"Mr. T the freaking brain surgeon announces that the Shinra Corporation is finished. Because I'm sure that the entire company rides on this one guy, and there are no contingencies in place for his death since everyone figured he would live forever."
Final Fantasy VII Part 6
I can see Lilly as a snotty wine-taster, spouting off pretentious bullshit about how this Mont Blanc “knows what it wants and isn’t afraid to go after it” and how this pinot noir “Enjoys the finer things in life, such as homosexual pornography and French musicals about miserable lesbians”. She really is excellent.
But the thought of Hugo running some seedy tattoo parlor frequented by obese, hairy bikers on food stamps getting their child’s face and birthdate tattooed on their taint is a pretty great mental image as well, although the frosted-tip cupcakes aren’t far behind.
For a Winger, Landis is… a little hot, and his bizarre creepiness makes him that much more amusing to me. Am I going to Hell?
Sadly, Hallec’s official art seems to reveal that he’s wearing some sort of leather pants or something. Skintight, and approximately the same color as his skin, but there are a few folds. At least they rectified that in V with Zegai. That is some sweet candy there.
Re-reading Sana’s remarks about the Flame Champ in a passive-aggressive light was pretty awesome, and made me suddenly wish Monica’s “Sideline Ho” played during that scene in-game, even though I hate that song. Also, 50 Shades of Grassland is a greater love story than even Gremio and PUGGY!!!, Barry and Jowy, or Barry and PUGGY!!! and Jowy and Gremio. Can’t wait to see all the fun shenanigans of Chris’s group.
Now it’s time to play my favorite game, “Chop off part of the sentence to make in infinitely worse!”
Also, it’s pretty clear that Guillame was originally intended to be a battle character, but luckily/unluckily that did not come to pass. Just think of the awful, mind-scarring unite attacks that could have been made.
The deeper I get into this game–and I’ve already recorded Chris and Geddy’s third chapters as well–the more I get frustrated at the gap between what this game could have been and what it actually is. I mean, not because I want Guillaume to be playable. The other stuff.
The crappy implementation of the battle system and the underdeveloped towns? (I always felt the towns in III were pretty iffy even compared to the first two games. And god, the music in Brass Castle.) Of course, stuff like “Cyndar” didn’t help, and the world map was irritating as fuck (doesn’t help that you don’t get the Blinking Mirror AND Viki till way the fuck at the end).
For all V gets flack from nostalgia whores for “trying too hard to be Suikoden II”, I think it’s actually pretty great BECAUSE it tries so hard to be Suikoden II and winds up improving and polishing a lot of that game’s aspects. (Although some of the blatant fanservice, and I’m not talking like Kisara and Jeane-style, does make my eyes roll.)
The lack of polish in the writing, like you guys were saying, is part of it. But I think that’s just the end result of the dev troubles they had toward the end. And I don’t care what Murayama says, I don’t believe for a minute that he would have blown out of there a month before release if nothing was wrong.
Anyway, I’ll get into this more in the next few recaps, and I have no proof that these issues were related to the dev departures, but suffice it to say I think the “choice” of Flame Champion is goddamn ridiculous and doesn’t gel with the story at all, I absolutely hate how Luc was handled, and I think the game never has any clear sense of what its central conflict is, given that near literally every character in the game ends up a Star of Destiny.
It also shows a bit in the later games when great plot points never get finished (Pesmerga vs. Yuber being the big one). I think V is probably the only one that is at least on the level of II (it helps that the dialogue isn’t the punctuated, convoluted mess of that localization). I’m probably one of the few people who actually enjoys IV, except, you know, the boat sailing through mud water thing.
Not to mention what’s up with Jeane and Viki… V gave an intriguing angle on it, I’ll admit, for Jeane. For some reason, they always got my interest more than Pesmerga and Yuber’s hateful yaoi rivalry. (God, imagine sex with Yuber. Terrifying.)
I actually found III to have a good PREMISE for a story. It just lost sight near the end, because the “shades of gray morality/see it through everyone’s eyes” storytelling had promise. Luc’s motives had promise. It just seems like they wanted to do so much with the main story that they became overwhelmed and lost track.
IV feels like a baby Suikoden game. Half-formed story, characters were mostly just there (save Elenor, Kika, Warlock, Ted, Aldo, and the narcassists; and Marvy’s impressive touchas), designs were mostly unimpressive, the world felt underutilized… the music was pretty forgettable (thankfully, that meant no fucking Brass Castle). The battle system felt bizarrely neutered. It’s like they wanted to make a Suikoden-styled game, but wanted to genericize it to appeal to a broader market as well.
Back to III, though, they just tried interesting ideas and put too much on their plates, and it all became a mess. Shame – female main character? (Well, of a trio, but still.) Tenkai isn’t mute but plays a minimal yet fairly traditional and central role in the story? (Is the master of the HQ and gathers the Stars.) Previous ally is your enemy? Conflict seen through the eyes of multiple sides – some deeply invested, some more impassive? Such wasted potential and cruddy gameplay (and the sound mixing was pretty horrible).
Also, where’s that easier-to-access link to the VGR wiki I was told was “coming soon” when I asked about it quite some time ago? I’d like to read any lulzy character desriptions you may have written, but since you guys decided to move them to the wiki and are no longer updating the on-site desriptions. I’ll post the link here for myself and anyone else who cares so that digging through a year and a half’s worth of blog posts is no longer necessary, but we really do need a proper link either on the left sidebar or under the site banner. Maybe also make the old cast page links redirect to the new cast pages on the wiki?