Thursday, 19 June 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Twenty Nine

 Part Twenty Eight


 Day Thirteen: Emotional Impact

 I headed back to the infirmary the long way around the main room, and much to my surprise, Xu called out and stopped the team.

 This is what needed to happen to go onto the next portion of the game, nnot asking Cid what to do next like I thought.

 She's looking for the headmaster herself because there's a ship rapidly approaching the Garden. She's worried because they cannot identify it and it could very well be the Galbadians, or the Sorceress herself.

 She instructs Zog and Co. to go up to the viewing platform to have a look while she goes and tells Cid what's going on.

 After heading up to the deck, the ship that's been heading towards Garden finally catches up and three people dressed all in white declare themselves as Edea's SeeDs and that they're unarmed. Their aim is to speak with Cid.

 And I just cannot get over how informal everyone is with that guy, it really annoys me for some reason.

 The three SeeDs in white jump up to the deck to join a very surprised Zog and Co.

Why can't Zog do that?
 Zog and Co. draw their weapons, because they're not idiots, and then put them away at Edea's SeeDs' insistence that they come in peace because they are idiots.

 Thankfully, Cid comes at that moment and cuts off my ability to have a long rant about how stupid it is to just take these people at their word. They can jump fifty feet in the air and likely use magic, they don't need to be armed.

 It turns out that the reason they're there is to collect Ellone, because a floating school for child soldiers that recently had intercontinental ballistic missiles fired at it, and isn't being currently being controlled by anyone, is apparently not a safe place.

 I wonder how they came to that conclusion.

 Zog wonders if this is the same Ellone from Winhill, and Cid can apparently read minds because he somehow knows this.

 Okay, I never thought I'd say this, but this game desperately needs a remake, one with more animated cutscenes and, dare I say it, voice acting.

 And the problem is mostly Zog.

 Other characters act like Zog has made some kind of expression when he clearly hasn't. His speech usually just comes across as pissy at best and just plain disinterested at worst. May I draw your attention back to how he seemed totally unsurprised by NORG because he only uses exclamation marks when he's shouting?

 The character arc he's been given lends itself more to gradual change and inner turmoil than it does to sudden changes, but the fact that he has no facial animations outside of the infrequent FMVs that don't provide any exposition at all forces the arc to be shown in sudden changes.

 This isn't VII, these characters are presented as looking almost like real people, so over exaggerated body movements don't work. They look fine on Cloud during his gradual arc, but they look stupid on Zog. He needs to have noticeable facial expressions because he's so prone to internal reflection. Yes, I think his internal monologues are embarrassing, but they really suffer from the fact that it's impossible to link any emotion to them.

 Good characterisation is difficult to get from just the text of dialogue, there usually needs to be something to back it up.

 Interestingly enough, getting back to the point, Cid doesn't actually go out of his way to find out what the hell Zog is doing knowing who Ellone is. I don't know about you guys, but I think I'd like to know in this situation.

 He does, however, charge Zog to go and find Ellone. He tells him that she's somewhere in the Garden.

 Zog wonders what the connection between these people and Ellone is, but allows himself to be bossed about by Cid anyway.

 Once out in the hallway, Irvine vocalises Zog's concerns and the trio decides to split up. Nina sticks around for a minute and reminds me that she's never been to the dream world. Which is something I'd genuinely forgotten.

 Zog quickly explains and it's time to track down Ellone.

 Initially, I decided to check the training area because it was the last place I'd seen a woman who wasn't a SeeD apart from Nina. Yeah, I know it was all the way back in part five, but working off whatever ideas you have is better than nothing, right?

 Well, no. She wasn't there and I risked Zog's SeeD rank by putting him in a situation where he had to run from battles because he just couldn't deal with the monsters on his own.

This time I decided to go clockwise, because I'm always checking the library in the vain hope that the couple I told you I'd keep an eye on are actually there.

 They weren't, but Ellone was.

You aren't who I wanted to see, damnit!
 Also, yep, it's the creepy woman from parts one and five. Apparently she hasn't changed her outfit once in all this time. Neither has anyone else, but still...

 It transpires that she is the Ellone after all.

 Zog demands to know what's been happening with the random bouts of hallucinatory narcolepsy, but Ellone doesn't have an explanation. It's too difficult to explain, she says. Personally I doubt this, but I have no way of forcing her to 'fess up.

 She does divulge one piece of information though, what they've been doing all this time is viewing the past. Something I would have thought would be fairly obvious, but this is Zog we're talking about.

 Ellone appears to be under the impression that Zog and the others viewing the past through the eyes of Laguna and Co. will have some kind of impact on the events of the past. Which causes Zog to twig that she's responsible for these visions.

 She had nothing but an apology when confronted.

 Zog started wobbling around, and it looked ridiculous mind you, before sitting down and putting his head in his hands.

 I think this is the first time I've actually felt sorry for him. He's always going on about how he doesn't want other people depending on him, but his protest this time almost brings a tear to my eye thinking about it.

 He just sits there as Xu comes into frame and asks if Ellone is there while the woman in question is standing just to her left.

 And before she left, Ellone said under her breath,

 Zog goes into a monologue about depending on other people, and it's as stupid as ever, but it was surprisingly touching.

 In hindsight.

 I thought this entire sequence was stupid while I was actually watching it, but now I'm on the edge of tears just thinking about it. It's really quite tragic.

 I'd happily watch a HD and fully voice acted remake of this scene, it could be so powerful.

 The monologue continues with Zog curled up in bed and questioning his self worth, and that's a feeling I can relate to.


 This got depressing, let's mock Zog.

You and Jon Snow both.
 Yeah, I'm not really feeling cheered up either.

 Let's hope things are more upbeat in Part Thirty. See you then.

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