At first glance, I wasn’t even aware I was looking at Final Fantasy XIII-2. The incredibly bland character design of Serah and Noel, the new character who tags along with Lightning’s sister, made me think I was looking at some B-tier Tales game, not a AAA Final Fantasy title. But it ain’t the’ 90s anymore, so Final Fantasy probably belongs with the rest of the second stringers at this point. I doubt XIII-2, which now has More Stuff to Do than its predecessor, will change that.
Archive for the ‘Final Fantasy’ Category
First Samus Aran, now Aya Brea. In Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve 2, the former NYPD detective kicked monsters up the Bronx and down the Battery with her mitochondrial super powers and customizable weaponry. Now, in The 3rd Birthday she’s kept locked in a prison cell and only let out to get her clothes ripped off.
How the mighty have fallen.
The same could be said for developer Square, which disappointed the entire damn
world Internet for their recent Final Fantasy games, not to mention the Final Fantasy games stuck in development hell and Final Fantasy games with goofy titles. Square and I had our run-ins in the past (I like Final Fantasy VII just fine, by the way, did that not come across?), and I’ve defended them many times before (Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light is a damn good time), but that gets difficult when something like The 3rd Birthday comes along.
Announced way back in 2007 for Japanese cell phones, it made the leap to PSP in 2008 before landing with a thud here in the present. That’s an awful long time, longer when you consider Parasite Eve 2 came out in the year 2000. So, it’s been a decade. And this is what we get.
Final Fantasy, a series never content to remain the same, finds itself re-imagined yet again in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light. Wasting no time at all, 4 Heroes‘ story revolves around Brandt who (I renamed Chrono), upon waking up on his 14th birthday, goes to the king to begin his rite of passage into adulthood. Turns out that’s to rescue the king’s kidnapped daughter who’s held prisoner by a witch in a cave. After meeting his brooding, impatient friend Jusqua (Xeno) and the stalwart female knight Yunita (Saga), together they rescue Princess Aire (Mana) and defeat the witch, whereupon they’re greeted by a giant crystal that informs them of the important journey they must go on.
All this happens quickly and efficiently with little text or fluff, and by the end of the intro you know exactly who everyone is, the kind of fairytale world they inhabit and most importantly, how the battle system works. It’s a nice, quick introduction to the game, which mixes some of the old (towns, simple story) with the new (swift, engaging battle system) of Final Fantasy, making for something entirely welcome on the Nintendo DS.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is the latest and hopefully last installment of Square’s disastrous Compilation of Final Fantasy VII intermedia project. There was a movie, an anime OAV, a cellphone game, a Devil May Cry-type shooting game and finally a PSP game, each more disappointing and ulcer-inducing than the last. Apparently. I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t go anywhere near Dirge of Cerberus and the cellphone game isn’t available outside of Japan. It looks awful anyway. That leaves the anime, which was only 30 minutes or so and I struggle to remember anything that happened in it – I do remember hating it – and the movie, Advent Children, which now stands as the only thing in the whole compilation to come to any level of quality. That’s an incredibly unpopular opinion, but one that’s easy to defend. All Square cares about now is cutscenes and nonsensical stories anyway and at shy over 100 minutes there are much worse ways than Advent Children to spend your time and money on – like on the 15 hours and 40 bucks it takes to get through Crisis Core‘s campaign.
Hey, just in time for the Oscars.
The best movies of 2007. It was a swell year for genre and artsy flicks alike.
The worst movies. Some of them aren’t all that bad, just dumb fun.
The best video games, or rather, the few games I managed to play out of the million or so that were released last year.
Final Fantasy VI Advance (Section A)
Final Fantasy VI, which many will fondly remember as Final Fantasy III from the SNES days, is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the series. It was created in a time when developers were finally beginning to understand the importance of intricate characterization, and shortly before the time when Tetsuya Nomura would reduce that characterization to angsty, zipper-laden fetishism. It was also the first Final Fantasy to take place outside of the generic fantasy setting that most RPGs of the time were fellating; someone at Square had finally made the stunning deduction that Elfland was the worst fucking idea for an RPG town ever, and you can feel Final Fantasy VI whispering its apologies with every factory, military base, and industrial mining town on its world map. A world map which would be, in the latter half of the game, completely broken open for the player to explore in whatever manner they saw fit. It’s no wonder Final Fantasy VI is remembered as a revolutionary piece of game design; if nothing else, it was created with a genuine understanding that RPGs, as a genre, should evolve.
Square Enix has gone insane the last few years. And by insane I mean aggrivating, bordering on “when the hell are we gonna see something without Nomura’s zippery stench?” Never, it seems. They recently announced we can look forward to ten whole years of Final Fantasy 13. Which makes a lot of sense, they’ve been milking Final Fantasy 7 the past half-decade to startling success and, I dunno if anyone’s noticed, but there’s hardly a difference between the numeric installments anyway, so I guess we can all do well with just one for the next ten hundred years.
Since the merger with Enix, Square has been content to churn out remakes, ports and spin-offs of every single entry and mascot character of its franchise-behemoth, with very little of their output actually satisfying me. I can take so much Final Fantasy 7 before the taste wears out and I want to disappear to a corner of the globe where no one’s ever heard of Cloud or Sephiroth, where zippers and black cloaks are repugnant, where idiotic Kingdom Hearts fans don’t litter YouTube with their retarded amateur music videos. Seriously, have you seen these things? Nothing, except threats on my family – MAYBE – can get me near Kingdom Hearts II which, to my knowledge, is getting “remixed” and ported, with a 3D remake of their Game Boy Advance game included. I suppose if you like your stilted anime acting and button-mashing peppered with playing cards that’s something to be excited about but for people with any respect for mature storytelling and gameplay, it’s a pox.