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| The Rise and Fall of the Final Fantasy Fanboy (14 comments )|
by: Kristopher (5) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 2
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
There’s been a hole in my heart for the last 12 years, 7 months and 14 days. I speak, of course, of the release of Final Fantasy VI; which in North America was called Final Fantasy III.
How could anyone forget that the whole Final Fantasy franchise was spawned as a desperate attempt for Hironobu Sakaguchi to pull Square Company out of bankruptcy? Almost immediately my love affair with Final Fantasy began -- Final Fantasy was my first console title. One year later I bought Final Fantasy II from a comic convention and Final Fantasy III followed shortly after as a special order from an import magazine. I didn’t know how to read Japanese, but I would stay up late parsing through the original printed-out walkthroughs on how to navigate the elaborate stories.
Square Co. blessed the U.S. with Final Fantasy IV in 1991, which was dubbed Final Fantasy II in North America. To date, each Square title was better than the one before, pulling me in even further – review magazines were already heralding FFIV as the greatest RPG of all time. A year later Sakaguchi unveiled Final Fantasy V in Japan, but after the incredible reception of Final Fantasy IV, it looked as though the fifth installment was about the end of the line.
I had always liked Final Fantasy titles, but it wasn’t until the 1994 release of Final Fantasy VI that I became a true fanatic. Sakaguchi had passed the torch, but never before had a game been so immersive, expansive, and non-linear –it had good music and graphics to boot too. At this point I would invest months into Final Fantasy games; coming home from school to replay the older titles and unlock the hidden depths of the newest ones.
The blind euphoria of the Final Fantasy series started to crumble in 1997. I had waited three years and bought a new-fangled PlayStation just to enjoy the hyped Final Fantasy VII. Immediately I knew the series had changed. Everybody had spiky hair, full motion video stitched together dark plots and non-linear plot devices assured me, no matter what I did, Aeries was going to die. Final Fantasy VII was a great title, but something was lost.
Breath of Fire, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears and other import spin-offs became the staple of my after-school gaming for the next two years as I awaited Squaresoft to correct the errors of FFVII with the next in the series. The drag and confusion of Final Fantasy Tactics did not deter me; the out of place overt religious messaging would not stop me from finishing Xenogears; the non-existant ending for Chrono Cross was no problem -- Square's Final Fantasy VIII would be the Second Coming in console RPGs, surely.
And then it happened: the day I stopped being a Final Fantasy fanatic, and stepped down to delusional fanboy. Like FFVII, the eighth installment provided fantastic cut-scenes, intricate storylines and lots of exploration, but everything had become completely linear. I would still play the titles over and over, but the series was clearly on a slide. A year later Final Fantasy IX followed with the same disappointments, and by Final Fantasy X all aspects I considered cornerstones of Final Fantasy IV and VI had disappeared.
With the Enix acquisition of Square in 2003, the franchise had completely changed. Final Fantasy X-2 felt like a Britney Spears music video, Final Fantasy XI became the online addiction for millions and Dirge of Cerberus stuck the final nail on the coffin.
I still grind away at Final Fantasy XII on my PlayStation 3, occasionally popping in Advent Children or The Spirits Within. The GameCube collects dust with Crystal Chronicles in-deck … ready at a moment’s notice. My days as a fanboy are over, but I have no doubt someone like me who grew up during the Golden Age of Final Fantasy Gaming will take the reins of console RPG development and replace the 13-year-old hole in my heart.
|14 User Comment(s) • 10 root comment(s)|
| twophayse (8) Feb 27, 2007 - 10:06 pm | Edited on Feb 27, 2007 - 10:13 pm|
|» What's wrong?|
I agree that FF7 was a disappointment after FF6, but only due to the lack of a true ending. FF6 had branching plot threads, but you still couldn't change the course of the game and kill Kefka before he rose to power and killed the emperor, just like you couldn't sacrifice Cloud to save Aeris. Now that would've been nonlinear. Every game in the series has optional sidequests, so none have been completely linear. FF8-10 and FF Tactics all had great stories and endings compared to 7, so I don't see what the problem is there. In fact, the only 3D FF game with a boring story is FF12. I also noticed you played Chrono Cross before FF8 or FF9. How did that happen? I have no idea how having a female lead(Terra) in 6 is preferable to having an emasculated lead in the other games. Nobody ever complains like that about Link, Sora, Gordon, Jak or the Belmonts. I wonder why?
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