Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
The Returners, courtesy of Setzer, have jetted across the ocean and made it to the southern continent. This place is dominated by the Empire, and it's here the Returners will find a horde of ensnared espers. First, though, they have an entire continent to explore…
The enemies on the continent are fairly strong compared to what you faced near Kohlingen and Jidoor. Magic is of great use here, as are the usual all-hitting attacks. You have a lot of ground to cover, so unless you find a Chocobo Stable, you can expect to get into a lot of battles. Make sure you re-equip Celes before you set off anywhere! Her gear's been stripped since the Opera House fiasco!
You need to head to Vector, the central city on the continent, to proceed with the story. Before you do, though, there are four locations to explore. We'll start with Setzer's airship.
There's not a ton to be seen on the Blackjack just yet, but it is worth a once-over. One man in the entry hall will restore your HP, making this a good spot for level and spell grinding, while the other will sell you items. A man on the gambling deck will remove equipment from party members both present and absent. The Blackjack will be yours to pilot in a little while, but not just yet.
A port town a short jaunt from the Blackjack's landing site, Albrook is a town inhabited by the Empire. Fortunately, like the other towns around here, none of the soldiers will attack you.
- The Item Shop carries all the same swag as the Blackjack. Nothing special.
- The Weapon Shop has some new gear for your current team. Grab what you can. You might be surprised to see gear for Shadow in this shop. You can't actually recruit him here right now, but he will show up in Albrook later in the game. Grab the Ether from the pot before you leave.
- The Armor Shop has a lot of the same gear as Jidoor. You'll find better stuff in other shops across the continent, though getting the Priest's Miter now isn't a terrible idea for boosting your magic. There are some chests, but they're oddly empty, and will never have contents.
- The Port is blocked. You'll get down there eventually.
- The Relic Shop is connected to the Pub. The best new relic is the Amulet, which blocks poison, blindness and zombie. You can grab an Elixir from a clock in the Pub; otherwise this is just a place to get insulted by Imperial soldiers.
- The Inn costs 300 gil a night. Check the barrels beside the Inn for a Hi-Potion.
This small location is a ways to the east of Albrook, nestled along a thin path through a mountain range. You can wander around, but the second you get touched by a soldier, you'll get into a fight and get thrown out. Not much to see here for the moment.
Your second major stop is Tzen, on the northern tip of the continent. This is another ruined town filled with Imperial soldiers, as well as a few gems worth getting.
- The Item Shop has the usual!
- The Inn is 350 gil per night. A bit steep, but you don't have much choice.
- The Armor Shop's equipment is the same as in Albrook. Mythril Helms are the best buy you're likely to find here.
- The Weapon Shop has slim pickings, though a Boomerang will work nicely for Locke.
- The Weapon Shop has both Black Belts (for countering) and Hermes Sandals (casting Haste automatically). Both are quite expensive, so if you want to fully outfit your team with one or the other you'll probably have to fight outside town for a while.
- There's a Chocobo Stable hidden in the forest. Renting a chocobo costs 350 gil.
The last location before Vector is located on the southwestern tip of the continent. Maranda takes a while to reach.
- The Inn costs 200 gil. A nice reprieve from some of the high prices elsewhere. You can find Holy Water in some crates to the west of here.
- The Armor Shop has the usual stuff, a well as Mythril Mail. Though expensive, this is the best armour you can buy on the continent. Save up and get the mail for anyone who can wear it.
- The Weapon Shop has nothing you couldn't have bought elsewhere. Not really worth the bother.
- The last house in Maranda is Lola's House. This is home to the girlfriend of the wounded soldier in Mobliz, to whom you (may) have sent a bunch of presents by mail. What she says changes depending on how far down the present chain you are. She's not important now, but she'll figure into an important side quest in the second half of the game. Check the crates south of her house for a Remedy.
- Your final stop here is the Chocobo Stable outside town. Look in the forest to the southeast to find it (you'll have to do a bit of wandering - check in the thinner patch of trees in the south). Chocobo rides are a slim 100 gil. Given how long it takes to walk to Maranda, you'll probably want to take advantage of this deal.
That's all for wandering the continent. It's off to Vector to save those espers!