Part 9: Episode 4 - Home MoviesEpisode 4 - Home Movies
Welcome back. We've put this off long enough. It's time to go back home, where Yuna's pilgrimage started.
This must be how a runaway feels after coming home. This is the first time I've returned to Besaid since my journey began.
I'm a little nervous.
I bet, the way you took off without a word.
Yeah, you said it.
The thing about Wakka is that he forgot about 30% of his accent between games. It's really noticeable if you play them back to back.
Well, as long as you're okay, ya?
Oh, this is Paine. We're looking for spheres together.
So you're a sphere hunter now...
Gotta say, though... You, uh, do seem pretty different.
Whoa! Cut it out, ya! I'm going to be a father soon. Got to have a little more presence, you know?
Wakka is supposed to be slightly chubby, but his character model hasn't changed a bit. That's lazy, but not as bad as five minutes from now.
How much longer?
Any day now!
Wakka, a daddy!
To tell the truth, I sure don't feel like one. I mean, how do I know how a father's supposed to act in front of his kid?
Why not just do what your parents did?
You don't have any spheres of them?
Nope, not a single...
Oh, uh... nothing, nothing. Anyway, do me a favor and go say hi to Lu. She's been worried about you.
All Wakka does now is mutter about something. It's not hard to put the pieces together; he's thinking there might be a sphere of his parents around. The game acts like this is a big mystery. It's kind of annoying, but not damningly so. Wakka's arc in this segment has enough heart for me to overlook a little bit of .
Let's explore a little before advancing the plot. In the item shop, there's a rare key for sale for nearly a million gil. If you come here first thing after the Gagazet mission, and you're not on a New Game +, there's no way you have this much lying around. I only had 600k on this save file myself. It's all right, though; we don't even know what it's for yet.
Never mind. The chest that key opens is in Besaid Temple. We'll get back to it in a second.
Since the fayth is gone, they've apparently closed off the Cloister. There's no point in trials if there's nothing to win, right?
Inside the middle house on the right is another former playable character.
Here's the really lazy modeling job. Lulu is supposed to be pregnant, and hasn't changed a vector from the first game either. Maybe the belts are holding it in.
So tell us about the baby! It's gonna be born soon, right?
Hm. Not yet. Wakka's getting a little ahead of himself. So, care to go for a little walk?
I could use the exercise. Come on.
Okay, a quick note about Wakka and Lulu's relationship. On the one hand, I totally see how it could happen. They've shared some intense experiences, sorrow and joy, and when we first met them in the prequel they already kind of interacted like a bickering married couple. The thing is, since we didn't get to see how it happened, it's kind of abrupt. It's like watching the first fifteen minutes of a romcom and then fastforwarding to the climax. So even though it's completely believable, it feels unbelievable, because we didn't get to see any of the buildup.
Anyway, Lulu walks us up to the cliff shrine overlooking the docks.
Kimahri said he found it on Mt. Gagazet.
It does look like him. Though something seems a little off.
Lulu's voice acting has changed since the prequel as well, but it's actually appropriate to her character. Her coldness in the prequel was partly the pain of having lost Chappu, but time and happiness seems to have warmed her considerably. Listen and judge for yourself. Also, this scene serves as a reminder if we haven't watched the New Beginnings sphere yet.
Video: Lulu's Walk
Have you found anything?
Nothing. But there's still a lot of places we haven't looked yet.
Must be fun, being free to go where you please.
It is fun. I never expected a journey quite like this.
I'm not there, so you can spread your wings.
You have spread your wings. Well, good luck. But, Yuna, never forget who you are.
I'll be all right. I won't let myself be used anymore. Not by anyone.
This is actually very good advice. We've already been recruited by one cult of personality, and I bet New Yevon is going to be just as eager to get Yuna's endorsement.
Yuna gets interrupted by a soft exclamation.
I wanna feel!
Everybody runs up to feel the pregnant woman's belly. I am guilty of this myself.
We sleep over in their house, even though there's only one bed and it can't hold all of us and the pregnant woman at the same time. In the morning...
He left at daybreak. He said something about a cave.
A cave? I wonder what he's up to.
Want us to go find out?
Yeah, there might be fiends.
The monsters on Besaid have 50 HP, tops. What are you worried about?
Thanks. Though, I doubt he'd have trouble handling a few fiends. Still, I'm a little worried. It's not like Wakka to hide things.
That's funny. I don't remember there being any cave.
I don't know much about it either. Would you mind asking around?
The game desperately wants to give us something to do beyond run around and talk to people, so we have to solve a puzzle as well. In accordance with the Perversity Principle, all the townsfolk now spew obvious hints about a four-digit password and how to find those digits.
The bulk of the puzzle is spoiled by the Aurochs, who have apparently taken over the former Crusader tent. They tell you where to find three of the four digits and what order they go in.
Well, most of them do.
Note that the locations of the digits are given away both by flashes of light and red boxes on the minimap. This really is Baby's First Number Puzzle.
The door itself is located at a fork just before we reach the beach. Investigating it reveals how little thinking we'll have to do for this puzzle; the game is recording the digits we discover and putting them in the correct order for us.
And yet, once we've got them all, we still have to input the password ourselves.
Really, there's no reason this mission couldn't have been purely plot. Running around and talking to people would have been just as satisfying without tacking on this poorly-realized scavenger hunt.
Inside the cave, Wakka's having a crisis.
We came to check on you.
Is there something in this cave?
Uh, yeah... something like that. Who knows, maybe it's not here, ya? But I thought, "what if..." Maybe it's for real. Then again, maybe it never was. Been so long, I'm not sure anymore.
Somebody just took his first existentialism class.
I think this is the first time Paine speaks during the mission, and she's obviously sick of this waffling.
Right. But you see... I wanna know, and then I sorta don't wanna know.
Aw, man, make up your mind! What is this thing, anyway?
Well, uh... See, I heard this was this old sphere.
A sphere? Of what?
A sphere of... you know. What does it matter?
Somebody said the magic word. Paine elbows past Wakka.
We're sphere hunters, remember?
The delivery on this line is so priceless, I had to put the scene in video.
Video: Wakka Spelunks
It's as good as ours!
Now that we're inside the cave, we see that there's a place to enter a second password. This is where that locked chest comes in.
If we had enough for the key, we could get a kind of radar detector for spheres out of that chest in the temple. Its only use is on Besaid, finding the code to that second door.
Once we have it, we can hold down the circle button to activate a proximity sensor. When it turns red, we've found a hidden sphere and can dig it up.
The hidden sphere acts as a pair of binoculars, letting us peer around the environment for hidden spheres with numbers on them. Unlike the first door, we have to record these numbers and try out different combinations ourselves.
There are four ways to approach this. First, we can pay the 900,000 gil for the key and get the combination as the game intended. Second, we can pay the 900,000 gil, get the combination, then reset the game to before we bought the key; the code won't change and we save all that money for other things. Third, we can try all 10,000 combinations one at a time, which would take forever and be really boring.
Fourth, we can decide to never open the second door, because the reward is a Garment Grid we already got on a previous playthrough and New Game + means we don't have to care. Guess which option I picked?
The dungeon is really short and boring, and before we know it, we find that sphere. I don't know why these things are always resting perfectly on special pedestals, but whatever. My magical future knowledge tells me there's a boss fight attached to this sphere, so I hit the menus to prepare.
All three girls are using the Heart of Flame grid, which we got from the Mushroom Rock Road mission, which absorbs fire elemental damage. Yuna's rocking the new Black Mage job, with the Circlet we won from Tobli's mission increasing our Magic and Magic Defense and a Silver Bracer from the Mi'ihen Travel Agency Shop boosting her MP. Rikku's the Warrior, with that Muscle Belt from the Gagazet mission and Gauntlets, which are like half a Muscle Belt, increasing her Strength and Defense. Paine will be our support, wearing Songstress, an Iron Bangle to give her slightly more HP, and our White Ring in case she wants to contribute with some damage.
The most observant adventurers ever.
No more rhyme, it's battle time!
Video: Boss: Flame Dragon
The Flame Dragon, as the name suggests, uses fire attacks and is weak to ice. The plan for damage is the same as it was for Boris: let the job with the strongest Magic strike its elemental weakness. I went with the worst-case scenario and only used first level magic, but someone playing through the first time could easily have unlocked Blizzara by now.
I think I have to take back every nasty thing I ever said about the Songstress. For 4 MP, Paine's first action gives the party +100 Evasion. Between that and absorbing the boss' fire attack, I beat the boss without taking any damage. Rikku uses Sentinel until it's clear that the boss isn't ever going to hit me, and then starts setting up Chains for Yuna. It's over quickly.
Here's why most first-time players might want to do this mission as soon as possible. Not only is the White Mage job very useful in long battles, it opens up this last option on the main menu. Pick a character and she'll flip over to White Mage temporarily, without having to juggle her dressphere or grid, letting you use her MP reserves to heal up between battles. You'll usually have one character with a physical class who isn't really using her MP, and this is what you do with it. Having White Mage really enhances your long-term survivability.
Once we're back at the entrance, we take a look at the sphere we found.
Nothing about Wakka's parents, but it shows us the locations of some treasure chests on the island, including the one we get to through that second door.
Video: Treasure Map
Nah, 'fraid not.
Well... It's a sphere of our parents. Chappu said he found it. Sin got our parents not long after Chappu was born. We were both too young to remember their faces, you know? When we were kids, we got into a fight one time and Chappu said: "I found a sphere with mom and dad in it, but I'm not telling you where it is."
So there it is. This whole mission is the result of a child trying to hurt his brother's feelings.
And you never asked him?
I was too boneheaded to let my little brother win. So I went on without asking until I just forgot about it. Then yesterday, talking with you made me think about it again. Chappu used to play in this cave, so I thought maybe he found the sphere here, ya?
I keep typing Chappy by accident transcribing this part.
See, I got this picture of my parents in my head, ya? Strong, and kind... Whenever things got tough, those are the parents I imagined. But their real faces might be totally different, ya? I think about that and I'm not so sure I really wanna know. I was sittin' there trying to figure out what to do. And then you guys showed up.
The sphere might still be somewhere on the island. Should we look for it?
Nah, that's all right. I'm through worrying about that stuff. What's past is past, ya? Can't let it get to me. I'm gonna be a father soon. Gotta pull it together!
That's right, Dad!
But, uh...Just how am I supposed to pull it together? Sure wish I had something to go by, you know?
Wakka's dilemma is the emotional payoff for this otherwise pointless diversion. Every new parent goes through this kind of uncertainty, and it plays nicely into the game's past/future dichotomy. Pretty much everyone in the game is struggling with living their lives; uncertain freedom, in many ways, is more frightening than certain doom.
Video: Schrodinger's Parents
I'm not going to say that the early plot of this game is bad, because it isn't. In fact, it's quite good. But it is uneventful. Not much of import really happens, as we're in the process of establishing a new normal, and most of the conflict stems from how people are handling their new lives. It's not full of pulse-pounding excitement, but it demonstrates a certain maturity of storytelling that they avoided mashing the "Happy Ending" button and resolving everybody's conflicts just because the big bad guy was dead. We see a bit of this, too, in Yuna's final speech in X, the gist of which was, "Sin is gone, now the real work begins."
Yeah, we'll be back soon.
Well, we're done on Besaid. What do our party members think about the runaround Wakka led us on?
So Wakka wants to see a father in action? He can forget about that good-for-nothing pop of mine.
First there's a sphere, then there isn't. Is he always like that?
Next time: we put things off until the last minute again.
P.S.: Suppose we play through the mission, then come back to try to buy that Besaid Key when we have more money?