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Friday, November 8, 2013

Favorite RPG Towns #3

Narshe (Final Fantasy 6)

Narshe has a complicated identity. FF6's starting location acts more like a dungeon than a town. The first locals you meet try to kill you, and it's only later on that Narshe starts offering the RPG staples (shops, inn, people to talk to); but then, much later, it returns to being a dungeon, again; with random encounters in the streets.
But then it's also still a town. Narshe is complicated.

When you first see Narshe, it's off in the distance. You slowly approach the town, trotting through the snow in magitek armor while epic music plays. I thought that was pretty cool, but I didn't fall in love with the town until I was walking through the streets and saw all these buildings with smoke rising from their chimneys and spinning wind vanes, or whatever they're supposed to be. The town had a lot of moving parts, and I wanted to explore the whole thing, but the game wouldn't let me. It only gave me bits and pieces. First, you rampage down main street. Later, you wake up in one of the houses and have to escape into the mines while being chased by soldiers; and then you're out of the town and you can't go back; and I had so much fun in this stupid town. Why can't I go back? Why do I have to visit Figaro Castle? Who gives a shit if it can travel under the sand? That's dumb. I want my dirty, half-frozen mining town back.

Narshe is a fucking tease, and for the longest time I thought it was a linear set-piece with nothing behind all those doors; but eventually you get to go back, and when you finally do, there's epic battles, super-powerful secret items, and a god-damned sasquatch.

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