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| The Rise and Fall of the Final Fantasy Fanboy (14 comments )|
by: Kristopher (5) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 2
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
There’s been a hole in my heart for the last 12 years, 7 months and 14 days. I speak, of course, of the release of Final Fantasy VI; which in North America was called Final Fantasy III.
How could anyone forget that the whole Final Fantasy franchise was spawned as a desperate attempt for Hironobu Sakaguchi to pull Square Company out of bankruptcy? Almost immediately my love affair with Final Fantasy began -- Final Fantasy was my first console title. One year later I bought Final Fantasy II from a comic convention and Final Fantasy III followed shortly after as a special order from an import magazine. I didn’t know how to read Japanese, but I would stay up late parsing through the original printed-out walkthroughs on how to navigate the elaborate stories.
Square Co. blessed the U.S. with Final Fantasy IV in 1991, which was dubbed Final Fantasy II in North America. To date, each Square title was better than the one before, pulling me in even further – review magazines were already heralding FFIV as the greatest RPG of all time. A year later Sakaguchi unveiled Final Fantasy V in Japan, but after the incredible reception of Final Fantasy IV, it looked as though the fifth installment was about the end of the line.
I had always liked Final Fantasy titles, but it wasn’t until the 1994 release of Final Fantasy VI that I became a true fanatic. Sakaguchi had passed the torch, but never before had a game been so immersive, expansive, and non-linear –it had good music and graphics to boot too. At this point I would invest months into Final Fantasy games; coming home from school to replay the older titles and unlock the hidden depths of the newest ones.
The blind euphoria of the Final Fantasy series started to crumble in 1997. I had waited three years and bought a new-fangled PlayStation just to enjoy the hyped Final Fantasy VII. Immediately I knew the series had changed. Everybody had spiky hair, full motion video stitched together dark plots and non-linear plot devices assured me, no matter what I did, Aeries was going to die. Final Fantasy VII was a great title, but something was lost.
Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears and other import spin-offs became the staple of my after-school gaming for the next two years as I awaited Squaresoft to correct the errors of FFVII with the next in the series. The drag and confusion of Final Fantasy Tactics did not deter me; the out of place overt religious messaging would not stop me from finishing Xenogears; the non-existant ending for Chrono Cross was no problem -- Square's Final Fantasy VIII would be the Second Coming in console RPGs, surely.
And then it happened: the day I stopped being a Final Fantasy fanatic, and stepped down to delusional fanboy. Like FFVII, the eighth installment provided fantastic cut-scenes, intricate storylines and lots of exploration, but everything had become completely linear. I would still play the titles over and over, but the series was clearly on a slide. A year later Final Fantasy IX followed with the same disappointments, and by Final Fantasy X all aspects I considered cornerstones of Final Fantasy IV and VI had disappeared.
With the Enix acquisition of Square in 2003, the franchise had completely changed. Final Fantasy X-2 felt like a Britney Spears music video, Final Fantasy XI became the online addiction for millions and Dirge of Cerberus stuck the final nail on the coffin.
I still grind away at Final Fantasy XII on my PlayStation 3, occasionally popping in Advent Children or The Spirits Within. The GameCube collects dust with Crystal Chronicles in-deck … ready at a moment’s notice. My days as a fanboy are over, but I have no doubt someone like me who grew up during the Golden Age of Final Fantasy Gaming will take the reins of console RPG development and replace the 13-year-old hole in my heart.
|14 User Comment(s) • 10 root comment(s)|
| Anonymous (-) Jul 11, 2007 - 06:12 am | Edited on Jul 11, 2007 - 06:15 am|
|I'm very sorry if I produce a TLDR (to long didn't read boring(post)). If so tell me and I will delete it. So here it goes.|
The Final Fantasy games 4,5 and 6 and Breath of fire (1) and suikoden 2 had a better non-linear travel system. It was a more rewarding experience to go from one place to another.
You had to explore the map to find the town or city. And not just by clicking a location in a list or just follow a locked path.
This would limit your feeling of exploring the map and story. The exploring of a town was an opportunity to meet new characters and buy new weapons and armor.
You could chose to grind to get stronger characters and new items and weapons. It was 'freedom' without gameplay limiting limitations.
* Or killing of the imersion. They went overboard with the super abilities in FF. An one minute during super ability FMV was not very good for the immersion and flow of gameplay.
So exploring a map and constantly getting jumped by different monsters was a more rewarding travel and gaming experience. And the fighting was Turn-Based in all of those games.
And in Breath of fire (1) it was fun to explore the map multiple times. You could travel on foot by boat, by magic and in the end you could fly to reach different parts of the map.
So you could find the extra powerful hidden weapons. It was all integrated in one single story, it was the carrierdeck to give you the posibility to explore and comeback to the story.
And the map was not just a place holder to the story. It did also play a role in the story telling and exploring.
And in Breath of Fire (1) you could merge your characters to get a more powerful character. An other development lost.
And the etearnal theme in FF 5 of good and bad and the travel from (bad,subjective) to (good) theme was nice to see. The hero did change from a 'baddas'[just folowing orders of the king] to a 'good' hero fighting evil.
So summurising: the storyline and plot of a well written book, the characters, the iso-display of the world and characters ,travel on a worldmap, the turn-based gameplay, mature themes hidden in a cartoonly display of the game, the journey of a character from bad to good to fight evil. And the rpg elements of a pen and paper game. And the cutness factor of small characters without ever comming near the uncanny gap of today’s animated characters.
That is what made those games good. Not the action driven single sided bu_tt_on bashing games they now produce (Square Enix/Atari =>Samuri Mushasi and (CAPCOM =>Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter) (I know they could do better than that)). They only have to sell breath of Fire (1) on PS2/PC again and I will buy it.
So the question remains why did they went from turn based gameplay to action bu_tt_on bashing? What did they lose?, what did happen? Why are they all chasing the same FSP-bu_tt_on-basher goose? Has it still got it's golden Egg's? Or have they killed it? No tbs Final Fantasy games anymore. Is that the gap?
So is this a TLDR post? Yes or No?
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| dream caster (3) Mar 17, 2007 - 08:21 pm | Edited on Mar 17, 2007 - 08:41 pm|
|I feel just the same about Final Fantasy VI; I also bought a PlayStation to play Final Fantasy VII but it was not like FF VI. I wrote about these experiences in a Daily Tech thread (that one about "serious" Square games) and I will write the same here. |
After Final Fantasy VI the Nintendo 64 was coming and I was expecting an entire game -a 3d game- just like that cutscene where Terra and two soldiers march in the snow to Narsche, and with such a great storyline as FF VI (for me in line with big literature classics).
And it still has not come.
And in response to phusg that has nothing to do with age, I was about 43 years old when I played Final Fantasy VI first time.
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| ralahinn1 (2) Feb 28, 2007 - 12:21 pm | Edited on Feb 28, 2007 - 12:22 pm|
|I feel that the prettier the games got graphically, the less the team concentrated on making a deeper storyline. I love parts of all the Final Fantasy games I have played, and I played all except III(the new ds version),X-2,XI, andXII. VIII felt rushed(they actually could have used 1 less disk for the content) IX had a few characters that had potential that werent used. X2 could have been so much more(and I am still wondering WTF a"Shoopoof" is). Its like once the series became sucessful, they just didn't care any more. They are just like the men/women you hear about who, before you marry them they are enchanting, but after you marry them they become trolls. I hope the care that they once expressed about having an exelent product goes back into making the games |
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