Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Final Fantasy VII Remake, Part 4 - Neon Genesis

In this episode, we tool around in the slums. "AUGH" scream the flowers underfoot as Aerith clops over them with her work boots. I mean, she says she can understand the voices of all living things and the planet itself, so she should know this.

Cloud and Aerith are re-acquainted after their momentary meeting earlier, and quickly interrupted by the arrival of Reno of the Turks.

Ya know, it actually makes sense that Aerith is inexplicably super-interested in Cloud. He's wearing Zack's outfit.

Reno sics his goons on Cloud, who easily dispatch- WHOA, EXTREME CLOSE-UP.

This fight didn't happen in the original game. Yep, it's entirely new, the first of what I hope are many new fights with the Turks in this new FFVII series. They were woefully underutilized in the original game, especially Elena and Tseng.

Reno's element is Lightning. IIRC Rude's element is Fire and Elena's element is Ice. Looking forward to finding out if Tseng follows the same elemental-focus as the other Turks and uses one, or if he's got all three since he's the boss. Since this game added Wind to the primary trio of elements, chances are Tseng will end up being Wind-elemental.

Here's the battle. It was fast and furious. Looking forward to more Turk battles. Even fighting Tseng at all will be a completely new thing.

I don't know if this soldier is helping Reno up or what, but he could probably take his finger off the trigger, especially with it pointing directly at Reno's balls.

The dilapidated church isn't where we want to be right now. Escaping means climbing through the hole in the attic. No "drop barrels on the pursuers" minigame in this version.

After escaping the church, Cloud and Aerith hop from rooftop to rooftop in the slums.

This was a fairly magical part of the original game, IMO. Jumping around with Aerith on rooftops felt like a bright moment for the characters in a sea of literal ruins.

There's the church from a distance. ...the hell happened here, you ask? I believe this part of Midgar sustained some bombardment during the war with Wutai, a war that the original game barely touched on. It'll be interesting to get more in-depth on it with future installments of this remake, provided they get into it.

Aerith acts a lot like a Disney princess, with sweeping graceful movements and the like. So she makes sure to let Cloud know that she is not, in fact, a Disney princess.

...then she falls and Cloud catches her and she goes "My hero!"

She's a lot like her Crisis Core character. She's really independent, and also adorable. Sometimes it's hard to say what her deal is. I'm just glad to see her fully-realized on a modern console game.

The path to the next area goes on...and on. They turned this junkyard area into an entire big new dungeon that you have to return to a few times for various objectives.

We end up at the train station, and nobody notices the helicopter noise in the background. I turn the camera up to see it ominously lurking overhead.

Once they leave the area, the game pans over to the helicopter and we see who it is: Rude, the next Turk. He's a little tougher than Reno.

Man, if you like exploring junkyard dungeons, this is your game.

This one is full of tanks and obsolete armored vehicles from the war. The original game didn't really have things like this.

"Eating ourselves stupid" doesn't sound great. In any case, she invites Cloud home for dinner, since he was her bodyguard during this junkyard dungeon. And that's pretty much it. Cloud just goes along with it, because his reactions to all of these things are like Orange Cassidy reading a newspaper.

Here's something of note: A locked gate with dragon emblems on it. This might be the first time I saw an inaccessible room where the key wasn't available nearby. No clue where it is, but it isn't around here. Looks like there's a whole bunch of loot in there. I'll keep coming back and checking this every time I get any kind of new key.

After getting through the junkyard, here's Aerith's home-slum.

Just had a thought. What happens in Midgar when it rains? The top level city wouldn't have much to worry about since the rain would just runoff...onto the lower level. The edges of the plates would turn into waterfalls that would dump on very specific areas and probably cause a lot of property damage, unless they have a way to mitigate this. Maybe the upper levels are sloped in a way that the water runoff all moves to the outer edges of the city and not onto people below.

On SNN, talking heads are interviewing Scarlet of Shinra Corp. She has heaving boobs, like Isabella from Trials of Mana. She seems pretty awful.

Cloud and Aerith end up playing hide and seek with a bunch of kids for a little while, as Square-Enix's quest to "use all parts of the FFVII" continues.

Here's Aerith's House. Yep, she and her mom live in this giant well-kept house in the middle of a slum filled with homeless people and weapon-toting hooligans. …… they have a force field around it or something? No way this place doesn't get ransacked and burned down in the real world.

It's a major step in their relationship, as Aerith introduces Cloud to her mom. Cloud's all like "coo"

This house...looks exactly as I remember it from the original game.

Thing isn't exactly the same. Yet it's still "as I remember it". Being able to live up to your nostalgic memories of how something looked is a real skill. Link's Awakening's Switch remake did that a lot.

The exterior of the house is still a valley of flowers. Seriously, how do they own this property? How do they live here at-all safely?

Aerith bounds in like a Disney princess and hands Cloud a basket. They're going to gather flowers for an orphanage, because Aerith is a saint. Cloud's like "k"

Now we go out and pick flowers. "AIYEE" say the flowers as they get torn from the planet.

"Oh yeah! Step on me mami!" catcalls one particularly masochistic flower.

Time to hoof it back with our flower baskets. "I can't feel my LEGGGGS" they say.

People are gathered around, glued to SNN instead of doing something productive with their day.

Important to note what they're saying on the tube: They're talking about all of the anti-Wutai sentiment that may or may not actually exist in Midgar right now over the various bombings. If it doesn't exist, they'll make it exist by telling everyone that everyone else thinks that way, until they fall in line with the imaginary way everybody isn't thinking. It's social engineering for corporate profit, at the low low cost of Shinra starting another war out of it.

At this point we can engage in an optional boss fight with Shiva, and it's really tough at this stage. She's also got a gorgeous mouth.

This was probably the most fun fight of the entire game for me. You're supposed to wait five minutes and fight her once you have Aerith back, which makes it pretty manageable. Instead I went ahead and fought her with Cloud solo, and it turned into a DUEL. I barely made it through this one, and had to make judicious use of fire spells to get her staggered. Just a blast of a fight.

Here's the orphanage that Aerith works at. The paintings on the steel walls are a nice touch.

Now things get awkward on what Aerith THOUGHT was a date, as Cloud namedrops Tifa... and Aerith has questions.

"'s okay, I'll just watch you guys have sex. I don't mind!"

Cloud: "What?"

Aerith: "Nothing."

Man, this Aerith is NOT what I remember.

The hide and seek club now accepts Cloud as an honorary kid.

This might be the "this guy are sick" guy from earlier. Suffice to say, some oddball guys are wandering around, victims of Shinra's vile experiments.

Cloud mentions Sephiroth, and Aerith only knows about him from legend. I guess Zack never mentioned him.

Then there's this guy. He dresses up as a moogle and collects Moogle Medals from people in exchange for fabulous prizes. What does he need all of these Moogle Medals for? He's probably melting them down for the raw metal needed to build tanks so that he can take over the slum. THE DAY OF MOGGIE WILL BE SOON.

Aerith is so SASSY.

Moggie's prize collection has some interesting stuff. I go right for the Graveyard Key...but it isn't the key to that locked room from earlier.

The next phase: More sidequests. All of which involve rummaging around in the junkyard for a while. I did all of 'em.

You had me at "Whack-a-Box". ...what is it?

It's a game where you swing this giant Negan bat (aka the Nail Bat from the original game) and, well...

...whack boxes. Some are worth more points than others. It takes some planning and strategy to actually "win" at this minigame within the allotted time.

Moggie: "You guys are alright! I'll order my minions to spare your homes on the day of the blitz!"

All of these skill books are worth getting, as they give permanent skill point increases to all of that character's weapons. Yep, all of them, even the ones you don't have yet.

Nice armband, reporter guy. As you might have already surmised, the Daily Buzz is a propaganda arm of Shinra.

Here's Mirelle, who looks like everyone at a Vermont antiwar rally. "Edwards 2008, am I right fellow young people?" she says.

Next I take on...this thing. It's a miniboss, and a damn tough one. It's one of the many normal enemies from the original that they decided to elevate in the remake, like the Cerulean Drake earlier. I ended up basically having to kite it with lightning spells because its melee damage was too spiky. Probably did the fight wrong.

"I hope you work half this hard later on when we're in bed!"

Cloud: "Wait, what?"

Aerith: "I didn't say anything."

This is getting weird. I should probably go.

Rude shows up to interrupt our pleasantries. He's been waiting here a while for Aerith to return home. Given all the sidequests I did, he might have been standing here for several days.

Another new fight. You definitely don't fight Rude this early in the original game. I remember because it was a big deal to me when you finally battle him later on.

Something I noticed watching this fight back: Rude never really attacks Aerith. He just attacks Cloud for the entire fight. Interesting. They demonstrated his affinity for Aerith within a battle with some subtlety, which is pretty sly.

Back at the ranch, Aerith is picking flowers again. "GOD HELP US" they scream. "Pour water all over me!" yells the masochistic one. Meanwhile the butterfly hovers around her all "niccccccce". Who knew nature was like this?

Cloud is curious about Aerith's conversations with The Planet and the foliage.

"Help! Get this crazy woman off of me!!" screeches a flower under Aerith's shoe.

They finally go back to the house and Elmyra FLIPS OUT.

Cloud forgot what it's like to have a mom, and flashbacks to...

...Claudia, his mom. Cloudia? This is the scene from the original where he's laying nearby all "not really"

At this point Cloud has to sneak out of the house and leave, at Elmyra's behest. They managed to turn even this into a minigame.

It tests your ability to walk as softly as possible. You're also carrying a big sword. WOULD TEDDY APPROVE?

Elmyra makes Cloud promise to never speak to Aerith again. Geez.

And now for something completely different: A big boss rush video. Have at it!

1 comment:

  1. Aerith: "Wow this guy has a lot in a common with Zack, that's weird."

    It's funny though how Cloud never tried to mimic Zack's actual personality.

    I had a good time fighting Reno and Rude in Chapter 12, a break from some of the stress I had with bosses in 8-10.

    I'm still wondering what's behind that door. I've seen another one like it too, somewhere.