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by Ethos

The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Cast – Riddles

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

FFVIIboxartRiddles’s Pick: Final Fantasy VII

I get the feeling that Final Fantasy VII might be winning a lot of the remaining awards for the week. Hrm. Oh well.

Final Fantasy VII’s cast of characters is still my favorite of any videogame I’ve ever played. Cloud, Tifa and the gang are all like old friends to me. Sure, a lot of it’s nostalgia, but the reason why Final Fantasy VII’s cast is so excellent is because of the complex relationships between the characters. Cloud’s connection to Sephiroth, for example, or the mysterious Vincent’s connection to Shinra’s Professor Hojo. Every character, even supporting characters like Reno and Rude of the Turks, plays a part in the game’s heavily character-driven story, and that’s what makes them all so very memorable.

My personal favorite scene from Final Fantasy VII is when a sick, wheelchair-bound cloud falls into the lifestream. There, with the help of his childhood friend Tifa, he attempts to piece together his shattered past, and finally determine who he really is. Powerfully character-driven sequences like this are what really sets this game apart from the crowd, even to this day. Or, at least, in my mind it does.

Runner Up: Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI has the largest cast ever featured in a Final Fantasy game. However, it’s not numbers alone that make this cast so good – aside from a few incidental additions to the party, every one of these characters manages to have a distinct, memorable personality, as well as a unique role in the game’s fantastic story. Truth be told, VI and VII are practically neck-to-neck in my book.

Dishonorable Mention: Final Fantasy X-2

When considering who to shame for this category, I considered games like Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy V, and even Final Fantasy XII. But the former two are much older games, so they’re easily forgiven. And Final Fantasy XII’s characters may be somewhat flat, but at least (for the most part) they have good personalities – which is more than I can say for X-2. Air-headed females, senseless villains, and random people from the past compose the players of Final Fantasy X-2. And it’s pretty much as a bad as it sounds.

Riddles’ Relapse Part 1 – Final Fantasy VI

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Final Fantasy VIAs promised, here I am, live from my magical couch here in Murfreesboro, TN.

I know it’s fairly late in the day at this point, but I have all night – so let’s do this.

I just played about an hour of Final Fantasy VI. I’m almost ashamed to say, it’s the first time I’ve played the game since I beat it all those years ago.

How did it feel to go all the way back to 1994? Pretty damn good, actually.

Final Fantasy VI makes better use of its limited technology than any other 2D game I’ve ever played. The opening scene does a brilliant job of setting the mood, with its chilling musical score and surprisingly crisp and attractive 2D visuals. Nobuo Uematsu really is a god amongst men, and what he managed to do with the limitations of the SNES’s hardware is mind-blowing; after sixteen years, Final Fantasy VI remains one -if not his best – soundtracks.

JRPGs, and games of all genres, really, should take lessons from the opening of Final Fantasy VI. There’s no town-crawling, fetch-questing, or needless, wordy story exposition in the game’s first hour. Instead, the game offers the perfect amount of foreshadowing, character development, and intrigue – while remaining in constant motion.  For example, Terra’s fevered flashbacks ensure that you’re immediately interested in her as a character. In fact, every character is likable and interesting from the moment you meet them – be they hero or villain. Kefka’s introductory scene is classic. Final Fantasy VI really does feature one of the best character ensembles in the history of JRPGs.

After an hour of playing, I really didn’t feel like stopping. As I’ve said in the past, Final Fantasy VI is one of those revered 2D classics that actually lives up to all the nostalgia the surrounds it. It’s a game I’d really love to see remade on more modern hardware – such a classic, character-driven tale deserves to be retold for the ages, with some more competent technology behind it.

But now it’s time to skip ahead a console generation… though, I’ll be remaining within the confines of the same series.

Winterscapes Countdown #2 – Narshe (Final Fantasy VI)

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Make way for a 2-D classic, everyone. My personal favorite 2-D game of all time, actually: Final Fantasy VI, originally released as Final Fantasy III on the SNES.

Narshe, as we all (hopefully) know is the opening area of the game. Biggs, Wedge, and the mysterious Terra, armed with Magitek exoskeletons, march into the snowy mining town of Narshe. Their mission is to retrieve something called an Esper.

Almost christmas-y in an odd quasi-steampunk way.

Almost christmas-y in an odd quasi-steampunk way.

While I’m not exactly a veteran of 2-D games, Final Fantasy VI is one of the few titles that lives up to the nostalgic hype surrounding it. The characters are unforgettable, the story is extremely well-told, and man is it one epic ride for a 2-D RPG. Just writing about it is making me want to seek out my copy of the GBA port, which is weird since I’m not much of a handheld gamer these days.

But what’s so great about Narshe? Well, it was the perfect setting for the game’s moody opening sequence. A humble coal mining city, blanketed in snow, with Nobuo Uematsu’s fantastically somber music playing in the background. The game begins here, and in fact returns here at a few key points – the most memorable being when Terra, the main female protagonist, finally transforms into an Esper.

(Yes, the statute of limitations on Final Fantasy VI spoilers is officially up).

But I’ll avoid gushing any longer. If you’ve played the game, I’m sure you agree with me. If you haven’t, I’d suggest you go snag a copy of the GBA port.  And be here tomorrow for the sure-to-be-disappointing #1 Winterscape of the week.

‘Till then!

Scatter Storming. Issue #013 “Like Father Like Son”

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

ss013Hey there! It’s a new week, a new Scatter Storming, and I actually have things to say! Can you believe it? Last week I was playing Spirit Tracks most of the time and wasn’t allowed to talk about it, so it was difficult for me to come up with anything. But now I’ve beat and reviewed it and given back my pre-release copy, so Riddles can bring relevance to the theme week for the rest of the time. For now? Let’s pick my brain!

IGN’s got a new look! -
And they’re really fucking excited about it. It’s better, yes, but their video page still needs tons of work. You know there’s a problem when I prefer to watch their stuff via YouTube. It’s a new player too, so ugh. Oh well, the site itself is faster and prettier now too. Although I think the new logo is interchangeable with the old one.

In which Ethos starts talking about Looney Tunes and ends up talking about the Wii -
I’ve been watching Looney Tunes recently before going to bed. Brilliant stuff. While it sucks that the hilarious Daffy Duck was used less often during the golden years in favour of the far more uninteresting and unfunny Sylvester, Bugs is always amazing and there is no better timing in anything ever than in the Roadrunner cartoons. Anyway, I wasn’t in the mood for it last night, so I decided to play some video games. How novel! I looked at my impressive array of current gen games and decided that I was in the mood for something old school. I booted up FF7, was enjoying it, but decided I wanted something even more old school, and a very rare craving for FF6 hit me. I say rare because I’ve tried the game multiple times and even got through about half of it once, and I’ve never loved it. However, I always wanted to beat it and give it a fair shake since it receives so much love. Anyhoo, since I just moved, not everything is in perfect order so it took me a bit to find my ol’ PSX Anthology with FF6 on it since it’s my only copy of the game. FFV was in there just fine, but I open up the back end and BLAMMO, it’s disc 1, season 2 of The Office. Great show, to be sure, but it makes for a terrible entry in the Final Fantasy series.

I ended up playing Dragon Quest V for DS.

This is a picture of me taken while I told this story

This is a picture of me taken while I told this story

But the story doesn’t end there folks, no! You thought you were in the clear! No such luck!! I decided to boot up my Wii today to see if the Virtual Console had FF6. It absolutely doesn’t, but I haven’t looked up Wii news by choice in a long time, so I had no idea. Anyhoo, I decided that since the system was already on, I might as well check to see if the Nintendo Channel has any new DS demos.

It didn’t.

Not any interesting ones anyway, but it DID have an update to the channel itself. I have no idea how recent it is, but I was surprised. They now have an option for much higher quality video display, and it looks and streams great. Not a single hiccough in the 7 minute Shigeru Miyamoto interview I watched. It also has really interesting stats about your game library including which games you played the most and for how long. It includes WiiWare and Virtual Console as well. You can watch game videos, see what games people like the most, related titles, and more. I thought it was a genuinely good experience. Now, if only it wasn’t years too late, and if only it fixed the rest of Nintendo’s horrific online service, then we’d be in business.

Final Fantasy XIII got a 39 from Famitsu -
And people care? FF9 got a 38 and it’s better than a girl who swallows. It’s like the YouTube comment I saw today when I watched the IGN review for Link’s Choo Choo Adventure. The guy was actually upset that the game got a 9.3 saying something like “this game was at least a 9.6, IGN’s gone to hell”. Forget that 9.3 is an incredible score, and that Bozon doesn’t hand out scores like that too often. Also, somebody’s minute difference of opinion doesn’t – or shouldn’t – change your opinion. Anyway, I want FFXIII.

Zelda stupidOh yeah, Zelda’s AI -
I didn’t mention this in my review. While the whole “control Zelda as a big armored dude while in the Spirit Tower” was a great mechanic, her AI when you called her to you was incredibly stupid. Like, she’d be almost right beside me, I’d press the “call” button so that she’d follow me and she would literally walk in the opposite direction. It was almost as embarrassing as having Zelda afraid of rats work as a puzzle mechanic.

Look for another Tingle feature -
Remember that one time I did that Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! feature? Yeah, I’m bringing it back this week. Basically when I have previews and interviews to comment on, I’ll bundle them together into that madness. Look forward to it.

That’s it! Long and gorgeous. Just like my penis. The cover and title, once again, has no relevance to the content, I just like that picture of me and my Dad. Later, assholes!