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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I'mma just do the ol' copy-past from that OLD AND BUSTED website we used to have back when we were living like medieval cavemen;

Hi! I'm Octo! You might remember me from School!

So I ain't never given Final Fantasy 13, and its sequels, the time of day. There's lots of reasons for this that I've since gotten over; the main one of which being that I had some mild food poisoning when I first tried to play it and the games mechanics were was hard enough to try to grasp when I wasn't coping with cripplingly abdominal pain, headaches and running to the bathroom. And so, suffering from food poisoning was my only point of recollection with the game and I took that out on the the game itself.

BUT NO LONGER!

I got the whole trilogy of the games for the 360 for dirt cheap on Amazon (condition: "Acceptable"), I haven't had any Mild Food Poisoning for... about 6 months and BY GOD, I am going to give them an earnest try now!

The facts I know about this game going in;
1. Lightning is a Cool Boss Lady with a Cool Boss Lady Aesthetic, and *preemptively* my favorite
2. Sazh is one of the few Playable Dads in a Final Fantasy game and has a bird in his hair
3. Sex Bicycle

And later that same day:

Played up through to the start of Chapter 3, which is when A Video Game commences (up to that point, it's largely an interactive movie).

And hey, y'know what?

When you aren't suffering from mild food poisoning, nor disappointment that this isn't a traditional JRPG, this is a pretty darn good game! Moreso after the first chapter, where the camera is bouncin' around like it's got a hundred Micheal Bays on Trampolines directing it.

The games reliance on the Data Files for telling its story is honestly kind of welcome; unlike a lot of games that do that kind of thing, each entry is pretty brief (the only lengthy ones are the ones recapping the story so far) and the games lore is deep enough that if they stopped every few minutes to explain everything that's going on narratively, it'd be completely impossible to follow. Still wish they hadn't went with three very similar Weird Fantasy Names for the most important terms.

Main party kind of feels like the JRPG equivalent of the First Law Trilogy, they're all embodying pretty standard character archetypes for the genre, but with the twist that they're all actually really bad at them; Snow looks like the charismatic leader of a rebel army opposing the straight up murderous nazis that rule Cocoon, but, well, he screws up constantly, recites outright dangerous platitudes and winds up getting everyone under his command killed and straight up gives a machine gun to a 4-year old. Hope is an orphan hero who is traumatized into complete stasis because he was just barely saved from a mass execution and watched his mother die because of the lunatic who's pretty sure that the power of love can save his girlfriend, who is the scapegoat for the aforesaid attempted genocide, (Preeeeeetty sure the internet hates him for being a wimp, but he's the character I'm most invested in). Vanille is the Magical Pixie Dream Girl with a smile for every occasion, and she's really off-putting and also, I kind of hate her.

Combat system kinda feels like an iteration on FFX-2s Dressphere system, except more complicated and less flexible (so far at least); I appreciate not having to bother with resource management, though; just focusing on ripping enemies apart as quickly as possible.

Anyway; Strong Positive Impressions so far; Will Continue Playing

AND NOW, the exciting Conclusion!

Really appreciate the character and monster designs in this; for the most part, the game seems to leaning on FF8, aesthetically, but there's a number of nice touches; like how instead of the regular menagerie of FF monsters, the enemies are robotic drones based on FF monsters; gives everything a kind of Bayformer-except-Anime vibe that's unexpectedly pretty appealing. I'm assuming that eventually gives way to Actual Capital M-Monsters later, since they're shown in the intro cutscene. Also, an early game dungeon is a lake that was flash-frozen after a fal'Cie crashed into it, and while it was mid-tidal wave, so you see buildings and boats suspended in crystallized walls and the path is made entirely of cresting waves. S'nice effect.

Game continues to twist up standards JRPG tropes; being Chosen by the Gods for a Heroic Destiny is an unambiguously BAD thing, since win-or-lose, you die, it's just that one of the deaths is MUCH worse, and also you have no flippin' clue what it is you're supposed to do; just that a Big Nightmare Machine shot lasers into your heart and gave you a sick-ass tattoo.

Combat has also gotten MUCH more engaging once the Paradigm Shifts come into play; I appreciate that you on;y get to control one character since there's a lot to juggle in battle with just that much; not to often a menu driven JRPG is twitchy experience, but here we are.

Man, I wish I gave this thing the time of day before now!
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
I enjoyed FF XIII quite a bit. Played about 3 or 4 hours of XIII-2 and went "sure, I see what you are doing here" and put it down. Haven't touched Lightning returns but my wife loved it. I should give it a fair shake.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
XIII-2's plot is complete and utter nonsense, but I loved its refinement of the XIII battle system. I liked playing XIII well enough once all the systems clicked, but it didn't really draw me in quite enough mechanically to push through the post-game content. XIII-2 on the other hand, I was having such a blast breaking the system over my knee in the post-game that I did pretty much every damn thing in the game (possibly excluding some DLC stuff I didn't keep up with).
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Lightning Returns is one of the most ambitious open world games, and while it doesn’t always realize it’s full potential, it constantly thinks outside the box and takes risks.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Hearing about Lightning Returns is in fact, one of the reasons I vowed to take another crack at this series.

That it took me Four Years to start is a testament to my willingness to see important projects through to the bitter end.

Here's an interesting fact; Gogglebobs blog is the #1 Google result when you search for Gogglebob. That's the SEO working FOR you!
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I replayed XIII and played through Lightning Returns in full for the first time recently enough, so I'll repost what I thought of the latter under the pop.

What was Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII? It was the concluding entry in the subsequently termed "Lightning Saga", a trilogy of games that fronted the series in perhaps its most turbulent period, the causes to which are numerous. Final Fantasy XIII had survived its prolonged development, but emerged into being as a game that was widely ridiculed for its incoherence even by the standards of an inherently divisive series, and quickly rose to become emblematic of a sentiment that had been growing in casual and professional discourse at that time: Japanese developers can't hack it, and especially those chasing the big-budget RPG dream. The HD transition had ostensibly hit that side of the industry harder than for others, or at least in ways that were more immediately identified and argumentatively weaponized by laypersons. This period also contained the disastrous initial release of Final Fantasy XIV, seemingly consigning the previously celebrated series to ignominy and dwindling relevance in the eyes of its intended audience no matter what avenues it sought to reinvent itself.

If Final Fantasy XIII became loathed for what it represented, then the same could be said for the character that embodied the game itself and was positioned visibly as its most prominent figure: the eponymous thunderer Lightning. She is, to this day, viewed as something of an embarrassment or punchline by many; a source of comedy just through her inherent existence. Some of it stems from the aggressive marketing that comes with any media of this scale: Lightning would show up in advertisements, billboards, various other promotional campaigns, crossover appearances and anything else to make sure you wouldn't forget the game she starred in. When that game was met with befuddlement, that ubiquity morphed into resentment--she hadn't "earned" her spot in the limelight, she wasn't deserving of it, for all her failures. It was rationale masked in formalistic logic, coloured by latent sexism. Public comments by series director Motomu Toriyama increasingly fed into the desire to disregard Lightning and everything she featured in: if her main creator acted with such creepy, untoward and obsessive disposition towards his own character, what merit could there be to them? And perhaps more pressingly, what would it say about us, should we dare to engage?

What was Lightning Returns?

I had liked Final Fantasy XIII, though I came to love it more unreservedly later. I dutifully played its follow-up in XIII-2, where a measure of diminishing returns settled in on the mechanical side even as its irreverent tone delighted. When the third game came along, I tried it for a time, but it did not last. At this stage in my life, I was very much entangled in a mindset of "completionist" interaction with video games--do it all, or don't bother. What if you miss something? Thus the stated premise of Lightning Returns--the limited time in which to complete the game--read as something of a threat and a source of undue stress in devoting time to a game I might otherwise enjoy. I dabbled, and set the game down, wandering off elsewhere. Like Lightning herself, I would return.

Lightning Returns overlaps curiously with the genre of apocalyptic fiction: it's set immediately before one, but also grapples with a society rocked by the aftereffects of another that passed centuries ago and left the world in effective stasis and nearing entropic demise. It's about widespread, existentialist ennui; the gripping anxiety of awaiting the end; the mundane and human difficulties of everyday life; the clashing of supernatural gods and monsters. It mixes these dissonant elements deliberately to create a sort of patchwork setting that elicits wonder in the observer just through its sheer contrasts: fanciful mythical beasts emerge from suddenly manifesting chaos infusions while the saviour chosen by god purchases a train ticket to reach her next destination and goes touring street vendors and restaurants. It's no mere window dressing, as Lightning's interactions with the populace comprise the heart of the game.

The recently released Final Fantasy VII Remake contains a smattering of sidequests in it. Superficially, it and Lightning Returns treat them identically: you talk to an indistinct character model with a notation hovering above their head, and then proceed to do whatever task's required of you. That is where the similarities end, however, and the Remake does not come off smelling like roses by comparison. Almost all of its quests are about fighting something in a game that's nearly exclusively dedicated to the same to begin with--something XIII was criticized for and which is just one of many parallels it shares with the Remake. This combines with a stifling approach to environmental design and navigation--you're often invisibly gated to not stray two steps off the intended path, and every step of every ostensibly investigative process is clearly signposted with waypoints you can follow to the destination. The structural unimaginativeness reflects in the narrative purposes of the quest design, too; not much is said about the characters involved, the stories told, or the setting explored. The impression they leave behind is the running of errands and they rarely surpass that framework.

With Lightning Returns, the video game standby of "side" material takes on a different purpose and form. There are only five "main" scenarios in the game, and not all--or any--of those consist of setpieces to blaze through for hours on end. Here the focus is on the diversions, the ancillary--they are the game. Lightning's ordained task of soul-saving occasionally manifests in the grandly dramatic, but the majority of the time, in the anonymously personal and quiet: it can be just as important to offer momentary comfort and companionship to strangers as it is to save the world through violent action. These acts of small kindness humanize Lightning even as she herself feels removed from her own humanity through her divine circumstances, and it is done through consistent reinforcement and shading: she actively engages with people, converses with her allies, wonders idle thoughts and questions the truths she knows, and records even more in the journal snippets that appear on loading screens. You meet dozens and dozens of people over the course of the game, some more memorable than others, but the refrain is the same: they all serve to contribute to the one prolonged character study of the protagonist in the focal role, no matter how insignificant the encounter might appear.

Structurally, the sidequests are also more interesting than the comparison. While there is still plenty of fighting to do, they interact elegantly with the rhythm of play and navigational practices the rest of the game is built on. The player will rarely get direct waypoints to destinations; the world is instead there to be internalized through frequent traversal, and to be routed efficiently to minimize elapsed time. This feeds into the tradeoffs in resource management one has to keep track of--will you spend precious EP to stop time from advancing for a period, and leave yourself without resources in battle, or will you chance it and risk missing the deadline at your destination? Certain characters are only available at certain times of day, while passages in the world open and close according to a set schedule--an understanding of the constant passage of time is of the essence, and managing that in sync with one's own wanderings and explorations is the game singing its own song of making the most of "limited" content and budgetary allowances.

While time steadily advances and imposes limitations upon the player, it can be useful to recall games that have explored similar concepts, and what they share in common. Majora's Mask, Dragon Quarter and Dead Rising are a few well-known examples of other games that incorporate time, or some other unrecoverable resource, as the measure by which they structure themselves. As noted, the mere idea of this can be stressful to contemplate, since it's so at odds with the common context of video games as a leisurely activity in service to unwinding. What Lightning Returns concedes with the rest of them is that that feeling is mostly psychological affect in service of an atmosphere the game wants to invoke, rather than a rule to be strictly observed and adhered to. All of these games are built with loops integral or optional to the game flow, giving one the chance to return to previous scenarios better informed and equipped--a "failstate" does not exist in them. Even if that were not the case, Lightning Returns isn't particularly unkind in how stringent it wants its player to be; chances are the time limit will be reached with hours if not days to spare and to be spent on extracurricular activities, in the end.

If such lenience exists in the central system professed by the game, what purpose does it then serve? This question can best be answered by what the focus of the game is: one part of it is Lightning herself, as discussed. In games like XIII and the VII Remake, the narratives benefit from self-propelling, continuous momentum, where the central plot is taking on a crucial role in lending shape to the whole. Lightning Returns does not have that solid throughline; it's at once a more personal story and a more fragmented anthology that's concerned with the remains of a dying world and its multitude of epitaphs. Some of these come to light through the player's own actions that RPGs would usually not call attention to: almost all monsters and creatures inhabiting the wilderness can be fought and killed to the extent that they face literal extinction. The game at once rewards you for it with trinkets and trophies, but the result is irrevocable--what was once there, a presence in Lightning's travels, no longer is. The world becomes a little emptier and more dead the more you play it, and this is not lectured at you. It's merely the result of the player's actions they have to reconcile on their own, and whether it holds any significance to them beyond the material result.

That's where the strength of the game lies, in how it weaves together nearly all facets of its design and construction to a considered, unified whole in service of constantly being on the losing end, of sand slipping through one's fingers no matter how hard one tries to hold on. You can "win" at Lightning Returns by defeating the bosses and reaching the end of the story, but it's hard to feel jubilant about much of the process. There is a melancholy here, even as some truly dire costume designs Lightning's cursed with can run counter to that sentiment, but it is nonetheless a persistent feeling of doing the most with very little, at the end of years of popular dismissal, rejection and indifference. Ultimately, Lighting Returns ends the only way it knows how: with a tear in its eye, and a fond smile for all that passed and has yet to be. It's more than enough for a fitting testament.

Every time I return to this sub-series I like it more, and it wasn't a bad relationship to begin with.
 
I enjoyed the XIII series, but I feel like the final bosses of all of them are giant difficulty spikes. They honestly felt like if you don't play the exact way they want you to play, then you're going to struggle a lot ramming your head into a wall. Which is a shame because the rest of the games leading up to the final bosses didn't feel like that to me.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
If I had any complaints to level at the game, it’d be against the soundtrack. Not that it’s bad, just that it doesn’t leave much of an impression of any sort whatsoever. At the very least, you’d think the victory theme, to Sound at least kind of triumphant. None of te tunes stuck with me so far at all, but that’s a fairly subjective thing, I admit.

Despite the fact that the game is an anti-JRPG in many respects, Lightning has decided to up and Kill God the very moment she has a bad day, but to be fair, it’s only one particular deity she has a beef with and its mainly because that particular divine being hasn’t said anything to discourage all the Genociding the Poors that the Space Pope is all for, and the rest of the party is having a harder time accepting an abrupt choice to rewrite some bibles.

Fourth Dungeon is the junkyard on the bottom level of Cocoon, made up of the debris pulled out of Pulse to for, the cities protective shell, which is full of buildings and sentient robots, which doesn’t seem to gel with what the games told me so far about Pulse being an uninhabitable messed up monster world. Also, one of the Datalogs mentioned that the civil Defense force that Lightning used to belong tos main job was travelling down to this area to destroy the monsters inside it, but they deliberately half-ass it to discourage people from looking around down there.

Guys, I think Cocoons government might not be on the up-and-up in several respects. Not least of which being the Poor Person Genocide thing I mentioned.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Started Disc 2 (multiple discs were a component of the 360 port of the first game, and nowhere else), which picks up with the group sitll seperated and making their own ways through the Junkyard Region of Cocoon. The boss fight against Odin was far and away the single toughest fight thus far in the game, and is apparently one of the tougher parts of the game overall. So I'm glad that's behind me.

For all I've praised the game for its story-telling so far, it's using blunt-force subtlety to casually indicate that Vanille just might have an origin on Pulse. It is so obvious that I'm expecting it to be subverted in some way later on. She still is the character with the least reason for being involved with the party, however.
 

Droewyn

Smol Monster
(She/her, they/them)
I really, really loved XIII when it came out. The characters, the way they developed and grew together and actually earned their Power of Friendship endgame (contrasted with XII; I remember watching the scene where Balthier tells Vaan that he wanted Vann to have the airship if anything ever happened to him and thinking, "Why? You've barely interacted and clearly give two shits about him"). I thought the worldbuilding was great, and really dug into all the available lore.

I was also seriously confused when so many jokes sprang up about how supposedly impenetrable the story was. I mean sure, it wasn't I, GARLAND, WILL KNOCK YOU ALL DOWN, but it's not like it was particularly complicated or hard to follow..?

I adored XII-2 for its humor and over-the-top bizarreness, and while I liked the gameplay of XIII-2-2, I felt like the direction the story went was a wasted opportunity and they could have done so many cooler things with a splintering reality.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
I was also seriously confused when so many jokes sprang up about how supposedly impenetrable the story was. I mean sure, it wasn't I, GARLAND, WILL KNOCK YOU ALL DOWN, but it's not like it was particularly complicated or hard to follow..?

In my replay of FFXIII, I noticed that it leans really hard into a narrator conceit, rarely showing or telling you things that the present narrator doesn't themselves know. When the fourth narrator you get - Vanille - is unreliable and actively lying to you, and she also takes over during the first moment you aren't in the middle of a pitched battle, it can be pretty disorienting. It should've been obvious, because what she's saying is often totally at odds with the on-screen action... But for some reason it just didn't register as a possibility on my first pass. On my second pass I worked out exactly what was going on, and realized how much Lightning and Sazh's sections are enhanced by the same conceit.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
About midway through Chapter 6 now; Sazh has revealed 1. His Adorable Child, and 2. His Understandably Conflicted views on being a l'Cie
as his son is an l'Cie that apparently has the opposite Focus, so if he successfully saves the city, his son will will be cursed to become a soulless monster until his meat stops working, or else he'll condemn millions of people to death
. That's a Hell of a Bad Hand this Good Dad was dealt.

Meanwhile, Lightning and Hope bonded over their mutual hatred of Snow (me too!), and wandered through a nature preserve in a giant mechanical jungle which they couldn't advance the bars of through except by beating down all the monsters within it. Which makes for a pretty lousy way to design a zoo, gotta say.

Snow himself still hasn't had anything but a series of cutscenes where he's been made a member of the Sci-Fi Nazis with the help of Fang, who so far is a total enigma save for the fact that she's Australian and looks like a Sexier Rinoa.

Really liking the boss fights now; takes a few tries to get a handle on the pattern recognition and let you figure out what Paradigms to set up beforehand. Really plays well with the fact that this is unlike any other JRPG.

The Crystarium (or however its spelled) baffles me quite a bit as it's a straight line of skill upgrade progression and yet they managed to somehow make it really hard to follow and navigate. I don't need to press any buttons except A to advance a bar and yet somehow the controls are bad in it.
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
The Crystarium (or however its spelled) baffles me quite a bit as it's a straight line of skill upgrade progression and yet they managed to somehow make it really hard to follow and navigate. I don't need to press any buttons except A to advance a bar and yet somehow the controls are bad in it.

Occasionally there are branches!

... They're basically totally pointless as you practically speaking never benefit from skipping them.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Sphere Grids are fun as they turn character progression into a board game. FF13 is no exception, except that the board game is Candyland in this case.
 

Droewyn

Smol Monster
(She/her, they/them)
One of the reasons I've always preferred JRPGs to WRPGs, aside from liking Power of Friendship stories way better than grimdark pseudo-libertarianism, is not having to worry about micromanaging progression. Having to allocate skill points or whatever is anxiety-making and awful. Sphere grids are a-okay in my book!
 

Egarwaen

(He/Him)
Yes! I should be clear - I don't mind the Crystarium. It's a slightly tedious UI on top of a system that basically asks "which job do you want to invest JP in, and how many?" and that's just fine!
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
Plus its cool
at the bottom of your crystarium is your crystal shard which lets you level and use magic and you can't level until you're turned into a fal'cie and when you summon your eidolon the crystal shard emerges from the spot where the characters brand is, soooooooo how a l'cie makes a fal'cie is injecting someone with a crystal shard and this is because while l'cie look like robo-statue things those are just like their cases or armor or whatever because l'cie are just crystals with intelligence and the game never explains any of these its just there in the details.
Anyway Octo don't click this.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
That's also
why cie'th are rock monsters because their shards over grown them or whatever
 

Lakupo

Comes and goes with the wind
(he/him)
If I had any complaints to level at the game, it’d be against the soundtrack. Not that it’s bad, just that it doesn’t leave much of an impression of any sort whatsoever. At the very least, you’d think the victory theme, to Sound at least kind of triumphant. None of te tunes stuck with me so far at all, but that’s a fairly subjective thing, I admit.
I've been a huge fan of Masashi Hamauzu since his work on Final Fantasy X and Dirge of Cerberus, so I'm a sucker for XIII's soundtrack. A lot of the tracks are more score-like to fit in the background of the cinematics and dialogue scenes, but he really shines in his environment and battle themes. Of the places you've visited already, I love the themes for Lake Bresha, Vile Peaks and Gapra Whitewood. The battle theme, Blinded by Light (and its remixed counterpart Defiers of Fate) is probably one of the series' best battle themes. I think Hamauzu's style is a big part of the fantasy-meets-tech atmosphere that XIII leans into, and helps glue together the patch work of assets the game is made out of. (Naoshi Mizuta and Mitsuto Suzuki work well with that style in the sequel soundtracks as well)
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
The sheer density of actual *lyrics* in the XIII-2 soundtrack is kind of wild for a JRPG (though there's quite a few in XIII as well I think), and while a lot of the actual words are pretty facile and/or cheesy, most work just fine in context. Makes for a lot of fun variety in the score.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Even by the lofty standards of Video Game Sewers, Palomporums underground is bananas; a massive underground chamber full of floating platforms in orbit around a large fal’Cie machine, and being tended to by hard hat wearing Flans (“Flanitors”, which may be a contender for being one of my favourite FF monster.

Meanwhile, as Lightning and Hope continue bond over their mutual hatred of Snow, Lightning has had a full on religious awakening after realizing that praying to big engines is kind of... Ill considered. Fortunately, it turns out that there’s a secret faction of PSICOM that has the same idea, and that’s where Snows been all this time, and furthermore, Vanille and Fang are not only from Pulse (my goodness, what a surprise), but they were also already l’Cie and turned into Crystals after completing their quest (which... was a shock). Also, they’re gay, but I knew that going in. Also, Lightning decides that Hope would be well served Ming up with the guy he blames his mother’s death on, and which Snow is totally oblivious about, and keeps spouting on his inane JRPG Hero platitudes which just makes Hope angrier and angrier.

Sidebar; but I also had old episodes of Always Sunny playing during the parts of the game I don’t have to focus as intently on and... Snow fits in with those guys pretty well.

With nearly 20 hours on the clock and the fact that I’m about midway through the game (assuming all chapters are roughly equal length) and it still kind of feels like I’m in the opening sections of the game.
 

liquid

King of Games
(He/Him)
I was also seriously confused when so many jokes sprang up about how supposedly impenetrable the story was. I mean sure, it wasn't I, GARLAND, WILL KNOCK YOU ALL DOWN, but it's not like it was particularly complicated or hard to follow..?
I didn't find it hard to follow, but I can see how somebody who didn't bury themself in the codex would get that impression. My overwhelming impression (and I admittedly haven't played the game since its release) is that it was written by people who think proper nouns are a plot.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Honestly, I stopped paying attention to the Database after chapter 3 or so and haven’t had a bit of trouble following te plot, even only half paying attention during cutscenes.

Biggest issue is the three very similar Crazy Fantasy Names are very important to the story.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
What does the Role Level indicate? Is it a stat boost? Does it make the passive bonuses to that role work better? Just aThing You Need to go further on the Crystarium? Is it just a Bigger Number?
 

Juno

The DRKest Roe
(He, Him)
Pretty sure it provides a passive boost to whatever ability your role performs. So Medics do better healing, Command is do more damage, etc. There should be a full list of all the bonuses in the tutorial section, where it explains the role functions
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Role bonuses are also laid out in the paradigm setup menu. They passively increase the user's efficacy (e.g. Commando does more damage), and they give the rest of the party a fraction of that bonus as well. Setting up three of the same role in a paradigm will maximize the benefit. There's an optional post-game battle where it may or may not be entirely necessary to have a SEN-SEN-SEN paradigm to survive a particularly powerful attack.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Finally got a full size party of 3 again... 17 hours into the game. And I’ll admit that the events that got Fang and Lightning into my party along with Hope was pretty great; Hope finally admits to Snow why he’s so antagonist towards him, Snow dropping the facade and admitting he has no idea what he’s doing, and then sacrificing himself to protect Hope from the same killer robot the other parties already tried and failed to destroy.

then Hope tries to fight it solo, and it lastsjust long enough for you to think you have to beat a viciously powerful boss with just One Sad Lad, before Pals appear out of nowhere to help you fight it.

then you meet Hopes dad who is pretty understanding witheveryone considering the weekend he’s had.

Also, Fang Admits that the entire plot of the game, from inciting incident to present, is kinda her fault and a lightning punches her in the face for it, because that’s how Lightning reacts to most situations. Also she’s calling herself “Light” now just... because
 
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