Have you ever thought about how weird it is that Pokémon doesn’t actually care if you catch all of the various little monsters?
I mean, it does, totally. The series tagline is “Gotta catch ’em all!” with more exclamation points added depending on how the writer feels that day. Obviously the game cares if you do, in fact, catch them all. Failing to catch them all means that when you reach the end of the game, you…
Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? Even if you do have hundreds of pokémon by the end of the game, you’re still not going to be using the vast majority of them. Even in the first games, you couldn’t be using the vast majority of them, since you had 150 total monsters and six spaces for your field team. Catching literally every single monster does not award you anything different except more breeding options, and the vast majority of the monsters you can potentially catch aren’t useful for that, even. The game in no way cares about you catching them all… except for that tagline.
So the protagonists of the game are currently not doing well at their stated goals. Two crystals encountered, two crystals destroyed. In their defense, the job wasn’t theirs until the wind crystal was already in bad shape and the water crystal sort of happened without their consent. Nevertheless, based on series history I’m sure that the other two crystals will wind up being just fine.
Well, they might.
All right, so it’s a foregone conclusion what’s going to happen from here. The important thing is to keep moving on despite that fact, after stopping to have a brief chat with the King to indulge in a round of the “We Told You So” dance. To his credit, he’s already realized that he probably should have listened to the group in the first place, not that it helps him a whole lot now. But Walse wasn’t the only kingdom amplifying its crystal with machinery, and the kingdom of Karnak seems poised to be the next victim of… whatever is going on now.
So Lenna is convinced that her father’s wind drake is on top of the nearby mountain, and the rest of the party agrees to go along with this because, well, they weren’t doing anything. Also there’s no other route to the water crystal than via the air at this point, so that’s a good motivator. The trek to North Mountain isn’t terribly interesting, with its very name making it pretty clear where you’re heading.
As with most dungeons that take place on mountains through the series, this is not a particularly interesting or ornate area, largely linear and without much in the way of hidden passages. What is interesting is that you’re probably moving along nicely with your character jobs by this point, unlocking some abilities to toss into your secondary slot and probably considering swapping jobs on some characters. This is actually reasonable, since later job levels take more and more ABP to learn, but later enemies reward more ABP for clearing a battle. If you haven’t been constantly swapping, as you move through this dungeon you’ll start picking up some real options.
Once you have access to the jobs, the complexity of Final Fantasy V kind of explodes. Not in a bad way, you’re not being smothered by stuff to do, but the overall change is pretty notable. You have a new swath of jobs to use, and suddenly you have to deal with an aspect of gameplay that has not been an issue in any previous installment of the franchise to date.
Previous installments of the franchise didn’t feature a lot of choice, or at least not much in the same sense of playing around with jobs. Even Final Fantasy III barely cared which job you had been leveling with before; it was all about what you were doing now, after all. Level as something that turned out to be useless and then change? You don’t miss out on much. But here, useless and useful jobs have an impact. Leveling now has an impact on what you’re doing while leveling later. Planning well means negating later grind.
The Matrix is one of those things that was a very big deal when it came out and then faded in importance about five minutes later. It’s been a decade since the last film, and the odds of us seeing another one are slim to none. Which is a shame, because it’s still a franchise I like quite a bit, even if I’d like it more if we had gotten the prequel-and-sequel the Wachowskis had originally wanted instead of the single sequel split into two parts.
If you like pretending the two sequels didn’t happen, imagine them as one lean two-hour film and start falling in love again.
We’ve seen three games based on the franchise, with one of them (The Matrix Online) both failing to live up to the promise of that concept and completely failing to deliver on what was originally conceived of in a persistent universe. It kind of makes sense, if you think about it. Even though the movies look great and prompt lots of thoughts vis-a-vis “man, it’d be great to play this as a game,” the whole thing winds up being a really hard project from the word go.