Thursday, July 31, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: The Finale

I had never played this far into the game without cheating before, so when the time came to finally finish the game I decided to stream it via Fangamer's Twitch channel. I started off by beating the Emerald and Ruby Weapons to show how it's done, then proceeded to tackle the Northern Crater and defeat Sephiroth once and for all.

As a result of the stream and, specifically, the adrenaline of a live performance, the actual process of the final dungeon is kinda fuzzy. By this point in the game, though, there wasn't much left to wonder about: the goal was clear, and everyone's reasons for fighting were laid bare.

I appreciated how Cloud confronted everyone with the facts of the situation: they don't need to fight, since it's dangerous and they all have lives and families to return to, except for Tifa (which actually explains why she was so desperate to find and stay with Cloud, come to think of it).

However, that's pretty much what Cloud always says, and nobody's having any of it. Barret finally admits that terrorism was the wrong way to go, but now he's fighting a real threat to Marlene's future. Everyone else has their own reasons for coming: duty, greed, repentance, stubbornness... and, of course, there's the one guy with a mechanical stuffed body who's not really in any danger anyway.

The thing is, though, it's not even clear that what they're doing will save their lives. Sephiroth is blocking Holy from stopping Meteor, but Holy is a purifying spell: it will eliminate everything on the Planet that it considers to be a threat, which might just include humanity just as much as Meteor. Still, it seems like the Planet is on Cloud's side, and the goal isn't to save humanity: it's to save the Planet, which in its own misguided way was the goal of the original mission when AVALANCHE blew up the first reactor.

So, everyone goes down into the crater. It's a strange place; not just a rocky crater, but also a place filled with strange, biological-looking formations.

At the end awaits Jenova and Sephiroth. The fight with Jenova comes first and ends quickly. Then, Sephiroth himself appears and, like Hojo, takes on a strange form reminiscent of Resident Evil. This strange form also reminds me of the battle with Kefka at the end of FF6.

Then, Sephiroth's final form: that of an angelic being, once again echoing the ending of FF6. Sephiroth has a curious attack in this form which narrows the Planet to a very specific planet: Earth, though they avoided saying the name for the whole game. More importantly, though, if Sephiroth can just destroy planets and cause the sun to expand just enough to singe his foes, why in the world is he bothering with Meteor? The fight is actually kind of ridiculous.

Anyway, Sephiroth goes down pretty easily. Then, as the party escapes the crater, Cloud gets into one last battle with Sephiroth in his mind, resisting Sephiroth's influence with ease at this point thanks to good old character development!

The party escapes and watches in horror as Holy comes... but just seems to be amplifying the damage being done by Meteor. Then, I guess, the still-self-aware spirit of Aeris tells the Planet to get off it's butt, which causes the Lifestream to kick into action and... I dunno, take over for Holy? Amplify Holy? Defeat both Holy and Meteor, making the whole fight with Sephiroth pointless? I think that last option is pretty funny, and it would fit with Aeris's "don't worry, I got this" attitude when she left the party.

Anyway, I guess humanity is spared, but Midgar is not. 500 years in the future the city is overgrown, and that's all we get to know. There's no additional story to resolve at this point.

So ends Final Fantasy 7: a complex story that holds up in many ways. My next post will wrap up this series with a review of the gameplay itself.

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