@video_game_king: Those banners scare me, so they're clearly doing their job well.
Mento's forum posts
Hey ZP, just a review this week. Holidays and whatnot. See you all in 2014 (or maybe sooner, if I can stop eating turkey sandwiches long enough to get this awards blog out).
I always took on dungeons close to the final week, because you have a lot of money from jobs to spend on gear and have furthered your Social Links as far as possible at that point, both of which make the dungeons easier. You might also want to go through the dungeons a few times for vendor trash, because that's how you unlock stronger equipment to purchase. It's not a big deal though. I would suggest taking the occasional rainy day off to go explore any new dungeons that pop up, because besides the (expensive) meat bowl special there's not a whole lot else to do when it's raining cats and puppies.
As for putting up your non-combat stats, focus on studying first to increase Knowledge and then do the rest through part-time jobs (which also has the benefit of giving you more money - I recommend origami folding, because Understanding is useful) and then meat bowl specials if there's a rainy day where don't need to go into the TV (maybe because someone's already been rescued) and can afford it. You need to maximize your Courage, Knowledge and Understanding for a couple of Social Links, but everything else can be leveled up whenever (if at all). No rush.
I've not played Golden, so I have no idea how much more lenient it is. Either way, it's really not worth the stress to play the game "perfectly": I feel it's the nature of the Social Link characters that many will appeal and some will repel, which means you won't have to fully capitalize your time to see all their Links through and can focus on doing whatever you want with your time instead. It's a little jarring if you're a nutso completionist like myself, but fairly vital if you want to enjoy the game at your own pace and not burn out.
Daaamn, kudos for getting this done. A very comprehensive look at a now largely misunderstood game.
I also dig the symbolism of that final Sephiroth battle, and how it's impossible to lose it. Cloud's thoroughly done with his puppet days and can finally look forward to the future. Or at least he could until the spin-offs started showing up and kept him in his perma-mopey (or perma-mosey, as the case might be) state.
As for the post-apocalyptic Red XIII ending, I think it can be inferred that humanity just abandoned Midgar and went back to a simpler way of life that didn't harm the planet. It did seem kind of Chernobyl-ish too, which was probably intentional. Japan, understandably, has a lot of hang-ups about the misuse of nuclear power (see also the Necrohol of Nabudis in FF12: a kingdom that not only destroyed itself utterly with forces they couldn't control, but made the region all but uninhabitable).
This is probably a question that'll be answered with a resounding "fuck no", but do you think Enduring Final Fantasy VIII could ever happen? I feel your analytic style would be more conducive to explicating on that game's plot and characters, which remain a point of contention (and confusion) for a lot of people long after its original release. I almost feel like this is Patrick's cross to bear for claiming it was the best PS1 FF (though I'm sure he did it to deliberately rile fans).
Either way, I think I speak for most of us when I say Enduring Final Fantasy 7 has been a well-written, expansive feature on a fantastic game that has unfairly been the source of derision for circumstances beyond its control (state-of-the-art graphics aging poorly, mostly terrible sequels/spin-offs, the troubling persistence of "sad Cloud" whenever he appears in other works). Or, in far fewer complimentary words: "Enduring Final Fantasy VII? That's million bucks."
Hooray! A new episode of Enduring Final Fantasy - it's a Christmas miracle.
Regarding Final Fantasy 7's divisiveness, I feel like it's something that's grown in the years after FF7 was released because I recall it being a major cultural phenomenon at the time. People have had a while to reflect, and it's possible they feel it didn't stand up to the original SNES FF games they loved (not really a factor for us Europeans), or they've soured on the world and its characters after so many middling spin-offs (Dirge of Cerberus) and movie adaptations (Advent Children), or maybe they can't get into it because of how dated its early polygonal graphics are. Either way, I can understand how there's a lot of the bile for this game. I'm still fairly sure it holds up, but I've to put my money where my mouth is and boot it up again, and am actually kind of afraid to. I'm very glad you're making the case for its longevity instead.
Ruby and Emerald are no fun at all. Even less fun without GameFAQs telling you what to do, though I guess there must've been some sort of equivalent around to provide me with that "summon Phoenix from mastered materia automagically every time you die" strategy, because I'm definitely not smart enough to figure that out on my own. Emerald I just beat using the "Lucky 7s" trick, because I was adamant for whatever reason about not including the underwater materia in case it disrupted my carefully arranged materia layout. Neither defeat felt particularly wonderful as a result, beyond the sore winner vindictive pleasure of seeing them both dead. Still, I had more fun grinding Movers in the North Crater to make sure I had enough mastered materia than I did trying to breed that damn Gold Chocobo.
That's it. That's probably why I don't feel like playing it a second time: because I'd be compelled to chase after Knights of the Round again and end up thoroughly hating the universe and everything that's in it.
Anyway, I look forward to part thirty four. That's a lot of parts.
Dude, given the circumstances, perfectly explicable. Just rest and get better first. Hell, you might even squeeze a few more Moosie contenders in before you're up for writing it all out.
Luigi ain't goin' nowhere, that's the crucial thing. Luigi is eternal.
Happy holidays to you and to everyone who contributes/reads the community stuff. I still maintain that this is one of best game discussion communities on the 'net, as unusual as it is to see civil discourse between intelligent game-loving folk without a ten dollar paywall or a months-long vetting process.
Hooray, someone else is finally talking about Pandora's Tower. I love how this blog (and the review) elaborates on how Elena is the game's focal point, and how the game takes pains to keep the spotlight on her even while you're taking down giant mechanical horse monsters to orchestral music and whatever epic nonsense is going on right that moment. I probably should've spent more time describing that element of the game in my review rather than tiptoeing around the similarities between Pandora's Tower and Shadow of the Colossus.
The "advanced" towers with the same themes felt to me like the game was pulling an Ocarina of Time. Like the game was really letting you have it with a temple's themed traps and enemies after giving you a nice easy version to let you learn the ropes (or chains, as the case may be). What did you think of the last two towers, by the way? Seems like something Zelda has pulled off in the past (OoT's Spirit Temple, maybe? Or LTTP/LBW's Dark World business) but felt pretty clever all the same.
I also liked the chain combat a lot, as impractical as it could be: doing the basic combo with the three (four in NG+) weapons got kind of old, so I liked having the option to just swing enemies around and fire them off the edges of cliffs. They sure found a lot of uses for that chain. Makes me kind of embarrassed for 3D Castlevania games (especially Lords of Shadow, which really didn't need any more help being an embarrassing waste of a license).
Oh right, I forgot to mention Dynamite Dux. That was a game I spent a lot of time with as a child. The horror stories I could tell you about home computer ports of Arcade brawlers, yikes. I don't think it diminished much of Dynamite Dux's power as inexplicable mayhem.