FFVII: Breaking through the wall

I think it’s been apparent to anyone reading my posts over the past few weeks that I felt like I’d hit a wall in Final Fantasy VII. I’d been playing the game for more than two months, and it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was getting antsy. Last week, happily, I finally made it to disc 2.

And this week I’m on disc 3.

Before I talk about the last week’s gameplay, let me say that this is a fairly common phenomenon for me with RPGs. There’s a lot of time in the initial investment, and then there’s a point where suddenly the end is in sight and getting there becomes an all-consuming drive. I’d like to say that it’s a nod to the quality of the experience, but it really more likely has something to do with my own somewhat compulsive nature. Suddenly, everything is within reach. If I want a legendary weapon, I just have to go get it. (Even if that means dodging a lightning bolt 200 times. Small price to pay for break damage limit and 1-MP.)

So this week was that week for me. As promised, I ignored the side quests almost entirely and blazed through the story. And FFVII pulls out the big guns on disc 2. (Almost like they’re making up for something. . .) The 3D world map finally takes on its full awesomeness as you fly over it. And you have to stop a runaway train! Fight an army! (Actually not as cool as it could be. A big “meh” for Fort Condor.) Oh, and you get on a rocket and fly. Into. Space.

Sure, you fly into space in FFIV, or at least the game tells you that’s what happens, but really it’s just that one minute you’re on the planet and the next you’re on the moon. The rocket launch in FFVII is a fairly genuine holy crap moment. Or probably was in 1997, and could be again in high-def. (You hear me, SquareEnix? Soon!)

But more importantly, to me, we finally get a bit more on Cloud and Tifa. In fact, at this point in the game, Cloud is basically the Joker. No so much perhaps in his random bloodthirstiness (although we’ve killed many monsters and not a few soldiers) as in the fact that he has two competing and entirely incompatible origin narratives going on. As Daniel noted, at the end of disc 1, Sephiroth claims that Cloud is a failed clone, and only a few years old. Cloud’s memories of himself before then are actually the memories of a man named Zack who was in SOLDIER, had spiky hair, and was Aerith’s first love. Sephiroth manipulates Cloud into giving him the black materia, and Cloud goes into a coma.

When the team finds Cloud in disc 2, Tifa stays with him while the team goes off to do some other stuff, not important. (Fort Condor. Ugh.) When the team comes back to visit, the damaged planet breaks open and swallows an entire town, including Cloud and Tifa. Inside the lifestream, the pair examine Cloud’s memories and discover that Cloud was actually present in Nibelheim when Sephiroth discovered Jenova, but as a faceless soldier, not as a proud member of SOLDIER. (It all makes sense in the game, really.) Cloud kills Sephiroth, rescues Zack and Tifa, and is experimented on by Shinra. So he really is the person Tifa knew as a child, altered by Shinra, but not created as a failed clone.

Right?

I guess I’ll find out at the end.

Which, by the way, I’m going to try to do this week. I feel a bit underpowered, but I always feel underpowered at the end. More than anything, after going through the whole game with a three-member combat party, it feels a bit weird to have to equip everyone for the final fight. I’m going to have some pretty low-level materia in a few people’s hands. We’ll see how it goes.

Where you at?

Disc: 3

Cloud’s Level: 58

Location: North Crater

Timer: 40:45

Read Daniel J. Hogan’s week 10 post

Read Andrew Simone’s week 10 post

Archive of all Gamers’ Club posts

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  1. […] materia management piece), and sometimes, in the process, what it says about its players (Gavin: “I feel a bit underpowered, but I always feel underpowered at the end.”). Anyone who hasn’t played FFVII will still be able to appreciate the enthusiasm and quality […]



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