Final Fantasy VII: Remake (Review – Part One)

I was sorely distracted at work today, because they’re building the new airport parking lot directly across the street from my building. Thanks to my co-worker, I was told that the distinct trembling of the building was due to the rollers, who were pounding down rocks to make asphalt. It wouldn’t have been so terrible, but it made my buttcheeks tremble in my chair, which was, as previously mentioned, very distracting. 

After spending most of the morning dealing with a moving company, which was actually the better part of the day, I then managed to whack my boss in the head with a cabinet door whilst looking for envelopes. 

I may need more therapy after all this. 

But despite these minor inconveniences, what has mainly kept me going the last week or so is the release of the glorious Final Fantasy VII Remake. As per our usual tradition, my brother has been the one doing the playing while both of us have been transfixed by the beauty of this game. I daresay it’s going to end up in my top five favorite games.

So here’s my weird confession. 

Sephiroth has long been one of my favorite villains because…well, just look at him. 

I was also one of the few who absolutely loved the Final Fantasy VII movie, Advent Children. 

A friend at the time was gracious enough to explain the significance of the characters and whatnot for me, so I wasn’t completely out of the loop. This also meant that the big spoiler was revealed to me. Since I knew nothing about the game at that time, all I was enthralled with was the glory of the graphics. And Sephiroth. 

Always Sephiroth. 

Many years after Advent Children came out, my brother tried playing through the original FFVII. We enjoyed it for the most part, but didn’t get far enough to really become all that attached to the characters. I knew it had to be a top favorite for a reason, however, so when I heard of the Remake coming out, I was beyond thrilled. Best of both worlds, in my humble opinion. I was getting the graphics of Advent Children with the original storyline of the game.

And so far, it has not disappointed. 

However. 

I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THE LEVEL OF EMOTION THIS GAME WOULD EVOKE IN THE FIRST UMPTEEN HOURS OF PLAYING IT. 

Seriously. Not. Prepared. 

And since I know of a very specific spoiler coming down the road much later on in the game, I just looked at my brother at one point with tears already in my eyes and said, “This game is gonna make me ugly cry, isn’t it?” 

He just sniffed back his own tears and replied, “Probably.” 

God help us both. We’re only about 20 hours in at this point, and I’ve already been kicked in the gut more times than I care to admit. 

But it’s so good

It’s the level of storytelling and character development that every author dreams of achieving. So the bright side is that I’m so inspired right now. 

We’ve had to take a brief hiatus due to busy work schedules, but I’m hoping here soon we’ll be able to finish this first installment. I’m trying to stay patient because I know my brother has a lot on his plate right now, but dagnabbit I NEED MORE OF THIS GAME. 

Okay, end fangirl rant. 🙂 

In which Brother is possibly scarred for life.

I know this has been asked on more than one occasion, but I’ll ask it again, even though I already know the answer. Why the heck do female video game and movie characters always have to wear the most stupid, unrealistic costumes into battle? It’s ridiculous. I don’t see men leaping into war in Speedos. They wear armor/chain mail/bullet proof vests/etc. Oh sure, there are some exceptions. For example, one of the (many!) reasons that I loved the movie Thor was because of the character Sif. Sif_thor (Okay, so the main reason I loved it was because of Loki, but come on, I’m a fangirl – what do you want?)

Sif was awesome for many reasons. She was a killer fighter. She was loyal to her friends. She had realistic armor. And she was still gorgeous. (I’m rather jealous, actually. I really wish I had her hair.) THIS is what femme fatales and other warrior women should be wearing when they go to beat the snot out of someone.

Brother recently started getting into the Devil May Cry games. He knew it would be something I would love to watch, so he began playing what I think is number four in the series the last time we got together for a video game night. Epic scenery despite being an older game, awesome battle moves, and the main storyline is pretty cool. Plus the characters are beautiful and intriguing. (DISCLAIMER: This game isn’t for the faint of heart. Lots of blood, creepy creatures and nightmare-inducing clown-scarecrows. *shudder* It’s rated “M” for a reason. Ye be warned.)

Nevertheless, we’re playing along, enjoying the story and kicking butt along the way. Brother hadn’t played very far into it before, so he’s also enjoying figuring out where to go and what to find, that sort of thing.

Cue the other reason it’s rated “M” with gratuitous scantily-clad bendy Skank Woman who doesn’t believe in wearing underwear. Brother’s jaw dropped and he quickly apologized, making sure to reiterate that he hadn’t seen this part of the game before. Uh-huh. Sure he hadn’t. Naturally, Mom chose that precise moment to walk in and see how we were doing, as she often does. I’m pretty sure that Brother would have rather fallen into a pit of venomous snakes while listening to Miley Cyrus on repeat for eternity than be there with the two of us. We all observed as Skank Woman – having finished disposing of some evil creatures in a rather disturbing manner – saunters over to the main character, jutting her chest out of her snippet of a costume as far as she can.

Not missing a beat, Mom quipped, “Well gee, that’s how I look every morning. Don’t you think?”

“Absolutely,” I replied. “In fact, I was just sitting back here thinking that I need to buy me one of those outfits for work.”

Mortified, Brother kept rapidly hitting buttons in the attempt to figure out how to skip ahead on the game. “OMG KILL ME NOW.”

It just goes to show that tormenting siblings is something that truly never gets old. It also goes to show that we have the coolest mother in the world. But my original question still stands: What gives? Nero’s character is appropriately clad to kill these things. Don’t me wrong, Skank Woman got the job done, too. She just made it look rather…um, dirty. Kind of like Ivy in Soul Caliber.

So come on, video game and movie producers. Don’t completely forget about your female fanbase. Give us more characters like Sif to aspire to, cosplay-wise. Heck, for that matter just give us more movies like Thor in general. Trust me, the world would be a better place.

The Day the Shadow Temple Nearly Killed Me

As every good older sister will tell you, part of your job requirement as the eldest is to toughen up your younger siblings to prepare them for the ways of the world. Personally, I like to think of it as both a duty and a perk. I’m extremely fortunate that my younger brother is probably the best one that I could have ever asked for, especially thanks to my consistent torment guidance. Okay, okay, so he’s just an awesome brother even without my help. As he started to become interested in the same things as me (hard rock, manga, video games, etc.), I found a companion who actually understood me. We could sob together over the death of a beloved character in Naruto, beat each other to a pulp on Smash Bros., or squee over the latest Nightwish album. Yup. He’s that cool. Though we’re almost eight years apart, the older we get, the stronger our friendship is.

So now a confession must come from me. (I do that a lot, don’t I?) Anyone who knows me knows first-hand that I love the Zelda franchise with a passion. Or, as Brother would say, a flaming purple passion. (Don’t ask, ‘cause I don’t know where he got that.) The characters, the storylines, the gameplay, everything. I have LoZ decals on my car, a wallet, even a lanyard for my key card at work. So here’s my confession:

I’ve never actually really played or beaten a Zelda game. Ever.

Yeah, I played the original NES one, but I didn’t really understand it. (I was kid, okay? What do you want from me?) The sad fact is, I rather suck at them. I tried desperately when the N64 was released, and even managed to go a little ways in Ocarina of Time. But as it got harder and harder, I found that I just didn’t possess the skills to master such amazing awesomeness. I was great at Mario Kart, Smash Bros., even Mario 64, not to mention that I was a pro at most NES games. So what was I to do? I wanted to see what the heck happened. (Okay, so I really just wanted to see Link as an adult. Pervy elf fancier, remember?) Low and behold, I discovered that my little brother, who was probably about eleven when Ocarina of Time came out, was surprisingly talented at just about any video game handed to him. He started playing OoT, so I started watching. New discovery – we were actually a pretty sweet team together. When he couldn’t figure out a puzzle or couldn’t find an object, I could often point out something that he’d missed. Yes, it was the beginning of something beautiful.

From that point on, I just pretty much let him play every game while I watched. It was like seeing a movie for me. Not a bad deal in the long run. We’d grab some lunch/dinner and spend countless hours poring over the next dungeon or puzzle, oohing and ahhing as the storylines unfolded. Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem were the top two on our “must-play” list.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.


That brings me to my favorite gaming memory of all time. The Shadow Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Let’s just start out by saying that it’s not for the faint of heart. The Nintendo 64 was stretching all of the boundaries gaming-wise at that time, and OoT was at the forefront of the revolution. It changed the way games were played. It had killer graphics for its time. It pushed the 64’s capabilities to the limit. It. Was. Awesome.

It was also extremely complicated, which is why die-hard Zelda fans love it still to this day. But by far, the creepiest aspect of it was the Shadow Temple. You knew it was going to be difficult. You didn’t know it was going to be mind-scarring. Remember that Brother was only about eleven or so when we played this, and I was around seventeen. It’s late at night, on a weekend, if I remember correctly. All the lights are off in the house because Mom and Dad are already in bed and it’s just cooler that way. Creepy music is playing in the background of the game. Brother enters a chamber of the Shadow Temple, unsure of where to go next. Suddenly, we both see this strange, black spot on the top of Link’s head. We stare at it, perplexed as it slowly grows bigger and bigger. The next thing we know, a giant severed hand jumps out and brings Link to an instant, untimely demise.

I’m pretty sure we both screamed like little girls.

My heart actually tried to jump out through my throat. Brother kept whomping on buttons like crazy screeching, “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!” But alas, it was to no avail. That was just one of many difficult temples, but it’s the one that sticks out in my mind the most. Actually, I don’t think I could forget it if I tried. Between the dead hands and the long-necked zombies (I forget their proper name)…yeah. Those gave us both nightmares.

However, it’s still one of my favorite games, and it was the one that sparked both of our interests in LoZ. To this day, I still make Brother play games for me. Yes, I have my Mario Kart and Smash Bros., but when it comes to complicated games that I don’t stand a chance on, he’s awesome and plays for me.

I tell ya, that’s a good little brother.

http://memebase.cheezburger.com/

See? Mind-scarring.