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I'm playing through all of Final Fantasy, and everyone is invited (Playing Lightning Returns now)

Regarding the main story, you steal a sphere from a temple, and then decide to donate it. Either to New Yevon or the Youth League. I choose the Youth League, because Yevon, New or Old, has no place in this world, after what they have done.
This game famously is an absolute disaster to 100% (which does have an ending locked behind, but it's not my preferred one. neither here nor there tho), and really one of my favorite things is I believe this specific choice can lock you out of 100% on your first playthrough. It's really unlikely one would get 100% first playthrough without a guide anyway, but I kinda love that so early in the game, for what doesn't really feel like a major choice.

I love x-2 though. First time I played I also fizzled out pretty early. I played x kinda late (by the time i played it was a greatest hits) and the way i grew up was mostly with western games, so (adding that the adolescent message boards i posted on were pretty critical about the jpop aspect) x-2 felt skippable. Finally played it on the x/x-2 remaster and just burnt out immediately. It's overwhelming to have such little forward-focused structure, especially when that's such a major positive for x for me. Finally came back around by the time the switch x/x-2 remaster came out, and struck me immediately. There's just too much to love once I got over the initial hurdle. One of the best job systems ever, great worldbuilding that doesn't rely too much x, even with the reuse of assets and characters, so much to do. Never slowed down the pace of battle, and it really feels great when you do eventually catch up with it. It's frightening in big fights but there is a rhythm to each job, and keying into that feels great. I'll have more to say, but x-2 was so good it makes me feel bad for staying away from it for so long.

Blitzball isn't very good in this one though.


This game famously is an absolute disaster to 100%
If I recall, things that count towards the percentage include ridiculous garbage like "talk to every single NPC, yeah even the ones who are running by in the background and you have like a 2 second window before they're off the screen and gone forever."


I love, that you have to listen to Mae-Chens History lesson, that seems to take five minutes or so. Without any interruption. And, at the end, he asks to shake hands. The default answer is no, so in case you mashed buttons, you will deny him this little wish, and just wasted a bunch of minutes. Delightful.

Also, it was actually interesting to listen to.

Which choice did you mean anyway, pudik? Whom to give the orb to, at the end of chapter 1?
If I recall, things that count towards the percentage include ridiculous garbage like "talk to every single NPC, yeah even the ones who are running by in the background and you have like a 2 second window before they're off the screen and gone forever."

This is is a common misconception about the game. The conversation with Maechen described above is the only case like this, and as FelixSH says it's set apart as a special instance where taking the time to listen closely without rushing him is explicitly presented as a challenge. This also plays into that character's story, and there is narrative payoff for listening to him patiently at every opportunity. In general, you can skip through dialogue, NPCs are not a challenge to talk to, and there's no requirement to talk to every NPC.

It's true that you're very unlikely to hit 100% on a New Game without following a guide. However, you're very likely to hit it in New Game+ just by choosing the opposite faction and trying out a few new things if you're being relatively thorough, because the maximum available completion percentage is higher than 100%. (In other words, 100% doesn't mean you did literally everything, it means you've done enough to qualify for the ending, but it will still keep going higher, past 100%. You can miss some stuff.) So, I'd say anyone who wants that should just play as they like on New Game, then check a guide for New Game+ to see anything major that they missed.

The real thing that makes it hard to find the most obscure ending is that you have to press a button 4 times during a certain cutscene without any prompting to do so, which is much more ridiculous than anything required to get to 100% on a New Game+.
Which choice did you mean anyway, pudik? Whom to give the orb to, at the end of chapter 1?
yea pretty sure it's that one. I think giving the orb to new yevon locks you out of one thing that you need to 100%, but giving it to youth league does not (maybe it still locks out of something but it's just not needed for 100%? hard to recall). It might be something else, but i'm pretty sure it's related to the factions
I'm still a little not happy that following the OFFICIAL GUIDE for direction to get 100% left me not at 100%.

I kind of love that by actively NOT doing 100% goals you can get some wildly powerful stuff relatively early. Just a shame the English version of the game replaced the early Catnip with something that isn't nearly as useful to have so early.
Seeing a fantasy world at different points in its history is one of my favorite things, so I was sold on FFX-2's premise alone, and the more lighthearted tone was a refreshing change of pace in a series that often gets pretty gloomy, especially since FFX itself leaned into that pretty hard. I also loved seeing Yuna finally get to be happy now that she's not preoccupied with death, and the character development in general for her, Rikku and other returning characters.

But the gameplay is more mixed. Using the world from a very linear game in a very open one works surprisingly well, given that you can just hop over to any part of it at any time, but it's kind of exhausting having to visit every location in every chapter or risk missing stuff (to be fair, this problem could be avoided by just... not caring about missing stuff, but that's easier said than done). The garment grids let you set up a suite of jobs and abilities for each character and switch between them in battle, which is a really cool idea, but it makes job switching outside of battle more of a production than it needs to be. The combat itself sits in an awkward place where it's incorporating the variable action speed from X back into the ATB system, and that plus the mid-battle job changes and faster pace overall are clear precursors to FFXIII, but X-2 somehow ends up less fun for me than either of those games. I really like it in concept and I'm glad it exists, I just wish I enjoyed actually playing it more.


Being done with chapter 2, it feels like a fitting place for another post.

The story continues to be slow, and, for a change, not be the driving factor of continuing on with the game. We have to decide, who we give the sphere to, that we stole from Kilika. Either to New Yevon, or the Youth League. For reasons I will get into in a second, I give it to the Youth League.

Later on, a piece of a sphere was stolen from us by Leblanc. To get it back, we steal three uniforms of her henchmen, and slip into her headquarter (the former place of Seymour, which I find pretty funny, for whatever reason). This leads to the infamous scene where Yuna gives a massage to Leblanc, which she is ordered to do by Omni and Logos. I did find the whole thing hilarious, with Leblanc grunting very loudly. Would give of a very different vibe, if you could only hear the sound.

I'm not even sure why we do this. I guess because we run into Omni and Logos, we don't have much of a choice, in the hope that they are gone later on. Which they are, but then, as soon as we enter the hidden corridor, we are found out anyway (because Brother is an idiot, and also a big creep - I like the tone of this game a lot, but I could never stand his behaviour here). It's kind-of pointless, especially considering we have already beaten these guys a bunch of times.

First, we find a different sphere, about some entrance exam to some guard, where everybody died. Uh, I guess we will learn more about this later? It is made clear that no one is supposed to survive, which, uh, ok.

In another room, we find both halves of the broken orb. After another fight with Leblanc, we watch the sphere together, and see more of the ancient superweapon Vegnagun. Rikku suggests to simply take it apart, which is also Noojs plan. And, because Leblanc has a huge crush on him, also hers. And so, we are now partners.

I really love this. There are old Anime (I remember Nadja and the Blue Stone, or however this is called), and at least one Ghibli movie, where the early antagonists become allies, and I always end up enjoying it. And the way Leblanc and her two goons are set up, I guess people who know this kind of Anime will know very soon where their relationship with the Gullwings is headed.

Anyway, our plan is to go below Bevelle, where Vegnagun is basically sleeping. Baralai, the young leader, is missing. The guards also attack, and want to kill us (mainly because we gave the orb last chapter to the Youth League - which still seems pretty extreme to me, that they want to kill us now). The dungeon is relatively short, but there are too many forced battles for my taste, and the puzzle later on, that you have to do to get to the Dark Knight dress sphere is weird and annoyed me.

Baralai appears at the end, trying to stop us from reaching Vegnagun, he simply wants it to not be disturbed at all. It seemingly can't be destroyed. The fight isn't hard (at this point, -aga spells are simply really strong). Further in, we find nothing, aside from a monster that looks like Bahamut, and fight it too. Not much of a problem.

It is interesting from a character and story perspective. The Aeons are gone, and I have no idea how anything develops from here on our, so I wonder why we have to fight a replica of Bahamut. The real one is gone, that much seems certain.

Also, Yuna has to be in a rough spot here. The story in itself is not too interesting (the main story, I mean, I like to learn more about the world, and how it has changed), but seeing her pulled in different directions is pretty cool. Aside from her own sense of justice, the world is still looking for her, and how to use her in all kinds of ways. She isn't a nobody, and she still has to learn how to say no.

There is this really sweet scene in the first chapter, where we meet Lulu, and she warns Yuna about exactly that - people will try to use her. My favourite little thing was, when she asked Yuna if she, maybe, would like to stay for the night. It just feels so much like when you get home to your parents, or maybe just family, and then stay there because you are home, and people miss each other. It's just a sweet, nice moment.

To get back to the little story, we don't find Vegnagun. But we get a message from the airship, that monsters are coming out of the temples. Which makes Rikku suggest, that we should just demand money for helping the people. And that starts chapter 3.

Man, I can really write a lot about not much plot, huh?

Generally, I am not quite happy with what I get, in terms of seeing how the world developed. But I think that is mainly on me. I feel like I expect there to be grand things happening, and all sorts of horrible chaos happening, which isn't how it worked, and also not how it should work. It was a sleeping world, so waking up slowly works well enough. And people simply didn't need Yevon, as it turns out. Without Sin, there is no need for this governing entity. Like, why is New Yevon even there? I mean, they essentially just cling to the past, and simply can't take that they are not necessary, without a Sin. As much as one can criticize them during the 1000 years, I think they did bring a bit of peace of mind, and that their presence was not all bad. But here? Just let the people do their work and go away. No one needs your rotting corpse.

I guess that's not quite true. Change is scary, so maybe a new, not awful leading body, even in a new incarnation of Yevon, might be helpful to give people something to cling to. But still, not Yevon. Just go away, you had your time in the light, and you blew it. I'm sure I took the side of the Youth League the other times, and there was no question this time either. It's not because I necessarily support the Yout League. I just don't want Yevon to be a part of this world anymore, New or Old. Especially considering that they already have started with their old ways, hording information and knowledge from the rest of the world.

Yeah, I get it, Vegnagun is dangerous. I get this, one part. But still, after this 1000 years, doing this again just tells me that they didn't learn anything. Baralai, the new lead, is new too, because the old leadership tried to get too much power again. It's just...this is an old, old institution, and it is not only rotten, but also too powerful, and it should just die. It's like the undead version, not ready to die. The last Unsent.

Honestly, I don't know what to think of the Youth League. But they only appeared, because New Yevon behaved badly. And yeah, I know that Baralai is probably right, and Nooj (the leader of the Youth League) has bad plans. Dunno, whatever bad plans he has, it seems like New Yevon is partly responsible for that. And yeah, Vegnagun is a danger that won't just go away, but didn't we learn that we need to find a way to get rid of these dangers, instead of controling us? Essentially, New Yevon takes on the same role as Old Yevon - controlling information, so they can, all on their own, deal with a big threat in a way they think is right. And the problems between them and the Youth League wouldn't exist without New Yevon, because then, also a Youth League wouldn't be there.

Honestly, I don't get why this world needs a world-wide ruling body anyway. These are all small communities. Just let them govern themselves, and go away. I guess something like the Youth League would start to exist anyway, though, as there still are monsters, and someone has to protect the people. But for that, you have machines, at this point. Which might lead to power focusing in the hands of the Al-Bhed, I guess. No good solution, it seems. Still, New Yevon is simply the one party that is most useless, and that I don't want to have any power at all, anymore.

As mentioned, the Youth League fights monsters and protects the people. The machinists create new technology and will make life easier for the people (or develop a disgusting technocracy - I don't believe that FF VII plays in the same world, but a similar situation is not out of the question). And even people like Leblanc just seem to collect things that don't have an owner, I don't think they actively steal things. And searching for new spheres brings History into the open, potentially also new information for technology. So, these three factions do something useful. New Yevon? I guess it brings a bit of stability to some people. But really, I think it's time to move on. Just go away.

At the beginning of chapter 2, there is this really nice scene, where there is a party on top of the airship. Just a really chill party of a bunch of friends, with even a band, in a mild night. I don't like big parties, but stuff like this, chilling out with friends in such a setting, outside during the night, is one of my favourite things ever.

Also, Yuna gets jealous at some woman that maybe-Tidus calls out to. Don't like it, but whatever, at least it fits with Yuna being what, 16 years old? It feels a bit silly, with Tidus being dead, but it's fine. Be a teenager, Yuna, if someone has earned to behave dumb, than you.

In Lucca, we meet Shelinda, who became a news reporter, after she got fed up by being ordered around all the time in the temple. And she seems to have fun, too, even if Paine points out that she still does what others ask of her. Still, you don't have to say no to everything.

On Mi'hen Highroad, we catch a chocobo. It's kind of dumb, but also fun. I always enjoy some chocobo time. Well, mostly. Makes me think of FF II, where we try to catch one in the tall grass. Good times.

In Djose Temple, we have to fight Omni and Logos together, to get the uniform. I'm pretty sure, that this was the moment where I gave up the first time I tried the game. I had a bit of trouble here, and back then, I'm sure it worked out in that I never got to do anything, because of how stupid the battle system actually is. Which already became an annoyance.

I still don't have quite the handle on it, but a problem for me, that gets bigger as the game gets harder, is that my characters have to go through their animations, to do something. Which can delay their actions, sometimes by way more than I'm comfortable with. Some already died, just because they got attacked a few times, and couldn't get into position again. Something like that, I'm not quite sure how it works, but losing someone to what seems to simply be a long animation is not fun.

It wasn't a problem in this fight, at least not much. But at the start of chapter 3, it started to become more of a problem.

Makkalania Woods is an interesting place. With how fun the game tends to be, it is quite somber, with the Guado having to flee here, after being attacked by the Ronso (who let out their anger, because of how Seymour killed many of them). And they have given up, waiting just for the end to come. Considering what they did, I find this to be a pretty real moment, and they have to be punished. That the Ronso want to take revenge for their fallen siblings is also clear. But we are talking about an intended genocide, I think. And now, they just wait for the end to come. It's what I want the abstract entity that is Yevon to do. I don't want a whole people to vanish, no matter what they, or some of them, did. Not that there is much to be done here, but it feels heavy, and somewhat painful.

Also, the musicians seem to be people of these woods. And with the faith gone, they will soon fade, and the musicians with them. So, are they also dreams, in some way? Are they not born, but simply come into being, by being here? I find them fascinating. The whole woods are a place of death here, a relic from the past that will go. And it will take everyone inside with it. I'm surprised the contrast isn't charing, it feels like a relic from X - all slow and calm. I like it a lot.

There is also the Thunder Plains, with one of the worst minigames in the series. Adjusting the lightning rods starts easy, but it gets insanely hard. Thankfully, you only have to try to adjust all ten, but don't have to do all them well.

Zanarkand is a high contrast to Makkalania. We are pairing monkey together, so that they can make love and make a lot of little baby monkeys, to protect the place. Or something. It's amazing.

So, before I stop, a few words about the job and battle system. It's the first regular job system since V (at least from the mainline games). I do enjoy, how you can grind out abilities pretty easily, and develop the jobs. I already get closer to mastering two jobs with each character. But...

It works, by giving you one job point for each monster killed. Plus, you get one for every ability you use, aside from simply "Fight". Which is my first critisizm. Maybe that's silly, but it emphasizes the use of abilities in all situations, which is not ideal. Like, leveling up Thief is annoying, you can't attack. I wished that you would get a point, even for a "Fight" command. I think in V, you get not always 1 AP from each monster? I don't remember, and thinking about it, V developed its jobs slower.

But then, in V, you also could just attack, and get good results. Which doesn't seem to be the case here? Thinking about it, I didn't try it, but considering how absurdly weak many, many abilities are, I can't imagine the regular attack being any good. Like, Gunners special attacks are incredibly weak, aside from the standard one. Which I dislike a lot, because it doesn't stop the timer. Meaning, while I hit the trigger button as often as possible, I can't input any commands to my other two characters, which I dislike a lot. And even that ability doesn't do that much damage. Granted, it's only level 1 now, and can be extended.

Honestly, the only job that does sensible damage at the moment is Black Mage, who can reach around 1000 with -aga spells, even without weaknesses, I think. But everything else feels underpowered, and also kind-of disappointing, at the moment. White Mage does what it should, of course, but I can't just attack with Gunner, like I would with the Archer in V (I guess, I never tried that one).

Songstress is great, like any bard would be. You can just put all enemies to sleep, or stop them, or, in case of boss battles, put everyone into Haste status. It feels like it is not ideal, with only two attackers now, but I honestly don't see a reason not to sacrifice that bit attack power. With the songstress, you have all the time in the world to defeat the monsters.

Gun Mage is fun, but doesn't work as well as it should. I love that they not only have Blue Magic (which they learn pretty easily), they also have abilities that hit quadruple damage for certain enemy types. Which means you can actually use them, even without Blue Magic, and just hope for them to get hit by something. It might be my favourite incarnation of the Blue Mage (aside from the Blue Spells, I only have Blaster at this point), due to ease of learning and the additional capabilities. My only gripe is, that thinks happen, like that there is a flying monster that still doesn't take quadruple damage.

Generally, I feel like, aside from Black Mage, the jobs feel kind-of underpowered. Many abilities of the Gunner, for example, are simply not worth using, and I wished there were few more jobs where just attacking was a useful thing to do (which, granted, I actually need to try out, but if abilities are so weak, a regular attack probably isn't any stronger). After mastering the first jobs, I started training up a second set (thief, gunner and white mage), and gunner is just not strong. Granted, I only have one useful attacker there, but that means maybe that three characters are just a party that might be too small.

When I'm at it, I'll also talk about Lady Luck. It starts really, really bad, with slots (for physical abilities). Even getting BARs or 7s, which creates abilities that should be really strong, are absurdly weak. One of the two uses Excalibur, which till only did around 200 damage, which, come on. But if you train a bit, you can throw two dice. Which does decent damage, at least, and can do really a ton of it. Never super weak, so I'm fine with this job. Also, the next ability can be to use four dice, which should make the job pretty potent.

When at it, I want to talk about Sphere Break. I do like it, but it is also horribly broken. To get Lady Luck, you need to win a tournament, and to do that you need to beat a pretty hard player. To win, you need combos. If you don't know the game, you have a board with coins (values from 1 to 9). Each round, a random number gets chosen from 1 to 9, and you have to get coins with the total sum of that number, or a multiple of it. Like, if the number is 6, you need 6, 12, 18, or another multiple of 6. If you use the same amount of coins to create the sum, you get combos (you need to use a certain amount of coins in a turn limit), which simply multiply the amount of coins you used. The more often in a row you use the same amount of coins, the higher the multiplier.

The problem, which breaks the game, I think, is that the random number that is chosen can be 1. And because every number is a multiple of 1, the round ends after you take any coin. Which will break your combo.

I had horrible luck in the last match of the tournament, getting 1s all the time. In this case, I savescummed, because I wanted to dress sphere. It's really a shame, because without the 1 as a possible random number, this game would be really fun.

As a last point, I get that this is an open-ended game. But I feel like some dress spheres are too hard to find on your own. Like, for one of them, I think you need to say in Chapter 1 and 2 the right things to the Ronso. Only if you do so (and it's not at all clear, with some of them), you will get a dress sphere in chapter 3. I'm not there yet, but I imagine I will not get that one. There is also one, where you have to talk to a certain character in Chapter 1. I didn't, because I didn't know he was even there. This is partly on me, because I didn't explore enough, but normally, a place has one mission, or something like a mission, and that's it (at least it seems that way). This place has already two things to do. Looks actually like I should have found him, when looking at a screenshot, but I did miss him. And now I can't get another dress sphere.

It's fine, but I remember that I didn't get these two dress spheres the last time either. Which suggests to me, that they are too well hidden. I think it's fine, that you have to casually explore everyting to get all the dress spheres, and I find it ok to have some, or even a lot of stuff, hidden well, or even a bit obtusely. But you could hide other things that well. Not the regular dress spheres, which are such essential tools.

As I said, it's fine. I plan to do a playthrough where I mostly avoid FAQs, and then do a New Game +, considering how the game is set up to be played multiple times. And then, I will get whatever there is, and try to get 100%. I just am a bit disappointed in the jobs that are there, so missing out on even more is frustrating.

Also, these are just my experiences. I might be completely wrong with them, and just do things wrong. It'll work out, I'm fine. In case things go bad, I can always use the awfully boring Dark Knight x2 + White Mage combo. I think I needed to use that at the final boss, last time.


I have played some more, this game is addicting to me. The short mission structure makes me want to go "one more". Nothing too surprising, I guess, we all know how mission structures work.

Actually, I'm near the end. Did all of chapter 5, up to the point where I have to choose which hole I'm jumping into. Considering there is absolutely no information about any of the choices, or at least none I could find, it seems perfectly arbitrary.

Anyway, last time, I had just gone through chapter 2. Emotions got stronger, and the leaders of the three main factions were gone. We fought, for some reason, against a copy of Bahamut, and learned about Vegnagun, hidden in the depths of Yevon.

Chapter 3 consists of fiends coming out of the temples, and us making sure it stops. Like with Bahamut, we find copies of the Aeons in the different temples. There hasn't been an explanation about why I fight these, but I still miss the info from inside these holes, so we'll see. The battles were nothing too special (like all of them, I had no really hard boss, and nothing particularly interesting. Fun, though.

We also find out, that the three leaders of the main factions, as well as Paine, know each other from before Yuna defeated Sin. All of them part of the purple guard, the one where nearly everyone died by design, at the entrance test. Still more questions up here. I feel like this is something for New Game +. Which I intend to do, considering it is such a unique thing for FF games, and how especially this one is so much designed around playing at least more than once.

I got more interesting jobs. Berserker is a great implementation, with a few regular abilities, a ton of HP and strength, and the ability to go really berserk whenever you want. The usual drawback for that, but I'm really happy with this interpretation of that class. So much better, than the one from FF V. I made Yuna into one, after her mastering the Gunner, who was mainly disappointing.

Lady Luck is a pretty fun class. The slots, no matter which, are still terrible, considering that a failure will work as a high-level gravity spell against your whole team, which is way too harsh a punishment. But the one where you throw four dice is pretty potent, if a bit slow. Gave this to Rikku, who I had no interesting class for, after mastering Black Mage. Who was great, but I don't know how it will stack up, at this point. Thief, though, was boring and uninteresting.

Paine is a Samurai now, which is a great class. She is also my White Mage, which is a bit of a shame, as in hard battles (there were some that were slightly challenging), I wanted regular healing. I mean, the healing is great, but with only two other characters, I don't want to have the third just healing. It's so boring. Especially with Samurai being a pretty fun class, who can buff themself really nicely, has a strong regular and an even stronger ranged attack. Way, way more fun than the god-awfully boring Dark Knight I used in my last playthrough with her.

Alltogether, these later classes are really fun, and I really prefer them against the earlier ones.

Regarding the story, with the leaders gone, people get unsure, and New Yevon and the Youth League are close at fighting each other for real. It's also really dumb, one group assumes the other will attack, so they want attack first. I know, this is something that I can see happening in real life in such a situation, but honestly, the conflict just feels too artificial. I mean, I get it - you have New Yevon, who still act like jerks, and want to keep knowledge away from people. The Youth League split off from them, trying to find out about the true History of Spira, and feel blocked by New Yevon. Which creates an antipathy that only grows.

Like, this is a sensible setup. It just doesn't ring true, and I realize that I can't quite explain why. I understand why Yuna is frustrated, it really feels silly to get so angry about this stuff, to really go to war with each other. And I still think, knowing that it's not fully fair, this is mainly the fault of New Yevon. But I complained about them enough already.

I don't like, how the three faction leaders know each other from before, together with our new team member. That definitely feels too artificial. It's a general pet-peeve of mine, if all important people know each other, and all is connected to one thing (see also: that people want the Borg to be created by the Federation).

Aside from this, we learn that during the war, there was a famous singer called Lenne, who was in love with a guy called Shuyin. Shuyin is the guy who looks like Tidus, and who Yuna saw. It's also the guy who made her start on this journey, hoping it to be Tidus. Lenne, additionally, looks pretty similar to Yuna. They were lovers, but Lenne was also a good summoner, so she would have been sent to the frontier, very likely dying there, with Zanarkand being at the losing end of the war. Trying to steal enemy machina, the two died in each others arms.

The important point is, that Shuyin didn't hear that Lenne loved him, and this seems to make him really bitter, wanting to end the world. Due to it being bad, or something, when it seems like he is just too hurt to go on, and wanting everyone to die with him. And, honestly, it's all really weak. We saw a way more interesting interpretation of this in the last two games, both with Kuja, as well as with Seymour. Like, this game even reuses story from its direct predecessor.

More interesting, though, is how Yuna reacts to all this. And we learn, that she is just a good person, trying to help, even leading, if necessary, just to make people stop fighting. This can't be explained away by her being pushed into it by her father (even if he didn't mean to), and the world in general. It's her free decision, and she takes on the role of a leader. I feel like this is a missed opportunity, though. Maybe you should have a choice, to not help the people.

But this is a JRPG in the end. Sure, there are games like the Megaten ones, but most of the time, you get a straight journey, at least for the main parts. I mean, if this were a WRPG, you could probably help the different factions get to power, or at least becoming the dominant force of Spira. Which could be really interesting, to be honest, probably more than what we got. We have more than enough - the Youth League and New Yevon are just two. There is also the Leblanc Syndicate, as well as the Machinists. And, of course, the Gullwings. You could give the player simply more agency for the main story (I think the only part where you have agency is in who to give that great sphere, and it doesn't seem to change that much).

Dunno, I really like the games structure, so this is a minor gripe. Just feels like they wasted a lot of potential.

But the main thing is, that we get to the part where Yuna takes charge. By having a concert, which is one of my favourite tropes. I love the idea that we connect the world by music, and heal its wounds that way. It's also a nice callback to X, where music was essential to deal with the problems of the world. In this case, it's powerful enough to break reality, and show to the world the scene were Lenne and Shuyin die. It also soothes everyones emotions, making New Yevon and the Youth League calm down again.

Maybe it's a good time to mention how much I love the tone of this game. I love how cheerful it is, how goofy it can be, stuff like the Gullwings striking silly poses, and everyone just having a good time. Normally, the tone is rather grim in FF games, and we get some comedy relief sometimes (Ultros is a prime example here). Here, it feels the opposite. Everything is fun, and goofy, and people are enjoying themselves, except for singular exceptions. It's just all a really good time.

Still being really on the nose, the game makes it explicit that it is about carrying on. About accepting that memories are memories, and that the world has to go on and develop. Like, the main participants are New Yevon and the Youth League, with the latter being split off from the former. New Yevon is something from the past, a piece that the whole of Spira has to let go, to finally get rid of the problematic potential it carries. In the end, this is still part of the conflict from 1000 years ago.

Sure, History is a series of things that develop out of each other. But sometimes, a structure has to go, and X made it explicitely clear that Yevons time is over. And as long as we don't take care of it, conflicts from that source will continue.

There will be new challenges, of course. make them really new, at least. Sorry, I went there again. But I feel like New Yevon is a big reason why we have this specific, problematic situation here.

But maybe I'm just reading too much into this. Other conflicts would arise, even with Yevon completely gone. Well, no, many of the plots here are about people being stuck in the past, and not letting go. And New Yevon simply makes this harder than it needs to be. Which doesn't mean that we should ignore History. But see it as it is: History.

The theme is pretty neat, though. Aside from Yuna, we have Wakka, who needs to let go of a memory. We have Zanarkand, which Yuna realizes herself, that she has to let go. We have the conflict between the Ronso and the Guado.

Chapter 4 is an interesting diversion. There are no missions, aside from the final one and one that looked really obnoxious and slow. Instead, we look at all the places through Shinras comm spheres, and get a ton of scenes that way. It is a nice experiment, and I can see there being enough for even a game, but the execution here felt pretty lacking. I mean, it was fun, but the one mission there was (finding out who made Rins the machines go crazy) felt obnoxious.

As much as I like Kimahri, he really doesn't seem fit to be a leader. There is a time of crisis, and he feels like he has to stay at the bottom of Mt. Gagazet, so Yuna has to deal with the jerk who wants to kill the Guado. Considering he DOES finally punch that jerk in the face, it's probably his arc, showing that being a leader was something he had to grow into himself. Well, fair enough. It still doesn't explain how he even became the leader of the Ronso. I mean, there was a power vacuum, and I guess him being part of Yunas guardian group made him the most promising candidate.

I also did the sidequest with the cactuars, and I realized that I love these dumb things. Also, nice to see that at least Spira has also nice cactuars, not only obnoxious jerks.

Well, I think that's it for now? I played one round of Blitzball, and it still takes too long. Still, better than before, I might dabble with it in the NG+.
Actually, I'm near the end. Did all of chapter 5, up to the point where I have to choose which hole I'm jumping into. Considering there is absolutely no information about any of the choices, or at least none I could find, it seems perfectly arbitrary.
They change where you land, but all paths lead to the same place. Worth noting that if you jump in all of them you get a garment grid though. Pretty good one, but definitely not essential.

I generally agree about the missed potential though. Feels like the different sphere hunting syndicates are little more than world building lore. The game is generally way better about reflecting on ffx than it is continuing through with "where Spira goes after". A lot by design, but it does feel like missed opportunity. Not expecting a bunch of new assets or areas like newly built Kilika (which is great), but it's a game that maybe reflects too much on "we have to move on" and not "this is what moving on is like"

I wanted to like blitzball, but it's so slow. Manually playing the game was slow too, but progress was sensible. Players level up in game, often times would only take a couple of games to level, you see there stats go up. In this one I couldn't figure out how to make the team good. The training system is truly terrible, imo. Really disappointing when the reason i liked blitzball originally is the management aspect. There is trading i never unlocked, and a couple of other things, but that just kind of feels inadequate when i've played enough sports sims to get annoyed by a simple trade system. I still often imagine myself going back and messing around with it, but it's just at an uncomfortable closeness to what i would love that it being off just doesn't work. maybe one day they put it in 14 and I'll resub.


So, my plan was to play through at least one NG+. I was all set, and played actually quite a lot, not being able to stop and always wanting to continue. Not even because of the story, which is rather weak. And yet, I'm in chapter 1 of the NG+, and already stalled out. It feels like I miss an essential part of what this game is, by not playing through at least one iteration of NG+, but I also don't want to play a game that doesn't do anything for me. Which means, this will likely be it. A shame, but skipping all the cutscenes and having mainly to redo missions I already did, mainly leaving me to grind out jobs, just doesn't work. I'm just too much of a story person. Also, there are way too many games I also want to play, so I guess I'm already done.

Anyway, last time, Yuna gave a concert and healed the world in the process. And now, we only have to wrap everything up, saving the world from an ancient weapon. I'll get to that later, for now, let's take a last look at the different places and people.

In Besaid, Lulus and Wakkas child is born, and we get a very sweet scene in the night, when Wakka finally decides on a name. I really wished we got more from him and Lulu as a couple. Before replaying, I thought they were siblings, which is kind-of true, without them being blood related. But no, they are actually a loving, sweet couple, one of the better ones in all of JRPG-dom I remember. No drama, generally no nonsense, and everything being low-key. In X, where they probably are a couple already, it just isn't the focus. There are more important things going on. But now, with the Calm being here, a lot of stress is gone, and they can enjoy themselves. And actually show their feelings. And, again, no drama. I just thought of how Rosa and Cecil are similar there, in how them being a couple is so underplayed, that I didn't even realize it the first time I played IV. Except that one did matter for the story, but only to inform the relationship between Cecil and Kain. In X, it feels like a better realized version of the one in IV.

There is some more sweetness, when we learn that the strict instructor from the Youth League, Beclem, knew Wakkas brother, who told him that Wakka was the greatest person ever. Which explains his disappointment. In any case, Wakka does realize that he has to go on - that maybe it would have been ok to burn down the temple, if it was necessary to save the village and the people. That it's ok to let go of the past, even necessary.

It is interesting, and probably also pretty realistic, that even people like Wakka and Yuna, who learned so much during X, feel bound to the past, and don't want to let go. Even of the memories of Yevon, which hurt all of them so much.

In Kilika, the Youth League still stops people from going to the temple, and hindering them meeting their family. Yuna puts an end to this, which also marks a situation where she actively steps into the role of a leader. Which is where her arc is heading, isn't it? It also works, I think, she is a very strong person who always had the best for everyone at heart. She is not only smart, but also knows everything that was going on.

I'm a bit reminded of how, in Ancient Rome, when many older people had died away against Hanibal, there was space for young people to step into power. It's not quite the same here, but the old generation is simply too stuck in old ways, that don't work anymore. Even with Yunas binds to at least the temples, and all of Yevon, she knows exactly what bad came from the old situation. And she did save the world, so she gets respect from many people.

Aside from this, we get a conclusion to Donna and Barthellos little arc. From fighting, because for some nonsensicle reason they really got into the different groups, to getting back together. And here, I also encountered the difference of concluding and finishing a storyline. Because I didn't do all that was necessary. For me, Barthello waits before their home for forgiveness. It's an interesting concept, giving you basically a hint for things to do differently in the next playthrough.

Blitzball is bad. Aside from what is basically a clipshow (which still works, I think), there is nothing to do here. Oh, Yuna has hallucinations of a moogle. For the record, I hate this graphical interpretation of moogles they do here, with the crosses for eyes. They aren't cute at all.

At the Mi'Hen Highroad, we simply don't find out who made the machines act dangerous. Would have to do the mission in Chapter 4, which I wasn't motivated to do.

I took a detour to the Bikanel Desert, where fiends are attacking the cactuar nation. We continue the delightful quest of finding the traveling cactuars. One of them on the back of a chocobo, one in the chest of Donna (who clearly asks herself what the hell is happening, when we shoot the cactuar or possibly Donnas chests) and one is in the company of the bad cactuars.

It's a decent dungeon, with a handful gimmicks (I had to do the part a few times, where sand is filling up, and we have to get through in a pretty short amount of time). And then, we fight Gigantuar, which is always fun. With all the cactuars back, Manella, their queen, can blow all the monsters away. Which also means, that they attack the camp. And with they, I mean the ancient supermonster, which is way beyond my capabilities. Which also makes it impossible to collect more stuff out of the sands. A weird decision, making a superboss mandatory for getting all chapters completely concluded, but ok. I can live with that.

I didn't even get everything that I needed to get at the Moonflow. Wasn't allowed to participate at Toblis final concert. Oh, well.

In Guadosalam, we learn that Twamel didn't want the musicians to fade away. He is still ready to go, but gets motivated to lead the Guado. Which, sure, why not, I guess? Well, he really seems to regret what happened, and seems like he would do things different now. I'm not sure if this is enough, but the essential point of this story is to move on. To let the past go. He is there, so he should work for the future, like everyone else. Which would help him, too.

At the Thunder Planes, after some fighting, we find Cid in a cave, exploring it. Before getting out, we have to fight a robot that went rouge, I guess. There is an interesting element there, as often in random battles, a machine would record what we did. And I think it simply recorded our actions, and forbids us to do them, until it was destroyed. Well, these ability stops were all bound to one of three machines. After one died, it got pretty easy. Nice element, especially learning what was up with the weird, flying robots in the battles, that sent data.

After that, the dungeon was still open for exploration, but it was confusing how to move through it, so I stopped. Wanted to leave it for NG+, which means it won't happen.

The Ronso, or at least Garik, are still conflicted. But, again, we learn that the old ways have to be abolished, or at least updated. The two kids who searched for a cure for Kimahris broken horn come back, and show that learning about the rest of the world is a good thing.

The Ronso have been stuck on this mountain for centuries, doing nothing but defend it. And even if they got out, they saw the same, old world of before. Now, they need to get out, get some new impressions.

Honestly, there isn't much more to any of this, I think. The idea is the same all the time, to change your ways, now that the world changed. Don't be stuck in the past, that is simply gone now. There are more possibilities.

It doesn't matter if it is being stuck with your memories on temples, or on an old, obsolete group like Yevon. Or simply having a relic from a war that dates back a 1000 years. The point is to carry on, even if you were stuck in stasis for a very long time.

It's a good message, an essential one. But I feel like X-2 hasn't much more. Which is fine. We get other things, like seeing how everything developed, how the characters are and, especially, a lot of goofy fun.

Right, this is the other important theme: Have fun. It's probably one big message: Instead of being stuck in the dead past, enjoy the moment, do things, develop yourself, and enjoy life. Because it's fun.

With that, we will finally destroy the last piece that connects this world to the war that started it all: Vegnagun. We go through the hole in Besaid, assuming that it won't matter, at least not much. There are still Aeons to fight, Shiva, the Magus Sisters and Anima. Shiva was no problem, and Anima was strong, but not enough to get through Shell and Protect. But the Magus Sisters? They were really tough. Nearly did there. I guess having three bosses at once will do that. They even got an overdrive off, which is as scary as it is awesome when you use it. Still, I didn't die.

And I was wrong. It were the real Aeons, just under Shuyins control. Which makes no sense, as the Aeons were gone, but whatever. I guess it was a way of letting the player fight against the Aeons, as regular bosses, unlike the gimmicky version we got at the end of X. As a challenge. Which is fine, just feels lacking.

There is a last dungeon with some weird puzzle, whose solution I just googled. And then, we find Vegnagun. It is controlled by Baralai (the New Yevon guy), who is controlled by Shuyin (the guy who looks like Tidus).

But there is some nice contrast with the end of X. Again, we have an entity that can control others, and again, we have someone who wants to sacrifice themselves by dying, so the rest of the world can live on. Yuna doesn't want to. She still feels bad because of the Aeons, and she doesn't want to lose more friends.

She simply regrets that she let the Aeons die. That she just accepted that there was no other way. Which feels very much like something Tidus would say, and really said. He saved who he wanted to save, and Yuna didn't. She doesn't want that to happen again.

So we will just take Vegnagun apart. With the power of friendship, because everyone, including Leblancs gang, is here.

I remember having a lot of trouble with that fight. I needed to grind, and had at least two people set to Dark Knight, doing the Darkness ability all the time. I didn't use this job this time at all. It's boring. Instead, I continued with Rikku as Lady Luck, Yuna as Berserker and Paine as mainly a White Mage, but often also Samurai. There wasn't much to it, everyone was just way too strong to have any problems. The final form of Vegnagun was the opposite problem of Braskas Aeon - it only acted two times or so, and then died. My damage output was insane.

The last wound of the war from 1000 years ago gets healed, when Lenne and Shuyin share a moment, where she tells him that she loves him, an he realizes that everything is ok. He, too, can let go. And with that, the conflict from then, is finally over.

There is also the backstory of Paine and the three faction leaders, but I honestly am not that interested in it. Doesn't feel very meaty, and I still find it silly that exactly these three dudes ended up leading all the people in Spira.

The game ends, again, with a speech. But not by Yuna, but the three dudes, who apologize for abusing their power. And, honestly, there should be more here. Due to their bad leadership, a war nearly broke out. Instead of working together, Baralai did things on his own, antagonising the others. And then, they all left, because no one even really cared. These three are horrible leaders. But I guess that, when Baralai got posessed (I don't even know when this happened), there was no time left. Still, they shouldn't have started that way, and as soon as Baralai got control over New Yevon, he should have started to reach out to the Youth League.

Honestly, it all feels arbitrary. More like there was a need to have multiple factions, and tie that to the main plot (that just HAD to include some world ending nonsense) but without a good idea how to do it. I know, the stories in FF games are never thought out in all details (but VII really does a good job, concidering the complexity of the story), but here it really feels like we are not only seeing a game with focus on story and gameplay, but also one that is not a full FF game.

It is still a very good game. It just is a shame, the story in these games is generally more complex. V managed that too, being mainly focused on gameplay but having a fine story too. Still, these two games really remind me of each other. I wonder if there is a reason, why the two games with job systems are so strongly focused on a cheerful feel of adventure (and III was similar there too).

Well, that's FF X-2 done. I will write another final post (but in this case, I'm not sure I have much to say - we'll see) in a few days, take another break, and then start with FF XII. I was looking forward to that one. Can't wait to revisit Rabanastre.


What's Shenmue?
Wow, you blew through this one. I suppose X-2 isn't very long if you know what you're doing and/or don't get sidetracked with optional content, though.


It's more that I was addicted in a way that I wasn't with the other games for a long time. Doesn't mean that I liked this more (though I did have a ton of fun with it), just that it worked different on me. As I mentioned (I think at least?), I played something like ten hours on the Sunday I started X-2. I never had that much time on a single day again, but I played often and a lot.

Also, due to the nature of the game, with way less main story, I also had less to write about. It also felt like there was simply less story content there in general, which is my focus when writing. And while the different substories were nice, they all felt more focused on one specific theme than they are in the main game.

All of this made me simply have less to post about, and made me end faster too.

Well, this is already a start for my final post. I want to make clear again, that this game was a joy to play. The sense of fun adventrue hasn't been hit in that way since V, and was in that way only present in V and III. Just this pure sense of discovery, of going with the flow and taking whatever nonsense is thrown my way.

In that sense, it feels like a development of what we had, way back in III. There, we had to do all the quests that were presented. Here, not so much. If you didn't like something, you could ignore it, for the most part at least. And what you couldn't ignore was pretty straight-forward JRPG stuff. Weird things, like catching a chocobo, were always voluntary, I think. We also returned to the mission structure from II, which just shows how far ahead that game was, in some sense at least. That said, I assume such mission structure was a thing in regular D&D, but it hasn't been incorporated in FF this way.

It certainly is nice, how this game seems like a mix of II and III in some way. And, with the smaller scale of the story, X-2 nearly feels like a bit of a throwback. Which also explains me getting a bit more addicted here - it was the same way in the NES games. I wonder if this was intentional, to create something that feels more like one of the first few games. Which would fit, considering an important theme here is to simply enjoy life.

I feel like there is a bit of a missed opportunity here. The sort-of first mission you do is one where you explore old ruins. I wished you would do that more, really doing the mission you decided on to do - finding spheres. Like, I wished they were more hidden in old ruins, or places like that. It's not much of a problem, or a problem at all, just something I feel like I would have enjoyed. We did visit some other old ruins, and it simply was important to visit the places from X, and meet old friends and enemies, learning how they were doing.

The other theme I have already written enough about: Letting go of the past, not letting it block you progressing and learning new things. I do find it interesting that, even someone like Yuna, who was traumatized by everything Yevon presents, is still emotionally bound to it. The temples, the Aeons, they are also a part of what Yevon represented. And Yuna couldn't just let go. But it's clear, the Aeons and the temples were more than just Yevon, they were part of Yunas experience. Giving these things up isn't easy.

Considering that one of the endings lets you actually find Tidus, it really feels counter to what the game is about. It's probably a good thing, that it is more of a hidden bonus-ending, and not one of the regular ones. The game clearly shows sympathy with Yuna, that she doesn't want to let go of Tidus (I'm sure we all can sympathies with having a hard time getting over our first crush). But it also is pretty clear in how the person you fell in love with just isn't there anymore. In reality, people change and develop. After two years, the person you were in love with at 16 has, maybe, become quite a different person. Here, it literally is a different one. Maybe it's a cheat that Tidus and Yuna look so much like Shuyin and Lenne, but it's fine. I'm ok with FF not being subtle.

I liked Paine. I didn't care about her backstory, and honestly, she didn't seem to do either. It never really felt like she and the three dudes had a connection. The three ladies? They worked wonderfully together. No matter how much Paine played the badass, she was just as much of a dork as Yuna and Rikku. There was something about the dreams of the four, but it never felt real or developed. Maybe if I had found all the spheres? As it was, I just didn't care about them as a group. And I still don't like, how the world was basically ruled by just the three guys.

But then, the old guard is gone, and young, charismatic people are just the ones who will see a chance to make the world a better place.

Also, Rikku is there, but I think there isn't much of anything to say? I think she didn't even have an arc?

The mission structure was pretty cool. Meeting old friends, seeing the development of people and places, but also seeing new forces pop up. And just seeing the world being more open and free. Pretty great. Stuff like the cactuar questline make the world so much more fun and goofy. On the other side, you have the sidestory of the Maccalania Woods, and the Guado, who are ready to simply vanish. I'm not even sure that I like how everything works out fine. It felt weighty to have some people not making it through the world -shaking events of X, and to have another people holding an intense grudge. If I had made it through the NG+, I probably would have let this play out without helping. All the happy endings don't feel right here. But it's my decision to help, or not, so I don't mind. Well, not too much, a bit of bittersweetness wouldn't have hurt the game.

The job system is pretty fun, and fits the theme of, well, having fun and choose your way perfectly. The starting jobs aren't very interesting, but you get a bunch more interesting, stronger ones. Not everything works, and I feel like the balance isn't as good as in V (or maybe I'm wrong, you probably can beat X-2 with any three jobs too, especially if one of them is White Mage). It has probably the best incarnation of Berserker and Blue Mage in the whole series, and fun, modern takes of the archer and the bard, even though at least the gunner isn't that great. Or maybe it is, I'm not the best at mechanical stuff, so it could have abilities that are better than they looked.

Oh, I forgot one character in my last post: When you meet Mei'Chen the last time, in Zanarkand in Chapter 5, he will tell you a last story. And then he realizes that he only knows all this stuff, because he is an Unsent. Which is a pretty cool revelation.

On the whole, this game really give you more context for Spira, a world that was already pretty well realized. I don't know how well it worked in Rabanastre, but Spira might be the best built world in the whole of FF X, at least for the mainline games. Rabanastre in Tactics is probably more well though-out. I'll see, at some point, I'm sure. It was really fun, seeing worlds that where better and better realized. If I remember correctly, XIII is a big step back there (doesn't change the fact that I like it, and that there are also very cool ideas in there.

Point is, I think this experiment was well worth it, and I'm glad SE wanted to get more use out of these assets. It's a great game, like V not only because of the battle system, but also because of the world, the characters and simply how fun it is to spend time in here.

Oh, what I didn't make clear is how much I enjoyed the interaction between Yuna, Rikku and Paine. Again, I find myself reminded of the interactions in V, with people who are clearly friends, and are just enjoying their time with each other. I really liked spending time in post-Sin Spira, and with these people.

Brother can die in a fire, though.

With that cheerful thought, I'll leave it. I will take another break, and then start XII, which I have been looking forward to for a long time. No idea if I really will do so, but I plan on filling out the whole monster compendium, because it sounds fun in my mind. We'll see.

Anyway, thanks again for reading and writing. See you then, with the second-to-last game for this project.
Good writeup. Obviously a big part of the game is revisiting the areas, but it does lose some of the impact of making a point. The characters just don't do much aside from Yuna, and that is a huge disservice to Paine especially. I can barely even recall much of her backstory. Brother might be the worst character in final fantasy history.

I think this wasn't in the version you played, but i want to give special mention to the creature creator/fiend arena in x-2. The fiend tales ended up being some of my favorite bits of storytelling. Don't care much for having them in my party, but it was fun letting them auto-battle in the arena. A problem with a fair amount of the bits of the game is they feel a little half-baked, and this is included, but is it ever charming.


My personal headcanon is that Paine's backstory is they called Lulu about coming back for the sequel, she heard about the costume swap thing, swore at the producers about how she was constantly spilling out of those "black mage robes" and they could go to hell, and so they had to bring in her understudy at the last minute, not really having time to rewrite things and properly introduce her as a new character.


What's Shenmue?
I think pudik got it right when he said X-2 is more concerned with "we have to move on" rather than "this is what moving on looks like". So when the game is focused on Yuna, her arc and the stuff that fits into her grief by analogy (everything with Shuyin), it's really quite good… but when it tries to broaden its scope to looking at the rest of the world, it doesn't quite know how to tackle that. Definitely a lot of missed potential here, even if it still does some things very well.

Agreed with what you said about the interactions between YRP, they're a lot of fun. I'm always worried when a sequel adds a single new party member to the mix alongside established characters, but Paine really fit into the dynamic seamlessly.


Honestly, really thinking about it, Paine MIGHT be my favorite FF character outside of 6's cast. Largely because of her lack of introduction. Sometimes in life you just inexplicably end up with agreeable soft butch goth girls hanging out with you all the time.


The death of Lord Rasler Helos Nabradia was but one of
many tragedies to befall the Kingdom of Dalmasca.

The air of hope that had surrounded Her Royal Highness
Princess Ashe's Wedding was now quite lost: Dalmasca
had been set adrift, at the mercy of history's restless tides.

At this time, the great empires struggled for dominion over Ivalice:
Archadia in the east, and Rozarria, the west.
The invasion of the kingdom of Nabradia was Archadia's first step in its westward march.

With Lord Rasler's beloved homeland consumed by the hell-fires
of war, it seemed clear that Archadia would soon mete out a like fate to Dalmasca.
The fall of the fortress at Nalbina tolled the
destruction of the greater part of Dalmasca's forces.

A counter-attack was mounted by the order of
the Knights of Dalmasca, ever brave and faithful, but
against the martial might of the Archadian armies,
they stood little chance of victory.

Indeed, their defeat was to be absolute.

Soon thereafter, Archadia came forward offering terms of
peace. Or, as one might rather put it, terms of Dalmasca's surrender.

Lord Raminas, King of Dalmasca--and my dear friend--had no choice
but to accept these terms. It was, thus, only with reluctance that
he set out for Nalbina fortress--now under Archadian
occupation--to affix his seal to the Emperor's treaty of peace.

The King had scarce departed his royal city of Rabanastre
when the remnants of the Order made their return.
And not a moment too soon, for a terrible revelation awaited them.

The treaty would be signed with steel and writ in royal blood.​

Memoirs of Mqs Halim Ondore IV, Chapter 12: Of the Fall of Kingdoms.

When I got to FF XII, games didn't have as big of an impact on me, as they did in earlier years of my life. I really have trouble accurately placing it. This has already been a problem for a longer time, but here, I just don't get the time. I think it was around 2007. Together with the borrowed PS2, including FF X, I think. But I didn't beat it, back then. Later, I bought my own PS2 and hunted around for all these old JRPGs that I missed or simply wanted for my own, and FF XII was one of these. This time, I beat it.

That's at least how I remember it. To be honest, I can't say if this is really how it went. It probably doesn't matter, though.

I did enjoy the game quite a lot. Being able to roam the dessert, not having an abstract world map, but a continous world, felt great, as did the offered way of having monsters directly on the map, without any screen transitions. No random battles! I never got the hang of the gambits. I did put in some very basic ones, like attack on sight and heal when < 25% HP, something like that. But in the end, I just did all the inputs on my own. I never understood the complaint, about the game playing itself, for that matter. I mean, I kind of do, but I still stand by the idea, that you can mainly play the game like earlier FFs.

I have only ever played one MMO, LOTRO, and that was after FF XII. So the whole way it worked was new to me, and the scope of Rabanastre especially, was new to me, it blew me away. I loved running around that city, finding an absurd amount of NPCs, most of whom I couldn't even talk to. Rabanastre felt alive.

After realizing, that I couldn't do some of the hunts when I got to them, I simply ignored them, stashing them away for the post-game. Where I did most of them, but many were positioned way earlier, and they felt completely pointless. I remember not beating Bahamut (or Deathgaze? The one you meet while flying on an airship), that fast chocobo, Gilgamesh and the one with the insane amount of HP. Simply ran out of steam and motivation, at some point.

While I didn't do anything with the Gambit system, I abused the hell out of the overdrive attack. Every boss I met was simply annihilated by a chain of those blasts. I plan on not using them, this time. My memory tells me, that they trivialized everything. I also DO plan to at least try to use the Gambit system. No promises here, though.

I loved this world, Ivalice, but I never liked the dungeons. I remember them being a lot of copy-paste corridors, pretty to look at, but horribly boring in layout. Add to that, that I wanted to spend time outside, under the sky, instead of some dusty, boring tomb. Plus, the randomized items made looking for them so absolutely pointless and demotivating. In my 1.5 playthroughs, I once found a pretty good bow for Fran. The one and only item of interest. Aside from that, just money, potions and knots of rust.

Funnily enough, I didn't mind Pharos. I mean, I didn't like the dungeons, but they were just part of JRPGs, so I accepted them, and Pharos didn't feel different. They were all way too long.

I remember being disappointed in the lack of race diversity in the cast. Didn't change. Give me a team of a moogle, a seek, a banga, a nou-mu, a vierra and, maybe, one hume. Vaan could be a moogle (I could totally see him that way), and Penelo a seek. Something like that.

But enough of that. I did enjoy my playthroughs a lot, but I have trouble talking about the good points. It just felt good to experience that world, which is often hard to quantify, especially when it is so long ago.


I love, that the game introduces us into this world, by showing us the main points of a break in the History of Dalmasca, a victim of a bigger war. And how we are promised to look at this state in-between.

And probably find out, that something super important is inside this small state, or something. Whatever, we will get to that. But it is a nice way of introducing us into this setting, and making it clear, that this world isn't just a random fantasy world. It has a History, it has nations with borders, that fight wars where hundreds, thousands of people are involved.

The cutscenes showing this didn't do that much for me. Thankfully, Ivalice looks clear enough like its own world, but it still felt too much like a random fantasy movie. But thinking about it, I feel like they put a bit of weight, reality, into this place.

We do have magic here. But it is mundane, a tool known by some people, and used or not. There is also advanced technology, with people living in a not-industrialized world. These two points always strike me in some way, making me think it should be different - with that level of technology, there should be more of it. That there isn't, will always make me feel, like we are in a post-apocalyptic world. Similar to FF X, where technology exists, but people don't know how to use it anymore (it's more complicated there, but you get my point).

Atmospherically, everything is amazing. I love, that the information about the setting comes from the memoires of a person in this world (I think, one of the guest characters, maybe?). The menues, the artstyle in general, everything looks like a place.

You know, how I mentioned that the worlds in the FF games got more and more refined? This here feels like a culmination of that, where we have such a clear vision for a part of the world, that it is all we can focus on.

Our first bit of gameplay is through Reks, who we will later learn is Vaans brother. He, under Basch, will help to make the king stop signing the peace treaty. It's not much more than a tutorial for how the moving through a dungeon, including fighting, works. I don't even know what to say about this new battle system, at least for now. It is extremely simple to just pick up, it seems to me.

The fortress looks like a real one, if only focusing on the artstyle. But aside from that, it immediately starts to feel like a connection of hallways. I get that we are here with a specific goal, but I think later dungeons aren't any better? And rooms are either inaccessible, or bland and nondescript? We'll see.

I do like, that the machines that Archadia uses, have old FF monster names, and that the first of these machines we destroy is the Tonberry.

Reks falls, of course, betrayed by Basch, who also killed the king, who he considers a traitor, for wanting to sign the peace treaty. Yeah, I do remember the twist at the very end of the game. I'm curious if it really comes so much out of left field as I remember.

I wonder, what was the real Baschs plan? Not accepting the treaty would just make sure that Dalmasca would lose all souvereignty, as it did, in the end. There simply was no choice. The false Basch has a different motive, of course, so acting that way makes sense. And, I guess, it already shows that Vayne has a different, unclear motive, to get directly to Dalmasca.

Of course, soldiers and citizens might simply think in terms of honor and freedom, and maybe there was still some hope that Dalmasca would be able to fight back? It's hard to say. I get where Basch is coming from, it just seems hopeless to me.

A point of note: Reks is still 17. And Basch makes clear, that he is way too young for being a soldier, and potentially dying, especially with a brother left behind. War Is Bad, and simply destroys.

We also learn, that princess Ashe committed suicide, after learning about Dalmascas defeat.

You know what? I really like this setup, for Basch and Ashe.

Two years later, we finally get to Vaan, killing some rats. There isn't too much unexpected to him, but enough to make him a likeable character. Him wanting to become something bigger, than just a regular, down-trodden citizen. Sailing the skies, in absolute freedom, which is a very, very FF thing to want. But also having this heart of gold, stealing from soldiers who want to steal from a merchant. Or maybe not heart of gold, I'm not clear if he actually wanted to keep that money, if Penelo hadn't talked to him.

The city, Rabanastre, has been taken over by Archadian troops, and the soldiers act like they own the place. Most former citizens, except for the rich, have been driven underground. And once more, we have the motive of the rich (rich Dalmascans) and powerful (the Archadians) living not only in the upper parts of the city, but also in the sunlight. And while the regualar Dalmascans can get out of the sewers, they still live in a place where the sun never reaches down.

I feel like there isn't much to Penelo, at this point, but we are still at the beginning. I do like the dynamic between her and Vaan, feeling like siblings, with her not really agreeing with his ways, but clearly also not being really opposed to them. Mainly, she seems scared for his safety.

Like I remembered, Rabanastre is a great place, one that feels real and lived in, and it's a joy to move around here. Tons of attention have been put into the NPCs, not only the important ones like Migelo (who has a great design), but also ones that you can only see, like a laughing Seek.

A new consul is supposed to appear today, and Migelo was ordered to prepare the banquet. There are problems with that, though, as a monster who I will just refer to as a killer tomato, makes trouble for a courier. A nice introduction to the Mob system.

I remember spending a lot of time in dungeons, and even when not, the overworld might look nicer to me, but it still works like more dungeon. In this regard, the game feels very, very old-school. Together with less direct story and less cutscenes (at least I remember it that way, the start has more then enough of those), it feels more like a dungeon crawler than any FF in a long time. Fittingly, instead of having an extended minigame, like Tetra Master or Blitzball, we just get some especially hard-to-kill monsters. Fitting, considering we are doing a single-player MMO.

I love, how there is this built-in achievement system, that will fill up a room with all kinds of characters, if you achieve something. The monster catalogue is, of course, great, and I'm looking forward to filling it out, and learning more about the world that way.

Before getting out into the desert, I talk to all kinds of people. Including a Bangaa, who asks me to give something to his colleague, who is stuck outside the city walls. We do, and get nothing. I really like this, having such side-quests that are really small, offer no reward, and are just there for, essentially, role-playing, and maybe a bit of world building.

Out in the dessert, the first thing we see is a shot of a dinosaur hunting a bunch of wolves, and then later being able to see these creatures fighting each other.

As everyone else, I attacked the t-rex, the first time I played this game. This time, I don't. It's still really cool.

Being here is awesome. Despite being essentially a giant dungeon area, I love hunting around for monsters, and simply slaying the wildlife here. Peaceful (cactuars) or not (wolves). And I defeat the killer tomato with relative ease.

Back inside, we see another cutscene, the parade of Vayne Solidor. He will be the new consul, ruling over Rabanastre. His speech is pretty good, very well calculated, and pretty clever for a JRPG antagonist. Like, the citizens are still mad, of course, being treated as second-class people in their own city. And not wanting to be ruled by another nation. But they fall for Vaynes bullshit, how their king wanted peace, and how it is completely up to them to bring this peace. By not hating their oppressors anymore.

Instead of, you know, stopping to oppress this country. Really icky speach. Yeah, the defenders prolong the war, by defending their place.

There is more, about Vaan wanting to sneak into the palace and steal some money, but I stopped the main story here. Instead, I slayed Dexter, the second Mob. A giant wolf.

And, for the first time, I managed to do it without Penelo. First, killing all the wolves around. I was lucky enough to have one of Dexters two sidekicks on its own, being able to kill that one, too, without getting Dexters attention. Then I made a save-state. This was just, so I wouldn't have to redo stuff. I'm not starting to use them inside battles.

The battle was still hard, at least the last part. Killing he other wolf, and taking away around 1/2 of Dexters HP was easy. Just use a bunch of potions, and it worked out. But then, Dexter would summon another wolf, and would use some attack that did around 100 HP, maybe more. It killed Vaan way too often, with his 130 max HP. The one time I won, I made sure to be fully healed, and then, after that brutal attack, hit Dexter two more times, to kill him. It worked.

Not really complicated, as the systems aren't open enough, and I only have one party member. But still, that felt good, when it worked out.

Oh, a detail I really like is the automatic regeneration of MP, when walking around. Really helps, in making magic something that can be used in regular battles.

Anyway, that's it for now. Next time, I will probably die against the next mob, and try to get into the castle.
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Round and round I go
Staff member
Which version are you playing? The fast-forward alone makes Zodiac Age the best way to play, and the autosave can't be overlooked either.


The original. The idea of this project was to take a look at how the series developed. Zodiac Age changes too much for my taste, as I want to see how the original License Grid works. Or can you choose between the original grid, and the one with the different jobs? It won't matter, aside from what I mentioned, I shouldn't spend money on games, at the moment.

I don't like fast-forward - part of what I like about these games is the slow pace. If it is too slow, that's a clear sign that I should stop playing, it generally is relaxing. And I never got out of the habit of saving manually, so autosave, while nice, isn't necessary for me - I can always use savestates.

Still, thanks for the suggestion. : )
Old game held up okay last I tried it too. Plus at the time I forced myself to assign hardline jobs to everyone any ways. Best of luck and times with that IMO deserving gem.


You cannot select the original license grid in any of the rereleases of FFXII and I find it extremely bothersome that they've essentially erased the way the game was originally designed and shipped without any way to play it that way in the "definitive" release.
yea, keeping the ps2 version for that very reason. I love both board versions, even in the old i made my own "classes" though. One of the few games where i still have notebook paper in the case, with 12 year old plans for character classes and marks of weapons and espers to get for each character on the board

happy this one is coming up, my favorite final fantasy, near my favorite game of all times. The opening does also set up what i find to be the best part, what many disagree with: boring political exposition. Everything about the games atmosphere is so austere and mundane that it gives the world a livability that stands out in a series that's really good at making livable worlds. It's poetry in the efficiency the game shows itself. Rabanastre has the sociological setup that is as subtle as it is original, but it still never feels rote. I think the backdrop of the parade also plays into it, there's liveliness where the public presentation is required, and underneath is just routine and lethargic.

Vaan's introduction is great too: a classic sewer scene. I think it's funny how much this game goes back to "tropes" without ever feeling mired in nostalgia. But the sky pirate aspirations are interesting too. The majority of vaan's character and growth are really focused around his dual ambitions: revenge against the empire and being a sky pirate. The former is abstract but rational, the latter is almost purely aspirational, pie-in-the-sky desire. He's the POV character in a game that arguably doesn't have a "main protagonist" and i like how he operates on the periphery with goals that make him believe he's the agent for change.


New monitor. Finally able to continue.

Story-wise, I didn't get that far. Well, made it through the whole palace burglary and escape.

First, we needed a sunstone, doing a bit of sidequesting, which also makes one explore the desert. And finally get Penelo in the party for a bit, really increasing your damage output. It always amazed me, how a dangerous enemy like Dexter would be relatively easy to kill, if you just had a second character to play with.

It's here, were I do the third hunt, a bunch of cactuars that are making trouble. I remember having trouble with that one, even with Penelo, but it isn't much of a problem this time. It DOES lead to further quests, which I never realized. More on that later, though.

When Penelo goes again, she makes it clear that, while she is more responsible than Vaan, she also is still a teenager, who ignores her work. But I get it, she wants to spend time with Vaan, whose head is in the clouds, dreaming about becoming a sky pirate. There is no romantic tension there, it's just two kids who have known and like each other. She is the one, who puts more into this relationship, though - making Vaan promise not to go anywhere, when he knows that what he is planning to do is very dangerous.

It's interesting, and feels subtle, how their relationship works. I enjoy spending time with these two.

To get into the palace, we do the obligatory sewer dungeon. It's not long, and soon we see a cutscene of Balthier and Fran appearing, on their cool magic motorcycle. Inside the palace, we have to get around the guards, which is very easy. I appreciate them trying to do something here, but it's not worth mentioning much.

There is some interesting interaction going on between Vaan and Balthier. Vaan only gets a magicite from the treasure chamber, which happens to be the very thing the pirates are looking for, too. And over the course of the next dungeons, Balthier seems to get respect for Vaan, letting him have the treasure. And he soon shows to have a good heart, when he looks out for the boy, when he is attacked by some really gross Seek.

Fran is cool, but doesn't get much to do beside being that. I think she doesn't get much, outside of the visit to the Vierra city, right? There is the little bit about Vaan being surprised about her, never having seen a Vierra before.

Oh, and more scheeming from Vayne, who Balthier suggests to have hoped for some resistance to appear, so he could blow it to pieces with one of his airships. Which worked out fine.

We also meet Ashe in the sewers, when trying to flee, who calls herself by a false name. I think it's still supposed to be a surprise, that it's her? But we have seen her already, so maybe not. She is an introduction for a guest character, something we haven't seen since...FF III, right? I'll come back to that too, just getting the little story out of the way first.

Ashe isn't too happy to need help from stinking sky pirates. Which, of course, she IS a princess after all. And later on, we also meet the true Basch, sitting in a hanging cage, and Vaan gets a bit angry. A flashback to him, visiting his brother, who was completely broken after the betrayel. Except that we already learn, that it was Baschs twin. I guess that's a way to do it, too, but I can't help myself - it feels weird.

Over the course of their escape, Balthier makes clear that he has no time for Vaan getting angry at Basch, and Basch seemingly earning Vaans trust. It goes fast, but it also works, for me.

Well, we escape the tunnels, get back to Rabanastre and learn that Penelo was kidnapped by Ba'Gagnan, someone who is out for Balthiers blood. And that's where I stopped. Well, with the story.

I'm having a hard time writing about the story in this game. It's more minimalistic than in the other FFs, probably since IV, and the writing simply seems more competent than it has ever been before. More subtle, especially. There is no point, in describing the minitua of how Vaan started to trust Basch. All I can say is, that it works. These characters work well, and there is a lot of setup here. And I'm curious to see more of Vaynes machinations. He is a fun villain, I have to say.

With that done, on to the more interesting stuff. To be clear, I am looking forward to more of the story, but for now, simply experiencing the world is my greatest joy here.

I mentioned a mob, a flower cactuar, whose defeat leads to a sidequest. Because I am lazy, and accustomed to sidequests being explicitely written down in the game and mentioned, I never followed up on that. This time, I did. When you get out of the tunnel after escaping the prison (it felt really, to see the sunlight again), you find the settlement where his wife is, who needs the flower for some medicine. The quest isn't over, though, and I started writing down sidequests for the first time since VI, but something I mainly did in the NES games. I collected some clams, got some more stuff from Dandro (who asked us to kill the mob in the first place, and am now asked with finding some "Blütentau" (I can't change the language, for whatever reason, so I'm stuck with the German words, and a translation that is likely less good than what I heard about the English one).

I really like this, having this old-school approach to sidequests, which you have to write down yourself (or simply forgetting them). As I get older, I find these tasks that should be annoying, like writing sidequests down or drawing your own map, to be enriching for a game. If I am in the right mood, that is. But if I am, it works really well, and it makes the world feel more real, like you are more of a part of it.

I also do the other hunts that are available. There is another regular one, about a ghost that roams around the sewers, in the place where Vaan killed the rats in the beginning. Not too much to say about that one, except that you probably need at least two people - the doom spell will kill Vaan on his own, at least at this point in the game. The setup was, that a kid didn't want to get out of its room, because it was afraid of the ghost. There is a twist, in that the kid isn't a hume, but an adorable seek. Also, inside the room, when you can get inside now, we find some cryptic writings about a puzzle. Which might have to do with these switches in the sewers, that I ignored when I found them, not knowing what was up with them.

There is also the fact, that we closed of the mines, when escaping, and that there is now someone inside. I even found the second entrance, but have no key. Also written down for myself, so I will not forget.

These little sidequests, just being able to find them, really give the world a more complex feel. Like, if you take time to explore these vast spaces, you might find something. Unfortunately, the game didn't do as much with this as it could. Part of that are the randomized treasures. I wished, that, if I found the hidden edge of a map, I might get some nice equipment, but often, there is nothing at all. Even a nice view would be nice, but it's just a wall. Kinda disappointing, especially this world would be ideal for this kind of stuff. At least a rare monster would be nice.

Speaking of, I already found two of these special creatures. One of them a flying fish, who was so weak that I only realized his specialness, when I found his entry in the monster log. Later on, I found some zombie guy in the western desert, who was a fine challenge.

I do like, that this world has heard of all kinds of horrible monsters, who make life harder for the citizens of this world. Montblanc knows about the burning horse I need to kill in the sewers, about the three slimes and the mimic queen. It's great, that these are not only bosses, but that people know about these weird, dangerous beasts. It gives the world more substance, makes it feel more like a whole. There are other adventurers out there, beside me. And they heard about this monsters, because of course they would.

By far the most challenging fight was a special mob, that I got directly from Montblanc. The Cluckatrice. Last time I tried to play the game, maybe even two times, that was the part where I stopped. You see, I wanted to experience the hunts in an interesting way. Not leaving them for later, when they would have had no teeth. Aside from that, I didn't manage to get invested in the game, the world, the story. All there was, were the hunts. But that thing is brutal, and it destroyed me.

Part of that is simply, that you fight four monsters. And the chicks, while losing health fast, get extremely hard to hit when they are nearly dead, which made everything take way too long, and I would die. It was the same this time. At the point where I stopped, before taking the airship to rescue Penelo, I went out to kill Cluckatrice. Put Protect on everyone, focused on one chick at a time, put Vaan on Potion duty, and tried. I could get through one chick, but then would be overwhelmed, especially when the protects would vanish, and I got trouble in reapplying them. At levels 9-10, it simply was too hard.

So I explored. This world feels beautifully big. I still haven't explored all there is, despite having killed the monsterbird. I made it to the Nalbina fortress, I explored the whole southern and eastern parts of the desert, and I found the part in the West, where sandstorms made it impossible to continue. I tried to fight a bird, that was peaceful until attacked. It one-shot Vaan, and I tried to escape with the others, but failed miserably. I think the bird summoned death, or something? Some ghost thing with a scythe.

Anyway, after leveling up by exploring (so no grinding, I just went to all kinds of places on the map - this is an important distinction, as it is way more fun that way, going back all the way to FF I, where it's more fun to try to get as far as possible, only to fall back when you are out of ressources, instead of running around a city or even punching yourself), with everyone in the range of 10-12, and everyone also assigned a role, I tried again. Vaan, again, was on Potion duty, and he was also the one who would throw gold needles, if the horrible bird would try to stone someone. Basch was the strongest physical fighter, and simply hacked away. Fran was equipped with a stuff, but also knew the dark-spell, that would do decent damage. She would cast that, and then change to simple attacks. Due to MP being restored if you move around, I controlled her, always running in circles, but also just using tow of my Ethers. This thing was harder than any boss before, if I didn't use them here, I wouldn't use them ever.

Balthier, despite him arguing that he is the hero of the story (or maybe because of that) was there to put Protect on everyone, and then go away again. And this time, it worked. The chicks took some time, but I got them, and the spell didn't miss. I did fail a few times, because Cluckatrice would get really aggressive, before it died, and would just overwhelm me. Also, I would simply run out of potions, because over 30 isn't enough, if you use one ever two seconds.

But this time, where I DID think about reapplying Protect, I made it through. I did use my to High Potions, but the horrible birds died.

Oh, I did try to start giving everyone some sort of job. I'm not knowledgable enough to recreate specific jobs from the older games, but for now, I have this:

Vaan: Gets abilities and bows, plus light armor, no magic, probably abilities that make his items better
Basch: Gets all the weapon competencies, plus heavy armor (that's why he hit the strongest, he got the best sword)
Balthier: Mage and daggers, light armor, white and green magic
Fran: Mage and sticks, light armor, black, shadow and time magic

No idea what to do with Penelo (can I make someone a monk here?) or Ashe, but we'll see. For now, this is fun. I just wanted to differentiate them in some way, and give them specialtees. It's fun, I think, trying to do this.

The last point I want to get to: This game reminds me a lot of FF II. One thing are the guests, that I mentioned. Even though they behave more like the ones from III, having no control over them at all, it is still a concept that is very strongly bound to what I think of essentially FF II. Then, there is this giant map that you can explore, basically from the word go. It's not the whole world, I guess, but there is a lot of space to cover. And, if you kill the enemies on your way, it will take a lot of time, and will make you quite strong. I have something like 11 hours already.

It just feels so vast, in a way no FF has felt since FF II, where you can, theoretically, access a lot of the world, because so much is one single continent. It's really nice, to have this big space to explore, feeling like there are no boundaries for you.

Also, it feels like the amount of freedom you have in building your characters, that they then will be bound to (unlike VII and VIII, where you can switch builds around all the time), hasn't been seen since FF V, I guess (or rather X-2), but it feels a whole lot like a more freeform yet simply version of the character development in II.

Well, that's it for now. Next time, I will go save Penelo, something I haven't done since I played through the game, uh, ten years ago, I guess? No idea. Anyway, I'm enjoying what I'm playing.
can I make someone a monk here?

Barehanded is generally not something the game rewards well, but a pole wielding monk could work. In Zodiac Job System, the monk job means poles, some white magic, and high HP and it's great. Poles are a very strong weapon because they're long range (can hit aerial targets), can combo well, and probably most importantly hit against Magic Defense instead of Defense, so they're extremely useful against certain tanky enemies with high physical defense that other melee characters might struggle with.

I'm not sure if sticks means staves or poles in your post, but if it meant poles, if Fran is a mage that focuses damage, to differentiate Fran from Penelo as a monk you might consider giving Fran bows or crossbows (whichever Vaan isn't using) to maintain range, or staves to boost magic power, which could fit with a mage archetype.
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Cluckatrice is my most vivid memory of FFXII. Like you, I wanted to do the hunts as soon as they were available, and on my first attempt at that one, I just got crushed. I was totally unprepared. Because of the monster's name, I expected a fight that would be impossible without some way of dealing with petrification, which I didn't have, but that didn't even matter because I died from the damage the enemies were putting out before they had a chance to petrify me. Because of that, I thought that maybe it wasn't going to petrify me after all, so I went back in with a more defensive strategy, hoping that if I could weather the storm long enough to kill one chick, it would get easier and I'd be able to ride that momentum to victory. Of course, it didn't work, because once I was able to survive long enough to see it, the mama bird did indeed start using petrification attacks.

At that point, I wanted to buy items to cure the status, but I thought I couldn't because I was looking in the item shop for Softs and didn't see them. I don't think this was the first localized game to call the item Gold Needle, but I had recently replayed FFVII, so it was Soft in my head. I was going to give up and come back later, but then thought that with the more open map design of this game, maybe I could get to an item shop in a higher level area and buy Softs there. Just sequence break to buy a basic status healing item. I did make my way to another shop, and while looking through its offerings I finally realized the Gold Needles were what I needed and they had been in the shop from the beginning of the game after all. I had also gained a level or two while exploring, so the Cluckatrice wasn't quite as bad when I finally took it on again, and I was able to beat it after a few more tries. So yeah, similar to your experience, but for a much dumber reason.


Well, that was a long break. But exams are finally over. Well, nearly, there is still one in two weeks, but I finally can do something aside from studying, without feeling guilty. And so I played a bit more of this game.

I think I was at the point, where Penelo was kidnapped by a group of Bangaa, and Vaan, Balthier and Fran got on their way to rescue her. Being able to buy a ticket for a flight is fun, and it's really nice that we can choose between an instant one, and one where we can chill on board. And let me tell you, this airship is cool.

I think again and again about how we, as humans, never actually realized the dream of flying. That one is, at least in my head, about freedom, soaring through the sky, not bound by anything. And planes are not that. Not at all. But this here? This is great. And I know, we had these airships that were more like this one, and pretty dangerous. Oh, well.

Still, I found it fun to run around in that thing, always wishing for a small casino, where you could play Black Jack or something against a not-Setzer. Would have been fun.

As far as I can tell, the only reason (aside from fighting some dragon later on) is a side-quest, where you try to help six stewardess sisters getting rid of six garbage dudes, who simingly want to pressure them into marriage. Gross, I'd prefer to let Fran just hit them over the head with her staff.

Bhujerba, too, is a pretty cool place. Flying cities are always nice, and this one also seems to have more plants than Rabanastre. I don't know that much about Star Wars, but I think Ondore, the Marquis of this place, is an interpretation of that guy from Episode 5? What I certainly know is, that he is a different take on Edgar, the ruler who seems to collaborate with the Evil Empire. Except that this guy doesn't just blow his cover, but even helps the Empire take us prisoner.

But before that, we have to go into the Lhusu-Mines, to free Penelo. Which give the city its wealth and lets it fly, as it is full of magicite. But it is, of course, all a dangerous game, and Ondore is still restricted in what he can do. Like he can't just throw out the Imperials, who run around and act like it's there city, because they are looking for Larsa. I think that was the point, it's already weeks since I played that part.

I'm not quite sure how the part in the mines work. When we enter, to get Penelo out from there, we see Ondore for the first time, with Larsa, who still acts like his name is Lamont. We go in, meet Ba'Gabnan, run from him, and find Penelo well outside, with Ondore and the others. I guess the storyline is from before, when Vaan and Penelo didn't exist, and something got lost there? It's weird.

But the important thing is, that we have a guest, who is pretty awesome. Because he has an infinite stack of Hi-Potions, which are pretty great at this point in the game. You basically can't die here. He isn't the first guest, but he does remind me of Minwu, who also made sure that killing you was basically impossible.

The next part is the one people seem to remember well, where Vaan acts like he is "Captain Basch Ronsenberg of Dalmasca", or something. It's a fun, little scene, and pretty easily done. I enjoyed it.

I will try not to get too much into the details of the story here, I really couldn't do more than to summarize here. Have a hard time with this one, at least from scene to scene.

With the help of the marquis, we get taken oto the ship Leviathan, where "Amalia" is held captive. Once again, we reference FF II (and Star Wars), as we go onto this great airship, a dangerous weapon of the Empire, to rescue the princess of the game.

So, once again we are prisoners. This game really likes to do that.

On there, Vossler, from the start of the game, helps us get free, so we can search for Ashe. Vossler joins us, as a powerhouse who just destroys enemies. It's nice having him, even if it's only for a short time.

We also meet our first judge here, Ghis. He is a jerk, and a somewhat challenging boss.

Back at Ondores place, he suggests for Ashe to stay with him. She has no proof of her heritage, so the Pope of this world will not acknowledge her. She still goes away, trying to steal Balthiers ship. And in there, we finally get the scene of everyone being a team now.

Next up is the search for proof, that Ashe is who she claims to be. So we are going to some old tomb, to find the Dawn Shard. Before that, I explore a bit and find the Zertenian-Grotto, which as an awful slime in it. I'll leave this for a later time.

To get to Raithwalls Tomb, we have to cross a pretty big desert, which we can't fly over. It's a Jakht, a place where magic doesn't work, and the airships seem to use magic. It's also the place of the Urutan-Yensa, people who don't take kindly to strangers. I kill a lot of them.

This is also a place where the Rossarians, the enemies of our Evil Empire, tried to draw oil. Which I do find interesting. This place seems like it should be technologically further ahead than it is. As I played, I got more and more the feeling that this is due to royalty taking way too much. Even before the Empire came and took over. Dunno, Rabanastre DOES seem like a nice place to live, but it does that now too, with the poor being forced under the ground.

I always wondered how legitimate Ashes claim to the throne actually is. Like, the game acts like she should rule, just because it's her birthright. Which seems really problematic. I'm just not sure I even want to aid her. Vayne seems like a jerk, and his soldiers treated the people of Rabanastre poorly. But we have no idea how live was before him. Better, clearly, but still - it's very unclear, and we are supposed to just support Ashe, simply because she was born into the role of ruler.

Anyway, in the middle of the sandsea, we find an Urutan-Yensa who is actually asking for help. Which we give, fighting against some giant monster turtle. It's not a hard fight, and I'm not able to make my guys not attack the other Urutan-Yensa. Oh, well. It is a nice sidequest, as the story doesn't end well for the one who asked for help. The leader, I guess, simply kills him, as he has brought shame onto their people.

I do wonder, what happened here? That these giant structures for oil drawing are here suggests, that the Urutan-Yensa weren't always that antagonistic. I imagine it would have been hard doing anything here, otherwise. And they haven't been completely wiped-out. So, I imagine Rossaria came with high promises, and than abused their position, until they were driven away. By a people that would now trust no outsider anymore. Makes me think of FF VII, a bit.

Maybe the Monster Encyclopedia will shine some light on this. I'll have to take a look.

Elsewise, nothing much of note is happening in this part. It's just a long stretch of desert, basically a dungeon under open sky. I do like that, I enjoy these spaces more than dark dungeons. And, once again, I'm reminded of the open, giant map of FF II. It's really the game I have to think of the most, when playing XII. There seem to be so many things that feel like callbacks. It is a bit, like this game is from an alternate reality, where the FF franchise put a bigger focus on open world design, giant fields, exploration and so on, instead of focusing on the story more and more. Like we have just skipped a bunch of games. It's not quite that big, but it feels like a clear departure from the other FF games, even keeping in mind, that change is a constant in that series.

A nice thing with this sidequest is, that we get a flower that weakens the boss that guards the tomb, Garuda. Ignoring the hunts, it's our first flying enemy, and a boss at that, which means that regular attacks can't hit him. Unlike birds and bats, who aren't flying, at least not in that way.

I still remember the first time where I played the game and got here. Everyone just got the same, strong sword, and that was it. All I had were a few MP to cast a handful of spells, and the gun that Balthier had at the start. It still wasn't a hard fight (I think I didn't even get, that I should use that flower), it just took forever.

This time, I used said flower, and the boss was laughably easy. No challenge at all.

I do like, how Garuda is the first (maybe only?) boss who is partly invincible, due to being in the air. Feels like a callback to the fight against him in III.

A merchant came along too, and he is my favourite person ever, because he was the first to sell Hi-Potions.

I tried fighting against the first Demon Wall, but it just wasn't happening. The second one is worlds easier, so no problem there. But the first seems to still be there, so, maybe later. I do like him here, feels like a fitting trap for such a place.

The dungeon itself isn't too interesting, just a lot of running around. It looks cool, no question, but also pretty samey. I also hope the guy who built it used some magic, and not slaves. This building is gigantic, so much unused space.

Nothing of note happens, until the end, when we fight Belial. I mean, it's not a hard fight, but it was a boss. And our first Esper. I do remember him being useful, for some time.

Further in, we find the Dawn Shard. Ashe also sees the spirit of Rasler, her dead husband. It did seem like just an echo, though, maybe produced by the high concentration of magic here? Certainly reminded me of FF X, and the Farplane.

You know, when the older games always had these ideas that would be expanded upon in the next game? Like the Dark Knights in FF III, which would be, as a concept, strongly explored in the next game.

This feels like that. Like an idea that someone had, and that someone might find interesting, to make it the focus of the next game. Maybe this is a product of how the game started to reference its own History more and more.

But all was for nothing, as, when we get out, we are surprised by judge Ghis, and his whole fleet. Which means that, once again, we are taken prisoner.

You know, I just played this bit, and up to that, it felt very different from the other FF games, in that there doesn't seem to be the same urgency here. Normally, you try to get something before the enemy. You are so often harrased by the Evil Empire, all the time, and here you are just a bunch of guys under the radar. And yes, bad things are happening (I guess), but it doesn't matter if we find the Dawn Shard now, or in a month.

This shows, that we are constantly watched. Oh, and Vossler, who joined us again in the desert, is a traitor. Except that he is one of the good ones, who only did it for love of his country. Thinking, that fighting the Empire (yeah, I forgot its name) is pointless. We do fight him, and he is another easy boss. Except for the last bit, where he hits six times in a row, or something. Still, he goes down.

We also get some "don't overdo the science", even if it's magic here, when judge Ghis does some science on the Dawn Shard, to find out if it is the true one (the one from the palace was a fake). We get some more on Fran, who can't take the increasing magical energy, and goes a bit wild. The Dawn Shard would finally create a giant explosion, destroying the Leviathan and the whole fleet, before flying away (we get him back that way).

There is some ominous talk between Ashe and Basch, who know about such an explosion. It was in Nabudis, Raslers homeland. Which explains now, what Vayne wants, and why. Balthier suggests, that he probably has the other two stones.

So, Ashe wants to use the Dawn Shard to fight back. But to do that, she needs to learn how to use it. Fran suggests, that we visit the Garif, who know about magicks. Which means that we have a new goal. Which is also the place, where I stopped playing today.

I understand why people think that Ashe is the protagonist of this game. Especially with how Vaan and Penelo seem to be added later, and all that. Basch could have been the driving force, until she is rescued, and then we get her to give us a new goal. Still, Vaan is a more sympathetic character. I stay with what I said, the idea of having her as someone to empathise with doesn't work that well for me. I couldn't care less, if she doesn't have the rightful throne. And for that reason, I don't care about Baschs loyalty too much. Balthier doesn't work either, because I just don't care for that archetype. Vaan, though, works for me.

Or give Fran a bit more to do in the story. She could work, I guess. But then, even with more, she seems predestined to be a side-character. Even though I just got the weird idea, that she is a reinterpretation of Terra. I'll have to think about that, no idea how valid that is, it just popped into my head a minute ago. And I think it's already too late for me to actually think that through.

Well, that's main story stuff. But I did more, of course. Especially the hunts.

Right next to Garuda, we also find the Wyvern Lord, another flying monster who is pretty strong. Which just meant throwing a lot of potions around, and starting the fight with Shell (Vallum in German, because I don't know, no idea what a "Vallum" is), against Aero. There isn't even much to the backstory here, unfortunately.

More interesting was the next Elite Hunt from Montblanc. There is this insane moogle weirdo, who keeps dangerous monsters as pets. One of them is a really cute, small turtle. But inside the mines, he got an overdose of magic, and turned gigantic and dangerous. It was a fun fight, even if it wasn't particularly harder than the Wyvern Lord, or that snake mob thing that was also in the mines (really nothing interesting about that one). But there is more to this. The moogle works in one of the shops, where she forgot her diary. She asks us to get it, as she doesn't want to get screamed at. She is kind of a terrible employee, I guess, bringing not only her now-again cute turtle along, but also some horrible snake. Yes, I read in the diary, and saw that this awful snake is still in the shop. Come on, lady, get it back together.

Is she the one who will later have a Malboro as a pet? I mean, why not having one of the most disgusting, terrifying things of the whole FF franchise living with you, right?

We learn more about the political movements, that our characters don't see. Vaynes father is an old, ill king, and clearly won't make it that much longer. He also knows doctor Cid, who doesn't say much, but seems a bit like a crazy scolar. After the incident with the Leviathan, the king and the senat talk about him having to punish Vayne, who is essentially responsible, as the Emperor, and all that. And to put his little brother, Larsa, on the throne. So the king agrees, to summon Vayne to Archadis.

I vaguely remember that king soon dying. I guess that has something to do with it.

Also, I got the feeling that the senat wanted to have Larsa on the throne, as it would be easy to control a kid his age. But maybe I read to much into that, they also seem to simply like him.

Ondore, as the guy who also writes these Historical snippets we get treated to from time to time, is a fun idea. I like how he is really competent, in acting like a loyal allie of the Empire while also trying to get a resistance going. Which is also part of the reason why Ashe does not openly show herself, even after getting the Dawn Shard. He told the people about her and Basch being dead. It would fall back on his head, if it became clear that this wasn't true.

And Larsa, finally, seems like a really nice person, who just looks up to his big brother. I hope he, at least, doesn't die.

Well, aside from that (as mentioned, I have trouble talking about the story here, at least in the way I normally do), there is gameplay stuff. I try to use Gambits, but it feels like pointless busywork. I mean, everone is set to attack, Fran is set to cast spells, until she runs out. Before going on, I'll show you my plan for everyone:

Balthier: Mage and Daggers/Ninja Swords, light and magic armor, white magic, green magic
Vaan: Abilities and bows, items, light armor
Basch: Weapons specialist, heavy armor
Fran: Mage and staffs, light and magic armor, black magic, arcane magic, time magic
Ashe: Swords and lances, heavy armor, Green Magic
Penelo: Items, Guns and Crossbows, Katanas, White Magic

There is an accessory that increases the strength, if someone is without weapons. I might give that to Fran, and let Penelo have staffs, or something. I like the idea of a magic monk.

The other main gambits I have is for Vaan to steal, when enemys have full HP, and to do that special steal tech, that only works when enemies are in the critical HP amount. He and Penelo are also getting development in item usage (so focus on making potions, aethers and pheonix downs more potent), but I can't let them use potions with a gambit. I never have enough money to buy everything, and 100 potions is still 7000 gil, quite a lot. Meaning that I can't just let them heal that way.

I have set Balthier to heal, if someone is below 50%, or something. But even here, while I have Vitra, it costs 32 MP, roughly half his MP pool, and also a group heal. So I just let him throw Vitas around, which simply isn't enough. It does work, but seems kinda insufficient. In boss battles, I often have Vaan manually on Potion throwing duty.

There is also no point in putting up Shell or something as a gambit, except for boss battles. But even than, I would have to switch around my party, so that everyone gets the buff, which seems annoying. I really feel, like this game should just let you use all your characters all the time. It's just too fiddly, the way it is now.

I mean, it doesn't matter, the game isn't nearly hard enough. But I feel like the gambit system isn't that useful, aside from very basic things (and maybe having some specifically for bosses, but up to now, they are simply not strong or interesting enough for that). Even that I specialized my characters at all seems pointless, as my Basch, who simply gets the strongest weapon and uses no magic, is clearly my most useful character. The game allows me to let me develop my characters in other ways, because it is easy, but I'm just making it harder for myself. Which is fine (again, easy game), but still. It's a shame, and the gambit system seems a bit undercooked to me.

Still, just looking as my character hack enemies apart, without having to do much, is pretty fun.

I know that Katanas are, like, on the other side of the License Board from the guns Penelo uses now, but it should be fine. Focusing on specific stuff for everyone allows me to get the general stat-ups (the lower-left part of the upper board, stuff like increased HP or reduced spell costs), I think I should soon enough have enough to get everyone everything the could ever want.

Well, that's it. I do have fun with the game, but mainly when I run around in the open air and kill monsters. The story is fine, but doesn't work that well for me, and I don't really get warm with my party. But I do enjoy my time.


Last time, our next goal were the Garif, so Ashe could find out more about the Nethicite she has.

Before continuing, I did some sidequests. When exploring earlier, I found a part in the western part of the desert, where we are blocked due to a big sandstorm. I find Rimzat, a Bangaa scholar, who wants to find out more about that. Not marked or anything, he is just waiting at the entrance to the western desert, and you can talk to him. It leads to a nice sidequest, where we learn about two guys who liked to play in that part of the desert, and had some trick to be there. I simply help find the tool they used, a compass. As it turns out, they had an egg that hatched there, the creature grew and grew, and with it, the sandstorms got worse.

It is an Earth Dragon. Thankfully, it can't use Earthquake (well, there would have been ways around that), but it is still too strong at this point.

What I did, and haven't done since FF VI, was to write a list of side-quests, that were still open. I like this, it's fun to keep notes, and see what stuff is still left to do. I also take note of special monsters, you know, these rare ones with their own names. The game doesn't keep track of them, so I do it myself.

I understand, why games DO keep track of quests of all kinds, but there is a certain charm to being in this world, where the game simply doesn't care if you continue on with these quests, or not. It makes the world feel more real, bigger and livelier. It demands more work and involvement from the player, but that's fine, if I'm in the mood for it.

Point is, the Earth Dragon goes on that list.

Oh, and Rimzat, the scholar, lost his funding, so he has to go. A shame, he was nice.

My first visit to Rabanastre was with FF Tactics Advance. There, the Bangaa seem to be rough dudes all the time, if memory serves, and their classes reflect that - I think they are all martial, with a single magic one, maybe. Which isn't a good idea, because their race simply doesn't do magic well.

So it's nice to see a scholar of this race here.

I also try to kill some actual Mobs, and go back to the sewers. Which are now populated by absolutely horrifying monsters, specifically Kaiser Marlboros (not even normal ones). They are actually delightful, each one wearing a crown, that they like to throw into the air and catch again. They are also disgusting as always, and, while I can kill one, it also might end with my party dead. The toads in there straight-up one-shot me. I do try to just run for it, hoping that the mob itself is easier, but the flan-monster I meet is brutal on it's own. So another one to leave for later.

At least the other Mob, a giant toad with the delightful name Quak-Quak, is doable. He isn't much of a problem at all. The person who published the hunt asks me, to give the ring I get from the frog to the woman he loves. I haven't found out how to find her. Maybe later, it's on the list.

As it is rain season, the steppe has changed a bit, and is open at the south now, leading to the Ozmone-Plains. A pretty brutal place, and for some time, I have to run away, to the place of the Garif.

I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I love how easy it is to just run away in this game. No luck, you just tell everyone to put away the weapons and ignore all monsters. I always like games, where running away isn't luck based, and you can just do it whenever you want.

The Garif, a warrior tribe, generally don't like Humes. But one of them, the Warrior Chief Spinell, saw us fight, which is enough for us to get entry. Stuff like this, where we do one thing and are then exempt from some rule, always seem so easy in video games. I know, you have to do it somehow.

I don't think, there is much of interest to talk about here. The elder meets up with us, he tells us a legend (the gods gave the Nethizite to the Garif, who didn't know how to use them, and therefore, the gods took them back and gave them to Raithwall), wonders that Ashe can't use them, as a descendent of Raithwall and says, that he can't help us.

Well, he still does, as we get the info that the Mysth the stone collected over the ages is now gone, used up in the big explosion. And it will take a long time, until it can be used again.

Ok, there is some interesting stuff here. The way that the other judge (Ghis?) tried to abuse the power of the magical stone reflects very much how magical power has often been abused, over the course of the series. Be it during FF III and IV, or more prominently in V and VI (even though the magical stones in there are different, the idea is always the same, and a very FF concept). VII did it too, with Materia.

And we have magical, powerful stones, that are sentient, in some way. They can recognice their holder, look for them, in some way. I don't remember anymore, but it feels familiar. Still, thinking back, I think the Crystals are just tools to be used. Please refresh my memory, if I'm wrong here (or anywhere else, of course).

There is also the idea, that already started to come back, and will continue to do so. Of Raithwall, the great, true king of a golden age, that everyone thinks was a great ruler, bringing peace to the realm. He was even chosen by the gods themselves.

I will give this more time, as I feel the story will do something more with this, but I do wonder about History in this world. I love, how rich it seems, how much it makes the world feel alive and real. It gives this place so much texture, and shows that there is so much more than here.

And while FF X's Spira has its own History, there, the world is stuck in a loop that doesn't offer change, and therefore no real History. An infinite world. Here, everything, every place feels like it wants you to find out about its secrets and the past, or even has past that is still alive, waiting to be rediscovered.

The comparison isn't great, and doesn't work too well, it just came to mind.

Anyway, the most important part here is, that we get our new (and I think final) guest, Larsa. Well, not really new, but we get him again. And he makes us much, much more powerful, because now I can nearly completely ignore healing, especially when just running around the map, and not fighting bosses. He has infinite High-Potions, and even can use X-Potions, if someone is really down to their last few HP (which isn't quite as great as it seems, as they, too, don't heal all HP). He is a pretty great guest, even if he isn't the guarantee of survivability he was last time.

He suggests, that we go to Bur-Omisace, the holy place of this world. And it's a nice one, with religious people who actually not try to take anything over. They are just nice, help refugees and keep to themselves, respected by all.

Larsa wants to stop the war that is coming, with Ondore collecting resistance forces to fight the Empire, and Rozaria, who would use this as a pretext to start war.

The only reason why Ashe seems to agree is, that it is clear that Dalmasca will be the battlefield of this conflict.

The next morning, there is a nice bit, where Ashe thinks that the people will never accept an alliance with the Empire. But Basch points out that there is hope, pointing to how well the kids, Larsa, Penelo and Vaan, get along.

This is an interesting part of the story. Instead of having the Empire as this absolute enemy, that we have to fight, no matter what, we get presented with a bigger picture. Fighting on will lead to a bigger conflict, that everyone will suffer under. Accepting the Empire is shown as the lesser of two evils, simply because there is another player who might or might not get involved.

On our way, we have to get through the Golmore Jungle. The monsters there are douable - with Larsa, I explored the Ozmone-Plains, and got leveled up enough. Here I even find regular Marlboros (Morbols in German), who are easy enough to deal with.

To get through, we need help from the Vierra, who live here. They are very much a sort of Tree Elf, not liking outsiders and wanting to stay alone, just being one with nature. They also don't want to help us, but still do.

There is an interesting bit here, where Vaan is all like "we came here to do something, and will do it, no matter what". Which is really awful. The Vierra simply don't have to do anything, and he is here around them. This is not their conflict (even though it feels like it will become theirs, too), and they can simply not allow the group to be here. After the leader helps, Vaan even complains about them getting out of his way, or something. It's a really bad scene for him, horribly entitled. Not as a kid, I think, just as a JRPG hero in general.

I do like Vaan and Penelo, and that they are included. I do think, that they bring a different perspective, that people like Ashe and Basch need (see also the scene I mentioned before, where the kids are joking around with each other). Vaan and Penelo offer Ashe a look into how commoners see things, to actually get in touch with the people she rules.

I already talked last time about her. I still don't think, she is, at least not primarily, working to free her people from a tyrant, but to just get back the throne that she thinks is hers. The story seems to understand this, though, and I feel like she gets it, slowly, maybe? I mean, that is part of her keeping a low profile, trying to not start a war, and so on. Maybe I'm reading too much into stuff here, but it seems like she learns that it isn't just about her, and her throne, but that her subjects are actually the main point here.

We get some stuff, about some Vierra thinking that their seclusion is a bad thing, but nothing particularly interesting. What caught my attention was, that Fran can't here the voice of the wind anymore.

I think this little part is all we get for Fran. There is no sidequest, to make her a real Vierra again, if I remember correctly. She just has to deal with a part of her being gone.

Thinking about it, I don't think we really learn, why she went away? I'll take a closer look later, maybe. But there is something interesting here, that could have been explored in more depth, and I think it isn't.

Before continuing on, I go back to the first Demon Wall, and kill it. This time, I just make it in time, with three people (one of them Larsa) berserked, everyone hasted, I think, and the last, Vaan, just there to heal status ailments with items. I give up on the chest pretty fast, though, after two or three tries. Not worth it.

I found, that I don't mind the randomness of the chests in general. I got, again and again, new weapons that are more powerful than what I already had, which is always fun. But this is just silly. Without knowing about this, I would have be confused why there is this new part of the tomb I can now explore, and assumed it was just for the monsters, that are nowhere else, for their entry (I think the actually do reappear). This time, I would have just liked to get the chest, and in it a guaranteed thing.

I also fight and win against that old Plant Dragon thing in the woods. I remember it being worse than it actually is, I only needed two tries, adjusting a bit after the first one.

The mountains leading up to Bur-Omisace, are pretty cool. After being in places where it is hot everywhere, having this snowy landscape is pretty nice and atmospheric.

When reaching But-Omisace itself, I try to kill the Earth Dragon again. I just make it, with only Penelo standing, below 100 HP and with a very weak hit, she kills the monster. That one was really exciting. Didn't seem too bad at first, but as it went on, the battle got pretty hard.

Getting through her, I finally get to the part where I find "Blütentau" (no idea how that is called in English). It's part of the sidequest with Dandros wife (remember Dandro, he published the second hunt, about the cactuars, so it's from the very start of the game), I can finally get her the medicine she wanted.

When getting back to her settlement, we are first asked to bring a boy to the settlement on the other side, because an empty boat came from there. It's a neat little side-quest, where the people on the other side of the river are in danger, due to a bunch of cactuars, including a giant one. But she is only a mother, and looking for her son. Who, surprise, is the cactuar who we killed as our second hunt. But the flower from it simply grew a new one, and so we bring the reincarnation of her son back to her.

I feel like there is something here about reincarnation, being the same person, but I'll give it as much thought as the game does here.

And now, we can finally end this sidequest with Dandros wife (yeah, I never wrote down her name), and give her the stuff for the medicine. Afterwards, her patient, a moogle, gives us the key, so we can enter the mines with the mimics again. Unfortunately, the monsters are pretty strong, so I leave it for later.

I do get back to a hunt, I had kept of for a long time. In the Zerthenian Cave, there is a giant snake, which was always too fast and strong. I finally was able to kill her. What a jerk.

Back to the story, in Bur-Omisace, we find a lot of refugees, and very nice monks(?), who give out food for them. Outside, they promise to have enough food for everyone, but further inside, it becomes clear that the situation is more dire. The church lives through donations, and now, with the war, that has dried up. They might not be able to feed everyone for much longer.

It is nice, to have a church that is just really nice and good, no strings attached, though.


While I went a bit further still, I have to go now. Looking forward to talk about the Dream Sage.