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Bah. (Second impressions of FFX-2)

I'm finally stumbling across some glimmers of depth and plot at the beginning of Chapter 3, but UGH, ugh, ugh, the world is totally populated by annoying, arrogant, political, greedy, and/or asinine characters.

I much prefer less realistic games where one's opponents tend to be dastardly, malevolent, evil, and/or so inhuman that they stomp people like bugs.

I don't really like the Gullwings when they're being the Gullwings. I'm not really sure I like Nooj. I know LeBlanc and friends need to be dropped off a cliff. So do all the opportunists taking advantage of Zanarkand and the Calm Lands. My old buddy Rin... oh, Rin, I liked you, but I always had the feeling you weren't just gouging us to make a quick gil, you actually were supporting your own people! Isaaru's even stranger.

And...um... Lulu?

I know you don't wanna risk being zapped by a flan or something while you're pregnant, but could you please sneak out and zap that horrid Beclam person? He looks like Yojimbo, just to make matters worse. I don'tk now why, but those bird-masks creep the heck out of me.

At least Buddy's cool. My brief glimpse of Baralai before we beat the snot out of him made him seem like a good fellow (I'm a sucker for good voices). I just want to kill Brother. A lot.

I sense there will be enough plot to satisfy me sooner or later, but unfortunately it promises to include a lot of politics. Politics in RL annoys me enough without having to face it in a game. If I want it, I just have to turn on the news, drop by my local online community, or faculty lounge. Babylon 5 is the only fictional game, series, or story whose politics I found interesting.



May. 7th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
Maybe it grows on you?

I'm sort of sorry it seems like you are enjoying the game so little.

I'm not going to try to defend it to you or anything cause that would just be silly and annoying, but . . . you thought Final Fantasy X contained no politics? :O . . . I am confused . . .
May. 7th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
You have a point! Several, of course.

Except that didn't feel quite so much like politics to me; it was more the creepy nasty guy trying to make a move on my precious Summoner. And/or the world leaders trying to kill her.

I'm getting there. I am enjoying X-2 a lot more now that I'm past chapter 1. Bits of it are very fun indeed, and in fact I like sphere break. I think the trouble is that I disliked chapter 1, so now I'm not giving it enough chances.

I should stop kvetching and list the things I like about the game. *scratches head*

~Good music.
~The sense that there is some sort of big epic problem in the offing that will get everyone to stop their silly bickering and pay attention.
~The drama of having the old temples suddenly be the source of fiends, and especially, the poignant confrontations with Yuna's old Aeons. (I've hit Bahumut and Valefor so far; unsurprisingly I head back to Besaid as often as I can.)
~Tiny bits of Wakka and Lulu, both of whom seem like themselves, apart from Lulu being locked in that tiny hut to keep the baby safe . I liked the part where poor Wakka's going into the temple and getting himself beat up trying to protect everyone. I liked the fact that Jassu and co are now trained enough to be able to protect the island; I played enough Blitzball that I'm rather fond of the old team (which is also part of why I liked Rin). I was highly amused when Buddy told Lulu they'd get a discount for fiend-hunting, and she gave her old head-shake and said... "Um... thanks."
~Getting into a bit more of Bevelle.
~Kimahri being elder.
~Gun mage outfit. Yuna fighting, instead of standing around looking demure. Yuna telling people off when they need a short, sharp kick to the head.
~The sense that at least a lot of people respect her, after all she went through, even if some people (Beclam) are morons.
~Not having to remember mixes. If Rikku's not doing enough damage I can give her a whopping big sword. I'm shallow, I like whopping big swords.
~Quick battles. The fighting system of X was a bit better for me, since I'm tactically-inclined and think slowly, but this one looks cool and feels immediate.
~I suspect I'm going to like Baralai enough to replay the game with the New Yevon faction foremost.
~Romance. I can appreciate the story of Yuna trying to find and rescue Tidus.
~Nostalgia. Yuna's reactions and observations on places they visit tends to intrigue me. And I do get a pang every time we get back somewhere that's familiar.
~ The funky bizarre weirdness in Bevelle's temple and not having to solve that blasted Cloister of Trials again.
~ The hope that we're going to get more Zanarkand backstory. I don't know who Shuyin and Lenne are yet (except I've had enough spoilers to know their names and grasp that they're from Back Then, and also, I've been spoiled as to why Shuyin looks like Tidus...dratted spoilers), but I'm hoping the machina war may get a bit more explanation.
~ Nonlinear storyline so I can go back and muck around in the places I like most. (Besaid, Macalania, Gagazet.)
May. 7th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
Woooo fanwank here I come! Heh, sorry for this. But I do enjoy debating a bit.

I think that some of the things that annoy you might be explained further later on (I was looking through your earlier post). Like Beclem for instance. I mean, his mini-game annoys me to hell, but if you see his full story you might not find him so bad.

It is a lot of fan-service and Yuna does act like a complete dinkus at times (especially in the FMVs). But I don't mind the way that Spira has changed so much, and I don't think the game is trying to tell you that all of the changes are supposed to make you happy. I think that it's trying to show you, well, look, this is what people sometimes choose to do with their leisure. When people have the luxury and time to pursue whatever they desire sometimes they don't become more artistic and better people, sometimes they just find the time to bicker and squabble and make more money. I think I would have been more annoyed if Spira suddenly became a wonderful renaissance of artistic abilities, because the people have just lost their moral centre, their religion. That's a big change and one that not everyone is going to have the personal strength of mind to deal with in a positive way.

I actually really found that Yuna's whining about Zanarkand being a tourist attraction was a lot of - just whining. I mean, I appreciate she doesn't like *how* they are showing people Zanarkand, but I think in many ways she is being selfish and elitist. I think that is what Isaaru was trying to do - bring Zanarkand to the people. He was misguided, cause he's employed by Cid, of all people, who really isn't the best person to appreciate the deep significance of Zanarkand to Yevon's worshippers. Why doesn't Yuna just make suggestions so that it becomes more like a museum and less like a theme park? But I appreciate that too. Yuna is a bit of a spoiled brat, and who can blame her when she always gets her way because she worked hard to be respected in Spira?

But then again, I also like LeBlanc and the Gullwings and Brother hitting on Yuna just makes me laugh, although I agree that it is disturbing and wrong, except I think that he just hero-worships her and doesn't really want her in any naughty way although he does like *looking.* Ha.

Kingdom Hearts II Auron is cool. I think you would like him a lot. I have an idea to write something about him, but we'll see if it ever ends up happening.
May. 7th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
I actually want to like the game, so I appreciate the debate.

I can see what you mean about Yuna being a spoiled brat in some ways. It's interesting how one can see her as a selfless hero, or an egotistical and selfish one, either way. And yes, she could've had a talk with Isaaru explaining what she thought should be done -- he would've listened.

You also have a very big point about a society that's lost its religious and cultural underpinnings. Goodness knows America slides this way, and we haven't had anything more traumatic than 9/11 (which was terribly sad, but did not change our way of life). It's realistic. I miss fantasy.

I have an unfortunate prejudice against the stereotype of girls-clothes-tits-and-ass which makes it hard for me to appreciate LeBlanc. Then again, I finally became amused by Dona towards the end of FFX. For that matter, I overcame my "oh come ON!" reaction to Lulu's victory move in FFX fairly early. ;)
May. 7th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
It's an understandable prejudice and I find her taste in clothing regrettable as well - she looks like a sexy circus tent, to be honest. But she's just so absolutely nuts and 'The LeBlanc Syndicate' itself is so insane that I end up being amused by her antics rather than annoyed.

Heh, I am not going to touch the fantasy/technology final fantasy debate with a tenf foot pole. I can see how heated that one gets . . .

But Final Fantasy X was always a world full of technology even when the follows of Yevon were kidding themselves about it. I mean, how the heck does Luca Stadium even work?
May. 7th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't mean Fantasy/technology; I love FF8, and weird combinations of ancient and modern tech appeal to me.

I just mean that I play games as a form of escapism from the dreary realities of our world -- not something I'm proud of -- so I enjoy stories that explore more mythic, epic themes, fantasy situations, and explorations of interesting people, places, and worlds, as opposed to the challenges of racial/religious prejudice and politics. The less it resembles modern American society the more I usually enjoy it. *sheepish grin*
May. 7th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I guess I still don't fully understand. I hope you know I am not trying to criticize your opinion or anything, but I think that racial/religious prejudice and politics are pretty universal themes that find their ways into most fantasy worlds and most epic myths. I guess what I am trying to say is that I never found that fantasy *WAS* escapism, so much as giving everyday life a twist - changing the dreary realities into something new, yes, but not being able to escape the framework of the real world because that's where all of us (even highly imaginative fantasy writers) live.

Take LOTR, the first thing most people think of when they think of fantasy - the dwarves and the elves just don't get along, the hobbits distrust the big people and some of the hobbits make bids for power over each other. Bilbo's relations are materialistic, so are the dwarves. Many people have made productive parallels between various real world events and the story itself and even though Tolkien himself discouraged a too simplistic comparison in that vein, I am sure he couldn't have argued that real world events didn't influence him at all.

I hope you don't mind that I keep sort of arguing with you, like I said, I really don't want to offend. :)
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