Thank you so so much. :) Always happy to make irritatingly small observations to the pleasure of the minority reading! Haha But I'm happy it generates discussion and people actually enjoy reading it.
Part VII: Save the King??
Brief Synopsis: Queen Garnet ascends the throne and the party goes to see her; Zidane gets tongue-tied and is unable to confess his feelings so the party blow off some steam in Treno. After meeting Cid the Oglop we learn Alexandria is under attack from Bahamut! Garnet, led by 'magical music' to the top of her castle, summons Alexander in an epic showdown, but is immediately thwarted by the EVIL FLYING EYE IN THE SKY that's controlled by a mysterious new villain seemingly connected to both Kuja and Zidane. With Alexandria destroyed and her mother gone, Garnet loses her voice due to despair; meanwhile the party decides to get Cid back to 'normal' so we can [eventually] get ourselves a new airship!
A lot of it is just 'fun stuff' and not-plot stuff. As usual, I'm sorry for the length... and for all the animated gifs this time around.
= Zidane is a changed man over the course of his journey thanks to one Princess. Both "After Garnet" eras have Zidane go from Lothario to lovelorn:
I actually thing it's really sweet that everyone supports Zidane's feelings for her. Their class difference be damned! Everyone sees they're a good match.
= I mean, what do I really have to say about the "Love Letter
"? It's a 'comedy of errors' done to perfection
having "cast clowns" pit against the "serious soldiers". I was smiling the whole time.
I love how the camera completely off-sets the symmetry in this scene as soon as Baku interrupts 'the moment':
Particularly great is how it has the top two Alexandrian Knights (who are serious to a fault) become pretty darn smitten
with one another after a simple love letter winds up in the wrong hands. I feel Steiner gets a lot of crap throughout the game, so I'm really happy they worked to give him a happy ending.
= Final Fantasy games always do well with leisure time. Maybe a part of why I think Treno is such a great city is because it emphasizes the basic reason people love RPGs 'towns' (and why they were sorely missed in FF13
). Both times you visit Treno it's at sort of a 'down time' where the player is free to enjoy and explore and see the characters get into some shenanigans. Moving the plot isn't a matter of time but a matter of choice for when you, the player, are ready to move on with it.
I think most of all though, I love that the party unanimously visits the city to blow off some steam.
= Yay Amarant's back story is covered in an ATE... Which is a little unconventional, but okay. I kinda like this ill-fated relationship the game sets up with him and Zidane; he frames him one night and Amarant is thus labelled as a criminal while Zidane runs free (Zidane has conveniently forgotten this, or perhaps it alludes to him having too many misdeeds that he literally can't remember them all). Zidane is simple in some ways, and Amarant cannot understand his motivations or free-spirited attitude for the LIFE of him.
= Vivi time! I actually have a few things to say here. First, and on a shorter note, I like how 'vivi
dly' (hah) he reacts when he hears the Black Mages (the 'good ones' from the Black Mage Village) consciously
joined Kuja's forces. Vivi, as a sort of 'representative black mage' fighting for his people and 'seeker of the truth' takes it quite personally.
But also a small, minor sidequest can fill you in on a small but key part of his backstory.
At the start of the game Zidane and Tantalus get to Alexandria to kidnap the Princess, Garnet was escaping, and Steiner followed close behind. ...but what about Vivi? We learn through an ATE that Vivi got a ride to Alexandria with a courier ship leaving out of Treno. Vivi, feeling nostalgic, decides to pay a quick visit 'home'. The player, Zidane, can take the hint from this and go find Vivi at Quan's Dwelling where he's sort-of paying respects. The trip is brief but informative:
- Vivi was 'hatched' like his other Blk Mage brothers, but he (as cargo) fell overboard and was 'fished out' by Quan (a Qu like Quina).
- Apparently Quan wanted to eat him? I wouldn't be surprised, but.. that's kind of a creepy detail that Vivi was fortunately oblivious to
- Quan recorded his "grandson's" height and takes the last measure when Vivi was 6 months old
- A big Grandfather clock can be found in Quan's Dwelling and Zidane remarks that it 'stopp'd' a week before the Tantalus visited Alexandria to kidnap Garnet... Anyone remember the nursery rhyme "My Grandfather's Clock"? I think the reference is pretty clear.
- Fortunately, if we 'connect the dots' this tells us EXACTLY how "Vivi got to the party" at the beginning of the game. Vivi's grandfather dies, he decides to see the world, and he goes from Treno to Alexandria and gets caught up in a life-changing adventure. This also explain his surprise when meeting Quina and how she looked exactly "like his 'grandfather" (a cute/peculiar detail for a cute/peculiar character).
- Unfortunately, given that Black Mages seem to have an unnaturally short life (implied to last only about a year), Vivi is...likely hitting his 'golden years' all too soon...
Finally, I forgot to post this monumentally important gif earlier
so I'm doing it now. :'(
= Eiko is great. The balance she manages to strike between adoring Zidane and being Garnet's "sister" cannot be understated since the two are treated as mutually exclusive. She's not a brat to Garnet for stealing her beau, and simply tries to 'gracefully' move on.
= Despite the leisure time in Disc 3, I love that there's a big 'wham episode' during the Alexandrian attack. It puts a lot of crazy in an instant and instead of having the party run around town taking out enemies I like that it almost literally throws you into meeting Garnet right away
. I don't really need to talk about the Bahamut and Alexander showdown... you know it's good (and here it is
in case you forgot how good it was). I always loved how the shot begins with Alexander's wings gracefully reflecting off the body of water in front of the kingdom before panning up to reveal the pleasant 'surprise' (especially to loyal FF fans who might have 'clued in' to "Alexandria's namesake" belonging to the popular summon). But then it's followed up almost IMMEDIATELY with the BRUTAL attack on the mechanical being from the mysterious soaring eye
that also destroyed Madain Sari
. The sequence of events do so well to have Garnet protect her Kingdom and fight for it with her own power
-- only for a new enemy to launch a surprise attack and quickly steal that victory right from her. Understandably, she has trouble coping afterwards with a psychologically involuntary 'silent treatment'.
This is too cute. That 'happy hug' from Garnet and Eiko's little pout are beautifully worked into one FMV (details that would have been lost unless they did go full CG for it).
= If the FF series brings back a sci-fi setting, I want a dedicated CITY to be Alexander himself. No other summon has come close over the years to being so cool (oh, but FF12's Zodiark is up there though).
= Shit... I missed doing the Dali Mayor Sneaking bit... were the prizes worth it? This game attaches some dubious returns to sidequests sometimes... Fuck it. That Mayor weirds me out (ironically because he's like the only NPC to 'kick you out' for busting into his private residence....it feels suspicious to me even though that's probably the most 'sane' response to some asshole sneaking around your house).
On that note: Good LORD, are you kidding me? Assigning The Knights of Pluto to 'rescue tasks' while Alexandria is under siege?
HEY PLAYER, REMEMBER TALKING TO ALL 8 KNIGHTS AT THE START OF THE GAME 20 HOURS AGO? ME NEITHER!
= I did like fighting Tantarian. It's hard as hell but a great challenge, a unique gimmick, a fantastic
design that references a boss from FF5, and a proper pain in the ass while both of your valuable White Mages are busy elsewhere. Mid-game secret bosses are not seen enough in games. I...used up a lot of elixers.
= We found out that, through no fault of her own, Garnet has lost her voice because she blames herself for everything (a dead mother and a kingdom in ruin). It's very tragic, and the Princess is taken to Lindblum along with the rest of the gang to recoup and regroup. I like that restoring Cid back to human is a completely pointless
endeavour. It could have been cut from the game and nothing would have changed to the plot... but it was in there. This feels 'kinda sloppy' (certainly I would have rather seen some other events expanded on), but this is pretty innocent filler with a fun result. The potion doesn't work, and King Cid Fabool IX goes from bug to frog... well, at least he's moving up the food chain.... Well, till Quina shows up again (positively stupefied by a talking frog).
^ *click the pic!!* ^ Track: More from the Melancholy Album (honestly, it's so damn good)Till next time!