Tuesday, 26 August 2014

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

 Part Fifty One


 Day Twenty One: Crossing The Pond

 This is the world map for VIII with a few important locations marked out for you.

This is going to be depressingly relevant.
 As you can see, the end of the railway on the Esthar continent is roughly the same distance, maybe a little less, from Fisherman's Horizon as Balamb is. Either way, it's about half an ocean's worth of distance.

 Why am I showing you this?

 Because once the Garden went into Fisherman's Horizon, Zog went into Nina's room and casually kidnapped her.


 The longer I play this game, the more I'm convinced that it's the story of how an older man slowly drives a teenage boy to the depths of insanity with the unknowing help of an innocent teenage girl.

 I mean, Jesus Christ. Just look at this!

 It gets worse.

 He takes her out of the Garden and onto the railway line to the Esthar continent.

 Yeah, this is where the length of the railway becomes relevant.

 Zog walks from Fisherman's Horizon, halfway across an ocean, to the Esthar continent in less than a day with an unconcious girl on his back. He goes with no noticeable supplies and takes one break, yet is totally fine when he hits land.

 The only thing that seems to happen is that he waxes lyrical about how he's been putting on an act because he doesn't want to get hurt by people.

 Which, one; that was one hell of a convincing act. I genuinely thought he didn't like being forced to spend time with people who kept second guessing him.

"I mean, they'd make fun of me behind my back and
say I was a suicidal emo. It was great."
 And two; is a trope that I think needs to die. Some people are just stand offish and introverted. Not everyone who doesn't love the company of groups is a scared little boy who just needs to be brought out of his shell. In real life, people like Zog are made fun of and shunned, not admired.

 It's insulting.

 In this specific instance, it's a bit of a problem for another reason, but it's not something I'm planning to get into right now.

 When he does manage to get to the other side in a despicably short amount of time, and no worse for wear, he finds the people he left behind on Balamb Garden waiting for him.

You little shit, Quistis.
 How the living hell did you get there?

 In Part Fifty One I went into some detail about why it wasn't possible to just sail/float/whatever the hell it is the Garden does into Esthar. This is all still true.

 Even if it wasn't, it's bad game design to have the characters do something quickly that the player isn't allowed to. Especially for the sake of a section of the game that involves no battling, no discovering of resources and consists entirely of one character telling us about a character arc that we didn't really see.

 Or at least, I didn't see it and I reported everything back to you guys. I called it how I saw it.

 Really, was it at all relevant to the plot for him to do that? Was there a practical point to it?

 He was clearly distraught at her being in this coma, that was already obvious, and we've had other characters go on at length about his shitty personality. Is any of the stuff he said actually new?

 The only thing this has going for it is that he said it to another character.

 Except he didn't, because she's in a coma.

 It doesn't count if the person you are talking to is unconscious.

 If he'd stayed with the others he would have been on the Garden and gotten onto the Esthar continent more easily and in a fashion that wouldn't have put Nina at risk of dying of starvation, dehydration or concussion if he accidentally dropped her during his journey of half an ocean.

 Remember, it took days for Balamb to drift down into Fisherman's Horizon, and the walking speed of a teenage boy carrying a dead weight that's over half of his own mass is going to be pretty damn slow too.

 Yeah, suspension of disbelief works differently in video games. I can't hold Final Fantasy VIII to a strict standard in certain areas because it would negatively impact gameplay.

Beltor comes to mind.
  However, cutscenes are not one of those areas.

 They're a special part of videogames that can be held to the same standards as books and films entirely because they're under the sole control of the creators and don't have to make concessions to the player that might throw off the creative vision.

 The fact that I can circumnavigate the globe in less than five minutes cannot be held to the standards of suspension of disbelief, because if I couldn't it would make the game a much duller experience.

 The fact that a comatose teenage girl can be carried half way across an ocean on some guy's back without any proper medical care at all and somehow seems to be totally fine at the end of the journey can be.

 (On a related note, the fact that this world does have an ethnically diverse cast, and I have yet to spot a human settlement that the characters who are not part of the ethnic majority seem to actually be from is also a problem. Xu, where did you come from? What did you see?)

 It turns out that Quistis and the rest of the Co. of Zog and Co. are there to act as escorts for Edea.

 Okay, if they had time to go back and fetch Edea from the other side of a damn ocean and continent, maybe is wasn't just a single day.

 Even if that still raises more problems than it solves.

 We're getting into characters teleporting around the place territory here, and I don't mean in the Abra to Pokemon centre sense.

 So, what's Edea doing going to Esthar?

 Well, she wants to go see Dr Odine.

 Who's Doctor Odine? Well, he's come up a number of times before. He's the source of all the magic suppressing technology that we've seen before, i.e. the bracelet that Nina tried to use to stop Edea and the weird drill prison in Galbadia.

 With this in mind, Edea's goal is this:

 This is the most sensible thing that anyone in this game has suggested so far.

 Edea = favourite character.

 Zog agrees to them heading to Esthar together and at this point Selphie and Irvine show up.

 Quick question before we finish this post.

 Zog and Co. left Edea in her ruined home in Centra when they headed to Fisherman's Horizon.

 Not to mention that this world has seemingly no satellite communications. (This is the entire reason that Galbadia invaded Dollet all the way back in the beginning of the game.)

 So how, exactly, did Quistis and the others know to go back for Edea after Zog kidnapped Nina?

 Did they go back on the off chance that Cid would know what the hell was going on? Because if my leader just disappeared with a comatose woman, I'd send a bloody search party after him.


 Amusingly, though, this is Selphie's reaction to seeing Nina there.

Selphie, you're borderline unstable, but you're amazing and
I love you.
 After some light banter, the game asked me to choose a party and it's out onto the world map.


 I was asked to choose a party again a few minutes later once I got to the salt flats.

 Find out what's in those salt flats that required it in Part Fifty Three.

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