I have to apologize for the last update. It has a massive 21 images in it, and it takes forever to load. I probably should have split it up into two parts, ending the first at the explosion. If you're reading this on a mobile device, I apologize.
In my defense though, these posts encompass only a few minutes of gameplay. I get to a minor stopping point, start writing, and end up with a post that is enormous. It's honestly going to be a while before that changes, too.
The team gets off the train, and Barret gives us a little pep talk.
Yay yay, let's bomb them civillian targets!
There's a couple in the left part of this screen that are making out. It's really cute. They talk about how the only place nearby where they can be alone is the "spooky" train graveyard, which sucks for them. It's pretty clear that there's going to be some sex in their near future. The minor NPCs in this game are so much better than in previous games, and they make you feel like there's a living world out there. There's so much more detail in the little things that you miss if you're not going at a snail's pace (like this LP, lol).
This statement is frightening. To me, this guy is telling us that if we continue our bombings, we could not only cause collateral damage up by the reactors, but we could destroy the support structures and drop the entire plate, killing everyone both on top and on bottom. Does anyone here still think these bombings are a good idea?
We also see a size comparison for the pillar. 50 meters is a lot, but it still seems a lot higher. Just based on eyeballing, it looks like more than 50 meters. Also, it really gives the feel that Midgar is small. It's nowhere near the size of real-life NYC or Los Angeles, and every perspective shot we see seems to confirm that.
Some of the nearby bystanders comment on the recent explosion. A kid thinks that AVALANCHE is cool, while his mom seems to disagree. Many innocents were killed, and the bombing seems to have inflicted over a billion gil in property damage. We're also told that taking out the power would shut the city's power down, shutting down communications and electricity for the entire city. I'm so not sold on anything we've done thus far. All this reactor bombing has done is hurt a lot of people.
One thing that is really noticable about the reworked visuals is that the characters are re-rendered, but the backgrounds aren't (because they're static images). The net result is characters that look really crisp (even if they're low poly) on a grainy background.
We also get to see Barret's little daughter, Marlene. She's a bit shy and seems to not like Cloud very much. I can't really blame her. He's been sort of a jerk to everyone thus far.
Cloud gives Tifa the flower he bought from the flower girl, and she gets all girly on him. Like Cloud, she also mentions that flowers in Midgar are rare.
The other members of AVALANCHE talk about how Tifa is a good cook and is good at mixing drinks. Wedge claims that his girth is largely due to the quality of Tifa's cooking.
She's happy he made it back, although Cloud says that it was no big deal. Being a jerk, Cloud says that he's taking off as soon as he gets paid. Honestly, I would too if I was being paid to conduct terrorist bombings, but that isn't why Cloud seems to want to leave.
Then Tifa asks him out of the blue if he's feeling OK. It's a bit of an odd question because there hasn't been any indication that he wouldn't be. Cloud responds as such, wondering why Tifa would ask. She says that he just seemed tired or something.
It's pretty obvious at this point that Tifa just wants him to stay, and probably also that she has a crush on him. Unfortunately, since Tifa is a party member (since we named her and all), I think that means Jessie's chances with Cloud are about zero. It's obvious that she's upset with him wanting to leave, but she doesn't know how to say it.
Either way, AVALANCHE has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Jessie is a bit upset that the explosion turned out the way it did. Perhaps the bomb was not supposed to blow out the top of the reactor? She apparently learned how to build the bomb online, which is probably a bad thing, because it means that the NSA could potentially ID her by her IP address (okay, I don't think that is very likely).
President Shinra also claims that he's going to mobilize SOLDIER to combat AVALANCHE. Uh-oh. Good thing that AVALANCHE has their own... oh, I guess he's leaving, huh.
Barret gets pissed of course, before admitting that Cloud is a powerhouse. However, he tells Cloud that he's working for AVALANCHE now, and not to get any funny ideas about going back to Shinra.
Cloud gets pissed off, and an argument breaks out. He tells Barret that there's no way he would go back to working for Shinra. Guess the severance package wasn't that good, then.
Tifa shows up but it doesn't help, and Cloud says he's going upstairs and he wants to talk about his money.
Everyone seems pretty miffed about the outburst. Wedge seems to be able to get a bit of a rise out of Cloud, claiming that Cloud talked to him, so he must really have some kind of emotions. Cloud tells him to blow off, which he uses to confirm his suspicions.
I have to hand it to Tifa. She uses her feminine wiles well. She claims that he forgot a promise that the two of them made long ago.
A flashback begins where we see Cloud and Tifa in their hometown. Flashback Cloud asked Tifa to come see him at the well in their town, and tells her of his aspirations to join SOLDIER.
He wants to become strong, like another SOLDIER member named Sephiroth. This reveals a bit about SOLDIER. In the real world, special operations guys don't generally get individual recognition, but this Sephiroth is such a big deal that Tifa even calls him "The Great Sephiroth." Perhaps SOLDIERs are less like SEALs and more like Marines? Perhaps this Sephiroth is the FFVII universe equivalent of Chesty Puller?
It's clear that even in the flashback Tifa had feelings for Cloud, and he seemed to have feelings for her too.
Jessie has no chance against this tactic, I think.
Back in the present, Cloud tells her that he's not a hero and he's not famous, so he can't keep his promise. Tifa tells him that even if he's not famous, he achieved his dream of joining SOLDIER, so he has to keep his promise to her.
He didn't overhear the conversation, so his statement of "a promise is a promise" was coincidental. However, this seems to move Cloud. He says that that isn't enough, and if Barret has the next job lined up, he'll do it for 3000.
Barret is a bit miffed by this, but Tifa whispers to him that they're hurting for help and could really use Cloud's strength. Barret says that the money is for Marlene's education, but agrees they could use the help. After all, Shinra is mobilizing SOLDIER against them, and most likely they'll need Cloud to stand a fighting chance. He counter-offers 2000 gil, and takes the lift back down to the hideout. Tifa thanks Cloud for agreeing to stay on the team.
Hey wait a minute, I didn't agree to anything! I said 3000 gil!
The game also gives us the tutorial on how to use Materia. As it turns out, Cloud's magic spells are because he is wielding two Materia; an Ice and a Lightning Materia. The tutorial is fairly simple; we just need to equip Materia into slots on our equipment to access its powers. The Assault Gun that was dropped from the scorpion boss has two linked materia slots, and so does Cloud's Buster Sword. Tifa's Leather Glove only has a single slot.
We shuffle materia around; Cloud gets the Restore materia, since he has the most MP. I give Barret the Lightning materia, since he has the second-most, and Tifa can carry the Ice materia. She's only level 6, while Cloud and Barret are level 8, so perhaps we'll switch things around if she happens to be more of a caster type.
We head to the weapon shop first and equip our team with new Iron Bangles that each have an additional materia slot. We also grab a Fire materia from the item vendor and an All materia upstairs. There's a bunch of tutorials up there for how to play in the ATB system, how elementals work, and all that stuff. It's really not hard. When your turn comes up, hit confirm a bunch of times.
I'll put the All materia on Barret's gun, linking it with Lightning for use on all enemies. I could use it for Restore, but battles haven't really been that hard yet so I don't really need group healing. I should be fine healing out of combat.
Either way, we're off to go bomb another power plant. I cannot contain my excitement.