Thursday, 17 April 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part One


 Day One: A Tale of Too Many Tutorials

 So we begin our adventure watching a cut scene.

 It was a needlessly artsy piece of computer generated animation of passable, but somewhat plastic-y, quality.

 That’s all that can be said about it, really.

 Well, except for two things:

1.       What the hell was that text about? Was it a conversation? Was it a monologue? Why did it change font for a line?
2.       I noticed Rinoa has a pair of wings on the back of her cardie. This does not bode well.

 It ended with Squall and Seifer giving each other scars and this seamlessly blends into the opening scene of the game where Squall is being treated for his nasty cut, but Seifer isn’t.

 No, seriously, no one has brought up the fact that Seifer also has a cut on his face. As far as I can tell he didn’t even go to the clinic, as there is no mention of him ever having been in there. People warn Squall about Seifer but no one admonishes him for hurting Seifer in return.

 Not Doctor Kadowaki, not Quistis, not Cid, not Zell, not the mysterious girl in a shawl who mentions something about meeting again while creeping on Squall in the clinic, nobody.

 It’s quite vexing.

 So, while having a check up, the doctor asks Squall to say his name, and of course, I direct him to call himself ‘Zog’. My go to name for any game where I’m allowed to name the protagonist.

This is why
  Quistis comes to pick Zog up and drags his arse back to the classroom where it belongs. They have some conversation about something, I can’t remember what. I was too busy being mildly impressed by the way that the NPCs walking past us reacted to us. Some guy, possibly a teacher, greeted Quistis and a pair of girls giggled at Squall’s silly outfit.

Face it, he looks ridiculous
 The only thing I really remember about the conversation is that it was one of those Assassin’s Creed style conversations where it’s functionally a cut scene, only you’re in charge of moving your character around. I think this works better when you have voice acting rather than bleeding text boxes.

 This is a problem that persists, and boy does it get frustrating later.

  Once Zog's in lesson, he's told about the exam at the end of the day and Quistis tells him to meet her outside so that he can do the thing he was supposed to do earlier but didn’t because he was too busy ‘training’ with Seifer and getting his face cut up.

 And nobody mentions Seifer’s scar.

 While Zog’s on the way to do that, he meets a new girl who managed to miss class because she transferred from a smaller Garden and hasn’t gotten used to the new place yet. She asks him if has time to give her a tour, and I direct him to say that he did.

 Luckily for him, the game didn’t have the same idea I did and he only has to take her to the big ‘you are here’ sign the school has near the front door like it’s a theme park or something.

 While there he explains to her not only where everything is, but what everything is.

 Yes, he explains to a girl who told him that she just transferred from another Garden what everything is even though she obviously already knows. Including what a dormitory is.

 My favourite part of this is when he tells her what the library is for and in the next breath that the consoles in the classrooms give not only the same information, but more and better information.

 Then why does the place even have a library?

 What’s the point?

 They could have spent that funding on a common room, or an X-Men style danger room.

 Is the board of governors entirely populated with old fogies who don’t understand what computers are and insisted that there be a library because all good mercenary training facilities have one?

Not in this specific case, they're not
 I mean that would make sense, but I’ve yet to see evidence supporting that theory, and I doubt I will.

 Anyway, Zog goes to meet Quistis and I wish I’d taken a screenshot of the way in and out of the Garden, because it makes the theme park comparison all the more relevant.

 It’s at this point that the tutorials really start kicking in and taking up all of your time.

 I was expecting this, but there’s two things I wasn’t expecting that really makes me angry.

 The tutorials a) do not use the actual stuff that you actually have access to, and b) the effects don’t stick around.

 I’m sorry, but in pretty much every other game I’ve ever played (and I think this includes that one time I played some of Final Fantasy VII) if there’s a tutorial of any length that involves your character, the effects remain.

 This is precisely the reason that other people catch Pokemon to show you how to do it.

 So imagine my surprise when, after I’m shown how to junction GFs and magic, Zog and Quistis don’t have any GFs or magic junctioned.

 This is a thing that keeps happening and is really annoying. I mean, you already have to go into menus all the time to mess around with junctioning and magic when you switch party members, but also having to go into the menu to do the exact thing you were just shown how to do?

 Maybe I could let that go for Zog’s PaperMario style push button when attacking mechanic (no Square, you’re not repeating yourself), but not for GF and magic junctioning, which is a core bloody gameplay mechanic.

 While I’m on the subject of GFs…

Quistis sounding like an MRA
 It’s been a long-standing bugbear of mine that the reoccurring summon in the Final Fantasy series Shiva looks and behaves the way it does. It may vary from game to game, but it always has these two things in common.

1.       It’s a lady person
2.       She has icey powers

 I find it vexing that Shiva is not, in fact, the God of Death and Destruction who dances on demons and is in a triumvirate with Brahma and Vishnu the gods of Creation and Preservation.

 So finding calling her Shiva an intolerable proposition, I named the offending GF Bobbi.

 I named Queztecoatl the not feathered not a snake Stebe for similar reasons.

 There’s also a serious issue with Quistis, but that’s better saved for the next post where I can bring it up in the full context of why it’s so important.

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