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Posted by thatpinguino

@xpresstuning: I agree with the load times and the general battle pace, but I think IX cleaned up some of the animation time issues that were started by VII and VIII. I mean VIII's summon animations were so long that there was a boost system designed to occupy you while you watched. IX's summons have two animation sets, a long one and a short one. Unfortunately the long version is way stronger so the game actually incentivizes you to watch the long version, but even the longest summon in IX is not as bad as Eden or Bahamut in VIII.

@goliathassassin84: I never knew that trick about getting Quina's blue magic early. I always double back through Gizmaluke's Grotto because that is the only way to max out the chocobo side quest rewards before Clyra, but I have only ever done that to max out Vivi. But putting in the early work on Quina seems like a way more fun way to use her/him. I think Quina is a little like Amarant and Freya, in that they each do so much so well, but don't really snugly fit into one firm role.

Posted by XpressTuning

@8bit_archer: I played IV on the ds and I don't know that the gameplay in IV holds up anymore. The battle system in IV is really inflexible and the story moments that are the high point of IV, like literally half of your party sacrificing themselves at one point or another, are a little wonky.

There are a lot of problems with FF IV, but to be honest i'd take that simplistic, inflexible combat over the gut wrenchingly slow combat of VIII and IX.

The loading times on each random encounter, the poor framerate in the battle mode, the obscenely-long and time-consuming summons & spells, really made the combat unbearably boring in IX and VIII.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

@thatpinguino: Freya and Quina are my favorite people to play as. Freya, for her attack strength and Reiss's Wind, is automatically one of the safest characters to have around. Add in Lancer, White Draw, Dragon's Crest and the Jump command and BAM! Instant classic. People are incredibly put off by Quina's personality and it's just a shame that it hinders so many players from truly experiencing his/her functional greatness. As Quina's attack is variable, sometimes Quina hits for crap... but I've found that if you go in expecting every hit to do crap damage, you'll be delightfully surprised to find that a good 60-70% majority of Quina's attacks actually hit with damage comparable to fighting classes. You can offset this greatly by striving to capture an exorbitant amount of frogs early in the game until Quale comes and gives you the Bistro fork. In this respect, Quina actually has earlier access to his/her more powerful weapons than do any other characters. Plus you're maximizing Frog Drop, one of your best damage dealing spells, right off the bat.

There's a good trick to flesh-out Quina's blue magic list immediately after he/she's been optionally acquired for the first time. After you have your little talk with Quale and Quina joins the party, the best thing to do is immediately start learning blue magic in the marsh itself. Gigan Toad teaches Frog Drop and Aqua breath can be learned by just about everything else. Here's the trick that not many people get: Backtrack through Lindblum Dragon's Gate, through the city, and right out the front door. This clifftop portion of the world map between Lindblum Castle and pinnacle rocks is a very easy and exploitable area that's full of blue magic for Quina. For insance, learning Lv3 Def-less from a carve spider is tons easier than trying to learn it from Lamia. Limit glove can easily be learned from Axe Beak, and Mustard Bomb can be learned from the Bombs in that small forest area. (Ragtime Mouse spot.) This is by far the earliest you will ever learn this ability. Otherwise, you have to wait until the point of the story where you are fighting Red Vepals, Grenades and Wraiths. After backtracking to this easy magic gobbling spot, you can begin to digest creatures in the King Ed Plains Serpion teaches Mighty Guard, Hedgehog Pie and Lady Bug both teach Pumpkin Head, Ironite teaches Angel's Snack, and Vice teaches Vanish. (This is by far the most annoying blue magic to obtain early, but parting with a couple measly potions is not a huge risk.)

By this time, without having to move the story along even one box of dialogue text, you have already learned 9 of Quina's 24 Blue Magic spells. That's almost half! And not even that much effort or travel required. If you've done your homework up until this point, there's really nothing for Quina to learn in Gizemaluke's Grotto, so you can just stroll right through. Staying ahead of Quina's learning curve like this can allow you to learn most blue magic spells in groups, one after the other, and many times during "grind spots" that appear in-between scripted story segments so as not to hinder your game and leave you scrambling for the next save point. If you're ever interested, I can teach you another Quina-focused FF9 exploit that allows you to completely own the Grand Dragons and Garuda that inhabit the Popo's Heights area (accessed by climbing the vine in the moogle room in Gizameluke's Grotto.) Thus, you can learn the White Wind Blue Magic spell before ever visiting Cleyra, at a time when your party should not be able to stand a chance against those monsters. Quina is very easy to make into a game-breaking powerhouse of a character if you actually do choose to put some effort in. The hitch is, he/she will never just be a superior character automatically like Steiner or Freya might. And like I say, lots of people hate the character's personality... which I find to be the most egotistical and hilarious of them all! Quina is often confused, but rarely ever frightened. "I do what I want! You have problem?!"

Edited by thatpinguino

@circlenine: I personally hate it when a story needs an elaborate theory that completely re-frames the events of the plot just to make some kind of sense of everything. But as far as those crazy re-imaginings go, the Squall is Dead theory is my favorite.

Posted by CircleNine

FF8 is the best because of the Squall Is Dead theory.

Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx

While we're making blanket statements then allow me, Final Fantasy wasn't all that great until 7 and died after 10, it's ever so slowly resurrecting but it's going to need a lot of phoenix downs.

Final Fantasy VI, and Phoenix Downs heal being knocked out they don't resurrect anything.

Posted by mrfluke

k

Posted by thatpinguino

@goliathassassin84: The replay value for me comes from switching up my party composition and favoring different party members. I think the ideal party from a battle efficiency standpoint is Zidane, Garnet, Steiner, and Vivi, but I tend to use Freya and Amarant for their playstyles. Next time I'll need to use Quina... I still haven't given he/she any love on any of my playthroughs.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

@koidzine said:

I am sure I am not the first one to point this out, but:

VII is the only main FF in which you can play as Vincent, so it is unarguably the best Final Fantasy.

And that... almost works. Almost.

Posted by GoliathAssassin84

I will have to take a look at the blog on Amarant, but as for tonight it's a lost cause. I need my sleep if I am going to read and appreciate another blog. Truly, there is no other FF that uses character class and ability sets to accentuate the specific attitude of the character who owns them... But much like 10, I wish there were a way to maximize the given role first and then later branch out to customize to your own liking in the endgame. Every time I play FF9 it feels like every other time ive played FF9. That is why I purposely do not play it every year. I give myself enough time to forget about what makes it so great from a story perspective so that I can be delightfully surprised again. The replay value, however strong, is therefore driven completely by love of the story. FF9 game mechanics do not add replay, and this does sadden me a little. But it's still my fav in the series.

Edited by thatpinguino

@goliathassassin84: Well you just did a better job of explaining the materia system than I would have done, and I agree that it is the part of 7 to champion. I bypassed 7 because I just don't have the affection for it and honestly I would take more heat for giving it less attention in each category than I have for bypassing it. However, I think what makes 9's combat system so different is that, while it does not focus on making the gameplay especially flashy or intresting in and of itself, it does the best job of using the gameplay to develop the characters. For example, take my protect girls example or my blog on Amarant, in each instance the developers took the conventions established in FF 1-6 and applied those mechanics to flesh out the personalities and dispositions of the characters in 9. They take the known and adjust it to fit and accentuate 9's cast. 9 is exploitable, but not nearly to the extent 8 or 7 are. I mean you can really break those games sideways if you want.

Edited by GoliathAssassin84

As a reader, it has always been fun reading your posts because of the quality of writing and the obvious love you show for the FF franchise on the whole. That said, I have a major disagreement with your article right off the bat. While I don't fault you for excluding FF Tactics (it is a very different style of game than the rest) I believe it was wrong of you to leave 7 out of the race at the starting line like that. I happen to believe that FF7 is not the best game of the PS1 era, mostly because the developers just didn't have the same grasp of the technology that they had when it came back around to making 8 and 9. I agreed with almost all of your harsh statements about 7. Cloud was a weak lead and Sephiroth went off the deep end pretty quick. People remember the game so happily because it was graphically better than 6 at the time, but if you go back and play it now, the game just does not hold up at all visually, and the audio feels a bit dated as well. The only thing you had to say about 7 that I did not agree with was this:

"The materia system is fine but 8 and 9 have combat systems that are equal to or greater than 7's."

No, not really... You have a right to express your opinion, just as I now have the right to express mine. I love FF9, but like you said, its leveling system was very vanilla. With me, it scores as worst of the three in terms of overall quality. I do love its simplicity as a good "starting-point" game into the series however. It was the first FF I ever played, the first I helped my wife play, and quite honestly, the first I plan to help my kid(s) play. There's so little going on and it's all clear-cut. Very good to learn on, but not as deep or exploitable as 7 or 8.

I clearly don't think as highly of 8's battle system as you do. 8 did invent the Magic Draw system and the Magic/Stat Junction system, but it did not invent the Esper junction system by any stretch of the imagination. 6 was the revolutionary game that 8 stole from and actually downgraded in order to get to the GF system they achieved. Sure, you have things added in like GF compatibility and multiple different types of GF skills to learn... but it's all done completely backward. In FF6 you take a diety-like magical being and assign it to a player character. After an appropriate number of battles, the player character then begins to learn some magical ability from the diety-like magical being that it appropriately already knew. In FF8 you take a diety-like magical being and assign it to a player character all the same, right? But somehow through the battles ahead, the diety-like magical being gains experience toward its own set of skills based on the experience it has earned fighting alongside the junctioned player character? WHAT?!!! So if I am Ifrit... and HAVE BEEN Ifrit for like over 5 franchise titles now... and you junction me to Squall... then naturally the experiences and insights that I have learned whilst fighting alongside this emo gun-blade toting whiner will lead to me becoming a better Ifrit with a plethora of new abilities that I have never had before? It's preposterous! Player characters learn abilities from summons who already know them, it does not believably work the other way around. The FF8 gameplay/leveling system is very ambitious and it offers a great deal more depth and customization than 9, but I still find it ridiculously flawed in concept, rather than execution.

For my two cents, the Materia system owns all in the PS1 era competition for best gameplay/leveling mechanic. And for that win alone, I believe you should have given 7 a chance to run this race fair and square. (Pun intended) I agree it would not have come out on top anyway. It is a very dated game and it struggles to keep up with later titles on the same platform, but it did do something right to capture the hearts and minds of a whole generation of fans. It wasn't the graphics. It wasn't the basket-case main protagonist. It was the gameplay, and specifically the materia system. You can dump hours into the different combinations and uses and set-ups and equipment slots, etc, and just when you think you got it all figured out, your green status materia throws a whole different kind of status at you to master, or your yellow command materia opens up into a different command. It's pretty genius, dude. Calling it "the best" is purely my opinion. Calling it genius is just plain fact.

Best Protagonist: Lol, you didn't have to go there. It's kind of a low-blow, but it's honestly the truth. If Vivi were the main protagonist, he'd still be a better character than Squall. I happened to like Zidane better than Vivi for his insightful one-liners. "the sly eagle never shows his talons," or something like that. But Vivi was easily one of the most lovable characters in 9. Squall whined so much that I honestly wished Seifer would put him out once and for all. He didn't care about anything, didn't want to do anything and basically didn't want to interact with anybody... except for that one chick.

Best cast: You were right when you said that Squall and Rinoa were the only ones to change in 8. Unfortunately, they both did this so late in the game that I already could not be won back to either one of them. I actually cringed during their kissy moments because it was so cliche sub-par. Laguna, Kiros and Ward were the best characters in the game. Selphie and Irvine were actually my fav player characters which made me happy when they got together at the end. I have no compliants about any of the FF9 characters, party or NPC. Everyone was generally written very well. Exceedingly well actually. My favorite was Quina! If anyone felt a little lacking, it might have been Garland. But he was part android after all.

Best card game is complicated for me. I liked Tetra Master a lot better as a game, but it did not bring nearly the same rewards as Triple Triad. I thought that some of the rules in Triad were very stupid later on. I mean elemental rules are cool, but freakin' Random? Really? I don't even get to play my cards in the order I want? the CPU has to pick them for me? If they'd have left out some of those more radical card rules then I might have liked Triad better, but I stand by Tetra Master. Just too bad there wasn't a way to refine things from cards in 9 like there was in 8. THAT was one genius idea 8 had that I'm surprised did not stick with the franchise in general.

I'm getting inspired to do a little ratings system of my own across part of the FF franchise. Maybe 7,8,9,10,12? Five titles doesn't seem too hard. Might get a bit long, but... I'll kick it around and see what i come up with.

Posted by thatpinguino

@silvergun: I linked to some of my longer essays on 9 and 8 at the top of the blog post. I am thinking of writing about 10, but the newer games don't really compel me and the older stuff hasn't grabbed me as much.

Posted by Silvergun

@thatpinguino: That was really well thought out and well written. I'd love to see you dissect some of the other games in the series.

Posted by thatpinguino
Posted by DifferenceEngine

@marokai: I "ignored" VII because it would not have won any of these categories and because what I was writing was long enough without having to write about VII. VII is a good game that is buoyed by nostalgia. It has the flattest characters of the three, it has the most simplest story of the three, it has a fine combat system but not a better combat system. I mean it doesn't even HAVE a card game; how can I take a game seriously if it doesn't have a card game?

Henceforth, all Final Fantasies not featuring a card game shall be rendered onto the ash heap of gaming history regardless of the quality of their gameplay.

Posted by KoidZine

I am sure I am not the first one to point this out, but:

VII is the only main FF in which you can play as Vincent, so it is unarguably the best Final Fantasy. Also, this.

I really like FFVII.

Edited by hermes

Meh...

I get your arguments, and they are fairly well presented... But Final Fantasy VIII is still my personal favorite of that generation.

Posted by thatpinguino

@8bit_archer: I played IV on the ds and I don't know that the gameplay in IV holds up anymore. The battle system in IV is really inflexible and the story moments that are the high point of IV, like literally half of your party sacrificing themselves at one point or another, are a little wonky.

Edited by 8Bit_Archer

Good Answer. IX is my personal favorite but I will not argue with anyone who says otherwise. All three were great games. I didnt care for VII as much but, I still believe it was good.

That being said....its a close fight between 4 or 6 as the best FF game.

Posted by thatpinguino

@marokai: I "ignored" VII because it would not have won any of these categories and because what I was writing was long enough without having to write about VII. VII is a good game that is buoyed by nostalgia. It has the flattest characters of the three, it has the most simplest story of the three, it has a fine combat system but not a better combat system. I mean it doesn't even HAVE a card game; how can I take a game seriously if it doesn't have a card game?

Posted by Marokai

I hate how VII just gets categorically ignored in some of these conversations when people try to be "serious." As if because it has such a loud and proud following that any preference for it is always somehow tainted and wrong. Just immediately discounting FFVII at the outset is dumb.

Posted by Hippie_Genocide

@karkarov said:

The best numbered FF on PS1 was 7, people need to get over it and stop trying to be internet cool/trendy by implying anything else. The sales figures, the fact that everyone who owned a ps1 knows who Sepiroth and Cloud are without any other need for explanation most of the time even if they didn't play FF... It is just ridiculous trying to argue the point.

Always an objective indicator of quality.

(Not that the rest of your argument is much better, but one at a time.)

GT defines blockbuster as a game that sold over 1 million units worldwide, which is especially ironic considering we're discussing the merits of Square-Enix (and by extension, Squaresoft) games.

Posted by McLargepants

Suck on that Patrick! 9 is just so much fun, and 8 just isn't a good game. 7 is too far up its own ass to even be considered.

Posted by McGhee

9 was a complete bore. 8 all the way.

Bitches.

Edited by thatpinguino

@geraltitude: I actually began writing this as both a way to talk about two of my favorite games of all time, and to satirize how ludicrous game arguments tend to be. That is why I went so hard on the science thing and why I tried to be abrasive early on. I tried to write a typical "which game is best" blog, but add some deeper analysis to show why I appreciate each game. I know that the way I compartmentalized everything into neat categories is absurd, that's why I included a best card game category and made it count the same as best story or best cast. I thought of maybe having a dumb formula for the thing as well to add to the science motif, and maybe that would have made it more clear that I was trying to be a little tongue-in-cheek. I have written plenty of blogs that I pour hours into only to see the reaction be one of confusion or a series of "that was good but I like this game better." So I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote something a little more straightforward and conventional.

Posted by WMoyer83

7 is the best in my opinion

Posted by GERALTITUDE

@darji said:

@geraltitude said:

@darji said:

@geraltitude said:

@darji: You're always alone duder. Lol. But seriously: 7 and 9? Have you played III? It's sooo boring. But it must have been less boring than II which I basically erased from my mind. I at least was relatively short.

@thatpinguino: Yeah I just disagree about the analysis completely. I read the IX characters as very one-note and 1 dimensional, with the one single exception of Vivi. You say complicated, I say simple.

I played and finished every main FF game including tactics. So yes I think for the time it was a good game while 7 and 9 do not ave any excuses for this since one of my most favorite FF is in between these two.

I wasn't questioning your FF experience, but I still disagree. III pales in comparison to IV way harder then VII or IX pale to VIII. I remember clearly thinking that I ("one") was really cool (at the time), II was more of then same and III was way too much of the same. I bet it holds up better now then it did at the time. Either way yes, VIII is amazing.

Oh today it will probably not hold up anymore that is for sure especially not the first FF games but I really liked these games when they came out. And yes FFIV was better that is for sure. But with 7 and 9 I never found them good or interesting in the first place. FFVIII corny romance story was just perfect for me and what I really missed with 7 after Disc 1 and 9 completely. If i would play VIII today I am not even sure if I would enjoy it since I really can not play JRPGs without voice acting anymore. It is one of the standards in JRPG I really demand to find them enjoyable these days.

But yeah everyone has different opinions and I think it is great that each FF is always so polarizing with their fans. For Example everything I have seen of 15 looks absolutely stunning. If they just would focus on a Romeo and Juliet like story with these two I willl be in Heaven XD

Yeah you know when I went back to VII recently it was super hard to be motivated by the story anymore. I was very young when I played it first and it just blew my mind. Now VIII is the only one among the 3 I really enjoy replaying. It may be corny but I wonder if it's the corny romance that makes it more relateable or something.

I'm also strangely excited for XV, which I think says something about the power of the franchise, that after years and years of being disappointed a FF trailer can still make me go HOLY BALLS.

@thatpinguino: It's not necessarily that I always like characters I play as more than those who are just on my team, but I can find those moments so exciting sometimes. Like playing as Vivi or Seifer (especially after you know what happens). When you think about it in most FF games we embody one person for hours. Maybe a hundred hours depending on how crazy we are. So a character change can be meaningful. I agree with you that Vivi could be arguably the main character of FFIX, but that's partly possible because we are Vivi sometimes.

I definitely tried to play to the character in FFVIII. What I mean by that is everyone got their summons, and they would keep them the whole game. I also tried to match them, personality wise. So Zell would get Brothers (because you know, it's a big boom type summon) and Squall would get Diablos (because he's a dark bummer? lol) and so on and so forth. I did the same for junctioning magic. Zell is a physical guy, so I would give him the strongest magic he needed for a high strength, but do the same for Irvine's dexterity. I never maxed out any characters because I liked the idea of wanting to trade party members. Quistis and Selphie were my main magic users. What's interesting is that at some point Rinoa became the all-around character, and because of the stats that were high across the board (but not spiked anywhere) she often saved the day. This created an actual love for the character on my part.

I've already talked your head off but I want to go back to that point for a second because I feel it's missing in this discussion. You said "maybe you compartmentalized a little too much" and I'd say I think so. Sorry if this sounds lamely profound but games are very much the sum of their parts, not their parts individually. My gameplay experience with specific characters also affects my feelings for them as much as story does. Hence my love for Freya. I love the jump ability. And every time she saved the day with it I felt the character had saved the day, know what I mean? Similarly by playing a Squall who purposely always had low health, I was hitting everything with Renzokuken left, right and centre. This created a character who was always hunched, down, weak, needed help from everybody, but was a torrent of destruction when called on.

I loved your description of IX's abilities because you talk about how they are so character specific. It's true VIII doesn't have that by default, but it does leave room for the player to roleplay that character within the system, even if that isn't the optimum choice.

Ok... so I really want to play FF now. Thanks for this thread duder.

Edited by thatpinguino

@geraltitude: Huh, well I have never really thought of characters that way before. I usually have two boxes when I play games, the characters who I like to use and play as and the characters that I like from a story standpoint. I have never really thought of whether I like to play as a character as being central to finding them compelling. I suppose I might be looking at things too academically and too analytically then, compartmentalizing things too much. Thanks for that perspective. I can see how from your perspective the cast of 9 would be simple and boring given that they are all fairly archetypal. I wonder, in VIII did you give every character their own set of GFs that they had at all times or did you just spread all of the GFs across whoever happened to be in your party at the time. Did you make every character unique in VIII or did you just max out your favorites.

@superkenon: I started my post by dismissing VII and Tactics because I knew that my write-up was going to be several pages long even if I only discussed VIII and IX. I really don't think that VII holds up well and I don't think it would have won any of these categories. But I see your point about being less inflammatory. I'll edit the main post. I dismissed Tactics because I don't think it is even comparable to the other PS1 FF games, and honestly it is a Final Fantasy game in name and aesthetic, but everything else is completely different. I mean at that point I would be comparing across genres, not just across games, which is just really hard to do without it coming down to which style of game you prefer.

@theblue: I think "spewing hate" is a little strong. I mean I picked which aspects from each game I liked better, but it isn't like I just made fart noises at FFVIII.

Edited by Darji

@geraltitude said:

@darji said:

@geraltitude said:

@darji: You're always alone duder. Lol. But seriously: 7 and 9? Have you played III? It's sooo boring. But it must have been less boring than II which I basically erased from my mind. I at least was relatively short.

@thatpinguino: Yeah I just disagree about the analysis completely. I read the IX characters as very one-note and 1 dimensional, with the one single exception of Vivi. You say complicated, I say simple.

I played and finished every main FF game including tactics. So yes I think for the time it was a good game while 7 and 9 do not ave any excuses for this since one of my most favorite FF is in between these two.

I wasn't questioning your FF experience, but I still disagree. III pales in comparison to IV way harder then VII or IX pale to VIII. I remember clearly thinking that I ("one") was really cool (at the time), II was more of then same and III was way too much of the same. I bet it holds up better now then it did at the time. Either way yes, VIII is amazing.

Oh today it will probably not hold up anymore that is for sure especially not the first FF games but I really liked these games when they came out. And yes FFIV was better that is for sure. But with 7 and 9 I never found them good or interesting in the first place. FFVIII corny romance story was just perfect for me and what I really missed with 7 after Disc 1 and 9 completely. If i would play VIII today I am not even sure if I would enjoy it since I really can not play JRPGs without voice acting anymore. It is one of the standards in JRPG I really demand to find them enjoyable these days.

But yeah everyone has different opinions and I think it is great that each FF is always so polarizing with their fans. For Example everything I have seen of 15 looks absolutely stunning. If they just would focus on a Romeo and Juliet like story with these two I willl be in Heaven XD

Posted by TheBlue

@hilbert: I agree wholeheartedly.

This whole "The Best" business drives me up the wall. Why can't we just like them all or just like a few without spewing hate towards things others like? Oh wait...this is the internet, where my opinion is clearly superior to yours.

Edited by Pilgrimm1981

What if I don't agree with your definitive answer? The fact you don't even consider Tactics or VII totally invalidates everything else. What, is it cool these days to hate on VII? It's an amazing game, and a game that brought RPG's to a bigger audience in the West. It's not perfect by any means, but simply dismissing it because apparantly that's what the cool kids do these days, is laughable. And Tactics? That game has the best story of all and some of the more memorable characters ever. I like IX and I think that game still holds up really well today. It has a serious story brought in a whimsical way, some of the best music, good combat, but a crappy antagonist and the other characters weren't all that memorable either(save a couple)...a very good game though but VII to me is just the better game. Final Fantasy VIII on the other hand was a massive dissapointment, mainly because of the awkward melodrama, a HORRIBLE battle mechanic and angsty teenagers. it had some good moments, amazing graphics and music but on the whole, it just fell flat on it's face. The only reason it's being considered is because it has the Final Fantasy moniker, many many other rpg's on the psx are far more worthy of any sort of attention but get none. Still, it was a lot better than any of the other numbered FF games that came after IX (yes including X, I think that game is, well not good at all).

Online
Edited by Hunter5024

Interesting write up, but these games are just so different that I have trouble arguing between them, especially if we're going to try and get all objective and definitive about it. Your reasoning is totally valid, but I'd take 8 over 9 most days, and I'd always take 7 over either one. Not because there are some objective qualities that make it a better game, but because the decisions they made appeal more to my tastes. Which is why you could say "Cloud is a shitty protagonist" and I could be all "Nawh son" and technically we'd both be right.

Posted by Superkenon

@darji said:

Man I would really love an opposite thread which discusses the worst ff Main games. I wonder If I am alone with 9 and 7 being the worst ff main games^^

There's always someone to hate something, so I'd bet you're not alone. A thread with the purpose of shittalkin' sounds like the worst idea, though. Giant Bomb tends to have my favorite Final Fantasy threads precisely because folks are usually more positive than negative, or are at least discussing their likes/dislikes in a cordial manner. (Kinda wish Mr. Penguino hadn't started off his post with inflammatory remarks, because the rest of his post is actually an interesting and thoughtful analysis, even if I don't agree with all of it.)

For me, even my least favorite Final Fantasies (cough, FFXIII, cough) have aspects I enjoy, and I find it's more fun to talk about those aspects than harp on what I hate.

Posted by gokaired

If I remember my gaming history I got into FF real late 2004ish late and I've been playing games since the early 90s.

I only really got into RPG at 13ish, the first I remember playing was 7 partly because back then not a lot of people where calling it what it was (not that good ;) ) and it felt super duper awkward, the mechanics the story. I played 10 and it was worse, busy work with the worst characters I've seen in a popular franchise, the thing is though the plot is actually interesting and clever but it is dragged down by very bad inconsistencies and other silly stuff 10-2 was better barring all the dumb fanservice.

When the GBA got all the old FFs then I started to get into it, working my way up to 6 that game felt tight, the mechanics, the story and graphically sharp, almost all FF music is wicked but was more memorable, Melodically I suppose it was superior. Played 3 on the DS then went and played the original, vastly improved.

I was then inspired to play the other PS games, fully, 8 was embarrassing, an uninteresting main character, a non-sense plot (even for FF) the only one worse was 13, that series is balls. For all those who ever claimed the Nintendo FF where simplified at least they required some thought and strategy you don't need either in 13 and that's just talking about the combat everything else is just as bad, some of the music is okay though I'd talk about Graphics but you only see the benefit in cutscenes which takes up most of the game.

12 was cool, Vaan shouldn't have been the main character though, he was the least important to the plot.

If I'd rank the games though in overall quality

6

9

4

12-series (that DS game was cool too)

3 (mainly the DS version)

7

5

1 and 2 (hard to place) (GBA versions)

8

10 series

13 series

Posted by Nightriff

Fantastic writeup. I don't like FF games but enjoyed reading your write up. Seemed like a fair analysis. Maybe I should've tried to play either 8, 9, or 10 instead of 7 and 13. That could be why I don't care for the franchise

Online
Posted by cfilipec

nope

Patrick got it right the first time =P

cmon people. Humans look more like Squall than Zidane (a little more at least)

and this

Posted by GERALTITUDE

@darji said:

@geraltitude said:

@darji: You're always alone duder. Lol. But seriously: 7 and 9? Have you played III? It's sooo boring. But it must have been less boring than II which I basically erased from my mind. I at least was relatively short.

@thatpinguino: Yeah I just disagree about the analysis completely. I read the IX characters as very one-note and 1 dimensional, with the one single exception of Vivi. You say complicated, I say simple.

I played and finished every main FF game including tactics. So yes I think for the time it was a good game while 7 and 9 do not ave any excuses for this since one of my most favorite FF is in between these two.

I wasn't questioning your FF experience, but I still disagree. III pales in comparison to IV way harder then VII or IX pale to VIII. I remember clearly thinking that I ("one") was really cool (at the time), II was more of then same and III was way too much of the same. I bet it holds up better now then it did at the time. Either way yes, VIII is amazing.

Edited by MormonWarrior

I was the perfect age for these games when they came out and I never understood why anyone would like VII. I thought it looked like garbage back then, Barrett was a racist stereotype, and all the other characters were lame. So yeah it's VIII versus IX.

Ultimately, I like playing IX better than VIII for its varied combat system, bombastic areas and enemies and sheer fantasy fun...but the story literally just stops going anywhere about halfway through. I'm convinced there is no plot to that game. Things happen, you learn about the interesting characters, and then...I dunno, end boss or something. VIII was more cohesive in that respect, even though it was insane. The playable characters beyond Squall and Rinoa aren't terribly developed, but side characters like Edea, Laguna, Seifer, Julia, Ellone and Raine are pretty well developed and interesting. The whole "GFs give us amnesia" thing was a dumb plot contrivance that's always bothered me, but I liked the summon designs best in that game and the sidequests were pretty awesome. Therefore, VIII is ultimately the better game, or at least the one I'm most nostalgic for.

You didn't bring up music, and VIII beats IX handily in that regard. I like the main menu theme in IX and that's about it...the rest is kind of bland in comparison to VIII or VI.

EDIT: Oh, and I discount Tactics as an option because, frankly I don't think it's as good as the other three Final Fantasies on the PSone. So there. I think it's pretty overrated, honestly.

Edited by believer258

@believer258: Oh my God!!!! I'm so sorry. I didn't think that I could spoil a 14 year old game for anyone so I didn't use the blocks. My bad.

It's all right. I was half-joking anyway.

(Though, you should probably still put a bombshell like that in spoilers if it's not an "it was his sled" type of spoiler".)

Edited by thatpinguino

@believer258: Oh my God!!!! I'm so sorry. I didn't think that I could spoil a 14 year old game for anyone so I didn't use the blocks. My bad.

Edited by believer258

9 actually has the stones to kill off its youngest and most vulnerable character at the end of the game AND SHOW YOU HIS DYING THOUGHTS AS A PORTION OF THE EPILOG!

GOD DAMN IT, MAN, I WAS JUST NOW PLAYING THROUGH THIS GAME. WE HAVE SPOILER BLOCKS. WE. HAVE. SPOILER. BLOCKS.

(Referring to FFIX, just incase you need to know).

Posted by Darji

@darji: You're always alone duder. Lol. But seriously: 7 and 9? Have you played III? It's sooo boring. But it must have been less boring than II which I basically erased from my mind. I at least was relatively short.

@thatpinguino: Yeah I just disagree about the analysis completely. I read the IX characters as very one-note and 1 dimensional, with the one single exception of Vivi. You say complicated, I say simple.

I played and finished every main FF game including tactics. So yes I think for the time it was a good game while 7 and 9 do not ave any excuses for this since one of my most favorite FF is in between these two.

Edited by GERALTITUDE

@geraltitude: But why do you say they are simple? You mentioned that you like the characters of VIII better and that you appreciated how they grow, but I don't see how IX's cast can be discounted.

Oh sorry I don't mean discounted at all. Like I said I love Vivi and Freya is a huge favorite of mine. Amarant is cool. But Zidane, Garnet, Echo and the rest just didn't move me in the sense that I didn't usually care if they were in my party or not. I always wanted Freya and Vivi in my party just like I was always so excited when I played as Laguna. Steiner looks great and is fun mechanically but he's just a knight to me. He's obsessed with protecting the princess and can't understand she needs to feel free. That's nice and all, but it doesn't seem especially complex (though again, I don't think complex = necessarily better ) or different to me.

Vivi is special for obvious reasons (including that he is a Player Character at times - which happens often enough in FF games but is still pretty rare; note that in VIII you play as the people in your team more often than in other FF games thanks to missions with multiple teams/flashbacks, etc, so that could be a reason I'm more attached to them as well). Freya was my favourite because she's not only a super fun class but her story is actually emotional. Few characters in FF have had anything so awful happen to them. You're told to feel bad for other characters (Garnet, for example), but something happens to Freya that is so massive you can't help but feel for her. It's that same scene that makes Queen Brahne a great villain (and Odin such a terrifying baddass).

So to try to summarize that, I feel that Garnet, Zidane, Echo, Steiner and Amarant are all characters who I like, but ultimately go and do what I expect them to. I never felt like I missed out by choosing X character over Y character for any given section of the game, which I felt constantly in VIII. One of the things we both like about Vivi is that he questions the world and his place in it a lot. I'd argue that this is the central theme of Final Fantasy VIII, and that nearly all the characters go through this. I think that's why many characterize VIII as "emo" or "teen angst", because it really is all about love, death, ego and what people think about each other. I feel I should add here that Squall gets asked a lot of questions by party members that you can answer how you feel. I can't prove that there are more dialogue options in VIII than other FFs, but that's certainly my gut feeling, and I would say that contributed to my attachment to those characters too.

Posted by thatpinguino

@geraltitude: But why do you say they are simple? You mentioned that you like the characters of VIII better and that you appreciated how they grow, but I don't see how IX's cast can be discounted.

Edited by DifferenceEngine

I never really understood what people saw in IX. It was hyped as a return to classic FF, and in many ways it was, in other words, BORING. The gameplay felt like it was too old schoolish for its own good. The game as a whole was neither good nor bad, it was just kinda, there. It also didn't help that the game's aesthetic was so archaic IMO, better suited to a portable game.

Perhaps IX's gameplay design was the result of the backlash from the unusual interface of VIII? I get the feeling that FFVIII was like the Windows 8 of its time for fans of Final Fantasy. On that account, I can understand why gamers are so put off by VIII. One trend that didn't change in IX was the decidedly over the top approach to plots from VIII, Square seemed to double down on this in IX. VII had a mostly solid foundation without being too "out there", same with VIII although a bit more strange, IX was just plain bat-shit crazy to me. But hey, at least no one that I recall had amnesia in IX (feel free to correct me on this, it's been over a decade since I played these games) unlike the main characters from seemingly most other Squaresoft RPGs at the time even going back to FF III/VI. So ditching the amnesia angle for once was nice.

I couldn't care less about the characters from VII-IX. Though Barret, Vincent, Cid, Zell, Quistis, and Freya weren't so terrible by JRPG standards. Not any one of the characters from the PSX FF games stand out much IMO, save for the female protagonists from each game which excelled at being so damn irritating and forced. Oh how grateful I was at the time for the lack of voice acting in Square's games in the 32-bit era. When I played VIII and IX, I made it a point to never use Rinoa or Dagger/Princess unless absolutely necessary. As already mentioned by someone else, the reluctant hero bit was getting lame. Cloud and Squall were the same cut outs with different coats of paint. Zidane was an admirable attempt at a different approach for a protagonist, but I can't quite decide if his character was meant to be a mockery of the game's genre or not.

Looking back on VII, I really wish that Square had spent more time with it in production, especially when you can see the improvements in VIII. At times, VII is such an eyesore. No wonder fans of VII are begging for a remake.

Between the three games I'd probably have to give a slight edge to VIII over VII with IX in a distant third. Between VII and VIII, both were a boatload of emo either way (yay for the 90s!), but bonus points for VIII for attempting to go in another direction and it has the least number of flaws of the three games.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

@darji: You're always alone duder. Lol. But seriously: 7 and 9? Have you played III? It's sooo boring. But it must have been less boring than II which I basically erased from my mind. I at least was relatively short.

@thatpinguino: Yeah I just disagree about the analysis completely. I read the IX characters as very one-note and 1 dimensional, with the one single exception of Vivi. You say complicated, I say simple.

Posted by thatpinguino

@geraltitude: I think you are short selling the characters in IX, there are just as many likable side characters in IX: Lani, Cid, Beatrix, Blank, Cina, Marcus, Baku, and Quan. I will agree that some of the traits of the characters in VIII are more memorable because they are so one note and easy to understand. My argument is largely that the characters in VIII are 1 dimensional caricatures, rather than fleshed out characters. I prefer complicated characters with strong motivation and growth, VIII has tons of moments of high drama, but it lacks the depth and breadth that IX has. It is a case of soap-opera melodramatics vs. more varied and complex characters; thus, I think that the cast of IX is the more compelling group.

Posted by Darji

Man I would really love an opposite thread which discusses the worst ff Main games. I wonder If I am alone with 9 and 7 being the worst ff main games^^

Edited by GERALTITUDE

lol thanks for the write up. Interesting thoughts.

And here's why you're wrong yo.

Best Story: Ok maybe you're not wrong about this one. haha. FF8 is the better story. The end of the game is basically that Inception movie folded in on itself a few times over. Wait, am I fighting my necklace right now?

Best Cast: Why are you people still using the Old White Man's Guide to Reviewing Characters? Look - fuck what you learnt in literary school. The measure of a good character isn't actually how much they change - the "character arc" is an old, lame tool made to help boring people write interesting stories. Videogames aren't literature and they should not follow those lame rules.

My favorite thing about FF8 is it really matters which characters you take on which missions. There's so much dialogue and everyone brings a very different perspective and also has a unique relationship with other characters on the team. You're also flat out wrong about some character's staying the same. Maybe you just forgot the scene where Irvine repents his ways, or how Quistis confronts the weirdness of her relationship with Squall and just her general unhappiness/happiness as an instructor. Both Squall and Seifer have huge moments where they wrestle with ego (or simpler things, like Death). Unlike IX which gives each character 1 big moment/environment, the characters of VIII develop more slowly over time (Vivi is the exception). The conversation at the destroyed basketball court is where alot of it comes together as I remember.

I think Vivi and Freya are the only standout characters in IX. VIII has Squall and Rinoa yes but it also has Laguna and Zell (he's so likeable come on!) plus there are so many random characters you meet and love over time (Raijin and Fujin? Biggs and Ward? Headmaster Cid? The Queen of Cards?)

Best Gameplay: This is a hard one. I really love the limit breaks in VIII but IX has an honest-to-goodness Dragoon Class character and that nearly takes the cake all it's own. On the flip side pulling R1 to shoot the gunblade as you attack never gets old, even on attack number 1 000 003. And Squall's limit is intensely satisfying. As well, the simplified relationship you have with limits is really exciting in VIII. You can purposely keep your health low and try and get a limit break, but of course you're risking your life.

Best Card Game: Yeah this is easy. Triple Triad is the shit.

Best World: VIII by a landslide. The number of places to explore and the detail therein is shit you didn't see back then and don't see now. Also Encounter None makes exploration actually fun too.

Best Side Quest: DUDE WHAT!? WTF?? The Chocobo quest? No. Just no.

Best Protagonist: Vivi's certainly better than Squall, but Laguna's better than Vivi. Yeah, that's right.

In closing, it's obvious that VIII is better IX, and both are better than VII, but none are better than XII.

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