Sunday Soapbox: Everyone’s Fantasy

Final Fantasy

Thanks to whoever made this. It wasn't me.

Ah, Final Fantasy. There aren’t many other franchises that foster such an emotional connection with its fanbase. Everyone has a favorite Final Fantasy game that they’re willing to defend to the bitter end – and, usually, a Final Fantasy game that they hate with a fierce passion.  From whimsical tales of swords and sorcery to gritty sci-fi epics, the series has been everywhere – and, as fans, we’ve been there for every high and low. It’s hard to describe, and it doubtless has something to do with the mere longevity of the franchise, but Final Fantasy has this remarkable way of forming a very special bond with gamers in a way that no other franchise really can.

What do I mean? Ah… well, let’s try it this way.

My first Final Fantasy game was actually Final Fantasy X. Yes, I was very late to the show.  But, hey, I certainly could have picked a worse place to start. I loved (and continue to love) Final Fantasy X. Turn-based battling wasn’t entirely new to me, but Final Fantasy X was the first time I fell in love with it. I felt like I was employing some form of strategy to take down my enemies – a sensation that was new to me at the time, since my (rather short) gaming track record at the time was diluted with (usually rather crappy) action games.

I loved the game’s storyline. Final Fantasy X was the first videogame I’d ever played that actually had an immersive story that I could sink my teeth into. I loved the characters with real personalities, I loved the melodrama, and I loved the epic moments. To be fair, if I played Final Fantasy X for the first time today, I doubt it would would be quite as impactful. But nine years ago, it was pretty much the greatest thing I’d ever experienced.

Final Fantasy VII came next. Eager to explore the series further, I ordered it off of Amazon (or something) a few short days after finishing X. And within a few short hours of playing, my ongoing love affair with Final Fantasy was sealed. I remember loving the fact that many of the conventions in X were present in VII – y’know, like potions, phoenix downs, summons, chocobos, and all the usual staples. If that sounds like a silly thing to glee over, that’s probably because it is – but hey, all I can do is tell it like it is. Meeting Cait Sith for the first time and realizing that he looked just like one of the dolls that Lulu used in Final Fantasy X made me unbelievably happy. Probably too happy.

I think I played Final Fantasy VIII next. By this time I had a pretty firm grasp on the gist of the series, and I was intrigued by the rather unique that Final Fantasy VIII took. It was around then that I started to appreciate the series not just for its traditions, but also for differences between the individual games. We all have our preferences, yes, but I think most of us will agree that if Final Fantasy was the same game every time, a lot of the charm would be lost. Take Final Fantasy VIII for example: the game made some odd decisions, and a lot of people don’t exactly appreciate them. But regardless of that, Final Fantasy VIII has carved out an immortal spot among the hearts of gamers, be it a place of hatred or adoration. What if the game had never existed? The people who love it for its oddities (like myself) would have one less game to love, and all of the haters wouldn’t have the opportunity to tell the fans why they’re stupid for liking it. The karmic balance would be thrown off, and everything would just… be wrong.

I know I’m talking nonsense now, but all I’m really trying to do is convey something that’s very difficult to put into words. For a lot of people – like myself – Final Fantasy is more than just another videogame franchise. It is, for lack of a less cliched way to put it, a part of us. Its high points are our high points. And, similarly, its low points tend to be low points for us.

Like, say, Final Fantasy XIII. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone here, but I can certainly speak for myself: Final Fantasy XIII is more than just a massive disappointment; it’s almost a betrayal. Now, I’m not going into another anti-FFXIII tirade (the internet has plenty of those) but it’s an example of just how personal the series is. Well, to me at least. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so angry at a game as I am at Final Fantasy XIII, and that’s because I love the series so damn much.

Some 847 words later, I’m still unsure if I’ve managed to convey… anything. Hopefully I’ve managed to explain my own love for Final Fantasy, if nothing else. If you thought today’s soapbox was an unorganized, poorly-structured mess just blame Ethos. He was supposed to write part of it, and pulled the rug out from under me at the last minute so he could go help  his mom move. Or something stupid like that.

But that’s enough from me. Why do you guys love Final Fantasy?

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37 Responses to “Sunday Soapbox: Everyone’s Fantasy”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    You sort of nailed how I feel about XIII … I really felt like I deserved better, and resent both the game, the production team and the company in general.

  2. Ethos says:

    No way, the editorial turned out great. I should ditch you every Sunday!

    And yeah, while I love the Pulse hunting I’ve never been so detached from a story or characters. Like I said in my review, for all the flack I give to X (which is a little misleading, I really like that game), I was still emotionally invested at the end.

    While I was watching this lavishly produced epic cut-scene at the end of XIII, I could only think about how I could care less, and how I just wanted it to end so I could get level 10 of the Crystarium system.

  3. SiliconNooB says:

    I didn’t think I could care less for a FF story after XII, but at least that made a beautiful use of heightened language. XIII’s story was just plain unlikeable in all its aspects …

  4. Ethos says:

    Yeah..
    Just imagine it had a fantastic story. Then we might have forgiven the tunnel by comparing it to Uncharted 2’s tunnel. Although even then, it wouldn’t be a fully accurate comparison.

  5. SiliconNooB says:

    At least Uncharted 2 allows you to interact with the environment …

    -I still wonder whether something was lost in translation with XIII’s story? Given the premise and events, I bet I could have made something decent out of it … it was just the writing and execution which utterly blew …

  6. kenjujuu says:

    I do have to say that I definitely agree with your opinion of X, what with it being my first FF also. And, whilst I can’t really speak for FFXIII, having not played it yet, I can’t help but feel that FF has built such a name for itself, that maybe at this stage, FFXIII had a really high standard to live up to, and maybe if it was any other series, the game might have got a higher score. Just conjecture though, really.
    @ SN: Was Ted Woosley on localization?

  7. SiliconNooB says:

    -FFX is just a great game, it wasn’t my first by a long shot, but it is my favourite.

    -Alexander O. Smith translated FF VIII-XII.

    -XIII couldn’t even live up to a low standard, let alone a high one …

  8. Ethos says:

    I think it lives up to a low standard. I stand by my 6.5 score, which isn’t a bad score in my opinion. Although it’s definitely not a great one, either.
    Anyway, all this FFX talk is making me want to play it again.
    Release X and XII for PS3 ala GoW Collection!

  9. SiliconNooB says:

    -Oh, I wouldn’t award XIII bellow a 6.5 …

    -An X, X-2 and XII HD collection would be my dearest heart’s desire!

  10. Ethos says:

    Oh! X-2! How could I forget? Man, I shouldn’t think about it, I’ll get too excited for something that I can’t imagine will happen.

  11. kenjujuu says:

    X-2 sucked ass, you guys. Even I as, a huge FFX fangirl, admit that. Let’s hope Lusipurr announces a Summer of 10. That would be THE best thing.

  12. SiliconNooB says:

    I think that X-2 was actually worse for people who enjoyed FFX.

  13. Ethos says:

    I enjoy X quite a bit, actually, and X-2 absolutely does not suck ass.
    There’s good reason to laugh at (and even get offended by) many parts of it, but it’s a great game.

  14. kenjujuu says:

    But the story! What was that?!

  15. Ethos says:

    Yeah, the cut-scenes and script were ridiculous.
    Like Lusipurr, I actually liked the plot itself. Still, I understand why some fans (like you, SN, and Riddles) think that it’s a massive shit on everything X did.

  16. Riddles says:

    There was no plot to LIKE in Final Fantasy X-2. Seriously, it was the biggest jumble of nonsense I’ve ever witnessed; even more so than XIII, in my opinion. Something about a big robot, and two lookalikes who died a thousand years ago. Not even close to coherent.

    I have to agree with Kenjujuu. The single redeeming aspect of X-2’s story was, sadly enough, the concert scene. And, I probably only think that because I love that song.

  17. SiliconNooB says:

    What Oliver said, exactly!

  18. Ethos says:

    I like the robot! I like the two lookalikes who died a thousand years ago! I haven’t played the game in ages, but I remember it making sense.
    But I’m not going to argue that it actually was any good in terms of story. I just kinda liked it.
    The game is awesome, though.

  19. SiliconNooB says:

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about … was I supposed to remember that?!
    ?

  20. kenjujuu says:

    Shuyin, Lenne and that vegnagun thing was the weirderst, most unnecessary storyline ever. I didn’t finish the game because of it – I knew i wasnt getting the good ending anyway, so i watched it on youtube. Have you tried to do the matchmaking quest? I mean, really tried? If i had made the game, there would be none of that. I probably wouldnt have Paine in it either. And sorry Riddles, no dancing. That song is painful. I say it should have been Lady Gaga like Nate said.

  21. SiliconNooB says:

    The only good part of X-2 was 1000 words.

  22. Ethos says:

    …Now I have a craving to replay that game…

  23. SiliconNooB says:

    … That’s the part that always makes me want to replay it … … … I remember how much it sucks … but then that combined with my FFX love is a powerful concoction!

  24. DarthGibblet says:

    I just need to set an “I’m with Ethos” macro somewhere. I feel the same way about the giant robot and the 1,000 year old dead people. That and the continuation of X’s story were the only parts of the plot worth anything. Sorry, Riddles, but that song (catchy as it was as far as JPop goes) kind of exemplifies everything that went wrong with X-2 for me. The first 2/5 (or 3/5? I can’t remember what happened when) were pretty much useless filler and minigames, like KJJ said.

    I didn’t really have any trouble understanding the Vegnagun story, though. Can anybody really argue that it was more convoluted than some of the plot points of FFVII? Maybe it’s clearer in my memory, though, I haven’t played the game since around when it came out.

  25. Riddles says:

    It’s not that it’s convoluted, Darth. I didn’t have any trouble understanding it. I was just shocked at how shallow, stupid, and irrelevant the main plot was.

    The concert scene was the only part of the game that managed to convey a sense of mystery, tragedy, and emotion. That is to say, it’s pretty much the only cutscene in the game that made me care about… anything.

  26. SiliconNooB says:

    I wish to throw the full weight of my sentiment behind Oliver’s comment!

  27. DarthGibblet says:

    @Riddles/SN: Wait, which concert are you talking about? I was referring to the opening scene. Did you mean the 1000 Words one? If so, then I retract my previous statement, since that scene was arguably the high point of the game plot-wise.

  28. Riddles says:

    Ba-ha, yes, I was referring to 1000 words.

    Real Emotion, along with the scene that accompanied it, can go fuck itself.

  29. SiliconNooB says:

    Real Emotion is awful!

  30. DarthGibblet says:

    hehe, so you can understand my confusion!

  31. kenjujuu says:

    That’s what I thought you meant too, Riddles. 1000 Words was awesome, I can agree with that. But unlike SN, I think that because I love FFX so much, FFX-2 probably seemed more awful than it was, in reality. Plus I started it straight after finishing X, and I was just saddened. Why was she dancing? It made no sense…

  32. DarthGibblet says:

    @KJJ: Yeah, that scene didn’t make any more sense if time passed between the playthroughs, don’t worry. That’s one of the many reasons I think the X world and characters actually hurt X-2. I would have been totally fine if the game starred some random character who started out as a J-Pop star, but it really doesn’t make ANY sense given all of Yuna’s actions in FFX. So sad.

  33. SiliconNooB says:

    X-2 really was an necessary game, not bad per se, just very unnecessary. I didn’t like the way it defecated all over the source material …

  34. SiliconNooB says:

    * unnecessary*

  35. kenjujuu says:

    Exactly. The continuity was just so skewed, it made the game almost depressing for those of us who wanted the sequel so badly. But hey. The perfect ending’s pretty good, so I think youtube wins all.

  36. DarthGibblet says:

    Well, we can all look forward to X-3, when Yuna’s re-cast as a Dexter-style serial killer!

  37. kenjujuu says:

    THIS.

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