The ‘awesomeness’ of the Final Fantasies can barely be captured in just a short review, but I will do my part and take a shot at it. Square’s Final Fantasy was never meant as a series, but just a collection of games. There is an extraordinary amount of detail and time put into each and every other game, making each one unique, with unique characters, unique spells and creatures, castles, plot, and themes. When the first few, the “old-school” ones came out on Gameboy and Super Nintendo everyone was instantly captivated by them. Everyone in the gaming world found a new way to consume all of their time.
Although, all of them were incredible, some were however more incredible than others. In the first few, you did not have everything pointed out to you as you would in Final Fantasy IX. As a result the first few were challenging and more intriguing, consuming tons of our time and energy trying to get everything we could out of the game, having more fun that we ever thought we could before. Now, though Final Fantasy IX had a bunch of its cool little intricacies that made it unique, while taking aspects of the first few games to try to make the game more ‘comfortable’ for Final Fantasy gamers. However, it was simply way too polished, too easy, and too modern to be considered as one of the better Final Fantasy games.
I tried to pick out my favorite Final Fantasy game and I finally narrowed it down to three games, Final Fantasies VII, VIII, and X. Of course, for each Final Fantasy game you play, when you begin playing, it is like entering a whole new world. But Final Fantasy VII was so deep that an ordinary imagination couldn’t begin to explore the different worlds set out by this game. The idea of ‘materia’ to use your magic (without having magic just being a given) was simply golden. The fact that your materia could gain experience just like your characters was mind blowing. It was incredibly complex and difficult to figure out how to use them, but once you did, it was so much fun to play around and find combinations that were right for your characters. One could spend hours just trying to maximize the ability of their characters through playing with their materia. Final Fantasy X followed similar ideas with the sphere grid and ability points, not improving upon them, but not becoming less amusing – just unique. As all Final Fantasy games have done, VII changed a feature of a previous game, desperation attacks, introduced in VI. It changed into a limit break, making it a good thing to get hurt, without needing to become close to death and desperation to stay alive.
I wouldn’t like to underemphasize how great a game Final Fantasy VIII was though. What was great about FFVIII was its great story line and complex characters with the intro being Seifer and Squall slashing each other with their gunswords in what was supposed to be a “training match.” The Summon Monsters, as introduced in FFIII and continued use through FFVII have now become Guardian Forces, which we had to find, conquer, and level up with fights. “The weapons,” as a friend of mine once put, “were the most original things ever” – though I might use the word advanced instead. Squall and Seifer, with the gun-swords kicked some serious *** while Quistis whipped people (only if they were bad). Sophie had nun-chucks that didn’t really hurt that much, but it was made up by Irvin’s shotgun. There was also a card game that you could play and though not really helpful in the actual game, it was fun just to play around with them. Overall this game was just amazing and can be up with the big boys as an ultimate RPG. However, Final Fantasy X, I believe was the pinnacle of the Final Fantasy games.
The audio and visual effects of FFX alone blew away the rest of the Final Fantasy games. Each and every character had a voice; “when someone said ‘What’s up?’ you actually heard a voice saying ‘whats up?’ You didn’t have to just read it. The graphics in the video clips were so vivid that they were almost real – it is unbelievable how real they actually looked. The plots and themes of hope being the basis of existence and being better off without material belongings (or “machina”) touched my heart in a way that I never thought a video game could ever do. Its not like this is all it had either. The actual fighting, just as in any Final Fantasy game, was awesome as usual utilizing whole new techniques. Overall Final Fantasy X has been hailed by players and critics as the best Final Fantasy game ever made. But they are all awesome and none of them could ever be depicted in any other way.
And now, Final Fantasy XI: Chains of Promethia – the new one! Yea, my friend, who has obsessively played all of the Final Fantasies since they came out through X-2, never even heard of XI. Should that speak to how well it was advertized and its gameplay (there was no word of mouth whatsoever)? Now, when I played it, I said to myself “wow, I can’t believe this is such a bad game.” But at the same time, I kept playing it. I’m guessing it was because I was just kind of hoping that it would eventually get better… and it didn’t. Now, with the upcoming realse of FFXII, I’m desperately afraid of how bad it might be. FFX-2 was disturbingly bad; one might think X-2 was even made for children and XI wasn’t much of an improvement. It is basically a coin flip to see how FFXII will turn out.