Hello! And welcome to part two of my thoughts on the main series Final Fantasy games I’ve played, if you haven’t read it already part one is here, and if you have the time please take a look.
Version played: PS1, PC (re-release)
I don’t really know where to start with VII, other than that it’s a good game and I’ve very much enjoyed every playthrough I’ve done of it. The gameplay is solid, the characters interesting and with very little superfluousness, and the story contains one of the most well known and memorable moments in gaming history, while graphically it’s aged abysmally, I’d compare the character models to Lego people, but even Lego people aren’t that blocky, it’s the game in the series I would most definitely recommend to anyone looking for a starting point. I’m not saying it’s the best game in the series, but it is I think one of the most accessible, and it’s definitely one of the best known. Also the soundtrack, it’s a bit of a common thing for me, but I love the soundtrack.
Version played: PS1, PC (re-release)
VIII is a odd game, it is a good game, but they made some very strange decisions while making it. The story, excluding the stupid plot twist, is pretty good, it’s a different approach to the fairly standard jrpg plot line, it handles it well and keeps it interesting. The characters are fun, kinda standard tropes and a lot of them were denied the chance for proper development, but they work well together within the story, it’s the combat where things start to get weird. The level up system is what I think puts a lot of people off this game, it’s quite intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it the game becomes both incredibly easy and somewhat tedious, in short enemies level up with you, so to be stronger than them you equip magic to different stats, quite simple really. However different spells offer different boosts and the easiest way to get spells is to draw them from enemies, and this is where the tedium comes in, as when you come across a new spell you’ll want to draw the maximum amount to see if it offers better stats than the ones you currently have equipped, so this means turn after turn just drawing the same spell over and over again. Combat itself is fairly standard, and ignoring limit breaks, party composition pretty much depends on which characters you like as they are all pretty much interchangeable with each other. The one area where they didn’t make any strange decisions is the soundtrack, the music is varied and overall pretty excellent.
Version played: PS1
The other contender for my favourite game in the series, IX has a fun cast of characters, an excellent story, and charm in abundance. Stylistically it’s a call back to the earlier games in the series and of the PS1 era games it’s the one that’s aged the best. This game is a lot of fun, combat is the Final Fantasy standard Active Time Battle, which is hard to go wrong with, though in this it does feel a bit slower than in other games, and it offers a good range of side quests and mini-games, though I would like to pretend that Chocobo Hot Cold never existed. It’s the story that is this game’s strong point though, it seems very well thought out, events are well paced and there are a decent amount of light and humouress moments interspersed throughout it. Furthermore, aside from the out of nowhere appearance of the final boss, none of the game’s plot twists seem completely out of nowhere. To be honest I’d say that one of this game’s only weak points is the soundtrack, in that it’s only above average instead of excellent like the rest of the game.
Version played: PS2
I like Final Fantasy X a lot, it is a very atmospheric and pretty game, I love the story, I love the characters, this game does a lot of things right, one of things it does wrong however is giving you the ability to OHKO the final boss. You should not be able to OHKO a final boss in any game, unless you’re exploiting the game’s programming for the hilarity, you should also not be able to OHKO a final boss unintentionally, as it leads to a great amount of disappointment at being denied the thrill of beating the annoying thing yourself. Probably kind of obvious now, but on my first complete playthrough of the game I accidentally OHKOed the final boss, and it kind of killed some of my enjoyment for the game. It’s still an excellent game though, and I am very much looking forward to the HD re-release.
Version played: PS2
My first Final Fantasy, a strange place to start, but it left a good impression. This game gets a lot of hate and some of it I can understand, the fanservice is gratuitous, the soundtrack predominantly bland, and the mini-games are incredibly tedious, but a fair portion of it does just seem like people complaining for the sake of it. The game has it’s flaws, but it is enjoyable to play, the combat is fun, the story, while a bit silly, is decent, and for the most part the new characters are an asset to it, though the characterisation of some of the old characters seems very off at times. Overall this game has a fair bit to offer, if you’re willing to look past it problems, and as with one of main reasons for forgiving Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World for it’s flaws, it’s fun to go back to a game’s world and see how it’s changed after the plot.
This is the one of the first games I think I was truly disappointed by, I have given it multiple attempts, but there is just nothing that I find fun or interesting in this game. The gameplay is unintuitive and dull, the story failed to capture my interest, the characters are boring, superfluous or unnecessarily fanservicey, and as whole the game’s presentation seems like a huge step down from X’s. I have tried very hard to like this game, in theory I should, but it just does nothing for me, though the soundtrack is pretty good.
Thanks for reading, next week XIII, XIII-2 and hopefully my first impressions of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.