Read the earlier sections of my FF8 replay:
From Balamb to Timber
From Galbadia to the Assassination
From Prison to a Floating Garden
From Fisherman’s Horizon to the Battle of the Gardens
- When confronted at the orphanage, Cid says he ran away because it was a no-win situation for him, which is…pretty fair. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for him to see his wife possessed, taking over the world, and know that she wants you to send some teenagers to murder her.
- Edea lays out a lot of plot exposition: She was possessed by Sorceress Ultimecia, who lives in the future. This sorceress wants Ellone and her power to transport people through time (how Ellone has this power is not explained). Edea fears that Ultimecia has abandoned her body to jump into Sorceress Adel, former evil ruler of Esthar. Ultimecia wants to compress time, seemingly for shits and giggles as far as I can tell.
- Cid lectures Squall on how to be a good leader, and c’mon man. I was empathizing with you earlier, but this is a bit rich. Also, maybe Garden should consider choosing a leader who isn’t emotionally compromised by a sorceress.
I’m very annoyed at everyone in this scene. They’re all like, “We care about Rinoa, but everyone else matters too!” As if they weren’t JUST giving Squall such shit about prioritizing the lives of other students over immediately running off to save Rinoa when she was hanging from a cliff, like, a couple hours ago.
- We get another FLASHBACK to Laguna’s stint as an actor (sure, whatever!). He is a very bad actor, but hot people are allowed to be talentless. However, everyone is incredibly dumb. I cannot believe that anyone thought that huge ass dragon was Kiros.
- Laguna sees a flying ship! Then Ellone tells Squall that she will use him a little longer, and suddenly Laguna is at the orphanage looking for Ellone, who was kidnapped by Esthar soldiers.
- Things get very sad when Ellone reveals that she has been trying to change the past in these little flashback jaunts, but has now realized it’s impossible. She can’t change the past, which means that Ellone will always be kidnapped, Laguna will always go after her, and Raine will always die alone while he is away. Presumably after giving birth to Squall, who will always be an orphan. Depressing!
White SeeD Ship
- I always have to cheat to find this thing.
- Zone and Watts are on the White SeeD ship! However, Ellone is not. She went willingly with Esthar soldiers who came to get her. Seems weird, since we just learned that she was kidnapped by them as a child!
Great Salt Lake
- Squall takes Rinoa from the infirmary and carries her from Fisherman’s Horizon across the bridge to the continent that was impossible to explore until now. This is a really great map expansion technique!
- The party somehow meets Squall on the other side, and Edea is with them. I had totally forgotten that you can play with Edea as a party member!!
- This is such a fun little place to explore – snow and undead monsters! I remember the first time I played through this, not knowing that you can use healing spells and potions to cut through undead easily. It used to be a lot scarier!
- At the edge of a cliff, a glitching techno door reveals itself! The entrance to Esthar is a perfect sequence. It is utterly different from anything else we’ve seen.
- We start with another flashback. I assume Ellone is just now providing Squall with helpful information? We get to see Laguna imprisoned in the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory. He helps a moogle, and a guy is like, “You’re nice. You should be the next leader when we rebel against Sorceress Adel!” Talk about white guys falling upward!
Laguna saves Ellone and it is super sweet. I feel like something is missing though…how did Squall know Ellone/sis? Was he born before Ellone was kidnapped, which means Laguna left his son and never went back? Was he born after (which I assumed) and Ellone was sent to an orphanage AFTER Laguna rescued her? What is the timeline here??
- Esthar is…fine. For being high tech, it’s pretty underwhelming.
- At the Lunar Gate, Angelo says goodbye, which hurts my heart!
- A party of three has to go to the moon for some reason (the plot is getting REALLY weird by this point), and Edea stays behind with Zell, who is the newest wannabe sorceress’s knight. The Galbadians have salvaged Lunatic Pandora, which appears at the city. Zell won’t let Dr. Odine tell us where it came from or what it is, which is very frustrating! We do learn that monsters just sometimes fall from the moon…all of this new plot information is dropped here at the end of the game without buildup, and it is very weird.
- The gang races across the city to get aboard the Lunatic Pandora, but they’re magically expelled. The thing/place hovers over Tear’s Point, and Zell gives up for some reason.
- There are a few scenes where you get to play with gravity, and recovering the pods is a fun introduction to a new space (hah!).
- Seem like Sorceress Adel is being kept in space. So is Ellone, who tells everyone that sending them into Laguna’s past was helpful because she saw how much she was loved. I mean, several of the first flashbacks had nothing to do with her, but okay! Then she gives us some pretty good advice: “The past doesn’t change. You do.”
- They have somehow decided to take Rinoa, a woman possessed by a sorceress, to the place where another sorceress is held captive, and SURPRISE! A sorceress uses a sorceress to free a sorceress! Too bad no one anticipated this.
Panicky Gentleman: Why is everything happening at once?
- We get to see President Laguna doing his motions while in an astronaut suit! This slow reveal is done really well.
- As they escape, Ellone sends Squall into Rinoa’s past. We get to see her demand that Irvine return to the prison for the others, ask Zell for Squall’s ring, and be possessed by Ultimecia and order Seifer to find and raise the Lunatic Pandora.
- In one of the best sequences of the entire game, Rinoa runs out of air in her spacesuit, drifting in inky blackness. Squall tries to reach out to her, first telepathically, then physically. It makes her remember to push a button to get more oxygen (?), and Squall thanks Ellone and goes to find her. Navigating your way into her path is so simple but so moving. And then they spoon in space!!
- Deus ex Ragnorak.
“The space suit was in our way before. Give me a hug. A real tight one!”
- It’s very annoying that Rinoa can’t get EXP fighting all of these propogators.
- I will handwave away the miracle of Ragnorak successfully making contact with Esthar after 17 years because ROMANCE SCENE. Rinoa sits on Squall’s lap, and he opens up about feeling alone and pushing people away. She assures him, “Squall, you’re the one who gives me the most comfort. Comfort and happiness. And disappointment, too!” It’s so freaking adorable.
- Rinoa knows she is a sorceress, so she thinks they can’t be together. Squall comforts her when she says she’s scared! She knows that Ultimecia wants to achieve time compression (still…why?) because Ultimecia is the only one capable of existing in such a world. I guess she just really wants to be a loner?
Let’s Wrap Things Up
- When Ragnorak lands, Rinoa is taken away to be imprisoned, and the rest of the gang shows up. Quistis reveals that Ellone has been kidnapped…again!! Gah.
- Quistis reveals that she has had no character growth, because she’s still hung up on Squall and being passive aggressive about it. “You weren’t thinking about anything but Rinoa when you jumped into space, huh? I wonder if anyone would do that for me? So where’s the princess who changed you?” C’MON QUISTIS, you’re a hot teacher! You can do better than lusting after your student-brother!
- Squall decides to save Rinoa again, and they get a dramatic CGI embrace.
“Even if you end up as the world’s enemy, I’ll. I’ll be your knight.”
- Back in Esthar, we finally learn that Laguna is the President and Dr. Odine explains the plan to take down Ultimecia. It’s very timely wimey and weird, but Laguna sums it up as “It’s about love, friendship, and courage.” I…don’t think it is, man.
This whole final plot is so tacked on and ridiculous. I’m glad for the romance stuff, but these final discs are not necessary. Ending with a battle between the Gardens and against Edea would have been way more emotionally satisfying.
Oh well, we’ve still more to go! Next up: All the weird side plots and the final confrontation!