The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy V, part 8

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

Delivering the Adamantite is no more complicated than just taking a quick jaunt back to the ancient ruins located beneath the conveniently obvious landing pad in the middle of the ocean, which prompts a quick discussion that the resident geniuses are going to install it.  I’m not sure how you install metal into a device, as it’s usually just used to make, like, parts which you subsequently install, but since the quest to pick this stuff up didn’t take forever I’m not going to sweat it.

This all certainly feels like we’re getting pretty close to the endgame, but that seems unlikely – we’ve still got one more crystal to theoretically save and most likely completely fail to save, and the party hasn’t even hit level 20 yet.  It’s convincingly handled, though, without any of the obvious markers that it can’t possibly be this easy aside from having relentlessly failed to save every single crystal up to this point.  But what’s a game without a few setbacks, right?

At any rate, the group goes to sleep, then wakes up to find that the airship is already ready for flight.  Onward, to boss fights!

The flying ruins are protected by a metric shit-ton (by weight) of cannons, because what’s the point of having the only flying city in the world if you can’t also overload it with cannons to shoot down the aerial attackers you don’t actually have to deal with?  Or, more accurately, what’s the point of just being able to enter a dungeon.  At any rate, once you kill the four smaller cannons on the edges, you have to face a big cannon in the center, which falls pretty quickly to a series of Lightning Scrolls and some Thundara Spellblade action.  In theory it has a big charge attack; in practice it exploded long before it had finished charging.

This is, like, what ranged weapons do.

And herein we learn the reason why most cultures build cannons that fire long before a bunch of people get into melee range.

Inside, the obvious dungeon music that we’d been hearing in these ruins up to now is finally used for, well, a dungeon.  The enemies here fall pretty quickly to concentrated use of Gaia, helpfully; most enemies take reasonable damage from Wind Slash or at the least aren’t immune to it.  Ironic, but helpful.  The layout is a bit confusing, though.

Once through the dungeon, the group finds King Tycoon, who is acting completely nonchalant about the sudden reunion with his dead daughter and notes that there’s a guardian between the group and the crystal.  Seeing nothing odd about his behavior because it’s time for the protagonist idiot ball to kick in, the party launches into battle against the Archaeoavis, which is… long, but not terribly difficult unless you try to constantly hit him with elemental attacks.

Not counting hunter pets, which I send to their death for giggles.

I’m pretty sure I’ve killed a million of you in World of Warcraft.

Killing the wind serpent thing results in King Tycoon shoving the group out of the way while laughing maniacally, and yes, he’s being controlled just like the Queen of Wherever it Was that decided to set you on fire.  Karnak, right?  I’m going to be honest, with so many people turning out to be possessed and trying to kill me I’ve kind of stopped paying attention.  The group walks forward into the crystal chamber, and Bartz and Galuf prepare to commit regicide.

Faris and Lenna stop them, since possessed or not he’s still the daddy.  The whole thing becomes a moot point a second or two later, though; Galuf’s granddaughter slams one of the meteors into the floating city, shoots a magical bolt to knock out the king, and then does a little dance in celebration.  Galuf recovers her memory, Krile (said grandaughter) is happy, and King Tycoon comes back to his senses.  Hooray, happy ending for everyone!

And then the crystal shatters, because we all really should have remembered to shut that device off.

Exdeath shows up, demanding the power of the crystal shards now that the seal on him has been broken.  Works out pretty well, too.  The king begs the light of the earth to reclaim its essence from him, which obviously means an extended noble sacrifice.  There’s a few parting lines from the king that wind up sounding remarkably genuine – the king apologizes to Faris for not being much of a father and asks Bartz to keep a watch over his daughters.  It feels human, and I appreciate it.

Four more crystal shards wind up in our possession, naturally, but sadly none of them are all that useful despite being among the cooler concepts – Samurai, Chemist, Dragoon, and Dancer.  They’re not bad, but they don’t have abilities that sync up nicely with other classes like some of their predecessors, nor do they bring anything indispensable to the table.  They’re just… there.  It’s the fundamental problem to the class system that I mentioned back in one of the earlier parts coming to the forefront, the fact that being able to cross-up job abilities makes everything a question of what you can farm from it.  Other games do their best to make it a little more fair, such as adding in passive abilities in a different category than active abilities, but we’re not playing those, are we?

I think a lot of these lost ancient civilizations kind of had it coming, basically.

“You want some means of external lift so that our city doesn’t fall to the ground in a crater the instant that it loses its power source? Fuck you, Barry. That’s stupid and you’re stupid.”

After having politely waited until we were finished with dramatic revelations, the floating city decides that since it no longer has anything holding it up, it’s getting to the business of falling out of the sky.  The group rushes to the airship and flies to safety, with Lenna mourning the loss of her father.

Galuf, meanwhile, gives us a history lesson – thirty years ago, he traveled to this world to seal Exdeath, but they hadn’t realized that the crystals were being drained along the way.  Sealing Exdeath with the crystals was thus something of a perfect storm, and now both worlds are kind of screwed.  But Galuf has to deal with the more immediate problems for his world, and that means using the meteorite Krile landed in to teleport back to his world.

Bartz offers to go along, but Galuf makes it clear that going along would mean never coming back.  Which… doesn’t seem that bad, since all of the crystals are shattered and this world is most definitely screwed.  No wind, corrupted water, ruined earth, whatever the hell the Fire Crystal does other than make a ship sail.  Still, Galuf and Krile teleport back, and that’s that.

End of the game?  Of course not.  Lenna, Faris, and Bartz talk about it briefly, and promptly decide that they’re following their friend to the other world.  Somehow.  If the meteorites don’t have enough power, well, they’ll just go ask Cid to figure out how to fix that, because it’s worked so well up to this point, right?

Okay, it sort of hasn’t, but given the state of the world now I’m willing to let that go.

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About expostninja

I've been playing video games and MMOs for years, I read a great deal of design articles, and I work for a news site. This, of course, means that I want to spend more time talking about them. I am not a ninja.

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