Friday, 27 June 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Thirty Two

 Part Thirty One


 Day Thirteen: Up All Night To Get Lucky

 So, what does Cid want?

 Well, from the looks of it, Zog finally got to give Cid the report he'd been trying to for six or seven parts now.

 Good for him. The new and improved Zog deserves a change in fortunes.

 Unfortunately, the one he's getting does not build upon that positive beginning.

  After Cid tells Zog that Selphie's reopened the diary, the discussion turns to the Galbadians in Fisherman's Horizon and their plans to find Ellone.

 Zog suspects that the Sorceress Edea was behind the search, and Cid is concerned by the prospect of Ellone running out of places to hide. He also predicts that the Sorceress will just end up on a path of destruction as she attempts t find her.

 This appears to be the last straw, and he's decided to take the Garden into war mode.

 He explains this over the intercom in a cutscene showing what Quistis, Zell and Nina are doing while they receive the news.

 The Garden needs a military leader during this difficult time. Which is fair, Cid is an incompetent educator, not a mercenary. The Garden has a lot of qualified SeeDs, surely one of them would make a great leader. Xu, for example seems like a suitable candidate. She's very -

 You read that right, he's going to put a seventeen year old boy who has been qualified as a SeeD for what has to be less than a month, if not just over a week, in charge of the military tactics in a great war against his wife who has phenomenal cosmic power.

He's placed the responsibility of saving the world onto a teenage boy who has some deep seated issues with the past tense, didn't understand death until just recently, has real problems with opening up to people and trusting them, and has recently been tortured by an old classmate.

 He's going to have to command the Garden, he's going to have to send children into battle.

 This has to be the most dickish thing I've ever seen in a video game, and I suffered through Alan Wake.

 Zog doesn't want this!

 I complained about not knowing what he wanted earlier in the series, but I know it isn't this!

 And do you know what? The only justification that Cid has is this:

Again, what?!
 That is not a good reason!

 This is where fatalism gets you. You get an idea in your head and it doesn't matter how stupid or harmful it is, you genuinely believe that you have to go through with it.

 He's in charge of children and he's willing to put his fatalism over their safety. May I remind you of the two prepubescent full on children in this place?

 And this isn't a matter of doing something or doing nothing, this is a case of doing something stupid or doing something sensible.


 Unsurprisingly, this depresses the hell out of Zog and he goes to hide in his room.

 To make this whole thing even worse, he has an internal monologue about this and it's definitely the best one so far in the game.

 He doesn't mind fighting the Sorceress, that's reasonable as far as he's concerned. But this?

 He asks himself if he really has to do this and comes to the conclusion that he has to as long as he's a SeeD. So logically following on from that, he thinks about quitting.


 He's got nothing. No friends, no family, no job, no place to live and nowhere to go. His entire life is on Garden, is in Garden, revolves around Garden.

 Every single person he knows and cares about he met because he's a SeeD.

 If he leaves, he's got none of that. He's in a brave new world with no idea of what to do. And considering how hard he finds making friends...

 he has no choice but to do what Cid wants him to.

 Very conveniently, the way Cid set up Garden is what has put Zog in this untenable position. How long has he been planning this?


 After a little more monologuing from Zog, the focus of the game turns to Selphie and the others at the stage.

 Bit of a mood whiplash, but a welcome one.

 Selphie tells the others that the concert is going to be held as planned, and it's also dedicated to Zog to celebrate his promotion.

 I'm not sure she really gets it, but it's sweet enough I guess.

 The thing about this section is that it's got a musical minigame in it, and I am notoriously bad at those. So...

 I got my friend to look up a walkthrough. I have no shame, because I can't be having with this. I really am that bad at these, you should have seen me play Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, I failed the sound puzzle in that so badly.

 (Also Doug took the Wiimote off me because I kept screaming and he didn't want the police called to our house for domestic abuse.)

 Here is basically what you need to know.

 There are three ways this can go: catastrophically, badly, or well.

 What determines this is what instruments you choose for Zell, Quistis (who claims she has no musical aptitude), Irvine and Selphie to play. Each instrument is playing a part of one of a handful of tunes, you need to match these parts to create a full piece. If you don't, Zog and Nina will have a massive bust up

 If you do, things can go well. But they can also go very badly.

 See, you have two full pieces to work with. 'Eyes on me' needs the electric guitar, bass guitar, saxophone and pianos

 Whereas the 'Irish jig' needs the flute, the violin, the guitar and someone tap dancing.

Zell, you look ridiculous.
If you pick 'Eyes on me' things will go well at first and be romantic, but it will end up with Nina running of in tears.

 I picked the 'Irish Jig', because this is the one which goes well. We will go into exactly how well later.

 So, I said Nina. Well, the plan is for her to dress up nice and basically show Zog a good time.

 Irvine has a different idea of what this means than Selphie and Nina.

 Once Nina is dressed up pretty and the concert is ready, she talks Zog into going with her.

 I was given the option to say no, but I'm not that masochistic.

 Once they get there, Irvine tells Zog that he's marked out a special space for them with a magazine.

 A porn magazine, because Irvine really does have a different idea of what 'Showing Zog a good time' means. Although he may just be projecting because he's hoping to 'woo' Selphie.

 By the way, is Selphie not just the best wingman ever?

Look, she's even willing to tell him blatant lies to boost his
 So, Zog and Nina go to the hopefully-not-sticky spot and talk.

 Nina gets how tough things are going to be for Zog, and so does the rest of the gang. She also gets what Zog is like, and the difficulties he has with sharing duties and responsibilities. So the entire point of the talk is to remind him that they're there for him, and to convince him to take them up on their offer.

 He tries to escape, but Nina shoves him off the ledge they're sitting on and into the satellite dish.

 She does jump down after him, so it's not the world's least dramatic murder attempt or anything.

 When down there they talk more. Nina knows what he's like.

 We also get some insight on why he's been such a dick for most of the game.

 Well, it's basically down to the fact that he's lost the protection of friends and family before and now he views it as an inevitable consequence of making friends that you can rely on. He also feels like losing that ability to rely on people is so painful that it's genuinely not worth the risk.

 Considering the fact that the avuncular figure of Cid basically just backed him into a corner and forced him into a role that he's really not ready to take on, I really don't blame him.

 He's a bit of a stereotypical angsty teen in this internal monologue, but it's something of an inevitability when talking about feelings like this. Also, this is made far more tolerable because we have been supplied with an actual reason for him to behave like this and for us to care.

 Also, I'm actually pretty impressed with how Nina tries to talk him around.

 A lot of the time the characters who try to talk other characters out of pessimism are insulting or borderline offensive. They treat positive thinking like it's a cure for all of life's ills, and as someone with depression, I find the implication that my misery is my fault because I don't think positively enough deeply offensive. Even when it's coming from other real people with depression.

 What Nina does is take a more realistic approach.

 Trying to make friends and rely on people is a risk, but since the future can hold absolutely anything, it's worth trying to enjoy the now.

 She also doesn't try to make out that it's solely for his benefit, which is another thing characters who do this type of thing tend to do.

 It's support without pressure, and that's distressingly rare.

 She asks him about his dreams, and while he internally admits that he doesn't really have any, he says that he doesn't want to talk about them.

 Something Nina agrees with, begging the question of why she asked in the first place.

 Although she does say that she'd like to just stay like this. Which is fair enough, everyone's having a good time. Including Quistis who is playing the flute just fine despite having 'no musical aptitude'.

 We then are treated to another sad and rainy tiny!Zog flashback before returning to Zog lying on top of his bedsheets fully clothed and with his shoes on like some kind of heathen.

 This is abruptly ended by him being called to the bridge.

I don't know, maybe Cid got a splinter or something.
 And it bears mentioning that by this point, with all the crap that's happened, his constant internal whining is now both understandable and tolerable.

 I get how you feel Zog, I really do.

 We'll see what Cid needs Zog for this time in Part Thirty Three, the beginning of Day Fourteen.

No comments:

Post a Comment