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Final Fantasy VII» Forums » General

Subject: FFVII (Mostly First Time) Playthrough rss

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Jason W
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As noted here, I am on my third attempt of this game. I’ve gotten as far as the end or so of disk 1. My FF background is all pre-FFVII (I, IV, V, VI, Mystic Quest, and Legend, not all completed), and while I loooooooove FFVI, I am completely open to the greatness of FFVII. Unfortunately since I’m not playing it as a 12 year old, it probably won’t surpass FFVI in my eyes. But I’ll try to chronicle my adventures here for those who are interested.

---Obligatory warning: spoilers ahead---

So far I exploded two reactors, survived a fall of hundreds of feet by landing on some flowers, and befriended an underaged girl, who then convinced me to put on a dress to infiltrate a pimp's mansion to rescue a childhood friend, who I have a weird 'will they or won't they' vibe with, even though I think she's married, right? Well, maybe not married, but at least she seems to Barrett in some way.

So back to the mansion. The don selected Tifa, and after thwarting his advances he promptly dumped us in the sewer. Upon getting to the sector 7 pillar (thanks for the info, don!), I could really feel the urgency. The music, Barrett’s gun going off, the fallen avalanche brethren all set up the atmosphere really well. I ran up the stairs and quickly dispatched the boss. I thought I was going to get yet another timer set upon me, but instead we took a cable down to the ground, narrowly avoiding our pancake fate. It sucked not preventing the collapse.

But! Now I finally feel like the story has started. I see how awful the government and Shinra are. I am getting to know the characters. I have a purpose to continue, which is great. Plus, Marlene is alive and well, and I finally heard the full rendition of Aeris’s theme. Wonderful. In the next installment, I'll head to Wall Market to to find a way to sneak into Shinra and rescue Aeris.

Thoughts up to this point.
I’m still not a materia expert. I know they change my stats, but I’m sure I’m not optimizing their power, just equipping them wherever they fit.

In reading a recap of things I’ve already done*, I saw that it actually matters what options I select in the speech bubbles, that I could’ve gotten the don to select Cloud(!), and that these stats add up for something in the Gold Saucer. I’m not going to research any further in to this, but should I be using a certain strategy to prepare for the Saucer? Is this important enough to worry about?

Seeing potions, ethers, and materia lying on the ground is easy enough. But I did accidentally discover that those oil barrels scattered about have items, too. Makes me wonder what other objects that are seemingly part of the background hold hidden treasures.

*I have a history of using walkthroughs, but I’ll try not to use them unless I REALLY need to.
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Kevin J
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jdw734 wrote:
I’m not going to research any further in to this, but should I be using a certain strategy to prepare for the Saucer? Is this important enough to worry about?


Nah, it just determines who you go on a date with in one scene. For a second playthrough, maybe you'd want to see someone different, but there's no lasting effects AFAIK.
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Simon Woodward
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Looking forward to your story
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Jason W
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Went to wall market, I need to get up and save Aeris, but how?!? Hmm, some people are talking about the weapons guy collecting junk, let’s pay him a visit. Batteries? Sure! Ok let’s see how the don is doing – wait, some kids are running around, I wonder where they’re heading? Oh, a wire that leads right where I need to go! Thanks kids! Gee, I hope I can still climb up this thing with all these batteries I just bought…

It was a little hard to know which wires were meant for walking on and which were just decoration, but I managed to get all the way up. I opted to bust my way in to Shinra, figuring that I could get some experience points from all the fighting. Barrett was happy about this.
No issues, but something weird happened in the elevator.

“Cloud, stop this thing!”
Stops elevator
Battle ensues
Elevator starts again
“Cloud, stop this thing!” What, I just did!!

And so forth, five or so cycles. Finally I ended up on the 59th floor and exited. After talking to the unsuspecting office workers, I got a keycard from someone who thought we were repairmen, and eventually had to cross sentries that were pacing behind some statues. It was awful, and I didn’t even get past the first set. *More on this later.
Eventually I get to the mayor’s office, who seems kind of a quirky guy. My guess is he is actually a decent person, but has this sham of a job, and is going a bit crazy because of it, especially since he knows how corrupt things are nowadays. He’s making me guess a password (quirky, right?), which I assume has something to do with the four library rooms, each with three shelves, each shelf with two readable entries. That’s 24 things to read and keep track of, then decipher the code into the password. This was where I stopped, and I’m not sure I have the energy to figure it out.

Decision time: cheat to get the password or just guess and miss out on the perhaps amazing item? What should I do?

*Dexterity tests in RPGs. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I get that the designers probably wanted more interaction between the player and the game, but it sometimes feels so out of place. Earlier, I had to timely press three buttons to out squat the guy at the gym. That wasn’t so bad. In the last game I played, Lost Odyssey, there was a chase scene where I had to button mash to escape some monsters. That didn’t make sense to me. In the Shinra building, I had to sneak past the guards. This isn’t as bad as some of the others, but
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I’m playing this on my phone
it was difficult for me. Especially for things that aren’t side quests, how do you feel about dexterity tests in RPGs?

Thanks for following along.
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Jason W
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jdw734 wrote:
He’s making me guess a password (quirky, right?), which I assume has something to do with the four library rooms, each with three shelves, each shelf with two readable entries. That’s 24 things to read and keep track of, then decipher the code into the password. This was where I stopped, and I’m not sure I have the energy to figure it out.

The password was mako, which I got on a lucky first guess, but it seemed relevant. Turns out he hates Shinra, too! I feel like we have so much in common. I am rewarded with a materia, I think it was the Elemental materia.

I went up a floor, and came across another puzzle. I could unlock only three doors on the floor, and I could see three shiny items to pick up. I couldn’t figure out how to get the third, even with the help of the HVAC duct. My guess is picking up the two items is pretty standard.
After I spied on the Shinra meeting, I saw my future comrade in a containment and Jenova in another. Not sure what's with it but it seems to be involved with Sephiroth, the Ancients and something they call the Promised Land. Clearly there's much more to this story than I know at this point.

Once we rescued Aeris from (not) getting attacked by Red, a ...thing...rises up for a boss battle. As soon as the boss resurrects one of its three minions (grrr!), I refocus all my attacks on the boss and defeat it. I pick up the Enemy Skill materia and another keycard. Then, before I knew it, i was in handcuffs (again). President Shinra, in true Bond villain form, tells me he's using Aeris to get to the Promised Land, where they'll build Neo-Midgar and selfishly drain all the mako they can. Diabolical!

I wake up in a prison cell to find the door open. I get my buddies and we follow the trail of blood. Lots of blood. At the top, the president of Shinra lies dead with a sword in his gut. Or his back. It was hard to tell. Cloud battles against his son Rufus, who seems like a jerk, though at least he's well dressed. And more battles in the elevator and battles in the streets. This 'dexterity' mini game (thwacking at other motorcycles to protect the other car) went ok. Then a boss battle. I beat it, but I should have known to buy a second lightning materia when I had the chance, with all the bots and tech in Midgar. Oh well.

Aeris is safe, the president of Shinra is dead, so game over right? No, the group decides to journey onward. What started out as good vs Shinra evil has turned to good vs something, maybe Sephiroth, maybe Rufus. But apparently we're determined to find out and save the Promised Land, if it exists.

So do I care about the Promised Land? No, not really. Seems made up. Do I want Aeris to find her home? I guess, but I just met her, could go either way. I’m definitely interested in the story behind Sephiroth – why he is legendary, what his motives are now. That Jenova thing looked bad, I really don’t want to get involved with whatever that is. It’s a bit surprising how easy the gang (with the exception of Aeris) is just abandoning their lives in Midgar. But, I suppose that’s just another cheesy hallmark of the RPG.

All in all, so far so good after 6 or 7 hours. I just figured out that I have to link the elemental materia with another materia to use it, to give me a special ability similar to the mystic knights in FFIV. I’ve had the enemy skill materia equipped since I got it, and so far no skills learned. I’m looking forward to leveling up all the materia to see what bonuses that gets me.

Next session I'll walk across the world map for the first time and head to a city in the northeast, leaving Midgar behind.
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Andrew Schoonmaker
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jdw734 wrote:
The password was mako, which I got on a lucky first guess, but it seemed relevant.

In the PSX version, this was one of my favorite puzzles, in part because the password actually was a random one of the choices (but the clues would tell you which one). I vaguely recall hearing that they might have changed that for the ports, though.

Quote:
At the top, the president of Shinra lies dead with a sword in his gut. Or his back. It was hard to tell.

There's plenty of sword to go around; I think we can safely say it was "both"

Quote:
It’s a bit surprising how easy the gang (with the exception of Aeris) is just abandoning their lives in Midgar. But, I suppose that’s just another cheesy hallmark of the RPG.

I mean, they don't dwell on it, so yes. But also it's not clear to what extent they have lives in Midgar remaining. Even if they hadn't all been wanted criminals before the Shinra building rampage, they certainly are now. And Sector 7 did kind of get flattened (though I cannot now recall whether any of them had their homes there).

Cloud has his own reasons for pursuing Sephiroth, which will get some development shortly.

Quote:
I just figured out that I have to link the elemental materia with another materia to use it, to give me a special ability similar to the mystic knights in FFIV.

Yes. All blue materia is functionless unless linked with another materia.
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Kevin J
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Oh man, my urge to replay this game has tripled because of this thread.

I don't know what it is about the materia system, but it just makes me feel so empowered as a player. With the elemental materia, you get to choose what element to link it to, whether to augment your attacks or your defenses, and who to give it to. And those decisions are compounded by other considerations like how many slots everyone has, what other materia they are using, and whether the materia you want to link is better linked with a different blue materia.
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Jason W
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NeonElephant wrote:
jdw734 wrote:
It’s a bit surprising how easy the gang (with the exception of Aeris) is just abandoning their lives in Midgar. But, I suppose that’s just another cheesy hallmark of the RPG.

I mean, they don't dwell on it, so yes. But also it's not clear to what extent they have lives in Midgar remaining. Even if they hadn't all been wanted criminals before the Shinra building rampage, they certainly are now. And Sector 7 did kind of get flattened (though I cannot now recall whether any of them had their homes there).

Cloud has his own reasons for pursuing Sephiroth, which will get some development shortly.

Good points. Tifa's bar is destroyed, Barret doesn't know where his daughter is (but assumes she's safe with Aeris's 'mother'), and Red is looking for his home and just in for the ride I guess. I just went through the Cloud flashback, will play a bit more before I write the next report.
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Jason W
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tatoolo wrote:
With the elemental materia, you get to choose what element to link it to, whether to augment your attacks or your defenses...

Ooo! I can link it on defensive equipment! Fun.
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Kevin J
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jdw734 wrote:
tatoolo wrote:
With the elemental materia, you get to choose what element to link it to, whether to augment your attacks or your defenses...

Ooo! I can link it on defensive equipment! Fun.


Yeah, I think based on the level of the Elemental materia, it either cuts that element's damage in half, nullifies it, or absorbs it.
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Jason W
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I easily found Kalm and went to the inn for the Cloud flashback. I won't go into the details here, but WOW did Sephiroth go nuts. To be fair, I don't know how I'd react if I found out I may not be truly human and the humans I have been working for my whole life have been abusing my mother and my ancestors. Sure, I'd probably be angry and confused, but not maniacal. So his end game is to find the Promised Land and rule the world as the rightful heir to the ancients. Not being new to FF games, I know you can't trust anyone who wants to rule the world, Sephiroth is definitely a villain.

Luckily, in his rampage he left both Cloud and Tifa alive. I have a feeling he'll end up regretting that decision...right around the end of disc 3.

After talking to the Kalm townspeople and picking up items, I had to leave town and grind out a few battles to earn money to buy the items I wanted. Besides, I'm supposed to go to the mine next, but I'm not sure exactly where that is, so I figured some wandering was in order. And good news! My very first battle I got the Enemy Skill Matra Magic! It's excellent. But also, bad news! I (literally) ran into a giant worm, the Midgar Zolom. Not being new to FF games, I used my sense ability to see if I was actually supposed to be able to fight this goon this early in the game. HP: 4000. Time to run! Thankfully, only Red was wounded. Instead of wasting a phoenix down on him, I just replaced him with Barret! Good times. I headed back to Kalm and bought the rest of my items.

Again, not being new to FF games, I saw the trademark chocobo tracks in the field next to the worm place. Putting two and two together, maybe a chocobo could take me past the worm place, and maybe that's where the mine is.

At the chocobo farm, I am rewarded with a Choco/Mog materia (BOOM!) after suffering through a choreographed chocobo dance. The farm kid, being a crafty businessman, charged an unimaginable sum of money for the chocobo lure materia and some greens to catch the chocobo. I didn't have it, since I'd spent it all at Kalm. So I battled for a bit and then acquired the items.

I crossed the marsh with the giant worm and entered the mine. In the mine, I picked up long range materia, ran into the Turks for some comic relief, and picked up a few more things.

On the other side of the mine I encountered a side quest to defend a condor from Shinra. I don't really know who these people are but sure I'll help. Well, it required more money. Arrgh. Got the gil and started the tower defense game. It took a little while, but I defeated the enemies and even got some gil back for my units that survived. I did all that just for a weapon for Red. Hmm, not sure that was worth it. Anyway, I headed to Junon, taking the long way around to gain my money back. With gil in my pocket and some levels gained (16-18 range), I'm ready for Junon.

Some thoughts. I ran into a ton of back fights, especially on the Kalm side of the mine. I like how some of the regular enemies are tough enough that the battles keep you on your toes, and it's not a mindless attack-fest. Two that come to mind are the flame thrower guy in the mine and the bird in the Junon area that can take 100+ off the whole party with a single attack. Also, there's always the tension of wondering if the enemy has an Enemy Skill, or something fun to steal. I don't like the enemy that steals from you, then runs away before you can really get a full cycle of attacks. At least give me a chance! Last thing: I'm finding myself often defending or casting magic instead of using the limit break, to 'save' it for the start of the next battle. Thinking back on the results, I don't think that's typically a good strategy. The exception being perhaps Aeris's healing limit break, waiting another round to get a better HP benefit.
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Keep the Midgar Zolom tucked away in the back of your mind. Whenever you are strong enough to survive his Beta attack and learn it as an E. Skill, it will become an immensely useful tool in your arsenal.
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I entered Junon, and soon found myself fighting the boss in the water. I beat the boss and got Shiva materia and a way to the upper level. Poor Junon. Not only is the town all downtrodden due to the reactor, but also I hardly spent any time there.

I'll go over the next half hour or so of my life thusly: Three dexterity tests, Mr. Dolphin, the march into the parade, and the salute in front of Rufus. Terrible. Horrible. Didn't do any of them well. Yes, including the stupid dolphin jump! Moving on.

So I never went back to get others but they made it up somehow and, gosh, found sailor costumes of their own! Before I boarded the ship I got sundry items (1/35th of a soldier? Ok!) from side shops and rooms. I also ran into two groups of Turks, and a not-so-begginer's lounge, where Cloud explained to me, err, I mean the NPC in the game, about certain advanced topics now that I'm deeper in to the game. Now on the ship, I gathered another All materia and more items. An alarm went off, supposedly because Sephiroth was on board. Time to ditch the costumes.

I went to the back room, and met a new, supernatural Sephiroth. He didn't recognize me, and actually didn't seem bothered by my presence at all. After a few words he flew away and vanished. That was ...weird.

But he left me a parting gift, in the form of his monstrous, nightmare mother: Jenova.

Sarcastic aside:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
What kind of a son makes his mom do all the dirty work for him? Also I feel a little hurt, not receiving the personalized Sephiroth experience. He personally slayed all those people at Shinra headquarters, then presumably took care of some of the men on the boat, but can't be bothered to fight me? Ouch.

The good news in all this is I beat Jenova, got Ifrit, and was able to hear the awesome Jenova boss music. After some questionable dialogue, I move out.

The next town is a beach resort. More equipment and items (Ok, Ok I'll get some softs! Sheesh!), an awkward run in with Hojo, and I'm ready to head west.

Some thoughts:

Is it better to stick to two or three characters to develop or is variety spice of life? I typically mix up my characters and try to play them somewhat equally, so that's what I'm doing in this game.

Materia splits when leveled up? Hmm, interesting. The not-so-beginner's lounge said my materia limit is 200. 200!!!!! There's only three characters to equip why would I need anywhere close to 200?!?

The lounge also mentioned something about extreme limits. I haven't come across any of these to my knowledge, but hopefully I'll see them eventually. I'm a bit confused how I learn new limit techniques, since they didn't seem to come when the character leveled up. Maybe I just have to use them a certain number of times? Is this something I'm supposed to organically figure out by playing the game?

Finally, I hope this segment of the story ends soon. I don't like this pattern:

Baddie is sighted in town A. Go to town A. Baddie is sighted in town B. Go to town B. Baddie is sighted in town C. Go to town C. Hopefully when I get through the mountains, something will happen besides 'oh Sephiroth is actually back in Kalm. Go there.' However, I am intrigued in what the heck happened to Sephiroth. He's gone loco, he can fly, vanish in thin air, and move through floors. I'll have what he's having. Umm I'm kidding, but my guess is he's full of the knowledge of the ancients so he's lost touch with humanity a bit.
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I've played this game several times and I don't really remember how long you chase around Sephiroth in the manner you describe.

Although... I can think of a couple of big plot points that can't be too far away.
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Todd Pytel
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It's been too long since I played this to remember the plot or mechanics well anymore... I'm undecided about whether to replay it or hold out for the remake instead. But I'm enjoying your reports! I don't remember making nearly as much sense out of the plot as you did.
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Jason W
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Thanks. It's been fun so far.
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jdw734 wrote:
The lounge also mentioned something about extreme limits. I haven't come across any of these to my knowledge, but hopefully I'll see them eventually. I'm a bit confused how I learn new limit techniques, since they didn't seem to come when the character leveled up. Maybe I just have to use them a certain number of times? Is this something I'm supposed to organically figure out by playing the game?

I have no idea how or if you are "supposed" to figure out how you learn new limit breaks -- my own experience was that I played this back during the days where I cared less about spoilers, and I browsed through the unofficial strategy guide.

I'm not sure whether you want details, but I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that a) you're correct that the means of learning them is unconnected to leveling up, and b) if you just play the game, you will "naturally" learn many or all of them except for the ultimate ones.
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NeonElephant wrote:

I have no idea how or if you are "supposed" to figure out how you learn new limit breaks -- my own experience was that I played this back during the days where I cared less about spoilers, and I browsed through the unofficial strategy guide.

I'm not sure whether you want details, but I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that a) you're correct that the means of learning them is unconnected to leveling up, and b) if you just play the game, you will "naturally" learn many or all of them except for the ultimate ones.
Haha great, thanks for the intel. I know there's an audience for that type of 'completionist' work, but for casual play, it's obviously not ideal.
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Not a whole lot of excitement in this installment. I went through the tracks of Corel and then the town itself. Barret has a sad history here involving (of course) Shinra and mako reactors. The game made me go to Gold Saucer, since there was no place else to go. I wasted some gil shootin' hoops, briefly visited the haunted hotel (admittedly creepy), got Cait Sith and then got thrown in jail. After more Barret back story, he duels the prison boss. The prison was an interesting area, but I didn't spend much time there. Cloud got sent up for the races, and on the third try (though my first using active controls) I won the race, my freedom, and a buggy. Cool. Oh, and I heard from the owner of the Saucer that this really cool guy named Sephiroth (someone the kids would all know about) went to the next town over and that I should go there...
shake

So I have this buggy, which gets me more freedom of movement in the world. I don't really feel like backtracking for side quests, enemy skills, or crossing rivers I couldn't cross earlier. I'd rather get the main plot going again. It was nice seeing Barret's history, but I'm getting restless chasing Sephiroth from town to town. On to Gongaga.

Other thoughts. It seems members gain xp even when they're not in the party. Good. I'm already getting stressed juggling all the materia I have, and it's bound to get worse. I have two weapons I can't equip to any of my members. There must be some optional characters I've missed! (In one of my previous plays, I had Yuffie, but didn't catch her this time around.) Oh well, I've got my hands full anyway. I still only have two enemy skills, but they're so useful I don't mind not having more. I'm sure if I experiment with the manipulate materia I got from Cait Sith I could find some more, but I don't have the patience to discover the answers myself. If I knew I got X from enemy 1, Y from enemy 2, etc. I would go get them.

I ran into these enemies called jokers in the Gold Saucer world map area. As long as you don't get 'death' cast on you, they're pretty easy. But I get 60 AP for beating two of them! Real nice.
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Is this the part of the game where you get a hovercraft or something like that?

I'm pretty sure this is a good moment to pick up the Beta and Trine Enemy Skills, which are ridiculously good in the midgame. Not that such things are really necessary in FFVII, just a tip.
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The buggy looks more like a car to me, and actually it just broke down on me so that's nice!
Thanks, I'll keep my eye out for those enemy attacks and make sure I learn them.
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jdw734 wrote:

Other thoughts. It seems members gain xp even when they're not in the party. Good. I'm already getting stressed juggling all the materia I have, and it's bound to get worse.

Yep, I remember I was more focused on materia getting XP than characters, so whenever one character got a weapon with more slots, they were guaranteed to be in my party.
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Hmm that's a good idea. Aeris has a weapon with a full offering of materia slots...
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I ran into the Turks in Gongaga, which turned out to just be a decommissioned reactor and not a town. After the skirmish, I picked up the deathblow materia, which was quickly equipped then quickly unequipped. It's probably great at higher levels, but I have other materia with a higher priority. Anyway, Scarlet, the new weapons director, showed up but didn't see me. She seems just as bad as Rufus.

I got back in my buggy and went west toward the closest dot on the map. Lo and behold, Yuffie! (Yes, I cheated to figure out the right things to say to her.whistle) She's an oddball.

After meandering through the terrain my buggy broke down! Well that didn't last long! Let's stop at the town we broke down right next to.

In to Cosmo Canyon, home of Red. I don't remember any of this, so I guess from here on out will be brand new to me. I met Red's grandpa, who explained how the planet, mako, materia, trees, you, indeed all life is connected. The presentation was cool.

He then took us to sealed cave. There were some difficult enemies in there. I picked up the added status materia, which I imagine operates just like the elemental materia but for frog, mini, etc. I beat the ghost boss and entered, well, I won't ruin it, even though the game is nearly 20 years old and everyone reading here has probably seen it. It was a really neat moment, even though I figured something like this was going to come up, with the way the game was building up the story. Again, the music was excellent and certainly contributed to the effect.

I tied up loose ends in Cosmo Canyon and left, heading north. The start screen tells me I'm in the Nibel area, so that must be Nibelheim up ahead! Exciting.

Thoughts. This journey, while not really advancing main plot, has been developing the history of the characters (Barret and Red so far). It's been fun, and I hope the game keeps their back stories in mind during future events. If not, it'll seem like a waste, since there's been little main plot development really since I left Midgar. I also don't want the character development to stop, either. I know something happened between Cloud and Tifa at Nibelheim, they keep dancing around talking about it but never say anything. I don't know how much I'll find out about Yuffie and Cait Sith, but that's just fine with me.

I'm up to four enemy skills now, having acquired frog song and death sentence. I've learned a couple level 2 limit breaks, and I've learned I can only use one level at a time. I feel like my group is getting really powerful, so that's good.
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Andrew Schoonmaker
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jdw734 wrote:
After the skirmish, I picked up the deathblow materia, which was quickly equipped then quickly unequipped. It's probably great at higher levels, but I have other materia with a higher priority.

I recall using it mostly with high-accuracy weapons, to offset what I recall as being its inherent downside.

The main point of it, for me, was that I could link it to various blue materia and thus have a way of triggering them that didn't involve spending MP.
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