FFVII: Swap meet


I’m really getting tired of swapping party members and deciding who-gets-what-materia. Every time I start my gaming session, I spend about ten to fifteen minutes just equipping my party with different materia.

Don’t get me wrong—I do enjoy the materia aspect of this game. It grants Final Fantasy VII some great customization options and replay value.

But there is a lot to be said for having characters with set abilities. The same goes for when a game dictates what characters are in your party or not.

At this point in the game, I have Cloud, Aeris, Tifa, Barret, Yuffie, Red XIII and Cait Sith in my “party.” And of those, I can only use three at a time and one slot (usually) is reserved by the game for Cloud. This leaves two slots for six other characters (with more on the way, too). Oy.

Sure, having that many characters can be fun, and does add to the replay value, but this is bordering on insane.

Maybe that is why Earthbound is another of my all time favorite RPGs: you get a set amount of characters and each has their own special ability. It may seem pretty vanilla to some, but it does help one become more attached to the characters (maybe).

Once again, I must refer to Final Fantasy X as a great solution to this crowded party problem: allow on-the-fly switching of party members in mid-battle.

I wish Final Fantasy VII had such a system, especially since its characters are way more interesting than those in Final Fantasy X (just my opinion).

Imagine: switching between your long-range attackers like Barret and your close range, melee fighters like Tifa with a push of a button. In some ways, it would speed the game up considerably.

If/when the updated remake of Final Fantasy VII is released, I hope it contains such a feature. I’d buy it for that alone. (OK, I’d probably buy it just to see if Tifa’s body obeys the law of gravity or not in the new 3D cut-scenes. My bet is for not.)

I just completed the Cosmo Canyon portion of the story, and it is beginning to take a very interesting turn. The plot shifts to talk of the Lifestream and every living thing on the planet being connection via life and death.

The twist here is that the Mako reactors operated by Shinra interfere with the Lifestream process. Dang.

So, instead of a deceased soul moving on to the next stage of whatever, it is sucked up by a Mako reactor and used to power somebody’s margarita blender (give or take).

Why are the people of Final Fantasy VII using Mako in the first place?

It is described as some kind of “miracle” energy source (insert: nuclear), which is safer and better than the old fossil fuel energy (coal, etc). Essentially, the genie is out of the bottle and Shinra has become too powerful for anyone to not use their energy supply, despite the company’s destruction of the planet and killing of innocents.

The world of Final Fantasy VII is riding a Mako-powered bus all the way to edge of the cliff, and Shinra is behind the wheel.

Where you at?

Disc: 1

Cloud’s Level: 32

Location: Nibel Area

Timer: 26:49

Read Gavin Craig’s week 5 post

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4 Responses to “FFVII: Swap meet”
  1. Gavin Craig says:

    I’m with you 100%. It’s a great deal of effort to de-equip a character’s materia before taking them out of the combat party, and far, far worse when you forget to do so and then spend a great deal of time in an area that doesn’t let you make changes to the main group.

    And I loved switching on-the-fly in FFX. It was a bit inconvenient to try and get everyone into every battle so that they’d level up, but I could switch Kimahri in, let him take a hit, and then send him back to the bench. (I didn’t love Kimahri. I don’t love blue mages.) Compared to FFVII, it’s a breeze.

    • Daniel says:

      The nearest thing I got to liking a blue mage is the Enemy Skill materia in FFVII. At least you could equip that to different players.

      Man, I miss the switching on the fly.

      • Gavin Craig says:

        Blue mages are just useless unless you keep them in the party all the time and you let them take hits and wait and hope that someone uses a special attack on them. And that they survive it. And why would I keep someone useless in the party? It’s a vicious cycle.

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  1. […] (and it was written for teenagers, to be fair). There are a few of us, understandably who find the materia and character management cumbersome, but that is sort of a JRPG thing to do. Also, the last cutscenes don’t have any voice acting […]

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