Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What exactly ARE we looking for?

Nearly a year and a half after release, I'm finally standing at the end of FF13.  As I was in the midst of debating whether to just finish the damn game or go crazy with sidequests and farming (for you FF13 experts out there, you all know that finishing off the last boss means you axe one of the better gil making opportunities), the following conversation came up between me and David in relation to Final Fantasy.

Ayn 5:07 pm
   I think it's going to be worth mentioning that RoF and FF13 came out within 2 weeks of each other.
   Yet I finished RoF far before FF13.
   And really, I don't think FF13 is a bad game.
   I think it's actually quite good.  Just maybe not what most people expect.
   I will say that it has me paying attention to combat more than most FF games.
   Hmm, maybe that's it.  I'm going to raise the question of "For all the people that hate FF13, ask yourself, what exactly are you looking for in FF now?"
  To recreate your favorite experience from <insert favorite FF here>?  Chocobos?
   I mean honestly..

 Ayn 5:09 pm
   Part of what I like about FF is that each one has its own different experience, mostly.  You know?

 David 5:10 pm
   I guess I hadn't looked at it that way. I guess I hadn't looked at it that way.
   Most of my complaints about FF games ever since VII is that they try to reinvent the wheel with each one.

 Ayn 5:10 pm
   That's really what each FF is about
   If you want the same ol'
   Play Dragon Quest.

 David 5:11 pm
  I suppose that's equally valid.

 Ayn 5:11 pm
   Is that they try to reinvent the wheel, or..

 David 5:11 pm
   It's certainly not what gamers expect.

 Ayn 5:11 pm
    They try to reinvent the wheel AND don't always stick with what worked in the previous ones

 David 5:11 pm
    That's definitely a factor.

I'll likely raise this question again, but for those of us in general who have grown up with the FF series:  What are you really looking for in a Final Fantasy game?


Brett said...

I'm looking for what we got with IX, X, and especially XII:
A reinvention of the wheel that still keeps certain extremely core elements intact, the ones that make a FF game a FF game - one of which being the sense of a world you can explore.

They excised that in XIII, which is why I disliked it (the first one I've really disliked).
They can get rid of chocobos for all I care, but FFXIII was reduced to a game of mastering certain combat tactics in order to progress to the next story point. Previous games, by giving you that immersive world to explore, successfully obscured the feeling that you were just completing a task in order to get a story reward. Pretty much the only thinking and choice-making you had in XIII was figuring out how to handle a new enemy set and then handling the major bosses. Compare to the vastness of any previous installment (even X had more choice) and it's obvious what was lost.

Incidentally, I feel market testing and their ideas of what their audience wants has tended to lead them wrong and did so with XIII. They always seem to be at their best when not making their choices based on what markets to a 13-year old Japanese boy.

Brett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ayn said...

You know, there's a really interesting article I should dig up about how the Japanese gaming market is deciding to cater more to..well, Japanese players, rather than the Western audiences, which may explain why the games are getting (to us out west) increasingly lame.

I did like XIII for the most part, but I see your point on the vastness of the world. Perhaps the more frustrating part on that note is that when you finally get to Gran Pulse in Chapter 11, you're given this immense setting to explore. You get teased with the fact that they could have easily done that with this game.. they just didn't.