! SPOILER WARNING !
The plot of this game has some unusual features
that I feel deserve comment. I've played VII and VIII as well, and found the plots for those games, while intricate, much less satisfying than this one.
Zidane establishes a history of being an altruist
--willing to help those around him for no particular reason (his tagline is, "Virtue
/ You don't need a reason to help people"). This is highlighted by his dialogue with Amarant, who expresses great difficulty understanding this position or the motivations for Zidane's actions, and also by the contrast with the major villain, Kuja, who goes so far as to attempt to destroy the world purely because he's learned of his own mortality. The interplay of self-centered with other-centered actions is pretty clearly highlighted, but in a fairly basic manner that subscribes to a cartoon morality
for most of the game.
Where it gets interesting is near the end--Zidane discovers that he is a created being--more specifically, one of many created to serve. Because of this, his altruism
is a quality he can't claim to have to chosen--it was forced upon him. For a brief period, he begins to rebel against it, and treats his friends rather nastily. A short while later, though, he reverts to his previous ways. I would like for his motivation here to have been more clearly spelled out, because I think there's an interesting moral
which many players will not be exposed to here. Essentially, Zidane decides to own up to who he is--it doesn't matter that he was created a certain way, or that he was influenced to act the way he does. He is able to think about the alternatives, and rationally choose the most appealing option. Furthermore, he is able to act on that regardless of his impulses--witness the period during which he acted selfishly.
What I particularly like here is the idea that he owns
his decision and his qualities. No longer treating them as something determined by another, he chooses to be the way he is, and he could have chosen another. In making this choice, though, he really didn't fall far from the intentions of his creators--his goals changed somewhat, but his basic disposition and the way he acts didn't. In taking responsibility
for oneself, it ISN'T necessary to act radically differently from the ways handed down from the past, only to choose them for oneself.