After passing through the tutorial areas, and having experienced the events of the ceremony at the palace, you will be arrested and taken to the “Nalbina prison“. In this pleasant place, the remnant of an old fortress that fell under the hands of the Empire, all the prisoners are left to rot pending their final sentence. Together with Balthier, we will have to find a way out of this condition.
The initial area is quite simple and small, so your only task will be to explore it thoroughly in search of the different chests containing it of Ferruggine, useful material later in the game. While you are at it, talk to the inmates you find to get insights related to the imperial conquest and some names you will meet later in the prisons. When you feel ready, continue in the next area remembering to save to the Crystal Saver just before accessing. Don’t worry if a guy blocks your way saying “better not go there”, on the second try he won’t tell you anything.
Once inside, you will witness a funny scene where Vaan, with his usual stupid naivety, ends up in the middle of an arena surrounded by disreputable guys. Fortunately, dear Balthier comes to our rescue by starting a good fist fight with his bare hands. Combat is not difficult at all and the two thugs will go to the mat without the slightest effort. At that moment, Fran will appear and will rescue you by returning to be a member of the group.
You will find yourself in a small rest area where you can rescue and retrieve equipment confiscated. But remember to also check the different chests present. Veterans, fear not for the so-called “chests not to be opened for the spear”, in Zodiac Age that mechanism no longer exists.
As you progress, you will arrive in a medium-sized area with several Imperial soldiers patrolling it. Although Balthier tells you “we try not to show us” what we recommend is to fight all the enemies in the area, as they are unlikely to represent a real threat. Use their patrol pattern to hit them individually and watch out for enemies with Protect. Also remember to use “Steal” on the guards to grab some potions. Once the area is cleared, move on to the next one to get out of the Prisons by falling into another area called “The Galleries of Barheim”.
There are few items of note in the prisons, therefore don’t worry if you miss a chest or two. The minimum recommended level for the area is 4.