Tag Archives: let’s play

World of Final Fantasy Part 07

Chapter 20: Good Job Breaking It, Twins
Initial Stream: 10/27/20



00:00 – Tonight’s stream features guest commentator Rosella, who once joined me on a journey of looking at Persona 5 from a particular kind of critical perspective. We’re going to be less critical of Funko Fantasy.

Oh, also fanboymaster has an apology for any Family Matters enthusiasts in the audience.

Also, between updates, I ventured around some of the older dungeons to find their hidden, stronger monsters. It was 95% backtracking, and roughly 4% interesting content (the other 1% was a pair of cactuar I’m genuinely sad wasn’t on the stream), so you didn’t miss anything. The final result is that there are a lot more ignored mirages sitting in my monster box. The only relevant one seems to be the Phoenix that has joined my party, so that prompts a conversation about the upcoming Final Fantasy 16.

10:00 – Technically this update is starting from the very tail end of the previous chapter. We beat the first boss of that prior chapter (Tiamat! And a bull!) while fanboymaster describes Babel II.

21:00 – Finally done with the second boss, Kraken and eyeball, so now the new chapter officially begins. Feel free to log how little gameplay is actually in this chapter.

26:00 – A boss fight against Not-Garland, who will not-knock us all down. And, inexplicably, we all have stories about Squall’s Griever.

33:00 – Here is formally where all hell breaks loose in the World of Final Fantasy plot. This, naturally, prompts some discussion on Kingdom Hearts versus World of Final Fantasy. Did WoFF establish its characters enough to support this swerve? Did Kingdom Hearts?

38:33 – Can you identify this silhouette?



Tidus stops it from being officially summoned into this world, but if you recognized our guest villain, here’s your congratulatory image:


45:00 – Final Fantasy 8 is discussed while the heroes regroup and review exactly how they all started to hang out. If you needed some backstory on why Lightning suddenly knows Cloud, here you go.

48:00 – Technically gameplay resumes for the first time since…. What, 26:00? This is reminding me of another Let’s Play… Meanwhile, we unanimously agree we would like to go to the moon.

58:00 – Unfortunately, gameplay doesn’t last long. Hauyn and Tama both host cutscenes that are simultaneously long and not every informative.

1:01:00 – Towards the end here, just letting BEAT know that I did fulfill that request. This chapter putters out after more discussion over what the hell is happening. If you need more information on that…

What actually happened in the plot: After defeating a fiend or four, the twins open a crazy big door (not the Ultima Gate, that’s coming up), and defeat Brandelis, King of Bahamutian Army, in an area that looks like Heaven. The Masked Woman that appeared last chapter says to open the Ultima Gate, which inspires some weird flashbacks in the kids. Masked Woman unmasks, and turns out to be the twins’ (kinda adopted) sister Hauyn (aka Wyn). No, she wasn’t established in the plot previously, but just roll with it. The twins, trusting in Wyn, open the gate, and they free from a magical box… Wyn? Another Wyn? “Masked” Wyn turns out to have been Knight in the Golden Mask the whole time, and it was always the villainous generals (including the obviously not defeated Brandelis) leading the heroes to open the gate.

So all of “heaven” is revealed to be an evil arena (or something), and the four summoners that had been kidnapped (Rydia, Eiko, Yuna, Terra) are being tortured to hold the gate open. The bad guys are identified as the Order of the Circle (also never mentioned before). The Order of the Circle were apparently conquering the world for (sacrificial) giggles, and their true goal was summoning the Cogna, machine creatures from another dimension. And they’ve succeeded, as Cogna stream through the gate to invade the world. Looks like they are cyber-izing the planet, and resistance is futile. The Champions (FF heroes) rescue the summoners, though, shutting the gate. The villains escape, and the world is overrun with Cogna that already made it through. The heroes make it out thanks to Quistis in an airship, and they swing by Balamb Garden, which flies in the sky in this world. It is assumed that the Cogna were released so the generals could conquer the world (more?), and Reynn is afraid they accidentally released the bad guys when they were collecting the keys. Which they kinda did. Go back and check, there were ominous cutscenes and everything.

Mascot Creature Tama is freaking out about the whole thing, but the twins talk him down. Tama elaborates on the Exnine Knights maybe being The Order of the Circle, and, whatever, they’re bad. Maybe Enna Kros, the “god lady” tried to make this happen by setting the adventure in motion? Wyn seems to blame the twins for something, but literally states she will not help (or explain a damn thing) while the twins have their selective amnesia. Rorrik, the twins’ dad, is mentioned by Wyn for the first time, though. Wyn has a magic dagger, Siren the Summon, and a will to save the twins’ parents, so she’s going to peace out and save the world herself. And then we get an airship.

Chapter 21-1: Chapters of the Chosen
Initial Stream: 10/27/20



1:36 – Yes, we are playing this game on the 5 year anniversary of the international release. Can we talk about Final Fantasy 10-2, though? Let’s do that. It seems to be influencing my chapter titling, at least.

5:00 – We’ve got choices! There are five separate stories that all have to be sorted. Starting in Besaid, we fight Einhänder. Yes, that Einhänder. I apparently, impossibly kill it with a Blitzball in one hit during the ensuing minigame. This was not the result of cheating or raw skill, it was just pure, unfiltered luck.

11:00 –


14:00 – The Lute of Ragnarok is some manner of giant laser sword. This is the most helpful/apocalyptic Final Fantasy 1 reference I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t figured it out, this section of the game is a series of disparate minigames. Lightning has to play something like a rhythm game (minus the rhythm).

24:00 – Callback to BEAT’s favorite Cactuar Battle becomes a super random minigame. I looked up more information on this minigame afterwards, and, yep, it’s just totally random. Let’s talk about developing games for various Playstations while we punch a precious cactuar.

34:00 – Talking about some manner of Vee-ta game system opposite Edgar flirting with Terra. Then it’s time for battleship.

43:00 – Rosella understands this minigame a lot better than I do, and here’s where we start working together to finally conquer it while BEAT and fanboymaster play other games out of boredom. This officially makes Rosella the most useful person that has ever been on the stream. She might not provide 70,000 references to Adult Swim, but her assistance in conquering robots is invaluable.

49:30 – And our reward is a simple battle. What the heck, World of Final Fantasy?

What actually happened in the plot: Serafie, our fairy friend, finds “gossip” all over the world. Apparently the cogna are attacking everywhere at once, so the twins go to The Girl Who Forgot Her Name, who exists outside time, so they can help the Final Fantasy characters simultaneously. The Five Cogna Lords are attacking five distinct locations/hero squads. Shantotto, Yuna, and Tidus defend Besaid against Einhänder. With the help of a blitzball, they succeed, and Shantotto captures Einhänder for study. Warrior of Light, Princess Saria, and Eiko defend Corneria while Lightning recruits Ramuh to help in fighting Omega Weapon. Cid, Celes, and Squall fight Phantom Train and War Machine thanks to assistance from Cactuar Conductor (whom Reynn finally got to punch). Edgar, Vivi, Shelke, and Terra defend Figaro against wheelers.

Chapter 21-2: Cogna Line
Initial Stream: 10/27/20


00:00 – Picking up exactly where the last one left off, time to kill robots and insult Picross.

1:36 –


7:30 – fanboymaster again makes his feelings on Final Fantasy 6 known (see other streams for more information), and Wheels obliterates the chat in retaliation. Sorry, Wheels.

11:00 – We’ve completed the five cogna fights… and BEAT rages into his own death. Sorry! He’s dead now.

13:00 – We can advance the plot now, but since BEAT is dead, we’re going to just futz around with some optional content. Let’s see the airship content. It’s… basically just a few monsters hiding around the map. We can’t even land this airship anywhere!

20:00 – Rosella tells an amazing story about virtual reality, virtual skeevers, and actual dogs. All I’m doing is fighting dumb monsters.

30:00 – Despite the fact that other streamers need food badly, we try a few optional scenario things. Let’s check in on Chocobo times. Chocolatte and Bartz team up!

34:00 – Gigglemesh.


That is all.

36:00 – People have been kidnapped, chocobos have been kidnapped, let’s close this out with a mecha chocobo.

What actually happened in the plot: Tifa, Cloud, and Rydia fight Supraltima Weapon, which has absurd HP. After all five Cogna Lord locations have been saved, Quistis found the bad guys at the end of the chains connected to various towns. We need to hit a conquered town’s church to advance. Elsewhen: Bartz and Chocolatte save chocobos from black chocobos and robot chocobos. It was pleasant.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: We need an intervention or twenty.

World of Final Fantasy Part 02

Chapter 4: The Fight to End all Funkos
Initial Stream: 9/22/20

1:14 – Thus begins Night 2. I have hacked every item into World of Final Fantasy, and that should make things go smoother. Reference is made to my Wild Arms 2 Let’s Play when I had to restart the entire adventure thanks to similar shenanigans… but I’ve learned nothing, so here we are.

5:00 – The terrible pathfinding of our Tails-like compatriot is discussed. Also, I didn’t take ten minutes to repeat the entirety of this dungeon because I forgot what I was doing, I was just getting reacquainted with the game. Yeah… that’s the ticket.

11:00 – I have to mess with a few menus before getting going, and then officially Chapter 4 begins… So let’s discuss mobile game advertising, my lord.

16:00 – The Captain of the Guard appears here. He will be relevant in like twenty minutes. I also want to state for the record that I like dogs, they just get in the way of things on occasion. Anyone that has ever had to shove a collie out of the kitchen knows what I’m talking about. I’m not a monster!

18:00 – Our next “dungeon” is a massive battlefield featuring a fight between Cornerian forces and the invading Bahamutian army. Unfortunately, it’s one of those deals where there’s a tiny “path” (viewable on the minimap), and you can’t explore anything remotely outside of the path. Boo.

22:00 – Persona 5 is discussed. One day I’ll make it through Persona 5 Royal, but, in the meanwhile, please enjoy this referenced Gogglebob discussion/interview about how it’s pretty damn misogynistic.

28:00 – Dungeon continues unabated, so let’s discuss everyone’s first Playstation game after some Bioshock “hacking”.

35:00 – The Warrior of Light of kinda Final Fantasy 1 and definitely Final Fantasy Dissidia appears! So let’s have a boss battle against a particularly large goblin.

40:00 – Shadowy villains lurk in the shadows, and they have shadowy lips… sometimes.

What actually happened in the plot: The twins distinctly remember bits of their childhood and their mom, which seems significant. Also, anonymous NPCs can become “champions” like the Warrior of Light according to legends of mediums. The Bahamutian Army is apparently being led by evil knights that are actually just empty armor, but maybe the real villains just awoke thanks to our heroes?

Chapter 5: Go Climb a Tree
Initial Stream: 9/22/20



00:00- Picking up immediately where the previous chapter ended, BEAT attempts to hold me accountable with my own words. I think he does a pretty good impersonation of yours truly.

3:00 – We’re going to Soronia (original appearance: Final Fantasy 3[J]) opposite spam comments in the stream. Apparently we have to venture through Final Fantasy 10’s Pyreglow Forest (there is no spam there).

8:00 – My dedicated spam bot is reported as we venture through a forest. Or up a giant tree? Directions are a pain.

20:00 – You try catching a baby behemoth that eventually dies anyway while talking about zodiac signs! It’s not easy!

29:00 – Special thanks to whoever was responsible for writing World of Final Fantasy’s monster descriptions, as some entries, like this rap-battling lizard, are the bee’s knees.

33:00 – Moogles apparently need to be healed to be captured, and it doesn’t seem like scan/libra provides that information. BEAT helpfully looks it up, and then talks about Save Toby, a website dedicated to maybe eating a rabbit.

38:00 – While fanboymaster plays Mario 64 I capture a Magic Jar. I am not certain if this is some kind of sequence breaking or something, but I don’t think I scored one here on my initial playthrough.

45:00 – Discussion of Aqua Teen Hunger Force is interrupted by Yuna. Looks like it’s time to fight a summoner.

51:00 – Yuna offers some revelations about mom… but let’s talk about Dethklok instead.

58:00 – Closing this one out as notable villain James Woods is discussed opposite the appearance of fictional villain, Plumed Knight.

What actually happened in the plot: Princess Sarah believes the only way to defeat the Bahamutian Army is to ally with the mysterious League of S, so the twins set off to do just that on behalf of Corneria. They’re heading toward Soronia for more info, but Yuna is a roadblock, because she believes Jiants once destroyed the world. After a battle, Yuna reveals that Lussa Farna was a heroine 100 years back that sealed the Demon Dyad within the Ultima Gate. Lussa Farna’s fate was lost to time, but one of her three allies, Brandelis, is now a general in the Bahamutian Army. And, oh yeah, the twins recall that Lussa Farna was their mom’s name.

Chapter 6: Chilling with the Fam
Initial Stream: 9/22/20



1:00 – Icicle Inn! And a discussion of Final Fantasy 7 Remake inevitably unfolds.

3:45 – Sherlotta is the proprietor of this inn. And she’s also a 2,000 year old catgirl from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time. And I’m sure she has nothing to do with the unidentified cat that appears near the end of the update. Refia also appears (and temporarily joins that party). She is the tomboy blacksmith’s apprentice that replaces an anonymous onion kid in Final Fantasy 3 DS.

10:00 – Let’s blind some bats for fun and profit. After moogle healing last time, this is where the game really kicks into gear on “conditions” and the many ways you can capture monsters.

20:00 – It’s an icy, slidey area, which reminds us all of the glories of Alundra, a game I recently played because quarantine was causing no small amount of anxiety. It’s a great game for depression (as in, it will inflict depression upon you).

35:00 – After five minutes of juggling stat stuff, we talk about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time speed run strategies while a boss attacks.

42:00 – Techincally Chapter 7 starts here, but we’re too busy talking about Narnia to notice. We’ve made it to Saronia Harbor, and wrapping things up when…

45:00 – A door has appeared! So we have to look at it, meeting Girl Who Forgot Her Name, which leads to a discussion of BEAT: Secret Origins.

48:00 – Quests are available! Maybe we’ll get there eventually! We’re also introduced to Champion Medals, Arma Gems, and Champion Points. This is all just a long tutorial on “you can summon things”.

52:00 – I can Summon Warrior of Light, Sephiroth, and Balthier thanks to DLC. And now for more explanations of everything. I just want to go to bed!

58:00 – After a discussion about Golden Sun, we’re at the coliseum. Please ignore the friendly tonberry that apparently isn’t going to stab anyone.

1:03:00 – And after all that, it turns out I can’t summon right now. Dammit! Maybe next time. We’ll pick back up the “real” Chapter 7 on the next update, as “Night 3” begins.

What actually happened in the plot: After meeting Sherlotta, Refia joined the party, and this trio ventured through the contractually mandated ice dungeon. There was a wolf ambush, but nothing much else of interest happened on the way to Saronia.

Back in the twins’ home dimension, Girl Who Forgot Her Name appeared, and she has the power to impart the ability to summon Final Fantasy luminaries for sidequests and attacks. Otherwise, she’s just a weird girl that drinks tea in a formless void. Also, a tonberry invited us to a coliseum for bloodshed aplenty.

World of Final Fantasy Part 01

Welcome to the World of Final Fantasy (Maxima)!

So, what’s all this then?

This is a very loose Let’s Play of World of Final Fantasy: Maxima.

Loose?

The participants are barely paying attention. I’m sure we’ll all care more when the plot ramps up into full wackiness… but no promises! (Spoilers: I’m glad I didn’t make that promise.)

So what’s the point?

I’ll be frank: this is a “hang-out” Let’s Play. We’re playing through WoFF:M, but this is more or less an excuse for like-minded individuals to have fun and maybe make fun of Smoll Squall.

How did this happen?

There was a vote to determine my next Let’s Play. The winners seemed to be Wild Arms 3 and World of Final Fantasy. Since BEAT, a friendly skeleman, had never heard of World of Final Fantasy, we decided to make that a “joint” video Let’s Play, while Wild Arms 3 will be a more traditional, in-depth Let’s Play.

So this is just pure goofiness?

No, I do plan on carefully outlining everything that happens in the update-based liner notes. Just don’t expect biting insight in the minute-to-minute of the videos. Odds are really low anyone is even paying attention to what the zero-gravity fox thing is saying.

Is this your first time playing the game?

I played World of Final Fantasy. Part of the reason I even put WoFF up as a poll choice was because I enjoyed the experience, purchased the Maxima upgrade/expansion… and then never played the game again. So I am familiar with World of Final Fantasy, have mostly forgotten what happened in the intervening five years since release, and am now playing World of Final Fantasy + Maxima for the first time. I reserve the right to be surprised by the stupidest things.

Anything more about World of Final Fantasy?

It was originally a Vita game, but found a new home on the Playstation 4. It was supposed to be an “all-ages friendly” title meant to draw in audiences old and new for Final Fantasy’s 30th anniversary. It… seemed to be little more than a blip on the radar. Hey! It was released opposite a real Final Fantasy game (Final Fantasy 15) and a real Pokémon game (Sun & Moon). It was a crowded year!

How is Pokémon relevant?

The Final Fantasy bestiary can be adopted as little helper critters across World of Final Fantasy. It is, arguably, World of Final Fantasy’s defining feature. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Anything else?

Special thanks to my partners in crime on this project, BEAT and fanboymaster for coming along on this journey through the World of Final Fantasy.

Chapter 00: Prelude
Initial Stream: 9/8/20



2:40 – We’re kicking things off with a discussion of individual video length. BEAT proposes the uncharacteristically reasonable answer of making each video a half hour. And that works! Sometimes! But the official plan going forward is to follow the “chapter breaks” that are naturally provided by World of Final Fantasy, and hope they don’t get too long. We’ll see what happens…

6:17 – This is one of those plots that is absolutely fueled by selective amnesia, and it has nothing to do with zero gravity mascot characters.

9:42 – For anyone that needs to know, Wawa is an Eastern United States-based convenience store that provides coffee, food, and gasoline. I am not exaggerating when I say I live in a town with three Wawas, and this is not unusual. Regardless, our amnesiac heroes appear to work at a fictional Starbucks (my town also has one of those), so let’s talk about this being Coffee House Alternate Universe Prime.

12:30 – BEAT offers some genuinely interesting information about Final Fantasy text boxes in the modern era. Watch the video for more details! Or maybe watch another, more relevant video! I’m not your mom. We also formally meet Enna Kros, who is probably not your mom, either.

18:00 – Our first taste of “Glorious Combat”… even if it is just a tutorial battle. Let’s learn a thing or two about pokéballs and this iteration of the Active Time Battle system.

23:00 – And this chapter ends as we enter another world.

What actually happened in the plot: The siblings Lann and Reyn woke up, realized their coffee shop and entire surrounding city was empty, and found out they are blessed by the gods to collect monsters in another world. Lann and Reyn have massive amnesia, but the only other human around, Enna Kros, makes it clear that they’re not supposed to worry about such trifling things. Lann and Reyn leap into the other world, Grymoire, with their spiffy new mascot monster, Tama.

Chapter 1: Tutorials Chosen by God
Initial Stream: 9/8/20



0:25 – We’ve got Funko Pops! Everyone in the world of Grymoire looks like lil’ 8-bit map sprites modified to exist in a 3-D world. Our heroes can switch back and forth between their normal, “Jiant” forms, and their diminutive, “Lilikin” shapes.

2:10 – A discussion on Final Fantasy overworld music breaks out as we capture our first chocobo, BURDIEE.

9:00 – This update is mostly tutorials (this time on advanced monster capturing, stacking, and each creature’s individual sphere grid), so we discuss the recently announced death of The Venture Bros.

12:00 – Ragtime Mouse is discussed. I looked it up, it appears Ragtime Mouse will not be appearing in this game. Good.

15:00 – We get a fake Game Over thanks to a tutorial on overpowered monsters compliments of a Behemoth. It is revealed that, with a few exceptions, there is a canon explanation of why you can always restart in World of Final Fantasy. This, naturally, prompts a conversation about Prince of Persia.

19:00 – Chocolatte appears back at the Starbucks in the home dimension. She is a transplant from the Final Fantasy 13 universe, and a clear attempt to sexualize a funko pop. This is disturbing.

25:00 – Lies about ending are spread while Shadow Madness is ducked

30:00 – An explanation for the why of Wild Arms 3 is discussed for all you Goggle Bob fans that need the secret reasons for why certain Let’s Plays happen.

33:00 – And we’ll close this one out with Trigun discussion, and an opening cinema thingy. Do anime openings that explain their entire plot have a particular name? I’d like to know!

What actually happened in the plot: This one is almost entirely tutorial for the various battles and menus that we’ll be seeing for the next twenty chapters, but we did get a little new information. Apparently the mascot monster is capable of rewinding time, and he was granted this ability by Enna Kross, who claims to be god. And then she left, not accepting any questions at this time. Sounds like god!

Chapters 2 & 3: The Mirage of Progress
Initial Stream: 9/8/20



0:19 – Hey, it’s the opening of Final Fantasy 1. Or at least that bit with the bridge…

1:00 – And now we have a Cactuar Choo-Choo.

4:00 – This is Corneria, the first town to appear in Final Fantasy 1, so also the first town to appear in a Final Fantasy. That seems appropriate.

10:30 – The Princess of Corneria, Sarah, appears. So let’s discuss Nickelodeon GUTS.

14:00 – The whole plot of everything ever is explained while one of our heroes just plays around in the background. This is good and right.

19:00 – Consider this discussion of hacking good stats onto my hapless heroes as some kind of foreshadowing. I am a known cheater, and I make no apologies for that.

21:00 – Mascot monsters are discussed by way of mentioning the best of all: Nall from Lunar. Also I guess Chapter 3 starts.

24:00 – Here’s our first real dungeon, only nearly two hours into the game. Yay? We celebrate by talking about the (then) upcoming Hyrule Warriros title, and whether it can live up to the narrative of Breath of the Wild.

36:00 – There are some pretty big monster mobs in this game… but I’m probably just saying that because I’ve gotten used to later games and their more “focused” monster groups. Still, it’s kinda sorta a two person party against a (literal) pile of opponents.

46:00 – Nothing much happens in this dungeon, but the “pokémon switches” are introduced. Basically, the designers are checking to make sure you’re properly catching your FF monsters, and some dungeons have switches and alike that require particular, locally caught creatures. In this case, we need some heavy rocks to proceed.

48:00 – Kayin is mentioned, so let’s plug that time I interviewed him a few weeks back. He’s a stand up author of I Wanna Be the Guy, and absolutely not someone that would waste his night in a dungeon (not this kind of dungeon, at least).

53:00 – Ramuh, Ifrit, and Shiva appear, and MetalManMaster casts the tie-breaking vote to battle Ifrit. Time to tackle the fiery furry.

1:00:00 – We wrap up the battle with Ifrit and Night 1 with some discussion of Dethklok.

What actually happened in the plot: The Bahamutian Army and The Azure Prophecy are introduced by Princess Sarah. Basically, the Bahamutian Army has got all the monsters we aren’t allowed to capture, so we need to martial our forces for a counterattack. The heroes venture to a local cave, the Nether Nebula, which is supposed to hold a ton of monsters (excuse me, they’re called Mirages). Deep in the cave, the trio of Shiva, Ifrit, and Ramuh recognize the siblings, but also acknowledge that our heroes are not as strong as the duo they once knew. The trio approves of the kids, though, after a battle. Also, a mysterious masked woman makes an appearance in a presumably distant cutscene.

Next time on World of Final Fantasy: Could I interest you in some Final Fantasy characters that are actually memorable?

Wild Arms 2 Part 42: Goggle Bob and The Odessa Effect

Let’s Plays are inherently personal. Videogames are intimate experiences to begin with (how else would you describe a situation where you spend forty hours alone with your hands on your controller?), and expanding such an experience to include everyone willing to read/listen is immediately going to, strangely inversely, make that title more intimate to the Let’s Player. Let’s Plays, whether they be screenshots or videos, at least double the amount of time one dedicates to a game, so, assuming this isn’t a Player’s first rodeo, anyone going into a Let’s Play knows it’s going to be a long haul, even on a title as simple as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. On a JRPG, we’re talking about an experience that could literally take years.

This Let’s Play took years. Even if I were able to stay 100% on an update a week, these past forty updates would have taken nearly a full year. Why would I even bother?

Wild Arms 2 is a weird game. It is a late Playstation 1 JRPG that existed in that peculiar JRPG adolescence where everyone was simultaneously trying to chase the success of Final Fantasy 7, but also “advance the genre” in its own way. Many JRPG directors of this period had years of experience as being the audience for the likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, and an age of post-modern JRPGs was due. But everyone wanted that phat Cloud Strife dough, though, so we saw a number of titles that seemed downright at odds with themselves. A title where a chosen hero battles a group of anime villains but also eventually has to repel an encroaching abstract idea while disproving the very concept of heroism is exactly the kind of title you’d see in ‘99/’00. Wild Arms 2 has a narrative that is seemingly doomed to be bonkers right from the start, as it stands at the intersection of conflicting goals that is “make a Power Rangers game” and “say something meaningful about the world”.

And the translation doesn’t help. Wild Arms 2 is already toying with some intellectual notions for a “typical” JRPG, and the fact that Irving might wind up explaining the same concept using three different incongruous homonyms isn’t helping. What’s more, the translation completely neuters characters’ voices, so the only characters that seem to get individualistic nuance are the heroes that have non-verbal animations that clearly convey their place in the story. Lilka has a tendency to “sound” like everyone else thanks to a dull localization, but her constant cycles of stomping her feet or waving her arms convey the emotions of an impatient young lady. Unfortunately, the majority of the rest of the cast doesn’t get such consideration, and thus characters that should be standouts like Brad and Ashley begin to blur together. This ain’t Persona 4: the localization of Wild Arms 2 is not only confusing for actual plot purposes, it also does an incredible disservice to one of the more unique casts on the Playstation 1.

So we come back to the same question again: why did I, the venerable Goggle Bob, star of stage and screen, bother to dedicate my precious time to Let’s Playing Wild Arms 2?

The answer to that question is a long one.

(Like you thought anything I would ever write would be short…)

NOTE: This section gets incredibly personal. I just started typing, and it happened. Also, general trigger warning for overwhelming grief.

Venture with me back to the bygone time of my college years. In fact, technically the absolute beginning of my time at college. I was to start my higher educational time at Montclair State University, a college chosen for the twin reasons of its affordability and great distance from my parents. It didn’t hurt that Montclair was a stone’s throw from the always-exciting New York City, either. Everything was going swimmingly until there was a snafu with my housing, which would make my college life difficult, as I was looking at a 2 ½ hour commute from home. After begging and pleading and straight up calling a senator (“Let me speak to this state school’s manager!”), I finally received some on-campus housing, and I was all ready to start my college career, albeit a few days later than expected. I was able to “commute” to my opening classes, but I finally moved in on campus on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

It was September 9th, 2001.

Two days later, things got dicey.

Like most people at Montclair, I had a front-row seat for September 11th. My first exposure to the event was being in the campus library that Tuesday morning (thanks to my class schedule, maybe the only morning I was awake that entire semester), and having someone nearby get off the phone and shout to a nearby coworker, “Some idiot just rammed their plane into the World Trade Center.” That’s what had happened in that moment, too. It’s hard to describe now, but immediately after the first plane hit, it was just kind of assumed that this was some random accident. Some jackass had a pilot’s license, and did an unthinkably stupid thing. Regardless, interested in what was happening, I walked over to a nearby hill that overlooked New York City. I could see the already smoking first tower in plain view, and then, in a moment I’ll likely remember to the end of my days, I saw the second plane hit the second tower, live. Actually, strike that, I don’t remember that moment clearly at all. Over the years, and even there in that moment, my brain kind of recoiled at what was happening. In my memory, it’s practically some morbid comedy routine. I “remember” everyone immediately looking at everyone else there on that hill, looking at the nearby dorm “tower” that rose next to the hill where we all stood, and we all collectively stepped out of its shadow, generally fearful that that nearby building would be next. That, obviously, never happened. I’m still pretty sure 9/11 happened, though.

And it’s hard to describe to anyone that “wasn’t there” how 9/11 impacted the entire campus. For future generations and younger readers: no, there was not widespread panic and rioting on campus. We were mostly just… confused. Something no one talks about is that the World Trade Center was a broadcast tower, so nearby Montclair State completely lost its television for a solid 24 hours. Phones were still mostly land-line based at that time, but the local circuits were literally overloaded for obvious reasons. The only information source available was the internet, which was still fairly new as a “legitimate” news source. In that moment, we had collectively missed the memo on the coming War on Terror or the president urging for calm or whatever, it was just… annoying? Like, people were dead. The nearby New York commuter lots were filled with cars whose owners were never coming back. There was no one on campus (including myself) that didn’t know at least someone who could already be dead. In many cases, we were just waiting for those inevitably terrible phone calls. And, again, we had no real idea what was going on. It was generally assumed that this was a planned attack, but the full breadth of what happened (including the attack on the Pentagon) wouldn’t be revealed to us until that evening. Yes, there were rumors abound, but nothing was confirmed for hours, and, in such a situation, hours can last for years.

And that left a bit of an impression on the campus at large. I would say that literally the entire student body was a little shell shocked by the event. You would see it literally everywhere. When a plane flew overhead, people flinched. No one was comfortable living on the higher floors of the dorms. Visiting New York City went from a joyous event to what was seen as a risky, dangerous proposition. And one thing that seems to be rarely mentioned nowadays: the 9/11 “death cloud” hovered over NYC in thickest black for at least a full week, and looking at the skyline any day thereafter seemed… wrong. There was a constant reminder of death and destruction right there, always outside a nearby window. In the weeks and months to come, the world at large would mutate, but right there at MSU, every last student and professor had to deal with a tragedy that was much more up close and personal.

So, on that cheery note, I’m going to switch gears to talk about my freshman anthropology course.

I was an incredibly enlightened high school student, so I naturally believed that, having figured everything out, I would take the smartest route through college. My plan was to take all the superfluous/required general courses first, and thus get those all out of the way early, and then focus on my real major studies closer to graduating and getting a job that would actually apply these skills. NOTE TO ANYONE THAT WILL LISTEN: never do this. Fun fact: if you transfer to a different school, they’re going to have different superfluous/required classes, and you will have wasted your time. It happens. But, during the summer when I was barely past high school, my plan was to take courses that were ultimately required early, and if a side effect of such a plan was that I’d wind up inadvertently lumped in with a bunch of “seniors” just trying to graduate and get out, so be it.

So this anthropology course was pretty much exactly what I already expected: a large group of chunkheads of various ages that were only taking the class so as to graduate. Actually, the majority of the class may not have been chunkheads, but, given no one ever said a damn word, I’m forced to assume they were all maximum chunkheads. In that class, there was the professor, and there were exactly three people that participated in class. There was…

  1. Myself
  2. One random woman
  3. One man, the younger brother of the one random woman

The siblings had apparently arranged to take this course together, as senior and freshman, and had that naturally intellectual thing going on where they wanted to discuss everything. I, as you’re no doubt already aware, cannot absorb any information without gargling out like a thousand words on the subject. Together, the three of us replied to practically every question the professor tossed out, and I’m moderately certain every other person in the class hated us. Or they loved us. I don’t know. They could have appreciated how we managed to railroad practically every topic into unknown, “this won’t be on the final” territory, and they knew they could just sit back and relax while we prattled on about comparing ancient tribal tattoo ceremonies to going to the mall and getting some fairy princess ink.

How ever the other students felt about us was inconsequential in the long run, though, as the professor apparently adored us. Later in my college years, I decided that this was because it was a once-a-week, 6 PM Wednesday course, and the professor assumed the class would be dead for a solid two hours. We livened up the place, and I suppose we were rewarded for our participation. The three of us collectively could do no wrong, and I personally tested this theory when I turned in a midterm essay about a week late, and received absolutely no punishment for my tardiness.

Which would be why I decided to push the boundaries a little further during the final. There was an in-class test, and a homework essay component. The essay was ridiculously vague: choose an anthropological concept, either from the book or an outside source, and apply it to modern humanity. Could be anything! Take your pick!

My pick? That turned into an essay titled “9/11 & The Odessa Effect”.

You have to understand that 2001 was a lawless time before googling for a source was something any old professor could do. Assuming you claimed a source was “foreign” or “contemporary” (or both), you could basically cite your cat as a valid voice on a term paper. Yes, there could be problems if you tried such a thing at the higher levels of learning… but for a generic anthropology course? You could get away with it with zero issues. And, while I am unequivocally stating that this was the only time I ever committed such a crime, I am going to admit that I may have gotten a name for a source from Gamefaqs…

The time after 9/11 was a time of seemingly impossible nationalism. The 9/11 incident allowed the leaders of our nation to whip the majority of the population into a righteous fury that justified invading at least one country that had nothing to do with anything. And that seemed almost impossible in those early days, given President Bush had previously been involved in one of the most divisive election victories in (then) recent memory. On the day that I moved into my dorm, Bush was seen by half the population as a passable leader, and the other half as a Saturday Night Live punch line that stole an election and was about as qualified for the position as your average toddler; yet, two days later, President Bush was lauded as the one man who could steer us through these turbulent times, and people on both sides of the political divide put their differences aside to hang cardboard flags on overpasses and buy action figures named “Freedom: The American Eagle”.

It wouldn’t last. While the Forever War would keep going until at least the end of this essay, people began to drift back apart and actually question the administration that demanded we rename our preferred potato side dishes. The Dixie Chicks were able to wake us all up (and not Evanescence, oddly enough), and, soon enough, we were back to a nation where a healthy portion of the population couldn’t stand to hear the lies about “WMDs” ever again. We were, in short, back to normal in just a few years’ time.

But there in that moment, in those scant few months after the attack, we were united. We stood together against any threats that might try to take away our Freedom. Particularly, there on that campus, collectively shell-shocked and flinching every time we heard a plane fly overhead, we were ready. We were together in the one singular goal of doing whatever the hell we were told just so long as nothing like this would ever happen again.

And if you told us to impregnate some random twin so as to trap an encroaching universe and then attack a giant monster fetus, we would have been all over that.

I am rather annoyed with myself that I did not preserve that essay in some manner. However, to relay the basic gist of the essay, I claimed that the current nationalism seen in the wake of 9/11 was described only a few years earlier by the modern philosopher Eitarō Nagano (one of the directors of Wild Arms 2 with what I figured was a foreign-enough sounding name), who described “The Odessa Effect”, a phenomenon whereby people would rally behind a heroic leader if a malevolent enough villain rose to power. The theory was so named for the example Nagano initially put forth, which would involve a hypothetical terrorist organization named “Odessa”, and an imaginary nation named Filgaia that would instantly unite against said Odessa. For a touch of flare, I added some random bits about Nagano being generally disliked in his home country for also using Hitler as an example, and seemingly calling out his nation’s former leaders for siding with the wrong side. However, the bulk of the essay focused on 9/11, and how our unity would inevitably lead to a potentially corrupt leader making broad changes with the uncontested support of the nation, just as Nagano predicted. Truly, this “Odessa Effect” was unambiguously applicable to our current situation.

And I got an A for that bullshit.

The professor sent me a personal email (it was the end of the semester, there was no reason for us to ever be in the same room again) about how it was one of the most interesting reports in the class, and she was going to miss my unique insight into current events. Given my interest in the class and the fact that I was obviously doing research on my own, she thought, if I was undeclared, entering the field might be a good career path. There was something in there about needing “more people like you”.

In the full scope of my life, am I proud of such a thing? Well, I can safely say I felt downright bad about apparently impressing my professor to such a degree through writing about a videogame (wow, what a shape of things to come). And academia is important and…. Phhhtt… I’m sorry, I can’t get through that sentence. Dude, it was complete BS from start to finish, but I managed to create an anthropological concept out of a random JRPG that I remembered from like a year prior. I didn’t even have the game handy! I would have much rather written about Super Smash Bros Melee! But, somehow, it all came together well enough to impress my professor, and, while I did legitimately feel bad for deceiving her, I very much enjoyed boosting my GPA with a little help from a Playstation game.

And, ultimately, that’s the reason this Let’s Play exists: I felt like I owed Wild Arms 2.

Wild Arms 2 is not the best JRPG out there. It is not even the best Playstation 1 JRPG. It has its moments, but, from a gameplay and presentation perspective, it could easily be lost in the sea of “wannabe Final Fantasy 7” titles that would flood the market until the dawn of “wannabe Grand Theft Auto 3”s. It has some memorable characters, but they’re drowned out by a slapdash localization. The puzzles are forgettable, and, while some monsters might be interesting, the actual combat is not. Wild Arms 2 is, at best, a mediocre experience.

But, like so much media out there, it can stick with you. It can shape your viewpoints. It can become an experience that is permanently a part of you. In this case, it was the strange intersection of current events and JRPG philosophizing. Was Irving right? Would his plan work in the real world? Or was it all the result of one JRPG writer reading Watchmen’s finale right before starting some plotting? Global peace through uniting against a common enemy? It’s been done before. It’s been done better. But Wild Arms 2 did it, too, and it stuck with at least one player. And that player utilized that thought for a college class. That player decided that that decades old game was worthy of further examination. And, it may have taken an ungodly amount of time, but that player wrote a Let’s Play.

Thanks for being you, Wild Arms 2.

Thank you to everyone that made this Let’s Play a success.

And thank you for reading.

Wild Arms Mission #30
Finish a complete Let’s Play of Wild Arms 2
Status: Success!
Notes: Well, that sure took a while.