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Author Topic: A JRPG by Any Other Name  (Read 996 times)

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Offline InkiduTopic starter

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A JRPG by Any Other Name
« on: May 26, 2010, 05:56:12 PM »
I have been thinking for probably too long (there are starving people and this eats up my brain's RAM) but I've come to the conclusion that the reason Final Fantasy XIII is sitting in my game drawer with only twenty hours clocked is that it really doesn't deserve the name Final Fantasy. I have a long-running love for this series and it really depresses me to see the series really lose its luster. VgCats: Final Fantasy XIII Allegory. I don't think its a very bad game, I just don't think it deserves the namesake. It doesn't earn it. The magic... is gone. It's probably because Uematsu doesn't work with Square-Enix anymore. Maybe its policy changes since the merger. I cannot tell personally. When I play it the only response I can usually invoke is a resounding, underwhelming meh...

There was something kind of special in the earlier installments. Everything seemed much more natural, less forced. It's a hard thing to put into words. I kind of blame spin-offs of the numeric games (Dirge of Cerberus, X-2, etc.) They make the Fantasy seem much less Final and are more often than not created to garner fanboy/girl dollars. I personally think that the series is way past even its silver age and the best thing to do would be let it die with some dignity.

Like I said. XIII is a good JRPG; not a Final Fantasy. It just doesn't have the shock and awe its predecessors brought to the table. Maybe I'm nostalgic or sentimental but I don't think the series is aging gracefully.   

Offline Brandon

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 06:41:45 PM »
There has not been a good final fantasy since Final fantasy X and there has not been a great one since Final Fantasy VI. I know Im a bit better at pattern recognition then most people but I figured most if not everyone would have recognized the same pattern by now. The storytelling magic is gone, the battle system magic is dying fast, and the freshness ran stale long long ago. Rather then buying FF 13 I intead choose to rent it and after a weekend of near endless play I took it back and decided that it was not worth further time.

I would implore you that from now on when a Square-Enix game comes out just rent it. If you play it and love it great! You can buy it when the price gets marked down and save yourself some money but if you hate it well you loose $5 instead of $50 and dont loose shelf space on your games bookshelf

Offline Heaven Sent Blossom

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 06:53:46 PM »
I almost clicked that VGcats link, then I remembered what the comic was like and came to my senses.

Honestly the FF series "magic" has been in steady decline for a long while now, the length of that time just varies depending on who you ask. I mean personally I haven't loved an FF since 5 (although I didn't despise 9) although I can see the appeal of 6 to the rest of the population. Not 7 though, 7 was just horrible apart from the materia system.

My biggest gripe* with 13 is just that it's a game clearly designed around the artists, and you never let an artist out of its box unless you've got some strict guidelines for it to follow. I can just imagine there being like six months of some guys work that was scrapped at the last minute because "Hang on Jeff, turns out we aren't using the moon level after all. Can we maybe use any of your moon monsters in the game proper do you think?". The linearity doesn't bother me so much, I don't even mind that the level design is about as inspired as the mazes you get on the back of a box of Frosties. Even the dubious quality of the story doesn't irk me (heck you could argue that it's a cut above your average JRPG standard and you might well be right, but that's still like being eaten by a shark being better than being eaten by a pack of pygmy wolverines).
It bothers me that they invested all this care on visuals (even eye-bleeding ones) yet still feel the need to beat our eyes to death with fucking numbers to show us how much damage is being done. Honestly? We haven't progressed as a culture beyond the point of getting aroused by the fact that we've gone from doing 75 damage to 750 damage in the space of 8 levels? These things were place holders, man. We only had them because there was no better way to convey the damage being done, you're seriously telling me that we haven't reached a point where we can find a new place holder? Honestly I suppose it doesn't matter, this game is basically a sham and we're either going to forget it as a failed experiment in the artistry of hollow lies--or it's going to be the first in a long line of heart breakers for those who don't get off the Squeenix train while they have the chance.

*This is a lie, my biggest gripe is actually that every character is clearly designed to be you favourite FF character. Or at least remind you enough of your favourite FF character that overlook their own lack of, you know, character. Still their ridiculously straight hair does look good enough to lay on a plate next to some meatballs and then feast upon, which is a bonus I suppose.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 07:10:09 PM »
There has not been a good final fantasy since Final fantasy X and there has not been a great one since Final Fantasy VI. I know Im a bit better at pattern recognition then most people but I figured most if not everyone would have recognized the same pattern by now. The storytelling magic is gone, the battle system magic is dying fast, and the freshness ran stale long long ago. Rather then buying FF 13 I intead choose to rent it and after a weekend of near endless play I took it back and decided that it was not worth further time.

I would implore you that from now on when a Square-Enix game comes out just rent it. If you play it and love it great! You can buy it when the price gets marked down and save yourself some money but if you hate it well you loose $5 instead of $50 and dont loose shelf space on your games bookshelf
I rented it first. And it was worth the buy to be honest. Just not as a Final Fantasy game. It just doesn't grip you. Eight was my personal favorite but this isn't about what's your favorite. I think all the games had a fairly general appeal to all of us video game people you didn't like some, you liked some more than others but still they had a general sense of magnitude. Even if it wasn't your favorite when you got a Final Fantasy game your expectations were not failed on every facet. You were assured some engaging story (not good but gripping there are plenty of books that make up for good with great read) some great music (thought the distancing of Uematsu was evident in ten up) and at least some open world freedom.

Ten kind of goes just... meh. It's not good but it sure is mediocre. Just like any other JRPG

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 07:14:23 PM »
I think the latest version of FF will be my last. 12 hours before it jumps the rails and opens up to the wide open spaces. (Not to mention anything of the FOUR hours of trying to beat the boss as he one shots all 3 of my toons despite their gear and buffs at the last 4% of his health)

Penny Arcade sums it better (at least the latest version)

« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 07:16:51 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 05:10:07 PM »
I agree, way too much tutorial. That and the general lack of being able to go anywhere but straight forward. I don't mind that its linear but I would have liked to see a little more of an option between path A and B and they go the same damn way. Sure it looks pretty but oh if it isn't skin deep I don't know what is.

Offline Samael

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 05:41:04 PM »
This makes me melancholic for GBA version of Final Fantasy IV.
So much fun... I spent hours getting different class combinations up, just enjoying the fights (they were actually fun), and watching the characters grow in skills and power. I need to play 6 and 9 again (My other favorites).

I tried playing 10, but, it just can't seem to keep my attention, and I never tried any after.
Skipped 7 after the end of the first CD, completely ignored 8.

Offline Brandon

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 05:52:13 PM »
Remember the days of old RPGs where you could run and fight pretty much where ever you liked? Even Dragon quest 8 gave that sense of freedom and go where you want gameplay. Thats something final fantasy seems to have lost with FF13. Even 12 had a kind of free roaming feel to it but now its run down a hallway for 80+ hours.

Storytelling has also gone waaaaay downhill. Its fine to put in some mystery, thats what keeps us glued to good RPGs but the mystery should be in the characters, what the bad guys are doing during the story, and not whats happened in the past to get us to the present. Once again Dragon quest 8 did a good job at storytelling by showing the destroyed kingdom of Trodain and the cursed king/princess. It also kept the reasons for why Dhoulmagus did what he did secret for a long time which added to the mystery of the character. FF12 also started out with the war between Arcades and Dalmasca but it was harder to care about those countries since the first time you play the game through you dont really have a point of reference for either one or why we should give a damn. FFX took an interesting twist with the history of the game, making it so that the history that the people knew, wasnt the truth and they did a good job telling it (honestly I would rate X as a great game on par with FF 4 and 6 if it hadnt been for the shitty ending).

Offline Brandon

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 05:58:03 PM »
This makes me melancholic for GBA version of Final Fantasy IV.
So much fun... I spent hours getting different class combinations up, just enjoying the fights (they were actually fun), and watching the characters grow in skills and power. I need to play 6 and 9 again (My other favorites).

I tried playing 10, but, it just can't seem to keep my attention, and I never tried any after.
Skipped 7 after the end of the first CD, completely ignored 8.

You arent missing much with 8, its basicly teenage mercenaries. Going heavy on the teenage aspect. The story was, at best poor, and the only characters that were really developed were the main one (Squall), Rinoa his romantic interest, and Quistis who was kind of a best friend/mentor. There jsut wasnt much reason to care about any of them

I know the fanboys will blast me for this one, but 7 is highly overated. Its a good game and has some interesting characters (although some arent very well developed) but I just feel its the one of the worst of the entire series.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2010, 06:07:17 PM »
Remember the days of old RPGs where you could run and fight pretty much where ever you liked? Even Dragon quest 8 gave that sense of freedom and go where you want gameplay. Thats something final fantasy seems to have lost with FF13. Even 12 had a kind of free roaming feel to it but now its run down a hallway for 80+ hours.

Storytelling has also gone waaaaay downhill. Its fine to put in some mystery, thats what keeps us glued to good RPGs but the mystery should be in the characters, what the bad guys are doing during the story, and not whats happened in the past to get us to the present. Once again Dragon quest 8 did a good job at storytelling by showing the destroyed kingdom of Trodain and the cursed king/princess. It also kept the reasons for why Dhoulmagus did what he did secret for a long time which added to the mystery of the character. FF12 also started out with the war between Arcades and Dalmasca but it was harder to care about those countries since the first time you play the game through you dont really have a point of reference for either one or why we should give a damn. FFX took an interesting twist with the history of the game, making it so that the history that the people knew, wasnt the truth and they did a good job telling it (honestly I would rate X as a great game on par with FF 4 and 6 if it hadnt been for the shitty ending).
I agree with everything but your idea of story telling. The techniques they used were no less valid than the one's you're describing. They use flashbacks where you want straightforward character-driven plot. Neither is bad as a technique but it's like comparing two names and saying one is better because you like the sound of it more. That's personal preference. I know many stories and games that use flashbacks to great effect.

Offline Nyarly

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2010, 10:55:05 AM »
I don't understand all this whining. Everywhere I go I hear that Final Fantasy is RUINED FOREVER! The game that ultimately ruin it is always another one. Some say it's VIII, some say it's X but it's always the same. But really, I like X and XII although my favorite Final Fantasy is VI. That may seem like I'm insane (apparently it isn't possible, or at least not allowed, to like any 3D FF when your favorite is VI) but it I really like them, especially XII. I think one of the reasons are the high expectations. I don't think there will be any FF that surpasses or even reaches VI. Another reason is the "they changed it now it sucks"-mentality. Something that is visible in the first post in this thread.

But I like Final Fantasy and I will buy XIII, too. Not because I'm a stupid Square-Fanboy (probably the reason why so many bought FF X-2 and then complained that it was just a fanservice game ) but because I genuinely like FF.

Offline Brandon

Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 03:29:30 PM »
Well final fantasy has always been known for its high quality story, graphics (for the time), and gameplay that mixed near seemlessly together. Even some the minigames were usually high quality and required strategy to win (FF8 card game for example). So yes I have high expectations for anything put out by Sqaure Enix because they set the bar that high.

As time has gone on, really only the graphics have been getting better and the story and gameplay aspects have been going downhill. That said, while I do say that 7, 8, and 12 were the worst of the series thats by no means saying their innately bad, just not as good as the others. IMO the only bad final fantasy thus far was Mystic quest. On the other hand comparing it to the titanic epics that were 4, 6, and tactics is probably a bit unfair as the series has been going downhill for so long

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: A JRPG by Any Other Name
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2010, 05:13:14 PM »
I don't understand all this whining. Everywhere I go I hear that Final Fantasy is RUINED FOREVER! The game that ultimately ruin it is always another one. Some say it's VIII, some say it's X but it's always the same. But really, I like X and XII although my favorite Final Fantasy is VI. That may seem like I'm insane (apparently it isn't possible, or at least not allowed, to like any 3D FF when your favorite is VI) but it I really like them, especially XII. I think one of the reasons are the high expectations. I don't think there will be any FF that surpasses or even reaches VI. Another reason is the "they changed it now it sucks"-mentality. Something that is visible in the first post in this thread.

But I like Final Fantasy and I will buy XIII, too. Not because I'm a stupid Square-Fanboy (probably the reason why so many bought FF X-2 and then complained that it was just a fanservice game ) but because I genuinely like FF.
You're miss-quoting what I wrote. I didn't say FF XIII sucked, or was bad. No I thought it was good for a JRPG. It is just lacking that something special that says: I'm a Final Fantasy game. It seems to only share in the name sake. I love every Final Fantasy game in its own way before twelve.

I first rpg ever. Good solid lets you goof around with some party variations.
II a real revolutionary change in rpgs at the time with a use-driven ability system, cool!
III first one to try and give you all the classes for ultimate party customization.
IV. My most favorite and nostalgic one with some of the best music and story ever.
V. An updated system to III and a couple of nice ideas you'd see later.
VI. The first break from the "four crystals" story idea and the beginning of the materia system.
VII. Not my favorite but you know it did a lot of things right even though the story was hit or miss.
VIII. The junction system was actually awesome but it took a lot of work but that was still much less than the grind of XII. Gunblades rule...
IX. A pure powerhouse of nostalgia and allusions to the series. How the 2D games would have looked in 3D.
X. I liked a lot of it, didn't care for Tidus but I  could get behind the journey and the sphere gird was something new.
(Don't play MMOs so no XI)

I'm saying that love it or hate it each of those games was engaging in some way. Now maybe it's like I said and now that Uematsu is gone the lack of his music really makes them hard for me to deal with. I'll play any game with Uematsu music in it. I probably wouldn't have played Lost Odyssey very long  it wasn't for that oh-so-familiar music. I just think that XIII doesn't have that magic that I'm used to feeling.

XII is the only game in the series that I think is truly a bad game.