Monday, 9 February 2015

FFXIII was Half Price, I'll See You in a Month

This post contains FFX spoilers. Holy crap, have you not played FFX? What are you doing. Would you like it? Yeah, I think you'd like it. Maybe you should buy it. You should probably buy it. This post also contains spoilers of FFXIII, but I've only got about 30 minutes of gameplay past the last time they gave me a tutorial section, so it's a spoiler of the introduction.

Probably not exactly true, but when I got FFX at the beginning of January in my last term of university, I missed a midterm in mid-February.

Until Final Fantasy XI I played every Final Fantasy that came out. I didn't get some of the side games, many of which weren't available in English at the time. But I never played Final Fantasy XII or XIII. Twelve still isn't out on PC, but thirteen is, so I thought I should give it a go.

The story has me hooked. I mean, the actual story is sort of in who-knows land right now, but the basic idea of the world is amazing. It revolves around a pretty basic concept for a videogame - the characters live in a utopian/dystopian world where everything is peaceful and nice but fundamentally held together by fear. In this case, the fear is of the world below the hollow artificial moon that the game takes place in.

But like FFX, what I love about the story isn't so much the world or the people, because that all seems very run-of-the-mill fantasy to me. Instead it's the incomprehensible beings of immense power who drive everything. In FFX, which had a fantastic story, it was Sin - a collective dream of the millions of long-dead inhabitants of Zanarkand. In FFXIII it's the fal'Cie, beings of unimaginable power of a nature that I have not yet discovered.

It's totally unclear what fal'Cie can and cannot do, and how their power manifests itself, except for one part which is very clear and central to the plot of the game. Fal'Cie can curse humans, turning them into l'Cie. This marks the humans with a visible tattoo, allows them to use magic and summon eidolons, and also gives them a Focus, which is a quest they must complete. The l'Cie doesn't actually know what their quest is, but gets only a cryptic vision to guide them.

If a l'Cie fails to complete their Focus, they turn into a Cie'th, which is pretty much a zombie. If they succeed in completing their Focus they get to live forever by turning into crystal.

So becoming l'Cie sounds like a really good time. Of course all the main characters become l'Cie, because clearly main characters do two things: use magic and have epic quests. Not super eager to turn into shambling husks or into crystals, and not knowing what they are supposed to do anyway, leaves some of the characters a little conflicted, some of them suicidal, and some of them resolute in their goal to kill some bastards before they go down.

All that drama is fine, especially when played out with Australian-ish accents, but the story has me hooked because I just want to know more about the fal'Cie, what they are and why they do what they do. The part of the story I'm really into, as usual, is the part about the alien others. The human characters are mostly just vehicles to describe that.

That's why I'm a little conflicted between FFVI and FFX as my favourite all time Final Fantasy. FFVI had the greatest characters and the greatest human story, as well as the greatest endgame-you-have-airship gameplay. FFX had the greatest incomprehensible other and the greatest combat system.

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