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What and How to Revive?

Posted: 4th January 2012 22:08

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First off, this thread will NOT be about ranting against new games being terrible, or being way better, or old games being terrible, or being way better. Ahem.

I read this interesting article on IGN earlier today that had actually come out a couple months ago: http://ps3.ign.com/articles/121/1210860p1.html. The author speculates on Final Fantasy's retro roots and how they might be applied to FFXV, whenever that game comes around.

My question is this: what elements of the retro entries in the FF series ought to be revived, and how should they be treated in light of new technology, or simply the desire to approach things in a fresh way? Like it or not, we're in a new gaming generation; what elements of the older FF games can be made into effective elements of a current-generation game, and how?

This post has been edited by Death Penalty on 4th January 2012 22:08

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Posted: 4th January 2012 23:12

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I'd honestly like Final Fantasy to stick to what it has done best in the 'classic' games (in my opinion). I would like turn based battles back. Graphics can and should continue to improve, but I don't like the current trend of trying to make Final Fantasy appeal to casual gamers, or make it an action-RPG. There are amazing action-RPGs out there already (Hello, Bethesda), and Final Fantasy will only make itself a half-bred and ineffective hybrid by trying to emulate this.

I'd also like them to bring back the story driven game. Spend more time entwining gameplay with story, and spend more time emotionally tying players to their characters. I know the Final Fantasy stories of old were hardly going to win the Booker prize, but I felt engrossed.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I want my Final Fantasy straight up. Technically and visually as impressive as can be mustered; but in a gameplay sense, complex, engaging, niche, and liable to make me forget what the sun looks like. Sadly, that probably isn't a good business strategy anymore.

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Posted: 5th January 2012 19:57

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I think that whatever SE did with XII was fine and they should be working on improving their success from it. Turn based battles would've ruined the free roaming fun by locking the player down into a battle instead of being able to run away or pick the right spot. The exploration would've been more time consuming and annoying if random battles popped up every now and then, plus the world feels a lot more empty.

XII got the gameplay and the graphical angle of FF games right. I still haven't played a game where the enemies are so interesting and good to look at. The scenery is varied and the cities are memorable. That says a lot in comparison to XIII. If we're talking about next-gen graphics, which have been around for about 5 years now, there's really no excuse for not having an even more wonderful world like XII that looks even better.

So what it comes down to are two scenarios. Either SE should go about fixing the problems of XII, namely certain parts of the story and certain characters, and make a game similar to it but better. This is the FFT and VI World of Ruins sort of territory. I think XIII was trying to do this but failed because it wasn't clever or interesting enough. Alternatively SE should go down a less serious route and make something whimsical, funny and compelling like IV, V or IX. There isn't really a middle-ground, and confining the 'fun' to Kingdom Hearts is not a good idea.

Having said all that to be honest I don't really care if SE bring back good games or not. I'll still love the old stuff and the odd miracle like XII, but there are a lot of better studios out there now and I'm more interested in what they're doing.

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Posted: 5th January 2012 20:24

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Quote (sweetdude @ 5th January 2012 20:57)
I think that whatever SE did with XII was fine and they should be working on improving their success from it. Turn based battles would've ruined the free roaming fun by locking the player down into a battle instead of being able to run away or pick the right spot. The exploration would've been more time consuming and annoying if random battles popped up every now and then, plus the world feels a lot more empty.

Actually, having thought about it I do agree that XII's take on battles wasn't bad. I'm not advocating the return of random battles, just more ATB than whatever-the-hell-XIII-was-meant-to-be.

I didn't like the silly arcs that would appear in the battle sequences in XII, though. If SE could create an alternative that is less jarring, I would be interested.

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Posted: 6th January 2012 00:35

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Quote (Stiltzkin @ 5th January 2012 21:24)
I didn't like the silly arcs that would appear in the battle sequences in XII, though. If SE could create an alternative that is less jarring, I would be interested.

Do you mean the big streams of light that connect characters and monsters? If so you can turn them off in the menu.

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Posted: 6th January 2012 18:04

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Quote (sweetdude @ 6th January 2012 01:35)
Quote (Stiltzkin @ 5th January 2012 21:24)
I didn't like the silly arcs that would appear in the battle sequences in XII, though. If SE could create an alternative that is less jarring, I would be interested.

Do you mean the big streams of light that connect characters and monsters? If so you can turn them off in the menu.

...erm... pinch.gif

Yep, that'd be the ones. I'll be going now.

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Posted: 6th January 2012 18:43

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Sweetdude got it right. For me, FFXII should serve as a "blueprint" for newer FF, exept for the storytelling.

Anyway, since we are talking about roots, the thing that FFXIII really lacked was interesting characters, dialogues and plot. My point is: FF game should be telling me a story, and I should at least have reasons to relate to chars. But it seems that FF is trying to much to look cool (i won't even start on the char design...) instead.

So I guess they should revive their focus on plot and char development, with a gameplay that doesn't make the player more of a watcher/ AI programmer. I would say more about the "themes" in a visual way, but I would rant, probably...


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Posted: 13th January 2012 17:16

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Quote (Kirchewasser @ 6th January 2012 19:43)
Anyway, since we are talking about roots, the thing that FFXIII really lacked was interesting characters, dialogues and plot. My point is: FF game should be telling me a story, and I should at least have reasons to relate to chars. But it seems that FF is trying to much to look cool (i won't even start on the char design...) instead.

So I guess they should revive their focus on plot and char development, with a gameplay that doesn't make the player more of a watcher/ AI programmer. I would say more about the "themes" in a visual way, but I would rant, probably...

I agree with this 100%. I think one way in which plot and character development could be brought back on par with the old games is to have splits in the story.

FFIX did this the best of the lot in my opinion. At first the ATEs (active time events) were a bit weird but after the first few I really got into them. When coming to a new city or there is significant development in characters or plot elsewhere we can switch between what's going on with ease. It allows for individuals to get some limelight without detracting from the central plot. Also the world feels a lot bigger and full of things going on. The splits in the party e.g. Garnet and Steiner's split from Zidane, Vivi and Freya was really cool. Both sides continued along their own path, one returning to Alexandria to talk to the Queen and the others going to war in Burmecia. My only criticism is that we weren't allowed to play much as Tantalus, but that's just another way of saying I wish FFIX was longer.

FFVI did this in the WoR to an extent. Time passed and the individual characters were going their own ways and following their own agendas. I really liked that. Also the split into three was great to give characters some space to develop relationships with others and follow their own paths. I just wish this continued through the whole game like in FFIX instead of amalgamating back into one big group without much significant difference. One more thing, controlling Locke on his own in Empire-occupied South Figaro was amazing fun. Bits like that really make the game.

So rather than just cut-scenes where we have to watch what's going on with other characters and villains as part of the main plot a good way to build up an RPG world is to split everyone up and let them go their own way. Also an option to see NPCs or villains like in FFIX would be ideal. There's absolutely no reason why this couldn't be continued in current generation. There was nothing like this in FFX or XII on the PS2. Granted FFXIII had a split at one point, and I actually thought that was the best part of the whole story. More of it would be appreciated.

This post has been edited by sweetdude on 13th January 2012 17:19

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Posted: 19th January 2012 09:39

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before I even read your last post sweetdude I was comming in here to say bring back the ATE's from IX. That was one of my favorite additions to the game. I think they should bring player involved limit breaks like on VIII also (I'm refering more towards squall's renzokuken and Zell's Duel) and something smart to take from VII was how almost every other turn had some little minigame you had to do (defending the truck with clouds bike, slapping scarlet as tifa, the sub mission, snowboarding, etc etc etc) I realized that that was one of the coolest things about VII recently.

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Posted: 16th February 2012 23:04

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...so, to take that the worst possible way, the best thing about 7 was that you got to bitch slap Scarlet?

Though, I, too, loved the Ates of 9. As someone who loves a tales games as much, if not more, than a final fantasy, (except 9. 9 still just holds above them.) there's a certain overlap between the Ates and skits. Oh, skits, how I love thee so.

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Posted: 17th February 2012 03:06

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I think that Square-Enix is sorta-kinda making an effort to revitalize Final Fantasy's oldschool roots, it's just not how we want. They're releasing remakes and ports every few years (most recently being FF IV CC and the iOS versions of FFT) and putting out some games chock-full of older characters and gameplay mechanics like Dissidia, Crisis Core, and 4 Heroes of Light - the unfortunate truth is that these are all 2nd-tier priorities for Square Enix and that they all take place on portable systems.

I don't think gameplay is the problem. FF XIII and XIII-2's battle systems are their saving graces, even if there was a bit too much meter-watching involved and FF XIII's didn't get good at character customization until a ways in. Square-Enix has some neat ideas about RPG battle systems and I'm intrigued to see how future FF games handle it.

One major issue is characters. Many fans seemed to be okay with FF XIII's setting and even the scope of the story, but a minority of fans gave even two ****s about its characters. I don't think the answer is necessarily MORE exposition and dialog, but if they took a few pages from Final Fantasy VI and gave each character's sub-plots more of a spotlight then fans would appreciate it.

I'd like to see future Final Fantasy games star a medium-sized cast of 6 to 8 characters, with each character possessing specific goals and motivations that are actually resolved over the course of the game. I think that FF XIII (and to a lesser extent FF XII) dropped the ball on that one. I feel that outside of overall execution / polish / not being a broken piece of crap, the most important aspect to an RPG is having appealing characters. If future Final Fantasy games are more character-driven like FF VI - X then Square-Enix would have fewer disgruntled fans pining for the old days.

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Posted: 17th February 2012 06:15

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Quote (laszlow @ 16th February 2012 23:06)
If future Final Fantasy games are more character-driven like FF VI - X then Square-Enix would have fewer disgruntled fans pining for the old days.

I think that's exactly my thought. I can't think of anything specific, but I just want the counter-balance to the Western RPGS. I love what I'm getting from Bethesda and Bioware, that give me a canvas to create my own story. But I also want a classic narrative, where storytellers take us through a character- or story-driven journey. I don't mind if they use FFXII's battle system, or even an updated traditional turn-based system, just as long as they get back to creating unforgettable characters again. Because, as much as I love Skyrim and ME2, there's still room in my heart for a SE return to form.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 01:13

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I think it does really boil down to laszlow and Blitz's points that the lack of character has been the biggest issue.

Sweetdude's right about the fact that XII really got a lot of things right and would have been a good model to mount things from going forward. However, I don't think we'll quite see a return to that, because it seems like that's what XI and XIV were modeled from.

I did enjoy the characters in XII, although they weren't as compelling as days gone by, but totally couldn'tve cared less about anyone in XIII aside from Sasz.

They really need to rethink their characters, and maybe then people will care again. That's what has been losing folk's attention, really. I mean, if we cared enough about the characters and their story in XIII, we would've been able to forgive the linear gameplay - I mean, it started that way with FF1, and most of us couldn't care less!

Anyways, I'm very interested to see where the Final Fantasy series is going to go in the coming years, because it has definitely been waning since the Playstation era and I think they're starting to figure that out, leading them to acquire Enix and Eidos and such to help the company as a whole. I feel like the SQUARE side of the equation has been missing by and large.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 06:26

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I liked Balthier's personality. He was the only one that really stood out for me. I don't think SE is too far away from getting back to making classic casts like they once did. It's a lot like a tight rope, one step is the difference between balancing and falling. They have all the pieces there, And with the stuff they could do with next-gen hardware could cause a return to form. They need to realize that what made their games great was the wealth of personality of their characters mixed with a cinematic feel. That can certainly still work today. It's not like times have changed and JRPGs are obsolete. I don't believe that.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 08:00

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I think I agree with Lasz and BlitzSage. I don't think battle systems are the problem with the current FF series; FFXIII and FFXIII-2 have been praised most frequently for their battle systems. Now, I actually did enjoy the setup of FFXII's battle and I'm not saying that I think FFXIII's is perfect, but I don't think it's exactly a flaw.

I agree that the issue seems to be story. FFXIII did some fantastic character work: despite my bias towards other games in the series, I honestly think Sazh is the best developed character in a FF game. However, it's plot seemed to be underplayed in places and underdeveloped in others. FFXII was weaker on this point; we really didn't get to know any of the characters, and the game's main plot was pretty much non-existent.

I definitely agree with Sweetdude when it comes to a game's world; FFXII had a lovely world with rich and varied areas. FFXIII, as just about everyone and their aunt has pointed out, was a bit of a letdown in this department. The natural expanses in Gran Pulse were nice, but I felt like even they weren't as thorough as areas in FFXII.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 13:11

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Until this thread I was under the impression that a lot of the players that didn't like FFXIII agreed that the battles were part of the problem. I remember an older thread where a lot of people were comparing their experiences of the battle system and were mentioning that sitting around pressing X to finish with the occasional paradigm shift was not a good system. I could be wrong, but I think to 'get it right' the strategy and paced battles need to be reintroduced further than RAV to stagger then keep hitting him. Repeat for every fight. Or anything similar.

There's nothing wrong with liking anything of course I'm not here to change anyone's mind about that. I just think that a lot of criticism was aimed at the XIII battle system and it would be wrong to think otherwise.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 18:41

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I think that the turn-based system needs to be upgraded, perhaps adding more options and strategy. I think that's certainly a necessity for the series, let alone the whole genre, to make a return. I'd honestly like to see a RPG incorporate RTS elements. Give people the classic menu-based combat, but expand people's choices rather than having AI take over characters. I liked the Gambit system in XII, and I think that, if they could expand it, they could build a more interesting system. I agree that a revamp of the battle system needs to be part of SE's return.

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Posted: 18th February 2012 21:39

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Quote (sweetdude @ 18th February 2012 09:11)
Until this thread I was under the impression that a lot of the players that didn't like FFXIII agreed that the battles were part of the problem. I remember an older thread where a lot of people were comparing their experiences of the battle system and were mentioning that sitting around pressing X to finish with the occasional paradigm shift was not a good system. I could be wrong, but I think to 'get it right' the strategy and paced battles need to be reintroduced further than RAV to stagger then keep hitting him. Repeat for every fight. Or anything similar.

There's nothing wrong with liking anything of course I'm not here to change anyone's mind about that. I just think that a lot of criticism was aimed at the XIII battle system and it would be wrong to think otherwise.

Yeah, Sweetdude, I've definitely heard that criticism and probably mentioned it myself. I think many people saw this as a sort of trade-off, though, and accepted speed in exchange for the loss of FFXII's deeper strategy. I know in my case, I appreciate both of them, and I tend to enjoy tweaking the battle system. I think that FFXIII had a bit more strategy perhaps than some people give it credit; properly planning out and executing paradigm shifts is quite important in battle, unless we're talking about the easy battles that have always been just a matter of pressing X anyhow.

One of the questions I find pretty interesting is how equipment is handled. Obviously, the traditional system is that pieces of equipment are static, but in FFXIII, FFX and even FFVIII (though the later did a poor job of it) customization has been more important. On one hand, it's nice to have definite knowledge of the various weapons/armor, but I think I perfer the ability to upgrade equipment on your own according to what you're looking for. In this respect, I think I perfer FFX's system, even though it's the hardest to keep track of: I like that you can select abilities as well as alter statistics. I also like how you are able to obtain equipment at different levels in FFX, as opposed to FFXIII where you're restricted more to the base-level weapons (though I think that part of this issue is that there aren't a whole lot of weapons for any given type).

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Posted: 20th February 2012 22:30

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Quote (Perigryn @ 18th February 2012 01:13)
I think it does really boil down to laszlow and Blitz's points that the lack of character has been the biggest issue.

Sweetdude's right about the fact that XII really got a lot of things right and would have been a good model to mount things from going forward. However, I don't think we'll quite see a return to that, because it seems like that's what XI and XIV were modeled from.

I did enjoy the characters in XII, although they weren't as compelling as days gone by, but totally couldn'tve cared less about anyone in XIII aside from Sasz.

They really need to rethink their characters, and maybe then people will care again. That's what has been losing folk's attention, really. I mean, if we cared enough about the characters and their story in XIII, we would've been able to forgive the linear gameplay - I mean, it started that way with FF1, and most of us couldn't care less!

Anyways, I'm very interested to see where the Final Fantasy series is going to go in the coming years, because it has definitely been waning since the Playstation era and I think they're starting to figure that out, leading them to acquire Enix and Eidos and such to help the company as a whole. I feel like the SQUARE side of the equation has been missing by and large.

Much of this had to do with ff1 being from the extreme retro era.
This was forgivable in an era where stories didn-t get much more complicated than:Save the princes and foil the bad guy.

Look at the plot in Dragon warrior 1

I believe that as time went on,they did get the technology to surpass themselves in stories.

And i agree on a lot of stuff,but i also very much liked atb system as well.Personally:I really don-t like the game choosing the spells for me,and healing my mana and hp after battle.To me,this kills part of the joy of going to shops to buy potions and elixirs and even antidotes.

I think also that one thing that i loved about ff6,was how the story was narrated.

I have two major complaints about FFXIII:

1:The characters.I was never compelled to care about the characters.I feel that i could easily define each character in one sentence,and that is not good at all.

Hope:Raiden clone.
Lightning:Bitchy cloud clone.
Vanille:Selphie clone.Third least favorite in the game
Sazh:This is probably my favorite character in the game.
Sarah:Very similar to vanille in personality.
Snow:Arrogant prick.Second least favorite character in the game.
Cid raines:I liked him at first,but then i started to dislike him when he kept coming back.His reasoning was compelling the first time,but his reasoning for coming back to fight you the second and third time became less compelling with each fight.
Barthandalus:He left no impression on me,other than the boss music being one of my top musical pieces,along with orphan.The guy who did that religious piece of music for the final boss was top notch.

Second:The gameplay:

I tried FFXIII-2,and they seemed to have fixed many things from FFXIII which i disliked,which made me pretty happy:
1:The no shop issue
2:The no gil from fights issue
3:The game being one big dungeon crawler
4:Being able to choose your skills early on,and max it out whenever you want.

When i tried the demo,i was happy to see fights get you gil,and being able to level up the characters the way i see it.It almost seemed like the designers were partially listening to us.

I was also slightly interested in the conversations.I noticed that i could click to talk to people,and sometimes get a scipted event conversation that got some details,which i liked.

Annoyances:The quick time events:I am not a huge fan of quick time events,but i don-t always hate the quick time events,but i don-t want them to take over either.The quick Time events don-t seem that bad in FFXIII-2.

I also wasn-t a huge fan of the paradigm system,because i like being able to control my character,but i guess i can somewhat forgive them for now,because they did put in the shops and being able to choose the class i want.

Oh yeah:Ps to laszlow and sweetdude:How was the ai in FFXII? Was it actually 100 percent in real time? Or did the screen change and you enter a random fight like in all the rest of the final fantasies? I saw someone attacking on the map in one area.Was it all like that?

What about that gabracht or whatever his name was? Typical villain?
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Posted: 23rd February 2012 02:47

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Damn you guys. You suck. You all suck.

I have a PS2 now for a half year and didn't even start FF 12 yet. And what do you bastards do? Telling me ALL THE TIME IN THE FORUMS how good it is.

I really, really hate you.

Seriously, it is really that good?
Better than FF X? I mean, that one was pretty awesome in it's storyline, and the rest was more than fine as well.
FF X-2 - Well, that's another story, mostlikely to critize is the slow-going of the storyline. The ability system was fine after getting used to it after hours, the action button (climb/jump) made the game also more dynamic. But it also sucks pretty much that you always have the feeling you will miss something really big if you don't follow guides on the net for the game. And the minigames suck, at least many of them.

FF 12 > FF 10 (your opinion)?
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