Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Forty

 Part Thirty Nine


 Day Sixteen: An Army Of Lambs Led By A Lion Cub

 Remember how I said it got worse?

 Well, this happens:

Hah, he's not going to fall for that!
Zog! Stop falling for that!
 I'm pretty much convinced at this point that Zog doesn't do anything in this entire goddamn game by his own free will. He's bullied, he's cajoled, he's the victim of psychological tricks, he's tortured, he's hypnotised, he's backed into corners and he's left with no other options, but he never actually makes decisions for himself.

 He is the least active Final Fantasy protagonist I've ever seen and I played XII, where Vaan only exists because Square Enix became irrationally terrified of female protagonists for a game. (Disclaimer: Penelo has a reason to exist in that game, so leave her alone.)

 But the thing that really, really gets me about all this, is the way that it's framed as positive character development.

 There's some more stuff to talk about before we get to the most egregious example of this.

 So, since he's been tricked into making an assault on Galbadia Garden, the question of how to get from one flying building to another is raised. Because these guys A. haven't planned for an assault on their Garden and B. basically threw themselves into a fight they weren't expecting instead of making a run for it like a sensible person.

 This isn't so much a plot hole as it is a plot chasm.

 So, what does the gang come up with?

Really? Is that the best you've got?
 His apparent inspiration for this is that Galbadia Garden has been repeatedly crashing into them. Which implies that Irvine would have been incapable of coming up with this idea if they hadn't.

 Also, where're Zell and Nina? Has he managed to rescue her yet?

 Oh, here's Zell now.

 According to Zell, he can't even get to her because the Galbadians have the Quad barricaded.


 Is this one entry point this valuable to them? They can literally come in through the windows and they're desperate to hold onto the quad?

 Who cares about the quad?

 The only person I can think of who gives the tiniest smidgeon of a crap about the quad is Selphie, and only because the school festival is held there. But she's held it elsewhere before, so even she doesn't really care.

 Zog, having to plan an invasion of Galbadia Garden and possibly realising what ramming into it would mean for Nina, spare's a moment's sad thought for her.

 And basically gets a verbal beating from the others.

 Irvine is unhappy that Zog has... stopped to think about Nina for a second.

 He's taken a quiet moment of reflection as giving up.

 Now that I think about it, that's ridiculous.

 Just like Irvine's reaction when Zog points out that he's got to lead Balamb Garden into battle after Irvine tries to emotionally blackmail him into going to save Nina himself.

And that's what friendship is all about.
 And he has the audacity to claim that he's saying all this for Nina's sake.

 And then, and then, Quistis says one of the most infuriating things I've ever heard in my life.

Really, Quistis, really?
 Apparently Quistis' friendship group is more important than the lives of the population of Balamb Garden.

 Including people Quistis used to be responsible for (although any lingering sense of responsibility seems to have worn off) and three, no shadow of a doubt, children.

 Nina is your friend, I get that, but do you know what?

 She isn't one of you.

 She's here by choice. If anything, she's a tourist in the world of warfare and being a mercenary. She could have backed out at almost any point prior to this, and probably could after you all get out of this.

 Do you know who is one of you? Or rather, who are most of you?

 Everyone on this fucking Garden.

 Why don't you, any of you because Zell and Selphie stick their oars in too, care about the rest of the SeeDs and the students?!

 Why do they come second to Nina?

 I like Nina, I really do, but this attitude makes Quistis, Irvine, Zell and Selphie come across as entitled brats who don't give a crap about anyone outside of their little friendship group.

 And, as previously mentioned, I don't think Nina would be okay with this.

 She doesn't strike me as the type who'd be happy for a lot of other people to die just because someone wanted to save her.

 Including children.

 No I won't let that go.

 They're just so keen on it being Zog that saves her that it's out and out creepy.

 I guess I was wrong, Selphie isn't Zog's wingman. Everybody is Nina's wingman. Though God only knows why, maybe she hypnotised them.

 Irvine says he'll lead the charge into Galbadia Garden.

But you're wearing gloves.
 The plan is that Team Irvine will lead the way while Zog is rescuing Nina and leading Balamb Garden's forces into battle.


 Now that's what I call a sensible division of resources.

 Oh, no wait. I don't.

 I think it's a plan that brain dead lemmings would laugh out of the war room.

 There are five of you, and you have Xu on staff. Come up with a better plan.

Am I? I mean, is he?
No! No it isn't!
 He was forced into this role. He had no choice.

 It is not your duty to do something in aid of a role that you did not sign up for.

 And do you know what? He fucking does it.

 This is clearly meant to be a contrast to when Nida tried to get him to make a speech when he was first forced into this role by Cid. Who is nowhere to be seen, by the way.

 Back then, he outright refused, but with Dr Kadowaki's shameful cajoling and Nida's well meaning, but still damaging, emotional blackmail, Zog does what he's told and makes a speech.

 But not just any speech, a speech toeing the party line.

 A speech repeating the bogus idea that a bunch of teenagers are all that stands between the world and destruction.

 A speech repeating the ridiculous notion that what was always Cid's plan is destiny.

 And a speech that makes the repulsive statement that this is going to somehow be beneficial for the students.

It's hard to have regrets when you're dead.
 A speech that earns Zog Dr Kadowaki's praise.

 As if there was anything more worthless.

 We'll see where this all gets them in Part Forty One.

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