Lots more progress over the last couple days. I’ve started on my chocobo collection and have managed to level up a lot of my materia. It’s pretty cool to see a new materia “born” from the old one when it gets fully mastered. My active group of characters are all around level 50-55 and I have a lot more I intend to do. I can’t see me ever getting them to level 99 just for the sake of doing it and I doubt I get anywhere close to that. Still, there’s this addictive quality about the game now that wasn’t there for me early on. Part of that I chalk up to having replayed the first 10 hours several times but part of it is just the fun that comes with having more options now. This is a game that definitely improves as it progresses.

Storywise, we’ve completed the Underwater Base and acquired the submarine. The underwater area is very cool. I loved moving around down there and finding stuff. I found the entrance to a cave that let Vincent have a flashback. I found the crashed Gelnika and got some great loot. And I found Emerald Weapon swimming around down there. I avoided him for now but I will be back later. Oh yes. I will be back.

Speaking of Weapons, Diamond Weapon emerged from the ocean and began to march on Midgar. Our group handily beat him back and Shinra’s big gun ended his short life.

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We made it through the Shinra sewers and while I was down there I found the W-Item materia. I seem to remember there was some trick with this that let you duplicate items but I’m not sure how to do it. I’ll have to research this a bit.

We wound up facing Hojo and he revealed he was Sephiroth’s father and he intended to send Shinra’s energy to him to help him along. This he did and then turned into an evil boss that took a while to defeat. And that was it for Shinra. Rest in peace chumps.

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Our group landed the Highwind and Cloud gave an inspiring speech that everyone needed to leave and only come back if they had a good reason to. He then spent a Platonic evening with Tifa talking about their upcoming battle. Little do they realize they will be teetering on the brink for the next several hours or more while I breed chocobos and complete my sidequests. Sorry to leave you guys hanging like that!

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And that took me to the end of disc two. I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have this week and next week I’m on vacation so it might just take me to the end of August to finish it.

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