Sunday, August 30, 2015

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy VI (Super Nintendo, Square, 1994): Issue #057: The End

Took me long enough, didn't it?

As for how much actual play time it took me, I'm sticking to that 65-hour figure I mentioned. I remember being at roughly 63 and a half where I left off to go into the final battle, and I'm ballparking the final battle and ending at roughly 90 minutes, once I got it all figured out.

I do feel kind of cheap about spamming the Ultima spell on Kefka instead of just trying to beat the hell out of him with regular weapons the second go I took at him, but I think that's what wound up getting the better of me the first time around. At any rate, it's over now, and I'm glad of it. One less thing for me to worry about.

Amongst the things this playthrough got me to thinking about is how well the graphics for this game seem to have held up. That could just be a bit of nostalgia talking, though, since this was the last Final Fantasy game to come out before I really should have started making a real effort to put the controller down and get on with being a so-called adult. Still, I gotta admit, this game does still look pretty damn good for being a 21-year-old 16-bit game. It looks better than Final Fantasy 8 does on this fancy, now somewhat out of date, screen I've got now. Even Final Fantasy 7 looks better than 8 does, and from what I've understood is that the graphics were supposed to be a real big deal for the game when 8 came out. But more on that later.

The thing I want to get to before then is a reference to Final Fantasy 6 in Bennett the Sage's Inuyasha review that he did to close out the 2014 season of Anime Abandon. Basically, he does this rant, starting at about the 18:30 or 19-minute mark in the video I've embedded below, where he makes a good point about how Kefka pretty much just sits at the top of his tower, waiting for the heroes to come and kill him for the second half of the game. Sure, I've seen arguments that all the towns in the game have seen at least some damage and the people are all living in fear of Kefka and his Light of Judgment. Those are good arguments, too, many of which are indeed supported by the game. The thing is, though, now that I've had eight or nine months to think about all this, I think Mr. Sage's point is slightly better, and here's why.

See, this Light of Judgment thing Kefka's supposed to have can literally set water on fire when we see him using it just before the final battle, and yet, we never get to see him using it on anything once the second half of the game starts. Instead, everybody in those towns just talks about how awful it was when he had been attacking with it over the course of the year between when he got it at the Flying Island and when Celes came out of her coma at Professor Cid's place. It would have been one thing if it could have conceivably only been days or weeks between when Celes came to and when everybody was finally gathered back up to make the final assault on the tower. But given that the time scale of even getting leads on all these people would be months, at least, it just doesn't make a lot of sense that Kefka would just sit there on his ass, patiently waiting several months for the only people who might possibly pose a threat to him to regroup and come for him.

Granted, there wouldn't have been much of a game if he'd just blown them off the face of the planet soon as he found out they were still alive after he nearly blew up the world while taking ultimate power for himself, but I find it hard to believe that Kefka would just not do anything to even try to stop the heroes, even if he was meant to be as far off his rocker as his “true fans” say he is. Why wouldn't he at least intentionally miss them, just to keep things a little bit interesting, just from a story perspective?

Anyway, here's the episode to check out while I go over the few remaining thoughts I've got:

That aside, though, I gotta say, I really do enjoy this game every time I play it, even if it did take me longer than I had intended to get through this time. I've had some rather major IRL things going on, especially the last three or four months, that have kept me from playing as much as I would have liked, but that's part of this thing we call being an adult, I guess. Being all grown up means I don't always have as much time as I'd like for fun stuff like this.

And that leads us to the future of my Passing Thoughts blog in general and the Text Play series in general. After all the time I've put into Final Fantasy 8, I'd really hate to just give up on it when I'm within a stone's throw of the end, as I understand. At the same time, though, I've been having a hard time convincing myself that I should just press on and finish the game, so I can say I've actually beaten it myself. I'm sure at least part of it has to do with one of the IRL events I mentioned above. I've recently started a second job, where I've been working at my cousin's real estate office on my days off from the burger joint I've been calling my day job. I really must say that my cousin has been exceedingly generous in giving me this shot, because she's giving me a chance I'm not sure I'd have otherwise gotten, and it's done nothing but good things for my bank account. I'd be very remiss if I didn't say that I'm very grateful for the chance. At the same time, though, I have a feeling that it's not been quite so good for my mental state, simply because I haven't had a proper day off in three weeks now, on top of all the other things that have been going on. That's 98% my fault, though, because I've been waiting to see how things shake out between the two jobs before I asked for time off from one or both of them. The good news is that I'm finally getting a day off this coming Monday because things have gotten sorted out a bit at the day job.

Where that leaves FF8 is that historically speaking, none of my previous attempts to finish the game have been successful, and from how things are looking right now, things aren't looking too terribly much better for this attempt. One thing that might help is to hear from fans of the game, to have someone tell me that yeah, it's actually pretty cool to see that ending on my own screen.

As for what game or games I might do next, the two strongest candidates are Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest. Right now, Mystic Quest looks to be the stronger one of those, simply because there's only one version of that to choose from, whereas I've got both the original Super Nintendo version and the Final Fantasy Chronicles version of CT, and I'd have to decide which one of those I'd want to do.

In the meantime, I've been playing around with Final Fantasy 7 a bit lately, too, and I gotta say, even the original version of that looks pretty good for how old the game is. I'll wait for reviews to come out, of course, but maybe the remake will be enough to make me consider buying one of the consoles it's on, now that I may actually have the income to do such a thing.

That's all for the future, though, and I'll post updates when I have them. See you soon, I hope, and as always, DFTBA!

Anime Abandon belongs to Bennet "the Sage" White.  No infringement intended.

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