Daikatana: The Big Sword

At the beginning of the Greece chapter, and of the chapter that follows it, the Daikatana is your only weapon. Maybe we’re in a situation like Time Zone where time travel destroys any technology that would be anachronistic in the destination period. And it is, as I said, a difficult weapon to use. Pressing the fire button swings the sword, but it’s still not quite clear to me what this means. I spent some time in the beginning trying to figure out how to control the swings, make it swing left or right or thrust forward by various combinations of movement and button presses, but I’ve more or less convinced myself that this is pointless, that I’m better off ignoring the swipe animations and treating the sword as a kind of short-range gun that just does some damage somewhere in front of it whenever it fires. It’s hard to figure out just what its range is, but it’s definitely longer than I expected. Judging relative distances from a first-person camera is nontrivial. (Maybe I should do some experiments with swinging it at walls? It leaves glowing blue scars on any wall it hits.) So mainly you don’t try to be a master swordsman. You just wave it around and every once in a while something near you dies.

In contrast, the second weapon you acquire, the homing discus, is much easier to use, and has a much longer range, and what it’s doing is highly visible. And because it returns to your hand, you don’t have to worry about ammo. And yet I used the Daikatana preferentially for most of Greece. That’s because I wanted to power it up.

See, when you get the Daikatana, a new stat gets added to the summary that comes up when you press TAB, alongside the “Monsters: 37/63” and “Secrets: 0/4” or whatever. It simply says “Daikatana: 0.00/5.00”. This is not documented in the game or its manual, but from observation, it increases a little every time you kill something with the Daikatana, and every time it reaches an integer value, the sword’s flickering blue glow gets stronger and its ominous hum gets a little louder. (Killing things with the Daikatana also produces a swirling particle effect not seen in other kills. Perhaps this represents the sword devouring its victim’s soul.) But again, the exact effects are unclear, apart from a general “it’s gotten easier to kill things”. I’m pretty sure it’s firing its damage more frequently, but I’m mostly deriving that from the animations, which I’ve already decided not to trust.

I haven’t quite gotten the sword’s stat up to 5.0 yet. I was actually a little worried that it might get reset on episode transition, especially when the start-of-new-episode cutscene had Hiro talking about how the sword had been drained of energy, but it turns out the time-travel energy is orthogonal to the sword XP. What happens when the Daikatana stat fills up? I don’t know. Again, it’s not documented. Maybe it finally turns into the unstoppable history-altering superweapon I was promised. The irony is that even if it does, I’ll probably start using it less.


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