Twitch Plays FF7 Part 11: Therapy Sessions and Tactical Explosions

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kerikxi

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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Chat immediately turns battle speed back down and saves the game to lock it in. Slowest possible battle speed and ATB wait are the only reasons combat is even remotely possible in this run. Even overpowered, careless mistakes could quickly prove costly and death can happen at any time. The mental processing delay between seeing an action on screen, deciphering the ATB bar order and quickly thinking of who was up next and what to do all while juggling the command queue was a constant struggle. This is why so much strategy relied on raw power and spamming, trying to act tactically in fights significantly raised the challenge, regardless of any chat cooperation. It's also worth noting that exactly one session of intentional grinding has been done so far, just to recruit Vincent. Being unable to flee from random fights has kept the party punching well above their weight.

Mideel Revisit

Chat is sadly done with fun for a bit and has some penance to pay in the form of a boss fight and way too much plot to sit through. We pop back to Mideel to check on Cloud and Tifa, only to have another Weapon to show up and the literal ground begin shaking apart. Ultimate Weapon is clearly a pretty powerful foe, but the only condition for this fight is survival, the boss will simply retreat after a handful of turns. It still gets a bit dicey when his trademark Ultima Beam goes off, nearly wiping the party. Fortunately, Vince carries yet again and chat can safely proceed.

Inside Cloud's Mind, I guess?

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Ultimate Weapon gets bored and leaves, but the town is still done for. The lifestream erupts from beneath the earth, literally dumping Cloud, Tifa and chat into probably the lengthiest lore section of the game. There are no dangers or challenges here, outside of deciphering which semi corporeal version of Cloud's shattered psyche you need to talk to next. There's a lot of story going down but to briefly summarize, the pair work through Cloud's memories centered around the familiar Nibelheim flashback and determine that he was in fact present for events but had transposed himself over Zack's position instead of his own lowly guard post. It connects the dots and has a pretty neat sequence at the end timed to the music, but this whole section is painfully dry. Chat kicks back and we diligently read our book.

An hour later we are released from text box hell. Cloud rejoins the party mentally whole and somebody finally turned the jukebox on in the airship, treating us to that triumphant theme we'll be so sick of hearing by the end of this. Cloud gets some setup work and chat swiftly proceeds to our next target in the huge materia hunt. A dangerous foe awaits, but the true threat lies just beyond him.

Underwater Reactor

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We return to Junon to find their comically oversized gun has disappeared. Nobody seems too worried about it, so we press on to the service elevators and the mako reactor nestled into the ocean floor. There's a few fights leading up to the boss, but these encounters have become nearly trivial. Gear is in peak condition and levels are quite good. The final battle is still plenty dangerous though. Carry Armor has a few nasty moves in his arsenal, the worst of which is Lapis Laser, a potent partywide attack he can choose to do at any time, even consecutively. Chaining this attack can quickly wipe even the best prepared team. He can also scoop up party members and remove them from the fight until his arms are destroyed, similar to our classic pyramid foes complete with game over potential.

Of course he opts to open the fight with his powerful beam, but this immediately pushes Vincent into limit form and he can effectively solo the fight from here, providing he's kept intact. This strategy soon collapses when both Vince and Cloud are grabbed by the sinister arms, leaving Yuffie alone and critically wounded. This was a harrowing fight but Yuffie earns her third slot and pulls it through in the end, first try. Chat must now confront our most dangerous foe, one as old as time. The dreaded minigame.

Submarine Hunt

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After the boss you are locked in this area until completing the following sub event. Chat makes a point to grab the Leviathan Scale from the dock before proceeding, this key item can only be acquired now and unlocks some powerful loot back in Wutai. Upon commandeering the sub, chat elects to show no mercy and brutally murders our former squadmates from the welcoming ceremony. Poor guy never even got to do his victory dance in battle. The only way forward now is to defeat the red enemy submarine and retrieve their mcguffin, another steep challenge. This is another segment that can be failed through, but there is a proper penalty in that you lose a huge materia and are also stuck with the red submarine of shame so the world forever knows of your shortcomings.

This minigame is probably the most complex in the game. The sub itself controls like the airship in terms of directions, triangle and X handle speed and square fires torpedos after achieving a target lock. Mines are strewn throughout the arena and you can lock on to enemy subs within a short radius. There is a ten minute timer on the whole event as well. The complicated nature of the minigame and controls immediately led to struggles for chat. In casual play, you can quickly chase down the fleeing target and just spam missiles until it dies, but once he's out of range he could be hiding anywhere on the map. Input delay made it nearly impossible to react to the brief windows a lock on was available, and even at low speed the sub was incredibly difficult to maneuver properly, spending most of the time wedged into the top or sides of the map. This is intended to be a pretty action heavy minigame, so the sluggish nature of chat's reflexes was uniquely ill suited for the task.

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Chat is not willing to accept defeat as an option. After the first loss we drive the red consolation prize directly into Emerald Weapon, a quick easy way to intentionally wipe and try the hunt again. Like so much before, many said it couldn't be done, so chat was out to yet again prove them wrong. A few more failed attempts make clear, there are two main factors nullifying our chance at success here. Our own sub has a health bar that cannot be replenished over the mission, so dying to mines or enemy missiles is a constant concern. There's also the classic timer nemesis. Channel ops work quickly and provide chat with both a new timer scam and infinite health hack, so while we have thoroughly violated the sanctity of the minigame rules, the only issue now is tracking down the Red October and ending it. Even with all these assists victory is no small task.

This is made all the more difficult by the light chat presence at the time, this sequence stretching long into the traditionally quietest hours. Players had rotated out and an interesting social phenomenon took place. Perhaps unaware of the event structure, new crew would basically assume this was something we were required to do, or that completing it would aid us significantly. Everyone wanted this but nobody was sure exactly why. Noble arrivals continued carrying the torch, lonely sonar echoing in the night.

After well over four hours of one ping only, chat jubilantly conquers yet another brutal minigame, rescuing the third huge materia and grabbing the keys to our shiny silver sub. Yes, we cheated, but due to factors mentioned before the outcome of this event didn't have a significant impact either way. It was however another chance for chat to pull together and complete a seemingly impossible challenge, and that's ultimately what this whole run was really about.

After a diligent and critical save, chat retrieves their huge materia prize from the wreckage, wary of the lurking superboss. The key to Ancients is also grabbed now, saving a later trip. Chat makes a brief detour to view the Gelnika takeoff scene at Junon airport before proceeding, this is entirely optional but can only be viewed if you come here at this exact moment and is often missed. So, Rufus had access to an airship and obviously a cargo plane, but clearly required Cid's single seater private ride. Shinra continues to be reliably useless.

It's worth talking briefly about sub navigation because it's a bit more involved than expected. While cruising the overworld, the sub controls much like Cloud or the planeboat, but once underwater it swaps to airship controls. North while at sea level will translate to the expected forward motion, but beneath the waves this same command causes the sub to descend into the depths. Trolls were provided yet another chewtoy with the X button causing the sub to dive and resurface. Errant unexpected dive commands could result in the ship immediately crashing into Emerald with little time to react. This would often require careful monitoring of the chat box to counter malicious inputs before even being represented in the command queue.

Rocket Town Revisit

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Chat is three for three on huge materia, but Shinra already have the last one and figuring that's probably good enough have set their plan in motion. Our next objective is to intercept the rocket launch and save the final shiny rock from a spectacular but ultimately useless low orbit detonation. There's a small gauntlet of Shinra grunts here but chat effortlessly steamrolls through them. Cid is forced into the party now, it's his beloved rocket after all, and Yuffie takes her ever present third slot before chat soldiers forward into the final fight of this segment against Rude from the Turks. This is pushed through just as easily, and soon chat is blasted into space to confront a classic foe last encountered days ago, delicate inputs under a timer.

That rotund jerk Palmer has launched us on a direct course to the angry death rock, locking out the cockpit controls. Fortunately there's an escape pod on board, so our only task now is to retrieve the huge materia before it is pointlessly lost in the collision. This is another event that just costs you a huge materia if failed, but chat channels that pokemon energy and feels compelled to complete the set anyway. Retrieving the prize requires dialing the correct sequence of face buttons. It's the same every playthrough, so again the real challenge comes from nailing the inputs. Democracy is enacted to allow the precision necessary and the puzzle busts open first try without triggering the countdown, no timer hack required. Prize in hand, chat fumbles a bit locating the escape pod but finally makes their retreat, safely viewing the rest through a porthole. So long Shinra No. 26, this probably won't work but at least it'll look cool.

With that, our huge materia hunt is complete and the first attempt at stopping Meteor has categorically failed. Perpetually thwarting Shinra is good and all, but clearly we need some sort of actual plan. Next time we're in for some hefty lore dumps and dramatic Weapon encounters. At nearly 110 hours we rapidly approach the end of disc 2, but there's some important business to handle first. As always thanks for reading!

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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