Friday, September 30, 2011

Gaming White Whales: Final Fantasy Tactics Edition

So, you may have heard of this game of mild popularity and renown (I'm being facetious) in passing or the like, but if you haven't experienced it yourself or second-hand, you're really doing yourself something of a disservice.  Final Fantasy Tactics for me remains my most favorite thing to have the Final Fantasy Label on it to this day, and I seriously doubt anything else will be able to take its place in that.  Namely because I haven't really had much of a connection to the Final Fantasy series as a whole and each new iteration seems to...well, not live up to the previous one.  Versus is the only title that instills me with anything resembling hope, so we'll just have to see how that one works out.

And as the title would suggest, Final Fantasy Tactics is one of those games, much like Star Ocean 2, that I've started so many times but I've never beaten it for one reason or another.  Tactics' problem (well, it's -my- problem, in all reality) is that I get to the final chapter and the overall impact of the grind I've taken to this point hits me and I just....give up.  I always end up ridiculously overpowered so random encounters (done to your level) become the only thing resembling a 'threat' the game can offer (aside from a few choice boss fights) and I sort of get a foregone conclusion feeling.  I have the game 'won', I just don't go through with it, basically.  So I fall out of it.

The last few times I've taken up the mantle, I've chosen the names of friends to name recruits after at the start to grow with my character into beings of peerless destruction to make it a little more fun.  I've had countless combinations of this and that, and I guess it's had a thread of "Let's Play" in it long before I even thought of that concept as a thing, since I always make it a point to know what said person wants their virtual representation to be.  Makes it a little more interesting for me, since I don't just go with whatever's the broken-est and actually play around with classes that I might not otherwise.  So, this time around, since I have an outlet, I thought it would be nice to display just who is going to be fighting for me as what.  Which will possibly make it easier for me to actually finish this time!

Starting off, we have the Monk Class, which is what my main character will be.  If nothing else, this will always be the class that is "Gamed" the most, since, well, I guess it's a representation of -me- and how I tend to go at Final Fantasy Tactics.  It's practically lore in itself by now, but the 'classic' overpowered Monk is one who equips the Ninja's Support skill "Two Swords".  Under normal circumstances, Two Swords allows a class to equip two weapons for whatever their class is (provided it's a one-handed weapon.)  Monks, however, fight only with their fists, so this simply allows them to punch twice.  And Monks punch hard.  About as hard as any weapon would deal damage, so if you're worried about something of a trade-off, well, worry not.  Monks are generally going to be powerhouses and pretty sturdy themselves once they've gotten Chakra, which restores HP and MP not only for themselves, but for those immediately next to them.  Equipped with Two Swords and Move +# (Up to 3 if you really want to bother with a Bard) or Teleport, a Monk will quickly become a force to be reckoned with.  And that's the plan.

My first recruit is going to be named after my buddy Haplo, who you might recognize from the comments of several blog posts I've made.  He's really fought alongside me, so to speak, a lot, so it's always great to have him on the team.  (I'm pretty sure I've had him in my game before.)  This go around, Haplo suggested what I coined as a Grey Mage (It's not a Red Mage, goddamnit) which is a White Mage primary with a Black Mage Secondary skillset.  With access to just about every type of spell out there, he'll be, more or less, one of the most important members of the team, as, aside from the Monk's Chakra ability, I'll pretty much be neglecting healing altogether.  Besides, having someone who can toss out Blizzara or Thundaga every now and then will eventually prove to be indispensable, assuredly.  He will be an Aquarius Scorpio to my main character's Pisces (my sign), which I neglected to mention.  If you don't know, the Zodiac plays a big part of character interactions, but I largely just sort of....ignore it, I suppose.  But it's worth mentioning.

Next up is my good friend Saki-Chan (Sakura will be the characters name, of course) who has presented me with quite a challenge.  Samurai primary, which is fine enough, but as a secondary, she's chosen one of the two War of the Lions (the version of FFT I'll be playing, since I neglected to mention that as well) exclusive classes, the Dark Knight, which is....hands-down the hardest thing in the game to get.  I don't think anyone would really argue that point.  Half a dozen classes to level eight, on top of Black Mage and Knight both being mastered, as well as that unit personally crystallizing 20 human enemies.  The other issue is that I'm not quite sure if a Dark Knight's abilities work as a secondary class to a class that doesn't equip "Normal" swords.  These are just things I'll have to discover along the way, though.  Putting Two Swords on her is appealing and I might just go with that if just for the Miyamoto mental image.  Sakura will be signed as a Cancer.

When I asked my friend Kaseius about his and his just-recently-married wife's participation, he informed me that he wanted to be either a Monk or an Archer, to which I responded "Archer it is", as I really don't like doubling-up on a class.  Kind of makes it seem less special or something, I would say.  So Kasey the Archer will be the ranged portion of my team (aside from Haplo's spells) and will be appropriately thought-out for it.  Aside from being an Archer, I've been allowed a blank slate for him, so I'm honestly considering trying to see if Archers can use the Knight's 'Break' skills from afar as other classes can do with guns, as such an ability would be quite useful.  If nothing else, I'll take his first suggestion of Geomancer into consideration and put that in as a secondary since their skills are ranged as well and offer a good range of status effects to consider if you're lucky..  Being able to stop somebody with a Geomancer ability and get away just as they think they'll be able to invade your personal space (an Archer's worst fear) to then take advantage of the space put between their previous-hunter, now-prey with a well-placed arrow....that's the stuff.

My final member of the Main Team (I'll have a few secondary people hanging around for some other purposes, plus the Unique characters that I won't be using) is a Dragoon, so wished by Kaseius' lovely new bride, Emily.  Like Kasey, all I was really given was a class to abide by with the rest being left to me.  I've mentioned my plans for an Archer, but a Dragoon is honestly something of a blank slate for me.  This is why I enjoy doing this, of course, since I have really nothing to expect, to think of for a Dragoon, so it's not something I can plan for, simply something I'll adapt to.  A knight's break skills would make sense here if I can't have them on Kasey, since a Dragoon can attack from two squares away, rather than the adjacent square thanks to their spears, which means no retaliation for it.  If I can break things with an arrow, I'll think of something else, I'm sure; I do have plenty of other classes to think about here.  They've instructed me to sign them whatever I care to, which I will use as my other way to really game  Since Zodiac affects compatibility (and thus, chances with attacking, healing, etc.) I'm hoping there's a way I can set it up so Kasey and Emily are perfectly attuned to one another while also being a bane to the more prominent Zodiac signs in the game.

If I had the capability to do so, I'd love nothing more than to really take some screenshots of all this and do a real proper cataloging of what happens, but I guess I'll just have to stick with text only updates, as I do plan on doing updates of this playthrough every now and then.  Making it more of a project than a 'goal' might also help me see it through to the end, I figure.  Either way, as it always is, it'll be fun.  I'll do an update as soon as enough has happened, progress-wise, that I deem it necessary.

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