I have a confession to make: I’ve never beaten a Final Fantasy game. I hadn’t even played one until a couple years ago. I know, you’re probably all rushing to unsubscribe from my blog, because I can’t be a real gamer if I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game, but please, give me a chance, I’m trying to change.
I’m really not sure why I suddenly was interested. I bought Final Fantasy III for Android when it was on sale a while back. It was ok, but I never quite found a combination of jobs (classes… can we just call them classes? Maybe that term wasn’t in wide use in 1990, but this isn’t 1990) that clicked with me, and by half way through the game I guess I’m supposed to have my act together, so I kind of fizzled out because most of my characters had really low job levels. Final Fantasy IV, which I got just a couple months ago, has gone a lot better. My only complaint with the game is that it seems like every time I fight a boss another one of my characters gets killed off or otherwise taken away from me. Seriously, was this game written by Steven Moffat? Because there’s more random unexpected main character deaths packed into this game than a season of Doctor Who. IV doesn’t have the job-changing system that III had. I kind of miss the dynamicness of picking character’s jobs, but it’s probably for the best since I’d likely just waffle around between classes again. There’s such a thing as giving the player too much freedom. At least there’s the augment system in this version, which allows for some character customization. I’m also a little surprised that neither of these games have a stable of characters to built a party from. I guess I just sort of assumed this was the case for all Final Fantasy games, since I knew Chrono Trigger (the closest thing to a Final Fantasy game I’ve ever played) and later Final Fantasy titles did.
Speaking of unexpected main character deaths, I’ve also been playing the Steam version of Final Fantasy VII. All I really know about the game is that, spoilers, Aerith dies. Also, Spock, Dumbledore, and Trinity, in case you’re wondering. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I feel like that knowledge is going to completely ruin my experience of the story; I already know not to get too attached to her because she’s going to die in the end. But hey, it’s still a good game, even if I’m not a big fan of its not-so-subtle environmentalist/eco-terrorist message.
Now for the inevitable question: is it overhyped? So far, it’s a good game, but it doesn’t strike me as the best game I’ve ever played. A classic, for sure, and it keeps me playing, but I can think of a number of other games I’d rather take with me if I were stuck on a desert island. I know that’s gaming blasphemy, but remember I’m not even half way through yet, so I’m withholding judgement till I get a little farther.
The juxtaposition of the two games is really weird. Final Fantasy IV is a pure high fantasy setting–wizards, knights, goblins, dragons, mystical creatures of various kinds–whereas Final Fantasy VII is this grungy, dystopian, near-future sci-fantasy. The game is also a lot more mature; not only is it generally a lot more dark, with evil mega-corporations running human mutation experiments and terrorists blowing up power plants because they hurt nature, but also an hour or so into the game it has you cross dressing so you can sneak into a brothel and save your friend from being… shall we say, assaulted, by a crime lord.
I’ve considered giving Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn a try, though I seriously doubt I would pay the subscription for it, especially since I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews (mixed, but leaning toward positive). But those armored Chocobo mounts, though.