Final Fantasy XIII-2
Review Is it just me who remembers Final Fantasy III – actually, that’s FF VI if you’re Japanese – the mercurial tale of the evil Kefka and heroes Sabin, Edgar, Terra, et al? I recall the brilliant use of magical espers, its line-up of amazingly distinct fighters – Sabin even channelling Street Fighter-style special moves in a clever bid to keep the players on their toes – and all wrapped up in a genuinely touching fairy-tale.
The golden shot
That was Final Fantasy at its best; reliant on strong storytelling and dynamic combat in order to grip the user. Back when a few boxes of text said more than a hundred hours of pre-rendered CGI ever could, and when a pixellated tear rolling down the cheek of a 2D sprite would convey the kind of emotion that Final Fantasy XIII-2 constantly strives for, but never comes close to achieving.
Now, I’m aware that putting out a retro-styled game in this day and age might not be smart move if Square Enix expects sales, but FF XIII-2’s over-reliance on pre-rendered cutscenes is simply impossible to ignore.
Take the game’s initial video that I stupidly sat through, an impressive 20 minute battle scene featuring FF XIII’s heroine, Lightning, clashing swords with a typically anime-esque bad guy to a soaring orchestral score.
The trouble is, that once you watch it and press start, the damned thing plays out again, albeit this time complete with the character’s voices – that’s 40 minutes of my life gone with barely a button pushed, whatever happened to user input? Worse follows, as the player is placed in the unfeasibly slender frame of Serah, sister of Lightning, and she who spent the vast majority of the first game mercifully frozen in crystal.
Very nearly every line of dialogue Serah utters, whether during playable sections or within the confines of CGI, is supercharged with emotion – but emotion directed at whom exactly? Certainly not an audience who have been given not one reason to care as to whether Serah, her friends or her world lives or dies. Much like a frustrated actor working with a poor director, I’m left asking: Where’s my motivation here?
Next page: Can I get a rewind?
FF7 was most definitely the finest game they ever made, just huge in scope.
That's what I've always loved about the FF games, right from when I started playing them on the old GB with their B&W graphics. I've now played every version, upto and including 13 (and even the online one) and to my mind 13 is definitely the worst. It's as if all the thought went into what you do *after* the end credits, and no thought was put into the actual storyline itself. Maybe what they ought to do is what they did with FF1-6, go right back to the beginning and redo them, bring out a FF7 redux for the PS3 with updated graphics and a game that I would be quite happy to spend months playing, instead of completing in just a few hours and being left wondering why on earth I spent so much for a game I would have been happy to wait for a second hand copy of.
zero charm? i think it's one of the best in the series. I almost cried when Auron "died", i actually did have to wipe away a tear when Tidus fades away and i bought FFX-2 not only because i love the series, but also because i felt the game wasn't finished.
The father/son scenes, the beautiful scenes with Yuna and her "dance macabre"
Not much of a point to hang a game on is it?
I remember when all games visuals were done in-engine. They may not have been pretty but at least you could you-know *play* them.
There hasn't been a good Final Fantasy since 9. When they screwed up the fighting mechanics, ditched the world map, and made all the protagonists whiney and dull I gave up. And yes, the voice acting ruined the series.
I will happily sit and play through classic FF. It may not have the graphics of its younger cousins, but by God it had 1000 times more heart.
It's a creature called a Cactuar.
Usually they're an absolute bugger to hit in melee and suicide for under-levelled characters because of the way they always do 1000 damage per hit. Also apparently edible according to some games in the series.