Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Seventeen

 Part Sixteen


 Day Eight: Quick Changes

 After they've dropped the gateway team off at the triumphal arch, Caraway takes Zog and Irvine to the presidential residence so they can wait for the perfect opportunity to get inside.

 While waiting, Zog questions Caraway on why the Sorceress feels the need to have such a large and ostentatious parade in the first place. Caraway explains that it's because she wants to establish her place in Galbadia Garden, as she's chosen it as her base.

 I'm not sure how having a parade in a totally different place is going to help with that, but then again I'm not an exceedingly powerful magical being.

 Zog is rather surprised by this, which surprises me. I already knew about her plan to take Galbadia Garden, I learned about it when I was there. Two students are sitting and talking about it by the train station you need to go to in order to get to Deling city in the first place.

 So I was a little taken aback by him mysteriously not knowing a piece of information I know he heard.

 On top of his lack of understanding of death, not being concerned by sudden group narcolepsy, being a social leper and having a revulsion of the past tense that knows no bounds, he's also got memory problems.

Clearly, the best man for the job.
 Speaking of memory problems, Quistis appears to have completely forgotten that she's an experienced mercenary and decides to go back to apologise to Nina.

 It's not just you and me that thinks this is a bad idea, Selphie and Zell also point out that leaving their post is a bad idea.

 But no, Quistis, the child prodigy who became a full fledged SeeD at fifteen and has been teaching teenagers for a couple of years feels so bad about being harsh to Nina that she has to go and apologise immediately instead of just waiting until the mission is over and doing it when they've killed the Sorceress and no longer have anything to worry about.

 (By the way, this is the second time that Zell has been outright ignored by another blond. He just has the worst luck with those people. Also, he was right both times.)

 She tells them to stay behind, but they decide to go with her. I'm not sure if I think they're idiots for doing this. On the one hand, the gate needs closing, but on the other, they're pretty much smack dab in the middle of hostile territory. So either way, they're doing the wrong thing.

 She put them in one hell of a situation here.

 So the idiot and her hapless team mates head back to Caraway's house in order to apologise to Nina.

 And here begins the most contrived thing I think I've ever seen in fiction.

 It begins with Caraway telling Nina that she should stay in the house because things are going to get chaotic out in the streets. Again, this is hardly countering the argument that she's not really justified in being rebellious against him. He wouldn't want her in a safe place if he didn't care about her safety.

 After saying that she should stay put, he leaves the room, and then an odd beeping noise begins.

Finally, some proof towards his douchery.
 Wait, that's what that means?

 Why would a lock make a noise like that?

 What possible purpose could that serve?

 Why would you want your lock to give everyone near it a count down? What if you need to lock it in a hurry? In fact, he did need to lock it in a hurry, but the countdown just let her make good her escape.

 Which is where this gets especially stupid.

 Nina leaves the room and Quistis and Co. come straight in.

 This may be the worst example of a Reverse Aerith I've ever seen. There is no possible way that they did not run into each other. I refuse to believe it.

 Oh, and the countdown I was ranting about ended just as Quistis and Co. got into the room. So now they're locked in.

 The entire mission could fail because Quistis couldn't wait to apologise and Caraway's locks don't make sense.

 This just went from enjoyably stupid to annoyingly stupid. Let's just hope things improve shortly.

 Which they won't, we're following Nina on her quest to talk the Sorceress into putting on a piece of jewellery.

 And really, this is where the swapping really starts and really starts to be an issue.

 Remember, these characters have virtually no innate stats. They don't even retain the ability to do basic things like use items when they don't have a GF. So you have to give them GFs in order to be able to use them as you'd use characters in most other RPGs.

 But, again, you're not going to leave every character equipped with spells and a GF. The GFs are an incredibly scarce resource, and it would take scary amounts of effort to fully kit out every character with every relevant spell

 So during this bit, unless you had her in your party before, have fun when you only realise that Nina has no stats and no abilities when you hit your first battle. Which you very well might, because this is the screen she ends up on when she escapes her house.

I have no idea what this place is.
 I couldn't figure out where I was supposed to go. I went into the sewers twice, because I was convinced that I needed to go through them to get to the presidential palace from wherever this place was. When that didn't pan out, I tried going from the edge of the screen.


 Turns out, and I found this out only upon my friend looking it up, that you're meant to climb up those crates.

 There's not a lot of background stuff you can interact with in this game, so I'm not sure why they assumed I'd interact with those crates.

 Unless we've devolved to adventure gameplay and I'm meant to click everything.

 She manages to drag herself up the boxes and over onto the roof, and it's at this point that I get the sinking realisation that she's actually on the presidential residence.

 How the hell did she get inside its walls? Was no one guarding this place?!

  Remember, Caraway's 'logic' is that during the parade, Irvine and Zog can sneak in because the guards will be incapable of doing their jobs during a major event.

 The parade has not started yet. There's nothing to distract them while a high value guest is at the presidential residence.

 Obama would go crazy if the guards at the White House slacked off during the build up to the celebratory parade in David Blaine's honour.

 There is pretty much no explanation of how she got in there, and that's incredibly infuriating to me.


 To be fair though, the set design for this next scene is very well done.

 It's elegant, it's rather chilling, and the focus on the Sorceress in the celebrated 'you know I'm powerful because I'm a chair with my back to you' pose is very effective.

 Nina begins politely by excusing herself for interrupting the Sorceress' prep time and then introduces herself. On the one hand, identifying yourself to the evil sorceress is probably not a wise move, but on the other it does make sense to make use of your connections to gain her trust.

 I think in this instance, I'm going to err on the side of 'Nina is a potential political manipulator'. Just think of her as a cut price Sansa Stark.

 The cut price bit comes here.

For some reason, I can't imagine the Sorceress can hear
her all that well.
 Oh, come on!

 I know you came up with this plan on the fly, but would it have killed you to get a jewellery box and put it in that? Who just hands someone an unboxed bracelet as a present?

 You could have stuck a bow on it or something.

 Well, since she didn't, the Sorceress immediately figures her out and throws her against a wall with her magic powers. Then we get some good old fashioned screwing around with someone using telekinesis before some of the coolest shots of the game happen.

 You know the ones I mean. These are the shots that made it into the opening cut scene.

Damn, that's cool.
Yeah, there is no way this woman would pass up on a
hot and frustrated teenage boy.
 Somehow, the messing with Nina brainwashed her, because the Sorceress has her happily follow her out onto the balcony to be there when she addresses her public.

 Which we'll have to see next time, because this post is already nearly 1500 words long.

 So stay tuned for Part Eighteen - Day Eight: Change You Can't Believe In

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