#1 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

I love the Bombcast but I was disappointed with the crew's answer to Nathan's question about The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. I believe that one of the worst things about video game culture is the obsession of what's new. Everybody should play old games. If you don't know why, I can answer that another time. Anyway here was an exciting opportunity for some industry vets to turn a gamer on to some old classics, and I feel they dropped the ball a little. It wasn't a bad answer so much as not an answer. LoZ was treated better than FF at least.

Nathan, if you're reading, I tried to give as much information as somebody interested in these games would care to read. Hopefully this inspires you to go learn more about these games and hopefully play a bunch too.

If you want to play Legend of Zelda and you never have before:

There are some options. It depends on what consoles you have available to you, whether you have a PC, and how good you are with emulators, etc. I'm skewing this to what I think is the most viable. I don't have much different to say than the Bombcast as far as this series goes.

Ocarina of Time was at one point the highest praised game I could think of. Not sure if that reputation is still around, but this is a golden oldie for sure. The version available on GameCube holds up best if fuzzy graphics bother you. You get it packed in with Wind Waker, which is an amazing 2 for 1 deal. As they mentioned on the podcast these two games are quite similar, so I wouldn't play them back to back. To be fair, Link to the Past is also very similar (and by very I mean extremely) similar to OoT. But the perspective shift is enough to make the experiences unique. Majora's Mask is probably the most unique LoZ game, but it's hard to gauge how much that would matter to someone in your situation. Worth playing for sure, but you'll need an N64. You'll need an SNES or GBA. I'll wrap this up by saying that you could do worse then pick up a GameCube and SNES to play these games. The former is an underrated console with some real gems, and the latter, well -- do I need to justify the Super?

If you want to play Final Fantasy and you never have before:

Too many versions/editions/releases of all these games to list here, so you'll have to Wiki that.

I, II and III are very simple games and probably won't hold your attention unless you love FF or old JRPGs. Check them out later.

IV and VI tend to get the most praise from hardcore fans and those who never liked the series after the 3D jump. Both these games are really awesome despite their crotchety fan-base. The graphics are simple but have tons of character, great art and fantastic enemy design. Sound and music is great (as it is throughout the series). VI is known for being especially dark. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll just the villains in this world walk the talk.

V has a robust job system, but this might be my least favorite of all. Something about the world and story just never clicked with me. Can't visualize the ending, so it's totally possible I never got there. These older games move slow, but it's worth noting this for all FFs: they basically take 5 hours to get rolling, 15 to get moving. Roughly.

VII is a fine game. It's hard to look at any of those 90s mega-hits-that-changed-games (MGS, Half-Life, Diablo II, StarCraft, GoldenEye, Super Mario 64, on and on) objectively. But there's this weird, weird attitude I run into now where people degrade these games as just "products of their time," "innovative because of their time". Of course that's true but it doesn't need to be a pejorative. VII holds up very well actually. Even graphically: though the polygonal sprites you run around the world with are exceedingly simple, they're clean and well animated, and the pre-rendered backgrounds look great. They pump tons of polygons into the sprites once you're in battle (where you spend a lots of your time, obviously) and they look great, better than VIII and IX I think. Cartoony, but that gives them a sharpness the later sprites don't have. VII also rewards exploration with major plot lines and characters, and that doesn't happen again in the series as far as I remember. The game's plot, which centers on the environment, seems more relevant and grown-up every year.

VIII, which was derided by many as being inferior to VII upon release, is a really good choice too. There's a real scope to the story and the sci-fi world is very well realized. A mopey protagonist (who you'll like more or less depending on your own mopiness level) but great characters all around in this game. Tons of little stories packed away and hidden too -- some great reasons to explore and return to locations, though rarely anything as major as what you find in VII. VIII's characters also have lots and lots and lots to say. More writing in this game than maybe any of the other text-based FFs. This gives you some reason to replay the game itself. Flying around the world map is also great in this game because your sprite is so small and the map so big. Also: time-travelling memories!

IX is a super charming and very interesting game. The last "traditional fantasy" game in this series. Harder than VII or VIII as I remember. At first it doesn't seem as mature as VII or VIII but don't be fooled. This was the last Playstation era FF, and it shows. The level of polish and the amount of content here is impressive to this day.

X is o-kay. Some really, really strong combat mechanics, but a meandering and sometimes boring storyline conflicts with your enjoyment of the game. The introduction of voice-over to the series may be to blame, but this game has a relatively weak cast outside of three of four characters. This a hard one to recommend, though I play it myself now and again.

XII breaks from the mould established by previous games in some big ways, and many gave it a hard time for that. I really enjoyed the combat system, in fact it may be the best. Very interesting sci-fi meets fantasy world, nice feel to the cultures. Unlike many FFs all the disparate parts of this world do seem connected. Unfortunately the principal character is the least interesting. Add to that the game seems to suddenly end, and... you know, complex feelings about this one.

I couldn't play more than a few hours of XIII, so I really have nothing positive to say about it. I haven't played XI or XIV either (they are both MMOs).

I really hope you dive into this series. You'll enjoy it, I'm sure. For my money, start with VII. It's a got a really, really strong, fast start for a JRPG. It just thrusts you into the story and gameplay, which I think is the most important thing for anybody approaching this series for the first time. I'm sorry if this post read a little disjointed, I had to copy/paste a lot as my internet's highly shifty. If you think you can't get past old 3D, go for VI. If you can't do old 3D or 2D, go for XII.

Best of luck!

#2 Posted by Nightriff (5238 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: I'm not Vincent but this information really really helps me actually. Thanks for the break down Duder!!!

#3 Posted by laserbolts (5340 posts) -

Awesome breakdown and I agree with pretty much everything you say here. Well done

#4 Posted by believer258 (12080 posts) -

FF7's character models hold up? What?

Ah, I won't trash that game like a lot of people seem to. I haven't beaten it - not even close - but it holds up pretty damn well. I just think its graphics are very off-putting and weird looking. They're stuck in a weird rut between the more believable character models of the PS2 games and the 16-bit charm of IV and VI.

#5 Posted by Yummylee (22272 posts) -

@believer258 said:

FF7's character models hold up? What?

Ah, I won't trash that game like a lot of people seem to. I haven't beaten it - not even close - but it holds up pretty damn well. I just think its graphics are very off-putting and weird looking. They're stuck in a weird rut between the more believable character models of the PS2 games and the 16-bit charm of IV and VI.

It's why it astounds me at how improved FFVIII's graphics are. A significant overhaul and I think to this day they're rather charming. I remember feeling quite impressed when I first played it back in... only, like 2007.

#6 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

@believer258: The reason we disagree is because I find that generation of games charming too.

Because the graphics were still so much simpler than the generation that would follow, many of the characters were more abstracted. The overworld sprites in FFVII are ridiculous if you compare them to regular human anatomy, but as cartoon characters they're fine. They have large eyes and emote easily. It puts more emphasis on reading also, but that's another story. Anyways, especially with smoothing turned on (PS2 or PS3), they look great. Clean, sharp lines man. If you play old games you know that's hard to come by. In battle the characters are much better looking that any PS1 era sprite. If you compare VIII and IX to VII you will realize that the characters' faces in the first two games are very blurry when the camera pans in on them. Their hair is surrounded by square pixels, and small details like zippers on clothing, monster's teeth, weapon art looks blocky and pixelated. This is also of true of Chrono Cross (another amazing game), but not to the same extent. This is not true in the slightest of FFVII. All the art is easily visible. All the characters, and their details (like hair and weapons) have smooth lines drawn around them. Even Cloud's hair. But that's why it's like that! Just cones. This makes all the enemies (the best thing about those games, art wise) look great and unique. That's what hold up means to me.

#7 Posted by believer258 (12080 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE said:

@believer258: The reason we disagree is because I find that generation of games charming too.

Because the graphics were still so much simpler than the generation that would follow, many of the characters were more abstracted. The overworld sprites in FFVII are ridiculous if you compare them to regular human anatomy, but as cartoon characters they're fine. They have large eyes and emote easily. It puts more emphasis on reading also, but that's another story. Anyways, especially with smoothing turned on (PS2 or PS3), they look great. Clean, sharp lines man. If you play old games you know that's hard to come by. In battle the characters are much better looking that any PS1 era sprite. If you compare VIII and IX to VII you will realize that the characters' faces in the first two games are very blurry when the camera pans in on them. Their hair is surrounded by square pixels, and small details like zippers on clothing, monster's teeth, weapon art looks blocky and pixelated. This is also of true of Chrono Cross (another amazing game), but not to the same extent. This is not true in the slightest of FFVII. All the art is easily visible. All the characters, and their details (like hair and weapons) have smooth lines drawn around them. Even Cloud's hair. But that's why it's like that! Just cones. This makes all the enemies (the best thing about those games, art wise) look great and unique. That's what hold up means to me.

All right, all right! I wasn't saying they were bad for their time, but these days they still looked very off-putting to me when I first played the game. If you enjoy them, awesome! Please, continue to! But FF7 is an ugly game to me, especially the character models. I like the game, I just don't like the character models. And I've heard this same sentiment echoed often enough to know that my opinion isn't a rare one.

#8 Edited by pyrodactyl (2272 posts) -

For the FF games,

play VI :best package of the series. The sprites presentation is still gorgeous and the combat system and story are solide.

than, VIII: my personal favorite. Great combat and complexe system to back it up. Crazy story that DOSEN'T MAKE ANY SENS AT ALL. Still a fantastic game.

or X good story and combat system. Better presentation than PS1 era FF games (X-2 after X, the tone is gentler and the combat system more dynamic and less tactical. Story is meh)

or VII :sorry @GERALTITUDE: but the presentation looks like shit with the 3 polygon characters walking on fix backgrounds. The story is... eh... and the combat system is unapealing for the first half of the game. Still worthwhile if you want to know what the fuss is all about.

or V: Combat as good as 6 but the story is less good. Looks almost as good though.

or IV: Didn't play a ton of that one but I hear the story is great. The combat, at least in the begining is boring. Presentation is... eh... not as good as 5

or IX: Presentation: same level as 8 but the art style is the chibi kid kinda thing that rubs me the wrong way. Combat and story are soooo boring for the first 10 hours at least. I hear they get better.

XIII and XII if you're looking for something different. Both are good in their own way but really slow to get going.

If you don't want to start with 6 for some weird reason and you want an old school FF experience you don't want to start with 7(it looks like shit) or 8(the systems are to complex and fucked up)

note that 11 12 13 and 13-2 aren't old school final fantasy

#9 Posted by C2C (855 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: I am going to have to disagree on your analysis on FFX with respect to story. I don't particularly like that game, but from a narrative standpoint that game was waaay more solid than your giving it credit for. The story does take its time sure, but it does so to flesh out the main characters and to build up the character drama in the later parts of the game. Aside from that, your write up of the rest of the series is fine. I have my own reservations about what you said about FF8, but given all the praise that game has gotten out no where lately, I think I need to replay that one myself to make sure I am not unduly biased against it.

#10 Edited by kindgineer (2788 posts) -

I think what really astounds me is the attitude veteran gamers get when they don't understand why others don't see a game to the same degree. Let's face it, Final Fantasy VII was a great game of it's time, much like Super Mario World on the SNES and Halo on the Xbox 360. Ten to fifteen years from now, there will be a new franchise everyone is harping about, and you will have people protest that the "gaming of old" is an experience you should feel, and don't you dare hate on it! It's about as annoying as an English school teacher preaching that in order to understand "true" authorship you have to appreciate Shakespearian plays and ancient Epics. Nostalgia is a double-edged sword that gives you great memories of the past, but clouds your judgement of the present and future.

TL;DR - It's great that people grew up with these games. I grew up with Super Mario World, however, I don't run around telling everyone that it's silly to pass up on old games when there are great, if not better, releases today,

#11 Posted by mosespippy (4364 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: Could you explain what you mean by FFXII not being old school FF? For me it has all the same characteristics of old school FFs so I feel like our definitions must be different or we are seeing FF XII very differently.

#12 Posted by Dixavd (1367 posts) -

My advice to a new comer to the series. Play XIII and only XIII before deciding on if you like the genre. Seriously, it is like the Pokemon of the JRPG with easily the most open gameplay system and a fantastic showing of general JRPG mechanics without seeming old or stagnated. The only reason I wouldn't reccommend it to someone is if they want to play a relatively short game in the series in which case I wouldn't reccommend XIII however I truly think its positives and negatives give a fairly accurate representation of the entire genre and it acts as a fantastic gateway title. It also doesn't waste new players time with learning lots of mini-games when they are actually still learning general things relative to the entire genre.

Secondly I would say that I compeltely dissagree with your opinion on X. I believe it has by far one of the best stories in the series rivalling even VI in that regard (despite some dated dialogue) but honestly I think even bringing up story is a mute point as it is so damn subjective that it can actually ruin games appeal when they are either talked up too high or too low (I know many people who regard VI to be a horrible game in the series as the story didn't match anywhere near the descriptions people give it and relatively to others in the series it has some very dull moments). The game mechanics are stellar in X with one of the only combat systems in the series which actually still work objectively today (with the core principles, design choices, pacing and levelling system all shown as a fantastic representation of levelling done right and show a lot of things many games today even in completely different genres forget to take on - specifically in this thread I posted how I would take the mechanics of FFX and move them into a Diablo style game). From a mechanical perspective it easily holds up much better than many more of the series. It also has way more of the "traditional" design than people give it credit for, mostly due to it having a linear story for much longer that most titles but due to this it happens to be one of the games which is most consistent with polish throughout .

As for others:

  • I agree with you on I, II, III and V
  • IV and VI I sort of agree with you on but I honestly wouldn't reccommend someone play them first unless they are sure they want to play one of the 2D ones as they are the ones which look fantastic relative to others - that only after truly understanding the mechanics and the previous strengths and weaknesses of the 2D games makes them look good relative to them (It also brings someone into the genre at a much more unrealistic level of polish for 2D JRPG's and could easily cause someone to despise all other types of games in the genre simply because they played some of the best first).
  • for VIII you definitely focused too much on the story without bringing up some key mechanical points. First, the levelling system is totally unique to VIII in that its use of emty levelling (due to enemies improving relative to your level but in most cases actually get stronger than you do) means it requires a completely different mind set when playing the game where grinding for levels can actually completely hurt the player which may then backfire on the player if they then go and play almost any of the other FF's as they have the opposite mentality.
  • IX I don't know much about as I have not only not played it but haven't seen much of it (Quite a few of the others I haven't personally played but I know an extreme amount about and have personally looked at specific things like going into extreme depth on how the mechanics works and how the story goes and is generally paced out).
  • VII I also agree with you on except for the story which to me definitely doesn't seem more grown-up, in fact it seems like one of the most childish of all of them. Again though that is personal preference (and why I take an exceedingly bad take on the idea of reccommending them due to your personal opinion of the story). Also it can easily be one of the hardest Final Fantasy's to get into because the look is one of the most dated of any of them, it almost completely overturns the gain that the player gets from the story starting quickly because of the general amount of time it takes to get used to the very weak visuals (which look their worst at the start of the game due to the environments).
  • XII I agree on and I would definitely reccommend it to anyone who has played an MMO (or that style of game such as a Xenoblade) or a loot driven game. I also would reccommend it to someone new since it has one of the most unique levelling systems in that at any time the player can completely reclass someone and not feel much of a negative effect for doing so. It's levelling system of the License board is also one of the most relevant mechanical systems for today of all the FF games (with its system being early inspiration for games such as Dragon Age in their levelling system). It also has one of the most newcomer friendly systems of all the Final Fantasys with a good mix of exploration and linearity for players to experience however a lot of the games best things are actually ruined by looking for walkthroughs (especially if you want the best weapons in the game which can actually take away from the experience as you start to believe you have to use the walkthrough throughout in case of making one minor mistake and ruining the chance of aquiring said weapon).
  • XI and XIV I wouldn't speak much about either. Although to anyone who wants to get into MMO's and doesn't know where to start, I would reccommend going with FFXI and then from there moving onto other MMO's like WoW.

Also I would mention some of the non-numbered titles (or spin-off ones if you prefer naming them that way).

  • I would reccommend X-2 to anyone who is a fan of Anime which plays around with themes of loss, questioning and growth as well as the very whimsical and playful side. I would also reccommend X-2 or to people just wants to play a active battle system game without playing a 2D title or playing a game such as XIII with less ability to customize the player roles. X-2 has a stellar combat system which mixes a lot of the more modern tropes of the series with the more traditional elements like their Dressphere system which is basically a more modern version of the Job system of old FFs. However I wouldn't reccommend it to people who want to truly get into the stories of the main titles (as playing it before X will definitely ruin X for people, and even playing it after X could have the same affect) or to people who really hate J/K Pop (although my advice to them is to generally stay away from the 3D FFs anyway).
  • XIII-2 I also reccommend when played relative to XIII as it definitely continues to build on the introduction to the series that XIII did. Thematically the two together show how generally FF stories can be Serious, Silly, Tense, Dark, Whimsical, Child-like, Angsty, Philosophical, Realistic, Un Realistic, Funny and Annoying. (Playing both them for the story gives a fantastic impression of the kind of places that JRPG's go with their most common stories). The mechanics also continue from XIII so if someone plays XIII and enjoys the battle system then they definitely should play XIII-2, another suggestion is simply play XIII-2 first and simply read the beginners guide on the main menu for a simply explanation of the story of XIII and simply play the much shorter sequel (it is actually one of the shortest games under the entire FF franchise).
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is definitely reccommended to people used to action games who want to go into a menu-sysem JRPG or to people who want to play VII but have a problem with the dated graphics and getting past the intro of VII - playing Crisis Core first can really give a good representation of the entire setting of that universe and build quite the connection to characters to then allow players to push through and enjoy VII. Also it can help in staving off the angstiness and somewhat childishness that some people feel with VII as it gives context to it. It also doesn't hurt that it is one of the shorter games with quite the easy-to-understand and self contained story on its own, as well as being a fantastic example of how a handheld-only JRPG can really be used to its full potential.
  • While not in the Final Fantasy series, I would definitely reccommend Kingdom Hearts to players (KHI, II, and Birth By Sleep are all great games) as they have constant action without many lulls in the gameplay and allow the player to meet some of the Final Fantasy characters in their respected stereotyped persona allowing people who are unsure what kind of mechanics they want but really want to focus on story to gravitate to some of the spotlighted FF characters and then play their respective games. It also helps that since it was also aimed at Disney fans then it doesn't expect the players to have any previous understanding of some of Final Fantasy's common items, races and abilities.

That would be my answer to the Final Fantasy question (I may later do one for Zelda as well although I would probably say that newcomers should actually play Wind Waker first).

And don't take any of my comments about disagreeing with many of your points personally as I just wanted to point out how a lot of your answers were actually swayed by your personal opinions on the story and could easily falsely persuade someone away a title which they could seriously enjoy. (I want to point this out so that my comment doesn't seem like me trying completely rebutt what you said - it is more me trying to explain how this question is actually so vague and giving an exact answer can actually mis-persuade someone onto an opinion of the franchise which they wouldn't believe if they tried another game. It honestly is a very difficult question to properly answer with the limited information that Nathan gave - although generally you gave a fair response even if I disagree with a lot of it :) ).

P.S. sorry this post was so long - I didn't expect it to be when I started. And excuse my bad grammar and spelling, I'm not the greatest typer.

#13 Posted by MegaLombax (419 posts) -

Really good elaborations man.

#14 Posted by pyrodactyl (2272 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

@pyrodactyl: Could you explain what you mean by FFXII not being old school FF? For me it has all the same characteristics of old school FFs so I feel like our definitions must be different or we are seeing FF XII very differently.

Let's just say that gameplaywise, FF XII has way more in common with WoW than with FF 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 10-2

The story is also more focused on politics and less on characters

Still a solide game though

#15 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

My advice to people who haven't played Final Fantasy and are looking for a good starting off point would be to hunt down and play a copy of Baldur's Gate 2 instead.

#16 Posted by pyrodactyl (2272 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

My advice to people who haven't played Final Fantasy and are looking for a good starting off point would be to hunt down and play a copy of Baldur's Gate 2 instead.

next you're gonna tell me that someone looking to get into turn base strategy games should start with excom 3

#17 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1172 posts) -

I actually came into The Legend of Zelda scene pretty late and my first game was Wind Waker. I kept a FAQ handy just in case. One other thing to note is don't let Majora's Mask be your first LoZ game. That game is very fun and challenging once you understand the series' formula but if you've never played one it's incredibly confusing and frustrating.

#18 Posted by AlisterCat (5698 posts) -

A more simplified version of my opinion would be that Final Fantasy 4 - 10 are all worth playing. They're all great infact. Haven't played the first 3.

#19 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

A more simplified version of my opinion would be that Final Fantasy 4 - 10 are all worth playing. They're all great infact. Haven't played the first 3.

The DS version of Final Fantasy III is well worth playing. Final Fantasy I and II are both long in the tooth, but are still very playable. Though, as a caveat, the leveling system in Final Fantasy II is bizarre in that it's based on the characters' actions in battle.

#20 Posted by Hunter5024 (5892 posts) -

I think these answers are too complex. For a newcomer to the series I would say look at ff6, and ff10, decide which one you think looks more interesting and jump in.

#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11991 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@AlisterCat said:

A more simplified version of my opinion would be that Final Fantasy 4 - 10 are all worth playing. They're all great infact. Haven't played the first 3.

The DS version of Final Fantasy III is well worth playing. Final Fantasy I and II are both long in the tooth, but are still very playable. Though, as a caveat, the leveling system in Final Fantasy II is bizarre in that it's based on the characters' actions in battle.

I dunno. I think any game with an easily abusable leveling system that encourages your characters to attack themselves should be given a wide berth.

That being said, I'm surprised this topic hasn't devolved to FF SUX LOL and similarly place my recommendations on IV/VI for Final Fantasy and OOT/LttP for Zelda.

Online
#22 Posted by StarvingGamer (8456 posts) -

I'm just gonna say that XII had the most abysmal combat system out of any of the FF games in my opinion based on one key fact. Despite the fact that battles take place in real time, the game can only handle a single spell animation at once. This means that if you have two or more characters casting spells, even if both of their bars are full, you have to wait for the first character to go through their entire spell animation before the next character's spell can initiate. The same holds true for enemy spells. The problem this causes is that while your party is stuck waiting for their turn to cast their spells, any enemies using regular attacks are able to take multiple turns since they can ignore the spell animation that is already occurring.

It really bummed me out. Ivalice is one of my favorite settings in anything ever, the soundtrack for XII is fucking bomb, and I was a huge fan of the actual gameplay structure. Unfortunately, I just couldn't put up with the frustration of trying to actually play a game that actively punished attempts at clever strategy and made over-leveling the only guaranteed path to success. It's one of the few FF games I have started and never finished.

That said, if you only give half a shit about the combat system and just want an amazing world, fun story, and great characters, FFXII might be a good choice.

FFIX FOR LYFE!!!

#23 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater said:

@Hailinel said:

@AlisterCat said:

A more simplified version of my opinion would be that Final Fantasy 4 - 10 are all worth playing. They're all great infact. Haven't played the first 3.

The DS version of Final Fantasy III is well worth playing. Final Fantasy I and II are both long in the tooth, but are still very playable. Though, as a caveat, the leveling system in Final Fantasy II is bizarre in that it's based on the characters' actions in battle.

I dunno. I think any game with an easily abusable leveling system that encourages your characters to attack themselves should be given a wide berth.

That being said, I'm surprised this topic hasn't devolved to FF SUX LOL and similarly place my recommendations on IV/VI for Final Fantasy and OOT/LttP for Zelda.

It was an interesting experiment, at the very least. There aren't many RPGs of that type that present stat growth in the manner it does.

#24 Edited by Akyho (1692 posts) -

I just wanted to add my opinions.

And Important note is nearly 90% of Final Fantasy games have zero to do with one another. So play them in any order.

I and II are very old 8bit games. However they are good games despite how simple they are now. If you fancy old 8bit Jrpg's give it a try, I wouldn't recommend on a first outing.

III is the jump to 16bit graphics. If you enjoy Chrono Trigger and other 16bit games. Go ahead. Alot of people praise it as one of the best.

IV V VI, I have zero clue on any of these. As I can never get a straight answer and find the right games. As American renamed then 1 2 and 3 since the true 1 2 and 3 wasn't released. Which only add more confusing when you suddenly jump to FF7. I cannot comment on these.

VII is what most people know and love. It graphics are certainly something that hasnt aged well. Aswell as a few of the RPG gameplay. However It is certianly a Gem of its time. As for story and game play It was good. Worth a check in. I find it hard to praise it too much as time and personal nostalgia compromises it. However I cannot simply beat it down and call it a terrible and bad game. You would need to try it yourself.

VIII, Is first big leap. It has a more realistic story with humanoid characters instead of anime/cartoony. The gameplay and story is much like FF. A realy good game that fixes the any problems that FF7 had.

IX Takes a leap back to the 16bit era, does a story and art style that is just an updated version. Again brings over the improvements from FF8

X, Is a leap back to the same style as FF8 however it a stranger world. Leveling up has been changed radically and combat has different tweaks, A very good game however if can lose your attention or even at points seem completely alien to the FF series, It starts to walk away from what FF is known for at 10. A good game none the less.

X-2.....thats right 10-2 a sequel to a sequel. This is basically an rehash of 10 with a terrible story and terrible changes. Avoid unless you were completely inlove with FF10 world and characters. and can handle the Girl factor being cranked to 11! Instead of the traditional summons. You use dress spheres and changed the girls clothes, this now makes them a different class and yeah...... this marks the decline.

XI is an MMORPG. I dont know if it still runs. However not important to play.

XII I absolutely hated 12. I just realy realy dont like and couldnt play very long. the absolute changed in combat got old quickly. Instead of turn based it was a real time turn base. Not at all like Chrono trigger or previous FF had. It was a cross between Monster hunter run around and slash, with the limit meter from Chrono trigger/FF put on top. Meaning you attack run away wait for your limit meter to go up then you can attack again. Horrible.

XIII it goes back to a sort of Turn based combat while keeping certain elements of 12. However all freedom has been taken and you are on a super narrow path. Super Mario feels like it has more freedom! The story is dependent on you , if you are not irritated by the first 6 characters. Then you might survive. I would advice against this one. I couldnt play it past the proluge...that took me 4hours...and it was linear!!! I can accept cut-scenes. Hell MGS has long cut-scenes, MGS4 had one last for 45 minutes!! Except there is GAMEPLAY between it!.

XIII-2 yeah we are backing to a sequel of a sequel. It improves on the faults of XIII apparently....I dont know...I dont care...I just never touched it. Certainly not the place to start in FF world.

Overall the best choices are either go to with FF 3, 9 to understand FF.

Go with FF7 and check it out to understand better peoples enjoyment of FF7 and FF.

Go with FF8 if you want to skirt close to FF7 without delving into the old graphics.

@Hunter5024 Yeah...i think you are right. Not your suggestions, I would argue. However FF is not a simple thing to just go into. FF6 is the more up to date of the older games, While ff10 is a vast leap on what is actually FF. So you kind of have to go into the Pro's and Cons of each game. As they can changed drastically. Also we dont know what the person wants. Dot hey want to understand FF? or do they want to understand FF7? or do they simply want a good game to play?

In which case your suggestion's hold up fine on good games to play.

Unless they want to understand FF or FF7. In which case. Id say 6 is the best bet out of your suggestion.

#25 Posted by Galiant (2195 posts) -

The amount of nostalgia in this thread is palpable.

I'm saying this as a fan of FF and someone who never really enjoyed a Zelda game, with the exception of Phantom Hourglass.


So that's my recommendation: FFXII and Phantom Hourglass, two relatively modern games that really represent what their franchise is about.

#26 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: I understand why people compare FFXII to WoW, but I don't think that's really very accurate. FFXII is very much like other FF games in many respects. However, compared to IV, VI and VII through X you have far more freedom in character classes/weapons (like a job system, anybody can do anything). The bigger difference is that there is no overworld or random encounter instances, which is basically what defines all FF game battle mechanics. Like Chrono Cross, you see the enemies on the map and can move around them or fight them (in most cases). As well, you can automate (though you don't have to) all the actions of your party members. This last point is huge, and when players don't know how much to automate, or whether to automate at all, it can dampen the experience.

#27 Posted by mosespippy (4364 posts) -

@pyrodactyl said:

@mosespippy said:

@pyrodactyl: Could you explain what you mean by FFXII not being old school FF? For me it has all the same characteristics of old school FFs so I feel like our definitions must be different or we are seeing FF XII very differently.

Let's just say that gameplaywise, FF XII has way more in common with WoW than with FF 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 10-2

The story is also more focused on politics and less on characters

Still a solide game though

I would argue that the old school games also feature politics*. In the old ones there was always some king or queen who had to deal with some great threat. Sometimes it was a neighbouring kingdom; sometimes it was a world ending threat. In FF VII it was a major mining/energy/munitions corporation instead of a government. There are still political factors at play though. FF XII still had a pretty big focus on characters too. Ashe wants to liberate her kingdom from occupation and maybe get revenge for her husband's death. Basch wants to reinstate Ashe as Queen so that her kingdom can help gain freedom for his kingdom. His brother is also a problem since he killed Ashe's father and is a Judge for Archadia. Balthier has to deal with his father's addiction to Nethicite, plus his father is the head researcher for the enemy empire. Fran has to deal with the family that she abandoned. Vaan and Penello are both orphans dealing with the loss of their families in the war. All of them have something to gain from defeating the Archadians. That's way more characterization than the first game which didn't even name the characters.

All that aside, to me FF XII feels like an old school Final Fantasy at it's core. There are towns with merchants and passers by who always talk about something that just happens to be about something you can do, whether it's pointing you down the path for the main story or towards side content. Each town is connected by vast areas full of enemies. Branching off from these towns and overworld areas are dungeons, usually mines or caves in the case of FF XII. At the end of the dungeons is a boss and after that there is a teleport crystal that will bring you back to town. Eventually you meet a guy named Cid and there is an airship and chocobos. Combat wise you are still gathering equipment, leveling up, doing physical and magical attacks, casting buffs & heals and doing summons. They just added a way to automate your combat because they realized that you are going to be doing the same things over and over whenever you are fighting enemies that don't pose a challenge.

*I've only played 1, 2, 5, 7, 12, and 13. It's possible the others didn't and I'm just not aware.

#28 Posted by TwoLines (2826 posts) -

Guys, this turned into a discussion about favourite FF games again. Can't we have ONE thread about FF games that doesn't end up with people whipping out their lists?

#29 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1266 posts) -

Just to mention you can play both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask on the Wii via virtual console. That's how I played the two and they were fine with the classic controller or a game cube controller.

#30 Edited by Viking_Funeral (1854 posts) -

I think we missed the point of the question here. Two games to check out does not mean run down every game with your own personal opinion.

@GERALTITUDE: I, II, and III are similar? In that they're all games on the NES with similar graphics, sure, but those games play very differently. Final Fantasy II has an incredibly frustrating yet easy to abuse leveling system that's found no where else in the series. It's also the first game in the series to focus on the plot, but that's a digression. Final Fantasy III was also the first game in the series to use the job system, and created many of the classes found throughout the Final Fantasy series. (Also, Moogles.) It would be more correct to say that Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy V are very similar.

@Hunter5024 said:

I think these answers are too complex. For a newcomer to the series I would say look at ff6, and ff10, decide which one you think looks more interesting and jump in.

Exactly. FF6 is the culmination of the 2D sprite games, and FF10 is the safe middle point for the 3D games. This would be my answer to the question.

@Akyho said:

III is the jump to 16bit graphics. If you enjoy Chrono Trigger and other 16bit games. Go ahead. Alot of people praise it as one of the best.

What are you smoking? Final Fantasy III is a Famicon/NES game. I appreciate your desire to express your opinion on every single Final Fantasy, just as these threads always tend to devolve into, but at least know what you are talking about.

@TwoLines said:

Guys, this turned into a discussion about favourite FF games again. Can't we have ONE thread about FF games that doesn't end up with people whipping out their lists?

That's funny. NO.

#31 Posted by Hunter5024 (5892 posts) -

@Akyho said:

@Hunter5024 Yeah...i think you are right. Not your suggestions, I would argue. However FF is not a simple thing to just go into. FF6 is the more up to date of the older games, While ff10 is a vast leap on what is actually FF. So you kind of have to go into the Pro's and Cons of each game. As they can changed drastically. Also we dont know what the person wants. Dot hey want to understand FF? or do they want to understand FF7? or do they simply want a good game to play?

In which case your suggestion's hold up fine on good games to play.

Unless they want to understand FF or FF7. In which case. Id say 6 is the best bet out of your suggestion.

My reasoning behind these two games is because I think they are the best 2 examples of the 2 major eras of Final Fantasy. For the later Final Fantasies I didn't choose 7 because I think the graphics really hold it back in this era and because he probably already knows too much about the characters to be able to come at it fresh considering that entry is so popular, 8 had a pretty divisive junction system, 9 was a throw back to the older era so he would be better off playing 6 instead of that one, 12 is a complete deviation from all of the other games, and 13 stripped out a lot of the elements that have been in all of the other Final Fantasy's. 10 on the other hand is generally well liked and happens to be one of the most modern entries in the franchise so it would be easier for someone whose fresh to the series to get into. I think the reasons I chose 6 are probably pretty obvious.

#32 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1854 posts) -

said:

You make a good point about FFIII and the job system, but I think all of three of those games have very thin stories and very little presentation. Compared to everything that follows they're a little skeletal, but maybe you'd disagree. I thought this would be important to a newcomer.

Thanks for your answer, and sorry my long personal opinions wore you down. If you'd take the time to read the comments in this forum you'd see many are long and opinionated. That happens when people are passionate about games they like.

Your answer is concise but it says nothing. Nothing at all: "FF6 is the culmination of the 2D sprite games, and FF10 is the safe middle point for the 3D games. This would be my answer to the question."

Culmination of what? It's just the best? That's your description? Pique my interest a little, Paul. Tell me something. What's special about it? What do people think? Why should I, someone who knows nothing about the series, even consider it? Oh yeah, it's "the culmination."

Answer number 2 is even better. Thanks Paul, now I really want to play FFX (the safe middle point). Just because you get scared and annoyed when you see a big block of text doesn't mean more description isn't useful. I for one love to read rants about games from people on the forums. It's the best review.

I didn't answer that other brilliant comment you quoted because it's just as selfish. You guys don't look cool, and you're not helping.

No need to take it personally.

The question was which 2 games to check out to get into the series. You didn't answer that, though the title of the thread was a claim that you would.

Do I really need to explain the word culmination to you? It's the end or final stage of something, often with the highest development.

And, yes, if someone is trying to get into a series, a mid-point is a good place to start, especially if the stories are not interconnected.

You guys don't look cool, and you're not helping.

Actually, we are, because we're answering the question. Again, you're taking this personally. This is the internet. If you want to survive here (and Giant Bomb is still the shallow waters) then you're going to need a thicker skin.

#33 Posted by FreakAche (2955 posts) -

@Akyho said:

IV V VI, I have zero clue on any of these. As I can never get a straight answer and find the right games. As American renamed then 1 2 and 3 since the true 1 2 and 3 wasn't released. Which only add more confusing when you suddenly jump to FF7. I cannot comment on these.

Actually only IV and VI were released in America with the different numbering scheme (2 & 3 respectively).

#34 Posted by Hunter5024 (5892 posts) -

@Paul_Is_Drunk: Where did he say that? Did he delete it after posting or something?

#35 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1854 posts) -

@Hunter5024 said:

@Paul_Is_Drunk: Where did he say that? Did he delete it after posting or something?

He sent it in a private message. I assume he did it because he knew he was being an ass and didn't want others to call him out on it. I can add you as a recipient in the conversation, if you want, since for some reason he assumed using the @ symbol with your name would have it address you as well.

I replied here because it's a public discussion, and I felt that was a continuation of the discussion at hand.

#36 Posted by Hunter5024 (5892 posts) -

@Paul_Is_Drunk said:

@Hunter5024 said:

@Paul_Is_Drunk: Where did he say that? Did he delete it after posting or something?

He sent it in a private message. I assume he did it because he knew he was being an ass and didn't want others to call him out on it. I can add you as a recipient in the conversation, if you want, since for some reason he assumed using the @ symbol with your name would have it address you as well.

I replied here because it's a public discussion, and I felt that was a continuation of the discussion at hand.

Ohh okay. I don't need to be a recipient, honestly I dont really care what he has to say, but thank you.

#37 Posted by Spoonman671 (4747 posts) -
 Sprite
 Not sprite
#38 Posted by Slag (4723 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE said:

I love the Bombcast but I was disappointed with the crew's answer to Nathan's question about The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. I believe that one of the worst things about video game culture is the obsession of what's new. Everybody should play old games. If you don't know why, I can answer that another time.

Would you mind elaborating on this?

Not that I disagree, but as someone who pretty much got to play most of these games when they were new, I guess I'm not sure what it's like to jump in now. Just curious on your perspective.

Cool of you to put this kind of effort into answering that caller btw.

#39 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

I'm glad to see people showing VIII some love. I feel like all I typically see is people ragging on it.

#40 Posted by Dixavd (1367 posts) -

@TwoLines said:

Guys, this turned into a discussion about favourite FF games again. Can't we have ONE thread about FF games that doesn't end up with people whipping out their lists?

@Paul_Is_Drunk:

How would you guys do it then? I honestly don't think a proper answer to the question could be "Play X and Y" and leave it at that. If the question had more explanation on where the person was coming from then maybe (like if the person had said "I have played other JRPG's before but not any of FF" would have given vastly different results to someone who said "I have never played an RPG and want to start with FF"). When there is no explanation then it is incredibly naive to try and answer the question with one assumption of two games to play because then you are just generalising the opinions of people into one thought of what would make a good start giving a response that doesn't help anyone. I find the only honest response is to go through every game and speak to the mechanical and plot pperspectives of each and how they relate to others - as much as possible stay away from your personal opinion of something but there are always going to be people who love the games that most people hate and hate the ones most people love; defining games relative to that is useless unless the question in the first place was "I want to know what makes Final Fantasy popular, what two games should I play to find out?" (And if that was the question then it already would come with an explanation to base a simple answer on anyway.)

The arguement that this question can be answered in one line with two games is just absurd as innevitably those answes will rely heavily on personal opinion where people will completely ignore a game they personally disliked even if in actuallity it makes great effort in explaining things to new players and giving a good overview to the entire game (the kind of people who can't understand that to new players they might actually prefer a linear experience the first time as they have no previous understanding of how mechanics and the tropes of the series work to know where to go or how far off the beaten path to go at once).

Honestly, if the person really wanted an answer as simple as "Play X and Y" then they would preobably get a better answer by just looking at the box art for each game and picking by that as it at least gives a little detail into what art style they prefer so their own opinion actually has a sway and what game they purchase and invest time in to, since asking a person for that simple a response leaves them at the mercy of the personal likes and dislikes of that person and how much they can be bothered that day to look past it and try to think of which games will be good for newcomers.

#42 Posted by DeF (4955 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: you make the whole Zelda thing really complicated.

Everything you need is a Wii and you can get Ocarina, Majora, Link to the Past via Virtual Console and even play Wind Waker on that thing, too. (3DS version of Ocarine is unquestionably the best version available, though--both in terms of how it looks and how it plays).

Also, Ocarina and Wind Waker too similar? I strongly disagree unless one is totally caught up in the "it's the same because it uses the complete X dungeons" argument which I think is silly.

#43 Posted by Ducksworth (662 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

I'm just gonna say that XII had the most abysmal combat system out of any of the FF games in my opinion based on one key fact. Despite the fact that battles take place in real time, the game can only handle a single spell animation at once. This means that if you have two or more characters casting spells, even if both of their bars are full, you have to wait for the first character to go through their entire spell animation before the next character's spell can initiate. The same holds true for enemy spells. The problem this causes is that while your party is stuck waiting for their turn to cast their spells, any enemies using regular attacks are able to take multiple turns since they can ignore the spell animation that is already occurring.

It really bummed me out. Ivalice is one of my favorite settings in anything ever, the soundtrack for XII is fucking bomb, and I was a huge fan of the actual gameplay structure. Unfortunately, I just couldn't put up with the frustration of trying to actually play a game that actively punished attempts at clever strategy and made over-leveling the only guaranteed path to success. It's one of the few FF games I have started and never finished.

That said, if you only give half a shit about the combat system and just want an amazing world, fun story, and great characters, FFXII might be a good choice.

FFIX FOR LYFE!!!

Well, yes and no. There is a hidden stat in the game that determines how many spells can be going on at once: http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Effect_Capacity

Anyways, I thought the response they had was fine. They mentioned a few games that are generally considered to be definitive of their respective series which is a fantastic place to start for someone looking to see what the fuss is all about.

#44 Posted by kalibr (120 posts) -

I was a little disappointed that they just dismissed FF7 saying it was only a good game to people who had nostalgic feelings about it. They should have taken into account the fact that the emailer had never played an FF game so most likely hasnt had a lot of experience with JRPGs in general. When I got it for my new PSX when I was younger it was the first FF I ever played and it is still one of my favorite RPGs. Its a great starting point and I played through it recently and I still enjoyed it even beyond my nostalgic feelings about it.

#45 Posted by Vasta_Narada (456 posts) -

@kalibr: FF7 is one of those games, though, that can be incredibly divisive. Personally, I think FF7 is average and always have. The story has many points that just don't make sense to me, and many issues that pop up all over the place (ex: the Weapons. Ruby giving you the ability to get a gold chocobo when the only viable option to defeat him is using Knights of the Round, which requires a gold chocobo for, or Emerald, who is a fucking cheater). On the other hand, though, the story is interesting enough, the music is generally good, and it has a bunch of meaningful sidequests.

Then again, I'm one of those guys who liked the fantasy settings in the early FF games (and 9. 9 is awesome) more than I did the quasi-steampunk/sci-fi-settings of 7,8,12, and 13.

#46 Posted by Nightriff (5238 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: Are you satisfied with their second attempt to answer the email from this previous Bombcast?

#47 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

I have not listened to the Bombcast yet!

I got mad sick this week, KO'd in the ER, but I'll listen to it as soon as I can. God knows it would have been sweet to listen to something during all that waiting.

edited for really bad spelling right after.

#48 Posted by Nightriff (5238 posts) -

@GERALTITUDE: Incase you still haven't listened yet, they read the same email again and answer so I'm curious what your think about their second attempt.

#49 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

Accidently PM'd you instead of posting it here. Original message:

Just heard. Short but sweet. Pretty satisfied actually.

It got me thinking though -- we often hear that Majora's Mask and FFXII (which is not really at all like an MMO, Patrick!) are non-representative of their series and more enjoyed by fans than newcomers, but I might disagree. Something to blog about I guess.

Further, long-ass, thoughts:

I know it's a hard question to answer but they did an OK job between the jokes getting some kind of answer out there. It's hard to talk about either of these series' anyways, just because of how highly regarded they were/are, and the history and constant chatter surrounding them. What I realize that's most interesting to me is how much we as gamers think of Zelda and FF as a series when really they are more often re-iterations on themes and mechanics. There's very little "serial" about them. This is actually really cool because it feels unique to games, and it's 100% mythmaking. Comic books might be the closest parallel, with characters living and reliving various events ad infinitum under the control of changing writers and artists.

Looking at what I wrote to you originally, this is why I don't like the argument that Majora's Mask is the "advanced" Zelda. Instead, think of Zelda as a literary canon of sorts. The more of it you know, the more parallels and comparisons you can draw. If you've never played a Zelda game, you could still very easily love the shit out of MM -- but if you know Zelda, you'll have a deeper appreciation for the game and the changes it made to the franchise formula. But MM, like FFXII, totally stand alone too.

Jeff's pick of LTTP and WW are spot on, but I'd also suggest OoT no problem, and I strongly, strongly disagree that there's anything reminiscent of that game in Darksiders other than in the broadest strokes. The GC version looks great too I think.

PHEW. Enough for now... sorry for talking your head off duder! Now allow me: What did you think?