Friday, July 18, 2014

Final Fantasy VII: Wutai

How difficult is it, really, to get Yuffie in the party? I seem to recall once spending hours running around in a forest trying to encounter her, yet most of the time I remember seeing her basically the first time I get into a fight in a forest on the world map.

Wutai would be a pretty pointless town without her.

I don't remember a time when I didn't know how to get Yuffie. That said, maybe I'm spoiled by all of the really unintuitive or unfair secrets in more recent games, but even if I didn't know of her and Vincent I think I would have found both of them. Vincent is pretty much begging to be found, what with the clues lying around all over the place in the Shinra Mansion. And even if I would never specifically avoid forests for some reason, there are some places where passing through forests is just natural, and even if you don't know how to navigate Yuffie's post-battle encounter, the experience would pique your interest enough to look for her again.

So, rather than secret characters, I'd label them more as "optional characters." Getting the Underwater Materia is a secret. Knowing the locations of all the Turtle's Paradise flyers is a secret.

That said, if you missed or avoided Yuffie up to that point, I wonder what Wutai is like? I've never gone there without Yuffie. Interesting note, though: there are no forests on Wutai's island, so there's no place to encounter Yuffie there. I imagine that's so you can't bring Yuffie to Wutai without setting off the event where she steals your materia.

In a funny sort of way, Yuffie gives the party a taste of what life is like in Wutai by stealing your materia: you get to experience life devoid of materia, just as the people of Wutai live.

That's kinda weird, though. Didn't Shinra and Wutai get into a war over mako? And didn't Shinra win that war? Why aren't there mako reactors around Wutai?

Ah, whatever. This continuity isn't worth discussing anymore.

Anyway, the Turks are here. If I didn't like them before, I changed my mind after working with them in Wutai. It's a shame Elena always comes across as completely ineffectual, though. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk that up to being a newbie rather than a woman.

There's not too much else to say about Wutai. At its core, it's clearly an analogy for Japan after losing WWII: a country that lost its soul, becoming a mere curiosity for foreigners. No doubt the people of Japan felt that way for quite some time. Some still do.

Also, man, Turtle's Paradise has some rather high expectations about the effectiveness of their advertising campaign. The flyer in the Shinra building suggests popping over to Turtles Paradise for a relaxing drink after work. Yeah, okay, the workers will just pop over half way across the globe for a drink. But, then again, you find the Turks there, so maybe it worked? That doesn't excuse the flyer on the wall inside some random dude's house in the slums of Midgar, though.

One final note: I find Yuffie's journey through the Pagoda interesting. According to the testers on each floor, apparently Yuffie has matured a lot. However, after plowing through the place (with a bit of difficulty against her father, I must admit) the guardians pronounce Yuffie to be mature, as if she's an adult now that she's learned to beat everyone up. What kind of society equates wisdom with brute strength or martial prowess?

Actually, never mind.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, apparently the war was over the placement of a Mako reactor in Wutai, but there's definitely no Mako reactor in Wutai.

    Maybe it's like the interstellar highway in Hitchhiker's Guide - Wutai's army was cleared away to make room for it, but due to the nightmarish bureaucracy governing such things, there was immediate doubt that it would ever be built in the first place.