Coasters Gonna Coast

February 3rd, 2011 -

As you may have noticed, we have a new theme for our writing credits.  It would be safe to assume that you either laughed your ass off or you want to strangle me for the image I have selected as my banner. Allow myself to explain … uhhh … myself.

Why can’t I love you?

I did in fact purchase and play Final Fantasy XIII (or 13, if your aren’t roman). This is also not my first trip to this “Asian Hipster Soap Opera”. Final Fantasy Vee Eye Eye (if you like to sound things out) was the first game I spent over 40 hours playing and to this day its still one of my most played games. The clock on my original 1997 save file reads; “99:59:59″. However, up until that point I had not been Finalizing any Fantasies, so one might say I’m biased. I also tried Tactics after 5+2 which which didn’t go so well because nobody told me it was more or less Final Fantasy Chess. I also started Eight, which was fun, but I never finished it due to having the “this is not 7 blues.”

Actual Photo of said save file.

So you might be thinking, “Well Ryan, 13 was a lot like 7 in its delivery of story, why didn’t you like it?” Excellent question, The only way I can answer this is in bullet point’s.

  • It was a lot like 7 in its delivery of story: Really Square? An escaping mission with a token black dude? That’s the best you could come up with? Granted I enjoyed 7 and I wouldn’t mind playing it again in HD. I really would have liked to see a new story, and a new theme? It wasn’t the story of 7 that I wanted out of this. It was the game play and game formula that I was looking for. Maybe I ask too much of these games…
  • Hallway Gameplay: Its one thing to ask your players to set up the story in a controlled “linear” experience, and then unleash them upon a huge map to traverse and explore. Its another to ask them to play almost the entire length of the game in a hallway, in order to open up to a semi world map just before the the game ends. That’s like playing 7, accept you never get out of Midgar until the end, and then right when you get out! .. Snape kills Aerith…  mother fu….
  • Snow! I choose YOU!: Combat in pokemon is very much, whomever has the most health, or who ever strikes first typically wins, for a reason. The game is mostly played by 8 year old’s. I’m not down playing pokemon here, its a great game because it knows what it is. However, when a game that is marketed (in America at least) towards “Teen to Adult” gamers plays like a child’s toy, its a little miss leading and an insult to your intelligence.
  • Imagine FF7 but replace everyone with Ewoks: But seriously imagine Final Fantasy 7 but replace every ones personality with Cloud Strife. I bet the words “flat”, “boring”, “disconnected” come to mind. This is what the characters felt like to me. I found it very hard to discern the differences between them. Everyone had some sort of “poor me. but I must avenge!” attitude. You may say that all Final Fantasy characters have that attitude and to that I say… point made.

I didn’t review 13 on this site for a reason, a very good one at that. Not because I would have ripped it a new one, but because I only reached the Odin battle. I got stuck, and just became fed up with overlooking the things I hated, while trying to enjoy the things I liked. All this while Odin is firing cheep shots at me like a fighting game end boss. To this day I’m still sitting at Odin’s feet waiting for him to make me his bitch again. This has branched out into a cult joke among the blog, and now whenever I get stuck, bored with a game, or if I just don’t care to continue playing it. I say that I found Odin in said game. For instance, I found Odin pretty early on in Spiderman; Shattered Dimensions, but I won’t get into that.

Actual Photo of Odin making me his bitch.

If your still reading this you may be saying, “He didn’t even get past Odin? Pfft! He has no idea what hes talking about then!” And you would be right, to some extent. I didn’t stop playing 13 because it was a terrible game. Many of my colleague’s on the blog pushed on past Odin’s “death grip” and completed the alternate ending to the game (because for me the ending was “Odin kills everyone, becomes ruler of the universe, the end). I stopped playing 13 because of my disappointment in the departure of the formula that made me love these games in the first place. Granted I didn’t play Final Fantasy until 7, I have since gone back and played parts of 1 through 6 and I can safely say that, while the story may be different the formula remains the same.

For some reason I skipped FF9 and to some Final Fantasy fans this is a outrage. Thanks to a referral from my RPG toting friends and Sony re-releasing it on the PSN for a cool $10. I bought Final Fantasy 9 and started playing it. Man oh man, did I miss out on this back in the day. I’m not even close to completing it but, so far this is #2 on my favorite Final Fantasy games list. However, playing 9 just adds insult to injury to 13. As I play 9 I look at it and say, “Wow this is so much different then 7, yet its somehow familiar and fun?” So what happened?

BREAKING NEWS: Giant white chick attacks small village near airship.

Is Square just playing to the 13 year old Japanese girl soap opera crowd too much? Is this a failed attempt at tryi
ng to rekindle the success of 7? Was it actually awesome and I’m missing something here? More then likely all of these are correct. For me to say 13 was a terrible game is for me to push my opinions on this franchise on to you, and I don’t want to do that. But, In my own opinion, it lacked the key factors that make a Final Fantasy game a great experience. An experience worth the long waits, something different then the other JRPG’s, and that something just wasn’t there for me.

At this point I would love to see them harken back to the early games and do another Final Fantasy like 9. More importantly I would like to see airships come back, the world map accessible after completing less then 20% of the game. And finally a battle system from the old games, because there’s an old saying. If it ain’t broke, don’t dumb it down to pokemon physics…. or something like that. So now that you understand where I’m coming from, you can understand the cult joke that is my hate for 13, and to be honest its more exaggerated then it sounds. I don’t really “hate” 13, I just wish it was something that its not.

Fingers crossed for that “adult kingdom hearts” game. Coming out sometime between now and never.

_______

The comments and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Fist Full of Potions or any of its affiliates.

When Ryan’s not dishing out pure hatred for games the rest of the team loves. He edits our weekly podcast. Please direct any questions or hate mail to ryan@fistfullofpotions.com

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