Friday, 18 April 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Two

Part One


Day One: A Tale of Too Many Tutorials (continued)

 So what’s the problem with Quistis?

 Well, this is the problem with Quistis:

Isn't it infuriating?
 How are we meant to take this seriously? It's incredibly jarring from a storytelling standpoint.

 Not seeing it?

 It's her level.

 She's an instructor at the SeeD academy Balamb Garden, right? Yes, she's very young and new, but that doesn't detract from the fact that she's more skilled and experienced than her students. In fact, in order to become a teacher or a member of any skilled profession at a younger age than usual, you're kind of required to be more brilliant than the people who take the normal amount of time.

 So, why exactly is she only one level higher than Zog?

 It's actually worse than that, because a little after this you team up with Seifer and he's at level nine.

 He's more powerful than the woman who's teaching him.

 In what universe does that even begin to make sense?


 After the annoyance at Quistis' level and the tutorials, it was finally time to take Quistis and Zog into the field of battle.

 Oh, battles in Final Fantasy games... so hit, so miss.

 Okay, let's get this out of the way, I hate the ATB bar. Either make an action RPG or a turn based RPG, do not do this weird halfway house where you're punished for distractions or thinking. Even if you’re always on top of it, it’s just wasting your time because it’s functionally just turn based but with these weird wait times before you’re allowed to do anything.

 But in the framework of that awful battle system, I think it’s okay.

 I don’t even mind drawing magic from enemies. It’s actually kind of fun seeing what enemies have what magic, but then again, the novelty of that is going to wear off quickly.

 I did a bunch of drawing magic before I headed into the fire cavern, so I was in possession of a lot of Blizzard magic by the time I got to asking Raiden and the old Hokage guy from Naruto to let me in so I could… I think this was some kind of test I was required to take before I was allowed to take the test later on? But it also seems to be about getting a new GF? I was paying attention, it just seemed to change function on the way there.

 Either way, you have to pick a time limit for the endeavour. Even though they still do that annoying walky cut scene nonsense, and it takes up time since you have to click through the text boxes before you can move on.

 I picked thirty minutes. I’m not MLG or anything, but I’m not completely hopeless.

 I probably could have gone with twenty, I had loads of time left by the time I beat the boss minor inconvenience at the end of the dungeon.

 I’d like to personally thank the game for telling me what was in there before I went, as when I said it showed you things you didn’t have in the tutorials, this was one of those things. They showed me junctioning with Ifrit despite the fact that I did not have him yet.


 Also, speaking of tutorials, I got another one right after defeating him!

 This time it was about tying elements to attack and defence. Which it did with spells I did not have access to.


 I called him Jim, by the way. Mostly because Ifrit is not a name, it’s a kind of jinn. Those firey not quite angels/not quite demons from Islamic and Arabic folklore. Fascinating creatures, I may do a post on them sometime.

Stebe, Bobbi and Jim
 Right after we got back into the Garden, I was given another tutorial. This time it only had GFs I actually had, but loved to show off abilities that they did not actually have access to.


 What makes it worse is that I actually worked out how to give AP to GF abilities on my own way before I even got to the fire cavern. I really hate when that happens in games.

 Having qualified for the exam, Zog is sent to put his uniform on (he looks better in it, btw) and report to Quistis so he can be assigned to his exam group.

Squall looking good, for a change
 Which includes Zell the over active with self-confidence issues and Seifer.

 Who wasn’t wearing the uniform and neither were his buddies Fujin and Raijin.

 His scar remained unmentioned.

 Quistis tells them that their placement can’t be changed and wishes them luck. Seifer tells her that he doesn’t like being wished luck, and she should save that for bad students who need it.

 “Of course. Good luck Seifer,” she replies, permanently earning a place in my heart.

 So they head off to the deployment.

 In this:

This must be what Jeremy Clarkson's nightmares are like
 I could see everyone's heads over the top of this, so it must be a bloody TARDIS because look at this:

The school got a discount on these from Gallifrey Motors
 Zell can stand up in there, it's that huge.

 I got to drive it to the port town and we were told to hurry onto the boat so they could move out. So of course I immediately ran back into town so I could mine the draw point I saw on the way in.

 And no one stopped me.

 Ah, sometimes life is good.

 So we endure some arguing amongst the characters, Quistis regretting the fact that she can't split these three up and get told we're going to a place called Rabbit Beach (if you'll pardon my French) to fight off an invading force attacking Dollet.

 Interestingly, there's also the heavy implication that Seifer has taken and failed these exams mulitple times before. Which is probably why he's level nine, although that doesn't explain the Quistis problem.

 So we head onto land in a cut scene that I think was supposed to invoke the horrors of war, but kind of didn't do it for me. Bit too plastic-y, some of the explosives looked too much like fireworks and Zog was far too clean and far too pretty for me to really buy it. It's like what the Normandy landings would have been if they'd been directed by a guy who primarily worked on perfume adverts.

This shot was nice, though. Reminds me of Gundam Wing
 After battling our way to the objective point, Seifer decides to follow some soldiers into the mountain directly contradicting orders much to the despair of Zell. Oddly, Zog agreed to do what Seifer said, even though a) Seifer's an idiot and terrible example of how to pass these exams and b) he doesn't even like Seifer.

 Zell's bullied into joining in and Seifer runs off ahead for Zog and Zell to follow even though he's magically back with them the second an encounter happens.


 They get to a communications tower where some soldiers are talking about making repairs and Seifer runs off on his own, taking all the magic I gave him with him. Although thankfully he left Jim.

Unfortunately he left me with this mental image
 To replace Seifer we get Selphie, the girl who Zog thought needed dormitories explained to her, who's trying to deliver a message to Seifer.

 Unfortunately for her, all the magic I gave Seifer popped up on her, so she's now my dedicated healer.

 Sorry Selphie, I didn't realise my desire to give Seifer a job he did not want would misfire onto you.

 The adventure will continue with Part Three - Day Two: Control Issues.

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