|Barthandelus from Final Fantasy Wiki|
I thought I'd praised one thing I do like about the game... or rather, have come to like about the game: the combat system.
I know combat is something some people complain about in this game, but I can truly say that is the one thing I inexplicably enjoy about this game. I love the paradigm system especially. I love seeing what combinations I can come up with and tweaking the styles to fit a situation as needed. I love that I can't pick just one certain style and exploit it for the rest of the game. No, I have to actively change paradigms to suit the battle at hand. It makes things dynamic.
For example when I went into the battle with the Fal'Cie dude, Barthandelus, who revealed the Fal'Cie controlled Sanctum, I went into the fight with Light, Sazh, and Fang. The dynamics didn't work so well (for me) in the fight, so after being defeated twice and realizing that wasn't a fluke, I decided I needed to change my team dynamics. I went to my characters' abilities screen because I do forget who has what. I knew what I needed in the fight, but needed to see which teammates did what I needed.
I needed someone to be the main healer other than myself (playing as Light), I needed a sentinel to protect the healer more than to protect Light. I needed someone to debuff more than buff. I switched Sazh out for Vanille (who heals and debuffs). I almost switched Fang out for Snow because his health bar is way bigger but in the end I kept her because she could debuff and protect. I figured Vanille would be able to mitigate most of the damage Fang took and spot heal Light as needed which wasn't often.
That combination worked best for me, but in my quest to be cautious the third time, I ran out of time fighting him, which I didn't know was even possible. But apparently, he casts Doom at some point. But now, I knew I could handle him since I didn't die technically. The fourth time around I kept Vanille mostly in a saboteur or medic role while Fang and I dealt damage, switching all of us to damage dealers when he was staggered (after all his other parts were defeated), while destrudo was charging, and when it was safe to take Vanille out of the medic role for a bit.
Sometimes I'd switched both Vanille and Fang into their saboteur roles while I was the main damage dealer for a few minutes and let them addle him with some serious debuffs. Switching Vanille to healer and Fang to sentinel worked well after the bigger attacks like Thanatosian Smile and Destrudo. Combat Medic (two medics, one sentinel) proved to be something I only used one or twice when I thought I'd be spamming it, but it did come in handy in a pinch. I ended the battle with Odin.
The fourth time I got it, and it was a piece of cake. Then, it asked me for disk three and instead of opening the tray, I accidentally turned off the Xbox and had to fight Barthandelus a fifth time. I don't understand why it wouldn't save BEFORE I switched to disk three. Anyway, I had the fight down to a science by then, but it was still annoying as hell to have to do it all over again.
I'm not used to this swapping disks deal anymore. My original Xbox was modded and I could rip games, even those with multiple disks, to my hard drive and could store the disks away. I've owned a PS3 for years and everything is downloaded or on one disk there. I've only owned an Xbox 360 for one year, and sometimes, this is like having a newborn.
Anyway, the point was just to illustrate how flexible you have to be in battle, especially since you have no control over your teammates aside from what role they take (and the AI is fairly competent). You can't decide that you're just going to do this one thing and roll with it, which is what I mistakenly thought in the beginning of this game. Sometimes, I have to change paradigms fairly often and in rapid succession. And for me, that keeps the battle from being dull. I still wish some of the powers were flashier, though.
I'm hoping to have another post up soon about my exploits since everyone joined the BFF club.