After so much running on rails, it was a real relief to get down to Pulse and have some time to breathe and run around and hunt Marks and admire the scenery. I'm a little sorry to see that the story seems to be getting back on said rails with the return to Cocoon. Endgame appears to be upon us.
A few thoughts, in no particular order:
That cutscene that opens Chapter 12: I think I need to watch that about a dozen more times. Partly because it's awesome, but also because it was fast and confusing, and I'm not at all sure what was going on. I miss the Sphere Theater.
The Primach as the Big Bad: not a bad twist, although relatively obvious on reflection. This is a Final Fantasy game, after all; eventually the government has to reveal itself as corrupt on some level. The twist with Raines, though, I didn't see coming at all, and I really felt the betrayal with the characters, especially Snow. Raines's arc as a whole is pretty tragic. This story is really mean to its characters.
Lightning/Fang/Vanille OT3: There is no other choice. When Fang and Vanille were reunited in Chapter 9, T -- who, I should add, is not in fandom and so hadn't heard any of the rumblings about them -- said "What, no kiss?" And I was already really digging Fang and Lightning together from their Awesome Commando Team Action in Chapter 7, so what else is there for me to do, really?
Random thought while talking with Renay about 'ships and the lack of slash pairings in the game: although the three male members of the main cast aren't particularly 'shippable with each other (do not speak to me of Snow/Hope; I know it's out there, but I'm pretending that I don't), if there aren't a dozen epics about Cid Raines and Colonel Rousch (sp?) and their doomed love by the end of the year, I'll eat my hat. I might even write one of them myself (except knowing me, it would probably be a doomed friendship, possibly with subtext). That said, it is way too early to tell if I will be drawn to this game in a fannish sense. With FFXII, it took three years and a replay before I felt really ready to write fic. It might happen with this game, it might not, we'll see. Let's get the game finished first...