Friday, July 06, 2012

My Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations: #30 to #21

Hey there, thanks for joining me bang in the middle of My Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations list. Today I count from #30 to #21 in my list, yesterday I did #40 to #31 and the day before I did #50 to #41 if you missed them. No more talk let's continue!

Please note: This list will talk about spoilers. If you have not played the game that each location represents I'd avoid that entry.

#30: Nautilus
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Towards the middle of the game
Revisitable? No
Description: Also called "The City of Dreams", Nautilus is the best place on the world of Cocoon for entertainment; it has an amusement park, nice green walks and most impressively, the Pompa Sancta parade which is a true dramatic 3D battle sequence of the War of Transgression.
So much happens at Nautilus. Two of my favourite FF13 characters, Sazh and Vanille, come here to try and hide from all the chaos surrounding them being branded l'Cie yet some of the most climatic and tense scenes in the entire game happen here. Before all of that, the beautiful Pompa Sancta parade occurs and it's mind blowing how gorgeous it looks, kudos to Square Enix for that. Then, Vanille comes clean about being responsible for Dajh, Sazh's son, being branded l'Cie, just after Dajh turns into crystal right in front of his fathers eyes. It's truly a sad scene, really sad, and the idea that Sazh was going to commit suicide there and then is horrifying as well. All of this, in The City of Dreams. It's an amazing place with a fantastic shift in the story.

#29: Besaid
Game? Final Fantasy X
When do you go? Very early on
Revisitable? Yes
Description: An island, the official starting point of the pilgrimage; to bring Yuna to Zanarkand to defeat Sin. Yuna, Kimahri, Wakka and Lulu live on the island, which has a gorgeous beach, a river and a village with a temple.
Ah, Besaid. It's such a beautiful place, so calm, so tranquil. It's probably in my Top 5 places I'd love to live if I lived in a Final Fantasy world. Your true journey starts here, after the Dream Zanarkand sequence, the dangers at Baaj Temple and running into the Al Bhed crew. The pilgrimage starts here, as does meeting most of the characters of the game. It's just such a nice place, and it all really starts here.

#28: Daguerreo
Game? Final Fantasy IX
When do you go? Completely optional, from half way through the game onwards
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A very large library of sorts, flooded by the natural location of the waterfalls above it.
Daguerrero, like Shumi Village in FF8 before it, is completely optional but that's not to say no care or thoughts have been put into its location, Daguerrero is just such a cute little place you can't easily dislike it. It's a bizarre concept; a gigantic indoor library... flooded by waterfalls being directly above it. It doesn't make sense? Yet Squresoft make it work so well. You can get some really strong equipment for your characters here, and this is the last time you see Gilgamesh, although you have to work really hard throughout the game for him to reveal his true identity. It's just a lovely little place with nice, comforting music to boot.

#27: Shinra Headquarters
Game? Final Fantasy VII
When do you go? Quite early on
Revisitable? Yes, but only once and it's optional
Description: The headquarters of the Shinra company, the tallest location in all of Midgar, high above the plate that separates Midgar into eight sectors. Seventy floors tall, President Shinra's personal office is at the top.
I was debating whether or not to make Midgar one entire entry in this list or separate parts of it and put those parts in my list. I went with the latter. That being said there's only two parts of Midgar that make the list, this one and... you'll find out won't you? Anyway, the attack on Shina Headquarters is still pretty epic, and the layout of the building is pretty cool. I love the dialogue between Cloud, Tifa and Barret if you decide to take the side entrance, it had me in stitches the first time I saw the scene. And of course, Jenova's journey to Northern Crater to reunite with Sephiroth starts here too. When you play this game for the first time, as a very young kid, I remember thinking that this was close to the end of the game, that we were going to destroy Shinra and the credits would roll. In reality of course, this is just the beginning, and the real story truly unfolds here.

#26: Ship Graveyard
Game? Final Fantasy V
When do you go? Quite early in the game
Revisitable? No
Description: A load of ships completely destroyed by large sea attacks, that is full of ghosts and other beasties, hoping to take your party down with them.
If you've been paying attention you may have noticed that there was no entry so far in the list from Final Fantasy V, a game in the series that while isn't bad by any stretch, isn't really that impressive either. But I absolutely love the Ship Graveyard, and that's why it's so high in my list. I just think that part of the story when Syldra gets sucked into a maelstrom and you barely survive the journey, only to find yourself on a haunted ship full of ghosts and other deadly beings pretty cool. I like the map of the place where you go through the ships full of water, having to hop on nearby stones to get from one ship to another in some parts is great. And of course, at the end, when you finally find land, to have to take on the deadly Siren, who was possessing all the undead all along, was is a good payoff.

Ship Graveyard is the first and only entry from Final Fantasy V in this list.

#25: Zanarkand
Game? Final Fantasy X
When do you go? Right at the beginning and very close to the end
Revisitable? Yes
Description: In actuality, there are two Zanarkands, one was a huge city with many buildings, a huge night scene and lots and lots of blitzball and other high technological activities. After being destroyed by Sin, Zanarkand is a huge shell of its former self, crumbling and decaying, and serves as the final point in Yuna's pilgramage. The other Zanarkand, is the huge city explained above, yet it's only a dream, and does not actually exist. Tidus is part of this dream location
While there are two Zanarkands in FF10, let's get something straight, Dream Zanarkand is an incarnation of the real Zanarkand that did exist a thousand years before the game's plot. So for me, I'm treating it as one location. The contrasts between Zanarkand one thousand years ago and the current Zanarkand is astronomical. Zanarkand of old looked like such an awesome place to live, all the glitz and glamour, all the blitzball you could ever want yet the current Zanarkand is just one of the most depressing places in Final Fantasy history. So much death, so much decay, so much rubble it can make you feel really sad going to the current state of Zanarkand. And for people like me, I was always intrigued to know what Zanarkand you would see at the end of the pilgrimage. Of course, it was never in doubt what you would see at the end of the journey, but you did hope of course, that it wouldn't be the case. Zanarkand is one of Final Fantasy's most amazing locations, there's no doubt about that.

#24: Sulyya Springs
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Quite late in the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A large natural spring that is protected by the fal'Cie Bismarck and is a natural habitat for lots of overgrown frogs. The location is a short bridge between Mah'habara Subterra and Taejin's Tower.
This is one of the areas in the series that's in this list because of its location rather than any plot or story that occurs here. I absolutely love the design of the Sulyya Springs. It's such a gorgeous place and that music is just so beautiful and suits the mood perfectly. It looks so good that you can almost feel the warmth of the water and climate on your face when playing it. Okay maybe not but you get the idea.

#23: Bhujerba
Game? Final Fantasy XII
When do you go? Quite early on in the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A gorgeous floating city in the sky, the Marquis resides here and tries his best to maintain neutrality in the game's two main nations. It contains its own mine and has a lot of natural greenery, as well as a decent sized city centre.
In terms of the cities of Final Fantasy XII, this is by far the best looking one. Bhujerba is just stunning. The idea of a floating continent, or city, is not a new thing, they've tried a few times to make a floating 'something' in the series. But they really pulled off all the stops with Bhujerba, it's just magnificent to look at. The Lhusu Mines are pretty cool too, but it's just the look of the city, the clouds surrounding the city, the scenery, everything about it, is just mindblowingly cool.

#22: Bran Bal
Game? Final Fantasy IX
When do you go? Quite late in the game
Revisitable? No
Description: The only village on the planet of Terra, the planet trying to take over Gaia in FF9. It's Zidane's true origin of birth, as well as Kuja's, and all of the Genomes race.
Bran Bal, or Terra in general (Bran Bal is about 90% of what's left of Terra) is one of the view places that truly gives me goosebumps when I go there. It's a hard concept to do, making another planet other than your own. And while Terra isn't really much of a planet due to its dying state, you still get a good taste of what life was like through Bran Bal. Life was pretty damn crap don't get me wrong, but as a place it looks amazing. So much blue, so much foreign looking plants and odd shaped houses and vessels, it's a true place of beauty in the universe of Final Fantasy IX. I love it.

#21: Bodhum
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Only through flashbacks, not once do you go to Bodhum in the game
Revisitable? No
Description: The home of Lightning, Serah and Snow, Bodhum is a stunning seaside town that gives an incredible look of the sunset whilst holdig an annual fireworks display to the residents of Cocoon.
It might be considered odd not only to include Bodhum but to place it so high in my favourite places of Final Fantasy but I just think it looks so damn good. It's like an improved Besaid from Final Fantasy X, and seems like the perfect place to chill and hang out. You do get to control Snow here through a particular flashback and from that alone I love the look of this area. Square-Enix did a great job of making this place look as good as it does and it's a shame you don't get to explore it any more than you do.

Three parts down, two to go. What are my favourite 20 locations of the Final Fantasy series? Come back tomorrow when I reveal the first half of them. Take care and have a good one.

Click here for #20 to #11.
Click here for #10 to #1.
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