Final Fantasy Omnithread - All FF, all the time.

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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mosc
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

well ultima's in kimari's grid and holy is practically rikku's so I don't see those as reasons why yuna > lulu. Lulu's grid has more magic power in it as well as doublecast. "Ga" spells are also gotten pretty early. I think what you're saying is more a statement that FFX's system wasn't very flattering for casters in general which is very true. When a single quick hit is 4x faster and does more damage than a double casted ultima for 1/10th the MP with drastic lock sphere requirement differences, you got issues. Still, broken systems are often FUN systems. Difficulty is not directly analogous to fun. In fact, it often detracts from it.

Still, I've often thought of ways to fix it. First, I'd give ultima BDL on it's own without requiring it on the weapon. That gives some side benefit to casters for all those lock spheres. Then give her celestial damage multiplier/defense ignore to her magic damage instead of physical (maybe yuna's too). Then make double cast skip the animation sequences (hard enough to plug in already and we've all seen them by the time we double cast them) and you'd have a much more useful magic user.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby dyzzy » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:01 pm UTC

My memory's pretty hazy, it's been a while. It might have been that I just 'ported Yuna around, and she wound up dwarfing Lulu in stats. Regardless, the best thing about the sphere system was that it could be ruthlessly broken if you were patient enough.

I'm with you on the difficulty != fun part. Very off-topic, but I don't know why I played Ninja Gaiden 1/2, as they're basically interactive self-torture.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:03 pm UTC

Considering you're talking to somebody who even farmed enough spheres for LUCK to be maxed on all characters? Yes, yes you can abuse the hell out of it. And that was awesome for it's own reasons.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby dyzzy » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

Wow. I didn't even remember luck was a stat in that game. What did it even do, given that you could attain the damage cap via the other stats?
... item drops?

Come to think of it, that would be pretty awesome.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:43 pm UTC

Luck did almost nothing. Also, the spheres were really hard to get and to activate them required fortune spheres which were also really hard to get. You probably don't remember it because there were only a half dozen spheres on the grid in the first place and activating them required near-unique items. Considering 7 characters, the act of maxing luck is an exercise in extreme.

Anyway, the technical answer is it matters on which version you have. The original version, it governed critical hit chance (something on the order of attack-defender luck =~= % of crit) and acted like evasion + accuracy points (attacker's accuracy + luck - defender's evasion + luck =~= % to hit). They changed it slightly in the international version but I won't bore you.

Basically, my characters ALWAYS critted, never missed, and never got hit by non-specials (almost everything's a special anyway).
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

dyzzy wrote:I'm with you on the difficulty != fun part. Very off-topic, but I don't know why I played Ninja Gaiden 1/2, as they're basically interactive self-torture.

Go download and play I Wanna Be the Guy and come back.

But anyway, I didn't necessarily mean FFX is bad, although it's certainly not one of my favorites, I just love the super-fast ATB and Job Dress system of FFX-2.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby dyzzy » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:22 pm UTC

I'm still at work, but that sounds too painful for me to handle....

nah, I'll probably obsess over it. Thanks a lot, Endless Mike. I just got a new keyboard, too.

/off-topic

I should add that my favorite would have to be FF6. Some of the best storytelling moments I experienced when I was young. The sequence of events surrounding the halfway mark still gives me chills.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Ansible » Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:02 am UTC

My favorite is FF III for the music, story, and pretty much everything else. It's really FF VI, but my SNES cartridge says III, so that's what I tend to go with. I also liked FF IX. It had good music and the cinematic scenes were interesting, but the story wasn't as great. FF II also had its moments, I don't remember too much about it though.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby philsov » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:55 am UTC

Tactics.

No other video game has brought me to the depths of paper and pencil Player vs. Player.

edit: I see I got pimped by Fiska. Whoop.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mxyzptlk » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:53 pm UTC

Well I've only played 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10. Of those, 9 was my favorite and 10 was my least favorite. Storywise that is. I never had a complaint about any FF's gameplay and while I liked some of the gameplay elements of 10, I play Final Fantasy mainly for the story and I got sick of the whiny lead character, Tidus, almost immediately and I pretty much hated every other character as well, except for Auron.. Auron was a badass. Lulu's tits weren't so bad either, but they don't make up for the rest of the shitty cast. GOD I hated those people :mad: How am I supposed to save the world when I want my entire party to suffer the most horrible death imaginable?

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Torvaun » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:11 pm UTC

My brother and I came up with the idea of a FFX drinking game. "Drink when Tidus is a little bitch?" "Dude, we'd be dead within the hour."
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby aion7 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:34 am UTC

I was talking to a friend earlier about the Final Fantasy series, and could not understand their arguments. Can someone please explain how this "Auron" is more of a badass than Kefka? I'm just not seeing it. My friend continually said that he "kept fighting even though he was dead", or something like that. How is that more badass than achieving near-godlike status, killing half the world, rearranging the continents and forcing all the survivors to worship you?
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Kag » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:47 am UTC

Because Kefka did all that stuff by manipulating others, not by being a badass.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Maseiken » Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:38 am UTC

And manipulating others can't be badass?
Kefka may not be physically imposing, but he's the most Magnificent Bastard in the FF series by my money.

Screw killing the main character's love interest, Kefka slaughters entire cities, for no particular reason. Then, he starts a cult mindlessly worshipping him. A cult, mind, which one of the main characters (The most intelligent main character) joins, out of sheer despair.

By this point he had also absorbed the energy of almost an entire sentient species, the parallel species to humanity. He had also taken what was essentially the messiah of both worlds and forced her to mindlessly slaughter innocent civilians. Every facet of his power was built on other people's work. Through General Leo's leadership, Cid's research and Gestahl's plans. Kefka is the ultimate manipulator.

You're right though, he's not inherently that powerful. He probably just started out as a normal person.

So the fact that we could even argue about who's more badass between him and other villains indicates a special quality about him. You have to remember that the others generally had a leg up, initially, (Sephiroth was genetically engineered, etc). Kefka's just some Sociopathic, sadistic madman that managed to charm his way to the top and attain the power of a deity, through fooling and killing people infinitely more dedicated, more determined and more powerful than himself.

He doesn't even have underlings, or allies. The one person that's on his side is his boss. And he kills him.

Imagine you were clearly insane. Now imagine controlling the entire world. That's what Kefka did. Without help.

I don't see how that's not Badass.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby charliepanayi » Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:42 pm UTC

I do love most of the FF games I've played to some extent, but my favourite is FFVIII, just edging out FFIX (the latter being the first in the series I ever played). I know that VIII is the Marmite game of the series (people seem to either love it or hate it) but I remember falling in love with it the moment I first played it and saw the opening sequence. When it came to the plotline and the characters (which drove so many people nuts), I enjoyed every moment, and the ending is terrific. I enjoyed the way the game had you piece together some of the plotline yourself (
Spoiler:
like not telling you outright about Squall being Laguna's son, but giving you all the clues to make it obvious
)
Good music too. I'll admit that I can see why some people dislike it as much as I love it, but it'll always be my favourite.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Darryl » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

IV was the first one I ever beat. So it holds a soft spot in my heart. (Also, on the GBA remake, I renamed Cecil and Rosa after my girlfriend and myself >.>)
VI was the best Final Fantasy there ever was. The last one where I could actually care about the characters. Celes and Locke were in my party unless it was impossible to have them at that point.
V has the fun class system that builds on I and III, and allows you to gestalt in some abilities. (Dual-Wield + !Sword anyone?)
III & I were classics
II gets a vote for trying something different. Even if it turned out not that great, it was innovative at the time.

Tactics, I've never had a chance to play.

Tactics Advance & Tactics A2, however, are fun (even if the laws sometimes make me want to stab my eyes out. Especially when something charms one of my characters into breaking a Law).
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby aion7 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:22 pm UTC

Darryl wrote:IV was the first one I ever beat. So it holds a soft spot in my heart. (Also, on the GBA remake, I renamed Cecil and Rosa after my girlfriend and myself >.>)
VI was the best Final Fantasy there ever was. The last one where I could actually care about the characters. Celes and Locke were in my party unless it was impossible to have them at that point.
V has the fun class system that builds on I and III, and allows you to gestalt in some abilities. (Dual-Wield + !Sword anyone?)
III & I were classics
II gets a vote for trying something different. Even if it turned out not that great, it was innovative at the time.

Tactics, I've never had a chance to play.

Tactics Advance & Tactics A2, however, are fun (even if the laws sometimes make me want to stab my eyes out. Especially when something charms one of my characters into breaking a Law).

This post gets the aion7 Seal of Approval. I've never played Tactics advance or it's sequel, but I agree with everything else.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Darryl » Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:28 pm UTC

And you, my friend, have excellent taste.

I will say, however, that FF is not my favorite RPG series. Give me Super Mario/Paper Mario, Star Ocean, Tales of, etc.

>.>
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Maseiken » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:51 pm UTC

Everything else i agree with.
But I couldn't STAND Star Ocean. Maybe if the translation had been better on my ROM *guilt*, but GOD! it was so DULL! The combat was like the little slideshow. Interesting, exciting, and I had absolutely no impact on it's outcome.
Maybe that's just me though.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Darryl » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

Maseiken wrote:Everything else i agree with.
But I couldn't STAND Star Ocean. Maybe if the translation had been better on my ROM *guilt*, but GOD! it was so DULL! The combat was like the little slideshow. Interesting, exciting, and I had absolutely no impact on it's outcome.
Maybe that's just me though.

I never played the first one. Have Second Story that I play on a PS3, though.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Aradae » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Torvaun wrote:My brother and I came up with the idea of a FFX drinking game. "Drink when Tidus is a little bitch?" "Dude, we'd be dead within the hour."


lol.

"Drink when Yuna pauses mid sentence."
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:39 pm UTC

If you REALLY want an effective drinking game, you can play "drink every time a fanboy says FF__ sucks and FF__ was the greatest game ever"
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Maseiken » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:45 pm UTC

Drink once for each Random encounter.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:22 pm UTC

You wouldn't even get a buzz in FF12 since none are random!

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Aradae » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:07 am UTC

That's why I love FFXII, they should have done that sooner.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby aion7 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:09 am UTC

May I point at Chrono Trigger again?
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Maseiken » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:13 am UTC

aion7 wrote:May I point at Chrono Trigger again?

CT probably had the best Encounter system I've ever come across.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Cecilff2 » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:01 pm UTC

Well my opinion tends to be SNES FF's > PS FF's

FF2/4 being my favorite(As you can probably tell).
FF3/6 being very close behind.
Though here I jump to FFIX. I enjoyed the change in story from FFVII and VIII, and generally like the characters.
FFV comes next. Very well done Job system.
FFVII goes here. Its good, but not spectacular.
FFX is same as above
FFVIII never interested me. The story was crazy. To this day I still haven't finished it(I made it to Ultimecia's castle and quit)

I like the series though. Not sure where I'd fit MQ into that.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Darryl » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:09 pm UTC

Cecilff2 wrote:I like the series though. Not sure where I'd fit MQ into that.

Nowhere, because Mystic Quest is not actually an FF? Similar to Adventure, and Legends I - III. It was a different Square game they rebranded to sell well.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:37 pm UTC

aion7 wrote:May I point at Chrono Trigger again?

Sure, but what does it have to do with Final Fantasy?
Darryl wrote:
Cecilff2 wrote:I like the series though. Not sure where I'd fit MQ into that.

Nowhere, because Mystic Quest is not actually an FF? Similar to Adventure, and Legends I - III. It was a different Square game they rebranded to sell well.

Wrong. FF Mystic Quest was designed for the US market initially, then released in Japan as Final Fantasy USA Mystic Quest. Europe is the only region where it didn't have FF in the name and who cares about them?

That doesn't make it a good game, of course.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:11 pm UTC

Cecilff2 wrote:FF2/4 being my favorite(As you can probably tell).

Have you played through the lunar ruins of the FF4A GBA game yet though? If you haven't, you are missing out on the best part of your favorite game.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Cecilff2 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:00 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
Cecilff2 wrote:FF2/4 being my favorite(As you can probably tell).

Have you played through the lunar ruins of the FF4A GBA game yet though? If you haven't, you are missing out on the best part of your favorite game.


Yep. Kain's side was quite interesting.(And took several tries due to bad timing).

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:42 pm UTC

Do you agree with me in saying that the extra dungeon is by far the best part of the game? Especially because it's only available in a GBA format that came out late in it's lifespan, very few have even played the thing. I found it exceptional.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Thadlerian » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

As a continuation of my previous thoughts on Final Fantasy (obviously spolier'd for length).

Thadlerian wrote:
Spoiler:
Final Fantasy... where to start?

With the good stuff: The music. If I were to mention one reason only for getting into FF, it would be the music. Heavy, epic, emotional themes that surpass most of what you hear in movies. That one thing all the FF games I've played have in common: The adorable tracks that I can listen to over and over. Crossing Those Hills, Terra's Theme (map, Awakening, and intro), Shadow as rendered in the end theme, FFVII main, Tifa, Aerith, Jenova, Anxious Heart, Balamb Garden, Eyes on Me, Silence and Motion (yeah, I think this theme is brilliant), and so on.

I only started getting into FF a couple of years ago. But I had been thinking of it for years before that, ever since being invited to my friend's place to watch him beat Ultimecia in FFVIII. I remembered wicked-sounding names like Squall, Zell and Quistis; the Lion Hearts, and the setting - the way it seemed to alternate between mundane and ethereal, seamlessly from actual to metaphorical fighting. They didn't merely beat up a bad guy - it was a battle of soul and emotion and ideas, against an enemy who threatened something profound and infinite. Doing what no computer game or movie or story at all had ever done - it was as if someone had peeked into my dreams and written a game on what they had seen. After that, it was repeatedly watching this old AMV [LINK DEAD] - which just confirmed what I had seen earlier. Those hi-tech ships jumping all over the place, the antenna, that wicked dragon-like spaceship breaking into that cyberpunkish structure, noble men, beautiful women - all under this unreal sheen of dreamlikeness.

The first game I got to play was FFVII. I really wanted VIII, but VII was available, and everyone said it was great. Reading reviews sure put me in the right atmosphere: Names like Cloud, Aerith, AVALANCHE and the evil corporation Shin-Ra. Not to metion that I had actually seen a glimpse of FFVII in a book. A book about design, with FFVII listed alongside Things To Come and Le Corbusier. A hi-res picture of Midgar with all its Mako reactors blazing violent green. I expected a return to the state I had seen from my short glimpses of FFVIII - to be swept away into that mysterious world of indefinite technology and magic and concepts and emotions. Golden the ship was - Oh! Oh! Oh!

It turned out to be a cartoon.

FFVII wasn't really that bad in the beginning. Sure, you had Barret yelling #¤&%!!!, and Cloud doing that helpless shrug of his, and Biggs (or Wedge?) running around like a Humpty Dumpty with his behind on fire. But there were haunting moments as well. The Climb to the upper levels. And Shin-Ra Tower. I remember the endless stairs, telling myself that when I had just climbed these stairs, the game would finally open up to me. And, for a moment, it almost did.

But then they left Midgar, and the whole thing just collapsed. There were still cool and unreal scenes, of course: The Zolom impaled by Sepiroth, the sun in your face as you cross the Corel mountains, the Golden Saucer, Cosmo Canyon, and that petrified city. But nothing of that could conceal the cartoonish characters, or, worse, the horribly trite dialogue. It was like listening to monkeys who had been taught to speak words. Whenever they discussed concepts, they were helpless, and when talking about feelings, it was like reading Megatokyo. The random battles bringing you enemies like huge flying rabbits, motorcycle thugs with long arms. The utterly mundane world. The summons - this is where the setting really starts breaking apart. Shiva, Ifrit, Odin, the Knights of the... Round Table? WTF? What do these beings of Earth mythology have to do with the world of FFVII? Hard to tell - it's never explained. Nothing that was related to the actual gameplay - Materia, Summons, monsters (why am I fighting this Jenova thing? Why does Sephiroth have the appearance of an angel with one wing?) - had anything to do with the story. It was as if storywriters and game designers were sitting on different planets.

So, let's abandon the FFVII of my dreams and concentrate on what is. It's a good game. The story, for all its faults, is engaing and complex, the characters are good - they have their own ways of talking and their own ways of moving. There are FMVs, there is a general game set up for you to meticulously conquer... and there is Nobou Uematsu's stunning music. Compared to other games I've played, Final Fantasy VII remains one of the greatest.

Moving on to FFVIII, the object of my dreams. Huge disappointment. I'm replaying the game in these very days, and it seems I had actually managed to forget quite how horrible the story of this game is. Some of the plot holes are of dimensions allowing for the Ragnarok to fly through (consider for instance Rinoa falling from Balamb, getting a hold onto the cliff wall - and remaining hanging there for ages, while Squall and crew run here and there, and the doctor decides he should hold a speech before rescuing her, and the Gardens collide massively, and Squall fights these dudes, and she's still hanging on when he finally arrives to resque her). The game is riddled with these; my disbelief isn't merely de-suspended: It is savagely blasted out of the sky in a rain of blood-soaked feathers. And even if you disregard the plot holes, the story is still awful. Now, I'm a real sucker for a good love story, but that requires some sense of equality between the lovers. The story of FFVIII can be summed up as follows:

1. Rinoa is rescued by Squall.
2. Repeat the above.

Again and again Squall has to rescue this utterly useless girl from the problems she gets into because of her complete inability to take care of herself. No way I'm going to accept their love story. I cannot root for a guy I'm forced to sympathise with (after all, I'm playing him) to win a girl whom I find totally disgusting.

To make matters worse, FFVIII compares badly to many aspects of FFVII. The whole colour scheme - going from VII to VIII feels like stepping out of Eden to find yourself in the Gobi Desert. The colours feel like sand in your mouth, the game is too pale or too yellow or too brown or too grey - never mind the exponentially higher FMV quality. And then there's the music. Refer to the YouTube FMV I pointed out earlier in this post. When playing the Dollet mission in the real game, the music, which in the FMV was perfect for the setting, clashed horribly. It was this half-serious plink-plonk midi. Nothing wrong with midi; the music still lacked all nerve, all sense of importance. That's what the whole game is like. There are only three tracks I like: Balamb Garden, Eyes on Me and Silence and Motion. From FFVII, I can name at least 30.

But there is good stuff too. The characters are, as I mentioned, a mixed blessing, but those who are good, are good. Zell, Irvine, Selphie - completely fruitcake, all of them. And wonderfully consistent. Whenever they enter the scene, it's a real show - Zell losing his temper with Seifer, Selphie dancing around talking and gesturing about blowing stuff up, and Irvine generally being Irvine. Also, where FFVII remained rooted to the mundane soil, FFVIII at least attempts to get off the ground and grasp for those divine layers I dreamed of. The parade, the Lunatic Pandora, and the greatest ship in the history of storytelling: The Ragnarok. Not to mention, of course, Laguna's sequence in Deling, where you first get to encounter Deling's wondrously creepy buses. I loved those buses!

But still, a major letdown.

So, this far, had I learned anything about the nature of the Final Fantasy games? Did I still cling to the hope that FF would hand me my dreams? Well, I almost got there:

Enter limited SNES 3D technology.
Enter snow.
Enter three MagiTech armours.
Enter Nobou Uematsu's tear-jerking, intensely beautiful Terra's Theme (from my limited understanding of music, I consider the intro scene version this theme to be completely perfect).

Almost there, but then the sequence ended, and from there on the game generally followed the path of VII and VIII: Cheesy dialogue mixed with a mundane and physical story I couldn't really relate much too. I think the game has too many characters; there is simply not enough room for any of them to develop more than a rudimentary expression of individual characteristics - moods, fighting styles, etc, plus a couple of pre-story events - pretty much like reading one of Steven Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen. Again, many scenes with merit (especially taking into account the limited conveying technology of the SNES) - Doma and the ghost train, the Opera, Celes and Cid, Locke and Rachel - but a meritless story. Like in the previously mentioned games: A mad villain achieves godlike appearance and powers - and the moral imperative for the heroes to defeat him/her.

I've played a little FFIX too. Lindblum was a gift, and, prior to that, Vivi's confrontation with Black Waltz turned out to be the best scene in Final Fantasy so far. But I haven't got further than to CD 2 somewhere, and can't really say much about it. Only that, on the one hand, Vivi and Steiner seem to me to be very likeable characters, and Freya and Quina intrigue me, while on the other hand, the sexualization of child-like characters rather freaks me out. I'm not sure whether I will return to the game.


So, basically, that's my toughts on FF. FFVII > FFVI > FFVIII, with FFIX uncertain. But none of them remotely fulfilling. Nothing I've seen in Final Fantasy has touched me similarly to what I've seen in movies like The City of Lost Children or Pan's Labyrinth, or read in books like The Golden Compass or Earthsea.

If my judgement of these games seem unduly harsh, keep in mind my particular case of relative deprivation. I expected extraordinary, divine greatness... and got video games, plain and simple.

So... do you folks think would I have anything to gain from completing FFIX or getting FFX and/or FFXII?


So, now I've been through Final Fantasy IX as well. What to say? I think it ranks equal to FFVII in terms of quality and likeability. Technically, it outranks the public's favourite in a number of fields, but it feels lacking in something essential that sets VII apart from the other games. Let's get the details on the table, good and bad.

The best thing about the game is easily the music. The world theme, the romance theme, and several character themes (Freya, Cid, Beatrix {Loss of Me/Protecting my Devotion}, Amarant, Vivi) are all excellent, Black Mage Village is priceless, and You're Not Alone has got to be one of the best video game tracks, especially the live orchestra version.

Second up, the playable characters are all great. In FFVI there were just a lot of them, with hardly any development. In FFVII they stood more out, but interacted only with Cloud, never with each other. FFVIII had memorable characters, but again, no development whatsoever, and only weak interactions. The contrast to FFIX is striking. Already from the beginning, Vivi stands out as highly likeable, and you know he'll see a lot of events in the game. His friendship with Steiner borders on touching, with the big man sincerely respecting and encouraging him, while being arrogant to everybody else.

Steiner himself is one of the more intriguing characters of the FF series - the first that I've seen so far that I will call complex. He's a helpless piece of comical relief all right, with his awkward formality, and his being so quick to anger, but he has a nasty streak as well. He likes power, and he likes abusing it. You can see that in how he behaves. Zidane is the first person he's met whom he can't bully and intimidate, and this makes their relationship rather interesting.

Freya spells out "strong character" like few others I've seen. She has style and drama, she can stand on her own, and she has some great moments. The whole section from where we meet her in Lindblum, travel through the atmospheric Gizamaluke grotto, and reach the ruined Burmecia, until she's lying the the rain, defeated and humiliated by Beatrix - it's easily my favourite part of the game.

There is Quina, hated by many, and not much played by me, but easily a far more interesting character than Gogo or Caith Sith, what's with his/her way of seeing him/herself as the real main character, being on a quest to eat, and with the whole Kuja thing as completely uninteresting. Eiko sure is annoying as well, but her introduction, seeing her living alone with the moogles, desperately trying to make Zidane and the others like her, is a moving and enjoyable scene.

The game mechanics themselves feel smoother than in the previous games, and are far better blended with the storyline and setting than in previous games. Unique character ability combinations, the ability to skip eidolon summon movies, and various other details makes the game more forgiving to play.

The storyline in itself is hardly remarkable, but compared to previous games, the storytelling is excellent. The active time event function is great, just the fact that they're letting us have all these little story details is a huge leap from FFVIII. The setting is sweet as well, with cities like Lindblum and Treno, though nothing comes close to the (at times) almost Grim Fandango-ish Midgar in FFVII.

That's the good stuff. On to the bad:

In particularly one respect, the game is a lot like FFVIII: It is loaded up, completely saturated with good stuff in the beginning, to hook players and woo reviewers. Tons of CGI is contrasted by a stark absence of it in the later parts of the game (save for end-CD crenscendi). That might have been rather acceptable, if not for the fact that the story functions in the same way. All the interesting stories and relationships are bunched up in the beginning. Steiner's friendship with Vivi plays an active role, and we're treated with Freya's tragic love of Sir Fratley. None of these sub-plots are referred to again, except for the quick resolution of the Fratley problem by the ultimate end of the game. Long before the characters have actually become interchangeable, their quirks and influences are mostly gone. It's as if the developers got tired of making the game, and just wanted to finish it without too much ado.

Instead, we're treated with unfulfilling side-plots like Steiner's attraction to Beatrix (who's got "fanservice" written all over her in an exceptionally tasteless fashion), and Eiko's sporadically mentioned jealousy of Garnet. Vivi's troubles continue throughout the game, but increasingly more predictably in their expression and in his reactions.

In place of all these promised interacions, we're given the relationship between Zidane and Garnet as the main plot element aside from the "beat the bad guy" quest. Zidane is an improvement over Squall (but so is any person, real or fictional. Or any object, for that sake), and he's got some ambivalence, what's with his less-than-decent behaviour when chasing girls (like the scene when they're climbing into the cargo airship), but ultimately he's as predictable as Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke.

Garnet, on the other hand, is not an improvement over Rinoa (and that's BAD). She's weak (her eidolons are strong, but that's strictly a matter of gameplay, not story), she gets herself into trouble by means of her own bad judgement, and she's generally passive/negative and predictable in her interaction with Zidane. The recipe is simple, a favourite of the Fantasy genre: She is hard to get, until she has been "won", and then she submits completely. Their romance has no nerve, nothing is ever at stake, and there are no dynamic elements. And, worst of all, to fulfill it, Zidane is (essentially) resurrected. I HATE that kind of shit. You DON'T resurrect characters (without at least a huge penalty), ESPECIALLY NOT after having a lengthy scene with each of the other characters saying their goodbyes. The final cutscene is cute as hell, but it adds nothing to the story.

There, now I'm out of steam. A strong game in many respects, but harmed by problems with the main storyline and cast, and the absence of good side-plots as soon as characters have been well introduced. Like most anime, there is a humanist/pacifist message, and like most anime, there is no heart or innovation in the presentation of the message whatsoever.

Another video game, in other words. An enjoyable pastime, but one less memorable than Final Fantasy VII.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Box Boy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:34 pm UTC

I played my first final fantasy two years ago when I found copies of FF-X and FF-X2 in a bargain bin for thirty euros together.
I played all of X and loved every moment. The story was one that kept me interested constantly and the characters (although bad at times) were overall quite likable.
As usual for a Final Fantasy the music was brilliant, I've honestly never heard music half as good in a movie as I have in a FF game.
The gameplay was very good (not exactly brilliant though) and it had just the right level of custimization for someone like me who rarely plays RPGs and wants to be able to get straight to figthing. The graphics are still very good and, overall, I still love the game.
After that X2 was a huge disapointment. I dislike Pain and Riku was a character I hadn't really liked in X (I prefered Wakka and Lulu) so the characters weren't exactly great.
And after near-mastering the combat system in X the dress spheres really threw me off. I had been expecting the same characters with a mildly improved battle system. The story was sort of "meh" and the music was, as always, excellent. I'll admit the game was good, but I was still expecting more after X.
Recently I've finished playing VII and I love it. The graphics aren't a problem for me as the first time I started gaming (five and a half years ago) was when my cousin lent me his old 64 and a few games (Ocarina of Time and Conkers Bad fur day to name a few) so oldish graphics are something that I have a soft spot for.
The music is incredible and I like the majority of the characters* with the exception of Cait Sith.
The overall gameplay is a bit bland at times but it's got enough strategy to make me put thought in some of my materia combos. I loved the story all the way through it and replayed it once to make sure I'd done all the side missions (and to get the Barret date scene for fun ^.^)Now i'm eagerly awaiting Final fantasy Versus XIII as it looks fantastic and the dark setting is something I like in games.
As for Agito and the non-special named XIII, I'm not really holding my breath for either.
On a final note, I don't know if they count but I'm a huge fan of the Kingdom Hearts series as well.

* SPOILER ALERT!
Spoiler:
Unfortunately I liked Aeris the most and decided to build my entire team around her, then I put a few hours into grinding her up about five levels. If only I'd known she dies..... *Facepalm*



EDIT, I noticed this quote;

Torvaun wrote:My brother and I came up with the idea of a FFX drinking game. "Drink when Tidus is a little bitch?" "Dude, we'd be dead within the hour."

Have you ever tried the "Drink every time Barret/Cid Swears" game? That could kill you in less than an hour easily if you got to the shinra building and went for the stairs.
Signatures are for chumps.

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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:11 am UTC

BoxBoy, the other FFs are pretty good as well. My favorite is FFVI. Worse graphics obviously, but I love its music, story and setting. Also, I really enjoyed FFVIII. Except for a mind numbingly stupid plot twist in the middle of the game, I really liked it. And the plot twist isn't so horrible after you get used to the idea, either. It's just dumb. :)
FFXII is gorgeous and kind of fun to battle through but I didn't enjoy the story as much.
FFT Is my second favorite (or maybe before FFVI, I dunno). It's an excellent game with deep strategic gameplay and a huge encompassing political story.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby charliepanayi » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:04 am UTC

I never understand why people hate the whole
Spoiler:
The characters in FFVIII knew each other as kids and GFs made them lose their memory
business in FFVIII. Is it outlandish? Certainly. And I can see why some people find it ludicrous. But I liked it, it puts a new spin on things and for me it's no more 'what the hell' than
Spoiler:
pretty much everything involving Cloud in FFVII, especially his false memories
or
Spoiler:
Tidus being a dream in FFX
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:21 am UTC

The thing is, it felt mostly out of the blue and very unbelievable. For the other two twists you mentioned, there's plenty of buildup (specifically the first). Plus, the whole "Oh, sure, whatever" attitude the characters have there... it just isn't very believable.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby PlayingMonkey » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:01 pm UTC

For me VII was my first RPG. Nobuo did an amazing job composing the music with his limited means, as well as just being a complex game in general. I would like to play VI as it is commonly thought to be one of the best and I have never played it.

IX is my favorite, for the depth of the card game and for the fact that the characters grow in personality as the story progresses, and it has good music.
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Re: Final Fantasy series.... favorites?

Postby mosc » Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:The thing is, it felt mostly out of the blue and very unbelievable. For the other two twists you mentioned, there's plenty of buildup (specifically the first). Plus, the whole "Oh, sure, whatever" attitude the characters have there... it just isn't very believable.

The problem you're hinting at with 8 is that they characters are introduced as old friends. It's so out of the blue because they spent so much time and focus through most of the first disk on existing backstory. Whip girl's your teacher, sword guy's your rival, kickboxer's your buddy, etc. If anything, 8 has the most backstory of all but it's also the one where all that backstory means the least. That's why it pisses people off.
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