Final Fantasy VII: Is It Necessary?

Final Fantasy VII: Is It Necessary?

Note: After some much needed family time, I’m back! I had this written up around the time of E3 but am just now getting to typing it up. It might not seem as relevant as when I wrote it, but hey, you know how the cliché goes.

One of best kept secrets at the Sony E3 conference was the upcoming console remake of Final Fantasy VII. Ever since the tech demo for the PS3 showed the potential of recreating Midgar for the modern era, fans have clamored for a full remake. Now nearly ten years later, fans are getting just that. Despite my excitement, I have an unpopular question: is it really necessary?

Graphically, it will clearly look like an improvement. Past and current players argue that its outdated graphics make it inaccessible today, but disagree. While out of the all the games, it is showing its age, I think we need a different one if we are talking about updating graphics for playability’s sake. The FF games from the NES and SNES apparently have timeless graphics, or at least that is what any indie developer would tell you to justify the heaps of pixellated platformers hitting the market lately. FFIX continued with the more classic sprite model. FFX and the entries to follow are all based on the same character style still being used today. That leaves us with the awkward first forays into the use of 3D models with FFVII and FFVIII.

Having played neither of them in their respective hay days, I didn’t have nostalgia obscuring my view of the games. Also I played through all of FFVII and the first disc of FFVIII, so I like to think I can speak on their appearance. FFVIII is not the most popular entry, but I found the way its graphics stretched across a current television impossible to look at after a while. While Cloud and Barrett look like the goofiest polygonal models with Q-tip biceps, their movements and actions in the environment are still clear. On the other hand, Squall looks like the developers tried meld the style of the FMV cutscenes with his sprite in a way that turned out as anything but cohesive.

I’m glad his bit of fan service is finally on its way after so many teases and pieces of misinterpreted information, but uncertainty tempers my excitement. Will this pull resources from the upcoming Final Fantasy XV and any other new games? What if the current team of Square Enix people can’t manage to get lightning to strike twice? Will Cloud rock a dress just as well in HD?

Regardless, I do have a few things I am either looking forward to or hoping happen:

  • Spot-on voice acting. The Kingdom Hearts series did the casting for all the FFVII characters perfectly.
  • Challenging trophies. While ultimately pointless, they make playing ports/remakes/updates more fun.
  • A clearer understanding–or possible update–to the Materia system. Reports suggest a reworking of the battle system, so hopefully this will get tweaked.

As for my long shots?

  • An emotion-filled Cloud.
  • Have the Buster Sword actually be the strongest weapon in the game.
  • Aerith lives…long enough for me to make my white mage a demigod.

No-stall-gia, Part 2

No-stall-gia, Part 2

Or otherwise called, who needs cohesive and sequential posts?

I’ll start off with a confession: when it comes to gaming, I am an entitled U.S. citizen. Whenever another country makes a game, I get bitter when they don’t localize all of the content. How dare they feel the need to save money and and prioritize their distribution process?

I don’t know if a particular country came to mind for you, but I’m talking about Japan. With my love for JRPGS and every single thing I’ve played on my Vita (Persona 4 Golden may have received more quality time than my family this holiday season), I hate hearing about earlier local releases and abhor Japanese-exclusive content. I’m also too cheap for importing, so you could also call it a personal problem.

I also don’t know if a particular company came to mind, but Square Enix, I’m looking (typing?) at you.

I was introduced to the Final Fantasy series late in the game. My first one was also what I would call one of the last ones worth playing–Final Fantasy X. It is the first time I remember a game ever having such an involved story. Despite its simplicity in message, I was playing through it not only blind to the story, but also any tropes that might have made it predictable. The moment I found out the pilgrimage’s true end goal, I dropped my PS2 controller on the ground. So often I played generic good-beats-evil games. Even with captivating characters, the only unpredictable parts of those games were what wacky thing they would say next (and some one-liners you could see a galaxy away).

Also new to me? The overwhelming amount of optional content. With the extra summons, celestial weapons, and monster hunting collect-a-thons, up to fifty hours of my first game file was spent flying around in the airship, procrastinating on that silly thing called my destiny.

With all of these sidequests, I have a hard time understand why they chose to cut out the biggest challenge in the game: the dark aeons. Here you get to battle summoners who sided with Yevon, convinced Yuna and the gang were the sacrificial lunatics. These are quite possibly one of the biggest challenges I have ever come across, and with the HD remake, the United States finally got to feel the pain.

I’ll be honest, I only beat a few of them before I ran out of useful places to grind, and they are long and painful without the right exploits and leveling. Here instead of having elemental weaknesses, elemental magic is completely useless. As you might have guessed, an all-out assault is also not an option. Here you need to always have Yuna for her healing and two others. The game guide I bought–I take this shit seriously–said that you have to plan from the start who you want to have fight the dark aeons so that you fill out their sphere grids the soonest as well as give them all special stat and ability boosts.

Now I’ll be honest–this is about it for the differences. If you are not as in love with the story, characters, and battle system the way I am, there isn’t much more replay value here than there is in the PS2 original. But with the addition of this one feature, it reshaped my progress in the game. Finally I could feel justified in favoring some characters over others in battle and not feel guilty for ignoring some of the ultimate weapon quests.

A poll to the masses–has anyone out there actually dodged the two hundred lightning bolts it takes to acquire Lulu’s weapon? If so, let me shower you with virtual gold, jewels, and loose women and men.

Overall I had just as much as I did every other time I’ve played this game, but it is also one of my absolute favorites, making me easy to please. Would only one or two additions be enough reason to replay a game you have a middling opinion of? Or even one you really love; I’m a fountain of curiosity tonight.

Now I only have one more game I really want to talk about, and it is the biggest difference for me, both in how I played it and the content added.

Also I will hopefully have more information on my upcoming weekend stream here, so that you can tune in. Hey, now I can say, “Stay tuned,” and mean it literally.

So, of course, stay tuned.

No-stall-gia, Part 2: Final Fantasy

No-stall-gia, Part 2: Final Fantasy

Or otherwise called, who needs cohesive and sequential posts?

I’ll start off with a confession: when it comes to gaming, I am an entitled U.S. citizen. Whenever another country makes a game, I get bitter when they don’t localize all of the content. How dare they feel the need to save money and and prioritize their distribution process?

I don’t know if a particular country came to mind for you, but I’m talking about Japan. With my love for JRPGS and every single thing I’ve played on my Vita (Persona 4 Golden may have received more quality time than my family this holiday season), I hate hearing about earlier local releases and abhor Japanese-exclusive content. I’m also too cheap for importing, so you could also call it a personal problem.

I also don’t know if a particular company came to mind, but Square Enix, I’m looking (typing?) at you.

I was introduced to the Final Fantasy series late in the game–Final Fantasy X, actually. It is the first time I remember a game ever having such an involved story. Despite its simplicity in message, I was playing through it not only blind to the story, but also any tropes that might have made it predictable. The moment I found out the pilgrimage’s true end goal, I dropped my PS2 controller on the ground. So often I played generic good-beats-evil games. Even with captivating characters, the only unpredictable parts of those games were what wacky thing they would say next (and some one-liners you could see a galaxy away).

Also new to me? The overwhelming amount of optional content. With the extra summons, celestial weapons, and monster hunting collect-a-thons, up to fifty hours of my first game file was spent flying around in the airship, procrastinating on that silly thing called my destiny.

With all of these sidequests, I have a hard time understand why they chose to cut out the biggest challenge in the game: the dark aeons. Here you get to battle summoners who sided with Yevon, convinced Yuna and the gang were the sacrificial lunatics. These are quite possibly one of the biggest challenges I have ever come across, and with the HD remake, the United States finally got to feel the pain.

I’ll be honest, I only beat a few of them before I ran out of useful places to grind, and they are long and painful without the right exploits and leveling. Here instead of having elemental weaknesses, elemental magic is completely useless. As you might have guessed, an all-out assault is also not an option. Here you need to always have Yuna for her healing and two others. The game guide I bought–I take this shit seriously–said that you have to plan from the start who you want to have fight the dark aeons so that you fill out their sphere grids the soonest as well as give them all special stat and ability boosts.

Now I’ll be honest–this is about it for the differences. If you are not as in love with the story, characters, and battle system the way I am, there isn’t much more replay value here than there is in the PS2 original. But with the addition of this one feature, it reshaped my progress in the game. Finally I could feel justified in favoring some characters over others in battle and not feel guilty for ignoring some of the ultimate weapon quests.

A poll to the masses–has anyone out there actually dodged the two hundred lightning bolts it takes to acquire Lulu’s weapon? If so, let me shower you with virtual gold, jewels, and loose women and men.

Overall I had just as much as I did every other time I’ve played this game, but it is also one of my absolute favorites, making me easy to please. Would only one or two additions be enough reason to replay a game you have a middling opinion of? Or even one you really love; I’m a fountain of curiosity tonight.

Now I only have one more game I really want to talk about, and it is the biggest difference for me, both in how I played it and the content added.

Also I will hopefully have more information on my upcoming weekend stream here, so that you can tune in. Hey, now I can say, “Stay tuned,” and mean it literally.

So, of course, stay tuned.