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Eras of Final Fantasy

Posted: 26th September 2010 01:35

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This is a question that kinda sprung up over in another topic. I think it's pretty interesting, and either way it's sorta offtopic in the original thread, so I made a new one just for this!

Anyways, here's how I've divided the eras of Final Fantasy:

Old school - FFI - FFV
Middle school - FFVI - FFX
New school FFXI - FFXIV

It's tough to draw the line between the old and middle schools, I think, but I place it between FFV and FFVI because of the fact that FFVI is much more concerned with story and on a larger level than any of the games preceeding it; this is an element that would define the rest of the games of the middle school. I included FFX with the middle school because, while it lacks some of the elements of the PSX FFs, it still shares many of the same ones and has a very similar feel (especially in comparison to FFXI). FFXI I put in the new school simply because of its online nature, which is something I'm guessing we'll be seeing from time to time now in the new school.

The games of the old school, I think, all have a strong connection. The games of the middle school also have a very similar feel to them. The new school, on the other hand, has a lot of variation as of now: the plot setup and the gameplay systems vary greatly from FFXIII to FFXII to FFXI.

So how would you define the eras of FF? And what are the elements that define each era?

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Posted: 26th September 2010 01:46

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Quote (Death Penalty @ 25th September 2010 18:35)
This is a question that kinda sprung up over in another topic. I think it's pretty interesting, and either way it's sorta offtopic in the original thread, so I made a new one just for this!

Anyways, here's how I've divided the eras of Final Fantasy:

Old school - FFI - FFV
Middle school - FFVI - FFX
New school FFXI - FFXIV

It's tough to draw the line between the old and middle schools, I think, but I place it between FFV and FFVI because of the fact that FFVI is much more concerned with story and on a larger level than any of the games preceeding it; this is an element that would define the rest of the games of the middle school. I included FFX with the middle school because, while it lacks some of the elements of the PSX FFs, it still shares many of the same ones and has a very similar feel (especially in comparison to FFXI). FFXI I put in the new school simply because of its online nature, which is something I'm guessing we'll be seeing from time to time now in the new school.

The games of the old school, I think, all have a strong connection. The games of the middle school also have a very similar feel to them. The new school, on the other hand, has a lot of variation as of now: the plot setup and the gameplay systems vary greatly from FFXIII to FFXII to FFXI.

So how would you define the eras of FF? And what are the elements that define each era?

I've never thought about the games this way but I find myself giving them 4 categories.

I think 1-3 belong in one category lacking in story elements

4-6 as the introduction to story but still old category

7-10 as a continuation of story and launch into less fantasy and more sci fi elements

11-14 as kind of the launch away from the traditional elements

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Posted: 26th September 2010 01:47

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my friend and i always thought it was as follows:

Old School:
FF1-FFIX

and then no classification for X-XIV because New School sounds silly.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 04:01

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I would agree with the first post, and also agree that it's hard to make that decision of whether to include VI in old or middle. Either that, or I would categorize the eras by the system that they're (originally) played on (NES, SNES, ps, etc.), 'cause that does seem to make a big difference in what each game is like, IMO.

This post has been edited by finalalias on 26th September 2010 04:02
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Posted: 26th September 2010 04:42

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I'd put 1-4 or 1-5 into a category with stories that, while sometimes interesting, were often there to provide a structure around which to build the games. Mystic Quest should also belong here.

Then, starting with 6, the series really started to put a very heavy emphasis on story, putting it and the cast front and center in most games. This should also contain the FFVII spinoffs as well as The Spirits Within.

The main-series exceptions are XI and XIV obviously, which are the MMOs.

Then there's the Tactics branch, which consists of FFT, FFTA, and FFTA2. And then the Dissidia fighting game series.

This post has been edited by Glenn Magus Harvey on 26th September 2010 04:44

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Posted: 26th September 2010 05:56

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 25th September 2010 23:42)
Then there's the Tactics branch, which consists of FFT, FFTA, and FFTA2. And then the Dissidia fighting game series.

id almost put ff xii in with the tactics series along with vagrant story due to the fact that theyre all in ivalice and the story is like nothing else in other final fantasy games.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 07:28

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Quote (dont chocobos rule? @ 26th September 2010 01:56)
Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 25th September 2010 23:42)
Then there's the Tactics branch, which consists of FFT, FFTA, and FFTA2.  And then the Dissidia fighting game series.

id almost put ff xii in with the tactics series along with vagrant story due to the fact that theyre all in ivalice and the story is like nothing else in other final fantasy games.

I would agree, but I think it would be more of a branch on the FF Tree rather than an era.

As for the eras, I think it's fine to say NES, SNES, PSX, PS2-3. But I would do it like this:

First Era: The Beginning; FFI-FFIII. The first three games establish the series, and experiment with the battle system and different mechanics. During this era, despite limitations, they had creative elements.

Second Era: The Storytelling Era; FFIV-FFVI. With the SNES move, and more tech (here we go DCR? XD) allowed them to explore more deeply. Final Fantasy IV make a major leap forward by creating a deep epic storyline. The next two games go along with the technology and storytelling is perfected. The series is fully established.

Third Era: The Boom Era; FFVII-FFIX. The series moves into 2D into the Digital/Playstation Era, and the games become blockbusters. They take cue from the storytelling and explore the new technologies, and then refine themselves.

Fourth Era: The Modern Era; FFX-?. FFX adds voice acting and creates the modern FF storytelling style, which is based on the games that came before them, mainly FFVII. Square merges with Enix. And with FFXII, the entire JRPG genre begins to look for change and progression.

Those are what I consider the main Eras of Final Fantasy.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 15:29
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Mine is a little more generic.

Uphill : 1-9. The games were worth playing cause a live person does the work.
Downhill : X-present. Games turn into more of a movie with a bit of movement from a live person. Destruction of the series is imminent.
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Posted: 26th September 2010 15:31

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^^ I still feel that FFIV's storyline didn't flow very well at times, and seemed like "interesting story cobbled together in generic fantasy style" rather than the sort of usually more comprehensively fleshed out storyline and setting as seen in FFVI and later--and even FFV, to some extent.

Maybe it's the presence of more stereotypically Medieval-European-high-fantasy and/or Tolkienesque aspects, such as dwarves. Those darn dwarves...

^ I'm surprised you don't make exception for VIII. And XII's action-RPG gameplay.

This post has been edited by Glenn Magus Harvey on 26th September 2010 15:32

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Posted: 26th September 2010 17:37

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I actually like Chewbekah's system a lot here.

The two swing games, I think, are FFVI and FFX. I wouldn't want to put FFVI in the same category as the early FFs, which is why I kinda like the four-era system. At the same time, I think it shares more elements with the games immediately following it, which is why I put it in the middle one.

I would argue, though, that FFX belongs more with the PSX FFs. Sure, it had voice acting and greatly improved graphics. But it was made right on the heels of FFIX, and it was made before the Square and Enix merger. The plot follows an arc more similar to that of the PSX FFs as well, as opposed to the online FFXI, the political nature of FFXII and the almost exclusively character-driven FFXIII.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 18:53

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Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 11:29)
Games turn into more of a movie

You realize that's what Sakaguchi intended all along right?

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Posted: 26th September 2010 19:02
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I guess Im among the old school gamer aspect. I prefer to play a game instead of watching the game play itself. sad.gif

If that was the actual intent, that is disheartening.
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Posted: 26th September 2010 19:10

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^^ Well, actually, in that case, I suddenly realize that it's no surprise that he's putting so much effort into the cinematics, and also attracting story-focused fans. Especially with such things as the FFVII compilation.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 20:42

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Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 15:02)
I guess Im among the old school gamer aspect. I prefer to play a game instead of watching the game play itself. sad.gif

If that was the actual intent, that is disheartening.


Which is your favorite game in the series? Favorite era?

My point being, this is how it's always been, since the very beginning. Look at the scenes from FFVI. They're not FMV's, but they are cinematic.

This post has been edited by BlitzSage on 26th September 2010 20:44

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Posted: 26th September 2010 21:27

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Quote
My point being, this is how it's always been, since the very beginning. Look at the scenes from FFVI. They're not FMV's, but they are cinematic.


To be honest, I actually like the non-FMV nature of the cutscenes. It makes them more seamlessly embedded into the game itself.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 22:02
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I have liked all of the ones up to 7 so far. I dont mind a cutscene but a linear game with more cutscenes than fights is boring. I bought FF XIII the day it was released ... after 5-6 hours of it, Im done. I hardly remember 6 fights in as many hours. Its just ugh. I prefer the older ones ... they drop you off in the world and say "make it out alive". Thats the way it should be!
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Posted: 26th September 2010 22:34

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 26th September 2010 17:27)
Quote
My point being, this is how it's always been, since the very beginning. Look at the scenes from FFVI. They're not FMV's, but they are cinematic.


To be honest, I actually like the non-FMV nature of the cutscenes. It makes them more seamlessly embedded into the game itself.

I agree with that.

Possible spoilers: highlight to view
Celes's suicide scene is a great example of that, and of course the Opera.


As with FFVII's cutscenes, I thought they didn't really add much. FFXII did a good job, for the most part, but I do agree with you.

Quote (Aeris-Logan)
I have liked all of the ones up to 7 so far. I dont mind a cutscene but a linear game with more cutscenes than fights is boring.


They're not boring if they're told well. In fact, even if they just try to tell a story but miss the mark, I still prefer it over a game that doesn't (Assasin's Creed, for instance). I mean, Block Breaker isn't boring, but there's little substance.

This post has been edited by BlitzSage on 26th September 2010 22:39

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Posted: 26th September 2010 22:41

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I would say:

1-3:The stone age of rpgs in the 80's.They literally had limited technology and for that reason you cannot blame them.

In that era though,they had focused harder on the game's characters and story and less on pretty graphics.

4-6:Bronze age of games in the 16 bit era:In these days square and enix were making really good games.

You had games like:final fantasy 4 and final fantasy 6 terranigma illusion of gaia secret of evermore secret of mana.

It was a great era for games.


I would say that square didn't truly die yet so i would say:1991-1998 when ff8 game out,square rip

Sure ff9 was a good game and FFX was a improvement on ff7 and ff8,but i feel that it lost something between the snes era and FF9.

I would say:

FF4 is not a bad game at all,in fact it is a very very good game.

IT has its limitations,so forgive it for those limitations.

Also,you have to remember that ff4 made huge improvements from ff2 and ff3 on the nes.

1:The characters have more backstory and actual real depth.
2:They fixed some of the stupid issues like having enemies every 2 steps and forcing you to fight from ff3 on the nes.

Yes ff4 had cheesy parts that sound like something from a bad sci fi movie like:walking on the moon without a helmet and the planet is dead and being the son of a lunarian and actually taking a trip to the moon to kill the enemy.

But to move it forward,ff6 improved on this in storywise and made characters more important in the story.

In fact,ff6 didn't have all that complex story but instead concentrated on its characters.

This in trade made the game quite enjoyable and when i was a kid i actually wanted to be part of the world because i simply adored the game and its story and characters.

FF7:This game is really huge and has many things about it:

The truth is,looking at midgar for the first time does leave you in awe.

It is huge pretty well done the cutscenes are very well done of course.

You got some epic music by nobuo uematsu,but in the end i find that i didn't care as much for the story.

I think one of the things that did this was:I didn't care about the characters one bit.

I hated cloud i hated sephiroth i found the story went back and fourth too much and some stuff they didn't explain all too well.

The music was good in some areas but others i found rather sappy like the airship and the world map theme.

I think they were kind of corny.

I think one of the biggest problems with ff7 was:focus
Square was going into more realistic and they were trying hard to make it realistic and not concentrating enough on build up and making sephiroth a believable character.

FF8:they made this even worse if it was possible.

First of all:this game has too many cutscenes and talking scenes.
I know its an rpg,but this feels more like an interactive program than a game at times.

2:The junction system was Tedious and overcomplicated.

The game is balanced around melee a lot of times.

You can literally spam squalls limit break when he's low and win fights easily if you are junctioned right,and if you use magic,you are penalized via losing magic where you junctioned if you are using a spell junctioned.

The game is also too linear,would it hurt to allow you to explore more early on and make it feel less linear?

It feels like:go hear go there go here go there and while you can explore a little,most of the time its: a big piece of land.

It also feels like there is a higher encounter.

I would also like to complain about long cutscenes with the summons.

They had em in ff7 and they also have them in ff8.

It isn't needed,all it does is make the game more tedious than it needs to be.

FF9:

I found that they finally got something right:

The story was better and the characters seemed genuinely more charismatic.

I also favor fantasy.

I think that being too sci fi is not necessarily a good thing in the title final fantasy.

having fantasy things like:chocobos lion like creatures like:red or like mog umaru etc is a good thing.

i think also that the humor adds charisma to the characters.

I think also that the music is really really good.

In fact:i like ff9's music more than ff6's music in most areas.

I grew apart from terras theme and in the end i didn't care for it much.

I would put terras theme and tifas theme about equal actually.

That's the main theme also used on the world map.

FF9 had its problems yes:

I didn't like zidane as he felt a bit childish.

I know these games are for kids,but i tend to prefer mature characters with more mature nature and variable personality.

I didn't care for eiko either or the thing with the giant fork.

I liked beatrix blank marko freya and vivi a little.

FFX:i liked the characters more in ffx than ff9 actually.

I didn't like Tidus all that much during the romance scenes but i did really like the story.

FFX felt like it had a more coherent story than previous games and deeply questions people who blindly believe any propaganda that is put before them,like:wakka.

people believed that the albhed were all terrorists and evil people and that machina destroyed zanarkand,and later they find out that the same religious organization they belong use maquina.

What does this say? be careful what you believe,it also kind of mocks religious and political propaganda.

I know that mocking religion is nothing new,but i think they make it more obvious than when they mock religion in say:breath of fire 2.

I think they do fairly well at defining those lines of religious belief to the extreme where wakka dislikes and distrusts rikku for simply being albhed.

The game also has its problems,i felt back then that it kind of takes its time and is pretty linear game as well.

But in truth,i would say,some games in the past that i love are somewhat linear(parasite eve hint hint)

If i had to say something,i would say they improved in some ways and went bad in others.

I would say that its pretty hard to balance overall because so many stories have been told and finding something new and likeable isn't easy.

If i had to categorize,i think it would go like this:

1-3:the first ones so generally they aren't perfected yet
4-X:this is the snes to psx era,generally speaking,i would say this is the best era for gaming.

I find that the early 90's is the best due to concentrating on the characters and i connected more with the characters.
11+:I never played 11 on a console so i can't say if its any good,but i do know that the controls were terrible on pc.

The music was good in town but i found that the music bothersome after a while outside.

FFXII revenant wings:This is the only version i tried and i didn't like it at all.

I didn't like vaan or penelope.

It didn't feel like a final fantasy at all.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 22:55
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I guess thats where we would differ. I would much rather play a game with a somewhat weak story than watch a game with a great story. I am just dissatisfied with the path the final fantasy games are taking.
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Posted: 26th September 2010 23:19

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Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 18:55)
I guess thats where we would differ. I would much rather play a game with a somewhat weak story than watch a game with a great story. I am just dissatisfied with the path the final fantasy games are taking.

So you would rather play some mindless entertainment than experience something that is poignant? Because I believe that the games are trying to give that experience. That's what makes FFIV so important, not just to the series, but to all games.

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Posted: 26th September 2010 23:44

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Quote (BlitzSage @ 26th September 2010 18:19)
Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 18:55)
I guess thats where we would differ. I would much rather play a game with a somewhat weak story than watch a game with a great story. I am just dissatisfied with the path the final fantasy games are taking.

So you would rather play some mindless entertainment than experience something that is poignant? Because I believe that the games are trying to give that experience. That's what makes FFIV so important, not just to the series, but to all games.

i think what theyre trying to say is that games are games. theyre not meant to be movies, theyre an interactive medium, if they wanted to watch a movie, then theyd watch a movie. games like ff xiii which have an inane feature like auto battle are going too far towards movies on the spectrum. you can get through a lot of areas in ff xiii by just holding the analog stick forward and mashing X, games arent supposed to be like this, youre supposed to play them, not just sit tight and watch.

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Posted: 27th September 2010 01:32

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Quote (dont chocobos rule? @ 26th September 2010 19:44)
Quote (BlitzSage @ 26th September 2010 18:19)
Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 18:55)
I guess thats where we would differ. I would much rather play a game with a somewhat weak story than watch a game with a great story. I am just dissatisfied with the path the final fantasy games are taking.

So you would rather play some mindless entertainment than experience something that is poignant? Because I believe that the games are trying to give that experience. That's what makes FFIV so important, not just to the series, but to all games.

i think what theyre trying to say is that games are games. theyre not meant to be movies, theyre an interactive medium, if they wanted to watch a movie, then theyd watch a movie. games like ff xiii which have an inane feature like auto battle are going too far towards movies on the spectrum. you can get through a lot of areas in ff xiii by just holding the analog stick forward and mashing X, games arent supposed to be like this, youre supposed to play them, not just sit tight and watch.

The question I have is, do you consider it an interactive game medium, or an interactive storytelling medium? Also, there have been many cases where there have been games like the Monkey Island series and Grim Fandango which have been highly praised.

To bring this back to the Final Fantasy eras. Why was FFIV such a major breakthrough? Why did allowing cinematics make FFVII a series innovator? Why is VO important? Well, as you yourself argued, those have been improvements in storytelling. Now, we disagree on that issue because I feel games like FFVI and other SNES games can tell great stories.

But, to your point, games like Uncharted 2 are possible, and the change in consoles allowed more storytelling options. Those changes are the very reason for the different eras. And FF is one of the premiere storytelling series. Most of them are like interactive movies or novels, just as the creators intended.

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Posted: 27th September 2010 04:00
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Chocobos hit on what I was trying to say. It is "A game". I want to participate. Ive already seen 2 final fantasy movies (one of which doesnt even deserve the name but thats a different issue). I enjoy the interaction.

You mentioned FF4. I agree that there is nothing wrong with it. Thats the way they should be honestly. Fun to play AND a good story. The way the series is going it makes you choose. You can either have fun with them and play the older ones (with nothing to look forward to) or you can have a good story to watch.
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Posted: 27th September 2010 06:03

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I came up with this...

The Good luck Era. Square wouldn't be around if it wasn't for the original Final Fantasy, so I gave it the "Good Luck Era " because of the gamble of FF I.
- 1987- 1990

The Entertainment Era . With the move to the SNES, the Final Fantasy games, were getting less serious, and more about fun, and a bit more user-friendly on the players.
- 1991-1994

The waiting Era Final Fantasy VI was done, and Final Fantasy VII was about to come out, but it sure took a long time. Also it makes the change to Nintendo to PlayStation.
- 1995- 1997

The Golden Era - Final Fantasy VII was doing amazingly well, Final Fantasy VIII did quite well too, and it ended alright with Final Fantasy IX.
1998- 2001

The Rise before the Fall Era - Final Fantasy X was on the very high-tech PS2 console with now character speech. Final Fantasy X- 2 later came out, with the Kingdom Hearts game to add to the collection. However Square was lost to SquareEnix.
2002- 2004

Final Fantasy VII compilation Era Advent Children, DoC you name it.
2005- 2007

The SquareEnix Era This is the era where Final Fantasy fans have noticed the change between SE and Square. SquareEnix has fully taken over, and the changes are massive. Final Fantasies are completely different. And Final Fantasy VII compilations are still going, but KH compilations also.

2008- 2010

I think a 'Era' is every ten years or so. But era looks more, cool. I guess.

This post has been edited by ZidaneTribal on 27th September 2010 06:06

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Posted: 27th September 2010 06:26

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Quote (BlitzSage @ 26th September 2010 20:32)
Quote (dont chocobos rule? @ 26th September 2010 19:44)
Quote (BlitzSage @ 26th September 2010 18:19)
Quote (Aeris-Logan @ 26th September 2010 18:55)
I guess thats where we would differ. I would much rather play a game with a somewhat weak story than watch a game with a great story. I am just dissatisfied with the path the final fantasy games are taking.

So you would rather play some mindless entertainment than experience something that is poignant? Because I believe that the games are trying to give that experience. That's what makes FFIV so important, not just to the series, but to all games.

i think what theyre trying to say is that games are games. theyre not meant to be movies, theyre an interactive medium, if they wanted to watch a movie, then theyd watch a movie. games like ff xiii which have an inane feature like auto battle are going too far towards movies on the spectrum. you can get through a lot of areas in ff xiii by just holding the analog stick forward and mashing X, games arent supposed to be like this, youre supposed to play them, not just sit tight and watch.

The question I have is, do you consider it an interactive game medium, or an interactive storytelling medium? Also, there have been many cases where there have been games like the Monkey Island series and Grim Fandango which have been highly praised.

To bring this back to the Final Fantasy eras. Why was FFIV such a major breakthrough? Why did allowing cinematics make FFVII a series innovator? Why is VO important? Well, as you yourself argued, those have been improvements in storytelling. Now, we disagree on that issue because I feel games like FFVI and other SNES games can tell great stories.

But, to your point, games like Uncharted 2 are possible, and the change in consoles allowed more storytelling options. Those changes are the very reason for the different eras. And FF is one of the premiere storytelling series. Most of them are like interactive movies or novels, just as the creators intended.

well there are certainly both interactive gaming mediums and storytelling mediums with games. more of the artsy games like heavy rain and flower lean more to the storytelling side than gaming, and those games are fun, and immersive and they should get every bit of praise that they deserve, but it gets to a point where the game isnt a game, its just a long movie. and then there are games like halo or god of war, which are great games, but the story is lacking. but that doesnt matter because they are fun to play. i don't care what you say, you are meant to play games. of course, you can draw deeply from the narrative, but that cant be all a game has to offer. you have to strike a balance between story and gameplay, or else the game simply isnt fun. and when one side of the spectrum is off, the game suffers, and the fault is usually in the storytelling, something that ff vi is very familiar with.

ff iv was such a breakthrough because it had that balance. it was a vast improvement over ff ii, it properly used the SNES hardware, and had a fairly good story complete with one of my favorite tragic heroes in cecil, as well as kain. there were faults, yes, but the gameplay was solid and you didnt just sit there clicking through blue windows waiting for something to happen. it was succinct and it told you all you need to know for the scene at hand, while ff vi drags on and on to the point where scenes with certain characters feel like they just beat a dead horse;
Possible spoilers: highlight to view
terra wants love and doesnt know who she is, shadow has a dark past, locke has tension with celes because of his past with rachel, we get it, you can move on now.
there are even sections where story takes place in the fight screen, not content with merely keeping to the sidelines; happening when you see something significant. and most of the story in those sections isnt needed, its just some stupid bit of comic relief 9 times out of 10.

as for ff vii, it was a major breakthrough at the time because no one had ever seen anything like it. its fmvs were incredible, and while they may look a little clumsy now, back then people were still used to the 2D sprites that had characterized the ff series, a fully 3D game was new and exciting, and the huge movie-esque set pieces of ff vii were a breath of fresh air. but, like ff iv, it didnt rely on story alone, it had solid gameplay and an easy to use, fun to manipulate system in place with materia.

i never said that old school games on the SNES cant tell a good story, i mean just look at a link to the past or super metroid. all im saying is that, if the technology is used properly, it can greatly improve the story, as well as the overall experience. writing, voice acting, use of the console hardware, and use of a cinematic touch in games can really make or break a game.

voice acting in particular can greatly enhance the experience. hearing emotion as characters go through intense scenes is absolutely incredible. games that can fully capture real human emotion through voice work, writing, and animation are truly amazing, and i can not fathom that scrolling through dialogue boxes can come anywhere near that. as i said before, sprites, charm, and the soundtrack can only go so far in telling a story, there comes a time when you need to take it to the next level.

though thats not to say that voice acting is all you need to make you feel something. i mean, look at shadow of the colossus. not a word of any real language is spoken, but the animation (especially the animation, you really believed that wander was an inexperienced boy through the way he held himself, and how he moved), the clashes with the bosses, the back story, and the soundtrack make the game. nothing in ff vi came close to make me feel as i did in SotC. i just dont think that something on that level came out of the SNES era of final fantasy. not cecils inner struggle, not bartz learning about his past, and not the characters individual stories in ff vi.

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Posted: 27th September 2010 14:19

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So you would rather play some mindless entertainment than experience something that is poignant?


Well, when it comes to video games...yeah, sorry, man. I don't pay 60-odd dollars to watch movies, when I could pay a fraction of that to watch an actual, better, movie. I wouldn't exactly call it 'mindless entertainment', that's not fair.

I owned FFT for about 10 years and JUST recently started to give a damn about the story. Were the 9 or so years spending countless hours crafting my units into jobs, carefully applying skillsets, hunting for items, and applying strategy mindless? I bought Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the 360 recently, and I've been a fighting game fan in general for about 13 years. Was the countless hours practicing and playing online and with friends at a tournament level mindless? I bought Battlefield 2: Bad Company recently and every so often my friends and I make it a point to all play together and hone our skills to a sharp point. Is that mindless?

You have to remember that people primarily play video games to play them. While I enjoy a cinematic experience and all that, it comes secondary to gameplay and I can get cinematics, which are usually better anyway, elsewhere.

This post has been edited by Tryscal The Great on 27th September 2010 14:25

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Posted: 27th September 2010 16:56

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Quote (Tryscal The Great @ 27th September 2010 09:19)
You have to remember that people primarily play video games to play them.

I think this depends on the person. Much as watching a movie or listening to a record is an experience that changes from person to person, so doth video games, and as much as I am loathe to say it, I think I'm at the point where it's hard to really enjoy and appreciate a game unless it has some depth and weight. I can still play mindless games, to be sure, just like every now and then I'll sit down and watch a Steven Segal movie, but when I think of 'the video game experience' (and really the aural of the film experiences as well) for myself specifically, I think it terms of drama and artistic integrity.

As for the eras of Final Fantasy...it makes me feel old as hell that VII is considered 'old school'...it's hard to be so cut and dry in each case since the first and last game for each system could sit comfortably on the prior (or succeeding) system. Everyone agrees on VI and X being anomalies, but really one could lump IV in with the proceeding games, it's quite of a similar mind to III. And III could be playing with the SNES games as well. Though when X first came out I thought it anathema I've warmed up on it to the fact that it feels as part of the proceeding nine games, so I would say that the only clear divide can be between X and XII, and thusly between Squaresoft and Square-Enix.

This post has been edited by trismegistus on 27th September 2010 16:59

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Posted: 27th September 2010 18:04

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The way the series is going it makes you choose. You can either have fun with them and play the older ones (with nothing to look forward to) or you can have a good story to watch.

I think that's jumping to conclusions a bit. Look at FFXIII: it had one of the more interesting battle systems in the entire series, yet it was quite plot concentrated. If anything, it took a step back in terms of FF plots and instead took a step forward in gameplay.

I think it's clear that the FF series is very plot-centered and concerned with cinematics, but I don't think that there are many points in the series as a whole where cinematics entirely take over for an extended period of time (like, say, Xenosaga). Aside from the endings, of course.

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Posted: 27th September 2010 19:02

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The question I have is, do you consider it an interactive game medium, or an interactive storytelling medium? Also, there have been many cases where there have been games like the Monkey Island series and Grim Fandango which have been highly praised.


Well, as trimegistus said, it depends on the person. And sometimes it depends on the person's mood or expectations. A person can like both visual novels (heavy story, little gameplay) and real-time strategy games (little story, complex gameplay).

RPGs, especially eastern RPGs, seem to be at the center of this gameplay-story divide, as they aim to present an interesting and compelling story while also keeping players entertained.

The FF series has been moving more toward an emphasis on cinematics over simplicity. This doesn't necessarily mean they're decreasing the amount of gameplay detail and complexity, but just means that, for a given player with a limited amount of attention, the cinematics are now a larger portion of the experience.

Knowing that, it comes as little surprise that the FF series has moved toward the story-oriented fans, such as the animé-and-fanfics crowd.

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Posted: 28th September 2010 02:37

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Well, the turn-based RPG form has always been more story-based, through a de-emphasis on challenge. You know from the moment that you turn on one of the games, that you're going to beat it. That existed well before the sci-fi anime shift in style.

But, none of that matters, and it doesn't matter what you say about the eras. If Tryscal is right, they are nothing but useless toys with no artistic value anyways. Honestly, if that is true, then how have the FF games declined? They've definitely become "prettier" and "cooler." What does it matter that the modern era FF's have weak character development? That's clearly not important.

.... And that's how we got Leona Lewis doing the theme song. Next game, I'm sure we'll have Paris Hilton as the main character. What's more mindless than that?

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