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by Ethos

The Final Fantasy Awards: Best Music – Riddles

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

FFVIIboxartRiddles’ Pick: Final Fantasy VII

Huh boy, here comes the sweep.

It was frankly difficult to decide between VII and VIII in this case, but again, VII edges it out for being the stronger overall package. Final Fantasy VII’s soundtrack is packed with not simply good, but excellent pieces. And, there are very few stinkers – if any – to offset them. The most impressive aspect of the soundtrack, though, is how incredibly well – suited it is to the events, tone, and atmosphere of the game. There’s not a single track out of place. Every environment theme is spot-on. Every character theme fits them with perfection. Every special boss theme, be it Jenova or the One-Winged Angel himself, sets the tone of the struggle expertly. I’m hardly a musical critic, but I can call a strong videogame soundtrack when I hear one – and Final Fantasy VII’s is one of the strongest.

Runner Up: Final Fantasy VIII

The reason why I love Final Fantasy VIII’s music so much is because Uematsu took the somber tones of Final Fantasy VII and mellowed them out. The result is one of the more ambient Final Fantasy soundtracks in existence, as well as one of the most peaceful. It’s not quite as atmospheric as Final Fantasy VII’s soundtrack was, but it still shines in many areas – Compression of Time is one of the moodiest environment themes in the series, and The Extreme one of the greatest final boss themes. Uematsu himself may think that Final Fantasy IX epitomizes his work, but I must respectfully disagree.

Dishonorable Mention: Final Fantasy X-2

Jesus, where do I even begin on this one? I suppose I’ll write something positive: Final Fantasy X-2 has a few excellent tracks. There are some pretty piano themes, and I’ll admit to liking the lyrical song 1000 Words. But, aside from those few gems, the soundtrack is almost complete shit. Overly-poppy and upbeat, with no memorable melodies, just a bunch of nonsensical noises and effects that sound more fit for a porno than a videogame.

Riddles’ Relapse Part 2 – Final Fantasy VIII

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

ffviii_logoMan, I love Final Fantasy VIII.

And no, I’m not afraid to say that on the internet.

Again, this was the first time I’d touched the game since I first beat it years ago. (Fuck off, okay? I don’t replay games).

As soon as the gorgeous opening video started playing, with its epic musical score, the memories all came rushing back. Final Fantasy VIII’s storyline is a bit of a mess at times, but regardless it’s always been one of my favorite stories in the series – it’s impressively character-driven, and features some absolutely unforgettable moments. (The Sorceress’ Assassination scene at the end of disc 1 comes to mind.)

But then, once the game actually started, I remembered how very, ah, slow paced the first disc of Final Fantasy VIII is. After playing for over an hour, I’ve yet to even start the Dollet mission.

And how about those ridiculously obtuse and annoyingly frequent tutorials? Every time I turned around, I was getting another useless tutorial shoved in my face. Seeing that I already know everything, an option to skip these would have been much appreciated.

But that’s enough complaining! I still had fun with the game. How? Well. Believe it or not, I absolutely love Final Fantasy VIII’s junction system. While I concede that the Magic Draw system is pretty stupid, (though I’ve never minded it) the actual junctioning process is absolutely fantastic in its depth and versatility. I love that I can micro-manage everything, from specific stats to elemental affinities. I love the system so much that I found myself spending needless amounts of time drawing magic and improving my stats.

That might be why I didn’t even make it to Dollet.

Could the junction system be better? Yeah, of course. It should be far easier to obtain magics for junctioning; spending battle after battle drawing magic really is a cumbersome system. But regardless, I love the amount of control the system affords; for me, the junction system is one of Final Fantasy VIII’s greatest triumphs.

I really want to play more, but I’m afraid I must move on to a different console generation, and a different series. Look for the third part of my relapse sometime tomorrow, folks.

Morning Thoughts

Thursday, September 24th, 2009
I'm just greedy, I'll admit it.

I'm just greedy, I'll admit it.

Well like Riddles said, TGS has been a rampaging disappointment so far in terms of the megatons we gamers live for. I know that TGS is a little different than E3 in that news trickles out a lot more even during the show unlike E3’s burst of announcements before the show. But still, it’s a little sad that the biggest news for me is that Final Fantasy VIII is on the PSN…and I think only in Japan as well. And that’s good news for me not because I want to play it but because it makes it very likely that Final Fantasy IX will also come out in the near future.

But dude! Kingdom Hearts III! It’s about time! KHII came out almost FOUR YEARS AGO in Japan, I think it’s time we started the hype train for the official sequel. The two portable offshoots are almost out, and if KHII is any indication, we won’t even get III until 2 years after we first hear about it, so make the goddamned announcement! And Sora and Kairi better be at least 18 and fucking each other’s brains out at this point. Jesus Christ.

Oh well, at least we know that Gran Turismo 5 isn’t coming out until March of next year. That gives me legitimate time to spend with Forza 3.

“Wrong Hole, Darling” – Love Story Misses Countdown #1

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Alright ladies and gents, here it is: Riddlethos.com’s #1 worst video game romance OF ALL TIME. The moment you’ve all, assuredly, been waiting for. The moment of truth. The moment of… of… ah… meh, I’m done trying to butter this up. Just read the article.

Pretty... and pink...

Pretty... and pink...

#1 Worst Video Game Romance: Squall and Rinoa

Yet another representative from my beloved Final Fantasy series makes the dubious list today. That’s a bit of a sad statement, yet both spots are more than deserved… especially in the case of Mr. Leonhart and his little squeeze.

If you’ve been following my internet travails for any length of time, you likely know that I adore Final Fantasy VIII. I recognize that a lot (and I mean a lot) of people don’t share my opinion of the game; and to be honest, I can understand a lot of the complaints that often arise. But strangely enough, a lot of the problems others have just aren’t problems to me. I don’t mind the junction system, for one thing; in fact, I always rather enjoyed the hours upon hours I spent fooling around with it. I think the game’s storyline is incredibly enjoyable, in spite of some rather gigantic plot holes that, admittedly, are a little hard to forgive. I love most (key word: most) of the game’s main characters, including the protagonist Squall, who’s long been a popular punching bag for FFVIII haters.

Regardless of all the good points the game has, the romantic subplot – the supposed centerpiece of the game – is a trainwreck. While it has occasional moments of heartfelt sincerity, the utter ridiculousness of it all overshadows anything good about it. What it boils down to is this: Rinoa, Squall’s love interest, is the worst character in the game. She’s flat, ditzy, and immature. She’s meant to be the polar opposite of Squall’s cold, introverted persona, and that’s fine; the difference is, while Squall actually has reason to act the way he does, Lord only knows why Rinoa consistently acts like a horny, airheaded high school girl.

Almost Believable at This Point

Almost Believable at This Point

For the first half of the game, the supposed “love story” can be summed up in a single sentence: Rinoa repeatedly throws herself at Squall, who repeatedly throws her ass to the proverbial curb like she’s a bad habit. Somehow, though, Rinoa only finds his utter coldness attractive, and refuses to give up. Then, after a battle with an evil sorceress, Rinoa falls into a coma.

Somehow, out of nowhere, this makes Squall realize that he does, in fact, have feelings for Rinoa. Where did they come from? Who knows. Perhaps he’s a necrophiliac. Or maybe he just kept his true feelings buried REAL DEEP. Or maybe, just maybe, Final Fantasy VIII is an example of a poorly written romantic buildup.

Yeah, I’m gonna go with that. I mean seriously, it would be fine if Squall showed some concern at her unconcious state, but his reaction was WELL over the top. I could say more, but I think I’ll let my lackey partner Ethos take it from here.

Bio pics 004Ugh. Blah. Also: barf. I know a lot of the “Misses” I write have started out that way, but this one deserves it most. The fact that I hate it is perhaps the biggest testament against this shitty relationship. Why is that? Well if you read the post about Zidane and Dagger, you have an idea: I am a complete and utter sap. I love love. I practically cried the first time I played a game called Flower. FLOWER! It is quite literally a game in which you float flower petals around fields. I’m a fruitcake sap who gravitates to love stories with the same tremendous force that Riddles gravitates to poor life decisions. And I think the Squall and Rinoa love story is such an outright GUFFAW in the face of all Final Fantasy fans, of all fans of love stories, and of all fans of not being treated like a ham sandwich. Because maybe a ham sandwich could believe that what Squall and Rinoa had was love. MAYBE.

hamsandwich_a

Unlike my darling and dumb minion partner, Riddles, I am rather endeared to Rinoa and think that Squall is a complete tart. But despite that disagreement, he was entirely right to imply that there is no chemistry, and no reason that one should be attracted to the other. Not in the way their interactions played out. Because yes, like mentioned, opposites can attract and even make each other better, but there is no progression, no believable human traits that would lead to love, and definitely no sparks. Even as a horny teenaged boy in high school playing this game for the first time didn’t buy the couple. In fact, I was so disturbed by one scene that I instantly had a vision of a short movie to mock it. I made it the next day.

So without further ado, a condensed and far more entertaining summation of Squall and Rinoa’s romance: (I didn’t upload it and the user disabled embedding, sorry!)
Squall’s Stupidity

Anyway, this couple has now officially received too much attention. Good night!