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Remember Nanosaur? The game in which you play the velociraptor with the laser gun and jetpack? Yeah, that was even more mindblowing being a four-year-old. A good a reason as any to keep in touch with the gaming world, if you ask me.
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I recently found my PS2 memory card would not be read by the system. It rattles when you shake it, so it must have taken a hit, though I might never know from where. 
Sorry Kids, it's about Final Fantasy, and possibly not even about the ones you liked.

I had been trying to get through Final Fantasy XII before it broke. I took it slow, a session at a time. Every time I advanced the plot in any significant measure, I would check almost the entire rest of the accessible world for events, new dialogue, hidden areas, hunting missions, etc. Between my two playthroughs, I must have spent well over 300 hours. And the most I ever got was about half way through the game, I was really savoring the flavoring.
The first playthrough I had to abandon because I had fled from combat far too many times and boss battles soon became too hard to 'Quicken' (read 'Limit Break') my way through them. Also, I had been turning off 'Gambits' (read 'battle programming') to make me feel like I was in the controls, which is sort of pointless considering the sense of engagement in games such as Final Fantasy, pressing X over and over is hardly the most engaging aspect.
About that first thing, word of advice, never flee a battle in a Final Fantasy game unless you're out of phoenix downs and potions. There is no joy in stockpiling potions to the point where they no longer heal enough. Personally, it took me three games and about 200 hours to realize any of that. 
It did not stop me from getting to the final round of final bossfights in the case of FF X-2 with nothing but a maxed out limit break dress sphere and a permanent Max Repel on my first playthrough. I disregarded sidequests in that game, which was all about sidequests, though, so I dropped it there and took it from the top, as with XII. The aforementioned 'check the entire world after every single little plot advancement you make' was the actual way to play it, if you wanted your happy ending, a task on which I was doing quite well until, again, those hundred hours were lost forever.
I generally don't mind losing my save games. It's as good an excuse as any to 'relive the experience'. I lost my Skyrim games a few months ago (which I never left, and wouldn't be surprised if my hour count surpassed that of the games I'm talking about), the work of about a year, and was more than happy to start anew, pondering how to make my new character more badass every day my PS3 was out being repaired. I'd brag about my current game, but I'm too busy leveling it even more. It's pretty awesome though. But I digress.

It does bother me with FFXII ad X-2, since I had been so meticulous. But Final Fantasy X just breaks my heart.
As with the others, I fled battles and relied on limit breaks to the point of making it nigh unplayable, but somehow I kept going. After some years of being stuck on various bossfights, coming up with strategies or power grinding my way through them, I found myself reaching the damage cap with every character before beating the final boss. The game had me looking for the most obscure sidequests with the promise of obscene power. Collecting balloons while riding a chocobo, turning a blitzball team around (protip: get Brother and never again give a fork), catching 'em all... A lot of stuff to do, which only helped make it even more gratifying the day I found I could beat Omega on my first try with just enough phoenix downs. This is all to say nothing of the story, which had me utterly absorbed, which often meant reveling in the beautiful bitterness of Spira.
The final stage of the game is told entirely is the form of Fridge Brilliance, which is just fine, since I had a lot of time to think while calmly dodging lightning in a trance.
And then, all of that time just fades away, as if it never existed in the first place. It's just a game, and it never mattered much in the first place. What's the point in clinging to it?
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