Last time on FF9 Analysis, we finished our tour of Lindblum and got ready for the Festival of the Hunt. It’s a good thing we got familiar with the layout of the city, since the Festival turns previously safe zones into something between a dungeon and a minigame.
This entry will take us up through the Festival, the aftermath, and the final preparations before leaving Lindblum (didn’t think we were staying here forever, did you?).
I was doing some general upkeep and discovered that the post that was here (FF8 Versus Time) had already been posted. Until recently (the last few days) I had been pulling posts that I had written up out of my notes (I write everything in Notes on my iPad. In fact, I keep my iPad out of date because I like the old color scheme of Notes when it was brown and yellow and can’t do this whole black and white thing) when it was time to post them. I thought I had been on top of it, but as the double post proves, apparently not.
Good news – I have now scheduled my Thursday musings posts for the foreseeable future. No more double posts – always new content. Well, content might be a stretch. Always my new mad ramblings, at least. For those wandering back through my posts, enjoy this moment of bizarreness. It was a calculated risk, and it mathed out in the favor of error. Now, I have changed the past and corrected the future. See you there (the future, I mean).
Last time on FF9 Analysis, we wandered the huge city of Lindblum, taking in the sights and hearing non-stop about the Festival of the Hunt. We explored the Business District (home to shops, inns, and a strangely unnecessary and kind of pointless exit to the world map) and the Theatre District (home to the brilliant (and attractive, apparently) actor Lowell Bridges, star of Moogle Wannabe 2). Story wise, we got a little insight into the city (Lindblum was founded by hunters, which may or may not factor into their religion – it’s not really clear), and saw some fun tricks to craft a history (or the feeling of one) without subjecting the player to gameplay, cutscenes, or massive blocks of text.
This time, we’re going to head out to the Industrial District for a quick wander around, then back to the Grand Castle to advance the story again (it’s been a little while, now). We’ll finish out that last district, then on to the castle proper.
Increasing in power in video games has always been one of their fascinating aspects. From Pacman’s power pellet to Mario’s mushrooms, even early on games were giving us ways to enhance our main character. A different sort of power increase appears with RPGs, though. Instead of temporary enhancements that fade with time, permanent changes to the character and/or their arsenal lets you alter the very difficulty of the challenge and the number and nature of the options available in a game.
As would be expected from the broad media of games, we’re not limited to just one method of permanent power increases. There are two in particular that I want to look at and compare: level ups and pick ups.
Last time on FF9 Analysis, we made our way through the introduction to Lindblum. It served to tie up some story loose ends (why Dagger was being kidnapped, why Lindblum hasn’t done anything about Alexandria’s suspicious behavior, why Dagger herself was so set on getting to Lindblum), but has now left us without anything urgent to do. That’s okay, because Lindblum and the interesting expanse you’re able to wander puts Dali to shame. Where Dali was the first story area with tons of immersive details to go look at (well, Alexandria at the very beginning, but Dali was just letting you be, while in Alexandria the game was urging you forward), Lindblum is a huge city with tons to see and do, and they make that feeling clear through the design.
This time, we’re going to wander through a bit of Lindblum, taking in the sights and preparing to move the story forwards (eventually, when we feel like it). Since there’s a lot to see and do, we’ll separate things out by District. Okay, on to Lindblum!
I really enjoy Final Fantasy 8. More than any other entry to the series, it captures that element of taking risks and trying something totally new with each numbered title. This, unfortunately, is not always to its benefit. It tries some very different things, and while I like them, I can also understand how a lot of players felt that the mechanical ideas tested out in FF8 rendered the game unplayable.
There are all sorts of mechanics we could take a look at (not a lot of traditional RPG systems made the cut to be included), but I want to focus on one idea in particular. I’m going to analyze FF8’s leveling system – specifically the growth of enemies in level alongside the player – and propose an alternative that would keep the dynamic enemy power, but shift the way everything works in relation to that.
Previously analyzed: With the dungeon (is it really, though?) finished under Dali and Waltz #2 defeated, the gang can wrap things up and take off on an airship for Lindblum (or was it supposed to go to Alexandria? hmm…). On the way Zorn and Thorn deploy the less than successful (but more successful than its predecessors, I would say) Black Waltz #3. After a battle, a lot of cutscenes, and some Vivi questioning the nature of his existence (not exactly in that order, but more or less), the gang finds themselves in Lindblum, facing off with armed guards.
This time, we’ll look at the start of the stay in Lindblum, Dagger catching up with her uncle, Zidane running into an old friend, and some general wandering about.
This is the part where up until now I’ve done a recap of the story revealed in the previous post and a general summary of the feel of that post. Since I just spent two posts generally covering the story and mechanics, I think we’ll skip that and move on to the what can be expected in this post portion.
We’ll start out by wrapping up the Dali area, then dive into a huge mass of cutscenes (and a boss fight, somewhere in there) that leads to Lindblum. If we get there before I’ve hit too long of a post, we’ll talk about Lindblum up to the first Moogle, but that’s definitely a “we’ll see” kind of deal (I do just love to go on and on). Alright, let’s get started.
Last time on FF9 Versus, we looked at FF9 Versus and the opening bits of the plot of the game so far. Okay, lets look at the rest of the plot and the game mechanics. Then, we can finally move on to more of the game!
For a few weeks now I’ve been doing some analysis of Final Fantasy IX. The titles for the posts have been a little gimmicky, and I’ve been all over the place with the depth and focus of my analysis. Also, I’ve been a bit irreverent at times, but I actually like writing like that, so expect that to continue.
This post, I’m going to take the opportunity to analyze the analysis I’ve been doing. I’m also going to go back, cover some of the game mechanics in a bit of depth, and look at the plot thus far (or at least summarize it quickly and offer some impressions). I’m actually really excited about this post – it’s going to give me a chance to get a little more serious about this analysts and treat it with the level of engagement it deserves. Once this post is done, expect things to be a little more focused in approach, provide better plot coverage and analysis, and continue to joke around and have some fun with looking at a brilliant JRPG.