Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Gameblogging: Endgame approaches

I could be almost done with FFXII, but I'm doing hunts and sidequests instead. I'm pretty sure I've finished at least a few hunts that we didn't manage last time, mostly by good Quickening management. And I'm having enough fun poking around Ivalice that I don't have any desire to rush it, at all.

One question before we get into "spoilers-behind-the-cut" territory: Has anyone ever found the Espers useful, or am I just doing it wrong?

  • Family reunion in the lighthouse! First Gabranth, then Dr. Cid, and though the interactions are short, there's a lot of meat to them. You get the sense that Gabranth has been rehearsing the speech in his head for a long time. (Do we know which of the brothers is older?) Then Cid and Balthier; it seems to me that Balthier had been holding out hope for some level of reconciliation, but Cid shows him little more than contempt, even in his dying moments -- he shows much deeper feeling for Venat. Chilling, in a way, and kind of sad too.

  • Why did it take me until fairly recently to figure out that Venat is female, as much as the Occuria can be said to have gender? There also some interesting echos between her character design and Drace's, and I wonder if that's intentional. Or maybe I'm just seeing things.

  • Al-Cid returns, and he is just as awesome as he was the first time. Love the interplay with Ashe, and Balthier watching on, Not Amused. Is it any wonder that I 'ship Balthier/Ashe/Al-Cid? Of course, I'm also interested in Balthier/Ashe/Basch, not to mention Larsa/Penelo/Vaan. Something about this game really lends itself to love triangles. I suppose Ashe/Balthier/Fran fits in there, too, although I persist in seeing Balthier and Fran's relationship as strong friendship rather than anything more. Although...

  • If any Fran/Balthier people wanted to point to the moment in the lighthouse as hard-core evidence for their 'ship, I'd be hard pressed to argue with them. There is strength of feeling between them, for sure. I just have a difficult time seeing it as romance. It's the same "problem" (if you want to call it that) I have with some of the more popular FFX/X-2 'ships: Auron/Braska/Jecht, Lulu/Wakka (in FFX anyway), Paine with Baralai and Gippal both. You pretty much have to whack me over the head with romantic subtext before I notice, which is why I tend to be so stubborn about the pairings I like because of canon evidence (rather than the pairings I like because of character dynamics).

  • I like the way some of the hunts tell mini stories, and also how they sometimes tie in together. The kid who ran away from home the first time you visit Bhujerba becomes the boy you have to rescue from the Antlion, and then you have to find the key he dropped into the ocean before you can do the next hunt in the mines. You learn a lot about the Garif by doing hunts for them, too. Yet another example of the depth in this game, which I noticed the first time but am seeing a lot more clearly the second time through.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
• Family reunion/Venat: ellnyx has done some complex things about the non-sexual yet fruitful relationship between Cid and Venat. She is almost an anima. And in replaying just now, I noticed that Drace's voice is almost certainly Yunalesca's (I haven't checked IMdB, but my ear for voice mannerisms rarely fails me). Odd.

• Al-Cid: Frustrating to me: I felt like he (and Larsa) were characters who needed about one more scene interacting with the group. That, or I just wanted Rozzaria to be a place one could visit, like Esthar in FFVIII, as opposed to only mentioned. Greedy am I.

• Fran and Balthier: I could go either way with them. That moment in the Pharos when Balthier puts his hand over Fran's after she teases him about running away is so very tender... it is easy to see that as the one moment when both drop the masks and reveal how they both feel for each other, which one could take many ways. Certainly it seems to me as strong, or stronger an indicator, than Nooj's quiet "see you later," and Paine's nod in return.
Yet I love the idea of a lady's man and a sex bunny being dear friends and comrades but not lovers, who may occasionally be amused or encourage each other in pursuit of pleasure wherever they find it. (I can just imagine both of them in a seedy bar each "acquiring" company for the night, and being amused across the room at the other's progress in picking up a date.)
On the other hand, there is a great deal of love between them, and I have seen some deep as well as sexy relationship-stuff written for them, often exploring Balthier's totally mixed-up underlayers (Archadian aristocrat, rebellious son, etc) and anxieties, and the trouble that always comes with characters who age slowly. Again, I recommend browsing the fine wine of ellnyx's fiction. She accidentally wound up with the fanon of giving Balthier and Fran a pair of small girls, Cam and Gyro, who have practically entered my own fanon -- not so much the girls, although they are brilliant characters, as the difficulties Balthier has with being a father.

It's a deep world, although for me it always feels just a little disconnected. I'm not sure why, except that the reasons for going to point A to B feel a little more contrived and disconnected, as opposed to the methodical "pilgrimage" scenario of FFX where one saw the whole route laid out -- yet the detours were dramatic, abrupt and surprising!

Of ellnyx's FFXII fic, I recommend in no particular order: Ownership, which is fanon for me on how Balthier and Fran got together, Quest on Montblanc and Krjn, a great piece on Moogles and Viera; , No tragedy today, one of several shortfics in the Bonds AU series where Vossler survives; How to go on not looking on a rather unfortunate Balthier/Ashe future, oysters and pearls on Cid anc Balthier; the painful When Kingdom Come exploring an AU in which Balthier and Ashe run off together, a day in the life of Balthier and Fran. Also, sadly hidden behind flock, you gotta see ellnyx playing around with Ffamran getting revenge on half the senate as a young man. Most of these except "no tragedy today" have some sex, but also a ton of character stuff.

Edited at 2009-11-03 06:29 am (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
I noticed that Drace's voice is almost certainly Yunalesca's

I just checked, and good call. Julia Fletcher is her name. She voiced another character in FFX/X-2; any guesses? (I totally had not caught that this was the same person.)

I agree with wishing that we could have gone to Rozarria. I particularly would have liked to have met some Rozarrians other than Al-Cid. Either or both would have given us a much better picture of what the Rozarrian Empire was really like -- one representative doesn't tell us much. Whereas we get to meet a cross-selection of Dalmascans and Archadians, so we have a more multi-dimensional view of both countries.

On the other hand, I have to disagree on Larsa. He spent two stints with the party, one fairly extended, and I felt like we got to know him pretty well. Probably better than anyone else not in the main party, except perhaps Vayne and Vossler.

Thanks for the recs! I've read some of ellnyx's fic, mostly in the drabble community that she runs. I'll have to take a closer look at her longer stories.
Nov. 3rd, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Off the top of my head, I'm guessing it's Pacce, although that hurts my brain a lot.

ESPERs, which is actually what I was going to tell you, before I got busy chattering:

See this ESPer strategy guide, particularly the "Using ESPers" section. They are much more tactical than they used to be, and if you tend to overlevel a ton, you may never miss them. I myself haven't really mastered them. But my parents (aged that they are!) have figured out ways where ESPers are invaluable, based on that guide. In particular, a few of them have massive finishing moves that break the 9999 damage cap. The trick which I keep forgetting is to summon them BEFORE you get into a boss fight, get an ESPER all ready to go, watch the timer, and march into battle with the timer almost at zero. That's when the ESPer unleashes massive quantities of kickass before disappearing. FFXII's 90-second ESPERs are a sort of compromise between earlier Final Fantasy summons, where they came in and went KA BOOM and vanished, and the over-powered FFX summons, which I prefer, but which can just hang out and fight the whole battle for you. You have to work a little harder to keep an FFXII alive through its 90 second visitation, so the summoner takes an active role -- not so much fighting alongside it as monitoring the fight and healing/assisting it.
Nov. 3rd, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
Nope. It's Elma. I was pretty surprised.

Thanks for the GameFAQs list; I'll have to look at it. And try the trick of summoning the Esper before the boss battle starts -- I've never done that.
Nov. 3rd, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
*just looked it up*

Gack. How odd. Her Yunalesca and Drace are compelling (and almost identical), whereas I've taken a positive dislike to the Elma-voice...there's too many moments when the flat delivery throws me out of the story and reminds me it's somebody reading the lines.
I guess Ms. Fletcher is more accustomed to voicing mysterious and weighty than ordinary and folksy.

Edited at 2009-11-03 08:08 am (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Man. The lighthouse. STAB ME IN THE HEART. Oh Reddas, why, baby, why?

I hate the Espers in XII and never use them.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

April 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner