Today is day 24 of 24 with Final Fantasy IV, and I’m still only twelve and a half hours in.
I’m not sure what percentage of the way through the game I am, but based purely on the fact that the three prior games, each more simple in basically every aspect, have been 30 or more, I have to guess I’m not even half way.
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Between work, social obligations, and now a steady influx of review games that take priority over my pet project, it’s looking like the games from here on out will be taking me a little longer than I was hoping. I’m still 26 days ahead of schedule thanks to my hasty completion of the first three games, but I can’t afford to use that entire buffer up now.
I’m going to do whatever I can to speed through the rest of Final Fantasy IV in the coming week, but I may have to cancel (or at least put on hold for now) that bonus game I wanted to play. For now I’ll just be focusing on the primary 14 games, as per my original plan.
As for my progression, there’s really not much to say. I’ve only managed to play 4 hours since last week’s update, and all I can say is my party members need to stop sacrificing themselves at such a rapid rate. During last night’s session I lost two separate comrades in two different situations over the span of 15 minutes, all so Cecil and the others could flee to safety. That makes a total of five team members dead and gone from the game.
I understand that sometimes a tight situation calls for the sacrifice of the one to save the many, but it’s happening so frequently in this game that after a while you just stop caring as much. The only ones I’ve really felt sad about losing were the twins, and that is quite possibly because they were the first to go. Also, they were kids. The act of saving me seemed much more selfless and brave coming from those who had hardly lived their lives, rather than the old curmudgen Tellah, who just got himself killed in a blind rage while trying to avenge his dead daughter.
The constantly raising death toll also got me to thinking about more recent games. Aside from Aeris in Final Fantasy VII, I can’t recall any main party member dying between VII and XIV (of course remembering I’ve not played XI or XIV, and never beat X). Meanwhile the early games were more than happy to sacrifice beloved allies to help you reach the end goal; almost too happy, in fact. Seriously, they’re dropping like flies.
Nowadays, however, it seems nobody is willing or able to make that ultimate sacrifice. Could it be that Square Enix thinks today’s more realistic graphics could make the deaths more tragic and hard to take? Maybe Cid blowing himself up to seal a hole in the ground would have pushed Final Fantasy IV to a more mature rating if it looked as pretty and lifelike as Final Fantasy XIII. I’m not sure, but it makes me think about more recent games in a bit of a different light. Not in better or worse ways, mind you – just different.
That’s not to say that everyone needs to die. As it stands, I’m already expecting my favorites of Rydia, Kain, and even Cecil to get killed by the end of Final Fantasy IV, and will be surprised if they all make it out alive. That’s no good at all. Not every game needs to have it happen, but when it does happen it needs to mean something. I mean, really mean something.
Aeris’ death is a complete game-changer in FFVII. It sets Cloud and company down the path they will follow for the rest of the game. But when Palom and Porom petrified themselves, it was so Cecil could get away and defeat Golbez. With Tellah’s final breath he told me to avenge his daughter and kill Golbez. When Yang and Cid said their farewells, guess what they said? Yup, they wanted me to go beat Golbez.
Sure, Cloud had separate beef with Sephiroth before he slayed Aeris, but the fact that she was murdered was so much more meaningful and impacting than if she had chosen to become just another sacrificial goat to get the team where they needed to be.
I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make here. I really only intended for this update to be two or three paragraphs, but then the words kept coming and I had no way of stopping them. So it’s a bit of a different update from usual, but that’s not a bad thing. Keeps things from becoming to same-y.
And hey, the whole point of this marathon is to take a closer look at the Final Fantasy series as a whole, and take something new away from it. This update is the most I’ve actually discussed something other than game mechanics and what I like and dislike. Hopefully I’ll have more (and more varied) outbursts like this in the future.
Finally, I started a spreadsheet to track my progress over the course of the year back in January, then promptly forgot about it. It has now been updated, and I think I’m going to start throwing it in these updates now and then. I quite like it, myself.
And now, the tweets.