Crispy Gamer

Jones: STILL Playing FF XII; Gets Killed By Werewolves; Penelo = Killed Too

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I've been chipping away at Final Fantasy XII over the past 10 days or so. And, to my surprise, I'm actually getting into it. I find myself looking forward to the little theme song that plays when the game first loads up. Doot, doot. Doot, doot. Doot, doot, etc.

One thing I've been having to learn how to deal with is the inherent ambiguity of the genre. I can't stand ambiguity. I need the world, and my books, and my movies, and my games--especially my games--to make perfect sense. (Music, less so.) I have a friend in Boston who made a baby about a year ago, and since his gaming time is severely limited now, he refuses to play anything but Rock Band. His reasoning: There is absolutely nothing about Rock Band that is ambiguous.

But FF XII throws a bunch of stuff at me--armlets and wolf pelts and fancy leather wear and various types of stones--and basically says, "Here. You figure out what to do with all of this shit."

Each time I collected something new for my inventory, a little bit more panic accrued in my panic tank.

And, in the vernacular of Gus Mastrapa, I had the unnerving, futile feeling that I was doing it wrong.

So I went on a real world question over the weekend, to Brooklyn, to seek the counsel of Old Man John Teti. (I also went out there to see the new cats, and his new apartment, and his lovely wife, AND his mom, who was in town for the weekend. But also to seek counsel regarding FF XII.)

While his wife and mom were busy doing other stuff, Teti and I had a private moment. I told him that I was going out into this desert area, and there were some hyenas, and I killed them, and some annoying bunny things (killed them), and some strange bipedal owl-like creatures (killed them; but sometimes they killed me). Penelo and I would kill as many of these things as we could, collect our XP, and then we'd limp back to the nearest Save Stone, and rejuvenate our health. Then, it was back to the desert to basically do the same thing. Then, some werewolves killed me and Penelo, and I remembered that an NPC had previously told me to STAY AWAY FROM THE WEREWOLVES, but I didn't heed said advice.

After an hour or so of this, as I explained to Teti, I began to wonder: Am I doing it wrong?

And this bit of anxiety gave rise to other bits of anxiety. Did I have the right equipment, you know, equipped? Was I on some advanced quest that I shouldn't even be on? Should I travel to the far side of the map and look for the zebra-unicorn thing that w1ndstorm suggested I look for?

Teti said: "You're fine."

Then he explained that one of the great pleasures of the game, and the FF series in general, comes from figuring out how to play the game. "Nothing is ever explained," he said. "Just stay with it, and you'll figure it out. No matter what you're doing, you're not doing it wrong."

In other words: the answers will reveal themselves eventually.

Later that night, back in Queens, I purchased a couple of +15 Broadswords for Penelo and myself. "We've really earned it," I reasoned. "Look at all the Hyena Bs and Hyena Cs we've slaughtered!" But when I went to equip them, the game had the Broadswords grayed out in my inventory. I cursed a blue streak.

Then, just as Teti has promised, the answer revealed itself to me. 

Duh, I thought. I don't have the proper LICENSE to wield these swords.

Back into the license menu I went. Proper licenses were acquired for both of us. And the two of us went back into the desert, leaving a trail of perpetually vanishing Hyena corpses behind us. My AT Rating (Ambiguity Tolerance): +2.