Final Fantasy VII Challenge Hours 16-18: Back on the Chocobo

Wait, I’m still doing this thing? It seems that I am.

Yeah, it’s been some time since I last updated my year-long quest to finish Square’s epic Final Fantasy VII within a single calendar year. Naturally, this would be a lot easier if it were 20 years ago, when I had significantly fewer calls on my time.

Read also:
Retro recollections: Can I replay Final Fantasy VII?
Retro recollections: Final Fantasy VII: The Adventure Continues (for now)
Final Fantasy VII challenge week 3: Keeping the dream alive
Retro Recollections: Final Fantasy 7 Challenge: Hour 4: Working On The Train Gang
Retro recollections: Final Fantasy VII challenge hour five: The ups and the downs
Retro recollections: Final Fantasy VII: Hour 6-8: Big bad Sephiroth
Final Fantasy VII Challenge Hour 9: Kentucky Fried Chocobo
Final Fantasy VII challenge Hour 10-12: Hitting the wall
Final Fantasy VII Challenge Hours 12-16: The Dark Souls Conundrum

Still, last Sunday night, I was struck by the urge to avoid doing my Japanese language revision pick up my controller and get back to my FF7 save. So I did just that, and got right back into the action.

Well, sort of. The problem is that the last time I played this save it was (and there’s no getting past it) April. It’s now August, and while those months do share an initial capital letter, there’s a significant span of time between them.

That meant that the first 15 minutes of play were simply spent remembering what it is that I was meant to be doing. For those keeping track in a narrative sense, I’m just outside Nibelheim at this point, chasing down Sephiroth, who always seems to be one step ahead. Well, up until I meet him, anyway.

Lucky he doesn’t want me dead. Although if I had instead snuck up on him and shanked him, this game would be over mighty quick. Or in other words, Cloud is still an idiot.

This then extends to a secondary problem, and it’s a complex one. Getting out of the mansion involves combat that severely taxes my team more than once, and then heading up to Mount Nibel, a task that eats up the better part of an hour by itself, is too much. We’re all killed, so I sigh, and start again.

An hour or so later… and while I do get to the next ordained save spot, I take about three steps from it… and I’m killed again.

Artist’s animated impression of my current success in Final Fantasy VII

Which then reveals a larger problem I’m likely to have going forward, namely that I can’t. I’m not entirely capable as a team of facing down the foes in this area with any kind of ease, and while this does mean I can get by with lots of restore spells and potions, that’ll only take me so far before I’m killed again. Given that it can be some serious time between available save spots, that’s not a task I’m happy to undertake on the chance that might survive.

Which means that in just over two hours of gameplay, I’ve maybe ground forward about 30 minutes of actual gameplay. Probably less.

I’m once again hooked by the narrative and that exceptional score, but what I really need to do is grind in order to level up enough to proceed at some kind of acceptable pace. I might even need to backtrack and pick up whatever extra goodies I’ve missed on my rush through the game.

Finding time enough to play was hard enough, but grinding for levels might just be a step too much. Stay tuned.

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