Final Fantasy XIII Part Seven

April 22, 2010: On one of the side docks on the Palamecia, Lightning and the others were menaced by a storm dragon. After the party defeated it, another one flew overhead. Before the second dragon attacked, there was a giant explosion. Somebody blew a hole in the deck from the inside out. And…

…a chocobo flew out, chirping joyously. It was Sazh and Vanille! We got the band back together!

Vanille and Fang embraced. Vanille said she had something to tell her companion, but Fang told her now was not the time.

Fang told her to “go fishing”. Vanille unleashed the hooks in her wand into the wings of the dragon that flew overhead. Fang jumped high into the air, stabbed the dragon, and told the others to jump on.

In a brief CGI sequence, they rode the dragon right over the Primarch’s room on the Palamecia. “Time to purge a Primarch,” declared Snow.

Sazh was terrified, holding on for dear life.

Lightning asked him if he believed in Lady Luck now.

Yeah – Lady Bad Luck!”

I had my doubts,” narrated Vanille. But somehow, she knew things would turn out with her bolstered by her friends.

Finally. For the first time, I can edit my battle team. I feel the power.

Nothing against Hope, but I’d rather have Sazh as my Synergist because he can cast Haste. Oh, but he can’t be a Medic. Hm… I guess I’ll replace Fang and Vanille. Vanille can be a Saboteur (albeit with different abilities than Fang) and a MED.

April 25, 2010: This game reminds me of Final Fantasy VII and X a little bit, but it really is a totally different Final Fantasy. Does that mean it is an inferior JRPG? It’s too early to tell, but I don’t think so.

My least favorite thing about the game is the way it forced your characters into three groups of two for about the first half of the adventure. After recent developments, I hope we’re never split up again. It’s more fun this way.

Some JRPGs have certain characters constantly coming and going in the party. Some, like LUNAR and Grandia have one or a few characters that leave permanently. Both series were made by Game Arts. Hmm…

What about the story? Perhaps it’s mainly due to the graphics, but the characters are represented so well, even though I don’t always like how they get along with each other.

The music is quite different from the other games. It obviously doesn’t have the same composer (Hironobu Sakaguchi) as the others.

But the game’s composer Masashi Hamauzu helped compose the music for FFX alongside Sakaguchi and Junya Nakano.

It sounds more like Final Fantasy X-2 or Kingdom Hearts. I wish that there were more classic songs represented (where oh where is the classic victory jingle?), but some of this new stuff is very hummable.

I was annoyed with how the game controlled outside of battle at first. The camera still feels slow to me, but I’ve gotten used to it.

TBH though, the games in the Lightning Trilogy never controlled totally comfortably. I’m a real stickler for how third-person games “should” feel. I prefer smooth movements like in Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or some other third thing not made by Capcom alumni, to movements that feel oddly glacial in perhaps a bid to feel more “realistic”.

I’m disappointed by the Achievements. I waited for years to get an FF with Achievements, and so far, all I’ve gotten are cheevos for clearing the chapters? Maybe they’ll open up eventually…

I used to care about cheevos a lot more back then. >.>

The battle system is deceptively deep. My mind reels at how new enemies shift the playing field. Finding the ideal Paradigm can be hard, especially against bosses.

You have no idea. 😉

Wasn’t there supposed to be a series of FFXIII games called “Fabula Nova Crystalis” or something? A fighting game that was also supposed to be a tragedy inspired by Hamlet, and a PSP game.

April 30, 2010: And if DISSIDIA is any indication, that PSP game would ROCK. Heck, I’m still waiting for Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday, announced for the PSP in 2008.

It took almost a week, but I figured out how to beat Barthandelus.

Barthandelus was a fal’Cie and the true form of Primarch Dysley. He was the Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon fal’Cie… and, most relevant to this discussion, a major roadblock at this point in the game.

Dysley turned into his true from aboard the Palamacia.

One of Barthandelus’ appearances. His appearance changes over the course of battles with him.

After trying many characters and Paradigms, I settled on the airtight team of Lightning, Snow, and Sazh.

I stayed with this team for most of the rest of the game.

Sazh’s Synergist skills, particularly Haste, were vital to my success. Further prep lied in the accessories I equipped to help cope with the terrible spells that Barthandelus uses.

Suggested Paradigms: Protection, Mystic Tower (Ravager x2, Sentinel), Tri-disaster

I settled for long stretches of defensive Paradigms, waiting for Sazh’s full inventory of buffs, to prepare for brief periods of trying to peel back Barthandelus’ various segments.

I was offended that I got no stars after beating him. I deserved a star just for surviving!

The game ranked how quickly you defeated enemies from zero to five stars.

After the battle, Barthandelus stuck a knife into the party’s heart. He told them the true meaning of Serah’s Focus, and of their vision of Ragnarok.

For one of them was to become Ragnarok, and doom Cocoon by destroying Orphan, the fal’Cie that was Eden’s power source and the entity that kept Cocoon suspended over Gran Pulse.

For someone who believed in saving Coccon, the revelation was particularly hurtful for Snow.

Barthandelus escaped. The party stole a craft, and shockingly, Yaag Rosch gave pursuit. I thought the Cavalry killed him?

Sazh piloted the ship until something took it over and attacked Rosch. Then, the ship escaped through the Palamecia‘s defensive shields.

Sazh got control of the ship back as it plunged into a building, which absorbed the ship.

The party resurfaced in a subway. Once again, they did not know where they were, or what to do…

Vanille did not believe what Barthandelus said. Fang and Hope were not scared or discouraged at all. But Snow and Light…

Snow apologized to her. She was still slightly critical of his gung-ho attitude. But “You had faith in Serah. It kept me going.”

Snow stared at Serah’s crystallized tear. “Serah… Talk to me, baby.”

When we found Serah in Anima’s lair, she seemed so relieved…