Saturday 3 April 2010

SoulIsTheGoal v's Final Fantasy XIII

No Lightning, you is not shit.  Take a seat dear and let me explain why I love you and your silly patchwork of miss fit friends and strange game design.

Now I know @SoulIsTheGoal has hurt your feelings with his blog post, but no you can't hit him with your sword, put it down.  Excellent.  Cup of tea?

The thing is Lightning Steve actually makes some good points about the length of games not necessarily reflecting them being 'a good game'.  However, I played for over 80 hours on Final Fantasy VII ,somewhere around 120 on Final Fantasy X and 60/70+ on Final Fantasy XII.  So far 30 hours on Final Fantasy XIII and if you add in VIII and IX that's got to be somewhere close to 500 hours on one series of games.  Why would I do that Lightning if you were shit?

I wouldn't.  Obviously.

But I concede that Steve does have a point about your narrative being a bit, well, fragmented.  You wanna respond to that?  Silent type huh?  Ok....

He uses the Lord of the Rings as a way to compare and contrast and describe the story telling as a bit of a disaster in Final Fantasy.  However if you take another great fantasy writer, ohhhh say George RR Martin and his huge 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (five books and still counting) series then the argument doesn't hold.  Major characters are still being introduced in the later books.  Important characters that you were only seen in the distance or mentioned in passing suddenly become central in book three.  There are different ways to tell a story Lightning.

Now twenty hours of hand holding were a bit much.  STOP GLARING.  Seriously as complicated as things get with the battle system, I could have coped earlier, I really could.

But what about the two games in one.  Exploration spoilt by being ripped out of it and into a battle screen.  The ebb and flow of the game ruined.

It holds pretty true with every FF game up until XII.  Random battles were an excepted limitation of the consoles we were playing the games on.  But they did rip you out of the story.

In Final Fantasy XIII that isn't the case.  The switch is brief.  The graphics look the same as the rest of the game as does the environment.  And they are not random.  You see the monsters coming, hell Lightning, we can even make you run right on past them if we want.

The cut scenes are one of two things to gamers.  Either an irritation skipped or a reward for getting to a certain invisible line in the sand.  For me a well made cut scene is a reward.  I enjoy that moment of downing the controller, taking a few well earned sips of tea and drinking in all the lovely visuals on my telly box.  In FFXIII they are beautiful and the actual game graphics look so close to the quality of the cut scenes that they do not remotely pull you out of the story.

Lightning, I know I'm not gonna convince Steve of your merits but Final Fantasy VII changed the way I thought about games.  Made me see them in a different way.  Showed me that a game could clearly be a labour of love for its creators.  That moment when Cloud and Co left the city of Midgar and stepped out into a world to explore is still my best gaming moment ever.  That realisation that this game, that had already enthralled me for 10 hours, had an a whole planet for me to discover was mind blowing.

That's why I'm loyal to the series Lightning.  Final Fantasy VII made me fall in love with my PS1 and I'm still chasing a moment like that with Final Fantasy XIII.  You and your lil troupe probably aren't gonna give it to me but you'll get close.  I will want to see how it all ends.  I will want to try and take on those 50 mark missions, hunting the really big ass monsters in the planes of Grand Pulse.

Yes Lightning, Final Fantasy is by it's nature a disjointed experience.  Games can be more that the sum of their parts though and FF is, by a long way, greater than what those drilled down components look like on paper.

That ok dear?

Oh, you've gone.


Many thanks to Steve for calling me out on my review in the best way possible.  Writing his own blog post about it.  I totally respect his opinion and I really do know I'm not gonna sway him.  It's all subjective innit?

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