By ZombiePie 52 Comments
Part 21: A Friday of Abject Failure
As the month of June passes us by, I am slowly but surely discovering that my tendency of playing this game once a week will be my undoing. There is no conceivable way that I can finish this game during the season of summer without putting on my bootstraps and making a more valiant effort to complete it. It was this frightening fact that motivated me to play Final Fantasy VIII on Friday of last week. Now the major issue here was that I would have to play Final Fantasy VIII without my Sherpa, @thatpinguino. With only four hours of Final Fantasy VIII under my belt I was green; so green that a doctor would have recommended that all of my limbs be cut off.
Despite this, after having a brief conversation with my Sherpa I was given six very short and simple objectives to complete during this session.
- Beat the giant bug monster boss in the Training Room
- DON’T fight the T-Rex
- Go to the beach/shore and COLLECT FIVE fish fins
- REFINE five fish fins into 100 units of water magic
- JUNCTION those 100 units of water magic into Squall’s strength stat
- Rub Headmaster Cid’s Lamp and DEFEAT Diablos
As you might anticipate this was a horrible failure. Of my six objectives I only “reliably” performed one, and that was beating the big bug monster. I attempted to fight the T-Rex … and quickly discovered how that was a big mistake. However, the bigger issue came when I made the startling discovery that I had no idea how to refine items. Now to my defense Quistis, and the game in general, never stopped to teach me how to refine items, and I am beholden to a “NO GUIDES” rules as part of my agreement with thatpinguino. So in other words I WAS SCREWED. Here I was, a Final Fantasy neophyte, getting this lamp from my Headmaster thinking, “This is only four hours into the game! How hard could this be?”
Yeah it was hard. I MEAN SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ABOUT? I was expecting a genie and instead I get Satan! Now part of my frustrations stemmed from, and readers from the previous entries can probably guess this, the PC controls. Firstly, the limit breaks are critical, but for some of them I still don't understand how to perform them with Zell's being the worst offender. Secondly, my blowing through the magic junctioning tutorial from earlier was a bonehead move as it meant that I was ill prepared for this confrontation. Now that aside I still stand by my defense that the item refining mechanic is terribly conveyed, and hidden in what I can only describe as the worst in-game menu systems I have ever seen.
This all led to me becoming horribly exhausted and frustrated with Final Fantasy VIII, and on the cusp of just outright quitting. To prevent that from happening my Sherpa and I initiated a drastic, but game changing “operation,” in a last ditch effort to save my let’s play which I personally titled “OPERATION: BREAK THIS GAME.”
Part 22: OPERATION: BREAK THIS GAME
- Step #1: Farm some goddamned fish – How fish have been imbued with magic is beyond me, but whatever I honestly need to stop questioning this game and accept its loonacy.
- Step #2: Refine the fish fins into water magic – Now here is where I screwed up last time. I kept going to the “Item” tab thinking that you refine items there in order to get their magic. Well the answer to that is a big fat fart sound. Instead, there’s a separate tab called “Ability” where you select a specific “Refine” ability in order to refine items into magic, and many long “sighs” were had on my part. I mean if you are going to have this many tabs why not make them clearer and just have a “Refine” tab?
- Step #3: Junction Water Magic to Squall – This is yet another step that sounds easy but it is made needlessly convoluted thanks in large part to FF8’s horrible menu system. So giving Squall the water magic was not enough, and instead I have to go back to the Junction menu, and put that water magic into Squall’s “Strength” attribute. However, lo and behold I couldn’t because Squall’s original GF wouldn’t let me junction magic to that stat. This forced me to go ahead and shuffle around my GFs, which was no easy task, until I was finally able to open “Strength” for magic junctioning.
I would like to conclude this by saying that these three steps took me a solid THIRTY MINUTES to figure out. Why was I not able to just draw water magic from the fish? Wouldn't that have been more logical than refining their fins? When I select an item why can’t I just automatically refine it regardless of wherever it is? These are the questions that plagued my experience, but I managed to trudge along.
I know that I sound like I am griping about the game, and I am. However, I must say that I gripe only because the results were completely worth it. Not only was I able to boost Squall’s strength at least twofold, but I was finally able to beat Diablos. As for Zell's limit break I simply got completely fed up with the keyboard controls and just set his limit break to auto, because I honestly give zero fucks about Zell.
Once I got the Diablos GF I immediately went back to fighting fish for strategic purposes. If you are wondering why here’s the deal: each battles with the fish draws in 6 AP when a normal fight usually nets 1-3 AP. So I get into five fish fights and I suddenly had the “Enc-Half” ability, which was a GODSEND for me.
So after my nightmarish fight with Diablos I was sitting pretty, but still wanted to make my further adventures even easier for the future. Well now that the game finally decided to open up I trotted on down back to Balamb and decided to try my hands at cards.
Part 23: Triple Triad is Kind of Awesome, but it also Breaks the Game
Alright everyone I have a confession to make: I love Triple Triad. It’s a stupid fun minigame that provides me with the opportunity to get items without having to fight enemies; which for me is a gigantic breath of fresh air. Now I could spend my time discussing how awkward I felt when I beat Zell’s mother and took her Zell Card from her. Nevertheless, after I refined that card into three “Hyper Wrists,” which allowed me to increase the strength of three GFs by 60%, all sense of guilt swiftly subsided away.
So just to give everyone a summary of what I have done leading up to the next handful of set pieces it goes like this. I have broken Squall so is that he commits around 500 points of damage for every physical attack he does. I’m using Diablos to cut down the number of random encounters that I experience by half. Zell is also sitting pretty with a Hyper Wrist and I now have no issues with his Limit Break because he’s now set to “Auto.” Credit where credit is due at least Final Fantasy VIII allows me to ignore certain parts of it.
Part 24: So I Guess I’m Off to My Next Adventure?
So trains…Selphie likes trains. I mean okay whatever, I already thought she was crazy. The reason why I bring this up is that I walked up to her and she just started singing about trains because I guess the game wanted to double down in her ditzy and slightly off nature. Now this sort of crazy and absurd characterization is starting to get incredibly exhausting. So much so that I am starting to increasingly react on par with Squall whenever something like this happens:
Everyone in this game either comes across as an intensified version of a well-established character archetype or just have bats in their belfry. So I guess Squall’s standoffish nature is starting to make sense to me. I mean if one of my partners started singing about their love for trains I would walk away and stop talking to them. Following that I go into the train cabin and witness Zell fawning over bed pillows, because apparently Garden has been raising these kids in caves. These characters are all nightmare people, and scenes like this make it incredibly hard to ever understand what their perspective is during the story. Then...wait what?
Part 25: WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...
Did this game just ninja a secondary cast on me with one of the worst transitions I have ever seen? Is this really happening?
Where is Dave Lang when you need him? Wow wow wow…wow wow. Alright so this is happening. Maybe the writers of Final Fantasy VIII realized that some people would react hostility to Squall, and as a result put a character that fulfills all of Squall’s inadequacies. Now I actually like Laguna, and I’ll go over why in a little bit, but Final Fantasy VIII ends up detracting from this sequence, and further Laguna sequences, in a couple of regards. For one having Squall and company interject and commentate over Laguna had a dizzying and oftentimes confusing effect. For one the game decided that it did not want to indicate who is who for these interjections. Also, these interjections take the stage away from Laguna, Kiros, and Ward thus preventing them from standing up as their own characters. This should be their sequence, and not Squall’s attempt at being a guest riffer on MST3K.
Now I mentioned earlier how I actually like Laguna. For one he is a charismatic and dapper adult that engages with his partners in a respectful and humorous manner. On top of that he seems to have an arc and has a clearly indicated goal. Generally speaking all of the major issues that I have with Squall, Zell, Selphie, and even Quistis are not present with Laguna. The game clearly indicates that Laguna wants to tune Julia’s piano until it hits all of the right octaves! He stumbles, makes mistakes, and is self-aware when he commits his mistakes while he is attempting to accomplish his goal. Then when everything comes together, and he finally has a moment with Julia, you feel happy for him. That is because he feels like a real person that you can get behind, or at the very least a character with a relatable arc.
For all of my complaints about how this feels narratively out of place; remember that the previous sequence had Selphie signing about trains; it highlights an important point that I wish to make about the writing of Final Fantasy VIII. The developers for Final Fantasy VIII CAN write good characters. The only problem is that that they were able to write believable adults, but clearly have issues when it comes to teenagers and children.
Part 26: I’m Confused, are We Mercenaries or Terrorists?
Aw shit, Squall is back. Now real quick, I want to talk about the town of Timber. This is the worst train system I have ever seen. In Timber rather than having all of the train stops located in a central hub they instead are spread all over the outskirts of Timber. Now this is going to be a major point of annoyance when the game asks me to relocate myself to different train stops all over the town. Which leads me to one of my least favorite “games” within Final Fantasy VIII which is the “Guess How to Navigate This Screen,” game. Final Fantasy VIII doesn’t really do a great job at indicating what you can and cannot interact with in the environment especially when it puts barriers in your way. Worse yet is how poor of a job the game does at indicating where and how to exit one screen in order to transition to the next one.
Anyways we meet up with our employers, which are revealed to be yet another trio of teenagers…fantastic. This time instead of being SeeDs they are freedom fighter, or terrorists, I have not decided yet. From here the game decides to reveal to you that Rinoa is going to be a party member which I was excited about because it meant that I could finally kick Selphie to the curb. Oh but wait, did I mention that Rinoa’s Limit Break is, and for people that have never played Final Fantasy VIII rest assured that I am not lying about this, her shooting her fucking dog from her fucking wrist canon:
Videos games son. Well moving on, I just want to point out that the game makes the kidnapping the President mission seem a lot more complicated than it really was. For example, the game takes five minutes to explain the difference between the blue and red guards on the first train cart when that ends up only amounting to maybe ten seconds (at most) in the game. Then the long winded explanation on how they plan to move the different train carts? Yeah, you don't need to worry about that either because that’s all done during a cutscene. I was actually afraid that this was going to be a seriously difficult mission when the game presented me with this screen:
Of those various steps you are only asked to perform a handful of them, with most ending almost instantaneously. In reality the scariest part of this train sequence was having to deal with the PC controls yet again.
Part 27: The Train Sequence and the Revenge of the PC Controls
Rinoa indicates that in order to unhook the train carts you first need to input a handful of numerical codes in order to successfully unhook them. So here are the controls for inputting those codes:
So that would be:
I cannot preface how terrified I was at completing this sequence on time. The fight with the zombie monster masquerading as NOT George Bush PALED in comparison to me trying to remember which key coincided with which number. All this aside I was able to get through the entire ordeal without being caught, and made quick work of Zombie NOT George Bush. Furthermore, wanting the most “authentic” Final Fantasy VIII experience I defeated Zombie NOT George Bush, instead of using an elixir or Phoenix Down on it/him.
Alright, I am here to nitpick about the story again. So how the Hell did three teenagers manage to do all of the setup for this kidnapping mission by themselves? Similarly, how did no one from the President’s army notice that there were these “dummy” train cars on the train tracks while they weren't being used? Did Rinoa just happen to locate a vacated train line that just happened to be on the route that the President was going on? Did Rinoa just hope that a train full of orphans would NOT be careening down that track anytime soon? Now let’s talk about the zombie monster boss and the questions I have about that. Consequently, I am guessing that not every person in this world is a human. By “everyone,” I mean living things that are capable of communication and thought. Are there different races of people that I have yet to see and encounter, or is this just a zombie that just so happens to work for the President? Could I find an elf or cat person just wandering around the streets of Dollet? What about the GFs? They usually talk to me before I captured them, so are they a race? Who am I? Who are you? WHERE AM I?
Part 28: The Lady in Purple and Seifer’s Small Penis
So the attempt to kidnap the President turned out to be a wash. If there is a single point in the game where I can identify as to when I started to sympathize with Squall, more than the other characters, it was here. Rinoa is running a shit show, Zell has anger issues, and Selphie has a thing for trains that is borderline fetishistic. Squall on the other hand comes across as being completely fed up with everyone else’s shit, and his no nonsense response to everyone around him else seems level headed and reasonable to me. For as much as the game wants you to see the passion and spirit of Rinoa I just cannot prevent myself from rolling my eyes whenever she starts talking. She thinks she can win independence for Timber with an army of teenagers. One of whom always manages to get the shits when an important mission starts.
Then when Squall told Zell to “shut up,” I was honestly jumping for joy. Finally someone is confronting Zell for his ridiculous mannerisms. Anyways there’s this really confusing and haphazard scene where Seifer decides to hold up George Bush hostage at gunbladepoint. Which I guess when you have the President host the first television broadcast in seventeen years you don't have any security whatsoever? Squall and company arrive at the scene to…convince Seifer to let the President go? Wait, I thought that we were supposed to capture the President in order to begin negotiations regarding Timber's independence, so isn’t Seifer a hero? How about we just have Rinoa take the President from Seifer and call it even at that?
As I’m starting to wrap my mind around this entire sequence a purple lady appears out of nowhere to taunt Seifer by calling him a “boy.” Already confused with the set-up for this scene I am just going to assume that this is a reference to Seifer having a micropenis. Then the purple lady, Seifer, and the President disappear because the purple lady has the ability to summon portals...I think. Can I learn teleporting magic? Then the scene ends and there’s zero indication as to what just happened or who the purple lady was, and now we need to get the Hell out of Timber.
Part 29: This is the Most Pointless Sequence in the Game Yet
Oh GOD the part of the game where you have to leave Timber is so painful. Why is this even here? Why? The only reason why I am even talking about this sequence in the first place is because it highlights all of my earlier complaints when I first arrived at Timber. Everything in Timber is spread out, thus making it difficult to know where you should be going. I was given the rather simple directive of getting out of Timber, but how this game manages to convolute that simple task is nothing short of amazing. Part of this is due to the fact that it is oftentimes not clear how to navigate in the correct direction.
However, let’s be honest and recognize the real reason why this segment, and partially the previous one, are here. This segment is here to provide Rinoa an opportunity for some much-needed characterization after yet another plan of hers is bungled. On that point the game screwed up royally. She so far is coming across as a naïve and impulsive opportunist with unclear motivations. Additionally the game characterizes her in all of the wrong ways possible. Yes, I understand that Rinoa wishes to gain Timber its independence, but why? The game never establishes how President Deling has wronged Timber other than to mention from time to time that he is a big bad evil dictator that does big bad evil things. An example of total war by the G-Forces, or Deling violently putting down his opposition, or something other than Rinoa’s long winded rants would have gone a long way to establish her motivation, and as such provide her with a much needed arc. Instead, the game makes time for a scene where you enter a bar, which totally allowed for teens waltz around in, and interact with a drunken bozo in order for you to exit through the back door of the bar.
Hey game! Get your priorities straight!
Part 30: OH GOD! SAVE ME LAGUNA YOU ARE MY ONLY HOPE!!!
Awesome Laguna is back! From what I can deduce I’m here to experience another set of wacky adventures from the past with Laguna, Kiros, and Ward. Going off of the Hero’s Journey this is either going to be the last of the fun adventures with the trio, and most likely feature something terrible that irreparably jeopardizes the friendship between Laguna and his party members.
Now I am going to let it slide how the GFs and magic junctions from Squall’s side of things translates into Laguna’s story even though it makes no goddamned sense. The reason why I am willing to be a hypocrite here is because I enjoy Laguna being able to one shot all of these alien soldiers. Whom we are fighting because…reasons.
Maybe it is the fact that the surprise of having a secondary cast has finally begun to subside, but this sequence with Laguna felt decidedly less impactful, despite its content, than the previous one. Laguna is still a wise cracking jokester that his friends feel comfortable calling him out on, but it essentially treads the same tracks from before.
As I predicted things go south and it appears that both Kiros and Ward are down for the count, thus ending the last great adventure that our trio have had together. However, it continues to surprise me how much the writers for Final Fantasy VIII manage to get done in these quick ten to fifteen minute set pieces with Laguna, but fail to do in the hours that they have with Squall and company.
Part 31: Oh Boy its More Forced Characterization Featuring Teenage Drama
So our party ends up in the Galbadian Garden. Which judging by the cut-scene that introduced the place is a more science based Garden as their students PILOT MECH-SUITS!
Squall I hate to break it to you, but you signed up for the wrong Garden. I would take mech-suits over summoning monsters any day. Anyways we have more of the same characterization of our various party members, which is unfortunately free of any signs of maturation. Rather than show the party learning from their ordeal in Timber they continue to maintain all of their previously established character quirks. This is not character development. This is character solidification.
Now I am going to share with you one major concern that I have about the progression of the story. I get that I still have plenty of game to burn through after this, but I have some major concerns about the development of Squall and Rinoa’s relationship. Look, I haven’t spoiled the story and looked up what ends up happening, but whenever I boot up the game I am greeted by this image:
The issue of Rinoa and Squall eventually forming some sort of relationship is all but assured. However, what I is Rinoa all of the sudden falling in love with Squall after maybe one act of heroism, thus ignoring that they had no established relationship for 80% of the story. The reasoning behind all of these concerns stems from the fact the writing has been engaged in what I can only describe as “plot by convenience.” Where the only justifiable way that any event in the story can occur is because it was written that way, and thus lacks any feeling of being organic. Again, it may be too premature to have these concerns, but I just wanted to mention them. Therefore, for now I have my eyes on you Final Fantasy VIII, mark my words I am watching you.
Part 32: Enter Irvine (i.e. This Cast is STILL Full of Nightmare People)
WHY DOES EVERY CHARACTER POSE TO THE CAMERA AS IF THEY ARE IN A COMMERCIAL DURING THEIR INTRODUCTORY CUTSCENE?
So Irvine is a nightmare. What else is there to say other than he’s a creepy pervert whose establishing moment is to sexually harass all of the female members of my party? He’s fucking terrible, so let’s move on.
Part 33: YEAH!!! LET’S ASSASSINATE A SORCERESS…wait what?
Upon meeting with the headmaster of the Galbadia Garden I am given the task of assassinating the purple sorceress from earlier. Wait, why me? So if you are the leaders of SeeD why are you only sending one assassination team? Technically SeeD is essentially an army so why not just send all of your students to kill the sorceress outright and justify your actions after the deed? How about having multiple teams so if one fails there are other teams that can support an alternative plan immediately? Similarly, I don’t know about Irvine, but Squall and everyone in his party, with the exception of Quistis, JUST GRADUATED from SeeD like a couple of days ago! Shouldn't Garden have like elite students that have been with SeeD for years and are battle hardened undertake this mission? Why the fuck are you sending Squall to do this task? Worse yet why is Squall the captain of this assassination team when it makes more sense to have Quistis, the previously established “prodigy” of SeeD, be the leader for such an important mission?
I cannot say this enough why does SeeD only send one team? If the headmaster of the Galbadia Garden recognizes that Edea plans on taking over his garden, why not send all of your student to kill her? I am guessing that there’s no understanding of “Murphy’s Law” in the world of Final Fantasy VIII, but every avenue of preventing this assassination attempt from going horribly wrong was overlooked or ignored. Is SeeD organized by stupid people?
Maybe the purple lady and Seifer should take over SeeD, because right now it’s being run by a bunch of morons.
Part 33: Welcome to the Dungeon of Nightmares
Despite the game indicating that it was imperative that I begin my assassination attempt on the Sorceress I first have to go to a dungeon in order to prove that I am worthy of participating in this assassination attempt. Wait, what?
I am honest to goodness not joking about this. I go up to the mansion of the general that hired me, and his guard won't let me through until I recover the dog tags of a student that has gone missing. Where is this general coming from? Rather than question my party’s abilities this general should be questioning why SeeD only sent one team of teenagers to assist him in killing what the game has established to be the worst person in the world.
In large part thanks to Operation: Break This Game the battle with the minotaur brothers went surprisingly quick, but that didn't mean that this dungeon was a cake walk. To my surprise the bigger boss battle was making sense of how to navigate this nightmare of a dungeon. Now I get it game, you have a labyrinth populated by minotaurs, I see what you did there. However, it was a to have all of the rooms in this dungeon look exactly alike, and on top of that provide no hints whatsoever as to how I should navigate this dungeon aside from one of the worst maps I have ever seen. I mean shit, Myst provides better hints for its esoteric puzzles than this. This is all ignoring how out of place this whole ordeal feels. I am in this Byzantium horror because a general wanted me to prove that I was up for the challenge of assassinating a sorceress; despite the fact that he already paid for my services. I wish I could highlight how absurd the previous sentence was.
Part 34: Brevity is the Soul of Wit, and Let’s Just Say that FF8 Sure Doesn't Have Any Brevity
Oh bloody Hell! Final Fantasy VIII decided to have ANOTHER long winded explanation on how the next SeeD mission will play out, despite the fact that the game is clearly going to force me to deviate from the plan. Things are eventually going to go horribly wrong it is just a matter of who is to blame for messing everything up.
I cannot preface how long winded this whole scene is. For one particular part the general, who is revealed to be Rinoa’s father, is running around in circles like a maniac in downtown Galbadia explaining how the parade is going to work. Are there no cameras to see this happening? Is no one seeing this general run around with a party of heavily armed teenagers and thinking this isn't the least bit suspicious? This sequence should have been a three minute cutscene at most, but instead lasts more than three times that amount. Worse yet is how artificial it feels considering that you, the player, know that none of these steps are ever going to be followed with this level of rigidity.
Part 35: I Hope You are Ready for More Forced Characterization DURING AN ASSASSINATION MISSION!
Rinoa is in timeout and if you are surprised that she doesn’t accept this silently then you are an idiot. It’s honestly insulting how boilerplate the first phase of the assassination attempt plays out. Rinoa breaks out of the living room and ends up hypnotized by Edea. I'm also guessing that Edea has Emperor Palpatine levels of mind control powers when she publicly executes President NOT George Bush everyone in the background starts cheering and participating in this neon drenched parade.
This is summarily followed up with Quistis, Selphie, and Zell being locked in the room that Rinoa was previously in. What happens next can only be described as adventure game logic that would make the designers of Gabriel Knight 3 laugh hysterically. In order to get out of the room you take a goblet and place it in the hand of a statue. By doing this the statue turns around and reveals a secret exit for the general’s home.
WHAT IS THIS SCOOBY-DOO? I should also mention that the only hint that you have is a portrait of a lady holding a goblet in her hand in the background that you can walk up to. This is the worst adventure game that I have ever played!
Part 36: THIS SEWER SEQUENCE SUCKS! WHY IS THIS HERE OH MY GOD WHY?!
Overall I think the last hour of Disc One features some of the game’s strongest moments, but with one exception. The part of the game where you are traversing through the sewers of Galbadia with Quistis, Zell, and Selphie is among the single worst moments of the game. I am going to also provide my own generalization about the dungeons in this game based off of this sequence, the minotaur dungeon, and the lava cave. I think the dungeons in this game are bad. For the most part, they compound all of the problems I have with navigating the world of Final Fantasy VIII but taken to an extreme. Take this screen for example:
I spent around ten minutes trying to figure out how to navigate this screen before finally giving up and looking the answer up online. For those of you that are wondering you have to get halfway on the bridge and then jump on the wheel in order to land on the other side of the screen. This kind of shit happens all of the time! There are plenty of other examples where it is not entirely clear as to which parts of the game’s environment you can interact with and which parts you cannot. On multiple occasions I was held up from progressing because I didn’t know that you had to press X when walking up to a gated wall in order to open its door. Worse yet, unlike the minotaur dungeon the game doesn't provide you with a map for the sewers which forces you to just brute force your way out of here. Then there was this ladder:
I climbed the ladder and the characters just jumped off it automatically. I was then stuck in this random room that they jumped off into wondering what I needed to do next because there was nothing that I could interact with in that room. The answer was to hop back on the ladder and climb up it one more time, but I thought that it was a dead end. Therefore, I went back down and spent another fifteen minutes aimlessly wandering around in this fucking sewer!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! THIS IS THE WORST ADVENTURE GAME EVER MADE!
Part 37: Some Great Battles and a Killer Ending
There’s really no sarcastic or cynical way of going around the fact that the ending for Disc One is a solid and effective conclusion. Once you get past the really ill-conceived sewer segment you are graced by a mini boss rush that feels appropriately placed, rather than say…THE FIRST MISSION AT DOLLET, HMM?
Moving on, rest assured that I have Carbuncle as a GF following my battle with Iguions. In large part thanks to Operation: Break This Game all of these battles went rather quickly allowing me to absorb the scenery. When I got around to the confrontation with Seifer rather than employ tactics or legitimate strategies I just started walloping him in the face with Squall’s gunblade. Now there are two reasons as to why I did this. The first being that it was 1 A.M. (a story for another time), and could not be bothered to put in the extra effort to care. The second reason is that I wanted to have Squall in Limit Break mode for either this or the next battle. Anyways I have to ask a Final Fantasy VIII neophyte question. When I am at low health and the Limit Break does not appear as a selectable attack, what do I do? I hear that if you select and cancel attack it resets and allows for the Limit Break to reappear, but I don’t know if that is true, nor do I understand how to do this. Anyways, I hit Seifer in the face like six or seven times, and he went down for the count which then led to a battle with Edea, or formerly known as “Purple Lady.”
By pure chance I was able to break my confrontation with Edea so is that it was a piece of cake. Firstly, I had Irvine shoot Edea in the face with his gun. More importantly, I had Rinoa test out Carbuncle during the battle. Now for some reason the designers prioritized Edea to dispel all positive status effects first, before attacking any party members for damage. This is great news for me as casting Carbuncle automatically bestows all of my party members with “Reflect,” which screws with Edea’s priorities.
With the battle now beside me, the game then moved onto the final cutscene of Disc One and BOY DID IT NOT DISAPPOINT! I plan on discussing Final Fantasy VIII’s use of the Hero’s Journey next episode, but for all intents and purposes this game finally decided to drop its hook and reel me in. Now there is no conceivable way that Squall is actually dead. However, creating the illusion that he is, is a great way to depict the heroes at their lowest point. More importantly it hooks me into seeing how the story justifies keeping him alive, and seeing where his party members end up. This scene also does a great job of establishing Edea as being a major threat to the world of Final Fantasy VIII, as prior to this scene she was all talk and no bite.
Well done Final Fantasy VIII. You have finally decided to show your teeth, and a few cases of gingivitis on a number of your molars aside, I'm liking what I see. More importantly I'm in it for the long haul now. At twelve hours strong at this point you can safely assume that a new episode will be up next week.