Thursday, April 8, 2010

Peas in a really big pod.

As a point of reference:

I have been a fan of Yahtzee since his first video reviews over a year ago. He has never made a secret about how much he hates JRPG's, so it was no surprise when he took the time out to rip on Final Fantasy XIII. It is telling, though, that his complaints are really limited to being about the genre; very little of what he hated had to do with the game itself. What he did miss was the chance to compare what Squeenix and Bioware have both done: simplify their games to the point where anyone can play them. Mass Effect 2 had most of the actual RPG elements removed, instead giving the player control over conversations and plot. I never felt like I was just an observer. Final Fantasy games have never been about choice, or the ability to affect what character you are planning to make a move on. The players control is limited to the combat, to playing with equipment, abilities, and party composition. Take most of that away, like Final Fantasy XII has, and what is left? It's becomes a long movie with very limited interaction. If you actually expect to control anything, like Yahtzee did, you will be very disappointed. There wasn't enough game there to begin with for the slash and burn simplifying to work.

I played Final Fantasy XIII for about two hours last night. It looked great, the combat required even less interaction than XII did, and I have almost no memory of what happened or who the characters are. Only the black dude who has a bird living in his hair stands out, and even he is just Barrett on a diet. List most Final Fantasies it will pick up as time moves along, and I have every intent on making it there, but the game still seems like less of a capstone on the Final Fantasy series and more of an old Japanese company knowingly passing the torch on to a better developer.

After Activision buys Square-Enix (and don't say in couldn't happen) we could see a Bioware Final Fantasy. The first thing I would do is make the main character's sex easily identifiable.


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