Greetings, geek fans! I was going to update my original post, but realized that I was going to be adding a lot of important details and visuals, so I decided to create part two. Don’t worry, all the goodness of part one is still available. In fact, if you need a refresher on the basics, allow me to link it for you.
Now that you’re caught up, let the geeks begin!
Alrighty, first item of business, the Monster Lab. As previously mentioned, as you defeat certain enemies, you gain their essence in the form of an atmalith. Take that atmalith to the lab, and for a fee, they’ll create a monster for you. The most expensive monster I’ve come across so far is 17,500 Gil, which isn’t all that bad after playing though hours of quests, or grinding for materials. The monsters themselves have their own abilities, and can level up, making them stronger. You can take up to three companions, depending on the size of their load. Not like that! There isn’t monster jizz or anything like that going on. Although, that is something the Japanese are jokingly known for. Load is the unit of measurement of the monster’s size. Again, not like that. Shockingly. Smaller, weaker, creatures have a load of 100, so you could take three, as your max is 300. However, creatures like say, Chocobos, have a load of 200, so you can bring one, and something smaller like say, Cactuar. There are two monsters I’ve seen so far that have a full load. Yeah, that time it was intentional. Black Knight, and Tonberry are deadly, and don’t want anyone else cramping their style. As they level up, they get ridiculously strong. I’ve got my knight at level 42, and he does some of the heavy lifting when taking on Eidolons.
Speaking of the Eidolons, I’ve finally encountered, battled, and captured some. Yes, I said captured. At a certain point in the game, Cid decides that you’re skilled enough to handle magicite. Magicite allows you to enter trance, and summon the strength of either a classic Final Fantasy character, or an Eidolon. After you pass the test, you’re given a few magicite crystals from the wandering Moogle. Since those are the gimmies, I equipped Cloud, which grants the trance crystal surge of his signature move, Omnislash. When you trigger the ability in battle, you don’t just perform the move yourself, you become the character, and battle as them until the trance time expires. Now, as far as the Eidolons, you can equip them the same as Cloud and the others, which allows you to perform their attack, like Hellfire or Diamond Dust. I personally have yet to use them myself, as I really love being able to use Omnislash without waiting until disc 4 of FF VII. That being said, you don’t just gain the summon creatures. You have to battle them, and before defeating them, you have to trigger the Encase ability. If your Tonberry/Black Knight/etc knocks them out, you have to go back and battle them all over again. That can be a bit of a pain, especially with the later Eidolons like Odin and his one hit KO, Zantetsuken.
Another item that I briefly touched on in part one was the job system. As you advance through your missions, more jobs become available. Like the airship and magicite, you have to prove your worth for some, while others are unlocked by completing certain tasks. For example, the Beastmaster job is made available after you’ve created 20 different monsters in the lab. Beastmaster’s special ability makes it easier to get atmaliths, and continue to grow your monster army. The Thief job allows you to steal items from your opponents, making it easier to create certain items. Now, speaking of item crafting, there are some excellent options available. You can get classic character signature outfits, such as Sephiroth, Cloud, Vaan, Yuna, Lightning, etc. One thing I don’t like is that the outfits are gender-locked, so your male character can’t wear Yuna attire, or your female couldn’t be Sephiroth. It won’t even give you a preview. Not that I’m necessarily into cross dressing, which for the record, was a MAJOR plot point in FF VII, but they could have made a male/female friendly version of these pieces. What if you’re a strong independent black woman who don’t need no Moogle, but you feel like dressing like the one-winged angel? Well, sorry, peaches, you can’t. It just seems like a stupid place to draw the line. Seriously, are they saying it’s demeaning for the men to dress in the clothes that are fine if you have boobs and no penis? Are the ladies somehow too inferior to be able to pull off Squall’s look? I think not, but I’m a writer, not a game designer, so my hands are tied.