Thursday, 1 January 2015

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Seventy Seven

 Part Seventy Six


 Day Thirty Three: It Made the Kessel Run in Less Than Twelve Parsecs

 I love to show off how little Nina has levelled in the game so far.

 So here's another example of this.

 This is what happens when you remove a character from the game for long periods, they end up severely under levelled.

 Game development tip: Don't do that.

 So, you're probably wondering if I tried to take on the Ultima Weapon again.

 I did.

 I lost.

 I hate that fight, it's the most unfair battle that I've ever faced in a video game and the awful battle system prevents you from seeing what you're doing about thirty per cent of the time and has you hurriedly cycling through menus.

 It causes constant pressure and that just isn't fun, because that's not what I signed up for.

 If I wanted constant pressure and the perpetual threat of insta-death, I'd play Five Nights at Freddie's 2.

 Additionally, the nearest save point is a loong way away from the actual fight, and there's that annoying cutscene... It's like they wanted to make the most annoying and inconvenient optional boss fight in the history of optional boss fights.

 They succeeded.

 On the plus side, I do have an example of Nina's new limit break.

 After Zog disregards her decision to put the safety of others before her personal freedom, Nina gains a limit break called Angel Wing that renders her magic insanely powerful. It's also rather pretty.

The angel imagery still isn't explained or justified.
 So, since I've given up on the Ultima Weapon method of acquiring Eden, I took the difficult decision of actually continuing the plot instead of avoiding it.

 Which is always a difficult decision to make.

 This involved heading back to Tear's Point and trying to get into the Lunatic Pandora.

 My initial attempt to get into the Lunatic Pandora involved actually heading into Tear's Point.

 This is not how you get into the Lunatic Pandora. You just end up in a dead mystical server room where the sky is blocked and you feel mildly depressed.

 Nope, you need to fly into the Lunatic Pandora with the Ragnarok, which is probably the coolest cutscene in the game.

 It's like the result of some kind of mad experiment by Final Fantasy, Star Wars and Star Trek fans.

 I'm going to present some screenshots now to show you what I mean, then I'm going to critique all the things I find odd about it.

  One, since when did Zell have piloting experience? Selphie and Quistis I can see working out how to fly this thing and work it, they're child geniuses, but Zell's just a pretty dude with a strange tattoo, good fists and a nice ass. Did Quistis and Selphie really have the time to show him what to do? (And I'm standing by this, because this type of technology is exceedingly rare in this world.)

 Two, what the hell was the Ragnarok for?! I thought it was used for space exploration, why are there guns?! What were they fighting up there? Monsters live on the moon, not in space itself!

 Three, why does this thing have a face?

 Four, they don't seem to be particularly bothered by ramming into a building all that much.

 Five, oh god, why does it have arms?!

 All in all, I'd describe this cutscene in two words: Fucking Awesome.

 [Editor's (AKA Murphy's) Note: In my opinion, this – and a later scene – are the most epic and well-crafted moments of VIII. It's silly. It's really, really silly. It's people screaming about shields while a spacecraft shaped like a dragon fires weapons at a giant floating rock and suddenly unveils evil claw hands. It's like somebody took Star Wars and filtered it through every shounen manga ever created and then shoved it with great force into a Final Fantasy game. But you know what? That really works. Final Fantasy VIII is at its best when it drops any pretensions of solemnity and grimness (and they are pretensions, wholly and completely without substance or worth) and indulges fully in the desire to be as overtly and skull-shaking ridiculous as humanly possible, and the game as a whole could have been vastly improved by a Suda51 esque attitude of 'It's awesome, let's do it.']

 Weirdly, though, you can easily escape the Lunatic Pandora by talking to Selphie and once you're back outside, the chirpy flight music comes back. It's the funny and mildly pathetic kind of mood whiplash, I think.

 Once you head further into the floating building thingy-majig, Fuujin and Raijin pop up to demand Nina and fight once Zog refuses to hand her over.

 Two things about this surprise me; one, Fuujin uses a full sentence and two, I thought we'd dealt with this and they were on our side?

 It's really kind of confusing.

 It wasn't a super difficult fight, just mildly annoying since I'd forgotten to give two party members their ability to use GFs back after atempting to get Eden again.

 Pro-tip: Magic or GF Fuujin to death first. After that you can defeat Raijin as you see fit and as per last time, he won't attack a woman in your party.

 Once defeated, they run back to Seifer.

 Which is hardly a surprise.

 We'll be joining them in seeing him next time, in Part Seventy Eight.

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