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Scotty Plays Every Final Fantasy Game*

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Post by Valigarmander » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:44 pm

Personally my favorite is VI, but I think if you take nostalgia out of the equation I'd have to call IX the best in the franchise.

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Post by X-3 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:52 pm

My favorite is VII but that's the only one I've beaten recently.

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Post by Marilink » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:53 pm

^^You think? Maybe we can save that discussion for when Scotty gets around to it, but I'm curious why you would say that.
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Post by Booyakasha » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:53 pm

I played IX a bit. I liked it alright. VII is the one I got farthest in, and I don't believe I zeed the first disc.

Not that I'm some FF expert, of course. Only JRPG franchise I've spent any real time on was Disgaea. Rather play any Disgaea than any FF. Or Pokemon. Think I'd rather play Disgaea than Paper Mario. Is that unusual? Sometimes it's hard to tell from the inside.
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Post by Random User » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:24 pm

VII was my most recent play. Really brought me back to the days of playing through the GBA ports of IV and VI. I'd be willing to bet that XV will be my favorite once I play it, though.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:20 am

Final Fantasy VII Review
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Year: 1997


Original Platform: PlayStation One

Also available on: PC

Version I Played: PlayStation One

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Synopsis:

(deep throaty voice) In a world where one corporation rules everything, one man must—okay. *cough* Anyway. Seriously though. In a world where the Shinra Electric Power Company rules over the everything, the eco-terrorists AVALANCHE stop at nothing to try and prevent the life essence of the planet from being used as energy. Barrett, leader of AVALANCHE, hires a mercenary named Cloud Strife for their bombing mission on a Shinra Mako Reactor. Cloud doesn’t care much for the greater cause and only wants his pay. But then, after a mission goes awry, he meets Aerith, a flower girl who is the descendant of the Ancients. He finds himself wrapped in the greater conflict against Shinra, and ultimately Sephiroth.

Gameplay:
Final Fanatasy VII utilizes magic spells via Materia – little orbs in a variety of colors pertaining to the natural elements. You can mix and match them on your weapons and equipment, which gives you access to different spells and stats. All your equipment varies with the number of slots for how many Materia orbs you can put in. Leveling up not only upgrades the character but the equipped Materia as well.

VII is also known for introducing Limit Breaks – finishing moves that build up after the character gets hit over time. VI had a prototype called Desperation Attack – but it was very rare as it only appeared when your character had 1/8 of their total HP, and there was a 1 in 6 chance of performing the Desperation Attack after selecting Attack. I actually had no idea that was a thing until now and never experienced it when I played VI.

Graphics:
Out of all the Final Fantasy games, I have to say that this one has not aged well. It has the worst graphics. The battle graphics are fine. The cinematic graphics are okay but stiff and awkward without voices or much emotion. The rest is laughably blocky through a modern perspective.

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I always say that the beginning of 3D gaming was essentially like puberty – awkward and full of zits. We marveled about it when it was first released, yes, and then we cringed in retrospect. The pre-rendered backdrops are probably the strongest points, especially in Midgar, where they capture its industrial nature.

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Story:

Final Fantasy VII became legendary the minute Square released it. Part of it could be due to the fact that it was the first Final Fantasy game to enter the 3D realm. Another part was Tetsuya Nomura’s character designs, which hit the cool meter to the point of sub-zero.
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(Except for that stupid Cait Sith thing. Who cares about that?)

The cinematics blew our minds. The entire score was memorable, from the opening sequence to the epilogue. The action sequences are amazing. The bombing run on the Shinra Mako Reactor. The motorcycle chase. Cid’s airship. The gun fights. Battles with Sephiroth. There’s a ton of extra stuff to find, like summons and extra bosses.

But the story was the primary factor in making VII famous. It’s definitely one of the better ones. Man, the story became so famous that even gamers who haven’t touched a Final Fantasy game knew the major spoilers. It was the equivalent to knowing Darth Vader’s line “I am your father” without having actually watched Star Wars.

Aerith (Aeris in the English releases) Gainsborough – the innocent flower girl who holds the secrets of the Ancients – develops a romance with Cloud (sort of - I mean, it's not hard to read into it) and dies at the end of Disc 1 by the main villain – Sephiroth. The scene shocked everyone and practically made headlines. Everybody has seen the horrible image in one way or another.
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It seems to me that since Final Fantasy V, the stories have gotten more and more used to major character deaths, ultimately transforming into a heavy-hitting TV series rather than simply a video game series. In other words – it matured. Looking back, IV appears to be child’s play and a prototype of later dramatic storylines with fully realized worlds.

VII was the first Final Fantasy game to create a world much like ours – one with cars and trains and airplanes and machine guns and even cellphones. The main city of Midgar reflects industrialization at its worst, with miles of slums and claustrophobic levels. Shinra Electric Power Company is a reflection of capitalism at its worst - a single entity in charge of so much that it’s pretty much the government. For the first time in a Final Fantasy game, you play as characters who dance between the morally ambiguous line of terrorism and activism. Funny enough, the theme of abusing the planet's resources resonates with us now more than ever

While the story is memorable with many intriguing elements, the plot itself is a tangled web. While Shinra is the driving force as a whole as the villain, Sephiroth takes over, then you learn about his backstory and then with Hojo and Jenova and “Weapon” and the planet’s history and this and that and the other thing. I could sum up the plot of the game as “trying too hard to be epic.”

If you were to put VI and VII together and contrast them, as many gamers do, you would find that VII is the summer blockbuster and VI is the Oscar winner. VII introduced the sappy romance subplot to the series. A love triangle forms among Aerith, Cloud and Cloud’s childhood friend Tifa. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a love triangle, the writing is like watching middle schoolers trying to express their feelings except they’re in college-aged bodies. VI treated any romance with dignity and realism. Even IV had a better romance – Cecil and Rosa were already in a relationship at the start of the game, and they maintained their desire for each other throughout. You prop up VII against those and it’s like watching little kids shouting, “CLOUD AND TIFA SITTING IN A TREE. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” It just has angst and pettiness.

The plot takes a couple weird turns. At one point, Cloud became catatonic and confined to a wheelchair. I hated that part – the plot turned sluggish without him and Tifa, who stayed with him to take care of him. I got confused and lost myself when Sephiroth tried to confuse Cloud with some ******** backstory. Probably the least interesting character, Cait Sith, is apparently some robot spy but then not a spy and like he—or rather it is controlled by a person or like—ugh, whatever. And like Cloud has some crisis about his identity because of some experimental mumbo-jumbo and like. . .ungh. I get an aneurysm thinking about it.

These more complicated plots start showing up from here on out. The trend of bishonen characters also begin here, bishonen being the Japanese term for “beautiful boy.” Cloud and Sephiroth have that look, and from here on out the plots are also mixed with sappy romances and a general anime feel.

Final Fantasy VII ultimately marked the start of a new era for the series - for better or for worse.

Music:
The entire soundtrack of this game is memorable. The opening tune, with its light twinkle when the stars show up, is enough to make any gamer know exactly what that’s from. With a story set in a more modern world, we have music that is more modern. After VI had a more serious and operatic score, Uematsu displayed his love of progressive rock. The motorcycle chase incorporates a lot of synth, which was fitting for zipping through the streets of Midgar. However, VII is the first Final Fantasy game without that familiar starting bassline for the battle theme. The battle theme is instantly recognizable but also radically different from its predecessors. Meanwhile, the boss theme is one of the best boss themes in the series, or any video game really. It’s an electrifying progressive rock piece.

The more instrumental pieces are somber, given the dreary atmosphere of the planet. The world map music is very different from its predecessors. It’s romantic one moment, soaring the next, and then dips into foreboding terror. I guess that sums up the story of VII.

And we cannot leave out One-Winged Angel, which I will talk about below.

Notable Theme:
Without a doubt, One-Winged Angel – played during the terrifying final battle against Sephiroth.
[MEDIA=youtube]t7wJ8pE2qKU[/MEDIA]

It’s clearly the most popular song of the entire series. Nobuo Uematsu was inspired by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.It’s a whopping 30 something minute classical piece. If you look it up on YouTube and browse through it, you can definitely note the similarities. However, Uematsu didn’t want some boring classical introduction to the piece. He wanted to add the destructive impact of rock. The theme has a very distinct stamping-your-foot-down quality to it.

I had noticed a certain piece-by-piece feel of the song and that’s exactly how Uematsu composed it. This is the only song that Uematsu has composed where he created several tunes in his head and then rearranged them to make a single comprehensive song.

If you want to get technical, One-Winged Angel is the first Final Fantasy song with lyrics. The chorus sings in Latin about Sephiroth’s burning anger, with some lyrics actually taken from the medieval poem Carmina Burana. It sounds fantastic when fully orchestrated.

In Advent Children, the animated sequel to Final Fantasy VII, the music is accompanied by hardcore metal. This new rendition really illustrates the destructive power of Sephiroth. Uematsu changed the lyrics for Advent Children. They are more original now. I specifically noticed the lyrics “Veni, veni, mi fili”, which translates to “Come, come, my son.” Sephiroth is inviting you so he can kill you.

Uematsu has stated that the previous orchestration didn’t sit well with him. As I suspected, Advent Children’s hardcore metal version is the one he preferred, the one he would have composed had he the technology at the time of Final Fantasy VII.

Verdict:
A must-play for any RPG fan, even if you think it’s overrated. It’s a must-play because of its popularity, in the same way that people are wide-eyed when you say you haven’t seen Star Wars or such-and-such other popular movie. It’s a whole lot of fun, especially in the scenes that involve other forms of gameplay, such as the motorcycle chase and even a battlefield strategy game in protecting Fort Condor.

Direct Sequel?
Yes – first there was the CGI movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
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I actually watched Advent Children before playing VII. I had already known most of what happened in the game and Advent Children became a monumental craze when it first came out. Everybody was talking about it. My impression of Cloud was that he was always this whiny, angsty and emo loser, and meanwhile Tifa kept nagging at him to stop it. I also felt really bad for Cloud losing Aerith.

Then when I finally played VII, I saw that Cloud starts as this badass mercenary. Tifa is spunky and clearly is the better choice but Cloud is enamored by Aerith after only meeting her briefly. What the ****? Cloud. Bro. You are so dumb. Make a movie on Tifa, you **** loser. Square injected angst into Advent Children.

Not only that, but Square injected even higher doses of angst with Dirge of Cerberus – Final Fantasy VII. This video game sequel focuses on Vincent Valentine, a fan favorite of the original game.
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The original game revealed Shinra’s inner deep secret experiments, namely with Sephiroth and Jenova. Dirge of Cerberus introduces an even deeper research team within Shinra called - wait for it - Deepground. Because it's deep underground. I don’t know about you, but it already sounds like the start of a terribly redundant string of sequels, like how the Jason Bourne movies keep revealing an even deeper level of stupidity. Vincent’s mysterious background is now fully revealed. He fights his inner demons - no, really, he like actually has a demon inside of him. He is defined by – guess what? – another lost love angsty story, this time with a woman named Lucrecia.

Lastly, there is the prequel for the PSP – Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The prequel takes on the story of Zack Fair, Cloud's predecessor.
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Of all the stories in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core has received the most positive reception. If anything, play that after playing Final Fantasy VII before bothering with anything else.

Oh, and there’s the hotly anticipated PS4 remake of Final Fantasy VII. It should be coming out sometime between now and the eventual heat death of the universe.
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Post by ScottyMcGee » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:56 am

Final Fantasy VIII Review
WARNING: I HAVE MANY STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS GAME AND AS SUCH I WILL EVISCERATE IT WITH MEAN COMMENTS AND RUIN VIRTUALLY EVERY SPOILER IF YOU WANT A REAL, LESS INFLAMMATORY REVIEW WITHOUT SPOILERS THEN GO TO THE NEXT PAGE

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Year: 1999

Original Platform: PlayStation One

Also available on: PC

Version I Played: PlayStation One
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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:

Final Fanatasy VIII is a piece of dookie and so are you for liking this game.

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. Then there’s the Junction System – a complex system involving Guardian Forces, which is this fictional realm’s term for summons. Each Guardian Force gives you a specific set of stats, and when the GF rises in level so do you. 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. The drawing system is my favorite aspect of Final Fantasy VIII’s gameplay. You don’t have to worry about ethers or running out of MP.

The GFs 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.

You practically never actually attack, unless you bother to hunt down pieces for new weapons to upgrade. The rest of the game, which I’ll bitch about below, annoyed me so much that I didn’t care to do that.

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

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 or anime. To suddenly play a Final Fantasy game with what looks like real people 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 game makes me want to pull out my entire head of hair.
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(Mine too, Squall. Mine too.)

Story:
Final Fanatasy VIII is a piece of dookie and so are you for liking this game.

I have to be honest, this entire review is spoiler-y and I don’t care because this game annoys me to no end.

Once again, the story is set in a more modern setting with cars, trains, etc. SeeD operates in its headquarters Balamb Garden. THE GARDEN SENDS OUT SEEDS. HAHA. GET IT? F*** THIS GAME. IT’S SO STUPID.

Squall is the main character and holy heck – is he the epitome of angst or what? 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. He lacks any interesting qualities other than his design, which screams, “I am Brooding McBroodster. Hear me angst." This is a guy whose catchphrase is actually, "Whatever."

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Once again, there’s some slight bishonen courtesy of Tetsuya Nomura. The name Squall always annoyed me since I first heard it. It’s an obscure word meaning a sudden small gust of wind accompanied by rain. Maybe they were referring to how angsty this walking piece of **** is.

Squall hides his feelings in the face of super kawaii girls like Selphie and Rinoa. Final Fantasy VII had that middle school love triangle thing. Final Fantasy VIII does the stupid "Cool loner tries to understand upbeat girl" thing. Let's watch Squall try to understand human emotion for 4 discs.

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Yay.

Zell is this upbeat jock. Irvine is a guy who wears a cowboy hat, and that’s the only interesting thing about him, except it’s not interesting; I want to shove that hat up his ass every time I see him. Quistis is Squall’s cool, reserved instructor. Virtually all the characters are lifeless without any personal backstory except the insane and convenient revelation two discs later that they all went to the same orphanage as children. Through some ******** with using GFs, they develop amnesia and don't actually remember the orphanage.

The character introductions are so boring that I could derive more pleasure from reading the nutrition facts on a cereal box. While other games had the characters meet by either already established relationships or running into each other under stressful circumstances, Squall and friends meet because they are assigned missions. Here’s Zell – let’s introduce him by having him jump around and give the most awkward smile in the history of awkward smiles to the camera.
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You meet Selphie because you bump into her in the hallway. That is literally her introduction. You cannot get any more lackluster than that. And hey – I get it – they all work in Balamb Garden. It’s realistic or whatever. But I’m playing Final Fantasy, not a high school simulation.

Wow, I digressed. So Disc 1 is the most decent portion of the game. Squall and his friends kick ass and save the day. Balamb Garden hosts a graduation ball and Squall meets Rinoa, who can’t find her date but decides to dance with Squall instead because how else would we start this sappy romance about upbeat girl trying to warm up brooding guy? Rinoa’s introduction is probably the one that sticks out the most, because, well, Squall falls love in with her, much in the same vein of a “chance encounter” that Cloud and Aerith have in Final Fantasy VII.

Things get weird after SeeD tries to assassinate the evil Sorceress Edea, like David Lynch weird, but David Lynch is enjoyable while Final Fantasy VIII makes me want to test how strong my testicles are by stabbing them with a fork.

There is some semblance of a plot as it’s revealed that Edea is controlled by the sorceress Ultimecia from the future. Ultimecia is trying to manipulate time into a singularity because . . . it’s a cool thing to do? I don’t know.

There is also a suplot with Laguna Loire. Laguna is easily the coolest and most interesting character in the game - a reminiscent of Bartz from Final Fantasy V. Chill and friendly and humorous. Every now and then, Squall and his friends pass out and you are handed control of Laguna Loire and his buddies from what is assumed to be the past. You have no idea what’s going on until Disc 3 when you actually meet Laguna and he explains why you’ve been passing out and seeing his past.

You don’t feed the audience two parallel plots only to have them meet up and explain the confusing one in a couple paragraphs, shrugging it off. You’re clearly just wasting my goddamn time. I thought that maybe you were altering time via the Laguna subplot, or maybe Laguna was some alternate timeline version of Squall, since they do somewhat look alike.
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(A lot of people in this game look alike.) I very much liked the idea of two opposite protagonists with a mysterious connection, but the payoff could have been better.

It’s never clear why Seifer, Squall’s rival, suddenly switches sides and works for Edea and Ultimecia. Never. Ever. Not joking. It’s never ever, ever, ever, ever explained.

He just does it.

Also, on Disc 3, late in the game, this one guy says, “As you all know, monsters come from the moon.” Uh. No? I did not know that. If that was a central tenant of this fictional realm, I would have expected to know that in **** Disc 1.

I specify everything by discs because something happens at the end of Disc 1 that make many fans to speculate the true ending of the game and why the rest of the plot is so insane and stupid. Actually, since I don’t care about this game at all, I will just tell you – Squall actually dies at the end of Disc 1. In the opening of Disc 2, he wakes up as a prisoner of Sorceress Edea but nobody ever explains how he survived her fatal blow. The eerie sequence at the end of the game after defeating Ultimecia made many fans to speculate that Squall is actually dying from Disc 2 onward, and the story reflects his dreams and desires. If you take the plot at face value – it really doesn’t make logical sense. Squall suddenly went from a newbie mercenary to the one man who needs to save the world. All the people he met suddenly have some ******** connection via the orphanage. The plot suddenly takes wild, unexpected turns and becomes dream-like. Like – guys – they go to **** SPACE. There’s a WHOLE THING about SPACE. Like Final Fantasy VII had a space scene but it made sense given the context. In here it’s like WHAT. WHY ARE—WHY SPACE??? MONSTERS FROM THE MOON? THE **** YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHY? WHY ARE THERE MONSTERS ON THE MOON? WHO PUT THAT THERE??? WHO???

Disc 1 revealed that Rinoa is with Seifer but after trying to assassinate Edea, Seifer inexplicably becomes a villain, conveniently after Squall meets Rinoa and falls in love with her. This could reflect how Squall wishes Seifer to be out of the picture so he can take Rinoa.

The fan theory makes so much sense and, if true, would make me give some kudos to Final Fantasy VIII. It would give a whole new meaning to the title “Final Fantasy” because it would be Squall’s literal final fantasy.

You thought I was done? No. There’s more **** that I have to drop.

The world map is probably what you get when you try to model Chris Christie’s bunghole. There’s nothing interesting. It’s barren. It’s ugly. The world map music irritated me.

Balamb Garden ends up being an airship and it’s the clunkiest, ugliest piece of **** I’ve ever had the displeasure of maneuvering.

God, every little thing about this story makes me want to punch a baby.

How would I do it?

Here’s how I would do it:

Final Fantasy VIII’s story would be the same by the end of Disc 1, with some simple editing like putting more interest in the secondary characters. Squall is the same typical introspective, introverted guy who is a huge dick who doesn’t warm up to anybody because, “Rawr I’m a man and I need to prove dominance over Seifer.” After that, the story continues but with explicit explanations. Edea is actually shown healing Squall. Seifer is revealed to be a spy for Edea or some **** like that and that's why he switches sides. Let’s dampen the sorceress subplots just a tad to not make it so complicated. Blah blah blah. Final battle with Ultimecia – okay stop!
So as you deliver finishing blows on Ultimecia and time or whatever starts disintegrating around you, it’s revealed that all of this has been another reality in Squall’s mind in his dying moments. Squall is in reality still dying after Edea attacked him. Time goes slow in his mind, so in those dying moments, his mind flows at what feels like months instead of minutes. The bulk of the plot reflects Squall’s hopes and desires, just as the fan theory speculates. This time though, Edea is drawing power from Squall. It’s revealed that Edea gains strength by harnessing the life force from her dying enemies. Squall is trying to fight back to free his soul, and he does so. He dies wishing he could have been a better person – and that better person came in the form of Laguna Loire – Laguna is his alternate self, his inner self that he originally wanted to be.
However, back in the real world, Squall’s friends manage to revive him, and they do this in the form of a phoenix down, because every Final Fantasy gamer jokes about how they don’t use phoenix down to revive dying characters in cutscenes. They kill Edea and all is saved. Squall realizes the real world sucks because of his choices. After all he went through in that alternate reality, he wishes to change and open up to people. In reality, Seifer is still going out with Rinoa. SeeD hosts a ball to celebrate their success. This ending scene mimics when Squall met Rinoa at his graduation ball. Back then he was shy and introverted. This time, he really wants her and tries to approach her. He does so, and before he could say anything, we cut to black and the credits roll.


Direct Sequel?

No.
Final Fanatasy VIII is a piece of dookie and so are you for liking this game.

Notable Score:

The score is actually one of the few positives of this game. The battle themes, Laguna’s theme, and it’s the first Final Fantasy game with a lyrical song from a celebrity – Faye Wong’s “Eyes on Me.”

The opening sequence is not only memorable for its graphics and action, but for its score, which is sort of the main theme of Final Fantasy VIIILiberi Fatali.

[MEDIA=youtube]k9IkmZLFkFw[/MEDIA]
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Post by smol Kat » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:34 am

[QUOTE="Booyakasha, post: 1634577, member: 17381"]A few years back DawnSomewhere did a letsplay of the stupid-ass ponified romhack of VI. I watched all 37 episodes, multiple times over. Partly because DawnSomewhere is the best letsplay channel of all time. Partly because I'm probably really, really sick. And partly, I presume, because FFVI is good.

DawnSomewhere tore Pony Fantasy VI to shreds, but even that looked pretty rad. Presumably the game proper is way betterer than some dumb pony romhack.[/QUOTE]
I could not get through that lp. I found his ranting extremely obnoxious, and i don't even like the character in question.
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Post by Booyakasha » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:08 am

That's cool, homey. Not everybody's gonna like everything.

Liked their 'Soul Reaver 2' LP better. The parodied versions of the cutscenes, man---------at the start of Ep. 19, Raziel encounters past versions of Zephon, Turel, and himself killing Janos Audron, and the five of them start bickering in trademark MAS/RDP fashion. It's hilarious.
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Post by Random User » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:33 am

LOL I played that pony romhack. God.

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Post by Booyakasha » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:40 am

Yeah, kinda seems like a dumb idea. I mean, don't mistake me, I like a pointless redubbing as much as the next man (definitely seems to be the cool with-it thing in the pony fandom, if the PONIES Anthology series is anything to go by). Go ahead, turn everything into ponies. But then don't, like, not be absurd.

Like, Family Guy Star Wars works, because they weren't trying to play it straight. 'Pony Fantasy VI' tried to play it straight, just have it be FFVI only all characters are from the pony show, and that's kind of asinine. You can't combine two properties with such different tones and characters and all and not expect the whole thing to feel ham-fisted and tin-eared.
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Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:44 am

Final Fantasy IX Review
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Year: 2000

Original Platform: PlayStation One

Also available on: PC, Android, iOS, Steam

Version I Played: PlayStation One

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Synopsis:
Zidane Tribal is a thief whose troupe is hired to kidnap Princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII. The world is in the midst of a war, and Garnet's mother, Queen Brahne, is at the head of the conflict.

Gameplay:
Final Fantasy IX returns to more traditional gameplay. Active Time Battle. Each character has a unique ability. Summons come in the form of “eidolons.” Limit Breaks are now called Trance Modes.

There’s also a mini card game called Tetra Master – which is super fun. Final Fantasy VIII also had a card game named Triple Triad, which I think gamers like more, but I never touched it.

I have very fond memories of Final Fantasy IX, both in gameplay and story. I devoured this game throughout my entire junior year of college. As such, I associate this game with many memories of good friends. I finished this game on literally the final day of junior year as people were packing up to leave.

This game as often been referred to as the prime example of Final Fantasy – again, both in gameplay and story. It has the highest metacritic score of all the Final Fantasy games. Yet at the same time, it’s sorely underrated. Not many people talk about it.

The difficulty wasn’t hard to grasp – at least for me. I didn’t die until the penultimate battle. I would suggest it as an option for a beginner.

Graphics:
Imagine VII but way more defined. Square returned to the cartoonish world and left the realistic world from VIII alone. The graphics and style are awesome. Each town is so pretty and cozy.

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Final Fantasy IX wrapped up the series for the PlayStation One – and it’s a blast. It went all out with the system’s capabilities.

Story:

Final Fantasy IX is like a sigh of relief after Final Fantasy VIII. Don't get me wrong; I want the series to venture into different territory – I suggest it all the time. It’s that Final Fantasy VIII was written so bland whereas Final Fantasy IX is alive with colors, characters and stories. It has the most physically diverse cast in the series – just look at these dudes:
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All of them have something to offer. The fan favorite is typically the black mage Vivi – whose backstory is memorable for the philosophical questions it poses. Zidane is a return to the upbeat, charming protagonists like Bartz or Locke. Of course he develops a thing for Garnet, but there's no sappiness or even annoyance to it. It's quite amusing to watch Zidane try to woo Garnet, the same way a magician tries to woo some lovely audience member.

The story is a perfect example of how tropes can still feel refreshing based on how the story is told. I like how the story’s biggest themes deal with the nature of a soul. Out of all the Final Fantasy games, the existential crisis here hits the hardest.

It was unclear to me at the time why Final Fantasy IX falls in the more underrated category. I guess at the time Final Fantasy VII still took the world by storm. Some critics complain how the main villain, Kuja, is the least threatening villain of the entire series. Kuja’s bishonen level is over 9,000. Gamers at the time probably felt that Final Fantasy IX wasn’t as amazing or intriguing since it returned to the tropey elements of the series, after we had seen two big games set in a modern world.

Music:
Surprisingly, the music is the weakest part of the game, in my opinion. When I thought about what to write about for the music section for this game, I stared into space as crickets chirped. I can only think of the title theme (The Place I’ll Return to Someday) and Melodies of Life, another pop song. I like You’re Not Alone but I didn’t pay attention to it until I listened to the orchestrated version on the Distant Worlds album.

The answer hit me then after much consideration – the score takes an classical instrumental route, drawing inspiration from medieval music, given the setting of the game. It’s not a bad thing, but Nobuo Uematsu’s signature progressive rock style is notably absent in everything except the battle theme. As such, nothing struck out at me. I hate to say it, especially because Uematsu himself has stated that this soundtrack is his favorite work and the one he is most proud of. The next time I play this game, I will pay more attention to the soundtrack.


Notable Theme:

As I said before, I associate Final Fantasy IX with fond memories of my junior year in college. Melodies of Life gives me all the feels. It has that late ‘90’s slow-dance feel.
[MEDIA=youtube]Ye7BGnlTZmQ[/MEDIA]

Verdict:

Great game. Underrated. I can sum it up by saying - it doesn’t do anything new per se – it just shines as a Final Fantasy game using all of the series’ classic elements.

Direct Sequel?

Nope.
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Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:33 am

Final Fantasy X Review
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Year: 2001

Original Platform: PlayStation 2

Also available on: PS3 and PS4 (HD Remaster)

Version I Played: PlayStation 2

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Synopsis:
Tidus is a famous blitzball player in the city of Zanarkand. One day, his mysterious buddy Auron whisks him away to the land of Spira after a massive entity known as Sin attacks Zanarkand. Tidus ventures into Spira, a strange world lacking in advanced technology. There, he finds many uncomfortable truths.

Gameplay:
Final Fantasy X was my very first Final Fantasy game – as such, I could be biased in how I feel about it. Or maybe not. I’ve grown to be enough of a dick to crush my own dreams.

I totally miss how you can switch characters in the middle of the battle. I love that feature so much. Granted, X is the last main Final Fantasy game to feature turn-based combat, but when I played more Final Fantasy games after X, I kept thinking instinctively that you could switch characters in the middle of battle.

Leveling up is conventional but also introduces a Sphere Grid. You gain ability points to progress through a grid where each sphere unlocks a special ability or better stats. You can pick different paths along the grids and typically by the end of the game you are crossing over other character's grids.

The only truly annoying aspect of playing the game was the sphere puzzles in the temples. Every so often you have to enter a temple and solve a puzzle by placing spheres in the right places. It was so mind-numbing and the music really didn't help either.

Because of how the story is told, the game is much more linear than its predecessors. The bulk of the game is spent journeying on foot across Spira. Don’t worry – there are plenty of secrets and extras to unfold – PLENTY. You eventually get an airship but instead of flying around a world map you simply pick a destination on a map and you’re there. It sounds lame but the story surrounds the concept of a pilgrimage, and the world is already so massive and detailed that Square probably couldn’t fit the feature of flying around a world map.

Graphics:
The cinematics blew everyone away – because this time we have VOICE ACTING! JUST LIKE WATCHING A MOVIE!

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The voice acting worked really well in this game. It was only ever awkward when Tidus was being annoying. The in-game cutscenes can be a little stiff, just a little.

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(Like in this cringe-worthy scene)

As this was my first Final Fantasy game, it took me forever to finish. I had help with a friend of mine actually and we took turns sharing the game to level up the characters. I bet that now after being so used to RPGs I can finish it at a reasonable time.


Story:
The story is completely different than the rest of the series. Completely different. While the rest of the series likes to make references to Western mythology and atmosphere (medieval and industrial settings), Final Fantasy X actually has an East Asian feel.

The narrative is radically different from the entire series. For the first and only time (so far), the main character narrates the unfolding events in media res. Tidus gets wrapped up on a pilgrimage in Spira to defeat Sin. Sin is a massive creature that returns every so often to punish the world for its dependence on technology. So Sin is a kaiju. I like that we basically got a kaiju fantasy story rather than a tropey story about empires against rebelling factions. A summoner with friends/protectors go on a quest to defeat Sin, and the Calm returns for some time until Sin returns.

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Tidus is unique in that he is an outsider viewing the story. He tags along and has his own story arc to deal with. Tidus’s story is one of the most personal and relateable. It’s so unique to play as a character who is not a conventional fantasy hero like a thief or a mage or a knight, but a sports celebrity with daddy issues.

In retrospect, Final Fantasy IX appears to be some vague prototype to Final Fantasy X. Tidus is a version of Zidane, except, unfortunately, a bit more annoying when he tries to woo Yuna. Zidane and Garnet’s relationship mirrors Tidus and Yuna’s; both involve an upbeat male trying to woo a reserved, quiet female. It’s the flipside of what we saw with Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud and Tifa and Final Fantasy VIII’s Squall and Rinoa. The existential crisis that Tidus faces is also similar to Zidane’s.

I find it interesting that the male leads are less bearable than the female leads throughout VII through X. Cloud is cool but he can be jarringly angsty. You know how I feel about Squall. Zidane is the most tolerable. Tidus has a loud mouth and irritating laugh. Meanwhile, I personally had no problems with the girls. Tifa is spunky, Rinoa is cheerful, Garnet just wants her war to end, and Yuna is the repressed Catholic schoolgirl. At worst, the Tidus/Yuna story is corny. It can make you cringe a bit as he teaches her how to loosen up.

The other characters are pretty awesome. Some people are annoyed by Rikku, comparing her to Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII, but I’d take Rikku over Yuffie any day. Auron - man - Auron is the coolest **** in the entire Final Fantasy series. Like, imagine Batman as a swordsman.

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(Look, he even hangs around rooftops - JUST LIKE BATMAN)

Spira is probably my favorite Final Fantasy world. It’s beautiful and haunting at the same, sad and bright. You can tell that there was once a great cataclysm but the long years have overridden the past. The rules of the world are so unique. Monsters are explained as the ghosts of people who have not passed on. A summoner also “sends” the dead away so they can find the Farplane, essentially Heaven. The concepts of Spira are very esoteric and East Asian.

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You may need to wrap your head around the major plot twist, but surprisingly nothing is truly complicated. This is nothing like the tangled webs of Final Fantasy VII. For the most part, you follow the story through the pilgrimage, learn some backstory stuff, and then face the end.

The main villain is quite. . .hard to place. Seymour is a recurring villain who again ups the ante on the bishonen trend but this time with his ludicrous, gravity-defying hair.

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He’s also the biggest pain in the ass out of any Final Fantasy game. But this isn’t like the other Final Fantasy games about some mysterious villain pulling the strings on something. It’s quite . . . I don’t know how to describe it without spoiling it. It's different. Different didn’t pan out well for Final Fantasy VIII. But for Final Fantasy X – different was good, really good.

Music:
Alas, this is the first time that Nobuo Uematsu is detaching from full reign of the music. He had help from two other composers, Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. While Uematsu composed the bulk of the score, with the basic themes and other stuff, the Hamauzu and Nakano composed several other scenes. While not everything they did was so different form Uematsu, there are a couple tracks, namely Assault, which is distinctly unlike something Uematsu would compose. They’re not bad though – the score is still golden. But after X we see Uematsu depart and Final Fantasy music hasn’t been the same since.

The pop song for this score is Suteki da ne. It’s pretty good although I prefer Eyes on Me and Melodies of Life.

The HD Remaster soundtrack is mostly garbage. I’ve listened to it. I hate what they did to Assault, which was one of my favorite pieces. The original soundtrack has more umph, more pomp and circumstance.

Otherworld is a full metal song. It plays in the opening when Tidus plays Blitzball and in one of the final battles. Otherworld is frequently misattributed to Rammstein, especially back in the days of Limewire. They had nothing to do with it. Uematsu composed Otherworld and Bill Muir, a lead singer from the metal band xtillidiex, sang it.

Uematsu’s fully orchestrated work on the ending is masterful. It sometimes brings a tear to my eye. One of the most emotional pieces for one of the most emotional endings. It is here where you realize that Nobuo Uematsu could really be a movie soundtrack composer.

Notable Theme:
To Zanarkand – the beautiful, sad theme song of Final Fantasy X.
[MEDIA=youtube]h-0G_FI61a8[/MEDIA]


Direct Sequel?

Yes. Final Fantasy X-2, or also known as Final Fantasy X-2: For Fangirls Who Couldn’t Handle the Ending to X. I tried playing it and they give this Charlie’s Angels vibe with Yuna, Rikku and this new chick Payne. And then they sing and it’s like J-Pop and ugh - it’s so dumb. So dumb. Like it can be really fun, yeah. But it’s so dumb. It takes a giant crap on the dignity of the original game.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:26 pm

*This spot reserved for FF12* Only game left to finish.
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Post by I am nobody » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:01 pm

[QUOTE="ScottyMcGee, post: 1635076, member: 31048"]
Final Fanatasy VIII is a piece of dookie and so are you for liking this game.
[/QUOTE]

The story is crap, the map is boring, and most of the characters have no reason to exist, but you're wrong because:

[MEDIA=youtube]3jho-peCAKs[/MEDIA]

All sins are forgiven when you have that good of a battle theme. :mad:

In all seriousness, I feel like a lot of the hate VIII gets comes from it being trapped in what is otherwise widely considered to be a decade of brilliance from VI to X. Obviously it's all subjective and whatnot, but it's really hard for me to see an argument that it's worse than the grindfest of III, the hallway that is XIII, or watching four one-note characters with three unique lines of dialogue drive a car in XV. I see VIII as being an outlier more in the sense that it'd fit the Tales of quality standard rather than it being an outright bad game.


Also, the world is a happier place when you just deny the existence of X-2 and that weird voiceover that contradicts both the original game and X-2. I started doing that as a joke, but I actually did forget about it in that "most disappointing games" thread from a while back, so I guess it's working.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:15 pm

Final Fantasy XIII Review

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Year: 2009

Original Platform: PlayStation 3

Also available on: Xbox 360, PC, Android, iOS

Version I Played: PlayStation 3
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Synopsis:
On the planet Cocoon, those who come into contact with anything from the planet Pulse are purged to that planet. Pulse is a feared planet full of monsters and strange creatures. Both planets are ruled by fal’Cie, mechanical godlike beings who sometimes brand humans as their servants for specific tasks, called a focus. Those who fulfill their focus are turned into crystals and obtain eternal life. Those who do not fulfill their focus turn into mindless monsters. Lightning is a former soldier whose sister, Serah, is branded by a fal’Cie and taken to be purged. Lightning sets off to rescue her.

Gameplay:
Going to say this now – the worst of all Final Fantasy gameplays.

XIII has what’s called Paradigms. Paradigms are somewhat like Job Classes from the old Final Fantasy games, except less fun and more automated. You can switch to a Medic paradigm in battle and every time you press “Auto-Battle” your character automatically performs a series of necessary cure and restore spells, based on what’s going on in the battle. The Saboteur paradigm specializes in dealing status effects. The Ravager paradigm uses magic. The Commando paradigm uses physical attacks. You get the picture. You can perform some abilities independent of the auto-battle but you practically never do so because it becomes absolutely pointless given the entire setup.

You can set up a number of paradigm shifts across the characters in battle. Two Commandos and one Saboteur. One Saboteur and one Ravager and one Commando, etc.

As a result, the gameplay could be best described as:

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With occasional switching of paradigms whenever you see fit.

Like, hell, at least VIII gave you things to do.

The party automatically heals after each battle – you can even press start during a battle and restart the battle.

I probably only used an item once or twice. I honestly don’t see why they bothered putting any items if you hardly ever use them.

You can upgrade your weapons with junk you find after battles. Scattered around the world are these round sphere thingies that basically act as an all-in-one service - saving your game, shopping, upgrading, etc. You find so much junk that you hardly ever think twice about what you’re upgrading so long as whatever you make upgrades your stats. Is this better? Okay, good, use it.

Like Final Fantasy X, the game is linear. Much more linear. You follow a long hallway for about 30 hours of the game before you can do sidequests. I vividly remember a friend telling me that only after 30 hours can you do sidequests. I thought that was a rough estimate or an exaggeration. No - it's about 30 hours into the game where you can finally stop walking through a hallway. The sidequests involve finishing other people’s focus. That’s about it. There are no towns, no inns, no villages. You are entirely on the road, constantly in battle (Okay, there’s like one time where Sazh and Vanille are in a casino or something but that’s about it).

I wrote an article a while back about what exactly was wrong with Final Fantasy XIII, and it’s not that it’s linear. We play linear games all the time. It’s the automation – the feeling that you’re not really doing anything. Leveling up is something like the Sphere Grid of Final Fantasy X – the Crystarium - except it follows a strict path. You can’t actually stray anywhere. If that’s the case, why bother making you open the menu to level up through the Crystarium? Why not just automatically do it? I guess they want to give you some ounce (more like a milligram) of control over the game.The auto-battle and the automatic healing and ability to restart any time loses a sense of challenge and control.

Graphics:
PLAYSTATION 3 HD GRAPHICS HOMG DO YOU HAVEA BONER YET?
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LOOK AT THIS.
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FIRST FINAL FANTASY GAME IN GLORIOUS HD.

Everything is pretty in this game. Everything. Nothing **** wrong with this at all.

Story:
The characters appear to reference those in Final Fantasy VII. Director Toriyama wanted Lightning to essentially be a female Cloud Strife. Dare I say it – I may like Lightning more. She’s a very rare no-nonsense, athletic female lead. While Cloud and Squall were introspective but bordering on whiny and angsty, Lightning is tough and takes charge. She comes off as a dick to people, and that’s due to her ex-soldier background. Think of your stereotypical ex-cop/ex-CIA/ex-military action movie hero, like Liam Neeson in Taken. That’s basically Lightning.

Vanille has some reminiscent of Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII, although with more character via her inner monologues and narration. Fang is vaguely like Vincent Valentine. Sazh takes the place of Barrett as the token black dude, except instead of cursing and being aggressive he’s frustrated and wants nothing to do with anything, often serving as comic relief. Every time you control him, jazz music plays - because black people I guess. Hope doesn’t appear to be reminiscent of anyone – he’s just this boy who yells and complains a lot with Lightning. Hope was annoying but I could tolerate him because he was a boy after all and boys realistically bitch about everything. Plus, all the yelling and arguing in the game makes things realistic, versus virtually the rest of the entire Final Fantasy series where everybody more or less gets along with each other, sans cardboard man Squall Leonhart. Snow meanwhile is a ripoff of Zell from Final Fantasy VIII, except somehow even more annoying. He is the broest of the bros. Just look at him.
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The story starts of a bit choppy as you follow almost each character separately, then they run into each other, then separate again, then join again. The first half or so gives flashbacks of 13 days prior- BECAUSE IT’S FINAL FANTASY XIII GET IT? Then meanwhile Vanille actually narrates some events but it’s not exactly clear why or from when. In short, the narrative weaves around a lot. If you stop in the middle and pick up the game again months later, you’re bound to forget what’s going on. I know I did.

The names made up for the godlike entities and whatknot don’t exactly roll off the tongue – fal’Cie and l’Cie and Cie'th. They’re weird names that really bother me. They don’t jive with the rest of the names in the fictional realm. You have normal names like Cocoon, Pulse, Lightning, Hope, etc. Then you have fal’Cie, l’Cie and Cie'th and nothing else takes the same form of them. In other words, those three words don’t fit well with the language of the rest of the world. Is “fal” some kind of prefix? What does it mean? I don’t expect any language to the extent of Tolkien’s Legendarium but some basic linguistic logic would be nice.

Most of the characters didn’t annoy me as much as I thought they would. They all have character development and that’s good. The only character that effectively got on my nerves was Snow. Snow was Serah’s fiancé, and Lightning hates him because of course you need some family drama. I don’t blame Lightning though. Snow shouts corny lines left and right, like “Heroes never die!”, complete with a fist pump or fist ramming into palm. His relationship and story with Serah brings out the anime and the J-Pop. Snow shouts Serah’s name the same way Christian Bale shouts Rachel’s name in the Nolan Batman films. Snow is quite possibly the most irritating character of all the Final Fantasy games. He will not shut the **** up about what it means to be a hero. Shut up. SHUT UP. SHUT. UP. EVERY WORD THAT COMES OUT OF HIS MOUTH MAKES YOU WANT TO PUNCH HIM.

Snow and Serah’s love story is a prime example of the new direction Final Fantasy took with its romantic subplots since VII. It brings out the anime and the J-Pop. It's sappy, corny, and doe-eyed with a piano strumming random keys in the background to make it sound like there’s something magical going on.

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Like I said though, the rest of the cast works well in that their motives and desires clash with each other. Sazh wants his son Dajh back, who was taken to be purged by the sinister and extremely hot Jihl Nabaat.

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Seriously, look at her.

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I'd like to purge her IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Too bad she’s a wasted potential for a good villain – she’s only in a handful of scenes and then dies. Her death isn’t a major spoiler, at least one that I consider, because she hardly does anything except get in the way for a moment. You don’t even fight her. How lame is that?

Then you have this angry testicle face – Primarch Dysley.

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I won’t reveal his role but let’s say he’s as annoying as Seymour from Final Fantasy X.

Music:
Final Fantasy XII saw the departure of Nobuo Uematsu (well with the exception of the pop song Kiss Me Goodbye). Final Fantasy XIII continues to head into the unknown without the beloved longtime composer. This game’s score is entirely by Masashi Hamauzu, who if you haven’t been paying attention, already worked partly on Final Fantasy X. I immediately saw how Saber’s Edge, the boss theme, is similar in nature to the boss theme of Final Fantasy X.

Final Fantasy XIII gets really poppy. The Prelude doesn’t play at all for the first time in the series. Instead, we get something called Fabula Nova Crystallis. It plays frequently throughout the game, and almost acts as Serah and Snow’s love theme. In some portions of the game, some chick is singing along. Yes – this is the first time where you roam around a world in a Final Fantasy game with actual pop music playing in the background – Sunleth Waterscape to be exact.

Not saying it’s a bad idea.

Just.

You got pop music now playing.

Lightning’s theme is pretty sick. Her theme plays during the battles in a rendition called Blinded by Light – HA GET IT BECAUSE SHE’S LIGHTNING. SO CLEVER.

But Hamauzu was a good choice – the entire score holds up well and sounds like a movie score, with varying motifs running across. It can be a bit more subdued but that’s how contemporary instrumental music is nowadays, especially with film composers like Hans Zimmer.

Verdict:

I dunno man. It’s cool but also not cool. I could have been slowly slipping into a coma and still have gotten far in the game. The cutscenes are cool and the story is not as horrible as you'd think, but the gameplay is boring and very automated. Actually, go right now to YouTube and watch all the cutscenes.

Boom. You played the game. Go home.

Notable Theme:
Blinded by Light
This is really the only thing to look forward to when battling.
[MEDIA=youtube]xfu0XBf8kmk[/MEDIA]


Direct Sequel?
Final Fantasy XIII-2.
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I’m still somewhat playing it and I have no idea what’s going on because goddammit they involved time travel. Of all things. I’m a quarter through this game and I cannot effectively tell you what’s going on. While it doesn’t tarnish the dignity of the original like Final Fantasy X-2 did, it’s still offbeat with its metal (yes, metal) music and utterly confounding story.

Then there’s the third game, Lightning Returns. I plan on playing it after I finish XIII-2, if I don’t already die from an aneurysm by then. It’s supposed to be better than XIII-2 but lacking in graphics.

In short, don't bother with the sequels unless you want to willingly go further down the rabbit hole of insanity.
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Post by X-3 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:19 pm

You can perform some abilities independent of the auto-battle but you practically never do so because it becomes absolutely pointless given the entire setup.
That wasn't my experience, especially post-game.

But yeah, "it takes 30 hours to open up" etc etc. From what I've heard the development of XIII was a mess because the engine took forever to make or something.

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Post by ScottyMcGee » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 pm

You know what I just realized? In my video game reviews, I always end with a "Verdict", basically a conclusion.

I forgot to do that.

For all of them.


****.
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Post by Random User » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:53 pm

Small oversight

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Post by Booyakasha » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:05 am

^^Do a special 'Verdicts Only' post now, and then pretend that was the plan all along. Hey, everybody else, don't read this post or you'll know about the secret cover-up plan, okay?
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