GSQ4: A timely Final Fantasy-related thing

Final Fantasy: Populist Mechanics
So… you’ve probably heard about this Final Fantasy XIII game that’s out today, yeah? I know I’ve mentioned it in passing once or twice. I figured I’d cap my relationship with the game by posting a relevant piece from the latest GameSpite Quarterly — it’s not specifically about FFXIII, but it’s definitely germane to the topic, in a roundabout way. Please to enjoy, roundly.

8 thoughts on “GSQ4: A timely Final Fantasy-related thing

  1. But… but… I’m not myopic! Really!

    All that being said, I still consider the schism in the series to be at that point. It definitely had some of the mechanics that FFVII did, but to me, it seemed like FFVII swiped pretty liberally from Chrono Trigger as well. I thought that CT provided that perfect balance, something that FFVII did not. Whether that is because the localization was terrible, the graphics now less than stellar despite their cinematic bent, or just because, dang it, Final Fantasy should be on a Nintendo console, it just didn’t have the right feel.

    As a rabid FFVI fanboy, though, I don’t have a deep, unabiding hatred for FFVII. It’s actually a pretty solid game overall. It’s just not the end-all-be-all that many other fanboys / fangirls would have you believe. Which is ironic, because they would tell me the same thing about FFVI.

    Very interesting read, by the way.

  2. Thanks for writing this — rich article.

    I distinctly remember my best friend at the time being turned off by the shift to 3D. It’s actually an eye-opening comparison (FFVI to FFVII) — a lot of people I know find FFVI to be far prettier, even if it’s technologically less sophisticated. Certainly the primitive 3D plays a role in this, but I feel Ameno’s art direction in VI plays an even greater role.

    I was also interested to see the extent to which you (Parish) focus on the mechanics of the different FF entries, be they from a storytelling or combat perspective. FFVI was a high point almost entirely because of the game’s ambiance vs. other FF games. The dark steam punk look, the sprite work, the fantastic score, and of course Kefka, really do it for me. I will say that the pre-rendered towns in FFVII were fantastic as well.

    While it’s important that the gameplay facilitates my enjoyment of the rest of the game (by being comprehensible, well-paced, not overly repetitive) it honestly doesn’t have much to do with my enjoyment of FF games. I never feel all that challenged by the gameplay (we’ll see with FFXIII), and have never been motivated to challenge myself with breaking the battle system so that I can face the more powerful hidden bosses. Not that I don’t understand why people enjoy these things — but the gameplay totally secondary for me.

  3. I was always able to draw the similarities between FF6 and FF7. For me, the difference was in the overall execution of the story/characters/gameplay systems/etc., not so much platform or 2d vs. 3d.

    While I do agree that FF8 offers many ways to play, there seems to be little middle ground between cumbersome (re/junctioning spells/abilities/etc.) and overpowering (massive stat boots from junctions). Not to mention that enemies leveling up with your party is never a good thing.

  4. “While I do agree that FF8 offers many ways to play, there seems to be little middle ground between cumbersome (re/junctioning spells/abilities/etc.) and overpowering (massive stat boots from junctions). Not to mention that enemies leveling up with your party is never a good thing.”

    I dunno. Most of the real game-breaking tricks with junctioning and card modding/refining aren’t immediately obvious. I imagine they balanced the game around the assumption that the average player wouldn’t obsessively grind levels as Seifer to get -aga spells 2 hours into the game, or play the Queen of Cards 20,000 times–of course, that was well into the GameFAQs age, and a guide telling you how to get your characters PUMPED UP was (and is) never more than a few clicks away.

  5. I’m not even talking about card-modding though. Speaking of which, btw, if you don’t do any sort of modding, you’ll be spending hours upon hours drawing spells.

  6. It has been 10 years, but I don’t remember spending that much time drawing spells. I was aware of the criticism at the time, and I thought it was overblown. I do remember that squall’s sword (with well-timed button presses) did as much damage as the other 2 party members combined after 1/3 of the game.

  7. Oh, part 13…. Anyone have any reports on how distracting the compressed video is on a decent TV? Parish, I assume you played it mostly on the PS3? I’m not trolling, but I will most likely get a PS3 in the next couple months and was wondering if I should wait a bit or get it for the 360. I am nearsighted but I sit 6 feet from a 50″ Samsung Plasma.

  8. To be honest, I only really liked the first half of FFVI. The WoR was great in theory, but I felt the story was hampered by having to make sure it didn’t have any elements that wouldn’t make sense if specific characters weren’t present.
    I used to blame it for the direction they took in VII, where characters were basically skins on top of characters that are all the same. I find myself wishing I had the skill to modify it so that the espers work similarly to FFIX’s skill learning system.

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