owlmoose: (ff7 - sword)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2014-01-11 18:46

Final Fantasy Thoughts: January Blogging Meme

[personal profile] vieralynn asked about my favorite aspects of the Final Fantasy series, and how these aspects compare to other fantasy/rpg video games.

My favorite aspects of the Final Fantasy games are characters, world building, and story, pretty much in that order. When I sit down to play a new FF, or come back to revisit an old one, these are the things I am looking for, and hoping to sink into. Of course, not every FF game has these in equal measure: the lack of world building in FFXIII kept me from investing as much as I would have liked, for example, and the stories vary in quality quite a bit, and even the games I love most (FFX, X-2, XII, and IV) have a dud character or a flat plot point here and there. But overall, I would say these have been the series' strengths for me.

As I mentioned in my answer to [personal profile] lassarina's question about RPG gameplay, I haven't actually played that many RPGs outside the Final Fantasy series, but the one other series I have invested in, namely Dragon Age, succeeds in all three areas listed above. Excellent NPCs across the board, interesting stories mostly told well, and a fascinating setting in the world of Thedas. So no wonder I've been drawn to it, both as a player and as a fan. Mass Effect is also pretty strong in these respects, especially the storytelling, but I didn't connect as strongly to the characters or the setting as I did to Dragon Age, or my main Final Fantasy fandoms (Spira and Ivalice). (I'm still not really sure why that was. Probably that's another post for another day.)

I think it's pretty safe to say that, so far, I've found the Dragon Age games more compelling across the board, in all three of these areas, than any of the most recent Final Fantasy titles (FFXIII and its sequel). And although I have some hope for FFXV, for various reasons I don't trust Square Enix as much as I used to -- especially not in how they handle characters and character development. It'll be interesting to see if I continue to be a fan of the franchise going forward.
pete_thomas: (Default)

[personal profile] pete_thomas 2014-01-13 19:48 (UTC)(link)
It's no surprise that you weren't too invested in the characters of ME -- I found that if I wasn't actively using a character or pursuing a love interest (which I didn't in the first one, mind you) that I really could care less about the characters unless I was trying to. For example, I absolutely adored Tali, and even after finding out that you could never hook up with her in ME1, I still talked to her a lot, and had a huge interest in her, her people and their culture.

ME definitely put a lot more focus on the lore and the history of the world as it was known to Shepard and the rest of the crew. I literally spent hours reading all of the stuff that popped up in my codex.

...

I really ought to dig into ME2 sometime.
vieralynn: (Default)

Sorry to have missed this when you posted - work tore me away from internet... :(

[personal profile] vieralynn 2014-01-18 02:40 (UTC)(link)
Interesting that your fave aspects are ordered characters first, world building second, story third. Story is often one of the weaker parts of the FF games, even when the game is incredibly engaging good and the story still reasonably good. For me, only the Ivalice series (which only has one game as a numbered FF) has very solid plotting with highly engaging stories, but the Ivalice series was written by someone who normally doesn't write numbered FF games. Excluding FFXII and looking only at games developed by the core FF team, FFX is probably the best story by far (with great characters and an amazingly interesting world). In contrast, FF8's story is completely out to lunch by the time the time loop and climax are revealed, but the characters and world (and game play, and internal card game) are so engaging that I just don't care that the story falls apart. And I love FF8's cast.

When you say that you aren't sure why Spira and Ivalice are your two main FF fandoms, I wonder if it is because Spira and Ivalice are the most fleshed out FF worlds so far *and* the stories of FFX and FFXII hang together very well. I can easily picture a solid novelization of FFX or FFXII (and have read a few). But a novelization of some of the other games? It would take creative plot hole filling in many cases. Or very cheeky humor!

Also interesting that you did NOT list game play or game mechanics on your list of top three reasons. This really fascinates me (from a professional POV, HCI and all) because game play and game mechanics are something that designers and developers obsess over but, in reality, many RPG players (or, at least, one large market segment of those players) probably just want that aspect to fade into the background and NOT get in the way of enjoying the characters, world, story, and fun-factor. Playing DA:O on the PS3 drove me to rarely heard cursing and swearing at the damn controls/play/mechanics and finally declaring that if I ever play it again, I will only play the PC version. Yet, the characters+world+plot were so engaging that I soldiered through the horrors of PS3 interface, playing idk... 125 hrs? 140 hrs? on my PS3 completing the full game plus all DLCs.

Interesting comments about how ME fails a little bit. Still haven't gotten far in ME1 because of work/life.

Also concerned about FFXV and wondering if my interest in the FF games (and Ivalice franchise) will become more of a nostalgia thing rather than an ongoing thing. FFXIII was a huge disappointment for me.