Part 61: Episode 30 - Tadaima
W.T. Fits posted:
I don't like this ending. It sucks.
Okay, okay, okay. What I showed off last time was an ending, but it was the Bad Ending, unique to the Vegnagun's head boss fight. The prequel had one of these too; if you took too long fighting Sin during one battle, he would cast Giga-Graviton, which would make you lose the game even if you survived the attack because it caused too much collateral damage. A sufficiently pyrrhic victory is no victory at all.
The VegHead fight works the same way. When Auron tells you that Vegnagun is halfway charged, that's not just flavor text. Take too long, and that cutscene plays and then dumps you back to the title screen.
But there's some happier endings to show off, so...
Episode 30 - Tadaima
Welcome back. Let's pick it up at the Vegnagun's head boss fight, only without waiting around for the failure condition to trigger.
Video: Boss: Vegnagun's Head
Vegnagun's down for the count. Now for Plan B.
We see Yuna through Shuyin's eyes. He's just out of reality enough that this might work.
There's something I must tell you. Words left unspoken for a thousand years.
And I'm grateful...grateful that you stayed with me until the end.
But, I couldn't save you!
It doesn't matter. Please don't go on grieving alone.
This time, when Yuna speaks, Lenne's voice speaks with her.
It's enough to finally pull Shuyin out of Baralai.
But when he uses his own eyes, the illusion starts to fade.
Seriously, all the times Yuna had to tell him that, and the one time she wants to trick him, he figures it out on his own?
Much like the final boss in FFX, Shuyin isn't actually as difficult as the fight before him. He's only one guy, and most of his attacks are single-target.
He does, however, fight exactly like Tidus, right down to the Overdrives, which is neat.
The worst of his attacks is Terror of Zanarkand, which can wear down a single target pretty effectively, but he rotates through his Overdrives, so you won't see it often. Ironically, the climactic final hit is actually less effective than the others because it takes so long it breaks the Chain combo.
Stealing from Shuyin is also one of the very few and unrepeatable ways to get a Hero Drink. Well, guess I'll have this for my next playthrough.
Video: Final Boss: Shuyin
Defeated, Shuyin starts impotently sulking.
He won't hear it from Yuna.
Fortunately, they're not really Yuna's words.
Shuyin freaks out and tries to scramble away. With all of his guilt, shame, and anger, Lenne is the one person he can't bear to face.
This moment's enough. I don't need anything else. Just knowing how you feel is enough.
That was all a thousand years ago. We've come too far to look back now. Rest, Shuyin. Rest with me.
Most ghosts don't bother to thank you after possessing you, but Lenne is good people.
And finally, two spirits, living beyond their time, let go together. Well, one's a bunch of reprogrammed bits of other spirits, and the other is a recorded memory brought to life by the consequences of poorly understood technology, but still.
With everything done, the Gullwings return to their allies. No words are needed.
And the final chapter comes to a close. Players aiming for 100% should, well, be there now.
Now we get to see the endings, of which there are a few.
Leaving the Farplane, we pass through the field of flowers one more time. As we found out in Chapter 3, this field is the key to the game's arbitrarily hidden content. If we just let the scene play, Yuna walks off and the ending is boring, but if we press X...
...a whistle rings out.
From this point, the ending proceeds along a few different branches. The following is what happens along the default branch.
Yuna's never been to the Farplane to see Tidus. She wasn't prepared for something like this to happen. But after having Braska, Jecht, and Auron with her during that final battle...
I kept thinking you might be, kept hoping. But you know, I'm not worried anymore. You will always have a place... here in my heart. We'll always be connected.
And thus Yuna moves forward.
The next scene opens back at Luca, like the opening scene, and like the ending of the prequel. It's like poetry. It rhymes.
But this time it's the former Crimson Squad giving the public address.
We would sail a ship, with me as its captain. In time, I became that captain. I found a new ship with new friends. My ship was the Youth League.
The League members in the audience erupt in raucous applause.
And the Yevonites golf clap.
We want a captain. And we want a ship to ride, but more important than that... Really, we all want to ride together.
There are some things you can't do alone. But they become easy with friends beside you.
This was the lesson that we learned when we launched those ships.
It was power... And we misused that power. We turned our friends and followers against each other.
The crowd doesn't quite know what to think of this public apology. It's a pretty new thing for them, to actually have the leaders who screwed things up for everyone step forward and admit it.
Also, are you wondering why Gippal's apologizing? It's easy to forget that his faction was selling weapons to the other two. We'll still forgive him, though, because he's awesome.
Somehow we forgot. There's a much larger ship out there. One we've been riding ever since we were born. That ship is Spira.
No one knows just where our voyage will lead us. But we do know one thing:
The Calm will continue.
It's even odds whether Nooj has actually gotten over his suicidal urges or just feels too much responsibility towards the world to punch out now.
Just one more thing:
Yeah, you all know who I'm talking about. We really hoped that she could be here today.
Quick flashback to just before the speech.
This doesn't make a whole lot of sense on its own, but we saw the extra scenes on the airship, so we know what she means. Yuna's home now is the world, and the airship, and the skies.
She left a message. She said she's going home. So farewell, but not goodbye.
Of course Brother buzzes the dome before they leave.
So much has happened.
And I'm sure it's only the beginning.
Through the smiles and tears, through the anger...
...and the laughter that follows...
It all began when I saw this sphere of you.
Video: Ending FMV
Now the credits roll, over which plays an extended, more orchestral arrangement of 1000 Words. Go watch the credits; at least about half of those names actually put a lot of thought and effort into this game.
Video: End Credits
We can listen to the music for a while, and then the ending screen will tell us our completion percentage, the number of times we've finished the game, and our final levels. Afterward, we get the opportunity to save New Game + data.
That's the Normal Ending. But what about the Good Ending? If we talked to Maechen at Guadosalam, and heard all four of the whistles when Yuna fell into the Farplane the first time...
...it's not Tidus that appears.
You're very welcome.
You heard it, didn't you? You want to see him?
Last choice of the game. We can actually choose "no" here.
And Yuna walks away. The rest plays the same as before...
...except for a short scene after the credits, showing two monkeys watching the spot where Tidus stood overlooking Zanarkand.
And the ending screen has a flying gull.
But we put in a lot of work to get the Good Ending, so why would we choose "no?"
I can't promise anything, but we'll do what we can.
The ending continues as usual until after the credits, when...
You knew this was coming the moment a sequel was announced.
Tidus seems to have materialized underwater, so it's a good thing he has gills. He stretches out his new limbs and swims for the surface.
Looks like he appeared just off the coast of Besaid.
He whistles, but no one is there to hear.
So he leans back and enjoys the sun for a bit. I kinda like this, that he's not immediately panicking, or wondering where Yuna or anybody else is. After two years of non-existence, he's just happy to be alive again, and Besaid isn't going anywhere.
Eventually, he gets bored and heads inland...
...when an unfamiliar object in the sky catches his attention.
And Brother nearly runs him over.
Yuna won't wait for a proper landing.
Are you real?
I think so.
I am back. I'm home.
Of course, if you make a spectacle like that, you're going to attract some gawkers.
I've been to Besaid. There's not room in that village for that many people. Where the hell did they all come from?
Also note that all these people are reacting to is a simple hug. This really is a sexless universe, isn't it? Content-rating-cautious media attempting to handle mature themes is one of those things that bothers me every time I notice it (another example; the "sex" scene in Metal Gear Solid 3).
Tidus takes off for the shore, leading Yuna by the hand, but she quickly overtakes him and starts pulling him along.
Well, you've missed a few things.
I wanna hear everything!
Well... It all began when I saw this sphere of you.
Video: Secret Ending
Opinions on this secret ending vary. It's a bit trite, I admit, and it's the most sequel-y thing the sequel does. It also kind of retroactively cheapens Tidus' sacrifice in the prequel by mashing the Happy Ending button. And him showing up at Besaid just in time to be seen by the Celsius is one of those coincidences that strains credulity. On the other hand, the same metaphysics that allowed Shuyin and the Dark Aeons to exist make Tidus' resurrection implicitly possible, so I can't exactly argue with it, and it's not like the game wasn't giving us any foreshadowing. And emotional justice, a term that gets used by the romance novelist community, exists for a reason; as unrealistic as it is, it's also pleasingly indulgent for that very reason.
So that's the Good Ending. But we're not done just yet. Our reward for 100% completion is one last scene at the end, which completes the Perfect Ending. Note that it's possible to have 100% completion and still miss this scene on a second cycle if you forget to meet the requirements for the secret ending.
Tidus and Yuna are standing in his spot, thinking.
I got a theory. I think the fayth gathered up my thoughts and put 'em together to bring me back. Maybe. Something like that.
So the aeons did to Tidus what Vegnagun or Shuyin did to the aeons, but without the turning him evil part. Sure, why not?
It's not a pleasant thing to consider, exactly how permanent Tidus might be. Then again, nobody's exactly permanent.
All right? We gotta stay together. That's what we have to do.
Nah. But I like it.
They laugh a little bit...
...and then Yuna pushes him into the water.
That's not cherishing!
You didn't disappear.
Remember when I was talking about how Yuna had grown not to live in fear of losing what she loved? Part of the reason I like this scene is because it underlines a completely plausible explanation for Tidus' reappearance, which both lampshades the issue and demonstrates that the characters involved aren't taking it for granted. You'd expect Tidus to wonder why he's alive again eventually. But mostly I like this scene because it reassures me that finding Tidus isn't going to reverse all of Yuna's character growth and turn her back into a demure, starry-eyed princess. I could easily see a team with less subtlety making that mistake, and the disappointment would have completely soured the game experience for me. I would have felt supremely betrayed after getting to know and watch this character grow for sixty hours of gameplay only to have the rug pulled out from under it.
This is nice, though. It's not a perfect execution. There was a little bit of a stumble on the landing. But for a Happily Ever After, it's very genuine.
Video: Perfect Ending
And the ending screen now has two gulls, flying together.
That is the true end of the game, and of the LP proper. Stay tuned for my final thoughts.