Welcome Time Wasters!
You can call me Chocobo Billy this week because I’m switching gears to do something a little different than my normal review. Instead, I want to take this weekend to talk about a sidequest that I wasted a lot of time on this week.
I’ve been playing through Final Fantasy VII again for a couple of reasons. One is for myself. It’s been a few years since my last playthrough and I was up for doing it again. The second reason, which is my main one, is so that Alia can see the game’s story.
Alia isn’t a fan of turn-based RPGs at all. She’s played through the first two Final Fantasy games, but has no interest in continuing with the series. However, she was interested to see more about the cast of Final Fantasy VII because she’s seen Advent Children.
That’s how this journey through Final Fantasy VII started, and somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to get my hands on a Gold Chocobo. I’ve never actually completed the Chocobo breeding sidequest before due to the ridiculous amount of time that has to be put into it. I remember spending around 30 hours on the process when I was a kid. I didn’t have a guide to go off of and I never reached my goal, but I did make it very close.
There are several different types of Chocobos in Final Fantasy VII. The base ones are Yellow, but there’s also Green, Blue, Black and Gold ones. The Chocobo breeding system is really complex and there’s not much in the way of guidance from the game on how to go about it. I played Final Fantasy VII back in a time where the internet hadn’t gone crazy in figuring everything about the game out. I also never bought official guides (save one for Digimon World 3) because I saw them as a waste of money and cheating.
Flash forward to 2016 and I’d still never gotten a Gold Chocobo. I gave in and decided to look up a Chocobo breeding guide for Final Fantasy VII in hopes of getting through the process without having to spend too much time on it. And it worked. I spent much less time this playthrough trying to get a Gold Chocobo, but dang did it still take way too long.
With the help of a Chocobo breeding guide that told me almost exactly what to do to get the Gold Chocobo, I still ended up spending 6 1/2 hours on this particular sidequest. Holy crap! That is a ridiculous amount of time to ask player to spend on a sidequest. Even in a game series that it known for having particularity long stories.
Some of you that have gone through the process are probably thinking that 6 1/2 hours is longer than necessary with a guide, and you’d be right. Unfortunately for me, I had a string of bad luck during my Chocobo breeding adventures.
See, Final Fantasy VII uses a random number generator to determine the color and sex of a Chocobo when they are being born. The player can affect certain parts of this by winning races with their Chocobos and feeding them certain nuts when they breed, but there’s still a good bit that’s left to chance.
I ended up spending two of my six hours in the game trying to get a Blue Chocobo for breeding. This involved a lot of shutting the game off and turning it back on when I didn’t get the result I was looking for. I kept getting nothing but Green Chocobos. Turns out that there’s a glitch that causes the random number generator to get stuck and continue to give the player Chocobos of the same color with no chance of the other color showing up. There were plenty of suggestions online about ways to “unstick” the random number generator, but no one really seemed to know for sure what to do.
Still, I managed to get past this glitch and get the Blue and Green Chocobos. After some racing and stat increasing, I breed them and got a Black Chocobo, which is as far as I got into the process when I first played the game as a kid. Turns out I was only one step away from the Gold Chocobo all those years ago. I just needed to catch a Yellow Chocobo with a Wonderful rating and breed it with the Black Chocobo while using a certain nut that can only be stolen from one type of enemy in the game. It wasn’t too difficult compared to everything else I had to do, but it was still a bit of a pain.
With the process completed, I was able to travel around and get all of the best Materia in the game, including the coveted Knights of the Round summon. It felt nice. Even if I had to cheat a little bit to do it.
Here’s the thing: this is an absolutely dumb part of Final Fantasy VII. It’s borderline impossible without a guide and no sane person would spend all the time to do it. Especially not when the only reward for getting the Gold Chocobo is the Knights of the Round summon, which can be obtained much easier by defeating Emerald Weapon. Add in all the possible glitches with Chocobo breeding, some of which I didn’t mention because the guide I used told me how to avoid them, and it becomes all too obvious that this sidequest is nothing but a waste of time.
There it is Final Fantasy VII fans. I’ve said that the game isn’t perfect. I already know where this is going and I’m not intending to fight over it. I’ve already set up the cross. Now you just need to hammer in the nails.
(Note: A default score of 2.5 out of 5 is being left in as a placeholder since this isn’t an actual review.)