FFVII: So close
Like many people, I’ve played more Final Fantasy games than I’ve finished. I’ve spent significant time playing Final Fantasies I, III, IV, VII, X, X-2, and XIII, but I’ve only beaten I, IV, X, and X-2. Some of the titles, like XII and XIII, it’s really a matter of time—that is, I just haven’t spent enough time playing the game to get anywhere near far enough to finish the storyline. (This was also the case with I when I was a kid. It’s hard to devote that much time to a game when you can only play it at your baby-sitter’s house. I finally took care of the problem a couple of years ago playing the GBA version on my DS.)
However, with Final Fantasy III, it’s something different. I’ve played though nearly all of the storyline (and that early in the series, there really aren’t all that many side quests). I’ve reached the final battle. But I lost. More than once.
In most games, I just get up and try again, but the final battle in an RPG like a Final Fantasy game is a grand extended affair. At the very least, you normally have to beat the final enemy at least twice—after you beat him/her/it once, he/she/it changes form, takes on some new powers, and comes at you harder than the first time. (Which is counterintuitive, if you think about it. Wouldn’t you bring the big guns the first time, and be weaker after you’ve had the crap kicked out of you once? Oh well. Such is the genre.) In Final Fantasy III you actually have to fight four bosses before the final enemy. Which isn’t so bad.
Except that it takes time.In Final Fantasy III, there’s at least a half hour of walking around and fighting between the last save point and Cloud of Darkness (the final enemy). When you lose the fight, you get dumped back at the save point and have to do it all over again. The technical term for this, I believe is getting housed, and I would describe the final battle of any RPG as a structural housing—a housing built into the nature of the game itself.
To make things worse, the final tower in Final Fantasy III is surround by a huge maze, which takes 30-40 minutes to walk/fight through. So even leaving the area is a huge investment. And you’ve going to have to walk back through the maze to get back to the tower to fight the final set of battles again.
So after a few failed attempts, I gave up. Being an older game, FFIII doesn’t have much in the way of a story to justify the effort if beating the game wasn’t proving to be worthwhile on its own.
Why am I talking about this, you ask? Because I tried to beat FFVII this week and failed. Twice.
The first time was my own fault. The final battle against Sephiroth splits you your group into one, two, or three different battle parties (I seem to get two pretty consistently), and I set things up all wrong. I somehow forgot that I had two mastered restore materia, and set up my primary group with materia that topped out at Cure 2. That didn’t go over well against Safer Sephiroth. The second time was even worse.
I beat Bizzaro Sephiroth pretty handily (Jenova Synthesis has never given me much trouble), and the final group was set up as it should be. (Somehow Vincent has made his way into my primary battle party. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m going with it. He fills the Yuffie/Tifa role in Andrew’s optimal battle party.) I was holding my own, and Sephiroth pulled out his Super Nova summon, which at nearly two full minutes to watch, is about a minute-and-a-half too long. I was a bit worried because the attack is capable of inflicting more damage than Vincent’s current max HP, and as my primary healer, it would take me a few turns to get everyone back in shape again, but my entire team was at full health, so I was hoping, just hoping that I could get past the attack and beat Sephiroth before he got a chance to do it again.
And then the game froze. Right after Jupiter explodes.
There was nothing I could do but turn off my PS3 and try again.
Where you at?
Cloud’s Level: 61
Location: Bottom of Northern Cave