Monday, March 1, 2021

Final Fantasy VII Remake, Part 11 - Purification

Operation Rescue Aerith continues with the next part of the massive Shinra Tower. I still can barely believe this game exists. Caution: Spoilers of the original FFVII as well as a little bit from this remake reside within.

SNN is on all of the TVs in Shinra Tower and it's like wall-to-wall fearmongering propaganda. The only thing missing is a Terror Alert chart (which would disappear the minute it was no longer needed politically, of course).

After a little bit of exploring the Shinra corporate lounges, we find this interesting structure. The tech level in here is off the charts compared to the rest of the game world and how run-down it is. Pretty clear where all of the money in Midgar ends up.

The key to getting people to embrace lies: Just tell them that the people telling the truth are the crazy ones.

So basically, they've linked Wutai to the Avalanche bombing that wasn't even actually Avalanche. They'll antagonize Wutai over it and hope that Wutai retaliates in some way (thus making Shinra look even more justified in taking action).

In 1997 this was cutting-edge RPG sci-fi. In 2020 it's just people writing about the real world.

Tifa (w/ washboard abs) wants to know if she can help Cloud rescue Aerith. The way it seems like she isn't sure if he wants her along...well, it's proof that Cloud does absolutely nothing to affirm their friendship at this point. His very existence is just a perpetual negging of the women around him. Hell, even Barret doesn't get much out of this guy.

At least Zack is a great guy who affirms the people around him and makes them feel welcome. In the next game he should take over as the new main character.

Here's the infamous part where you crawl around in Shinra Tower's ventilation system. You can look down into toilet stalls...

...and also the Shinra Executive Boardroom, which is basically also a toilet stall.

So much scheming goin' on. Hojo is reporting in with some test results from his prisoners, while Reeve just sorta sits there trying to act like all of this is okay with him.

Scarlet is a real nazi. They gotta torture people, it's the only way to prevent Terror. Even if they're the ones causing most of said Terror. It's like a moral and intellectual mobius strip of complete illogic.

Speaking of nazis, here is actual nazi Dr. Hojo. "You're under citizen's arrest, sir" says Barret.

Hojo is like a full-on Dr. Mengele. He'll break every ethical norm if it means creating super-soldiers. I think the CCP is hiring, with their genetic experimentation on their troops that is going amazingly under-reported. ...aaaaand this site is now banned in China.

Man, I'm gettin' political today. Generally avoided politics in posts for the past few years but with a game this political and drawing from real-world events...

These shock troopers are SUPER tough compared to earlier enemies, not sure why. I don't even know if they're minibosses. They have awesome lightsabers, though. On Hard mode they're a bigger threat than most of the bosses are on Easy. Somewhere in here we also fight the Specimen boss, one of Hojo's creations.

Aerith is rescued! Everyone is thrilled except Cloud, who looks like he's gonna hurl.

AH! A rabid hyena draws near! KIDS GET BACK IN THE CAR!

Wait...hold on...

It turns out he just wants a little head-patting. That's right, it's our newest ally, Red XIII.

Red speaks...eloquently. "I am every man as I am no man. I AM GAIUS CALLIGULA, AND I AM... A God."

He then pauses to lick his privates. Old habits die hard.

Tseng (w/ Indian forehead bindi) sits around justifying his awful actions. This is how he spends most of his workday. One hour of doing awful things, seven hours of justifying them.

Note: The bindi is generally only worn by women. It isn't even that it's a "traditionally female" thing to wear, like a dress. No, it is literally a symbol of femininity, a demonstration of that individual's womanliness and lack of masculinity. So I'm not sure what the developers were going for here.

Speaking of feminine, Aerith takes us on a tour of her old neighborhood. Which is Hojo's Lab, where her mom was a captive. The walls are covered with their paintings.

In the original you certainly couldn't see any of this, if the scene even existed. This is the kind of moment that really makes me glad they made this remake.

Barret with a quick pep talk, and it's time to swing back into action. We've got a lot more Shinra Tower to go.

Tifa helps Aerith up while Cloud lurks uselessly.

"You know I love you, right?"

"Not as much as I love YOU!"


Wedge gives us a quick update on Avalanche's forces (new to the remake) attacking the tower. He then wonders aloud if there's room for him to wedge his way into the Tifa x Aerith sandwich until Barret mutes his voice chat.

Next stop is the experimentation chamber of Hojo. Red XIII is following the trail of his B.O. for us.

This headless spook right here is Jenova, mother of Sephiroth.

We get a quick flashback to Sephiroth talking to her in Nibelheim. Wait, this isn't supposed to be until Remake Part Two! Save something for the Kalm Town flashback! That'll be a hell of a first chapter.

Speaking of things that should be saved for later, Sephiroth drops in on us here. Why? This is kinda pointless and they're running the risk of overexposing the guy. He should be a largely-absentee menace, only spoken of, until Kalm Town. This remake has him popping up all over the place to stare intensely into the camera and pose, though.

Cloud goes on the attack! Why, though.

Fast-forward a bit, since I don't like to spoil the scenes that weren't in the original. At least not too much. Sephiroth easily swats Cloud away and the bridge breaks apart, causing the party to be separated. This then leads to a drawn-out and cumbersome new dungeon where the two divided groups have to press switches for each other.

Cloud's final weapon for this game. Interesting stopping point. To go with it, his final Limit Break is limit 2-2 from the original. Surprised they got as far as they did into the equipment/abilities of the original game, and those things indicate that we're about a third of the way through the overall story after this game. However, in the original, Midgar was only like the first 10% of the story. So it's hard to say.

Also worth noting: There isn't really a "best weapon" for anyone. Interestingly enough, every weapon has its own pros and cons, and they're all about even if they have similar levels of SP abilities learned. Given that every weapon gets SP evenly as you progress, it's easy to keep your weapons leveled-up without having to choose favorites. Twin Stinger here is great for magic-users when powered up, while Hardedge is probably the best for physical damage. Though it's the Buster Sword that a lot of folks swear by as being the best overall weapon when everything is maxed-out. It's a very balanced weapon.

Tifa and Aerith high-five while Eiffel Towering Cloud. I'M GLAD THESE CRAZY KIDS ARE HAVING FUN.

The party is divided up with Cloud/Red/Barret on one side and Tifa/Aerith on the other, which gives these two more time to talk. I like that they barely mention Cloud. Man, I don't like him.

Another extremely tough regular enemy are these groups of Bloodhounds. There's one encounter where you get absolutely MOBBED with these things, and on Hard mode it's one of the toughest rooms in the entire game. It's a little odd how most of the regular enemies in this game are just fodder, then occasionally you run into completely-OP foes out of nowhere.

Fun with balance beams! Yeah, this new dungeon just goes on...and on. Normally I'd be all about more Shinra Tower. However, much like the other new additions to this game dungeon-wise, this is pretty bland and uninteresting compared to the content from the original game. Also, this might as well be a prison or sewer dungeon for how drab it is, and doesn't even feel like Shinra Tower. The added dungeons in this game feel more like something out of Dirge of Cerberus.

Aerith can now fire energy beams from her staff. Turns out, she might actually be the most powerful character in the game overall. She's definitely #1 as far as magic-users go, by far. The other three all have their own pros and cons on physical fighting. Each character has a lot of nuance and strategy that you can tap into if you want to go deep with this game. Aerith probably has the most potential in that regard. Even after 40 hours I was still discovering things Aerith could pull off that I didn't know about, like damage shields and twincasting.

This interminable dungeon continues to go on. And on. It really does look like a sewer dungeon, and we already had one of those! One is already too many.

Oh yeah, we also MEET A GIANT FISH.

Well, fish-bot. This is an entirely new boss, based off of the flying mecha fish enemies in Shinra Tower in the original. Yep, it's another regular foe repurposed as a miniboss.

This thing looks pretty cool, and zips around at high speeds.

The party is reunited, as I realize that Barret's arm is probably as wide as Aerith's torso.

As we reach the end of the lab, we find...a trail of blood, as familiar music plays.

This isn't normal blood like in the original, for some reason. Maybe they needed it to be Rated PG. Presumably, this is Jenova Fluid of some sort.

The trail leads us up to the office of President Shinra. He's got four computers set up to four-box his MMOs. No LFG time for THIS GUY.

Someone is yelling for help, and the window is shattered. This isn't how things went in the original at all. Looks like Sephiroth just chucked Shinra out the window and didn't bother to actually finish the job. He's like all of the terminators in Terminator Salvation.

Here's President Shinra, just sorta dangling. Why didn't Sephiroth knock him off? Same reason he's still here, I guess. Who knows.

He promises Barret riches. Unfortunately for him, Barret couldn't care less. He's not a cold-blooded murderer either, though, and hoists Shinra back up.

Shinra is very thankful for this...until he scampers away!

Barret proceeds to chase him down and get in a few good punches. Unfortunately he doesn't stop Shinra, giving him ample time to run to his desk, enter a code, wait several seconds for a safe to open, and retrieve...

...a golden gun! Wow, our heroes really botched this one. They've defeated all kinds of fearsome foes, and now they meet their match with an elderly man. Just...well done.

But wait! Sephiroth pops up again and impales President Shinra. That's the end of him. So we've got the same end result as the original.

He then IMPALES BARRET. This would have been a shock, except they put this shot in the commercial for the game. What were they THINKING?

Also, if I were Barret, I'd be worried about communicable diseases right now since Sephiroth used the same sword for both of them. What if President Shinra has Hepatitis-C?

Sephiroth then does what he does best, and poses for the camera menacingly. Is Barret okay? Dammit, live! LIVE DAMN YOU!

With that, Jenova-Dreamweaver appears, complete with the iconic battle theme. This is a tough battle, and one of the more memorable ones from this game (especially since it's new). A couple issues though: One, why Dreamweaver? To maintain consistency with the Birth/Life/Death themes, I would have called this one Jenova-Conception. The name it does have just doesn't line up with the others. 

Two, this really should have been the final boss of this remake. It very much feels like a final boss fight, and it would have made complete sense to have you fight it at the end. After the Motor Ball fight, have your party catch up to Sephiroth on the highway as he's escaping with Jenova's main body, resulting in him leaving you with this fight. It practically writes itself. Having the fight here in President Shinra's room doesn't make much sense (why is Sephiroth dallying around instead of escaping with Jenova) and interrupts a key moment in the story. Just a completely out-of-place boss fight when it should have been THE boss fight.

Aerith fires laser beams! This was a fun MMO-style fight with adds and damage windows. The music helps a lot, too.

Sephiroth drops in. The real one, I think. That's right, he may not be sleeping in the Northern Crater this time. What does it mean? Either way, it's fine by me to have the Sephiroth sightings be the real him, since half the players of the original FFVII probably didn't realize the Sephiroths they met all game were just copies anyway. I didn't grasp that until like the third playthrough. Because it kind of detracts from his coolness to have him actually absent from the whole game until the final battle.

Yes. Yes he is. But he'll live, since the Whispers/God/Fate/Time revived him. Likely because he wasn't "meant" to die here and something went off-script, going by their earlier interventions. This whole thing was unexpected (or would have been if it weren't for the commercial). It's new, it's different. What does it mean in the context of the larger story? A lot. Perhaps Sephiroth being so present in this game instead of being saved for the points where he actually appeared...has a major story implication that things are not as they seem. Or maybe it's just for marketing.


Left the boss fights for the end this time. Here's Hojo's Specimen, which is as weird of a fight here as it is in the original. I like how Red XIII is a guest character in this rather than a full party member. It's too Eleventh Hour for him to join without shaking the game up too much (given the depth and range of the four existing characters in battle) and leaves something else to look forward to for the beginning of the next game. It also means that you can still see him in action.

Jenova (ooooh) DREAMWEAVAH. I belieeeeeve you can get me thruuuuu the nyyy-iiiiight!

The All Bosses Mega-Video, which goes to the end (aka beyond this post).

Other Final Fantasy 7 Remake Posts

1 comment:

  1. Wedge is alive!

    I always did enjoy when the "well suited for Materia" gear showed up.

    Finding particularly cool regular enemies to turn into bosses is a nice touch.

    Yeah, it's hard to say where they're going with all of this.