Final Fantasy XIII Part Eight: Free Will

May 2, 2010: Sazh wondered about whatever force allowed the ship to phase through the building. I cringe to think of it as another fal’Cie meddling in their business. Haven’t we had enough of them?

A floor above, beyond the tunnels, lied a more open area. When the party stepped out, a large insignia – the l’Cie “brand” – appeared on the floor. The l’Cie’s brands glowed with intense heat.

I somehow failed to bring up the brands before now. All ‘Cie have a brand somewhere on their bodies. Snow’s was on his forearm; Vanille’s was on her thigh.

The brands indicated how much longer the l’Cie had to live until they mutated into a Cieth monster.

A coffin of sorts strapped to a pillar opened up and a Pulsework Knight shambled out of it.

Vanille and Fang explained that this facility was an Ark, a Gran Pulsian armory/training field… for l’Cie. On Cocoon.

The Ark unlocked the party’s combat potential. All Paradigms were made available to all characters.

However, unlocking new Paradigm tracks in the Crystarium cost a ridiculous amount of Crystogen Points.

May 4, 2010: I was let down by the HUGE cost of new roles in the Crystarium. Is Goldman Sachs behind this operation?

Unlocked the hefty Loremaster achievement. When I loaded the game up later, I noticed a new Extras option in the main menu. It said that for unlocking that cheevo, I got a Gamer Picture to install.

Eventually, the group reunited with Cid Raines. 

Cid Raines

He explained that all of their “luck” was the direct result of fal’Cie intervention. It was all to restore the “Maker”, the creator of humans and fal’Cie, who abandoned the children it created for unknown reasons.Cid knew this because he was a l’Cie. He was. All along.

He craved change, and insinuated that his wish made him a target for fal’Cies. He knew what Barthandelus told the party, that heir Focus was to become Ragnarok and destroy Cocoon.

Then we’ll do nothing,” declared Vanille, standing firm.

And let your brands turn you into Cieth?

Noble,” said Cid. “As I expected.”

But he still transformed into an icy-looking version of himself to try to stop the party and, by extension, the potential destroyers of Cocoon.

Cid is a strong opponent, but nowhere near as strong as Barthandelus.

Or straight-up annoying.

Cid does go a little crazy with buffs like Barthandelus does, but those are easily foiled with a Saboteur.

Suggested Paradigms: Mystic Tower, Tireless Charge, Ruthless, Strategic Warfare, Protection, Cerberus (three Commandos)

After he was defeated, Cid was not angry or sad. Instead, he pleaded with the party to trust themselves. Perhaps “pleaded” is too strong a word – he said it as if that was exactly what he knew they would do.

He turned into crystal, then to ash after crystal fragments flaked off of him, scattered by the wind.

Do you think he fulfilled his Focus?” asked Sazh.

No,” answered Snow, before he went on ahead of everyone.

After Cid’s defeat, we unlocked a moogle-themed shop. These moogles are kinda cute, but not as cute as the chubby pieces of angel fluff in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles.


I was overwhelmed by Cid’s revelations and the fallout from them. I didn’t want him to be a l’Cie…

The fal’Cie want their dad back, but he’s gone.

June 28, 2010: Snow tried to reassure everyone that their wills were still their own. Everyone joined their hands together, even Sazh’s chocobo chick. Snow said that if a chocobo was on your side, you couldn’t be going wrong. Aww.

Everyone appreciated the support. Everyone, except Fang. She still believed that there was no way to solve their problems without bringing them to Gran Pulse’s doorsteps. She stood against her friends, which resulted in the unleashing of the Eidolon Bahamut. Vanille came to Fang’s side to sublimate the draconian Eidolon.

After Fang’s near-insubordination, the group recovered an airship and found a portal to Gran Pulse. Sazh insisted that only his guns, not some invisible force, would take us there.

And so we went to Gran Pulse, a magnificent, savage, natural world where creatures great and small roamed.

Then, we crashed.

Gran Pulse is an infamous turning point in the game because this new world is huge and open to explore, finally flouting the game’s linearity.

The problem is that you only get to Pulse in chapter 11 of this 13-chapter game.

Littered throughout Pulse are stones from fallen l’Cie who died trying to complete their Focuses. These sidequests involve hunting monsters.

A little later, everyone was a bit tired of searching the nearby forests for anything that could actually hold a conversation.

I remember Sazh acting more like a tired, middle-aged person in this scene after exploring for so long. :3

While Hope was busy gathering fruit alone, he passed out. Sazh’s chocobo flew back to camp to tell the others what had happened to the boy.

By the time the others retrieved Hope and brought him back to camp, it was nighttime. Hope passed out because his brand kept advancing…

He was inching closer towards becoming a Cieth.

The boy’s selflessness triggered the arrival of Alexander, the man/mech/castle hybrid Eidolon. After the others sublimated him, Hope calmed down.

These l’Cie have to stick together.

Bad things happen when companions split up.

Fang and Vanille directed the others to their hometown – Oerba.

That’s right – Fang and Vanille’s last names are derived from the name of their hometown.

To get there, we must cross the Archlytte Steppe. The path to Oerba requires a passage through the Maha’bara Caverns.

In the middle of our trek through Maha’bara, Fang dropped a bomb on Vanille: she believed that she, herself, was Ragnarok in their shared vision. There was no proof either way, but Vanille panicked and insisted that it was her instead.

Blurring the lines between selfishness and selflessness, the Eidolon Hecatoncheir arrived to clear her mind. She and Fang worked together to pacify the mutli-headed Eidolon.

A fal’Cie called Atomos rolled around the Caverns like a thick-skinned porcupine. We were looking to ride it out of the Caverns, and Hope foresaw an opportunity to use a Pulsework mech to tame it. But he made a mistake and destroyed the mech. Lightning lamented the deja vu of it all.

Suddenly, two other Pulsework mechs attacked Atomos. But no one was inside of the mechs to operate them. Another fal’Cie at work?