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Anime Final Fantasy 13 years later

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by MicoSelva, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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    I have never been a huge Final Fantasy fan. I only got interested in the series because it was made by the same company that released Chrono Trigger, a game that I loved THAT MUCH back in the day, and still have fond memories of.

    Show Spoiler
    I got interested in Chrono Trigger, because its character design was made by Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, of which I was a huge fan. And when I say huge I mean 2000-pages fan-fiction writing huge.

    From what I have played, I have enjoyed Final Fantasy 4, 6 and 9, and played them to completion. I have also finished FF7, but I always thought it was overrated. Bad? No. Greatest JRPG of all time? Hell no, even in its day.

    I have also tried playing Final Fantasy 1 (grinding drove me away), 5 (liked it, but never got around to finishing) and 8 (liked it a lot initially, but the infatuation faded really fast and I have given upon the game right after the first Laguna sequence).

    That is all, so the most recent title of the series I have played is Final Fantasy 9, which was in 2002, on an emulator, as I have never owned a console (ignoring a one-week episode with 3DS), so thirteen years ago.

    Show Spoiler
    More like twelve and a half, or even closer to twelve years ago, because it was probably towards the end of 2002 rather than at the begginning, but that would make a for a much worse thread title.

    Later I did not have a PC powerful enough to run PS2 emulators, and when I did, I was already in my current state of having a backlog too big to handle in a lifetime, so I never tried FF 10 or 12. FF 11 I was never interested in, because MMOs are generally not my thing (except Star Trek Online, but I play that to get my Star Trek fix), so I kind of lost connection with the series, only experiencing it through Spoony's reviews/let's plays.

    But now Square Enix has released Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 on Steam. XIII's release did not pin my attention, because I heard it was linear and terrible until around 40h mark, and I have already watched Spoony's review of it, but XIII-2 is another story, as it supposedly is much better and I have no idea about the plot other than that it includes time travel - just like in Chrono Trigger!

    Since I am returning to the series after such a long break, it is like meeting a long-unseen cousin. A cousin who you liked to play with when you were young, but who was annoying as often as he was amusing. Cousin, who appears familiar in many ways, but has also grown up in some unexpected ways. I have decided to share my impressions and insights, hopefully for someone's amusement.

    [​IMG]

    Starting up a long game like this (howlongtobeat.com reports around 70 hours for a completionist run and guess what type of gamer I am) is a big deal for me, due to my perpetual and often mentioned lack of free time, so this might take months, or even years, unless I abandon it completely when Pillars of Eternity The Witcher 3 Tides of Numenera comes out (or maybe before posting first update).

    I will be playing the game with a controller, as intended by its creators of the far-away island where mice and keyboards are tools for work only. I will also be playing it with Japanese VA, because I cannot stand English dubbbing in my anime.

    Expect the first update today. Or never.

    Troubleshooting and Q&A (open)

    Why? Oh God, why?

    To pass slower moments at work. There are only so many smartphone reviews on the net you can read before you want to cut yourself with broken glass. Also, to get my brain working a bit.

    I don't see the screenshots. Please fix.

    That is because there aren't any! I did not plan on posting this at all and did not make any screenshots. Also, this is not a let's play, but more of a rant/impression thread, so if you want your shots of short-skirted CGI anime chicks, look elsewhere. I might still add some screenshots later, to illustrate a point or something, we shall see.

    Why won't you update your BG2 LP instead of doing this shit?

    Because I am at work and unable to view screenshots on my monitor, and I can pretend to be working while writing this in notepad.

    XIII-2? I have not played XIII. How will I know what is going on?

    I had the same problem, but fear not! Perkel made a great recap of FF XIII's plot in the game's Codex thread. I will quote it here for your benefit:

     
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  2. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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    Update #1 - Cinematic Action

    In this episode I will be mostly describing CGI cut-scenes, because that's fun! You can also watch it all yourself here, but that would make this update even more pointless than it already is, so please don't.

    Also please ignore factual errors, which are bound to appear in spades. This is not what happened - this is how I remember it.

    Starting up the game brings out a launcher. There are only three option to choose here and I am grateful for that, because back in the day configuring a PSX emulator took almost as much time as playing the game itself. I set VA to Japanese to be able to enjoy the game in its original glory and put the quality options to medium-high (4096x4096 shadows and MSAA x4). Later it turns out that the game never taxes my GPU (GTX 680) more than 60%, so I could probably increase these settings, but I do not really see that as making much difference in visual quality.

    The game starts up and intro movie begins. A girl (Lightning) is looking over a crystal spires type of city (although a slightly more futuristic type than usual) located on a shore of some sea/ocean, she also has a vision of some metrosexual guy floating through some kind of stargate.

    Lightning is dressed in a somewhat impractical armour that leaves her shoulders and upper thighs exposed, but as this a JRPG, picking at armour design is like shooting fish in a barrel, so I will try not to.

    Then another, blue-haired guy carries an unconscious (or maybe dead) girl into the water. The girl dissolves soon after getting slightly submerged - I guess he must have called her Sugar.

    The blue-haired guy does not seem pleased and flips off, causing an army of flying... things... emerge from underwater. They are some kind of drones and proceed to attack the city, which responds by sending its own army of slightly different flying drones and an airborne battle ensues.

    Lightning sends two female battle droids against the blue-haired guy (BHG), but he defeats them easily, so she moves to attack herself, riding a mechanical horse. BHG responds by summoning a huge meteor, surrounded by a swarm of small ones, one of which strikes Lightning, forcing her to abandon her mount. She jumps towards BHG and they strike a dramatic fighting pose before intro ends.

    Start menu appears, I decide to go for straight for New Game, skipping Settings, which is never a good idea. I will pay for this mistake later.

    Another intro movie begins. Lightning is looking over... Wait a minute, this is the same intro, isn't it? Can I skip it? Not really, because this time Lightning starts to speak, so skipping means losing story. Goddamnit.

    Everything happens in the same way, except now with dialogue. Lightning calls the city Valhalla and it is untouched by time. BHG speaks of his dissolving girlfriend's dislike for the place's unchanging nature. I sense a law vs. chaos conflict. I believe at some point Lightning calls BHG Caius (or maybe I know his name from Wikipedia).

    Intro continues beyond the point where it ended before (well, duh). Lightning and Caius start fighting with all the bling you would expect. CGI looks really nice, although the frantic 'camera' movements make it rather difficult for an old guy like me to follow the action. This is why I never liked the Bourne movies, besides, you know, them being boring as hell.

    At some point Caius summons a dragon (Chaos Bahamut) and sends it after Lightning, who gets back on her horse and starts riding around on the beach shooting at the flying beast. This is the first actual gameplay segment of the game and a basic combat tutorial. Although when I say 'actual gameplay' I am somewhat generous, as all it comes down to is pressing 'A' two times - first time chooses 'auto-battle' option and the second one points to the dragon as the target. You can also choose 'abilities' instead of auto-battle but all this does is prolong the fight, because you will either choose the same ability auto-battle (lightning strike spell), but take more time doing so, or you will choose the other one (Snipe - shooting a gun) and take more time doing so, while dealing less damage in the process. There is also third ability, using which heals you fully, but auto-battle will use that at the best time too, so really - there is nothing to worry about here. Sit back, chill out, press A and watch the show.

    Eventually the dragon is defeated and Lightning is transported by some kind of a winged robot back to the city. Caius reappears and they start fightning again. Cinematic Action, warns the game, probably meaning I should pay attention now, so I do. It does not help much.

    Remember when I mentioned i started the game without checking the options first? That means I had no chance to on-screen button prompts from default keyboard-tyle to my controller-style. I have not even noticed this during the basic combat tutorial, because the use of buttons there was pretty obvious (A for confirm and B for cancel), but now it came back to bite me in my skinny behind.

    The CGI goes on and on-screen button prompts appear. Cinematic Action means QTEs, as many of you have probably guessed by now. Suddenly the game tells me to press W, a button which is completely absent from my Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (TM). Before I realise what is wrong, the moment is gone, Caius overpowers Lightning, who crashes into some building. 'Pathetic' he declares, and he is right.

    I drop the controller and get to my keyboard, right on time for another Cinematic Action, 'Mash X' demands the game, so I do. Something happens on the screen, but I do not notice what, as my eyes frantically move between the two spots where button prompts have appeared so far. At some point I am given a choice between two buttons, I press one randomly, which causes Lightning to shoot at Caius, instead of attacking him with a sword. Apparently this is the wrong choice, because I am soon forced to mash X for a second time for Lightning to not get overpowered by an energy beam. Luckily for her, while my controller prowess is somewhat lacking (I only bought it recently), my keyboard mashing skills are close to legendary, so Caius soon gets his bishonen arse kicked.

    Another CGI cutscene kicks in. A gate-portal opens up and the metrosexual guy from Lightning's vision before falls out of it, heading straight into the ground, which is a long way down. Well, that is some unfortunate portal exit placement. Lightning saves him using some kind of metallic flying mount (I honestly don't know if it is the same horse or robot as before) and they talk.

    Lightning explains to Noel (his name is Noel Kreiss, which is a dual Christmas reference as far as I can tell - which is still better than calling your protagonist after a particularly good football player) that he was transported to Valhalla, because he prayed for help. My definition of help does not incorporate 'teleport me to a city, which is currently a warzone during chaos invasion', but I never lived inside an anime, so maybe there is some logic hidden from me here.

    Another stage of the combat begins. This is a repeat of the dragon chase-fight, except now it happens entirely in the air and different named attacks can be used (mines and missiles). Still the same auto-attack gameplay, but this is the intro/tutorial so let's not get crazy with expectations. Final Fantasy 4 had a completely non-interactive intro, although this generally gots better from FF6 onward.

    This is probably a good moment to mention the star rating system. After each battle you get rated something out of 5 stars, depending on how well you have done. The more stars you get, the more of a chance for an item drop. I think the rating depends mostly on how fast you deal with the enemies, but maybe also on how much damage you receive. I wasn't able to get more than three stars in the tutorial fights, but maybe it is possible.

    After beating the dragon again. Lightning and Noel agree to help each other. Lightning conjures a crossbow of intricate design and craft. The crossbow turns into a moogle, a white floating, red-nosed, winged... teddy bear... thing... look just google it if you don't know. Noel is supposed to give the transformer moogle to Serah, Lightning's sister and tell Serah to seek Lightning out.

    Caius reappears and interrupts the chat, apparently ready for some more Cinematic Action. Noel apparently knows him. The intro is basically over. There is some more CGI cut-scenes about Lightning getting her shapely ass kicked and Noel disappearing into a portal.

    In the next episode we will meet our other protagonist, who is not annoying at all, and experience some actual gameplay.
     
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  3. Cassidy Arcane

    Cassidy
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    tl;dr

    No images at all in the very first update.

    Andyman Messiah would be disappointed.

    There is still time for you to bail out before you also disappear like the horse.

    RL is the probable reason, but assuming inane LPs of FF were the cause is more amusing
     
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  4. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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  5. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    [​IMG] and what is the use of a LP,
    without pictures or conversation?
     
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  6. Helly Translating for brofists Patron

    Helly
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    変態の地獄、Rance様と
    Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Not sure about this one, but do play FFX-2 and if you like it give us a LP with screenshot and stuff. FFX-2 is awesome in a :desu::codexisforindividualswithgenderidentityissues: way.
     
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  7. abnaxus Arcane Patron

    abnaxus
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    Let's tl;dr FFXIII-2.
     
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  8. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    What the hell is this thread

    ...and actually, the FF13 plot sounds really cool. I guess I am meant to imagine Kafkaesque corridors between each sentence though
     
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  9. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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    Update #2 - Paradigm Shift

    DISCLAIMER: This is not what happens in the game. This is how I remember it. Factual errors are bound to happen, treat them as you will.

    In this episode we shall meet our second protagonist and get our feet wet with actual gameplay. There is a lot to cover, so without further ado, here is: Serah.

    Another CGI cut-scene begins. I know, I know I have just promised gameplay, but bear with me for a little longer. The camera lingers over a girl sleeping on the bed and more specifically over her stockings-clad legs. We almost get an up-skirt shot, but no go (rewind! rewind!). The girl is dreaming about the events in Valhalla covered in previous update, while her clothes transform into some type of fancy dress. She wakes up, calling Lightning (as in her sister's name, not a thunderbolt from the sky) just as a meteor crashes a couple of kilometres outside her window.

    Let me take this moment to comment that Lightning is a really stupid name. Even more so in the way characters in this game pronounce it in Japanese (Rait-ningu). Nobody ever would bother with calling someone with such a long and elaborate name on a daily basis, it would get shortened in no time (to Light or Ning or whatever). "Cloud" or "Squall" at least roll of the tongue easily and do not threat anyone to run out of breath while speaking them. This might be nitpicking, but such things bother me, as they make everything needlessly more contrived, and JRPGs are not usually short on contrivances anyway.

    Anyway, Serah (that is a good, short name) wakes up, wondering what happened to her clothes and we get Live Trigger warning. What is Live Trigger? Glad you asked, because this is a good one. Live Trigger means that the game's dialogue will in the near future stop to accept player's input. Let that sink in for a moment. The game warns you that there will be a dialogue option soon, probably so you start paying attention to what everyone says and do not have to pick your option (completely) at random.

    In this case we get our dialogue option almost immediately, allowing us to interpret Serah's dream and new clothes in four different ways. Was it a vision of the future? A message from Lightning? is Serah still dreaming? Etc. Some Live Triggers have immediate consequences (#1), some seem to affect whether you get bonus items (#2) and some seem to do nothing at all (3#). This one was either type #2 or #3, because whatever we choose, we just move on. As a role-player, I chose to interpret what is going on as Serah thinking she is still dreaming (even though it was probably a message from Lightning).

    I am playing this completely blind, by the way. Internet has destroyed many a game for me when I was young, stupid and careless enough to look things up instead of discovering everything by myself - and then the magic was gone and my interest waned faster than you could say "optimal Dark Souls builds". So, I put a stop to this shit - no spoilers, no walkthroughs and no wikis, except when I checked some characters' age (because with anime you can never be sure). And in case you are curious, yes, you can legally fap to Serah, as she is supposedly 21, despite looking maybe 16. But we shall discuss her in greater details later.

    Serah moves on, leaving the building and everything around her starts warping, with floaty shadowy shapes surrounding her. Another Live Trigger. One of the options to choose is something like 'Is the reality I know a lie?' Say what? In what kind of a mental state do you have to be to jump to a conclusion like that? Or maybe Serah is just on drugs. That would explain A LOT.

    The surroundings go back to normal. Well, as normal as you can get with a Final Fantasy game created in the second decade of 21st century anyway. Serah is on a beach surrounded by people fighting bug-like monsters which look a bit like antlions from Half Life 2. Serah is attacked by one too, immediately going into panic mode, falling down and screaming while waiting to get eaten. Suddenly, Noel appears, saving her. 'Can you fight?' he asks. 'If I have to'. 'Then fight instead of lying and waiting to die!' he commands, while handing her the moogle-crossbow. A sound advice if I ever heard one.

    Controlling Serah and Noel, you then have to defeat all the monsters on the beach (there are two types - small and large bugs called nektons and meonektons respectively). This is another part of the combat tutorial which introduces the concept of Paradigms. What are these? Well, they are... a little hard to explain without delving into the game's character system, let us do just that.

    Final Fantasy XIII-2's character development is based on a job system, which is a little similar to 3rd edition D&D class system. After getting enough XP for a level up, you decide which job you want to level up in, which increases your overall character level. Each level up gives you some small increase in base stats (there are only three: Strength, Magic and Health) and one every few gives you a new passive bonus or active ability (like a new spell or dealing extra damage to enemies when certain conditions are met).

    In combat only one job per character is active at a time, (meaning you only use one set of abilities and bonuses), but you can switch between them using the Paradigm Shift system. A Paradigm is a set of jobs assigned to each character, determining not only their abilities but also behaviour during combat (you only control one character directly, the rest follow their AI routines). A defensive Sentinel fights in a completely different way than high-damage dealing Ravager or the enemy-pestering Commando and switching between the roles often decides how well you do in combat... Well, at least when we are speaking about the more difficult enemies, because for most of the encounters you can just go all-out attack to finish the fight as fast as possible (we are talking below ten seconds sometimes) since Health regenerates between fights.

    One another mechanic is introduced in this tutorial - staggering an enemy. Every attack performed against an enemy, in addition to dealing damage, increases its Stagger meter. If the meter is full, enemy becomes, well, staggered and starts taking a lot more damage and its usual resistances are disabled. This matters a lot when fighting strong enemies, because the weak ones will usually die faster than become staggered. It is worth noting that stagger meter wil go down when the enemy is not attacked, meaning you have to focus on one foe to use it most effectively - and use weaker, faster attacks instead of strong but infrequent ones.

    Since the combat is real-time and you have to react to what your characters and enemies do in short windows of opportunity, the game plays a bit like a list based action-RPG, especially during boss fights. Open up with strong attacks, switch to a purely defensive stance when the enemy uses its big attack, switch to something more offensive, trying to squeeze in as many attacks as possible before the next big strike, heal up, go all out when the enemy is staggered, etc. The feel I get from this is quite unique and hard to compare to any other game I have played (I may just be ignorant in this matter). Yes, I would have preferred a purely turn-based system where I have more direct control over my whole party, and it is possible the novelty will wear out eventually, but so far, after around twelve hours, I am enjoying this system a lot.

    That was lengthy distraction, so let us get back to the plot. After the beach monsters are defeated everyone discusses the meteor and shows their distrust toward Noel, who just happened to appear during a crisis like that. The local Avengers wannabes, called NORA rush out to check the meteor out (except one chick who got hurt in the attack) and Serah and Noel follow them, warned to be careful as there still are a lot of monsters around.

    And fuck me, there are. I was not aware random encounters every thirty seconds are still a thing in this day and age, but apparently they are. Every five steps you get bum-rushed but some wildlife or decrepit steampunk robots or some other shit that is out to get you because you had the nerve to step outside village boundaries. As mentioned before, most of the fights are really short (good), and you can sometimes often them (great!) but still seeing that Moogle Clock makes me roll my eyes at the least.

    Oh, right, I forgot to mention the Moogle Clock - whenever a random encounter happens, you are not thrown straight into combat - enemies appear around you and you have the opportunity for a first strike if you slash at them before a timer runs out. If they attack you instead, the combat starts on even terms, and if the clock runs out - the enemy gets first strike and you cannot retry the combat (meaning game over if you get defeated). While the Moogle Clock is running you can also try to escape the random encounter range - if you get away far enough from all enemies, the encounter gets cancelled.

    Well, I guess this was the game mechanics update, and we will deal with the plot in the next one.

    In the next episode we will try to cover a bit more story. Honest.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
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  10. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    FFXIII's mechanics were good in a similar way already, let down by the first 10 or so chapters being basically the extended tutorial though. And yes, the mechanics are fairly unique.
     
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  11. Kem0sabe Arcane

    Kem0sabe
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    I actually bought this for the ps3, and what a fucking disaster it was... Horrible gameplay consisting of corridor after corridor of linear derivative gameplay. It the worse ff main release I have ever played.
     
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  12. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Don't call Abigail Patron

    MicoSelva
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    Update #3 - Fragments and Artefacts

    disclaimer (open)
    This is not what happens in the game. This is how I remember it. Factual errors are bound to happen, treat them as you will.


    In this episode we shall fight a boss (twice), stalk cats and harass children, all while lusting after Lebreau. Fun times! (also: pictures!)

    Serah and Noel follow NORA members through the linear level (barring a fork or two), fighting monsters along the way. Serah's jumping animation is just ridiculous, by the way - and she apparently can easily jump four-five meters high (that is around 15 feet for non-metric folks). Well, anime. I switch the default Paradigm to the one focusing on single enemy, but other than that we get through encounters using mostly auto-attack. As you fights various enemies, you increase your knowledge about them, discovering resistances, etc. I believe auto-attack adjusts to this, and your characters will not use fire magic to fight something fire-resistant.

    But this was supposed to be the story update, so let us catch up on that. Noel and Serah talk to each other while hiking, and share some info - Noel confesses to be from the future and admits to seeing Cocoon for the first time ever. Serah either does not believe him - or the information does not reach her brain, having encountered some interference on the way from ears - because she acts surprised every time this is mentioned. She is also not sure Noel was really sent by Lightning, although she is instantly in love with Mog, which is assumed by everyone to be an advanced toy Moogle.

    [​IMG]

    Eventually we draw near to the end of the level and a boss fight ensues. I believe the boss is shown earlier, during the hike, but no actual explanation is provided as to why he is there or what his connection to the meteorite is (if there is any). I guess we just have to accept it is some random supernatural entity that just happened to try to cross into this particular moment in space-time through a huge portal in the sky. Weirder things have happened (in Final Fantasy).

    [​IMG]

    The boss's name is Gogmagog and he is seriously pissed at being to fat to squeeze through the portal and devour everything (I assume). This is the first battle in which the Paradigm system shows its potential, although still in somewhat limited way, as you only have two characters in the party and your only means of healing are potions (generously dropped by almost every enemy on the way). You probably will not lose this fight, and doing well only allows for better star rating and higher chance for him dropping an item, but this is good training for getting the hang of when to switch to defence and when to go all-out to exploit that Stagger meter.

    Defeating Gogmagog nets us our first Fragment. 'What are these?' you ask, rolling your eyes and you are right, because Fragments are just glorified collectibles. There are 160 of them in the game and collecting them all nets you an achievement (yay). They also add little bits of lore to the in-game codex, with this first fragment revealing that Gogmagog was banished to become lost in space-time and that he may be a fallen Fal'cie (and if you do not know what a Fal'cie is, check the first post for FF XIII plot recap). If they have any other use, I am not aware of it.

    Oh, it also turns out that there is a time gate inside the fallen meteorite.

    We move to next morning and get a glimpse of Serah's everyday life, as denizens of New Bodhum try to get back to normality after the events of night before. Not that we have much choice - the road to the time gate is blocked for security reasons. We get to know NORA members a little better. There are four of them, currently: Maqui the mechanical genius (you can tell because he wears goggles), Gadot the big guy (that covers both his appearance and personality), Yuj the blue-haired normal guy (yes, being normal is his quirk - and it makes him quite unique) and the smoking hot chef Lebreau. Snow, NORA's leader is nowhere to be found, since he disappeared some time ago, which probably has a lot do do with him being Serah's fiancée.

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, we now have the ability to change Serah's outfit (Noel's too - but nobody cares), meaning we can make her run around in beach wear. However, after trying that for a few minutes I reverted to her default clothes. Not that she is an unattractive girl, but not really in my taste - a bit too skinny among other things (Lebreau on the other hand...). Also, seeing her fight in that bikini was a bit too ridiculous, even for anime suspension of disbelief standards.

    [​IMG]

    We then meet the other Snow - which is a the name Serah gave to her cat, talk to people living in the village - including Serah's students (she is a teacher in grade school and apparently a harsh one too), conduct a long conversation with Lebreau who explains some back-story to Noel (while being hot) and even receive a side quest (finding a medical kit lost in the commotion during previous night). All to the tune of some nauseating musical piece with vocals. Wait, what?

    Yes, the music in this game... I have seriously mixed feelings about it. Some of the pieces are really great and stay with you for a long time after you stop hearing them. I also really admire the variety - for example some of the boss encounters play to music I have never expected to find in a Final Fantasy game, like Japanese metal (I shall refrain from judging the quality of this type of music). However, I have an issue with the voiced songs that are frequently used as background music while exploring locations. Of course it is largely a matter of taste, but for me they are just awful. The vocals are distracting, especially when I try to read dialogues. And I can only imagine how they must interfere with English voices.

    I kind of like this little section of the game, because the village feels believable and alive with people walking about and pretending to do something, but mostly just chilling out on the beach (it is not exactly Gothic 2 level of alive and believable, or maybe they just do not have much to do). Many characters you meet here have distinct, if somewhat one-note, personalities and they are more likeable than annoying (your mileage may vary depending on how allergic to anime you are). I am not sure why, but just running around and embracing the cheerful and good-natured atmosphere of the place seemed entertaining to me. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that the previous game I have played was Shadow of Mordor, which is more on the grimdark side, so this is a nice contrast.

    Anyway, all this running around has a goal - Noel explains that in order to activate the time gate we need to find an Artefact - something that does not belong to this time. And apparently Mog is pretty good at detecting these, so we follow his advice and stalk Serah's cat, which does not have the Artefact (but has been brushed and fed by someone), and harass one of her students, who also does not have it, but did snitch something belonging to Serah - a pendant she got from Snow. Curiously, the pendant does have a new chain. We find one another Serah's belonging - Lightning's dagger kept as a memento, and it has been recently sharpened.

    None of these are Artefacts - also, no medical kit anywhere - but finding them all triggers the actual Artefact to appear - in Serah's bedroom. I am not sure how exactly one is supposed to make a mental leap to figure out a connection between these events - unless we mean meta-gaming (I have done everything I could, so something should happen). Anyway, the Artefact is an ancient hanging mirror... Or is it? Well, the mirror is the out-of-place-and-time item, but the actual Artefact needed to open the gate turns out to be a piece of crystal small enough to be carried around. 'Wait' you say 'weren't the out-of-place items supposed to be Artefacts?' Well... Yes?

    Now that we have the Artefact, the path to the time gate is no longer blocked (obviously), so we take it, experiencing a new batch of random encounters. The previously locked parts of the level are now available, which helps to ease to repetitiveness of playing through the same content for the second time in a short time, and there is also a visual difference due to a different time of day, but it still is pretty much the same thing, up to and including the boss fight. Yes, Gogmagog is back for more, and even angrier than before. Not much stronger, though, so his fat arse gets swiftly kicked for a second time, netting us our second Fragment.

    Soon we also get a third one, as a reward for returning the lost medical kit, which we find nearby. With that, we are pretty much ready to leave New Bodhum and embark on epic journey to find Lightning and save the world. Wait, I have not mentioned saving the world before, have I? Well, Noel's future is apparently a pretty bad one, and in 700 years he is the last human alive. Before we lave, Serah's friends (aka NORA) arrive to say goodbye, admitting it was them who brushed the cat, fixed the pendant and sharpened the dagger. Awww. They promise to take good care of everything when she is gone. Yeah, you do that, feed the cat for me, while I am saving the whole civilization. They also say a bunch of other stuff, but I am somewhat distracted by Lebreau's stockings and do not catch much of that.

    [​IMG]

    In the next episode we shall begin our journey through time and space and meet a talking chicken.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
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  13. abnaxus Arcane Patron

    abnaxus
    Joined:
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    Lebreau should've been party member from the beginning instead of Snow.
     
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