Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations: #50 to #41

Hi there, I hope you're well. Welcome to another one of my celebrations of my favourite game series of all time, Final Fantasy. I love this series so much. So much in fact that I've celebrated Final Fantasy on this site more than any video game series. Here's a full list of work on Final Fantasy on this site:

Final Fantasy IX Game Review - 5/11/05 (Retro Review)
Final Fantasy X Game Review - 30/1/06 (Retro Review)
Final Fantasy VI Game Review - 4/2/06 (Retro Review)
Final Fantasy VIII Game Review - 4/2/06 (Retro Review)
Final Fantasy XII Game Review - 21/4/08 (Retro Review)

...that's a lot of homage right there. The first five pieces of work I did before I got this site together, so the quality of work in comparison to my recent stuff is poor. They're still interesting little reads though. That is, if you appreciate Final Fantasy.

So what have I got for you this time? Well if you hadn't read the title of this post, I'm celebrating my Top 50 favourite locations in Final Fantasy. And unlike in my Top 50 favourite characters list, I've included Final Fantasy XIII into this listing, as I've more than played it now. I'm still not including Final Fantasy XI and XIV however, due to not playing them. So this list is Final Fantasy I to X, and XII and XIII. I have included at least one location from those games. Naturally the earlier games may only have one entry due to the fact that the graphics weren't very well developed. Also, please remember that this is a biased list, I'm not saying that #1 is the best or most important location in the series. It's just my favourite, that's all. Anyway enjoy!

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

#50: Pandaemonium
Game? Final Fantasy II
When do you go? Final dungeon
Revisitable? No
Description: The capital of Hell, it rises from the ground over the Castle Palamecia and is a castle in itself, very dangerous and very very purple. It also appears in Dissidia. The Emperor, the main villain of FF2, is found here for a final battle.
Pandaemonium is pretty damn scary. There wasn't much you could do on the NES to emphasise scariness but they did as good as job as they could. In more recent ports and in Dissidia they have tried as hard as they could and it's just a filthy purple castle, very fitting for The Emperor to rule. It's a hard place to explore too, and man, that purpleness can just blind you!

Pandaemonium is the first and only entry from Final Fantasy II in this list.

#49: The Faultwarrens
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Towards the end of the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A multitude of naturally grown areas connected by steep walls and drops, to get from one area to another you must transport with Cie'th stones. Titan, a giant being, roams the area and makes creatures fight each other to the death. The winners survive with Titan's blessing.
Sorry for a not-so good picture but in honesty this location isn't in because of its looks as much, but for the Titan's Trials. The Titan's Trails are explained above, and your job is to survive. It sounds pretty deadly but it's not really, you can quit any time you want. But to get the end of each path is a difficult task. And the paths all go to different places and the final segments of each path holds a very difficult monster in which you have to defeat to get Titan's blessing. It's just a cool area, a cool idea and that's why it makes my list.

#48: World of Darkness
Game? Final Fantasy III
When do you go? Final dungeon
Revisitable? No
Description: An area filled with almost pitch black darkness, made from dark energy and masses, and underneath the area is nothingness. It also appears in Dissidia. You go against the final boss of the game here, Cloud of Darkness.
Once again I choose a final dungeon but to be fair, the final dungeons in video games are supposed to be memorable. World of Darkness is a very important area in the game because there are still bits of unfinished business to take care of before being able to take on the Cloud of Darkness. Before you reach her you have to take on four bosses who are guarding areas that give you access to the Warriors of Dark. After talking to these warriors the Cloud of Darkness is weakened and then you go to face her in the final battle. It's just a really cool area of the game and brings the game to a close well.

World of Darkness is the first and only entry from Final Fantasy III in this list.

#47: Giza Plains
Game? Final Fantasy XII
When do you go? Very early in the game, and then a second time a little later
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A large set of open plains that has dramatic weather changes rapidly throughout the season.
I honestly, off the top of my head, cannot think of a similar area in the entire series like the Giza Plains. Sure, in some locations in the series the weather may change, but not as quickly and rapidly as this. The weather changes so much that new pathways are open or closed depending on the flooding of the rain in some places. It's a pretty damn nice piece of scenery too, in both of the main seasons.

#46: Chaos Shrine
Game? Final Fantasy I
When do you go? Quite early in the game, and then it becomes the final dungeon
Revisitable? Yes, in the respect that you go there twice, but with it being the last area of the game you can't go after the second time
Description: An old, worn down shrine that's completely in ruins, but was once a grand temple that catered as a home to Chaos, the final boss in the game. It also appears in Dissidia, in its past form.
The Chaos Shrine is such an important place in Final Fantasy history. It's the first place really in the entire series that grabs your attention as somewhere that you'll never forget. The fact that on the surface it looks like nothing but a pile of rubble, but the reality is that it's the source area for all the crap that goes on in the game, as well as the time looping element in the game, makes it just awesome. Back in 1987, very few games had the ability to create places like the Chaos Shrine, and it deserves its place in a list of great locations in the series.

Chaos Shrine is the first and only entry from Final Fantasy I in this list.

#45: Macalania Forest
Game? Final Fantasy X
When do you go? About half way through the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A beautiful, tranquil forest that encompasses springs and camp areas and deep wooden pathways that lead to many areas of the game, namely Macalania Temple, Bevelle, the Thunder Plains and the Calm Lands.
Macalania Forest is host to arguably one of Final Fantasy's biggest 'in-game' moments, in the respect that Tidus and Yuna finally embrace and declare their feelings for one another here. But it's not really a scene I care about really, I just think the area is just so beautiful. All of the bright lights, the nature, the blue haze gleaming over area, it's just one of Final Fantasy's most pure locations. There's nothing else to say really, other than that.

#44: Lunar Subterrane
Game? Final Fantasy IV
When do you go? Final dungeon
Revisitable? No
Description: The Lunar Subterrane is separated into two areas; firstly the beginning is very rocky, and pays homage to many perceptions of what the Moon's surface is like. The second part is filled with crystal tiles and is a very difficult area of the game. At the end of this area Zemus awaits the characters and the final battle begins. The former part of the Subterrane is featured in Dissidia.
Despite Final Fantasy IV being a great game, not many of the game's areas really stand out for me. But the Lunar Subterrane, naturally being the final area of the game, does stand out. All of the sections at the end of the game placed on the Moon stand out; it's not often you go to space in Final Fantasy games. I love how the area changes from a rocky, moony area to a crystal core. Final Fantasy do love their crystals and crystal based areas huh? Still it's a cool area.

Lunar Subterrane is the first and only entry from Final Fantasy IV in this list.

#43: Orphan's Cradle
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Final dungeon
Revisitable? Kind of; after finishing Final Fantasy XIII you can go back visit the area
Description: A very odd place, it's like being inside a computer; with large platforms moving at very fast paces moving around you and you have to make your way to the Narthex, where the final battles commence.
Orphan's Cradle received mixed reactions from fans. Why? Because the place seems completely... out of place. Final Fantasy XIII has an amazing landscape, both on Cocoon and on Gran Pulse but for the final dungeon to take place in an out-of-this-world type dimension, it just didn't fit in. But while I agree with all of that, you can't deny that Orphan's Cradle looks pretty damn cool. It does, all of these huge Tetris-like shapes flying at you is awesome, but yeah, it doesn't really fit in FF13 that well. I still like it though as a stand-alone location and for that it gets in my list.

#42: Edea's Orphanage
Game? Final Fantasy VIII
When do you go? Towards the middle of the game, and at the end as a portal to the final dungeon
Revisitable? Yes
Description: A run down orphanage, completely desolated until Edea returns to her former self and lives there again with Cid. Later on as time travel warps everything it serves as a portal to the final dungeon, Ultimecia's Castle.
Edea's Orphanage is one of the game's most iconic places. It serves as location important to the story in the past, the present and the future. It's nothing really more than a run down orphanage, crumbling and desolate, but because so much happens here, you have to have a soft spot for Edea's Orphanage if you play through the game. It's just a short yet important area in the game and once you've seen it, you'll recognise it and its rooms easily from pictures for a long time.

#41: Archylte Steppe
Game? Final Fantasy XIII
When do you go? Towards the end of the game
Revisitable? Yes
Description: An exceptionally large open field that is mostly populated by many different creatures and monsters
I like the Archylte Steppe. My main problem with it is that its purpose and design are exactly the same as its earlier brother, the Calm Lands of Final Fantasy X, just far inferior. That's quite the criticism but as I said, I do like it. It's a nice area, and put it this way, when you've played through a lot of FF13 and its strenuous linearity it's nice to actually feel like you can breathe and roam about anywhere you want. That being said, when you first arrive here the majority of monsters are tough and give you problems, but it's a good area to grind your characters too.

And that's the end of Part 1 of my Top 50 Final Fantasy Locations listing. Join me tomorrow for Part 2, where I countdown from #40 to #31. Have a good night.

Click here for #40 to #31.
Click here for #30 to #21.
Click here for #20 to #11.
Click here for #10 to #1.

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