Thursday, October 02, 2014

Final Fantasy X-2: Catnip

I'm still not feeling like I can use a mouse in my right hand but I decided to give using a PS3 controller a shot for a while this afternoon. My right hand doesn't make a lot of moves when playing FFX-2... I'm mostly just mashing the attack button. I was able to play for a reasonable amount of time before needing to take a break. I needed that break because both my hands were going numb instead of my right hand being in pain which is a strange turn of events.

Anyway, it's been a while since I'd played FFX-2 because of Path of Exile and then being hurt. When I last played I was diving down into the dungeon under Bevelle. Today I got down to the 40th floor, killed the boss on that floor in two tries, and earned the most broken item in the game: catnip! This is an accessory that gives you the 'SOS: ??????' effect. The SOS part means it only works when you're low on health. What do the question marks mean? Well, any time you would deal damage or heal someone the amount is set to 9999 instead of whatever it would be. Considering Rikku is often attacking for 500 or so, that's quite a significant boost. Consider that you can use attacks that hit more than once... Each hit will then be for 9999! Gunners can attack something like 15 times in an action (the damage is normally drastically reduced and the attack is mostly used for getting a big chain multiplier running) and each of those attacks will be for 9999. It's absurdly powerful and is the way I remember beating all of the hard fights when I played this game back in the day. I hooked Rikku up and switched her to a gunner and went off to murder things...

It turns out that the HD remake has some changes from the original game and one of the things changed was catnip. Similar to how quick attack in FFX was nerfed in the HD remake I guess Square decided things were unbalanced as initially released and fixed things up. Anyway, the change to catnip is that in addition to making all your hits do 9999 you also get slowed and berserked. The berserk part is a real problem because it negates the ability to use any of the abilities that hit a silly number of times. Being slowed sucks too. I had a ribbon on but it didn't prevent them, which made me sad.

I decided I still wanted to use the item if I could and went looking for ways to use it. Rikku had been leveling thief and they attack twice when they auto-attack. Seemed like I should give that a spin. I also got an accessory that granted auto-haste from the same boss fight. Let's try auto-haste with auto-slow and see what happens! Turns out haste wins, which is amazing. It also turns out Rikku had learned the ability to always go first when she's a thief. And because she's berserked I don't have to mash any buttons to input an attack command. So now she goes first and hits for 19998 damage. And then is hasted so she probably gets to attack a second time before I can input commands to Yuna and Paine.

It remains to be seen if the catnip is still viable for boss fights. Permanently losing control of 1/3rd of my party is a real danger. I guess if I ever heal Rikku out of SOS status she loses the berserk and I can probably make use of that. My other two characters get to wear ribbons now, so I do have that advantage in boss fights. And I have 99 phoenix downs, which bring Rikku back to life at low health... She may be able to get in there for 19998 damage before the boss gets a chance to kill her again?

Even if it isn't good for boss fights it's awesome for random encounters. I don't even need to hit buttons anymore. Now, when I'm happy that I get to ignore a major part of the game it does send up some warning flags... But it is what it is. It's not like I get to make meaningful decisions in most random encounters anyway.

I'm not sure if I want to finish off the rest of this dungeon now or if I want to finish the game and then restart with my items and pick up all the stuff I missed on new game+. Hopefully I can spend more time playing without losing feeling in my hands soon!

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