I did it... I really did it... the Nightmare grind in Warriors Orochi 2 is over! I was grinding through levels earlier today, as a boring activity to keep part of my mind focused away from my OTHER boring activity (copy/pasting WoW blogs), and to my enormous surprise, I unlocked the last Dream Mode level. I had known I was getting close, but I thought I still had 4-5 characters to go. I guess not.
With every level finally unlocked, I went on a total tare, going through every Dream level I hadn't already completed, and unlocked a couple of the Big Daddy achievements of the game, including All Dream Mode levels cleared (80g) and All Characters unlocked (80g), add another 30g to that for the last Dream Mode level achievement short of completing them all, and I rocketed up 190 points in one of the most painfully un-generous point games out there. I'm super excited about the progress.
At 900/1000, I'm farther along than I thought I would be for a while, and all that remains is to get the legendary All Difficulties Clear achievement for 100g. To do this, I will be taking my superpowered Orochi as two other characters and blasting through every main story level on every difficulty. Along the way, I'll be taking the weapons they pick up and trying to mass manufacture as many Almighty abilities for weapons as I can. That ability makes Chaos exponentially easier. I aim for at least 28 (1 per character per Dream Mode level). When I get all that accomplished, then it'll be time to tackle Dream Mode, one level at a time. There may be additional grinding to improve weapons, or farm more abilities, based on what seems necessary as I work through the levels. I aim to do the bare minimum needed to get through them all... I've spent more than enough time in this game already.
While I'm pleased to be in the final phase of the campaign to complete Orochi 2, the war is far from over. 28 Dream levels x 3 remaining difficulties = 84 levels, plus I-don't-know-how-many still in the main stories. Add in the weapon grinding and spot-grinding to buff up characters for a few problematic levels, and I'd say I still have a good 20+ hours left before I've completed this bastard. I love KOEI games, but I will be looking very carefully at their achievement lists from now on. I doubt I'll ever purchase a game from them again that requires this much grinding to 1k. There's dedication.... and then there's just insanity.
Assuming I actually finish this game in 2009, what's my next grinding side-project? Most likely EDF2017. Love the game, but I need to double my armor to have a chance on Inferno. My roommate and I could be busy on that one in the months ahead.