The Modern Final Fantasy series - which are the plot you managed to understand? [Open Spoilers!]

If there’s something that ticks me off about Final Fantasy is how they handle the explanation of the plot. Argh! Less flashback and more journal entries already! Till today I have no clue as to what was going on in FF7 (I have only played the game not its spin-off) and what is the heck with Zidane’s tail.

So which FF game’s plot do you understand just by playing the game alone?. I believe the plot from FF 1 to FF 6 were pretty straightforward. Here’s what boggle me about those games

FF7 - Who the heck is Cloud? How did he get so seriously messed up?
FF8 - Why does this Ultimaetica woman pop up from nowhere?
FF9 - Who’s Kuja? What is the big deal about Zidane? He’s an alien?
FF10 - So what is Tidus? A ghost? Never played long enough to find out
FF10-2 - I didn’t go far into this one.
FF12 - Didn’t play much of this, but I guess I just include it.

Meanwhile, for good measure, I just throw in Chrono Cross

CC - Still can’t gather what the original trio in Chrono Trigger did to create 2 parallel timelines, and why Schala is fused with the Time Devourer in the end.

Edit: And I forgot the all generic ‘none-of-the-above’. But it’s fine, if you can’t grok any of those plots, feel free to rant in the thread without voting for any of the options.

The poll may be skewed a little bit, because I haven’t played all of the games. FFXII may be perfectly understandable, but I don’t know.

They have discernable plots?

Yah, I was surprised to find the amount of material on whothe Ultima-lady-whoever in FF8really was.

Ahh, actually, it’s pretty clear…if you see all the flashback videos. However, certain things have to be done at the right time to do so. Not all of Cloud’s story is revealed by default. It’s been years since I played the thing, so the details of the story are somewhat fuzzy.

I don’t know how much of it you saw, but you can google a complete explanation of what happened with Sephiroth, Cloud, and Zack.

Basically, Cloud is messed up because he thinks he’s Zack. As Zack gets cut down by Shinra bullets before the game begins (the timeline implies a few months before the opening scene), Zack in his final breaths tells cloud to pick up Zack’s sword and fight for both of them. Cloud does so but something inside his head snapped after everything he’s gone through in his life. (Really, Cloud’s history is pretty tragic.)

Cloud and Tifa were childhood friends in Nibelheim. Cloud always wanted to be a hero like Sephiroth. He dreamt about joining SOLDIER (Shinra’s special forces, of whom Sephiroth was a member) when he grew up. At 15 or 16, he went off to join them, but was rejected. Instead, he became a standard foot soldier for Shinra. This embarrassed him, and so when he returned to Nibelheim on a mission where Shinra went to investigate the reactor, he wore a hood and mask so no one would recognize him. Along on this trip were Sephiroth and Zack, an elite fighter who had become Cloud’s best friend during training and was accepted as a member of SOLDIER. Essentially, Sephiroth led the mission, while Zack was second in command. Tifa was their guide in the reactor. Sephiroth upon meeting Jenova went crazy and burned down Nibelheim, gravely injure Zack, and almost killed Tifa. Cloud in disguise saved Tifa, and later confronts Sephiroth, and amazingly enough, beat him, but suffered Sephiroth’s sword in his gut.

This is what really happened, and is what is revealed, IIRC, when Tifa becomes leader after Cloud falls into the Lifestream.

Originally, when Cloud talks about this scene, he places himself in Zack’s shoes (honestly believing that’s what really happened), but Tifa can’t remember him being there, and he doesn’t remember what happened when he (as Zack) confronted Sephiroth.

Back to the post-Nibelheim story. The injured Cloud and Zack are taken by Shinra to the secret laboratory that was under the library where they are infused with Materia, much like Sephiroth was. (Shinra is trying to create an army of materia-infused soldiers, essentially clones of Sephiroth.) Zack takes to the treatment much better than Cloud. (Once again, Cloud is the “failure”.)

Eventually, Sephiroth (who by this time has joined his mind with Jenova’s) and basically declared his own one-man war on Shinra breaks in to the lab and frees everyone. Zack and Cloud escape, but Cloud is rendered unconscious. Zack does all he can to protect his best friend, but gets ambushed just as Cloud awakens. The soldiers thinking Cloud is already dead, leave, and Cloud’s descent into insanity is complete.

Now one theme throughout the game is Sephiroth keeps referring to Cloud as a failed Clone. At one point in the game it’s even hinted that Cloud really was a Sephiroth clone (sometime after the laboratory is first dicovered). But the Lifestream reveals the truth, while Cloud was materia infused, he and Zack weren’t actual clones, unlike many of the others. But Cloud was a failed experiment in that he didn’t seem to take to the Materia infusion very well.

Now you most likely never saw the final Zack/Cloud video. The reason for this is you have to actually go back to the laboratory after the Lifestream scene. But there’s nothing that indicates this. It’s actually a very well done video and shows the bond that Zack and Cloud had.

I have played all of them and I notice it’s the later games that make more sense to me, but the previous games I loved more. Weird. But for the earlier ones I had to read a lot and watch other things to really understand what was going on.

There hasn’t been a single game in the series that wasn’t understandable just by playing the game.

The closest were X - which has major details that you need to go out of your way to talk to a particular character for - and X-2, - which, similarly had details the come up in missable encounters or from missable items - but even then - missing them doesn’t make the actual plots of the games hard to follow, it just left big holes in the backgrounds. And you get the details by playing the game, just not by burning through the main plot and ignoring everything else.

VII, VIII, IX and XII are…well, straightforward’s not really the best word, given the temporal kookiness of VIII, the identity games of VII, and the major deceptions in XII, but not hard to follow if you pay any attention at all. (‘Straightforward’ is a perfect descriptor for the plot of IX, though.)

I haven’t played Chrono Cross, so I can’t comment on that.

The only SquareEnix games I’ve ever played that had significant details that weren’t in the games themselves are the Kingdom Hearts games - and still, the details are in the games, just not in THOSE games - the series is all interconnected, but spread across 4 different platforms: PS2 for the main games, GBA for the lousy Chain of Memories, DS for the awesome 358/2 Days, and PSP for the upcoming Birth by Sleep.

It’s not that he wore a “hood and mask,” in some kind of deliberate attempt to be unrecognized, it’s just that he was dressed in the standard outfit of one of the Shinra soldiers, which included a helmet covering the face. The blue guys in this picture.


A lot of this isn’t so much incomprehensible as “not explained”.

Let’s see:


Vayne isn’t actually evil, nor is he exactly the villain. Sort of. Because he is, but he isn’t. Anyway, his nation’s (Archadia’s) noble council has been doing a lot of very naughty things and conducting very dangerous experiments with a membre of an ancient and unpleasant race called the Occuria. Vayne is a control freak, who is trying to rule everything. He got his start because said Elder council played him against both his older brothers just like they did with Larsa against him. He decided he didn’t want anymore such nonsense and was going to go the usual route of killing everyone except the people he didn’t like for some reason.


Tidus is not wholly explained. He’s more or less alive, he’s just not naturally embodied. He was either someone who lived in the destroyed city at the time it was wasted, or possibly the dream just let spirits continue as if theywere alive, having children and so on indefinitely. Note that unlike Auron, he’s present when Yuna sends spirits of the dead away. When Jecht became Sin (or at least, had his spirit imprisoned within Sin), he couldn’t control it but could influence it - and enter the spirit world with Auron. The pair essentially kidnapped Tidus (not like they could explain it) and created a body for him with Sin’s power. They had also evidently been planning this for some time, to the extent time itself affected the matter. Auron knew Tidus and had trained him to fight after jecht vanished from that world.

When the party battles past Jecht (who is forced to act in certain ways to defend Sin) and kills the heart, Sin’s power began to fade and dissipate, and Tidus became the pyreflies which hold the spirits of the dead, like Auron. Both went to the Farplane with Yuna’s dance. Then, for no comprehensible reason at all, they brought Tidus back at the end of FFX2. I don’t think anyone understands that.


Ho geez. Zidane and Kuja are members of a genetically engineered clone race, normally born lacking spirits, created as placeholders so the spirits of a dying world (Terra) could infest the one you play the game in (gaia). Evidentally, they were not very nice people and their chief minion Garland planned to just wipe out the world and then re-seed it with the clone bodies and old Terran spirits. Zidane and Kuja apparently got souls deliberately; Garland needed them to help destroy the world. Kuja was pissed that Zidane was made a replacement for him, so he secretly sent Zidane away, where he was picked up by his friends from the start of the game.

Kuja seems to be slowly undergoing a mental breakdown as the game goes along. Maybe he doesn’t really like his job (he’s very rebellious). He wants not to destroy the world but kill Garland. Kuja pretends to fulfill his mission until he can strike. Eventually, he goes nuts and wastes the life crystal, letting in the avatar of death ro seomthing (no, this is not explained). The party beat that up, however, giving the world a new chance at life and Kuja decides to teleport them to safety while he sits around and dies. Zidane goes back and comforts Kuja until he dies.

FF8: Oddly, this is the most reasonable one of all. However, the storytelling was horrendously bad and things just keep comgin out of nowhere. There are some plot points which aren’t needed and really make little sense. Ultimecia’s origins and motives are not known, but she plans to condense time into a single point and kill all life. Evidently she doesn’t have a body (anymore) and keeps invading the bodies of other powerful sorceresses (Rinoa, Edea, Adel).

You’ll note that even when you EXPLAIN the plot of this game, it contains several handwaves, "not wholly"s and "at least"s. :wink:

As someone who routinely follows the absurd plots of these titles (and had no trouble with FF12. It’s just a grey-area villain! It’s not that hard!) I found FFX to be almost offensively nonsensical.

Heh, I don’t deny that.

I’ve only played 7, 10 and 12.

FF7: I love this game, and I’ve played it at least three times, and have no trouble understanding it. But then again, I’ve read deeply about it so it’s hard to say if I understood the first time though. I think I did, at least for the main parts - some more minor stuff like “who is Jenova exactly” and “is it Sephiroth or Jenova in control” and “if that’s Sephiroth in the Northern cave who was that other guy going around” might’ve escaped me until the second playthrough. But the Cloud stuff was definitely understandable, and the main plot is fine. EDIT: I suppose this is heavily dependent on seeing the special video, that Hoopy Frood mentioned. I always played with a walkthrough and so I saw it even the first time. I can definitely see how missing out on that would leave a player scratching his head.

FF10: I actually never got past the Sin battle where you need to defeat him in 14 turns or whatever, so I think I missed out on some of the ending plot that probably explained a lot. Something about Tidus being a ghost? Meh. I never really got it, but never really tried either.

FF12: I only got to Mount Bur-Omisace before I quit playing. Part of the reason I quit was I did not have a friggin’ clue what was going on. Probably because the game consisted of large amounts of wandering through deserts and dungeons interposed with long talky cutscenes between characters I hadn’t met yet. Had trouble keeping track of who was who and who was on what side and why I should care.

One bit of speculation that always intrigued me is the theory that Ultimecia is actually a future version of Rinoa. It’s covered in this extremely in-depth writeup.

It would be cool if it really is, but too bad some sites say it has already been debunked.

I’ve never really had a problem with any of the plots, but I’m a completionist, so I tend to discover all the tidbits that pull things together. X and XII were really pretty straight-forward IMO, with the extras just clearing things up a bit. IX was enjoyable, but to this day, I forget nearly everything that happened in the game. VII was pretty messy, but got the point of Cloud’s issues across enough that I won’t complain. CC made sense to me, but I can see were it got confusing. I’ve had X-2 for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to playing it. I loved X’s battles and sphere grid so much that X-2’s system in the same world just feels off.

VIII is like The Godfather III to me: I don’t accept it’s existence. The story sucked, the characters sucked, the levelling/junctioning system sucked. Its just better for my sanity if I pretend that Square can’t count correctly.

A quibble about the earlier titles, though. FFI was good, but felt more like a loosely related series of quests than a full story. I’ll accept the limitations of the platform and the style of the day, though. V was fun but I recall the story making me go, “Huh?” a few times too many. Compared to IV and VI’s stories where everything clicked, V was weak.

What! I challenge you to a duel, gunblades at dawn

What are these ‘gunblades’ you speak of? :wink:

(I admit that it was a pretty cool weapon, though.)

Feel free to try to summarize X. I’ve never met anyone who could do it without the aforementioned handwaving, neverminding and just generally ignoring the bits that don’t fit. :wink:

I understand them all, but I quit playing X-2 because I hated the battle system so much.

I never found them to be too confusing. In fact, I’ve played all FF games, from 1-12, excluding 11.

They all have pretty straightforward plots, I thought.