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Scotty Plays Every Final Fantasy Game*

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Post by CaptHayfever » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:48 pm

Everything about the l'Cie concept infuriates me. The names (of course), the fact that they're not told what their task is or how long they have to complete it (clearly the fal'Cie are morons), the fact that 2 people can be given mutually-contradictory tasks (too bad, one of you has to turn into a monster, kthxbye), & the fact that it never ends--you succeed, you turn to crystal, then they only wake you up to do another task...with the same outcomes as before, crystal stasis or becoming a Cie'th. (Calling that "eternal life" is like saying a voodoo zombie has "eternal life"; no, the voodoo necromancer keeps the zombie asleep whenever it's not needed & then offs the zombie as soon as it fails.)

And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:53 pm

Gameplay wise, what I've gotten around to of XIII-2 is pretty alright.

...but I haven't gotten around to much, because "if you change the future, you change the past" is unforgivably stupid writing. Seems like a game that's best played by skipping all of the cutscenes.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:04 am

[QUOTE="I am nobody, post: 1635770, member: 34539"]Gameplay wise, what I've gotten around to of XIII-2 is pretty alright.

...but I haven't gotten around to much, because "if you change the future, you change the past" is unforgivably stupid writing. Seems like a game that's best played by skipping all of the cutscenes.[/QUOTE]

Yeah the gameplay in XIII-2 is definitely more fun than XIII. It's like the opposite of XIII. I'd rather watch the cutscenes of XIII than play the game and would rather play XIII-2 than watch the cutscenes.

On another note, I'm trudging along with XII and I'm slowly but surely trying to kill one of the demon walls in Raithwall's Tomb to progress. Something about this game always felt like progress was slow, like trying to walk with ball-and-chains tied to your ankles. It's not quite grinding - it's the endless walking. I don't know how the rest of the game is like, but the walk to Raithwall's Tomb felt like an eternity the first time I did it. I do like the gameplay itself - one of the more interesting and exciting methods of gameplay. The story is insipid so far. The music bothers me - as an audiophile I can easily tell that the music is a synthetic orchestra. The opening and ending pieces are live orchestrations but the rest of the game is synthetic orchestration - and it's different than enjoying the music of all the previous Final Fantasy games. XII's music makes my ears uncomfortable. There are some synthetic orchestras I've heard where I'm like "WOW. I thought that was the real thing" and others that are like the visual equivalent of drawing stick figures. XII's music is not "stick figure level" but I knew right away it was synthetic. It's like when you hear a rookie band at a bar play a good song but they're not quite there to the original but they're not so far off either - it's in this weird zone of not horrible but not amazing either.
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Post by I am nobody » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:30 pm

I remember liking FFXII when I played it on my Definitely Real PS2™ years ago, but I didn't get much further than you are now and I had maybe 5% as much experience with RPGs at the time. Really curious to see what I'll think of the remaster.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:34 pm

I can't help but think that when the writers were thinking of Balthier and Fran someone said, "How about Han Solo but instead of Chewbacca his sidekick waaassssssss. . ."

and then he hangs this on the drawing board:

Image

And everybody clapped.


And that guy got a raise.


In more ways than one.
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Post by Jesus » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:57 pm

Ah but you forgot the one thing that connects Final fantasy universes. Gilgamesh. He crosses dimensions looking for weapons to collect. He's the same guy each time he appears. He also has a personal vendetta against Bartz (or Butz).

I would've loved to see the Crystal Chronicles evolve a bit more personally. It had one up for its original GameCube title followed by several that just milked it. They had the perfect setting to develop and they ruined it.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:09 pm

(So I edited all the previous posts. I added Graphics and Music AND VERDICTS SO YOU CAN TAKE AWAY THE VERDICT WARNING NOW MKAY? and overall polished some text. Here's a new review of 8, where I'm not a screaming jackass.)
Final Fantasy VIII Review (For Real This Time - No Spoilers)
Image


Year: 1999

Original Platform: PlayStation One

Also available on: PC

Version I Played: PlayStation One
Image

Synopsis:

Squall Leonhart is a new recruit of SeeD, a mercenary team protecting the world. Rinoa is a resistance fighter against the Republic of Galbadia, led by the Sorceress Edea who is suddenly hellbent on conquering the neighboring nations. Squall and his team attempt to assassinate Edea, and then things get pretty crazy from there on out – to say the least.


Gameplay:
Complicated – that’s the single word to describe Final Fantasy VIII’s battle system.

It’s so complicated that you have to go through a tutorial within the first twenty minutes of the game. I remember thinking, “Really? We’re really doing this like this?” It’s aggravating enough already to sit through “Blah, blah. blah” but it’s actually super important because if you don’t pay attention then this game will be tedious.

Final Fantasy VIII throws nearly every previous battle system out of the window. It’s nearly as radical as Final Fantasy II’s battle system. Enemies around the world map average their levels according to your average level among your characters. You only need 1,000 EXP (experience points) to rise to each level, unlike the other games where the EXP needed rises after each level. But that doesn’t mean your character levels up all their stats – that all depends on the summons, known in this game as Guardian Forces.

Unlike other games, summons are crucial to the gameplay, despite not being crucial to the story itself. The Junction System has you “junction” each character with a GF, allowing you to assign different battle commands (Item, Draw, Magic, GF, etc). If you don’t assign a character a GF, all they can do in battle is “Attack.”

That gets super annoying when you’re moving around GFs a lot and you forget to assign a character a GF right before a sudden, unexpected major boss battle.

The drawing system is my favorite aspect of Final Fantasy VIII’s gameplay. Instead of harnessing magic by a points system (such as MP), you draw magic from enemies. Magic is only limited by the number of spells. For example, you fight an enemy and draw 5 Curas from them. You now have 5 Cura spells. You can hold up to 99 of any spell. You don’t have to worry about ethers or running out of MP. I guess it’s an incentive to battle enemies, as they are resources for magic.

But the way the GFs work annoy me the most. You to call upon GFs at any time in any battle for an infinite number of times. This doesn’t give you any incentive to even try. Not only that, but you have to sit through the short cinematic sequence of your summon every time you call them. I must have viewed Shiva’s summoning sequence ten-thousand **** times before finishing the game. This makes battling feel repetitive, tedious, and unenjoyable. Battling was a chore. If something annoyed me, I just said, “**** it” and spammed GFs.

The final battle though? That **** was epic. Hard. But epic. One of the best final battles.

Graphics:
The graphics in-game are meh. This game took a different route in giving realistic proportions to its characters. While that’s a cool idea, the overall effect is. . .boring? I could be biased though because the rest of the Final Fantasy series is lively with cartoonish proportions and unrealism, or anime. To suddenly play a Final Fantasy game with what looks like real people – like Bob, Joe and Jill – seems drab. I hated the backdrops because for whatever reason I had trouble discerning some doors. I couldn’t tell what I was looking at in the background sometimes, like if there was a switch or button that I had to press.

The cinematics are great though – some of the best in the series. It has the most memorable opening sequence of any game – the duel between Squall and his rival Seifer. The cinematics were a step up from Final Fantasy VII. Too bad the story makes me want to pull out my entire head of hair.

Story:

Oh hey, so here’s a serious, non-spoiler, non-inflammatory review of Final Fantasy VIII.

Once again, the story is set in a more modern setting with cars, trains, etc. SeeD operates in its headquarters Balamb Garden.

Squall is the main character – the epitome of angst. You will spend the entire game rolling your eyes at Squall’s angsty introspective thoughts about the situations he’s in and people around him. Squall is essentially a worse version of Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. Squall literally has no interesting qualities about him other than his physical design. He can rock that jacket and that scar on his face.

The cast of characters is bland, to say the least. They are composed of other students (Quistis being an instructor though) at Balamb Garden (except Irvine, who is a student of another Garden). They look boring. Their introductions are boring. Balamb Garden sounds like a cool idea – a mercenary school – except it plays off more like a high school anime drama, which is lame. At one point, Squall’s friends – Zell, Selphie, Irvine and Quistis – all try to conspire to get him to talk to Rinoa, the story’s love interest. But Squall tries to understand Rinoa’s upbeat attitude with lots of question marks in his thought bubbles and mumbling, “Whatever”. It’s jarring to sit through four discs of this crap.

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The plot is a butchered mess. After Disc 1 is when the plot gets strange and dream-like. That’s the spot everybody talks about. Plot twists happen left and right after Disc 1 without any rhyme or reason. Very little is explained and many twists are too convenient. Seifer is introduced as Squall’s rival and Rinoa’s original love interest, but he inexplicably turns evil. In no dialogue or plot points do we ever learn why Seifer switches sides.

There’s a particular interesting fan theory that actually makes infinitely more sense than the story that Square gave us. Here’s a hot tip – when fan theories start making perfect sense, you probably didn’t write a good story.

The best part of Final Fantasy VIII is actually Laguna Loire. Throughout the story, Squall and his friends pass out for mysterious reasons and you are introduced to Laguna Loire and his two buddies, Ward and Kiros. They partake in events set in the past. Laguna Loire hearkens back to the pre-Final Fantasy VII heroes – heroes like Bartz and Locke. He’s funny and charming. Man, I wish the game was about him and his friends instead of angsty Squall and his cardboard friends.

So, for four discs you play through these parallel plots and then they merge by the end. The payoff isn’t so amazing. I expected something better. Time travel is involved, albeit in a way that doesn’t make sense. Time compression! The ability to compress time into a singularity because . . . because why again? I guess you don’t have to wait for the next season of Game of Thrones anymore. Is that what that means?

Other notes I want to mention – Balamb Garden is an awful, clunky airship and the world map is the least interesting world map in the entire series. The only remotely interesting place is Fisherman’s Horizon.

Final Fantasy VIII’s story is the second most radical departure from the series, the first being Final Fantasy X. However, VIII lacks any existential crisis for its main character to explore. Sort of. There’s no grand critique on the meaning or life or anything like that. Just confusion.There’s one slight existential question that Rinoa faces near the end but it’s practically a throw-away line. I admire what they tried to do but it fell flat on its face. It’s dull and insipid with its characters and the plot doesn’t steer in a clear direction.


Music:
The music is the biggest highlight of Final Fantasy VIII. Laguna Loire’s battle theme is sexy as hell. It made me so sad to return to Squall’s timeline. The world map theme irritated me. It has a jingle that didn’t jive well with wandering around. It probably also didn’t help that the world map is dull to run around in.

The game’s theme, Liberi Fatali, is damn epic. Too bad it accompanies such a dumb story. Liberi Fatali does have actual lyrics but the famous lines “Fithos lusec wecos vinosec” is actually nonsense. Maybe that nonsense reflects the nonsense that is the actual story. It would have been nice if they had actually incorporated those words into the story somehow, like some magic spell like abracadabra.

The love theme is Eyes on Me, performed by Faye Wong. It’s the first time that Uematsu composed a pop song for a Final Fantasy game. Its lyrics are nice and of course fitting for the love story. I like hearing it.

There are no character themes in this score. BECAUSE I TOLD YOU – THE CHARACTERS ARE DULL. The focus was all on Squall and Rinoa having their silly angsty romance.

The final boss theme is actually one of my favorites. It starts out eerie with the chorus singing “Fithos lusec wecos vinosec” but in this drawn out, ghost-like manner. Then the music picks up sounding like a typical Final Fantasy battle theme, then goes crazy from there on out.


Notable Score:
Liberi Fatali.
[MEDIA=youtube]k9IkmZLFkFw[/MEDIA]

Verdict:
The story is absolute gibberish. The gameplay could be fun once you wrap your head around it, which I didn’t and so it was a pain in the ass for me. Finding all the Guardian Forces can be fun. Laguna Loire is the best part of the story. At the end of the day, probably put this one off until you play the better, more important Final Fantasy games.

Direct Sequel?

No.

Dear Lord.

Please, no.

Keep it that way.
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Post by X-3 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:30 pm

[MEDIA=youtube]jxW13qBTO1U[/MEDIA]

sick music tho

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:54 am

Final Fantasy XII is apparently the longest one in the series. I was surprised when I looked up XV to see how long the main story is and it's only about 27 hours.

Whoa boy.

Just happened to save the longest for now, didn't I?
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Post by X-3 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:47 pm

Are you playing the original or the brand spanking new ZODIAC AGE?

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Post by I am nobody » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Can't speak for Scotty, but I'm loving Zodiac Age so far. They fixed a ton of little annoyances.

Vaan is still irrelevant to the plot, but getting rid of him was probably too much to ask for.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:01 pm

The original. I had bought the DELUXE EDITION way back when. STEELBOOK. OH YEAH.

I had XII since it came out, I just never got far because I wasn't really into it. When I was a teen, I was strictly into turn-based combat, not so much the MMORPG feel. But now I appreciate it way more.
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Post by Marilink » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:12 am

So during a phenomenally boring day at work, I finally caught up on reading your reviews of VII through XIII. I have not played any of them, so it was nice to see some fully fleshed-out analyses of games that I've seen partially discussed so much around the internet.

I really need to play IX sometime, and I should definitely play the Steam copy of FFVII that I already own.
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Post by I am nobody » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:29 pm

I'll be really interested to hear what you ended up thinking of XII. Sounds like we both started out fairly positive on it.

Turns out the point I quit last time (just before the stillshrine) was coincidentally almost exactly the point where I stopped liking the game. Ended up deciding to cut my losses and send it back to Amazon. Almost everything that seemed cool initially - combat, the zodiac grid, a nation-scale story, etc - ended up being shin-deep.

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Post by X-3 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:31 am

I'm past the Shrine and I'm digging it, though it's took a while to get really into. I think the Zodiac license boards are pretty cool, especially when you get two boards going.

However, I feel like the setting is torn between the Ivalice of Tactics (human politics with something otherworldly pulling strings) and the Ivalice of Tactics Advance. (fantasy land with fantasy races)

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:34 am

I thought the license board was cool-ish. My biggest problem with it is that 90% of the unlocks on each board are boring things like weapon/armor/accessory unlocks or tiny stat boosts. Melee-focused classes never really evolve from just leaving combat on attack until everything dies.

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Post by X-3 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:44 pm

Yeah, I wish melee had a bunch of skills like FFT or FFTA. There's some in the form of techniques but not nearly enough. Definitely a missed opportunity on the original game's part.

As for the boring upgrades, I'm kind of used to that from Path of Exile, lol.

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Post by I am nobody » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:51 pm

Probably could've put up with it more if I didn't know from FFX that they could've made a more engaging grid. Didn't help that the 2x license points and XP accessories are just better than almost all the others. :/

I made it until the first part of Arcades before quitting. Decided the story wasn't going anywhere interesting and couldn't be bothered to finish a forced "talk to everyone in the city!" quest.

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