This week marked a milestone for me. Last Friday marked day 100 on The Road to Final Fantasy XV in 2015. At fifteen weeks into my marathon I’ve entered triple digit days, and let me tell you, it feels good.
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I’m not going to lie though. Fatigue is starting to set in. Not with Final Fantasy V; honestly, it’s the complete opposite with regards to this particular game. It has continued to impress me, but more on that soon. Right now I just have to talk about how much I want to play other games. I’m loving playing all these older Final Fantasy titles for the first time, but because the marathon started with a string of six games I’d basically never played previously, it’s starting to wear thin. More and more I find myself wanting to try new games I’ve acquired like my final Club Nintendo purchases of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and The Wonderful 101, or return to my favorite time wasters like Hyrule Warriors and Diablo III.
At this point I think I’ll be more excited to reach Final Fantasy VII not because it has holds the honor of being my favorite Final Fantasy game, but because it’s the beginning of familiar territory. After six games of wandering around, searching for my next objective, having no idea where to go or what to do, it’s going to feel amazing to know exactly what I’m doing. Where to find hidden items. Which side quests are worth my time or not. I’m not going to let my fatigue affect my perspective of Final Fantasy VI, but it might slow my progress just a tad. I’ll do my best to press on!
Moving along to Final Fantasy V, I made substantial progress this weekend. This is good, as I’ve had a busy week since then, resulting in three days running with no further play. The time I played earlier in the week, however, has done one thing: continued cementing FFV as my current favorite game so far. I know there are many fans out there who will fight me and say IV is better, but I would argue that the only reason V is so overshadowed by IV and VI is because they each received earlier releases on the SNES in America, while nobody on Western shores saw V until its PlayStation debut in late 1999. At that point everyone was too enamored with VII and VIII to even bother checking out the classic titles being re-released, so it has forever been lost in the shadows of its predecessor and successor.
Well this is me, urging you to play Final Fantasy V if you can. As I’ve said in past updates, the consistent party has made it so much easier to care about everyone and become properly attached to them. As I suspected, Bartz’s importance in the game was revealed to me this week, and more importantly (spoiler alert), Galuf made the ultimate sacrifice to save his granddaughter and friends.
Since I’ve maintained the same team of four members since the beginning, losing Galuf gutted me. The dude has been such a great character, an integral part of the team, and I’m honestly surprised I’d never heard the name before playing this game. Generally the more popular side characters will be well known among fans of the series, such as VI’s Locke, IV’s Rydia, and VII’s Tifa, but I never knew of Galuf before now. Perhaps that is merely my ignorance for having never played the game before, but then you can’t say Square Enix has particularly highlighted him in collaboration games such as Dissidia or Theatrhythm either. He made it into Curtain Call, but do you recall seeing him on any promotional material? I didn’t think so.
Regardless, I will miss him more than I ever missed Aeris. Truthfully, I reckon my party will miss Galuf more than Cloud and company ever missed Aeris, too, as they actually made an effort to save him. Outside of battle as he was drifting, Bartz, Lenna, Faris, and Cara made many attempts to save him: Cure3, Life, Phoenix Down, and Elixir were all used. Though none of them worked, they at least tried. Cloud just sat there with Aeris in his arms, getting angry. Legitimately so, but he still never made any kind of attempt to heal her. What a dick.
What made Galuf’s death (and I truly believe it to be a legitimate death, as a box popped up afterward that blatantly and specifically stated, “Galuf has died.” They better not fucking backtrack that now) bearable was his replacement. Whereas FFIV would always fill my empty party gaps with new members, FFV gave me someone who I already knew a lot about and had helped along the way plenty already. Galuf’s granddaughter, Cara, took his place in my party, inheriting all of his equipment, skills, and levels. Her inclusion is meaningful and makes sense, and I’m happy to have her in my team now.
Like I said, this game is great. It’s very emotional, and very involving. I can’t wait to see how it ends.
I’m not sure how much longer I’ve got with Final Fantasy V, but my slated 24 days per game runs up by this weekend. I can guarantee I won’t have it done by then, but I’m hoping to have wrapped it up and just started Final Fantasy VI in time for the next update. Fingers crossed I’ll make more awesome progress this weekend!