Final Fantasy XIII: Chapters 7 & 8

Alright, Final Fantasy.  Well done.  You got me.  Even though the Snow/Hope/Lighting arc took forever, the resolution was pretty good.  Snow icing over the stadium in particular was quite the moment.  And Fang and Lighting jumping in to save Hope, and being the first time we get to control a full 3-person fighting party, was a pretty great fusion of gameplay and story.  And the stuff with Hope and his father could have been painful in any number of ways, but ended up being very nearly touching.  Actually, my one bit of surprise is that they didn’t work in Hope getting his summon in there at some point.  And I’ll admit, I didn’t see the Vanille-Fang connection coming, even if it was foreshadowed by the very first line of the game.  It really helped bring some instant depth to the two characters of our main six who were real cyphers up to this point.

Chapter 8 on the whole didn’t work for me.  I get what they were trying to do with giving us some moments of calm before the storm, but it was too dull, despite the lavish visuals in the parade, and running around looking for a little chocobo is not really sufficient interaction to involve me.  However, it was absolutely worth it giving the dramatic conclusion.  I can’t emphasize enough how shocking, and yet true to the characters, the Sazh-Vanille confrontation felt for me.  It’s tarnished only by my foreknowledge that Sazh is coming back as a playable character.  Here’s hoping that that’s an equally good moment.

If I have one reservation story-wise at this point, it’s with Cid’s unit that our heroes have teamed up with.  Given that prior to the Purge, there doesn’t seem to have been a huge amount of unrest among the populace of Cocoon, it seems really unlikely to me that within the military there could be this whole division that is, with only a modicum of secrecy, actively trying to overthrow the government.  How does that work?  What were they doing before the game started?  Maybe there’s an explanation forthcoming, but at the moment, it’s the one big thing that sticking out to me (along with how quickly the government of Cocoon was able to organize the Purge – did they have hundreds of thousands of those robes that the deportees were wearing all ready to go in case of just this crisis).

So, in conclusion, I’m having a lot of fun.  Still not sure how far I’m going to go down the rabbit hole of hunts that are coming up, but we’ll see.

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