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09 January 2009 @ 09:51 pm
Angst does not a deep character make  
When it comes to favorite games, people often list IV and VI, but skip over FFV. It is often held to be a step backwards in terms of its plot and characters... being "another save the crystals" game with characters that are "undeveloped." I'm not disputing that save-the-crystals has been done before or will be done again, and while I still love FFV's plot, it's not the point of this essay. The fact that even people who say they are fans of this game find the characters "flat" is troublesome. Final Fantasy V has some excellent, well-developed characters, and it isn't difficult to see.

There are also plenty of spoilers within, be warned.


This essay is going to be primarily based on the FFV Advanced translation of the game, since that's where I'm grounded the strongest, and I believe that this latest incarnation of the game will work best for this. I have read the old RPGe fan-translated script, and while there is personality there (in my opinion), I think that the Advanced version is a head-and-shoulders improvement and does a much better job at bringing the characters to life. I can't speak on the Final Fantasy Anthology version, as I have not played it and have only seen bits and pieces of the script.

There are five playable protagonists in Final Fantasy V: Bartz Klauser, Lenna Charlotte Tycoon, Faris Scherwiz, Galuf Halm Baldesion, and Krile Maia Baldesion. This thing is TL;DR already, so I will have to skip over the major NPCs and Exdeath to focus on thhem.

Bartz Klauser: Bartz is the sone of Dorgann Klauser, one of the four Warriors of Dawn who fought Exdeath thirty years ago. At the beginning of the game, Bartz is an aimless wanderer. He travels with a chocobo named Boko, whom he talks to and considers his best friend.

It's obvious within the first minutes of meeting him that Bartz lacks the quality that defines many protagonists of Final Fantasy: deep, dark, soul-crushing ANGST. Bartz is an open, friendly, easygoing guy. It doesn't seem like there's a lot on his mind. "Me and my chocobo just go wherever the trail leads us," he says. He doesn't leap into the quest right away, either. He says he will "bow out on this one," though wishing Galuf and Lenna luck on their obvious and righteous determination to reach the Wind Shrine.

It takes Boko throwing Bartz to convince him that he should help the two of them get to the Wind Shrine. But again, it's not any sort of deeply personal problem that leads Bartz to initially refuse. He's willing to just write it off as a random encounter with lost travelers and continue on with his own life. It's not complicated--but it is realistic, not "flat." Bartz has probably had many encounters with other people in his three years of traveling, all of them heading for different places than he.

There is also an emotional depth to Bartz that many seem to miss. While he is traveling in the wilderness, Bartz is obviously living day-to-day, not exactly happy-go-lucky but also quite satisified with his life. But there is more to it than just that, as he explains when he decides to accompany Lenna and Galuf to the Wind Shrine. "You know, it was my dad's dying wish that I go out and travel the world... Plus, this time, it feels like--like the wind is calling me." He hints at a deeper motivation than just itchy feet.

Now, this next example of Bartz's depth could just be individual interpretation and conjecture, but I believe it is still valid. Bartz, when tramping around with his chocobo, is cheerful and friendly. His attitude seems to change somewhat when he makes an extended stay in a town--in particular, in a house and not just an inn. In Tule, the party is invited to stay overnight at Zokk's house. Bartz, restless in the middle of the night, gets up and goes outside. "I was just thinking of my mom and dad... they died a while back, though," he says when Zokk finds him there. He doesn't react this way when staying in an inn, but when it comes to a private house it's different. Bartz's emotional reaction is even stronger when the party travels to his hometown of Lix. Everyone knows him, and they are offered an unlimited free stay in the inn. Bartz again rises in the middle of the night and goes outside, this time visiting his mother's gravestone. Being in a safe, secure, home environment seems to make him uncomfortable. Maybe it reminds him of what he lost with the death of his parents, maybe it's just something he hasn't been used to in the past three years. But it does affect him.

Back to the lack of angst. Bartz tackles the quest to save the crystals not with brooding introspection, but with optimism and, dare I say it, pluck. Don't get me wrong, conflicted heroes can be fun... but Final Fantasy tends to overdo it. Cecil, Terra, Cloud, Squall, Tidus... people like Bartz, Luneth, and Zidane are a breath of fresh air. They keep going on, without needing their friends to constantly pep-talk them and prod them forward with sticks. This is not a bad quality, nor does it make Bartz "flat." In fact, it makes him more effective. Bartz's optimism and resolve to keep going, no matter the obstacle, helps to spur the party onward at several points. A perfect illustration of Bartz's optimism comes when Krile's wind drake is badly wounded, needing dragon grass if it is to survive. The only place the plant grows in the second world is in Drakenvale... at this point even Galuf is discouraged, pointing out that "nobody who's entered has ever returned." All five of themlooks down in 16-bit sadness... until Bartz pipes up with "Guess that means we'll be the first who do!" His almost-effortless ability to keep going in the face of dire peril brings the rest of them out of it too.

For an illustration of Bartz's plight versus the more popular heroes, please refer here.

Lenna Charlotte Tycoon: The most common complaint about Lenna is that she is a "typical FF princess." Which... she is. In my opinion, though, Final Fantasy does a good job with the princess stereotype (aside from the inevitable DiDing). I have yet to see one who is a spoiled brat or purely a shrieking harridan, except perhaps FF1's Sara. Hilda of FFII leads a rebellion. Sara of FFIII is initially thought to have been captured, but turns out to have left of her own accord to save her people and provides valuable help to the party. Garnet of FFIX arranges her own kidnapping and learns how to move in common society in order to solve the mystery of her mother's strange behavior. While they share the traits of being kind, dutiful, and diplomatic, they are shown as strengths and not weaknesses.

Lenna, too, is kind, courteous, and utterly devoted to her people. And like the other princesses, she takes matters into her own hands when her father goes missing, disobeying his command to protect the castle in order to find him. Sadly, she does also spend some time as a Damsel in Distress, but differently than the others in the series. In Final Fantasy X, Yuna is kidnapped several times, and is either onscreen and visibly helpless to aid in her own defense, or offscreen. The same is true of Hilda of II and Aerith of VII. Not so with Lenna. When the party intervenes in her abduction by Magissa, Lenna is an immediate participant in the battle. She only requires a poison-removing spell or item and perhaps a bit of healing before she is fully effective. One could argue that this is simply an issue of game mechanics--there are only four playable characters and it would be terribly inconvenient to have one of them incapacitated for an entire boss fight. However, the fact still remains that Lenna takes part in her own defense.

Lenna displays tremendous courage, a determination to act, and a near-total disregard for her own safety. Quite memorable is her tendency to be poisoned, which happens three times in the game during cutscenes. However, two of those three times are of her own free will. The first time, Lenna walks across a field of poisonous plants in order to obtain Dragon Grass to save a wind drake. Lenna is entirely sensible of the danger in doing this, but she does so anyway. The second time, she is hit by a poison arrow--not her choice--but the third is very similar to the first. Lenna, fully aware of what she is doing and over the protests of her comrades, takes a bite of dragon grass (poisonous to humans) in order to convince a dying wind drake to eat it.

While Lenna, like her father, is an innately kind person, her recklessly altruistic nature is explained by more than simply having a good heart. Since Lenna was a small child, her mother had been ill with some sort of chronic and ultimately fatal disease, the cure for which was the tongue of a wind drake (and nothing else). Queen Tycoon was sick from when Lenna was two until her teenage years, during which time the royals searched endlessly for some alternative cure. During this time Sarisa was lost at sea and assumed dead, adding to Lenna's share of loss. Eventually the disease entered its terminal stage, but Queen Tycoon still refused to have Hiryu killed. In desperation, Lenna seized a knife to cut out the drake's tongue herself. Depending on player choice, the flashback ends with either her nurse talking her out of it or her father forcibly preventing her, but in either case Lenna backs down. The game manual for the GBA version points this out as the incident that made Lenna "reckless in protecting those around her." She never hides or shrinks away... in fact she is the first one to leap into the portal to Galuf's world, when they leave everything behind to help their friend, leaving her kingdom and everything else in her world behind.

Lenna is willing to give her all at a moment's notice, and frequently does--she is a perfect candidate to be a Warrior of Light.

Galuf Halm Baldesion: Galuf's first moment in the game is boarding a meteor. A mishap in the landing causes him to lose his memory except for his first name. But Galuf doesn't let this deter him for a moment. He immediately decides to accompany Lenna on her journey to the Wind Shrine... he just has a feeling that he was headed there. From the beginning, we see the defining trait of Galuf's personality: his indominability. He lets nothing stand in his way.

Galuf is outwardly flippant and much more lighthearted than you'd expect a sixty-year-old man to be. His fellow 'oldies' in the series are people like Cyan, FuSoYa, and Tellah--the closest in temperment to Galuf is Cid Pollendina. But most of the "experienced old dog" characters are much more grimfaced. He makes light of his amnesia, even using it as an excuse when Bartz reminds him that trying to steal Faris' ship was his plan... "Oh, my aching head! I can't remember a thing!" It could be that Galuf simply doesn't remember why he ought to be grimfaced, but even after regaining his memory his attitude doesn't change much--he still makes horrible puns while sitting on the throne of Bal. And as with his amnesia, Galuf seems to treat his position very lightly. "What, you saying I'm not the epitome of kingliness?" he demands when Bartz expresses his surprise.

Yet that is not all there is to it. I wouldn't call Galuf's irreverant attitude a "cover," per se, but it does sometimes obscure the fact that he takes these things very seriously. When a dying soldier from a meteor addresses Galuf as a superior, Galuf is desperate to know more. "Who am I!?" he demands. At the start of the game, he initially claims to want to go with Lenna for her company, but says just a moment later that he feels a need to go to the Wind Shrine, although he can't remember anything besides that and his name. Galuf is irreverant and makes the effort to find humor in things, because without that ability he would probably have sunk long ago. When you go to Bal, it's obvious that the people respect, love, and trust him... when you speak to the soldiers one of them says "King Galuf has returned, so I know things will turn out all right!" They're dealing with the resurgance of an implacably evil warlock who, thirty years ago, nearly destroyed the world and who has already dealt a significant blow to their troops at his return. Yet just the fact that Galuf has returned is enough for the soldiers of Bal. I doubt they'd have spoken ill of him if they lacked confidence, but such an enthusiastic support of him shows that Galuf has been a good king for them. He is strong, decisive, indominable and knows how to raise people's spirits.

Galuf eventually dies in battle against Exdeath. "Don't worry about it," say the authors of strategy guides, "nobody really cares anyway." I'm not sure how they can say this. Galuf's death is one of the most powerful in the series. Exdeath has defeated the heroes, manipulating them into destroying the seals on the very crystals they were trying to protect. He gloats over their failure... yet again, he has beaten these peons, and now he can finally do away with them. When Krile arrives to try and save her grandfather, Exdeath only brings her down too in a ring of fire, and then proceeds to torture all of them with magic. They are helpless, crushed, defeated, and the world is doomed.

And then Galuf stands. In spite of the crushing magic from the crystals and Exdeath's taunts, Galuf saves breaks free from the magic, saves his granddaughter, and battles Exdeath. The confrontation is played out as an ingame battle... and Exdeath's first hit immediately reduces Galuf to 0HP. No matter what Exdeath throws at him, Galuf will not fall... not even when Exdeath casts Flare, Holy, and Meteor in quick succession. Galuf simply attacks again. And at this point, Exdeath becomes afraid... "Why...why won't you die?!" And when Exdeath proclaims that "all the hatred in existance would never be enough to defeat me," Galuf retorts "This isn't anger... isn't hatred...it's...." Some people interpret that last word to be love, but in my opinion it would have to be Hope. Hope is the quality that embodies Earth, his element, and with it Galuf overcomes Exdeath's malice, forcing the warlock to retreat so that the Light Warriors survive to defeat him.

Faris Scherwiz: Faris, among fans of FFV, tends to be the favorite character. Outside of the fans, Faris has suffered much malignment and abuse because she masquerades as a man in order to be accepted by the pirate crew. This is not entirely fair, however. Faris was five years old when the pirates took her in. I find it implausible that a child that young would understand that she needed to do this in order to be accepted and safe among them--it was probably the pirate or pirates who found her who decided to disguise her.

Faris is not just "pretending" to be a man. She has been taught since a very young age to think, act, and speak as a man, and it is obvious that fifteen years of this is not going to go away easily. Although her true sex is revealed early in the game, she does not behave femininely until she is forced to. She even slips up when referring to herself: "When I was a lad--er, lass, a band of pirates took me in," she says at the initial revelation. Later, when Lenna confronts Faris about their relation, Faris says "Me, a prince--er, princess?" It is obvious that while Faris' sex is female, she simply does not see herself as a woman.

The journey that Faris goes on as the game progresses is a layered one. Faris figures out early on that she is related to Lenna, but when Lenna confronts her with this, she denies it and flees. When it becomes indisputable, Faris explains why she never said anything: "I wasn't certain at first, and then I didn't think I should tell you." Even though she is a rough, tough pirate, or possibly becuse of it, Faris is vulnerable and unsure when it comes to deep, emotional things like that. She shares a poignant moment with Bartz in his hometown, Lix. When Bartz tells her of his father, Faris wistfully wonders what having a father is like... when she finally reunites with King Tycoon, she calls him "Papa" despite being twenty years old. And although she starts out as quite a selfish person (only natural for a pirate captain), Faris eventually comes to be concerned with far more than herself or Lenna, declaring "I won't stand by while more lives are lost!" after Exdeath attacks the world with the Void.

Krile Maia Baldesion: Another of FFV's more-disdained characters... Krile's detractors say she is boring, pointless, and on some occasions she is hated just because she takes Galuf's place. Krile is one of the most important characters in Final Fantasy V, not just for her personality and role in the plotline, but because of the legacy she establishes for the rest of the series. In every game since V, there has always been one female character at or under seventeen years old, with a naturally cheerful and optimistic personality. She essentially paved the way for this archetype in future installments:

VI - Relm, ten years old
VII - Yuffie, sixteen
VIII - Selphie, seventeen
IX - Eiko, six
X - Rikku, fifteen (seventeen in X-2)
XII - Penelo, sixteen/seventeen

Within the context of the game itself, Krile is hardly two-dimensional. She is optimistic, yes, but she does not behave as though she is on a perpetual sugarhigh. Krile keeps her spirits high because she must. She, like Galuf, embodies Earth and therefore hope. She isn't a ditzy klutz; she is a full-fledged warrior. "We need to do this, not just for ourselves, but for all life," she says at the Guardian Tree, after Lenna's apparent death. Krile is mature for her fourteen years, but at the same time she is still willing to engage in (and win) a slapfight with Bartz, tease him for blushing at Faris' beauty, and call her grandfather a "silly old fool."

Although she inherits her job classes and skills directly from Galuf at his passing, Krile is shown to be a strong character before that. The first time the party meets her outside of illusion or flashback is when she arrives at the Gohn Ruins in a meteor, alone. It's not explained how she got her hands on one, but as the other meteors were manned by soldiers, it's likely that Krile decided on her own that she was going to use the last meteor. Even though she is not portrayed as very physically strong until she joins the party (she uses magic rather than weaponry and collapses with a headache from Ghido's telepathic call), Krile does not let that hinder her when she feels that she is needed.

Krile's reaction to Galuf's death is poignant. She begs him not to leave her, collapsing on the ground as his body vanishes. When his spirit speaks to her and entreats her to carry on in his place, she still refuses to accept that he is gone. "No! You do it, come back! Don't leave me alone!" Though she overcomes her grief to fight anyway, his death is still with her a year later at the end of the game... it is something that affects her deeply.

Some accuse Krile of being unneccesary, a mere replacement for Galuf. But her comparative lack of development compared to the other four leads is only a result of the fact that she is not onscreen for as much of the game as the other four. And Krile does not come into existance only to take Galuf's place in the party. She exists before that... remembering her helps Galuf to remember other important things, that he was a Warrior of Dawn thirty years before the game. At the Earth Crystal, her timely arrival and intervention breaks through Exdeath's hold over King Tycoon before he can kill the party. She also has a few independent scenes of her own, such as her conversation with Mid after the airship is upgraded, and she writes the game's recap letter.

The entire party shares one indisputable trait: indominability. Although they might kvetch about some difficulty they encounter, none of them seriously entertains the thought of packing it in. The claims that the characters get no development is simply not true--it is just that their own personal issues and stories come second to saving the world from annihilation... which isn't really that unreasonable.
 
 
 
Carbonated Water: Bartzcarbonatedh2o on January 10th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
! <3

That was great! FFV is so underrated, and that makes me sad. D:

If you were to add more, I'd suggest writing why Exdeath is the most kickass villain ever, better than Kefka and Sephiroth and all those people.

Edited at 2009-01-10 05:45 pm (UTC)
paperclipchainspaperclipchains on January 11th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
I'd be interested to read it.
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Serious styleeowynjedi on January 11th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
That would be another fun one to write... although this one took me around a year to finish (and I can still see errors in it). I shall give that one a crack after I finish writing my anti-Locke/Celes essay. XD
morgan303: Squallmorgan303 on January 11th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
Wow. Thanks for that. I haven't played FFV, and now I want to.:)
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Linalyeowynjedi on January 11th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
Glad to hear it! ^_^ FFV is an excellent game.
paperclipchainspaperclipchains on January 11th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
My issue with this is that.. Well, I mean, if you can't make an argument without putting down the other games, it isn't a very strong argument. Obviously that's an issue with Bartz's section... My other problem is it that it just plain isn't accurate! Cloud and Squall were brooding and grumpy, true, but both Tidus and Zidane are similarly optimistic. I'd still say that Bartz is unique because he's sort of an everyman. "I'm just a boy with my chocobo!" is a romantic ideal in its own way.

ALSO WHERE IS BOCO'S SECTION?

I like what you wrote for Faris though. I didn't realize that anybody over the age of 14 bashed her?
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Sunrise over Tycooneowynjedi on January 11th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Tidus can be a serious downer in his narration, and he has serious issues with his father that tend to come up a lot--also a lot of his optimism seems (to me) to stem from his ignorance of how Spira works (his persistance in talking about what they're going to do "after" Yuna's pilgirmage). He also had a pretty privileged life before landing in "real" Spira, where life is a lot rougher, and the reality of things can really grind him down. When the truth is revealed to him, he pretty much flips his lid. So I would say he doesn't have the same sort of optimism that Bartz and Zidane do... he just expresses his emotional issues differently than Cecil and Squall do.

My purpose in talking about the brooding / angst / issues isn't to bash the other heroes or games. It's to show how Bartz is markedly different from them (which is a cause of his unpopularity) and how his optimism is a real strength to the party, more than heroic brooding would be. And indeed, Bartz is good at being the everyman character who joins the quest just because it's the right thing to do. I should have gone on about that a bit more, I guess, but I mainly wanted to point out where Bartz does show some real emotional depth.

Sadly I have seen several places on the internet (i.e. FFWiki and a couple of other sites I could try digging up) that bash Faris for dressing as a man, on top of the "flat / lacking personality" treatment that the cast gets.
paperclipchainspaperclipchains on January 11th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
He can, that's true - but he doesn't fit in the same mold as Squall and Tidus, at any rate. This is sort of precisely my problem - you talk about the brooding and angst of the other characters when in reality, there are only two other characters who are even arguably solid brooding and angst. It wouldn't even so so much like bashing if it weren't for the deviantart link lambasting Cloud as ~*emo*~. I don't know - when you're trying to balk stereotypes and shed light on a character, isn't it a little strange to simulataneously embrace the negative stereotypes about his/her peers?
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Linalyeowynjedi on January 11th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
The link to the DA piece was intended to be lighthearted facetiousness (as is the comic itself). If you read the majority of what I wrote for Bartz, it's not so much saying "this is how he is BETTER" as "he is not flat and here is why." The Bartz section and some of the Galuf is really the only place where I draw direct comparisons between the FFV characters and the characters in other games.

And of the FFs where the characters have set personalities, most of the leads do seem to have Issues that come up in a big way... it might not be brooding, no, but Tidus, Vaan, and Locke (who tend to come off at first glace as optimistic folks) all end up having game focus on them and their problem at some point. Also, I think Terra and her emotional issues could be called similar to Cecil and Squall's definite brooding... she seriously questions whether or not she's fit to be a part of the Returners, loses the will to fight at a later point, etc.
Laughing Hyena: Red XIIIlaughinghyena on January 11th, 2009 10:30 am (UTC)
I'm actually playing Final Fantasy Anthology's Final Fantasy V at the moment, I'm around world three dealing with Easterly Falls.
The game has it's own charm, but it irritates me at other parts.
The irritation really comes from the game's unbalance and what are probably the hardest enemies and bosses I've seen in a RPG so far. So one moment I'm sailing fine and then the next dying over and over again.

My first Final Fantasy was VII, so I was interested in V when the OAV came out around the same time on VHS. Online, I really liked the music I could find, but compared to IV and VI there were no game scripts on it to read. And when I started getting the collections for my Playstation II later on, I got Anthology really for V and not VI.

Anthology V's game script is pretty primitive, but no where near the levels of Final Fantasy I, Dragon Warrior/Quest I, or Phantasy Star II. And I can deal with that since I'm from the Nintendo/Genesis generation, I don't care about the age of a game (old or new).

I don't understand the hate or annoyance at the characters, especially over Bartz in particular. Bartz as a character grows into you over time and he does have a slight angst-y moment in the game. Bartz is very loyal, shows great concern over his friends and their well being. I could understand his frustration at that point in the game (Flying the ship at constant speed). No matter what they do, X-Death is always three steps ahead them.

I like Bartz as much as I like Cloud, Cecil, and Zidane. But I cannot stand Squall or Tidus much. Okay, Tidus less than Squall. His dad is like Tidus' dream dad.
And to me a lot of people don't seem to get/understand Cloud's character at all, even Square itself these days (Kingdom Hearts, etc.). There was recently a great essay about Cloud's characterization by bofoddity: Link to it

Faris is just awesome as a character, I loved the bit with her not staying at the ball.
I can't find any FFV fics, is it bad of me that I see Faris/Bartz and Lenna/Bartz pairings from the game? Speaking of fics, in game crossover fics, I think Bartz and Meis (Thousand Arms) would get along with each other very well.

Galuf's death didn't sadden me much since I've been exposed to Aeris' death before hand. But was interesting to note that the characters tried to bring him back anyway how. Compare this to the people who whine: "Why didn't they use Phoenix Downs on Aeris?" Well, if they didn't work for Galuf...
It's probably why the FF developers when working on early drafts of VII decided to kill a girl next time (Barret was originally supposed to die).
Then Krile shows up and takes his skills. When you lose Aeris, you lose her great limit breaks and you feel you had an investment with her.
Galuf not so much, seeing as he also had memory loss most of the game. It was harder to get to know him compared to the other characters. I feel I know Krile a lot better than Galuf. In a way, that might be why Galuf's death has a impact on the characters more rather than on the player, they only got to know him for who he was recently and then he's gone forever.

However, while I love Gilgamesh a lot, X-Death is a rather poor main villain. Kefka and Sephiroth are insane in their own ways that you would never would want to meet them. And never turn your back to Vayne or Delita, that's for sure. X-Death's evil is just to be evil. X-Death: "Hmm... how am I going to be a jackass today? I know!"
The guy doesn't even want to do the classic rule or destroy the world line either, just wants to be the ultimate jerk of the universe I guess.
Maybe being sealed for so long makes you want to act that way. X-Death should host his own reality show then. Never mind me saying he's poor then, but I don't think he's great.

It's sad that people tend to overlook V, but if you want to talk about a game that gets a lot of undeserved hate: We can discuss Final Fantasy II.
To which I've never understood: How is it any different from scamming for job points in FFT?
Yeah, I have yet to finish FFII from FF Origins as well. But I'll get to it once I've beaten FFV.

Sorry if I rambled too much.

Edited at 2009-01-11 10:45 am (UTC)
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Samurai!Krileeowynjedi on January 12th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
No need to apologize for rambling! XD The essay itself is pretty wordy.

I found Galuf's death to be very powerful because of how strong it was... the way Galuf kept fighting, and fighting, and fighting even though he should have been dead after Exdeath's first hit was amazing, and the party's reaction when they desperately tried to heal him was very emotional. He might have been lacking his memories for most of the time he was in the party, but he was definitely a strong character (at least in GBA... I have very little knowledge of the PS1 version so I really don't know if he's as colorful a person there).

I can't agree with Exdeath/X-Death being a poor main villain though. His motives may not be complicated, but he's extremely skillful in his manipulation of the heroes... he even gets them to destroy the seals protecting the crystals in the second world. Though if you don't like "evil to be evil," I guess that's just a matter of personal taste.

FFII is another good game that is sadly overlooked by many. I think a lot of that does come from the game's system, which can be frustrating.
Laughing Hyena: Red XIIIlaughinghyena on January 13th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, on X-Death. However, he's much better certainly conning the characters. He's a smart asshole to be sure.
While I haven't played FFVIII per say, I've watched my younger sister play it and the characters just come off as really stupid at points when dealing with the enemy. Granted, the enemy characters in that game aren't bright either. The 'Seed - Flower' speech scene if you choose to do it is very funny, I'll give them that. I hope no FFVIII fans bite me for this, but X-Death wouldn't even have to try with those guys.

Galuf's death was hopeful as he just didn't give up. He was going to do whatever he could do to stop X-Death, crystal be dammed. It's also similar to Aeris' death in that way to, I think Galuf was pretty sure he wasn't going to make it out alive.

You find FFII's system frustrating?
I didn't have any trouble with it. Treat it like FFT, go out for a few battles attacking your own characters and healing them up.
Don't stick around long for weak enemies, it helps at the start, but you should move to new areas to level up by attacking/healing the characters and then killing the monsters. Also equip different weapons and use spells a lot. Characters get used to being attacked by a certain weapon, so any enemy using it won't cause as much damage. Same thing works with spells, and using them all the time levels up the spells faster.

FFII has the worse world map in the world, though. Yeah, I thought FFV's world one and world two maps were bad as it is, it's got nothing on II's. You do a lot of back tracking due to the story and knowing not to go to certain places yet by dying from the enemies located there. The usual early RPG stuff.

X-Death's reality show should be like Punked or any similar series. And his co-host would be Luca Blight. Oh god...
unfortunate hobo: Rydia: powerfirst_seventhe on January 12th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
I really like this; thanks for compiling it! When I first played FFV I thought the characters were stale and boring (but loved the job system enough to not give up on it). After playing FFV Advance, however, I really feel that the new translation lets these things shine through. I would honestly recommend FFV:Advance to anyone who may have played an emulator translation -- it pretty much knocks the 'boring character' concept out fo the water.
Eileen-who-is-Eileen: Samurai!Krileeowynjedi on January 12th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading! (I'm really surprised so many people have read and replied to this, haha.) Yeah, when I first read the emulator script years ago, I really didn't find any of them interesting or stand-outs either. But the Advance translation is really excellent, particularly for NPCs like Ghido.