Final Fantasy Tactics – I’ll Disintegrate My Allies! Beat That!

fft-2018-07-03-01h23m08s308As we left town, we got a cutscene from Zeltennia, and watched as Ovelia overheard noises in the hallway. This is probably as good an opportunity as ever to tell you that FFT’s attempts to do short voice samples for things like deaths. Unfortunately, this resulted in really pathetic, digitized samples that were acceptable in gameplay but were just laughable in dramatic situations like this. To put matters in perspective, I kept commenting to Kyle how characters kept dying “with a fart,” given a certain sound effect that I think was supposed to be a grunt? What I’m getting at here is that Ovelia overhears some serious gastric disaster going on just past some double doors.

It turns out the source of the noise is Orran, who seems to have interpreted his father’s orders to protect Ovelia to mean “get her away from Jerkface even if it means all of the guards stab you to death.” It seems he’s just that pissed about Jerkface framing his father for murder when Jerkface really did it himself. Jerkface himself arrives with Valamfra in tow, and Jerkface points out that not only are things demonstrably better for everyone now that Goltanna is dead and he’s in charge, but Cid is a free man. He doesn’t point out that it was his faction that framed Cid for treason in the first place, of course.

fft-2018-07-03-01h28m11s760Ovelia deduces from the talk that Jerkface was the one who really killed Goltanna, and she complains that he’s just using her like he uses everyone. Jerkface initially acts like he really cares whether or not Ovelia trusts him, but then feigns like he’s about to kill Orran, and in spite of the whiplash, there are reasons for what he’s doing. Ovelia leaves… only to take a better position and eavesdrop, and given his later actions, I’d wager that Jerkface expected she’d do as much. Jerkface moves to recruit Orran to his personal coup, and reveals that he doesn’t work for the church and plans to put Ovelia in charge of everything. Naturally, Valimfra takes poorly to this, and moves to kill Jerface, but even though he deliberately leaves himself open, for some reason she doesn’t strike (why she doesn’t do so is never revealed, in that crisp, FFT tradition. A moment of conscience perhaps?). All we get of the results is a woman’s scream, which could be either Valimfra or Ovelia.

There’s a funny behind the scenes fact about Valmafra that I might as well discuss here. All NPCs in this game, whether they appear in battle or not, have an internal job class (Aerith, for example, was a Chemist), and some of those hidden job classes are unique to them! Valmafra is one of them, but unlike the rest of the unique, unused job classes, she has a full set of combat sprites, implying that she might have been intended for use in battle at some stage in development, even though she doesn’t in the PSX. The PSP release added her to multiplayer mode (not available on smartphones), using those sprites and one of the later, enemy-only classes, Sorcerer, instead of her original NPC class, “Witch of the Coven.” Fun fact 2: the game also connects her class to “The Dark,” a plot element in the not-officially-Ivalice game, Vagrant Story!

Back on the west coast, Bag 2 has gone to investigate his father’s tomb with a professional herbalist. Finding the evidence he overhead about from Loffrey, the herbalist confirms it’s the poison in question. Bag 2 bribes the herbalist for silence, and begs his father to forgive him.

fft-2018-07-03-01h29m05s228Battle 51: Dorvauldar Marsh

At this point, Ramza was bound back home to the west. The game offers you a shortcut from Limberry to Bessalt, but if you want to take it, you’ll have to deal with this technically optional but still pre-set battle. Probably still better than going through all the random encounters you’d have to face by walking the other way, right? This battle was another poison marsh, ala the swamp near Goug, but much easier to navigate and as a consequence not so dangerous at all. A battle barely worth mentioning.

Clearing Limberry Castle unlocks the game’s second-last set of Errands. After the battle at Dorvauldar, we resumed Errand training and even ended up in a fight with our B-team for the last time. We took Beowulf and Reis into the B-team, having just learned about the new quest expanding their story in the remake, meaning they’d probably force their way into the A-team during the coming sidequest and would need the levels. We also lucked into info from a walkthrough telling us that Meliadoul would be forced into our party for an upcoming battle, so bought her new equipment… to replace the ones we had Nina’d from her the moment she arrived in the party. Whoops. In our defence, she was carrying a Save the Queen sword and we felt it would be more thematically appropriate (and useful) with Agrias. You understand. Unfortunately, the fact that Limberry was surrounded on two sides by encounter zones discouraged us from training there, and we moved back to the northeast to finish Josephine’s lessons. Probably for the best, too, as Beowulf proved absolutely useless without upgrades, and nearly cost us a random battle when we trusted him to revive Ramza, and he failed over and over!

fft-2018-07-03-01h32m06s764While we were Errand training, we used our peek into a walkthrough to find an obscure remake addition, wherein if you happen to be in a town on Agrias’ birthday with a shit-ton of money, Mustadio will buy her some expensive rouge as a birthday present. This item turned out to be one of the best accessories in the game, so it was worth the extra fuss we spent pacing between two cities just to pass the time! We were lucky it was never tossed out by the game’s auto-equip feature, though I think it tried. The auto-equip kept trying to give us a set of Winged Boots that would give party members the ability to Fly, and it didn’t seem to care what decent stuff it tossed aside to put it on our feet!

Also, I should probably mention that this birthday sequence is for some reason called “Gift of the Magi” in the smartphone achievements, even though it… bears absolutely no resemblance to the story of the same name?

After this, it was off to another remake addition, an easily missed battle intended to introduce one of Folmarv’s flunkies, who essentially appears out of thin air in the original PSX release. Yeah, we were glad we turned to the walkthrough when we did!

fft-2018-07-03-01h36m10s180Battle 51a: Dorter

Folmarv’s new lackey is a man named Cletienne, an armoured, Templarite mage of the mostly-unique “Sorcerer” class (which I just mentioned a few paragraphs ago in reference to Valmafra in multiplayer mode). Sorcerer essentially has access to the most powerful spells of the White, Black and Time schools, but none of the cheaper ones (specifically, they have Holy, Arise, Flare, Graviga, and a new spell called Unholy Darkness that we never encountered). This restriction to the high-level spells probably helps force the AI to be deadly when it might have otherwise run around casting trifles. Cletienne introduces himself with a narrative-only Time spell that he uses to pin Ramza in place, but Ramza is rescued by Meliadoul, who decides to make her defection open by attacking him now. Thankfully, Cletienne’s spell only works with extra prep (yes, the devs who made the remake went to the trouble of establishing why he couldn’t use it in battle! Good for them!) and it was time for a fight.

Meliadoul sadly works as an autonomous Guest here, but you luckily don’t have to keep her alive. To put a twist on the previous battle at Dorter, Cletienne and his mage force are positioned on top of the nearby buildings, relying on their Ignore Elevation skills to get down while not giving you the same mercy. You can either bring high jumpers or try to goad them off their perch, and the latter’s a dangerous plan. Thankfully, our team was all about mobility, and it was no great challenge to get up top and strike him down with – no joke – a single attack from Agrias. Honestly, if you’re readyand able  to rush the guy, the only threat in this battle is that Ramza and Meliadoul start so isolated from the rest of the party!

After the battle, it was finally time to return home to Eagrose. An opening cutscene told us that Bag 2 was already inside, but also that the castle has a button to open its front gate on the outside of the gate, what is wrong with this picture. Ugh, whatever, on to the big familial showdown.

fft-2018-07-03-01h37m19s426Battle 52: Eagrose Castle Keep

The player arrives on the scene just in time to catch Zalbag in the middle of attempted murder, already having knocked down his patricidal brother and ready to run him through. Dicebag denies murdering their father, but it’s a moot point after a Knight stumbles in and Dicebag is able to call for reinforcements. Thankfully, Ramza arrives just in time. Funnily enough, Bag 2 never actually informs Ramza about their father’s murder, and must be assuming that Ramza already wants to kill Dicebag for unrelated reasons?

The objective here is to defeat Bag 1, ideally while keeping Bag 2 alive, but you don’t have to and thank goodness for that. That second part might prove tricky, since he’s surrounded and all, and worse yet, he’s on a bridge over your position, high enough that you can’t jump to him without Ignore Elevation or a monster to serve as a stepping stool. Not that Kyle minded, since we had two Holy Sword users who could attack Dicebag’s position from ground level! Hell, Kyle didn’t even advance the rest of the party! Instead, he used Ramza’s Geomancy skills to attack Dicebag from ground level as well, and lined everyone up to use a Protection spell! This led to a few jokes about how both Bags agreed they were still ashamed at Ramza for turning to the pathetic school of Geomancy. Us too, bad guys.

fft-2018-07-03-01h39m21s193Unfortunately, our Protection-buffed cross formation proved too juicy a fruit for Dicebag to pass up, and he revealed that he had his own Holy Sword skills, and dropped one right on top of our formation! That seemed dire, dire enough that we made what I think was Arthur’s last-ever use of his long-serving but now wildly inadequate Chakra Monk ability, just to heal Ramza! But Dicebag had left himself exposed to attack us, and was dead after both our Holy Sword users defeated him. Unfortunately, his auracite triggered, bringing the battle into its second stage without a break. Luckily for us, Adrammelech the Wroth turned out to also be Adrammelech the Petty, and he disintegrated his own formally loyal knights without waiting to see if they’d side with him, so the fact that we had left the enemy force nearly intact didn’t hurt us at all! He also killed Bag 2 in a blink, which, even considering Zalbag’s weak role in the plot, was still anticlimactic. Lucky that he didn’t use that magic on his actual enemies! Adrammalech also admitted to killing their father, just so Ramza would get that information. Thanks, narratively helpful villain!

Unfortunately for Adrammalech, he was still at the edge of the upper level and in range of our Holy Sword techniques, and no longer had his own to reply with. While we had to send Ramza towards the stairs to give him a chance to fight his big bad brother, Arthur could just hop up top with Ignore Elevation, and as a consequence, Adrammalech was easily killed, and Ramza never got into the fight!

fft-2018-07-03-01h42m13s200After the battle, Ramza declared House Beoulve destroyed. Urm… okay, you’re a traitor and a heretic, but what about your sister, jackass? You mention her like two sentences later! Sure, for all I know, by Ivalician customs she might marry “out of the family,” but she’s still here now!

At this point, the game draws a path to an island we’d never realized was important, even though we absolutely should have known about it. After all, this was the poorly-detailed island of Mullonde, capital of the church, a place you’d think would have come up considering how important it is and also that we started just a few miles from it, but nope… nope. Ugh, this game. After some safe Errand training for Josephine, we finally gave her Arithmeticks as a secondary skill (to support her White Mage job), and finally went after the heart of the church, in what I can only assume was some sort of half-hearted, guesswork-ridden, “I guess Folmarv has Alma, probably,” plan on Ramza’s part.

Speaking of Folmarv, since the church had proven useless when it came to conquering the world, it seems he had just slaughtered his way across the church’s headquarters along with Cletienne and Loffrey not long before Ramza’s arrival (this is Cletienne’s first appearance in the PSX game). The only one left alive inside was the High Confessor himself, and Folmarv wounded him badly as a way of convincing him to reveal the location of the “necrohol” that Marquis Elmdore had mentioned earlier. The Confessor revealed that a teleport glyph to the necrohol could be found at Orbonne monastery, because of course it was, what isn’t at Orbonne? I’m a fan of bookending, but I’d like to ask “why?” if we could. Unfortunately for the Confessor, he didn’t know how to activate the glyph, though he suspected it might be written in the Scriptures of Germonique. This led Folmarv to snap: “At every turn, the boy!” which I found genuinely clever. I mean, we really are just six assholes and a few hangers-on, he has no reason to suspect us of being this much of a thorn in his side. Honestly, every RPG could probably warrant a moment of “Seriously, those assholes again?” from the villains. Since he didn’t have all the information they needed, Loffrey stabbed the Confessor through the back.

fft-2018-07-03-01h43m30s485Battle 53: Mullonde Cathedral

While Folmarv and his troops had made a right mess indoors, the outside guards were still alive when Ramza arrived on scene, and had no idea that they were protecting a building full of corpses and murderers. That meant we’d had to slaughter our way through them as well. Ramza, returning to his early-chapter stupidity (and hold that thought because that stupidity is going to stick with us for a stretch!) announces himself by name – him, the heretic! This lead to a running gag for the rest of the session where we’d have Ramza introducing himself to all and sundry as “Ramza, the heretic,” usually carrying on with other resume items like “wanted cross-country for crimes against church and state! I killed my own mentor multiple times and given my track record will likely do the same to you! Are you familiar with my work, because if not I could demonstrate?” and so on.

Ramza wasn’t entirely off the ball. He had preemptively surrounded the monastery from front and rear, and I had a lot of fun with the battle. Step 1 of my joy was to carefully look over the enemy force and finally show Kyle what Arithematicks could do with a mass Flare spell that hit nearly every enemy soldier at once, at no cost, and without a casting time. Yes, yes they’re that powerful, if you can arrange it so everything falls into place!

fft-2018-07-03-01h46m04s824You see, Arithmaticians are inspired by the “Level X” Blue Magic spells introduced in FFV, the ones that hit everyone if they’re of a certain level, or if their gil is a certain value, or what have you. By unlocking Arithmatician abilities, you can target specific stats if they’re divisible by certain numbers, each qualifier tied to an Arithmaticks upgrade. Your stat options are Level, EXP, CT (CT is the value that determines when your character acts in order), or vertical elevation on the map, misleading called “Height” (this is the easy one). Your divisors are 3, 4, 5, or alternately if the number happens to be a prime. The spell affects everyone on the board who qualifies, instantly, for no cost. Yes, this applies to friends and foes, but the game also handily highlights affected parties after you select the variables so it’s not as dangerous as it could be (though you don’t have full camera control at the time, since that’s the normal rule for the targeting stage of an action). Kyle felt Arithmaticks was like cheating, and so largely put off using it until the exact end of the game, when we were running out of other options for Josephine to cast with, thanks to the fact that she didn’t have Black Magic equipped, and had such a low MP stat!

My other big joy in this fight was using Ignore Elevator to summit the incredibly high wall front wall of the building like it was nothing.

fft-2018-07-03-01h46m47s377Battle 54: Mullonde Cathedral Nave

After the battle it was straight off into the next, where we found Folmarv, Cletienne, and… oh for crying out loud, I keep forgetting his damned name. The… the hooded guy! I’m serious, every time I’ve tried to type it, I’ve had to go look it up earlier in the Journal or online. Loffrey! Yeah, you, the one who looks exactly like one of my party members (Meliadoul, who’s got the same hood dominating her portrait). That asshole. We found Folmarv, Cletienne, and Man In A Raincoat on their way out. Folmarv decided to negotiate for the Scriptures in return for Alma, just like before, presumably because Ramza hadn’t come across any corpses yet and was still in position to believe Folmarv was working for the church and had church-related reasons to want the Scriptures. He also asked for the auracite, even though he had already said in private that he no longer needed them, but Ramza didn’t know that and would expect him to ask for them. Good on the authors and the villain with this one!

Folmarv implied that his temper was thin and that he would kill Alma if Ramza tried to haggle (naturally he wouldn’t, since he wanted her to be possessed by this mysterious “High Seraph”). I was disappointed when Ramza decided to cave after only a short while. He decided to hand over the Scriptures instead of the auracite, not knowing that Folmarv only needed the former (after all, to Ramza the auracite seems more dangerous!), but still… Ramza, would you stop doing stuff just because people tell you to? Especially people that claim to have your sister hostage, but don’t prove it, especially after you were screwed on that note already, like not two plot threads ago?

fft-2018-07-03-01h48m55s901Finding the incantation he needed to trigger the teleportation glyph, Folmarv decided to attack Ramza on the spot, prompting the laughably inept cry of, “We are deceived!” from Ramza. While this looked like it would be a big showdown, with instructions from the game to defeat Folmarv, the battle ended seconds later when Agrias dropped Loffrey in a single attack (funnily enough, she didn’t kill Cletienne in that same attack, even though he died in one hit in the previous battle!). Folmarv and his flunkies ran away at that point. As I muttered to Kyle: “We could have taken them.”

And funnily enough, this is the only battle in the entire game where you engage Folmarv in his human form, so in a matter of speaking, we’ve never fought him! Turns out a battle with him towards the end of the game may have been dummied out. Oh well.

fft-2018-07-03-01h50m00s977Battle 55: Mullonde Cathedral Sanctuary

Unfortunately, we still weren’t done at Mullonde. Folmarv was waiting to us in the sanctuary, which turned out to be some sort of tomb. He then summoned some demons, and also another zombie thrall, just like Arbent from earlier. This time, it was Bag 2. Honestly, the fight wasn’t remotely threatening. Remember when Arbent fought us with a force of all Ultima demons, something like a half-dozen? These were a mix of Ultima and Archaeodemons, and there were only three of them total. Sure, Bag 2 was stronger than The Zombie Clown, but if we had proven anything in the past few hours, it was that we were really, really good at singling out a boss and dropping them in only a few turns. The fight only lasted a few minutes, and Zalbaag asked Ramza to forgive him. So ends the Tale of the Two Bags. I think it’s from Grimm or something.

After the battle, Ramza found the slaughter in the High Confessor’s chambers, only for us to discover the High Confessor was still alive with a sword in his back, pinning him to the floor. Holy shit! Ramza’s “Gods have mercy!” doesn’t even begin to describe it! Perhaps realizing the High Confessor would soon die, Ramza asked him where to find Folmarv, and got his answer. It was time to go back to the beginning.

Prev: Final Fantasy Tactics – This is Halloween, This is Halloween
Next: Final Fantasy Tactics – Dragons and Damsels and Damsels who are Dragons


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