The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Game – Riddles

FFVIIboxartRiddles’ Pick: Final Fantasy VII

Surprise, surprise. Scoring all but one of my awards, Final Fantasy VII almost had a clean sweep.

I don’t gush about Final Fantasy VII as much as, say, Ethos does about Final Fantasy IX. But, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I love the game – it remains my second-favorite videogame of all time behind Ocarina of Time.

Final Fantasy VII is a complete package. The game mechanics are more than solid; standard ATB fare mixed with the delightfully customizable Materia system fit the bill quite nicely. Sure, the battle system is nothing revolutionary, but the diversity of the Materia system makes it the deepest of the three PSX-era Final Fantasies.

We’ve already talked plenty about the game’s iconic characters and storyline. There are few other fictional characters that are as close to my heart as the cast of Final Fantasy VII. As I’ve stated in detail before, Cloud, Tifa, Barret and the gang are simply the greatest group of misfits ever to be seen in an RPG.

Similarly, Final Fantasy VII’s storyline is one of the greatest ever crafted for a videogame. The intensity of the characters, the pacing of the events, and the effectively conveyed themes all come together to form near-perfection. After all of these years, it’s still incredibly powerful – and, has even become more so with the release of games such as Crisis Core.

The artistic vision behind the world that Final Fantasy VII takes place in is unrivalled. From Nomura’s classic character designs to the gritty alleyways of Midgar, Final Fantasy VII is a literal artistic triumph – it’s almost a sin that it’s conveyed in such a pixelated format.

And finally, Nobuo Uematsu’s infamous soundtrack seals the deal. As I write this, the sad theme that accompanies the death of Aeris is playing. And… it’s all I need to go back to that moment.

Final Fantasy VII is so close to perfect that it almost defies belief. Never before, and never again has such a combination of strengths been poured into a videogame – much less a Japanese RPG.

And a word to all you Final Fantasy VII haters: you’re more annoying than we ever were.

Runner Up: Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII, if you recall, won the first award of the week from me. So, it shouldn’t come as a total surprise that it won my second choice, even if it didn’t score another mention from me. But while the cast and characters are weak, and the music doesn’t quite match up with the top contenders, Final Fantasy XII triumphs in the department of gameplay, immersion, and exploration. Final Fantasy XII was such a joy to play, that I completed nearly every sidequest the game had to offer. Every hunt, every treasure, every secret area. No other game, RPG or otherwise, has had the same effect on me. And few other RPGs are as rich, robust, and immersive as Final Fantasy XII.

Dishonorable Mention: Final Fantasy III

I can’t give X-2 this award, because it partially redeems itself with a fun battle system. I can’t give it to XIII, because it does the same thing. Final Fantasy III, for me at least, is the least enjoyable game in the series. I did not have fun while playing it. I spent most of my playtime hating everything about it, actually. The sad thing is that I actually finished it. How sad is that? The thing is, I might not have hated Final Fantasy III as much if I’d been given the chance to play it in its original 2D format. But, I never got that chance, and instead had to suffer through the awful 3D remake. Who ever thought those ugly things were a good idea?

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15 Responses to “The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Game – Riddles”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    I disagree, I think that XIII is the worst game in the series, at least III is more diverse …

  2. Ethos says:

    No way. III has nothing redeeming. XIII has lots redeeming, it just seemed like SE was ashamed of it all…

  3. SiliconNooB says:

    XIII has nothing but a battle system.

  4. Ethos says:

    Which is more than III can say.
    But still, that’s from what you’ve seen. There’s no reason why you should have to play more, but the fact is that Pulse IS part of the game, and it IS pretty incredible. I cannot discount that just because the tunnel has disgusting design.

  5. SiliconNooB says:

    Well I can’t discount the fact that III has branching paths and NPCs from the beginning of the game.

  6. Ethos says:

    Bah-ha, then we’re at an impasse!
    Either way, were you to make such an award and make FFXIII your dishonourable mention, I wouldn’t argue. It’s just not my pick.

  7. SiliconNooB says:

    -LOL, I don’t much like III either …

  8. DarthGibblet says:

    @SN: nono, I think it’s pretty obvious that you love it! I’m so torn about 3. I’ve never played it, but it’s the only main-numbered FF game I haven’t finished at this point. I’ve heard it’s terrible from pretty much everybody, but the completionist in me still wants to finish it just so I can take out that caveat.

  9. 7thcircle says:

    I liked FF3 a lot. It was my favorite DS RPG until Etrian Odyssey, and if you don’t count ports like Chrono Trigger I’d still call FF3 one of my top few favorite DS RPGs. 3’s gameplay is not that different from FF1’s, but 1 always seems to get a pass because it was the first. More than anything else, 3’s problem is that it’s the most difficult FF, and whiny post-NES gamers who want all their FFs to be easy have trouble finishing it. FF1 was pretty hard too, but it was so short that it’s finishable by the whinies, and SE toned down the difficulty in the remakes anyway.

    It’s also rough playing FFT, then FF5, then FF3 because you end up experiencing the job system backwards from Newest Version to Original Version, and I know that trips people up.

    And Nyx’s boyfriend calls 3 his favorite FF, so it does have its fans.

  10. DarthGibblet says:

    Not really related to anything, but I just finished up my completionist playthrough of Crisis Core and just wanted to say I love the ending to that game.

  11. SiliconNooB says:

    Crisis Core was great (the Gackt clone plotline was a bit random though).

  12. Riddles says:

    The ending to Crisis Core is one of the best endings to any game, ever.

  13. DarthGibblet says:

    @Riddles Agreed. SUBLIME ending (random Gackt ret-conning aside).

  14. SiliconNooB says:

    I love the way how they made it playable, it really made you feel for the futility of Zack’s situation that much more, and it would have been so easy for SE to choose to just have it as a cutscene …

  15. DarthGibblet says:

    Yeah, although I was a little disappointed with it this time around. By the time I got there, Zach was an absolute world destroyer, and it seems like there’s an arbitrary time limit on how long you can struggle before it just kicks in the ending. Still an awesome scene to have in-game, though, and I’m really glad they didn’t just have it be a cutscene. And the part about the DMW pictures disappearing gets me every time. I love a good tragic ending when it’s done right.

    Gotta say, though, I don’t particularly care for the very ending bit. The whole “living legacy” part. Would have much preferred if they just kept it the way it is in VII, with Cloud just pulling a complete cock-stomp and running off with his sword.

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