In total, it took just under five hours of game time to reach the point where all six characters become permanent members of the party. I’m talking, of course about my ‘roided out new game + of FFXII Intl. This point could have easily been reached in three hours, I believe, but even in my jobless state, I still felt compelled to do side quests, mob hunts, and chain enemies in the desert. What can I say? It’s a compulsion, and I love playing this game. Being at level 90 is quite a joy, and with the battle speed turned up and the fast forward mode on (yes, there’s a fast-forward mode that doubles the speed of the game), I’m like the god damn Tasmanian Devil with a knife. Also, I’m watching all of the cut scenes again, and some of you may be like, “Why?” and to that, I say, “Shut the fuck up.”
I haven’t seen most of these early ones in four months, and the story is a complex (epic) tale – one that is fascinating, but somewhat badly told. Major NPCs only get a couple of minutes of screen time for every two or three hours played, so you really need to play the game twice within the span of the same year to put it all together, I think. Also, I don’t skip the cutscenes because I never want to be so familiar with this game that I’m not fascinated by the story. It buffs my love for the characters and the world they live in. Without the story, I AM just a maniac, moving from one stage to the next with my band of merry badasses slaughtering wrathlessly up and down the Phon Coast for fun and profit. I prefer to be the maniac who believes in some disconnected way that I actually live in that world and have a stake in its future.
So now that we’re all together, it is time to choose jobs. I literally spent hours with the Ultimania guide weighing my options for potential job combinations, because as I said, this is a major decision – the one that will most affect the experience of how I play the game, and it is irreversible. I decided that this time, I would like to use a monk, a red mage, and a machinist. A monk uses staves, gets crazy hit points, and a couple of really excellent white magic spells. A red mage has a combination of white spells and black spells, and uses an assortment of maces and swords. A machinist uses guns and has a fair combination of spells, which are mostly buffs in the time/space region. Another class that I did not use the last time was the knight, who has access to the baddest ass armor and swords, as well as some killer white spells. It started becoming clear that a white mage may not be necessary this time around, even though it is a staple addition to any party. But shit, man, if we’re going to be at level 90, how hard can it be for a monk, knight, and red mage to pick up the slack? I did decide to keep a black mage around because it’s the best way to do mega damage to multiple enemies at once. Basch became a “breaker,” who bludgeons people to death with a hammer and does damage to enemies’ offense and defense, and that’s about that. Here’s a comparison of my old team and new team:
Va’an: Hunter / Monk
Balthier: Black Mage / Machinist
Fran: Time Mage / Red Mage
Basch: Dragoon / Basher
Asche: Archer / Knight
Panelo: White Mage / Black Mage
I would have very much liked to elaborate on this in a way that would be interesting and meaningful, but it’s time to Smash.