Month: October 2018

Final Fantasy VIII – Vampire Handshake

ffviii-00059Disc 2 follows up Squall’s fall off the float by opening with another Laguna flashback. This time, Laguna was alone, with no sign of Kiros and Ward, as befitting Squall’s situation. Laguna was now in casual clothes in a village of some sort, having apparently been woken from his sleep by a young girl that called him “Uncle Laguna.” She told him someone had come to “the pub” looking for Laguna. Laguna chastised her for coming to his house, because apparently coming from the pub to here would have put her at risk of monster attack! The game’s text boxes addressed this girl as “Elle,” but we quickly learned her proper name was Ellone, which I think is supposed to be pronounced “Elle-oh-nee.” Or as my brain insists on calling her … “Elle One.” I like to pretend Laguna has multiple Elles to keep track of but doesn’t care enough to tell them apart except by number.

On Laguna’s bullet-ridden first floor (seriously, guy?) we learned that Ellone had lost her parents sometime in the past. As Elle had already told us, the Pub was just next door, meaning monsters must be just flooding the town. Weirdly, after this scene, people don’t act half as concerned by this as Laguna is now! Laguna went on ahead of Ellone to “clear out” any monsters before allowing Elle to follow. There were only weak enemies infesting the town as random encounters, familiar to us from the Balamb overworld, but dangerous enough to kill a civilian. They continued to appear despite the presence of nearby Galbadian soldiers, whom we later learned would insist that their job was to protect the town from Esthar, not from monsters. Jackasses. Given the nature of random encounters, much less monsters, it’s hard to see how it’s even possible for them to ignore monsters within their line of sight (and vice versa), but it’s not the worst writer’s hack the devs could have drummed up… goodness knows they’ve proven that already.

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Final Fantasy VIII – Squall Kebab

ffviii-00040Back to Deling we went, and to Caraway’s mansion, where the game tricked me into entering the wrong ID number for the sword by asking for the numbers from right to left instead of left to right! Okay, okay, I should have been paying attention. After getting into the house, Rinoa revealed what had become obvious over a number of hints about her familiarity with the city: she was Caraway’s daughter. She gave Squall an order not to leave her in the house, implying that, despite his favourable political leanings, Caraway might not be a very… ah… nice person, especially not to her. Actually, I’m kind of confused as to why she goes into the house at all if she has these kinds of fears? Seriously, get the poor woman a hotel room and come back for her when it’s time to act.

Unsurprisingly, once Caraway was on the scene, he announced that he would not allow Rinoa to be a part of the assassination, since she wasn’t trained for it. I mean, he’s not wrong, but how about you spread that complaint to the party at large? After Caraway and Squall had a pissing contest about Rinoa, Irvine brought the subject back to the assassination, and Caraway decided to take us to the site to discuss the plan. By the way, “the site” is the middle of town fucking square, right outside of the President’s residence, in the middle of a normally busy street is magically vacated for our briefing. What I’m saying is that Caraway is about to get up on a wide-open stage in the middle of all the town’s spotlights to shout about assassinating a major public figure.

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Final Fantasy VIII – You’re not heavy, you’re my miniature brother

ffviii-00036Quistis left to talk to Galbadia Garden’s headmaster and, after a little exploration, we were called to a meeting room. Despite this quick tour, I found two odd things about the building’s design. First off was a mass of close-clustered save points. They couldn’t have done a worse job hiding the fact that not only will this building be a dungeon in the future, but that it will be a maze dungeon, where nearby rooms end up locked off from one another. What’s that? The Sorceress plans to make her base in Galbadia Garden? Well, don’t you worry, because I am positive she will not succeed!

Secondly, a student in a wheelchair told us that the Gardens are supposed to be politically neutral, so Galbadia Garden is technically not on Galbadian soil, like an embassy. “It’s hard to explain…” he said. Yes, writers, it is hard to explain something when you don’t actually have a working explanation!

Once in the meeting room, Quistis returned, and told us that Galbadia had declared Seifer’s attack to be an independent action, and so the Gardens were not responsible. Seifer, however, had been tried and executed in a matter of hours. Kangaroo courts and all that. Oh, and the fact that it obviously wasn’t true, because Seifer is on the game’s cover and hasn’t done anything of serious note yet. So yeah, you can get a really fast trial and execution when you don’t actually try or execute anybody!

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Final Fantasy VIII – Tune in Next Time!

ffviii-00008At this point, we made our way to the TV station, and were surprised to find a giant screen on the side of the station showing the station’s current broadcast, which thanks to the global interference was nothing but random gibberish in text form (Ed. I later learned, months after we had finished playing, that there are hidden messages in the gibberish that make sense once you understand the reason behind the interference. Very nice!). I can’t imagine the screen has been running like this for eighteen years, so the Galbadians probably just turned it on. Then again, I can’t help but notice that the screen is now facing that impassable wall of buildings I was complaining about earlier, so no one is going to be able to see it these days!

After getting news that the president was inside and too well guarded, Rinoa considered whether to switch to Plan B (the publicity plan) or to go in guns blazing. While she was pondering, a stray comment from Squall revealed that he didn’t have much confidence in her. She began to ask him about that, and we were given the option to back down to push harder. Since I had my own issues with the Owls (chiefly that they don’t seem to have a long-term plan), I decided to let her have it, but it turned out that Squall only had really petty complaints about them being unprofessional, and I felt bad for doing it. Come on, Squall, these people might operate in an unorthodox manner, but they just hijacked a train car from the middle of the actual train.

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