Long time no update! In truth, Xenoblade took over my life.... again. Dammit.
^ *clicky!* ^
Track: Black Mage VillageToday I don't cover much ground, but I a major story section.Part V: Scotsman Orcs and the 'Pyntie Hats'
Brief Synopsis: With Lindblum in shambles the party decides to search for answers in the Outer Continent after an eye-witness confirms he came from the North (how convenient!). Quina the Qu leads us through a secret underground passage that takes us to a weird (but friendly) village of Scotsman-Trolls and a secret Black Mage Village. Here Vivi learns about his people, gets some potentially bad news that he might "stop moving" well before his friends, and then the party tracks a strange little girl who seems to have the power to summon much like Garnet does.
= I don't think any other Final Fantasy game makes me smile as much as this one does. It's wonderful. :)
= I feel like the opportunity to name Choco
after FFV's important chocobo mascot "Boco"
instead was gravely missed.
= I feel weird when someone is named after a gemstone and doesn't wear said gem's colour.... Garnet, go put on something Purple and Red!! Take off those weird orange tights! >:( I really hate Garnet's outfit... But I think it does help balance the colours better, Freya, Amarant, and Quina already use a lot of red in their palette, and black and yellows/oranges tend to stick out nicely. (#things-artists-think-about)
= Anyone else get the feeling Amarant and Lani were going to have a bigger role in this game? I feel like they were hyped up 'just enough' for it. Lani especially almost completely drops off the radar after like two events.
= On that note, isn't exciting when you meet a "future party member"? You're like "oh shit that's the character from the instruction booklet" because then it's a ticking clock till they somehow work your way into your party!!
= Fossil Roo!! I like this place. It's a lot more linear then they'd have you think, but i like that Gargants join in again. Cool and quirky song
, funky dungeon name, and a fun dungeon concept. It's also absolute filler; but I like it!
= The names for the other continents besides the Mist Continent are annoying... Lost, Forgotten, and Outer... They're not quite synonymous but they might as well be since "Mist" is the only one describing some tangible thing.
= Conde Petie!!!
This place is so much fun, and really it's not often enough games get a "fun" village. Indeed, from the very lovely down-to-earth visuals, the (truly) unattractive look of the villagers, the dialogue and exchanges, that absolutely divine wedding ceremony, and to the dealing with the "pyntie het" people... they're a great jumping point to the two next places we visit.
I like, too, that them talking about weddings, a food thief, and the 'pointy hat' people describes the next big three game events --- but it's so easy to disregard or get lost in the odd dialogue. I'm actually pretty bummed this place is expendable and unneccesary later on after a point of no return. :(
= I'm just gonna post this one on its own:
I think this is like the only time Quina "breaks character"... Who knows? Maybe s/he really wanted to get married on top of dreams of being a gourmand. But honestly, I made the first bullet point here after I saw this scene, I was just smiling the whole damn time -- it's too good. Quina even goes in for a kiss!! I would have loved to see that! Zidane and Garnet getting married is also quite charming (I love this screenshot out of context: )
= Oh god the stupid owl forest. I love the concept of this place (despite the overly simple gimmick), but the battles go to like 10fps. Ah well, the end FMV is pretty sweet and a great tie into...
= THE BLACK MAGE VILLAGE
. I kinda want Din to talk about this since he seemed excited to do so, IIRC. I like it though! Indeed the use of ATE's "fading to black" work well here to point out where characters are, and, as they often do, work well to supplement the story than as key details being "missed out".
= I love that Vivi finally learns more about himself, even if ignorance is sometimes bliss. He might be young, but Vivi handles the idea of "not moving
" (that is to say, dying
) with a remarkably quiet courage. But you know he's scared too because getting to know Vivi you know he keeps these things to himself and that he's sort of a nervous character... But he's also growing up, and he's growing up fast. Learning about the Black Mages in their small sanctuary sets him with a new determination, even ironically somewhat, a 'new lease on life' and to make the most of what little there might be. I definitely think Vivi is a well-crafted character and popular for good reason.
And while I don't want to away Vivi's thunder, but I do think Zidane once again is a show-stealer here. Garnet worried about Vivi fitting in with his black mage brethren is put at ease by Zidane who says, essentially from experience, that he's just trying to find his place, his "home", in whatever sense it may be.
Zidane's story here is wonderfully told. I like that it doesn't start at all by referring to himself (stating it simply happened to "a man" once upon a time ago, but Garnet and the player clue in soon enough). I also like that it uses Vivi's dilemma to jump into some backstory for Zidane --- a character we really know nothing about at this point despite being in control of him. It mentions how Zidane leaves his adoptive home to find his real family; with no luck, he goes back realizing he already has a place to call home that offers the love and support he needed (and Zidane was welcomed back after a thorough beating from Baku...'love hurts
' I guess).
Zidane's happy-go-lucky facade finally demonstrates some deep-down problems that weigh on his character. Too many games love shoe-horning these dramatic events and making them big affairs; but the light-hearted storytelling approach used in FF9 is surprisingly endearing and "in character" to the game itself. It also functions well on two other levels: (1) It helps establish why The Tantalus are so tight and (well) "thick as thieves", they're a family, and it helps work the crew mates into the story on more than one occasion. And (2) it brilliantly brings up events coming up since the past is going to come catching up to Zidane soon, and little does he know that it's going to be far from a loving reunion that he'd likely expect.Till next time!