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View Full Version : Change in plot, Giruvegan/crystals ftw??



silverjunky
09-19-2010, 12:37 AM
Okay is it just me or was the whole occuria/gods/espers/crystals/empty ancient giruvegan thing a HELL of a lot more interesting in this game than the lacklustre political intrigue plot they actually tried?

Lets face it in a fantasy rpg of huge mmorpg style adventuring etc, having a political intirigue story just doesnt really work, its almost impossible to tie that type of storytelling into what a bunch of characters are doing running around a huge jungle killing monsters fantasy style gameplay, yes...no? (im with yes obviously lol).

Also to me what was really interesting in this game, and really annoyingly almost never mentioned at all is that bloody great crystal and what is it for/doing/point/or purpose in giruvegan, which coincidentally are where the occuria reside. When i saw that in my first playthru I though "oooh looks like things are going to get interesting". Instead the characters find giruvegan (an ancient lost out of time city of ancients) and dont even blink an eyelid, they merrily stroll in....aaannnd wait there is mist, lots and lots of mist, and then this huuuuuuuuuggggeee crystal starts to appear the further down you explore and your characters...............trundle in then out and say noooothing whatsoever, they get a sword and potter back to Balfonheim and never mention giruvegan/the crystal/the occuria/the whole mysteriousness of it again, case closed. Major story writing failure? yes in my book.
Anyway rant over. lol Thoughts?

Flying Arrow
09-19-2010, 07:25 AM
I can't really comment as I haven't played the game since I beat it on release. A lot of the details escape me now. However, I do remember not being particularly fond of the Giruvegan twist. Who knows how I'd feel about it now, but at the time of my playing the game I much preferred the political intrigue plots.

Depression Moon
09-21-2010, 11:06 PM
I would comment, but the game's pacing was so bad that I forgot what the fuck the game was even about.

Bolivar
09-22-2010, 05:53 PM
Well, like other Ivalice games, as well as other Final Fantasy games, I believe you'll find that different dimensions of the story dominate in the beginning while the more fantastical elements come in later on as the big picture.

In FFTactics, you're introduced to a world of social stratification, secret plots by warring nobles, a grand political story as many claim. But eventually you come to a story of good and evil involving supernatural forces and magic.

Same thing in FFVII with Midgar, Shinra, etc., but in the end it's all about Meteor, Sephiroth, Weapon, the Planet itself, really.

FFXII was no different and I personally believed both elements, the political and the mystical, to be just as interesting. It makes me wish there was more to the game than just the bestiary/text supplement to explain everything.

Persephone Stephanie
09-25-2010, 01:07 AM
I like to consider XII an imperialistic political drama with the underlying theme of humanity's (or rather, humes') emanicipation from divine intervention. I hesitate to refer to the Occuria as 'divine', but in the context of the game they may as well be gods; gods against whom Venat, Doctor Cid, Vayne and Ashe struggle to throw off a long history of Occurian manipulation of human affairs so that the people of Ivalice can forge their own future. As the people of Dalmasca are under the thumb of the Archadian Empire, so is all of sentient life in Ivalice under the thumb of the Occurians (consider that all the Viera, Bangaa, Moogles and other species who live amongst hume society, even those who live outside it, would be subject to the effects of war); in the end not only one kingdom, but a whole continent of peoples is liberated from its oppressors. Their (political) will becomes their own again, no longer subject to whatever plans the Occurians held for Ivalice.

I'd consider it an oversimplification to call Vayne and the Occurians "evil" and Ashe and the crew "good". Those terms are inadequate for the characters. The Occuria, for example: they had a vision for the world unlike anything a mortal could imagine; they had power; they knew how they wanted to wield it, but needed an agent to act through. A bit like God in the Bible, but less terrifying because they can't conjure floods to just kill everyone in Ivalice when the little people refuse to follow their orders. Now that's what I call evil. No, the Occurians seemed to me beings powerless without humans to manipulate, incapable of assuming corporeal forms through which they could do things themselves; they're scheming, shadowy and sinister beings with an agenda incomprehensible to men, but not "evil". I felt the same about Vayne. I admired and was creeped out by him. The villains in XII were not black and white which to me is one of its greatest appeals.

I don't think the game was any less political near the end, but the politics were elevated from the human realm to a divine one. They are necessarily intertwined. I do think they could have executed parts of it better with more exposition, but I still really like the whole story...

Marshall Banana
10-02-2010, 06:28 PM
I would comment, but the game's pacing was so bad that I forgot what the smurf the game was even about.
Only if you distract yourself with all the exploration and side quests the game provides!

Crop
10-05-2010, 12:49 AM
Same thing in FFVII with Midgar, Shinra, etc., but in the end it's all about Meteor, Sephiroth, Weapon, the Planet itself, really.

FFXII was no different and I personally believed both elements, the political and the mystical, to be just as interesting. It makes me wish there was more to the game than just the bestiary/text supplement to explain everything.

Yeah, except FFVII's pacing and the political characters (Rufus, Shinra etc) were done so much better, and they tied easily in with the mystical story.

Although I really enjoyed the gameplay and sidequests of XII, I felt the story was one of the weakest in the FF series. I'd rather they had focused on the political side of it more, it seemed to me like they did both sides half-arsed.
The majority of the judges felt two dimensional, and were just anons in metal armor, the Rozarria Empire was barely even mentioned dispite being one of the most serious plot points, and the mythical stuff was just spread out on top.

I was actually surprised the game ended where it did. The story seemed very very short.

Roogle
10-06-2010, 08:52 PM
[Although I really enjoyed the gameplay and sidequests of XII, I felt the story was one of the weakest in the FF series. I'd rather they had focused on the political side of it more, it seemed to me like they did both sides half-arsed.

I agree. I felt like we had little time to really get involved in the political drama or the mystical drama. I would have rather played a story more closely related to the original Final Fantasy Tactics than what we got.

The problem with the pacing, for me, came with the lack of dialogue and events during long dungeons. The penultimate dungeon with over a hundred stories literally became a chore to me as the characters had no interaction with each other aside from the events at the entrance, and I was not completely sure why Reddas was in the party at all when I try to remember it.

Depression Moon
10-06-2010, 10:04 PM
I would comment, but the game's pacing was so bad that I forgot what the smurf the game was even about.
Only if you distract yourself with all the exploration and side quests the game provides!

I didn't a whole lot of hunts throughout the main quest. Usually only when beating a dungeon or something. Even without that the dungeons and fields are so long without hardly any cutscenes to keep you up on the happening in the story as well.

Bolivar
10-08-2010, 01:33 AM
Yeah, except FFVII's pacing and the political characters (Rufus, Shinra etc) were done so much better, and they tied easily in with the mystical story.

While I definitely agree that VII was much better than XII on the way it told a story, I still gotta come to the game's defense.

...Actually there's really nothing I can say to defend it. I was just as disappointed with FFXII as anyone in this thread. But somewhere along the line I think I really lost myself in the exploration, the battle system, and the customization of characters. I got so heavily involved in the actual "game" side of the disc (which is unbelievably deep, arguably deeper than any other FF (save VIII ironically)) that whenever the story events actually happened they seemed so well directed, voiced, and it really hit me how awesome the story actually is. There's just a lot of "game" that gets in the way, and a lot of FF fans weren't ready for that, which may be a good or bad thing about our community.


Even without that the dungeons and fields are so long without hardly any cutscenes to keep you up on the happening in the story as well.

Even after falling in love with XII, still agree that segments like Giruvegan are indefensibly LONG with repetitive architecture. Even the Pharos, where some of the BEST parts of the story take place, is indefensibly boring and terribly paced as well.

Still, I can't wait to really sink myself back into this game. XII is unbelievable in many regards.

Forsaken Lover
10-09-2010, 09:34 PM
The best part of XII is undoubtedly the gameplay and the atmosphere it provides.

More than any other FF I've ever played I was immersed in the world provided to me. I actually felt like I was on an epic quest, exploring strange and wondrous lands.

Only drawback to it all for me was money. You'll never have enough unless you're willing to grind for insanely long periods of time.


As forFFXII's story it is terribly paced, that much is undeniable. However, as I've learned since completing the game, the story itself is just fine. If you stand back and look at it, without the clouding effects of very long dungeons and wandering, it all fits together rather nicely IMO.

And I have to disagree about Shinra fitting in better than Archadia. By the second disk, Shinra was just wasting my time as far as I was concerned. There was a big cosmic superbeing getting ready to destroy the world with his rock...and I'm supposed to care about these tiny peons in suits?

It doesn't help that the game give syou conflicting signals about whether or not Shinra is superfluous or actually useful. We get one of the best moments in the game with Sapphire Weapon's attack on Junon where we watch as Shinra is pretty much helpless.
Then, out of nowhere, they kill it.

Then later, they go through all the effort of sending up the rocket into Meteor. It's totally ineffective.

Then they go and manage to take down a Weapon and Sephiroth's barrier.

It's like the game couldn't decide whether Shinra were just a bunch of powerless losers or actually a force to be reckoned with.

Archadia on the other hand was a threat from start to finish. The Occuria were never he real enemy of the game. They were undesirable and may in fact have been Dr. Ci's enemy but to the gamer and the protagonists, it was always Archadia and then more specifically, Vayne.

It should be noted that the Occuria are not powerless. They waged a war with the Espers for a thousand years. They made Giruvegan and the Sun Cryst. They could easily wipe out everyone if they chose to.

But, after the war, it seems they prefer to just rule quietly and manipulate people now and then.

As for the topic at hand, I agree with the OP. Once the Occuria are introduced I definitely thought the story took a more intriguing turn. That is not to say I didn't like the scenes with the Judges and Archadia. In fact, the scenes with the Empire were almost always better than scenes with the protagonists.

Crop
10-10-2010, 02:15 AM
And I have to disagree about Shinra fitting in better than Archadia. By the second disk, Shinra was just wasting my time as far as I was concerned. There was a big cosmic superbeing getting ready to destroy the world with his rock...and I'm supposed to care about these tiny peons in suits?

It doesn't help that the game give syou conflicting signals about whether or not Shinra is superfluous or actually useful. We get one of the best moments in the game with Sapphire Weapon's attack on Junon where we watch as Shinra is pretty much helpless.
Then, out of nowhere, they kill it.

Then later, they go through all the effort of sending up the rocket into Meteor. It's totally ineffective.

Then they go and manage to take down a Weapon and Sephiroth's barrier.

It's like the game couldn't decide whether Shinra were just a bunch of powerless losers or actually a force to be reckoned with.

How on Earth do you figure that? The basic story of Shinra is that they are the strongest power on the world at the time, their power stretching across all continents. When something threatens that power (the Weapons and Sephiroth) they try to do something about it. I really don't know what you mean about an indecision about them being useless or usefull. They're not going to solve every problem faced with them, or fail at every one.

I thought the story was handled excellently in that manner. A quote made by Rufus when Sapphire is attacking is something like "Can we handle all these attacks?" It's a realistic approch to how a Superpower might handle an unknown enemy, with varying victories and defeats. It eventually leads to Shinra's defeat, but was done so gradually, tying in with the rest of the story, even moving it along at some points (Removing Sephiroth's barrier).

I'd honestly be curious to know how you would have handled Shinra in the 2nd+ disk.

Forsaken Lover
10-10-2010, 03:03 AM
I'd have them destroyed. They didn't add anything to the game that was necessary as far as I saw. Sure, the main story started off focusing on them but after you leave Midgar, it's all the hunt for Sephiroth. Shinra becomes no more important than the side stories iN Corel, Cosmo Canyon, etc..

I'm not saying we shouldn't have multiple antagonists or anything. To the contrary, I think FFVII desperately needed more Hojo screentime. He was a good villain and could have done a lot more if he hadn't been bagged down with the useless other Shinra employees.

Crop
10-10-2010, 03:13 AM
I'd have them destroyed. They didn't add anything to the game that was necessary as far as I saw. Sure, the main story started off focusing on them but after you leave Midgar, it's all the hunt for Sephiroth. Shinra becomes no more important than the side stories iN Corel, Cosmo Canyon, etc..

I'm not saying we shouldn't have multiple antagonists or anything. To the contrary, I think FFVII desperately needed more Hojo screentime. He was a good villain and could have done a lot more if he hadn't been bagged down with the useless other Shinra employees.

But they do get destroyed. Sure it's the hunt for Sephiroth, but what would really happen in the second disk without Shinra? They really play a huge part in it. The search for the Huge Materia, as well as the Weapons wanting to destory all that is harming the planet.
The whole game is really a Cloud and Co vs Shinra game, the first disk being both groups trying to find Sephiroth, the second disk both of them trying to find the Huge Materia and get into the Northern Crater. Only the short third disk cuts out Shinra, they're a huge part of the story and I can't see how the second disk would function without them.

Marshall Banana
10-10-2010, 06:29 AM
I would comment, but the game's pacing was so bad that I forgot what the smurf the game was even about.
Only if you distract yourself with all the exploration and side quests the game provides!

I didn't a whole lot of hunts throughout the main quest. Usually only when beating a dungeon or something. Even without that the dungeons and fields are so long without hardly any cutscenes to keep you up on the happening in the story as well.
Maybe you should play it again! I played through it again recently, and I got a lot more out of it than I did during my first play-through.

LunaRaven
09-02-2011, 05:17 AM
I like to consider XII an imperialistic political drama with the underlying theme of humanity's (or rather, humes') emanicipation from divine intervention. I hesitate to refer to the Occuria as 'divine', but in the context of the game they may as well be gods; gods against whom Venat, Doctor Cid, Vayne and Ashe struggle to throw off a long history of Occurian manipulation of human affairs so that the people of Ivalice can forge their own future. As the people of Dalmasca are under the thumb of the Archadian Empire, so is all of sentient life in Ivalice under the thumb of the Occurians (consider that all the Viera, Bangaa, Moogles and other species who live amongst hume society, even those who live outside it, would be subject to the effects of war); in the end not only one kingdom, but a whole continent of peoples is liberated from its oppressors. Their (political) will becomes their own again, no longer subject to whatever plans the Occurians held for Ivalice.

I'd consider it an oversimplification to call Vayne and the Occurians "evil" and Ashe and the crew "good". Those terms are inadequate for the characters. The Occuria, for example: they had a vision for the world unlike anything a mortal could imagine; they had power; they knew how they wanted to wield it, but needed an agent to act through. A bit like God in the Bible, but less terrifying because they can't conjure floods to just kill everyone in Ivalice when the little people refuse to follow their orders. Now that's what I call evil. No, the Occurians seemed to me beings powerless without humans to manipulate, incapable of assuming corporeal forms through which they could do things themselves; they're scheming, shadowy and sinister beings with an agenda incomprehensible to men, but not "evil". I felt the same about Vayne. I admired and was creeped out by him. The villains in XII were not black and white which to me is one of its greatest appeals.

I don't think the game was any less political near the end, but the politics were elevated from the human realm to a divine one. They are necessarily intertwined. I do think they could have executed parts of it better with more exposition, but I still really like the whole story...

I concur with all the points that have been extrapulated here, and I commend you on a very detailed and meritorious post. I do not share the OP's opinion of the Occurian plot being more interesting than the political intrigue in FFXII, because in my mind they are inseperable. Up until Giruvegan, we are given a very traditional, "god guys v. bad guys" sort of plot wich only hints of something larger(like the humanity of the otherwise villainized nation of Archadia seen through the party's exploration there) and more profound. Once the story reaches Giruvegan, the underlying plot of the game becomes realized and it is, as Persephone Stephanie theorized, a tale of people breaking out of the restraints of an allegedly higher force(or you could even simplify this to "destiny") and choosing their own course in life. Ashe, after learning that her rage has been fueled by a deception employed by the Occuria, comes to the crossroads at Pharos and decides not to be a pawn. Vaan, who was most likely intended to be the Occurias' failsafe as he was plagued with images of his brother, eventually lets go of his need for revenge and focuses instead on doing what he believes is right. Dr.Cid learns of the role the Occuria have caused in manipulating history and instigating wars, and decides to take control himself--though in a very different way than Ashe. Vayne, who had been manipulated from a young age into being a sword for the Empire(such as having him dispose of his older brothers), took his ambition and used it to try to wrench the reigns of history from the Occurias' hands and to finally control his own destiny. Ironically, all of these characters are really looking for the same thing, but they've been caught in the cross fire between the Occuria and the "heretic" Venat, who has decided that the time for humes to control their own destinies has arrived.

In my mind, I can't seperate the Giruvegan "plot" and the politcal "plot" because in the end, they're both apart of the same plot.

Where I will agree however, is that I wish we had been given more information about Giruvegan, the Occuria, and the giant Crystal. One of the beautiful aspects of this game is its subtlety, which makes itself more apparent on each playthough. This is one area, however, where I wish they hadn't been quite so subtle and more straightforward. I had always hoped these loose plot strings would be woven together in a sequel. *Sigh RW*