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penrose orange



cat /var/log/stephen >/dev/eyes

penrose orange
I didn't mention games at all in my last post. How... out-of-character :-) Lemme talk about Final Fantasy Origins for a bit.

I started playing the FF Origins remake of the original Final Fantasy. It's... different.

There doesn't seem to be much of a story; just enough to keep the events loosely tied together. Basically, it's this: the world is falling into ruin, and the four Warriors of Light have to find the cause and stop it. That's all. Subquests related to the main quest unfold as you progress through the game, and you have to complete them in order. There's a very cause-and-effect feel; you find a subquest that you need to complete, but there's something preventing you from doing it, so you find another subquest that will enable you to complete the first; this second subquest then may require the completion of further subquests. (Oooh, it's all rather recursive!)

The game is devoid of the well-defined characters that the FF series has become famous for. There's no Celes; no Aeris; no Squall; no Vivi. At the beginning of the game, you select a party of four character from six possible classes (fighter, monk, thief, white mage, black mage, red mage), and name them yourself. They play no part in the story besides being the protagonists. There's precious little dialogue, and no interaction between the player characters. They're archetypes, nothing more.

My party:
  • Shido, the fighter (name chosen by me; means "chivalry", or somesuch);
  • Sesshu, the thief (name suggested by my friend Glen; means "larceny");
  • Seika, the white mage (name suggested by Glen; means "sacred song");
  • Amaya, the black mage (name suggested by Mary; means "night rain")

The game is tough. At the start, you are asked whether you want to play at "normal" (i.e. original) difficulty, or "easy" (i.e. more like FFVII) difficulty. I selected "normal". What a fool I am. Games used to be much harder than they are now. Random battles get very tough very quickly, items cost a fortune, and levels and money accumulate very slowly. To be fair, it's not as bad as some people have made out; it's about akin to FFIV (PSX version, not the "easytype" version released as FFII on the SNES), and I just about coped with that game.

The magic system is quite a bit different from other FFs. Magic spells are categorized into levels, with the more effective spells assigned the higher levels. Each character has a separate MP pool for each level, with more MP for the lower levels. Each spell costs 1MP to cast. Example: my white mage Seika knows Cure1 (a level 1 spell), and has 7 level 1 MP. She can thus cast Cure1 a total of seven times before needing to rest, assuming that she doesn't cast any other L1 spells. In addition, she can cast magic at other levels without affecting her ability to cast Cure1, as each magic level has its own pool of MP. (Yes, we're back to the lame-o numbered spell names. Bah. I want my Firaga!)

The graphics look a lot like the SNES FF games, only more colourful. The character sprites are based on FFV's, with extra colour added. Some of the magic effects in battles are really quite nicely done, looking nicer than FFVII's, despite only being in 2D. Cool touch: the white magic pre-spellcasting effect is a scaled-down, 2D version of the FFVIII pre-spellcasting effect: a halo flaring up around the caster's feet, and little sparklies dancing skywards.

The game will never be a favourite of mine; my main reasons for playing FFs are the story and characters, and this game has neither. However, it is interesting as a history lesson, and is a challenging game in its own right. I wonder how long it'll take to complete? Quite a while, I imagine, given the time it takes to level up and save enough Gil for weapon upgrades...