat Buné. One is to simply travel Mt. Taftan (location unveiled by an NPC in Loanne, at a certain point the fog at the top of the mountain will be declared clear and you can clear it by walking one screen north of the fog). The other is to get information in Vanguard, Yarmouth or Lance about a "tiny village" that then appears on the map. In there, you can learn about the dragon Gwayne on Mt. Louv at the Pub. Now Mt. Louv appears. So long as your level is high enough, you've progressed far enough in the game (and defeated at least one other Sinistral) and you're not playing as Mikhail (that may require other paths), you may ascend Mt. Louv and have a chat with Gwayne. Under the wrong conditions, Gwayne will refuse to join you on your quest. With the right conditions, Gwayne will talk about how the Matriarch worked with his mother, only to slay her later in life and how he cannot trust you but he will join you to show Buné that Gwayne is the one who rules the skies!
Fighting Buné the Gwayne way is by far the easier way to defeat her. Technically, though, you can save and re-load to get both trophies. Note that currently Square Enix has the trophy description for this trophy terribly wrong. It reads "Defeated Buné & Gwayne." It should actually read "Defeated Buné WITH Gwayne." Keep in mind that, just like the Matriarch, you can return to Gwayne later and defeat him after defeating Buné if you really wish to but there is no trophy associated with it.
Duel in the Open Skies
Should you re-load or just entirely skip the Gwayne path for this playthrough, you will go through Mt. Taftan and into a strange otherworldly terrain with these life-sapping holes in the ground (that force combat). It's a long dungeon, and at the end, you may find that Buné is the most annoying Sinistral of all. She has three demonic heads with long necks coming around her body and as you damage her, each head turns into something more specific (a woman, a bird and another demon?). Once all of the head transformations are complete, Buné goes all-out, and you need to be ready to either out damage quickly or play very defensively. Should you succeed, you will unlock the following:
Draco Demon Defeated
With all four Sinistrals defeated, you'll be treated to a cut scene while dreaming, suggesting you should head east, and that a secret fifth abyss gate may indeed exist. We still have two characters to recruit and three side quests to complete before heading right there. First, we will defeat Galatea.
If you found the "prayer of death" as I requested above (Archfiend Palace), head to the town of Stanley. You likely completed the optional Stanley/Faros subquest earlier and I do not know whether or not it's available or even required but if it is, clear it then, in Stanley, in the Southwest house, a woman will speak about demons encroaching upon the town. This should open a dungeon north of Stanley and Faros (on the same section of the map). This is the same place as the thieves' den from the early quest to find Paul. The goal here will be to fully clear it out. You may need to clear it of its boss, then return to find even worse things. Eventually, if you've done everything you need to do, you will reach what looks like a well, where you can pray a prayer to life (does nothing), walk away or pray a prayer to death. Since you know the prayer, you can pray it and when you do this, you will face off against Galatea, a challenging demon. When you win, you will unlock the following:
Praise Be to Death
Next, we are going to go hardcore into the trading game. You came across this already when you first recruited Fullbright. Now, there are three challenges associated with this. The first is to just make a lot of money (100,000,000 aurums if I recall) then start buying up businesses, always bid on things whose total asset value you can outbid and whose revenue is not negative. Each town has a different NPC with different businesses to buy. Once you earn enough money, you'll be whisked away back to Fullbright, and he'll give you the task of eradicating the Dophore Group. To do this, you can buy out the entire Dophore Group itself in one big go (NPC is in the home of the elderly woman in Yarmouth) or you can pick pieces away of other Dophore businesses before taking on the main group.
Those two quests can be done prior to clearing the four Sinistrals, but the third quest does not appear until the Sinistrals are defeated. For this one, Fullbright asks you to eliminate the "Abyss League," a group of financial investors who are in league with the bad guys. Fun fact: If you buy out absolutely every business before this quest, the league will only start with one business, which is the only business unique to this part of the game: Iskail Gems, which you can purchase from the merchant outside of Archlord Tower. Should you not be a maniac, you'll find that the Abyss League starts with approximately 12 businesses, though it can acquire more over time. You can see which ones they have based on the little blue and gold icon next to certain names. Also in the trading game menu, under "Partners", it will list who all is in league with the Abyss League.
As a final point (and I have to say, virtually no other walkthroughs talk about this) there are certain businesses that only come into existence when you "Spark" groups. The trading game is needlessly complex and one of those complexities is the Group system. They help for bidding, definitely but you only discover them by buying out businesses and sometimes when you buy out a business that deals in certain goods, not only will you gain access to using a new Group function but new businesses that previously did not exist come into existence and some of those non-existent businesses can belong to the Abyss League so if you're stuck, let me assure you that all is not lost! The most common one appears to be Stanley Porcelain, a ceramics group that will not come into existence until you spark the Ceramics group. To do this, buy "Faros Glass." If you already have Faros Glass, go to the "Business Closer" in Pidona, and then keep forcing bids by asking loans from Faros Glass, and then you will lose the business. Now go back and buy them again! Rinse and repeat (or just save/load) and when the Ceramics group sparks, you will see Stanley Porcelain come into existence then you can go buy it in Stanley. This may happen with other businesses you need to acquire but again, this one seems to be the bottleneck for many players.
Heroes of World Trade
Now then, time to get Maximus. Going after Maximus feels like a story quest (which it is) and technically it can be completed prior to the four Sinistrals but it is a lengthy quest that requires having Herman or Black on your team, and having completed the quest to recruit Muse and having talked to Maximus once before to notice the earring he wears. With all of this in place, approach Maximus at the Divine Order HQ in Pidona (north, northwest building) and he'll panic and run down secret stairs under his desk. Follow him down through the dungeon and out and listen to the NPCs. They'll lead you to Ryblov and then you'll get tipped off that he ran south from there. Head to Archlord Tower, then buy robes from the merchant (or bribe your way in with 10,000 aurums, depends on your main character and other events) and sneak into the tower itself. This is a huge dungeon with lots and lots of floors. On the 15th floor you will find Tiberius, who will join you now or any time after you defeat Maximus.
Acolyte of the Archlord
Keep ascending the tower and at the top you will fight four battles, the last being a Red Dragon. Darn, Maximus escaped again nut he escaped via an elevator of some kind. Through some exploration, and with a full party of players, you will take an alternate path through the tower and end with just your main character and you will duel with Maximus, 1vs1. Succeed and a silver trophy is yours!
Catching the Mastermind If there are any other side quests you would like to toy around with (the "Phantom Maze" additional content is especially fun in my opinion, and has a great "Master Ring" for your troubles), do it now. Else, head to Xuan City with an open spot in your party. Save. Talk to Bai and then to Yang Fan in his office. He will suggest a diversion strategy leading an army, but you can ask him to join you directly instead. This will force a longer dungeon, but it also allows you to recruit Yang Fan. Finally!
General of Xuan
Once you enter Huang City and, specifically, the bottom of the main building (a large pagoda), you have begun point-of-no-return. There is the optional battle, and your success with this battle can reduce the number of enemies faced in Huang with your party. You'll always have to face a difficult red dragon, though so be ready for that (Fire Wall, nudge nudge). Keep ascending, fight more bad guys and when you reach the end, at the fifth abyss gate, you will enter with the Young Boy. If he's already in your party, he'll just go through. If he's not in your party, he will force you to drop a party member so he can come with. If you are Sarah, then things are different but you know that already.
Step 5: The Final Battle ... rinse and repeat seven times
You're in the abyss. It's the final battle. If you want, you can run straight ahead and attempt to take on Oblivion in her true, super-hard form. That probably wouldn't be a good idea for now. However, if you're not Sarah, you can go north three times to drop off the Young Boy, giving you your final party of five, that you can then level to your heart's content. As you saw, there are four breakaway areas from the main hub room. I bet you can guess who those lead to!
Aunus, Buné, Alloces and Forneus await you. Again. They have totally different forms now, you'll notice they are less monstrous and more human-like. Even when you defeat them, they still seem to do the "retreat" animation as they did before. Defeating each one reduces the total HP of Oblivion, and reduces the move set Oblivion has (for example, Oblivion cannot use Maelstrom if you defeat Forneus). The absolutely smart thing to do is to defeat each of the Sinistrals. You can also use regular monsters outside to skill up, spark techs, and most importantly, spark wards! Some particularly important wards for Oblivion are Net, Bonecrusher, Aim, Twist and Turn. Refer to the Walkthrough (first post) for any additional strategies. Beyond that, it's just a lot of work. You're looking at as much as 75k HP and that's for Oblivion in her weakest form. If she goes into Void Wing mode and you don't want to deal with the auto-damage each turn, casting Solar and Lunar magic has a chance of forcing Oblivion to use "Wings of Light", undoing the eclipse and letting you fight it in the relatively safe day form until you get to the final 15k HP, wherein you are stuck in Void Wings mode until victory!
Once you win (and assuming you started with Julian):
Overcoming Death's Reign
Embodiment of Destruction
Now ... you win so start a new game, pull data from your last file so you have all your stats (except HP) pulled into your new file and pick a different character!
For this playthrough and maybe for the next, just keep exploring the game freely, accruing gear and skills and overall gameplay knowledge. Once you're ready, with the right set of characters and a strategy to survive her, enter the abyss and skip the Sinistrals. Note that you can still level-grind in their respective dungeons, you just can't fight the Sinistrals themselves. In doing this, you'll be granting Oblivion her "true form," which includes the ability to morph into "Demonic Wings" form and gives her an additional 40k HP (max, depending on your HP) on top of the 15k she already has during the final Void form so good luck with that:
Demonic Wings of Monstrosity
Having beaten the game with the other seven characters, you'll clear it out!
Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
The Power of Creation
Reminiscing by the Oasis
Monarchy over Anarchy
Reign of the New King
Loose Ends and Knots