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Author Topic: the first couple hours in midgar  (Read 2459 times)
solieyu
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« on: December 31, 2006, 04:50:23 PM »

i might be the only one who thinks this, but upon replaying ff7, i've realized that the element that attracted me most to the game the first time i played it was actually those first three or four game hours that were set solely in midgar. i've heard tons of other people go on about how "the game gets so much better once you get out of midgar," and maybe it does, but for some reason i feel the opposite--the gritty atmosphere of midgar was something different than any other rpg i'd played at the time, and that difference was what made the game stick out in my mind and what kept me playing. in fact, i found the game somewhat less interesting once cloud and company leave midgar and start travelling to the generic rpg locales (desert area, ice area, etc). now granted, ff7 spiced up these generic locations moreso than most other rpgs, but for me, the hook that first got me stuck on ff7 was midgar. and frankly i dunno...i don't think i would've minded if the entire game (or at least most of it) had taken place in midgar. it might've been shorter, but for me the setting of that one city was more captivating than the rest of the stuff on the overworld, making the game "stick out" from the traditional rpg pack.

guess i'm just wondering if anyone else feels the same =\
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2006, 04:52:45 PM »

FFVII definitely peaked at Midgar.  I thought this was common knowledge. :P
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solieyu
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2006, 05:01:17 PM »

is it? cuz everytime i read about the game online, i always see people talking about how the beginning sucked and how midgar was only there to attract non-rpg players into the game and all that. makes you wonder...
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2006, 05:05:49 PM »

It's called sarcasm. You'll become acquainted with it quite well in these parts.

Midgar did not impress me. I'm sure if it was recreated today in a less clumsy manner than it was back then, I'd be all for it. It strikes me as an environment which just came a little too early. It's supposed to be a huge metropolis, and while it occasionally feels that way during cinematics and some of the climbing you had to do, there's a pretty tight limit on how much of the city you get to explore.

And uh... I was just kinda glad to be out in the sun a little. It's like the only place there wasn't HORRIBLE DROWNING SUFFOCATING BALL-WITHERING POLLUTION was near Aeris' house and the church. The game is way more aces after Midgar is behind you.
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2006, 05:37:46 PM »

I'm with you, bro.  Midgar was my favorite part of FF7 too.  I just wish more could have been done with it.  The whole gritty urban environment is great.  That's one reason I love Megami Tensei games like Persona so much; the gritty modern and post-modern urban environments are so cool.  To me, all the coolest stuff in the game happened in Midgar and the rest of the game was mostly a standard RPG wild goose chase after an elusive villain.  

I love how in Midgar, the villain was not some sorceror madman, but a corporation exploiting the planet's natural and human resources.  Then the villain became Sephiroth and the thing became a fairly normal RPG.  

Most people do say that the game opens up when you leave Midgar, and while that's true, I wanted more Midgar.  I wanted more gritty tight-knit urban corporate political cyber/steampunk.

Midgar was cool, but a LOT more could have been done with it.  The true potential of Midgar was not realized.  

--

I felt the same way about FF8 as well.  It started out with the whole school environment and school ties.  I'm always a sucker for stories set in schools and all about school ties and all that.  That's one reason I love the Harry Potter books so much, because Hogwarts school is such an interesting environment.  

But I didn't get to spend enough time in the school.  Granted, disk 1 was awesome when it was tight political intrigue, but then it just became what Professor Gast calls the "Blair Witch Fantasy" and it became more about bombast and less about the simple things.

The Garden schools were cool, but a LOT more could have been done with them.  The true potential of the Garden schools was not realized.
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Eusis
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2006, 05:53:54 PM »

Quote from: "Hidoshi"
It's called sarcasm. You'll become acquainted with it quite well in these parts.

If you're referring to what DR said, I don't think he was being sarcastic.

I have to agree in hindsight that Midgar's really the best part of the game. At first when I played it, I just wanted to get out of it, see the 3D overworld map and explore it, and check out the other towns. But Midgar sticks out the most to me, and the two times I replayed it was when I was most enthralled with the game. I'm thinking it's for the reasons you and Neal listed.
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solieyu
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2006, 08:30:49 PM »

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I'm with you, bro. Midgar was my favorite part of FF7 too. I just wish more could have been done with it. The whole gritty urban environment is great. That's one reason I love Megami Tensei games like Persona so much; the gritty modern and post-modern urban environments are so cool. To me, all the coolest stuff in the game happened in Midgar and the rest of the game was mostly a standard RPG wild goose chase after an elusive villain.

I love how in Midgar, the villain was not some sorceror madman, but a corporation exploiting the planet's natural and human resources. Then the villain became Sephiroth and the thing became a fairly normal RPG.

Most people do say that the game opens up when you leave Midgar, and while that's true, I wanted more Midgar. I wanted more gritty tight-knit urban corporate political cyber/steampunk.

Midgar was cool, but a LOT more could have been done with it. The true potential of Midgar was not realized.


man i think you hit the nail right on the head. that's totally how i feel too. see when i first got ff7, i was actually under the impression that the entire game took place in midgar (i didn't know much about the story before i got it), and i remember thinking to myself "wow, this is so awesome," because just like you said, i loved the whole grim and gritty cyberpunk atmosphere. the fact that most of midgar was a polluted slum didn't bother me...the fact that there was practically no sunlight in the first couple hours of the game made me sympathize with the struggles of the characters (and their circumstances) that much better. it also made aerith seem more special, because her church and house were like the only areas in midgar that seemed relatively in tune with nature. but once i got out of midgar and realized that much of the game wouldn't be taking place in the city, i felt a little disappointed. the whole overworld and everything that it brought with it just made the game feel more generic. midgar was what set it apart for me. (i pretty much became disinterested in aerith as a character after midgar, as well.)

Quote
I felt the same way about FF8 as well. It started out with the whole school environment and school ties. I'm always a sucker for stories set in schools and all about school ties and all that. That's one reason I love the Harry Potter books so much, because Hogwarts school is such an interesting environment.

But I didn't get to spend enough time in the school. Granted, disk 1 was awesome when it was tight political intrigue, but then it just became what Professor Gast calls the "Blair Witch Fantasy" and it became more about bombast and less about the simple things.

The Garden schools were cool, but a LOT more could have been done with them. The true potential of the Garden schools was not realized.


i totally agree with you here too. i loved the school setting of ff8 at first--just like ff7, it drew me in instantly. but then the game eventually falls victim to typical rpg conventions. all in all, i sorta feel like this is a problem not just with these two final fantasy games, but with a lot of rpgs in general...a lot of them start out with really interesting settings and tight-knit situations that get you introduced to the characters, but after a couple hours or so, they all degenerate to the regular features of the overworld, the ice dungeon, the fire dungeon, etc etc etc.

personally the whole idea of a "wide open world to explore" doesnt appeal to me that much anymore...every game has a wide open world to explore nowadays. few games have interesting locales with as much life in them as midgar and garden did...and unfortunately midgar and garden were never fully realized in their respective games, at least in my eyes. :[
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2006, 08:52:59 PM »

The time from departing Midgar to the end of the first disc is probably the most boring part of the game, IMO. Patience pays off though; once the second disc kicks in, the game gets a lot more interesting.

The first few times I played the game, I usually lost interest somewhere in the second half of the first disc, but when I started it again with the intent of completing it, I wasn't disappointed. I believe it does get better after leaving Midgar, just not immediately.
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Raze
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2006, 09:38:37 PM »

I still remember what I was thinking leaving midgar. 'What the hell?'. I mean, leaving the city eventually is a must, but after all the talk of the planet dying you walk ten damn feet and it's sunny green fields.

 If I'm on a near dead planet I need to SEE that. Just taking Barret's word for it isn't the same thing.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2007, 12:05:20 AM »

Not much a fan of the Big Wide World model either (unless we're talking about space traders or something). This is mostly why I like Morrowind more than the rest of the TES series, and personally, I think Oblivion would've been much better if instead of being Cyrodiil, the province, the devs had just focused on making one positively stupid huge capital city for the game's setting. I think the problem is most visible in the first two Elder Scrolls games (Or Darklands, or the first two Rivas, or MegaTraveller). You can go anywhere in the world, but there's absolutely no reason to do so, and there's nothing interesting to see when you get there. Compare this to Gothic or Ultima 7, where towns ARE different and have little details and secrets and nuances.

Obviously, you guys are talking story here, but I think this is still a valid example.

I remember hearing of a lot of people assuming Midgar was gonna be what the whole game was like. Not necessarily extremely gritty, or even set IN Midgar, but just a different, world-map-less approach, or one where the role of the world map would be turned down and replaced instead by much larger areas. Obviously, that's not the case. Anyway, I'll agree that Midgar was probably one of the coolest parts of FFVII. It felt incredibly cohesive, was a really good example of an overworldless design*, and it was the logical extension of the steam punk environment FFVI introduced.

Maybe it's more that the rest of the game just clashed with Midgar... so much. I know that the disparity in, you know, economiez and technologiez and what-whats is supposed to be big, but something just seems sort of off about going straight from Midgar to a tiny little town consisting of three houses, a bar, and a generator. I mean, you had some areas that seemed to fit in -- Junon and the Golden Saucer, and some of the higher-tech low tech areas, but other parts just felt odd. Maybe it's just that they didn't have the same attention to detail or, uh... the sort of pseudo-realistic internal logic that Midgar was following**. And as Raze said, there's very little to indicate that anywhere other than Midgar is crappy. There's also nothing to indicate that anywhere other than Midgar is hurting the planet.  Another thing I noticed was, after Midgar, the game seemed to focus a little TOO much on plot twists and how far the writers could make the story careen off into the sunset.

As for FFVIII, I don't think the problem was that they abandoned the school setting. To divide it up a bit, disc 1 seems more oriented towards the school setting, disc 2 seems like it's getting away from it -- think graduation, I guess. And towards the end of disc 3, it's getting back into it. It's mostly the rest of disc 3 that just seems completely extraneous to me. Like, everything involving Esthar. I don't care about the two main plot twists. The one everyone complains about was too inconsequential for me to care about, and the stuff involving Ultimecia... well, she was just a McGuffin anyway, and wasn't ever anything else. The game DOES lend itself to overthinking, but eh. Anyway, though, yeah. Esthar was what struck me as bombastic. All whiz-bang plot twists, shimmery cities, weirdity, and a general abandoning of the characters and their relationships that the first two discs focused on.

* Compared to FFX or SO3. If you're not going to have an overworld, then what's the point of replacing it with a bunch of incredibly linear paths that don't have anything interesting in them? FFXII is better in these respects, I think. Much better.

** When I say pseudo-realistic, I meant that given that setting, being one with high-technology and magic being used relatively freely, Midgar felt like it was totally in line with this. The rest of the game sort of lost its internal logic.
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2007, 06:35:52 AM »

at first when i clicked on this topic i thought it was gonna be about valkyrie profile then i quickly realized its called midgard not midgar like the town in ff7. kinda funny theres al;so a town called nibbleheim or something wich is very close to something else related to vp
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2007, 07:16:06 AM »

Final Fantasy VII was my first RPG, so I considered getting out of Midgar already an achievement back then. The game conveyed the tense atmosphere very well and some stuff like the Don Corneo episode was quite hilarious.

Since I have played through the game more than 20 times since then however, the first disc always bores/annoys me. Once Sephi gets his darn Black Materia and retreats into his North Crater, the game gets interesting and more fun to play. I have to say regardless of how often I play the game, I still enjoy the experience of discs 2 and 3 very much.
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2007, 08:29:44 PM »

Now that I replay it, that second half of the first is a dirge, but once I get to the second disk, I'm just as enthralled as I was in Midgar. I don't agree that Midgar is the best part. I would have liked more, but I think some of the really great moments came after you leave the city.
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2007, 10:09:58 PM »

My brother and I are always cheering on Midgar, and the fact only a small portion of it is actually explored.  Nothing is cooler than that beginning FMV where you zoom out from a small dark alley way with a pretty girl in it to see the whole of this massive city-thing. (I'm reminissing about how fucken amazing the experience was when I first played the game and the prowess of the PSX...when it was new)

I too enjoyed the "weird" parts of the Final Fantasy games...
FF4's lower world, FF6's scenerio's, FF7's Midgar, FF8's school time, and even the brief times spent in Zanarkand a la FF10.

I'm all for a game with fantasy and fantastic creatures and volcanoes and shit.  But, yeah, every once in a while its great seeing something more relateable.  Be it a gloomy urban scene, or an astonishing future scape (on that note, I love Star Ocean because you get the best of both worlds).
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solieyu
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2007, 02:55:41 PM »

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I still remember what I was thinking leaving midgar. 'What the hell?'. I mean, leaving the city eventually is a must, but after all the talk of the planet dying you walk ten damn feet and it's sunny green fields.


yeah i remember this bothering me the first time i played the game too. i can't help but feel that some of the locations on ff7's overworld just don't mesh that well with the whole "world in crisis" environment of the game as a whole...places like corel and gold saucer fit into the game's world well enough, but other locations like utai seem out of place. i will say that despite this, ff7's overworld does feel kind of desolate and depressing to me for some reason. maybe it's because of all the dark colors, i dunno.

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at first when i clicked on this topic i thought it was gonna be about valkyrie profile then i quickly realized its called midgard not midgar like the town in ff7. kinda funny theres al;so a town called nibbleheim or something wich is very close to something else related to vp


i think that's cuz valkyrie profile's based on norse mythology and ff7 has a ton of references to norse mythology (and other mythologies) in the names of its characters, locations, and summons. ie: odin, ragnarok, nibelheim, etc...
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