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World of Final Fantasy Part 11

Maxima Content Part 1: The Final Xover
Initial Stream: 12/1/20

00:00 – We start this video with a short video of its own called “What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation”. Long story short: you can unlock a bunch of stuff by beating the final boss after completing all intervention questions (and I still had one undone when we did that on the previous stream), and I sorted much of that new content while nobody was looking. There were three whole dungeons featuring reused assets (complete with recolored bosses) that were tackled and defeated between streams. That unlocks a fourth “reused” dungeon, and we pick things up at the culmination of that quest. And our final boss for that area is…

6:00 – Mr. Xenogears, aka XG. A full discussion on the Xeno franchise’s ownership and its plots naturally follows. I consider myself something of an expert on the subject.

Also, since I didn’t actually wind up summoning XG during the stream, here’s the lil’ big guy in action. I have to assume that “Little Walking Head” XG was originally designed to be a more present part of the plot. Either that or someone really wanted to toss a headmaster in here.

22:00 – So XG is the final “secret” boss of the original content for World of Final Fantasy. The Maxima upgrade offers some new content, and that’s going to be the majority of these last four parts. There’s a full explanation of that here (in the video), but, long story short, there was a mobile World of Final Fantasy game, Meli-Melo, and, while it appears to have been a failure (it was discontinued almost exactly a year after launch), my understanding is that a lot of the “new” assets from that game got recycled into the Maxima upgrade. Never waste a pixel, Square-Enix! So we’re going to see the new, Maxima-based intervention quests, starting with Cecil trying to cure a friend of desert fever. It’s not the friend you think!

32:00 – Zack time. I guess he died? If you check his in-game biography, it distinctly notes that he is basically a zombie reanimated by mako in this world. Don’t worry, he’ll get better. This is a happy dimension.

40:00 – See? He’s better now. And Serah, sister of Lightning, fights Shiva while we play with wikis. fanboymaster, I just checked, and apparently your edit will only be preserved on this video.

45:00 – Discussion of the upcoming Saga Frontier remake. TLDL: they better do something about the overt implication that a blood transfusion can give you immortality/gay.

What actually happened in the plot:

At the culmination of the “first” ending (maybe second?) Wynne is appointed the new guardian of the world, while Lann and Reynn are sucked into another dimension. Now, the “extra” ending reveals that Wynne receives two “twin mirages” from Enna Kros (god), which allows her to summon little duplicates of her adopted twin siblings. Thus, all post-game content is apparently Wynne having adventures with Lann/Reynn golems. It’s not weird at all!

• XG (Xenogears) is defeated in a presumably non-canon bonus battle (or maybe it’s in another dimension).

• Cecil secures a restorative flower for a sick Kain by defeating Yojimbo.

• Zack reawakens in Castle Figaro’s basement as a berserker, and, after fighting the heroes, flies off with Bahamut (who was coincidentally trying to take a nap in that same basement).

• Serah fights Shiva-Ixion, her fiancee’s summon-cycle, for the right to decorate her for Snow’s birthday (seriously). Zack is dropped off nearby by Bahamut, who cured Zack of his mako poisoning (possibly accidentally). Wynne followed Bahamut/Zack here, and identifies Serah as having some unknown, but super important destiny. Zack asks out Serah. Zack with a C does not play Serah with an H’s favorite song.

Maxima Content Part 2: This is Why I didn’t Stream the Other Dungeons
Initial Stream: 12/1/20

1:00 – The rules of the Ultimate Dungeon suck! Apparently there are distinct warps that occasionally take you back to the start of the place, and random floors may have random rules that severely limit your options. And, of course, this dungeon is going to be nothing but reused assets. Bah! Let’s just discuss a Playstation Superman game and collectors being annoying.

8:30 – I don’t know east from west. I’m going to blame Shantae for this.

14:50 – “Nobody fucks with Dr. Brainshit.”

20:00 – Kary/Marilith is our first boss of the area while we talk about Amalgam comics. I too miss Lobo the Duck.

30:00 – Time to refuel after a discussion of Devil May Cry 3, and then on to part two (of four) of the dungeon.

49:20 – “I envy your optimism”… by the way, this dungeon takes forever. We’re not even a full third of the way done with this nonsense yet.

50:00 – CaliScrub arrives… he missed the best, giant-robot based part.

54:00 – The Kraken Boss fight. We already did this one, as two of the ol’ Final Fantasy 1 fiends already appear as part of the mandatory plot. This Kraken is like forty levels more powerful, though, so at least it isn’t as easy as before. Wee?

56:00 – Minecraft human trafficking is described as we wrap up this section.

What actually happened in the plot: Nothing. Wynne is venturing through The Ultimate Dungeon toward whatever is down there. We’re about 40% through that.

Maxima Content Part 3: The Ultimate Slog
Initial Stream: 12/1/20

00:00 – I couldn’t remember the details on the stream, but here’s the full rundown on the economy of what was apparently Planet Zoo. I will never look at warthogs the same way again.

7:00 – Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is discussed, which I believe means we have successfully gone full circle on discussing a separate game during the World of Final Fantasy Stream. Long story short, everyone in Hyrule should already have fish.

Also, this bit occurs during a “no item floor” in the dungeon proper. These dungeon rules are truly random (they’re not tied to particular floors, and may change between dungeon visits), and losing the ability to use potions between battles in a game where you can’t even cast cure outside of a fight is a little… terrible. This means that “no item floors” make a little more of an impact than, say, “extra damage” or literally any other random effect.

15:00 – Lich appears. You can’t use Raise/Phoenix Down on an opponent, but you can use an elixir. Guess how Lich goes down.

25:00 – There is just so much Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity discussion here. We will never stream that game.

31:00 – Tiamat, and we already beat her, too. Kind of a wet fart of a way to finish the first 80% of this dungeon.

37:00 – The ultimate section of the ultimate dungeon begins as fanboymaster explains the name switch between Kary/Marilith.

42:00 – Please enjoy watching me engage in ice Sliding dumbassery for five pointless minutes.

50:00 – Florida leadership is discussed on the way to the ultimate boss of this ultimate area… but we stop just shy of the battle itself. Sorry!

What actually happened in the plot: Still nothing. We’re about 95% of the way through this dungeon as of this update. Incidentally, it is noted in the in-game encyclopedia that these adventures are technically canon for Wynne… just we’re well past the actual “end” of the game, so it’s pretty safe to claim none of this will ever be referenced by anything.

Maxima Content Part 4: The End
Initial Stream: 12/1/20 (mostly)

00:00 – Starting off by taking the bold stance that Hitler was not right as we finally approach the final boss of this area. The boss fight is partially expected, partially a surprise. It’s a battle against Garland (Chaos or Garland would be anticipated after the four fiends), but also all four of the fiends simultaneously. Given each of those fiends was an individual (and not easy) boss battle on the way here, this could get dicey.

9:00 – Playstation 4/5 Spider-Man says “defund the police”.

13:00 – Game Over! I had a choice between healing one stack or reviving the other, and I chose wrong, as a powerful, party-wide attack was apparently coming. I came surprisingly close to winning this fight… but nope.

15:00 – Rather than bang my head against that wall again, we try the next secret boss battle, a fight with Enna Kros. As I learn here, it sucks because this trio of bosses can revive themselves repeatedly. And ol’ Enna doesn’t really have any combat animations, so this is the most… lazy of the new Maxima content (and I’m saying that after two hours of a recycled dungeon).

29:00 – Game over again! Same exact reason, too! I have learned nothing!

31:00 – Super Boss #3 requires an airship-based scavenger hunt. And it’s clear right off that this “hunt” is going to take forever, so we pretty much sizzle out with our final World of Final Fantasy stream.

35:00 – And now I avenge myself upon my losses. This section of the video is just highlights of me playing by myself, narrated by myself, because I wasn’t going to drag the stream team through another series of fights that could potentially take forever. I’m not that cruel!

Immortal Dark Dragon is first, and he’s from the anime movie that was produced to promote that mobile game. He’s apparently on the same inter-dimensional team as this game’s main antagonist, but is otherwise wholly new to this title. Fighting him necessitates finding switches across the world, then standing up to a dude that patterns his attacks after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game’s Shredder

38:00 – Garland and the gang all over again. The secret to my success this time is to kill Lich, use water to take out Tiamat and Kary/Marilith simultaneously, and then focus on dropping Kraken. Sorry, can’t kill Kary last. Garland has a bunch of elemental weaknesses after all his buddies are down, so, once again, I was really close to winning the last time.

41:00 – Enna Kros is a pain, with nine extra lives, and still those cheap animations. I’m not certain if this fight would be easier if you focus on exclusively killing one opponent nine times, or spread the death around. Regardless, at the very least you can game the “weakness aiming” by unstacking whenever targeted, so there is a bit of a trick to the battle. However, even if you know what to do, this battle takes forever, and took me personally about forty minutes with the internal speed up feature.

43:00 – And defeating all of those super bosses unlocks the right to fight a super hard version of the original final boss of Final Fantasy Maxima. It’s the same fight, just with absurd attack/HP stats. Beat that final-final boss, and you get to see the all new, secret “teaser” ending for World of Final Fantasy/ Presumptive Trailer for World of Final Fantasy 2. Or, considering how much this whole setup/content is biting on Kingdom Hearts, let’s say World of Final Fantasy 2/418 Days: A Missing Piece 1.8.

46:00 – Oh yeah, you can fish with Final Fantasy 15’s Noctis. Thanks for watching!

What actually happened in the plot: Wynne conquered Garland, an “Anti-Champion” created at the same time as Warrior of Light, deep in the Ultimate Dungeon. She also repelled Immortal Dark Dragon, a threat from another dimension (again, DLC super bosses or not, in-game datalogs confirm these events as canon). After that, a version of Diablos from another dimension attacks her world, but she defeats him with the aid of Tama and Odin. However, more interesting than the fight is that that Diablos seems to be linked to a mysterious figure in a cloak bearing two Mirage-keeper gauntlets and an odd preoccupation with searching for his “sis”. What does it all mean? Guess we’ll find out some day…

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: A sober look at a funny game.

World of Final Fantasy Part 08

Intervention Quests Part 1
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

3:00 – Everyone had two weeks to vote on whether or not they wanted to see additional story progress or the Final Fantasy character vignettes/side quests… and I didn’t see a single vote. Turnout is terrible this year. So we held a vote on the stream, and fanboymaster and BEAT both agreed it was time to hit the Final Fantasy Intervention Quests. As a reminder, these are all “out of time” moments provided by The Girl Who Forgot Her Name, and our heroes only pitch hit for the featured Final Fantasy character during battle, and the rest of these sections are simple “slice of life” stories (that often involve giant, malevolent sea monsters). First up are Tidus and Yuna aping some Final Fantasy X plot beats.

16:00 – The “bullet points” for the Intervention Quests are going to be mostly here to let you know when a new vignette starts. At approximately the sixteen minute mark, we are discussing “politics” and/or Quistis while Squall gets a featured story about future planning.

25:00 – Discussing Tidus while Faris and Edgar discuss something other than Tidus. And then it’s time to point out how Edgar is a pedophile.

33:00 – Terra encounters a certain unpleasant octopus while another bot invades the chat.

39:00 Bartz and Rikku is the crossover event you didn’t ever know you needed. It is mostly ignored in favor of Dragonball Z discussion.

46:23 –

What actually happened in the plot:

All Intervention Quests are canon in World of Final Fantasy, but are (almost) all considered “sidequests”, so this is all “optional” plot. That said, here’s what happened in this update:

• Yuna and Tidus, who met for the first time as part of the main plot, bond over repelling Bismarck (not the nazi ship) from Besaid.

• Squall, unlike his fellow Final Fantasy buddies, doesn’t have future plans, which worries his bulbous little head. Squall and Shelke go on a monster hunting mission, and Shelke tricks Squall into caring and planting a garden. This somehow makes Squall smile.

• Faris’s ship is attacked by Omega Bane, and she tracks it back to a potential dimensional gateway at the center of the desert. Edgar is familiar with the area, so he banishes Omega Bane with the help of Vivi.

• Terra teams up with, and then realizes she must destroy, Ultros, the least prime octopus.

• Bartz and Rikku try to rob Ifrit’s cave, but wind up inadvertently becoming friends with the fiery summons when they team up to repel some behemoths.

Intervention Quests Part 2
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

1:00 – Rikku is sailing the seven seas, and, hey, we’re actually discussing Rikku! It’s game related! It’s a game related, on-topic discussion! That hardly ever happens!

5:00 – Eiko makes a new wolf friend, so let’s talk about Justice League. The animated series, to be clear, as that is clearly the best iteration of the ol’ hero club.

10:00 – Tifa meets some zealots. How old would you be in the Final Fantasy universe? And would your hat stay on your head?

16:00 – Yuna and “The Sad Spiral” sounds like a good time. Final Fantasy characters need therapy, and so do we after discussing Fountains of Wayne.

26:00 – After some wedding discussion, here are Yuna and Rydia in a Volcano. Then BEAT gets hungry, and we fight Lady Ifrit.

32:00 – Cloud and Lightning are palling around while we discuss terrible streamers, teenage sins, and how we’re all attractive. Also, please remember the duck stream.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Rikku battles the Mimic Queen and discovers that literally all the treasures across the sea were a bunch of (now dead) mimics.

• Eiko investigates a “weird feeling” and discovers her ancestors’ “Fenrir” mirage, Elefenrir, who offers a cryptic warning.

• Tifa fights off a gigantic, robotic hand, and tells some religious fanatics that Enna Kros helps those that help themselves.

• Yuna helps Ami of Green Gables (thanks, Zef), a poor woman who wants to sacrifice herself for the good of her hometown. Valefor’s non-union equivalent, Nirvalefor, guides Yuna to help Ami by defeating Ultima Weapon. Thus, Ami no longer has to be a martyr, and she didn’t even have to lose her imaginary dream-boyfriend to do it.

• Yuna and Rydia enter a volcano to find Ifreeta, Ifrit’s cousin who has been possessing humans to be a general nuisance in the world. The two summoners banish the fire cat girl.

• Cloud and Lightning investigate a mirage (Iron Muscles) menacing a local village, but apparently Sephiroth has been in the area repelling the mirage. Cloud ventures off on his own to hunt his mortal enemy, but Terra convinces Cloud to go back and help Lightning. Cloud and Lightning destroy Iron Muscles, and Sephiroth is never seen.

Intervention Quests Part 3
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

0:30 – Vivi and Golems accompany a brief description of quests that have gone before. Long story short: when boiled down to their base archetypes, nearly every male Final Fantasy protagonist becomes Zidane. It’s weird!

5:00 –

13:30 – Discussing Fire Emblem/Lucina /Gachas while Quistis and Squall hang out in Garden.

16:00 – Ample Vigour arrives, and then leaves us wanting as Einhänder shows up again.

20:00 – Penguin time means we have to repeat a whole dungeon. There’s crying underwater from that stupid queen and yours truly, as this Intervention Quest contains an entire “level” that we already completed once. And it wasn’t that good the first time! Regardless, this appears to be the only Intervention Quest that is so intensive, so it’s at least noteworthy.

28:00 – “We’re going all in on this fried bread thing.”

41:00 – And the moral of the story is we’re never going to stop talking about that mysterious liquor lady.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Vivi stops a golem uprising and decides to live another day, confident he is not a mere golem (which makes sense, as golems in this game are basically just Pokémon).

• Celes tries to cheer up the still-recovering-from-vampirey folks of Tome Town by performing an opera, but Ultros arrives, and messes it all up. Ultros is repelled, but, sorry, Celes won’t be singing in this one.

• It is confirmed that Balamb Garden is apparently a mirage, Eden, even if stuff discovered there, like the Gunblade, could be Cogna related.

• Shantotto attempts to open a secret vault by killing the Quacho Queen, but Lann and Reynn convince the Quacho Queen to open the door without bloodshed. Unfortunately, there’s a monster in the vault that could potentially explode and crack the continent in half… but Shantotto uses a spell to disarm the volatile kraken. The day is saved, and our heroes loot the vault.

Intervention Quests Part 4
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

00:00 – There is some interesting discussion regarding the production of Marvel vs. Capcom/Howard the Duck opposite Bartz and Gigglemesh saving a town. Eventually, there is discussion of Spider-Man arcade, a game near and dear to my videogame preserving heart.

8:00 – Additional discussion of Marvel vs. Capcom and what could have happened to Street Fighter 3 while Snow and Celes do… nothing.

14:30 – Moonboy and Devil Dinosaur are not Edgar and Vivi, but they’re not Primal, either.

19:00 – There’s no battle in this vignette, just cutscenes. This is weird, and prompts a discussion regarding Mr. Bucket, and how he wants you to put your balls in his mouth.

21:00 – Faris, Ifrit, and we’re apparently not worshipping Satan.

25:00 – Refia and Sherlotta venture into the snow while we discuss children’s cartoons and fetishes and let’s not talk about Totally Spies.

30:00 – We are done talking about Goodfeathers and how much we hate aspects of Animaniacs just in time to watch the ongoing adventures of Undead Princess.

34:00 Goblin Princess and the immortal question: is high school worse than working in The Simpsons writing room?

What actually happened in the plot:

• Gigglemesh and Bartz are more or less tricked by Bahamutian Soldiers, but team up to recover a victory.

• Snow and Celes fight Gigglemesh over absolutely nothing. Typical crossover fight, I suppose.

• Edgar and Vivi win over the support of the Figaro guard ostensibly through Vivi being annoying.

• Faris sponsors “Underdog Day”, a day when her crew can challenge the captain for control of the ship. An overeager moogle accidently summons Ifrit, whom Faris has to knock off the plank.

• Refia and Sherlotta battle Undead Princess (another refugee from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time), and then hire her to promote the Inn. Then Sherlotta and Undead Princess work together to stop some Metalliskulls that are haunting the area.

• Princess Sarah was kidnapped by Princess Goblin, who apparently has a crush on Warrior of Light. Warrior of Light lets Princess Goblin down easy, and rescues Princess Sarah.

Additional note that seems to explain a lot: In game, there is a running encyclopedia for characters encountered in World of Final Fantasy. The entry for Undead Princess reads:

Hey, Wait a Second…
You may be wondering why so many characters from the CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series have been popping up in Grymoire. Well, take a look at the person doing character design, and you may have your answer.

So that solves at least one unsolved mystery of World of Final Fantasy.

Intervention Quests Part 5
Initial Stream: 11/10/20

00:00 – Refia tries to build a bridge while we discuss how to own people on the internet. Or maybe we’re just looking at Dril tweets again. Or Spider-Man?

6:00 – Time for (what I’m pretty sure is) the DLC event. It is not a Gundam.

9:30 – Kishi joins us. Kishi is not a Gundam.

22:00 – We finally win as Omega God bonks over.

“He” is now Ted Woo, author of Shadow Mad.

31:00 – Kishi requests a repeat performance, so we’re watching the Faris bit again. Let’s consider this an example of how you can repeat these quests unlimited times.

36:00 – In an effort to torture fanboymaster, we close this stream out by taking a look at the World of Final Fantasy pokédex.

What actually happened in the plot:

• Refia tries to build an ice bridge, so she recruits Sherlotta to additionally recruit Shiva. The bridge is built, but doesn’t last long.

• Enna Kros has a conversation with Alexander, the gigantic mirage currently serving as a motionless bridge. Apparently they fought “for the throne” at one point. Eden of Balamb Garden, Lute of Ragnarok in Cornera, and Midgardian Ormr (presumably) of Midgar are all mirages, too. Alexander had Omega God hanging out on it in a pocket dimension (or something), so Enna Kros summoned Lann and Reynn to fight him off. Omega God is defeated and captured, and now, having completed all available Intervention Quests, Lann and Reynn are free to journey on to the endgame.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: This stream was the same week I got married, so BEAT is responsible for the Bad End.

World of Final Fantasy Part 04

Chapter 11: Creatively Bankrupt
Initial Stream: 10/7/20

If you notice that some mirages have evolved between updates, it’s because evolving is boring and unfulfilling in this game, and we don’t need to watch that.

2:00 – We’re kicking this one off with some obscure/interesting The Bouncer facts, but what’s more important is that Rydia appears. … Okay, yeah, there might be some species of turtle that are more relevant than The Bouncer facts.

11:00 – Our dungeon du jour is a volcano named Valley Seven (which Rydia helpfully identified as our goal), and BEAT and fanboymaster have trust issues regarding GOG.

14:00 – There is always time to talk about Skies of Arcadia.

19:00 – There is never time to talk about Jabberjaw.

24:00 – After trying and failing to find what makes Final Fantasy dungeons distinctive, we settle on the main issue of World of Final Fantasy: The Sonic Mania Problem. Basically, WoFF has some interesting ideas, but it is shackled to continually rehashing stories that were more interesting in their original, less funko-based incarnations. This whole dungeon is basically “Rydia is afraid of fire”, but that beat played a lot better in the game where Rydia was a five year old, and you personally burned down her whole life. … Uh, Final Fantasy 4 makes sense in context.

30:00 – I am elated to learn there is a Munsters Wiki. BEAT is elated to learn how easily we can game the profanity filters.

34:00 – Rydia’s confession about being afraid of fire holds a little more oomph when you’re not already inside of a volcano.

37:00 – Head’s up, BEAT is hitting the rum.

45:00 – After discussion of Other World, possibly the least appropriate Final Fantasy song ever, it’s time for the boss of the area, Big ol’ Bomb. Go now, if you want it.

48:00 – Leviathan washes this chapter out with a fully-animated splash.

What actually happened in the plot: Rydia informs us there are two prophecies, Prophecy: Azure and Prophecy: Crimson, and they’re pretty similar, but have some key differences. For instance, you can only catch Meowth in Prophecy: Azure. Rydia leads us to Valley Seven to find the first key (that is apparently in both prophecies) and conquer her fear of fire… but the second goal doesn’t go too well. Fortunately, our peppy hero boy is able to give Rydia a sufficient pep(py) talk, so she quells a raging inferno. After our protagonists grab that all important key, Leviathan, possibly goaded by the mysterious Plumed Knight, summons a tidal wave to push the party off track. Additionally, that same knight kidnaps Rydia… but our “heroes” were too busy drowning to even notice that happened.

Chapter 12: It’s All Butt
Initial Stream: 10/7/20

1:00 – Frogs, Chu Chu Rocket, hoping to see Cid… You know how it goes.

6:00 – It’s Snow! Final Fantasy 13: Lightning Returns discussion happens. This is basically Snow of/pantomiming Final Fantasy 13-2: How Serah Got Her Groove Back if you’re curious, though.

8:00 – Prompted by the appearance of this game’s second Shiva (the first was not a lesbian motorcycle, but a schoolgirl back in Chapter 3), BEAT recounts some impressions relayed by Talking Time’s Shivam regarding Shiva. Anybody got a link to that? It’s probably only a hundred billion years old (in internet years).

12:00 – Audrey the Marlboro joins that party as BEAT references How to Make a Sprite Comic in 8 Easy Bits again. I am quickly learning that the entirety of BEAT’s knowledge of Final Fantasy comes from sprite comics and people who write sprite comics. This… might be okay.

17:00 – A special shout out to everyone that watches these streams, and then comments in the attendant chat. I have a hard time keeping up during the stream, but I always read everything afterwards, and it’s all good. In this case, fanboymaster relays that Zef managed to recall some of the worst interviews from FF13’s director. Let’s never consider the intricacies of Lightning’s chest again.

21:00 – Princess Flan totally originates from Final Fantasy 4, and, because I had to explain that, I’m not explaining this:

28:00 – Almost at the end of this soggy dungeon, and BEAT posits that no one has ever actually purchased a Funko Pop. Buddy, people are buying Funko Pops, and you don’t want to see the friggen Funko “walls” that are made of the lil’ packaging bricks.

32:00 – Our boss battle is against a giant flan, which is basically what Snow did in Final Fantasy 13-2. He didn’t do it well there, but he’s doing pretty alright here. Must be the lack of time traveling. Snow’s general age and deal is discussed in more detail here, too.

37:00 – BEAT would march through Hell for his wife, so he’s basically Snow. I don’t know how I feel about that.

What actually happened in the plot: Our duo washed up on the shore of some swamp. After uncursing a frog, they are joined by Snow, who wants to fight a “jiggly”. That jiggly is apparently a giant flan that occasionally menaces Snow’s hometown… so basically this entire chapter is assisting Snow in an extermination job. It’s a living. After defeating the flan, Snow heads on home, and our heroes walk forward to… somewhere.

Chapter 13: Lightning Returns
Initial Stream: 10/7/20

0:00 – We’re starting right where the last chapter left off, with a detailed conversation about Final Fantasy 13. And Star Fox Command. Look, they’re both surprisingly queer, and it’s up to the viewer to determine whether or not that’s deliberate.

7:00 – fanboymaster provides some additional information on Final Fantasy development histories. This info may explain why Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 15 were released last week, while Final Fantasy 13 was released seventeen billion years ago.

11:00 – There’s a bit of an inadvertent plot synopsis provided here. We’re currently trekking through The Phantom Sands, a desert that is fifty feet away from a marsh, which is one tidal wave away from a volcano.

14:00 – Cactuar! And it’s ours!

19:00 – Amingo is discussed in a looping desert where you have to follow cactuar statues… let’s move on to some Wolverine movie discussion. Not X-Men discussion, just Wolverine. This is very 90’s.

29:00 Let’s face a sandworm boss that has nothing to do with Final Fantasy 5, and compare our beloved cactuar to Minecraft Steve, who is back in the news for some reason.

32:00 – And Lightning appears to save our heroes. We get rescued by creatures that are little more than high functioning action figures pretty often.

37:00 – Edgar and Castle Figaro appear… so it’s time to discuss Hyrule Warriors again. We apparently have some evergreen interests. This time it’s marginally relevant to the plot! I swear!

What actually happened in the plot: After stopping by a desert oasis, the party ventured through The Phantom Sands until encountering a clutch of sandworms. Lightning rescued our hapless heroes, and they all regrouped at another, different oasis. They learn that the four keys are elemental-themed (duh, it’s Final Fantasy), but they also gulp down some spiked drinks, so they’re not prepared for the inevitable attack from a castle buried in the sand. The Plumed Knight appears, defeats Lightning, and then magically locks the twins’ gauntlets, leaving them more helpless (and hopeless!) than usual. King Edgar Roni Figaro sentences the powerless teens to rot in his castle’s basement.

Chapter 14: Rise of the Machines
Initial Stream: 10/7/20

2:20 – Guess we’re in prison now. Happens once every Final Fantasy game, so we were probably due. Zef notes deep voiced funko pops are… different.

5:00 – No Mirages/Monsters will be allowed for this chapter’s battles, but we do have (cheated) items to see us through… and then Smol Squall!

9:30 – Squall is going to be our guest for the chapter, so we discuss Final Fantasy 8, friendship lore, and NORG. My opinions on this matter are well established.

15:00 – While the party goes dumpster diving, we discuss Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie: The Song.

19:11- I have questions about this!

Is every guest FF character just using their own battle system when they appear? And if so, can I play that game?

20:00- Shelke of Dirge of Cerberus meets us at the start of the next chapter, which leads to our third “canon” party wipe (Second at the hands of a Final Fantasy guest character). We’re only starting this chapter so we can get to a save point now, because it’s getting late.

24:00 – But before we quit, let’s quickly make a stop back home… Hey why is there still a half hour in the video…

35:00 –Okay, which is cuter, a stack of Final Fantasy mascot monsters, or this guy?

45:00 – And here’s Rikku’s side story opposite a discussion on Cavia/Nier/Drakengard. Look, I really thought it would just be a quick thing here, but between rebalancing my monsters and side stories that apparently take ten minutes each, time marches on. Sorry! Maybe next time I’ll finish a little earlier!

What actually happened in the plot: The twins were tossed in a basement without their magical powers or the ability to command monsters. However, they were rescued by Smol Squall, who granted the kids the ability to command mechanical “monsters” to survive the chapter. Squall is working with SeeD and The League of S, and Edgar is apparently a double agent on the side of the angels, too. This whole “imprisoning” thing was a ploy to get our heroes down to the basement of Figaro so they could make their way to Mako Reactor #1 to free Figaro from Bahamutian control. Squall helps a little, but leaves in time to make way for Shelke, who unlocks the power of the gauntlets again. Now we can summon monsters and robots, so Figaro should be free by lunch time.

Also, there are many oblique references across this chapter to the fact that “mecha”-style monsters are not actually supposed to be in the World of Final Fantasy, and their presence is the result of some unknown “invading force”. I absolutely assure you that this will not end in another Goggle Bob Let’s Play that has overt, but “must never actually be named” ties to Xenogears. That would be silly.

FGC #043.2 Final Fantasy 4

Don't worry, it's not these guysLet’s talk about the biggest problem in gaming.

I enjoy Final Fantasy 4. I have been playing Final Fantasy 2 (USA) since I could only afford it as a rental back in, yeesh, 1991. I was eventually able to purchase the game, and, despite a failing save battery, I played it through many times. Final Fantasy Chronicles, containing the “real” version of Final Fantasy 4 and Chrono Trigger (a game that I will buy sight unseen as many times as it takes [takes to do what? Who knows!]) was released in 2001, and, obviously, I played through the game again at that time (or thereabouts, Chrono Trigger is always first). Final Fantasy 4 Advance saw the game on a portable for the first time, and I plowed through that with some zeal in 2005 (there was slightly new content! Wow!). Final Fantasy 4 The DS hit our shores in 2008, and that was another forty hours of my life devoted to a slightly retooled version with voice acting and a hateful new game plus cycle. Speaking of hateful, Final Fantasy: The After Years migrated from Japanese cell phones to the Wii in 2009, bringing with it a “new” story that was really just a remix of Final Fantasy 4 OG with a colossal bonus dungeon. For the (as of this writing) final physical version of the game, there is Final Fantasy 4: The Complete Collection, a 2011 PSP release that was primarily based on the GBA version, but included updated graphics, a DS cutscene, and a quarantined copy of The After Years with a brand new complete waste of time bridging the “two” games called The Interlude. Since then, there have been various digital releases of the different versions available across systems, so you can play the original Final Fantasy 2 (USA) on the Wii/WiiU, the Chronicles version on Playstation 3, or the PSP version on your Playstation TV. Does your garage door have iOS installed? You can play Final Fantasy 4 on that, too.

I consider it a personal failing that I have beaten Final Fantasy 4 on every system on which it is available.

It is... unpleasant.Final Fantasy 4 is a great game. Even if it didn’t have an Optimus Prime full of nostalgia backing up to my doorstep, it would still be an enjoyable, fun experience. It’s something that’s fairly rare nowadays, a JRPG that is “pure”: there’s a plot and robust battle system, but it’s still modest enough to reel in the hours of dialogue and plot nonsense that seem to detract from modern releases. While later versions have welded on some of these contemporary “innovations” (looking at you, DS), it’s nice to play a JRPG that isn’t constantly baiting you to achieve some nigh-impossible “100% collection” or forcing prime leveling up procedures to guarantee victory over a late-game “bonus” boss. I enjoy min/maxing as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to savescum for the next two hours waiting for Edge to score a winning sneak against 1/100 odds. What we have is a wonderful game, so I’ve played Final Fantasy 4 to completion many, many times, and I likely will again.

Except there’s this place.


That right there is the Tower of Babil, and I hate it. It’s not any fun. The encounter rate there is annoying, the encounters themselves are annoying, and the boss is annoying. The “plot” of the tower is lousy, you lose your karate man, and you wind up sucked into a trap when it finally ends. Worst of all, you’re forced to climb up the tower, defeat the boss, and then climb back down the exact same tower, with the exact same encounters, all because there’s a plot flag that has to be triggered at the entrance; so it’s the exact same stupid dungeon twice. I’m sure there are some escaped mental patients that enjoy this place, but for the rest of us, it’s just a slog from start to finish. As a special bonus, the DS version identified this issue, and made the random enemies even more aggravating.

Total wash outAs I’ve mentioned, I’ve played through this game a number of times on a number of systems. Let’s give a low estimate, and claim I’ve only ever beaten the entire game a dozen times. That means I’ve played through The Tower of Babil twelve times. I’m certainly not going to try it right now to check, and, even at its most annoying, FF4 is a fairly brisk game, so let’s say a full trip through the tower takes about an hour. End result? I’ve spent at least twelve hours of my life doing something I absolutely hate. Could have been feeding the helpless, could have been helping the hungry, could have been nursing a wayward kitten, but, no, here I sit, knowing that I’ve spent at least half a day of my life wading through distilled excrement.

And, to be absolutely clear for the seven of you that are still reading this despite having never played Final Fantasy 4 (hi mom!), I like everything in Final Fantasy 4 on either side of The Tower of Babil. Rydia’s return, one of my favorite moments in the game, comes shortly before entering the tower, and afterwards, the party receives an airship and the ability to battle a particularly malevolent series of doors, and I think there’s a ninja somewhere in there, too. Eventually, Cecil and company escape the whole planet that contains that damn tower, and go on to explore one of my favorite final dungeons in the Final Fantasy franchise. But you’ll never see all the other highs of Final Fantasy 4 if you don’t struggle through its lowest low.

In an inevitable future playthrough, It would be nice to approach The Tower of Babil, and rather than loudly sigh at the misery I am about to experience, just skip it. You know, like you can do in every other medium that exists.

Double Wash OutI’ve watched the whole run of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a seven season, hour long episodic television series that contains 144 episodes. If I want to watch Season 5, though, I don’t have to rewatch the initial four seasons, including the lacking first season, just to “get there”. Speaking of awful early seasons, just because Star Trek The Next Generation is getting a new, HD rerelease doesn’t mean I’m sweating on my sofa at the fear of having to watch Troi birth a space baby again. If I want to read about Harry Potter’s entire adolescence, there’s nothing stopping me from skipping any pages that outline the worst camping trip in the history of magical teenagers. And you better believe that if a game of Monopoly has already cost hours of my friends’ lives, we’re implementing rules that will make the Atlantic City economy crash fast and hard.

I’m an adult, I am trusted to make relevant choices about my time in every form of entertainment except video games. Hell, I can even show up for a movie five minutes late just to avoid the preceding hour of advertising, or, while at home, skip every commercial break that has ever happened by bounding around channels like a coked-up paragoomba. There is literally only one way television shows make money “from” me, and I’m allowed to skip it. But I see the Tower of Babil, and here I sit, hitting the fight command over and over again until those damn flaming dogs are extinguished.

And it’s not getting any better! Recently, I picked up Final Fantasy 4’s descendant, Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster. As you can likely guess, I played Final Fantasy 10 to completion back when it was a mere PS2 title. Final Fantasy 10 has one new game plus feature, a sort of reward for having already played through the game, and that’s that the Al Bhed, a fictional race found in Final Fantasy 10’s Spira that has the audacity to not speak proper Queen’s English, may be “translated” on a replay if you put in the effort to find Al Bhed Primers during your initial playthrough. I figured it would be nice to, now on my second playthrough of the game, to experience that “reward” I had earned in a previous, earlier version. First of all, obviously, there isn’t just some toggle that says, “Hey, we know you’re a fan, I know you’re pretty busy, here, let me help you out, here’s the translation from the start.” That would be silly. Next, I investigated if there was a way to import my PS2 save, which is sitting right there on the PS3’s hard drive, to this “new” PS3 game. No dice, likely because everyone already forgot the PS3 ever had the ability to read PS2 memory cards. So, I decided to turn to “cheating”: I’d download a “complete” game save and, at the earliest opportunity, import the primers from that save, so I could experience the quarter of the plot that I missed the first time. Well, guess what? The tyrants at Square-Enix decided to lock gamesaves to individual profiles for this release, so you can’t even do that. In the end, I wound up finding software that very likely is against warranty to modify the data on the saves themselves just to experience a piece of the game that would have been automatic if I was playing the exact same game on a different system. A game and system that, incidentally, I already owned, and could play at any time.

Rosa, go be somewhere elseWhat possible reason would Square Enix have for locking such a feature behind so many hoops? Is it to protect the sanctity of “trophies” and “achievements”? Yeah, “points” are really important for my enjoyment of any media, that’s why my blu-ray player spits out a grilled cheese sandwich for my every tenth disc I pop in. Oh, wait, that’s just a wonderful fantasy I’m dreaming about because I’m hungry. Is it because SE is collecting data on which people win what trophies to better tailor future games to their audience? Well, here’s a freebie, guys, if someone has 100% completion inside of six minutes, that guy is cheating, ignore that data. Gee, that was hard. Here’s a thought: let me play the game I bought the way I want to play it, rules be damned.

I’m not advocating this position just because I’ve become so much lazier in my old age, either. This is an essential piece of what gaming is that is holding the entire medium back.

Final Fantasy 4 has another, later descendant, and that’s Final Fantasy 13. Final Fantasy 13 miraculously grew out of the pot of dirt that is the wildly homophobic Japanese culture (or at least homo-… What’s the word to describe when the only way you see a homosexual person in media is if they’re a big, flaming ponce? Yeah, probably homophobic.) and bloomed into a flower that is an amazing metaphor for LGBT struggles. To wit: the whole party of various genders and races being “othered” together and forced to deal with a society that does not (want to) understand them, Lightning personally experiencing much that metaphorically mirrors trans-issues, and then there’s Fang and Vanille, two women that don’t seem to be interested in a single male and are more than a little elated at their eventual reunion. During the finale of Final Fantasy 13, it’s the strength of the relationship between Fang and Vanille that literally saves an entire world. Think I’m reading too much into subtext here? The friggen logo for Final Fantasy 13 features a stylized image of Fang and Vanille in their “final” embrace.


There’s a point where subtext becomes supertext, and it’s the exact kind of thing the gaming universe needed when the game was released (amidst an army of testosterone-driven brown shooters) and now, more than ever (if you need an explanation of that, hi, welcome to the Internet). Final Fantasy 13, taken just for its characters and story, could be the posterchild for feminist and LGBT gaming. Only problem? As every review ever written on the game has noted, the meat of that story is locked behind a forty hour tutorial, and you likely won’t see the story’s conclusion before around hour eighty. And did you have a favorite part? Well good luck with that, hope you had the foresight to create a savefile copy before the event, otherwise you’ll be logging entire weeks in the game again.

It’s important for a game to have a message. It’s a problem if it takes the length of a college semester to get to that message.
And all of this is just noting time involved, never mind potential skill thresholds. Bioshock Infinite has an ending that is absolutely essential to understanding the story and message of the game… and it just happens to be locked behind the greatest, most tedious challenge in the game. Without exaggeration, it probably took me 10% of my entire time playing the game to complete the absolute final area, which is generally “only” difficult because it radically alters the respawning rules. I very nearly gave up on the whole affair right there, which would be akin to stopping The Sixth Sense as Bruce Willis begins to puzzle through his revelation. It would be insane to do such a thing, but many games with a big “final challenge” finale encourage such behavior.

SpooninessEncouraging a different kind of behavior is why we’re unlikely to ever see an end to this, either. Practically since gaming was invented, there have been ways to sell consumers the ability to play better. From books on Pac-Man strategy to the advent of literal strategy guides and magazine subscriptions (I read Cheats Monthly for the articles) to the more modern practice of DLC meant only to level up your character, there will always be a way to make money on people wishing to improve their skills. All the better if the only way to complete the story, to get that “what happens next” monkey off your back, is to buy some additional product to aid your quest. Incidentally, I believe I have yet to name a game in this article that didn’t have a strategy guide. There’s big business in locking the gates and then licensing the key.

And gaming is poorer for it. Think of how many productions put much more effort into Level 1 than Level 8 because they know that’s all some people are going to see. Think of how many games lock their best content behind arbitrary, tedious conditions because it artificially inflates some imaginary “hours of gameplay” count. Think of how many monotonous, dull tasks you’ve willingly completed with the understanding that it would unlock something actually enjoyable? Has any of this made gaming better, or does it just, at best, create an animosity between players and designers, and, at worst, bar an entire medium of ideas and experiences behind a wall of potentially wasted time. Imagine not already having the foundation of gaming in your life and ask, “What’s going to be the better possible use of your time to get the same result: reading Nietzsche or playing Xenogears?” That which does not kill us only makes us stronger, chu.

Until we have the ability to play games how we want, gaming will continue to be a childish hobby. There’s no other way to see a medium that treats its audience like children. I know you want to dive into a giant robot and crush its balls, but you have to clean your room first. Sit down, finish your Tower of Babil, and we’ll see about getting you a shiny, new airship. If you’re good.

FGC #43.2 Final Fantasy 4

  • System: SNES, PSX, GBA, DS, PSP, iOS, and a myriad of ports and rereleases here and there.
  • Number of Players: Just one. You against the stupid tower.
  • He is not a fast robotVersion Differences: Too many to count. The PSP Complete Collection really does seem the most… complete, and, while some people may desire the original graphics, I really like the art in that title. There’s an issue here or there, but the enemy graphics look exactly how 90’s Goggle Bob would expect future generation Final Fantasy games to look.
  • Favorite Boss Battle: Ain’t nothing like all four of the fiends polling together for an attack. Has that ever been done for the FF1 fiends? Seems like something that might be fun.
  • Is this the last of Final Fantasy 4 for the site? If ROB ever distinctly chooses Final Fantasy 4 DS, I’ve got an entire post in mind on how the concept of New Game Plus is a revelation for most JRPG titles… and a complete pile of crap here. I’d put it together for Friday, but the idea of a Final Fantasy 4 week seems excessive.
  • Did you know? Yes, Virginia, Final Fantasy 4: The After Years was originally a cell phone title that was distributed in chunks. It used really horribly repurposed Final Fantasy 4 graphics, and, though I loathe to admit it, I was champing at the bit to play the game back when it was just a few scattered screenshots and yet another game that was released in Japan on an unusual system that we’d never see stateside. Now, years later, we know that absolutely everything about it was terrible and better left in the Far East. Boy did I learn my lesson! Oh, what’s this copy of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD doing here?
  • Would I play again? I figure we’re about a year or so away from another, newer version of Final Fantasy 4 where, I don’t know, Kain gets a new hat. Christ, I typed that, and now I’m kinda craving a FF4 where the characters have customizable outfits ala Dragon Quest 9. Yes, I’ll be climbing the Tower of Babil again. It’s a sickness.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings. Wonderful. Who doesn’t want to play Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings? I think I started this challenge just to punish myself for randomly buying the stupidest games for three dollars… I mean… Please look forward to it!