GrantHeaslip's forum posts

#1 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

OOoh, oooh. let's get started.

Caius' motivation makes no sense whatsoever. He waits until the last incarnation of Yeul is dead and then decides to try and release some chaos or some shit to annihilate all of reality in order to prevent her from dying over and over. She's already dead for the last time!! There are literally two humans left in the universe: Caius and Noel. Where do babies even come from in this nonsensical clusterfuck of a universe?

If you can hold off for a few months, we can have this discussion in earnest :).

Add me to the list of FFXIII supporters; however, I classify original XIII as the worst of the trilogy. I'm not saying it's a complete piece of trash--as it established many of the story and gameplay ideas that I enjoyed throughout the series--but it has some clear problems: an extremely boring lead-up period to true character development freedom, some of the laziest side content I've ever seen, and a fairly bland world to explore. It took my recent playthrough (with the PC version) to realize just how thinly designed some of the areas outside of the combat system are.

I still haven't replayed LR yet (waiting for PC version), but I stand by that one as being my favorite simply because it never should have been as good as it was. All of its haphazardly slapped together elements manage to come together into something fantastic and memorable, a perfect melding of the two. Because I've only played it once, I have a hard time defining exactly what makes it stand out more than its predecessors, but it became one of my favorite JRPGs to date after I finished it.

Finally, to wrap up my lengthy post, I noticed you say that you didn't see a reason to micromanage abilities in XIII. There are a couple good reasons for doing this. First, by casting a spell you know a boss/enemy is weak to, you can get the AI to autocast it much faster (as it learns that the enemy is weak immediately). Second, the optional content can get a good deal harder than the main story. You really need to cast buffs manually to ensure they go up in particular orders or time your attacks to ensure success. It's not necessary for 90% of the game, but it can really help in that other 10%.

I feel like I sort of tarred my experience with Lightning Returns by breaking it so thoroughly that I was finished the main quest by the end of day 3. In some ways, it's a really interesting game to me because of that mechanical flexibility, but I probably should have seen what I was doing to my experience and backed off. Many of my qualms with XIII-2 carry over to it -- the combat's somewhat unbalanced, the production values are pretty rough in places, and the story gets kind of unhinged (also, the soundtrack is amazing). I want to go back and replay XIII-2 and Lighting Returns -- I feel like I might be undeservedly lukewarm on them.

I'm sure you're right about autocast. I didn't get very deep into the optional bosses the first time around, and I see what you're saying about teaching the AI teammates the weaknesses right at the beginning of the fight. I believe I caught onto the latter during my first playthrough.

#2 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

I've never played a DOA game before, but I've been meaning to check out the free version. I just queued it up. What you said about the simplicity and accessibility is a big draw for me -- I've tried to get into P4A and USFIV but I have so much trouble getting over the myriad mechanics and ridiculous learning curves.

The fanservice seems like a bit much for my tastes, but I've always sort of respected Team Ninja's unabashed dedication to perfecting their doll lady rendering technology. Like, they're easy to make fun of, but they're doing their thing and I can kind of get behind that.

#3 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@sinusoidal: I see where you're coming from, but I'll hold off on more specifically disagreeing with you until I start writing about more specific parts of the game :).

I will let more able people defend FFXIIIII , it is my fav FF games .... alos my favs are VIIII and VI and Tactics so I pretty much played all types of FF (I have indeed played some of -2-3 5 a well so do know how all FF goes). My most hated ones are IX and XII. I still do not understan what people find har to get from FFXIIII´s story it makes pefect sense and at least the main antogonist has an inteesting reason to make bad shit happens outside of the "I bad must conquer world" that most FF have. Also the fal cie and lcie terms are explained in a codex so I still dont know what folks bitch about , as if other highly regarded rpgs hasnt used their own terms as well (Witcher , Dragon Age , Mass Effect , Pokemon etc.) so whoever complaints about that are just grasping straws.

Anyway I will end this and say that Im glad there are more people aprreciative of this game and Brad Shoemaker is just wrong wrong wrong!!!!! >:3

I haven't read Brad's review in quite a while, but I don't really think he's wrong so much as he has different priorities and expectations. WRT villains, I think XIII's a little weak, but XIII-2's Caius is one of my favourites.

@slag said:

In a way seeing you come full circle makes me happy @grantheaslip . I mean in an ideal world the latest game should be the greatest right?

I think you have a good point about the leveling balancing fine tuning linear game design allows. And I do think Xiii-2 really suffered from not having that, that game got super easy.

I think perhaps what FF Xiii didn't quite pull off as well as say FF IV,FF Vi and X, is mixing up the pace of story tunnel so to speak. And this is something I've kinda come to refine my thinking a bit in part due to your blogs.

Whereas Iv, Vi and X also basically were story tunnels, IV even had a fugitive storyline like Xiii, but they'd have mini world map segments in between dungeons/story beats that would allow the player to kinda wander around the neighborhood a bit before progressing forward.

So eventhough their worlds weren't really open till the endgame, they gave the player the illusion they were. Meanwhile Xiii is full throttle a corridor non-stop until you hit Gran Pulse, which then almost was like a massive wandering area overload. Whereas Iv, Vi,X etc all had mini Gran Pulse-esque segments sprinkled throughout the game every 2 hours or so. It's the lack of contrast I think that lead to the criticism I think.

But yeah kinda like you Xiii is a game that the more distance I get from it, the more I've come to appreciate it.

I have a hard time speaking with any real authority about the side content in the other games because I'm not typically someone to seek out side content. In VII, the only real side content I recall doing was getting the optional party members and doing Yuffie's sidequest in Wutai. I likewise wasn't super completionist about Final Fantasy X, but I remember there being a part in the final third of the game in which it opens up into a big field and you're able to do a bunch of side stuff (training a Chocobo, capturing monsters, getting Yojimbo, etc.) -- not unlike Gran Pulse in XIII.

I think you're onto something with the "illusion" comment -- FFVII and FFX (the two older games I played to completion) are quite linear games in most of the ways that matter. They're admittedly not as linear as XIII, but more importantly, they do a much better job of concealing it. A lot of XIII's maps are almost comical in their linearity, and even if the end result is mostly the same in terms of game progression, the lack of pretense clearly rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I don't really intend that as a value judgement one way or another -- game design is all about illusion.

@torrim said:

Bandwagon? Jesus the battle system was an automated nightmare of made up words and systems that made no sense. The story was complete anime that had no cohesion and again, was completely full of an index of nonsense words. I would hardly call the negative critical reception of that game bandwagony.

This is one of the things I give them credit for. They made a fantasy game that was not some boring retread of Tolkien tropes, cultural mythologies or ren-fair schlock. The entire lore was original. It may not have been presented in the best way, but it's not like they can rely on the player having some cultural familiarity with the lore like they would had they used those common fantasy settings. The entire culture of the game's setting is foreign to the player, and as a result there is some culture shock. The task of conveying that culture to the player is not easy. Stuff could have been named less confusingly, too.

@grantheaslip said:

Oddly, I kind of feel the opposite when it comes to tactical depth. I found the combat of the previous FF games to be fairly rote compared to XIII's. In the ATB games (that is, VI, VII, and VIII), I was mostly just repeating the same obvious best actions, and in most cases I felt like my success was almost entirely dictated by how over/under-levelled I was. I preferred X's system to old-school ATB, but it was arguably even worse about having very obvious best courses of action in battle. In XIII (in the boss fights, at least), I found balancing competing draws on my ATB points (that is, building the stagger meter, building stagger maintenance, healing, buffing, debuffing, and entering defensive stances) to be really satisfying and well-balanced in a way the previous systems weren't.

This is one of the reasons why I love FFXII so much. You basically automate those rote actions, and only really take over for the fringe cases.

1) That's an interesting way of looking at it. I really like XIII's unusual setting, and I think Japanese companies are generally better about producing more inspired and novel settings for games. As you say though, the downside here is that the player needs a lot of stuff spelled out for them that they might not in a more traditional setting.

2) Exactly. It dispenses with most of the combat busywork -- even going so far as to do away with mana and refill your health after fights -- and has you operating in a more high-level tactical capacity. Some of the trash mob fights end up being repetitive because of the sheer volume, but the battle system itself is far less repetitive.

I ended up almost always using auto-battle in my first playthrough. I've seen some people talk about micromanaging abilities and I don't really understand to what end. I'll probably go after the more difficult optional content this time around, and maybe I'll find more use for the abilities menu.

@grantheaslip: Looking at my comment again, it reads as if I cited "lacking combat complexity" as a separate thing that my friend and I generally complained about, when I really meant to write that, that only was the case in the "excruciatingly slow start". The combat is very dumb for a good number of hours in the beginning, but later gets good. It's different enough that I get why they would want to introduce you to it slowly, but still feel it could have been done a better way.

Just wanted to clear that up, just in case.

No misunderstanding here! You're right -- it takes way too long for the battle system to kick into gear.

@torrim said:

Bandwagon? Jesus the battle system was an automated nightmare of made up words and systems that made no sense. The story was complete anime that had no cohesion and again, was completely full of an index of nonsense words. I would hardly call the negative critical reception of that game bandwagony.

Every RPG's battle system is a nightmare of made up words, but XIII's battle system was only automated if you didn't mind getting shit scores on every fight. If you couldn't understand the game's systems, well, I don't know what to tell you. Everyone I know including several non-gamer girlfriends were able to play through it start to finish without any difficulties navigating the game's mechanics.

And there was no more nonsense in the storyline than, say, God of War would present to anyone who did not grow up in a school system that teaches Greek mythology.

The bottom line is that a majority of the criticisms of FFXIII were, clearly, coming from people who had barely played the game if at all. Hence, "bandwagony".

Personally, it's not so much the critical reception that bugs me -- it's the general narrative that's formed around the game. I don't consider a specific, well-articulated criticism to be bandwagony, but I'm thoroughly sick of the same broken-telephoned "20 hour tutorial," "it's terrible until it opens up," "all you do is mash X," and "Lightning is a female Cloud" soundbites. Its release and subsequent sequels coincided with a general sense that Japanese developers are struggling, and it's ended up being used as a rhetorical punching bag in a lot of hand-wavey think pieces.

I was listening to the Player One podcast (which I like, to be clear) earlier today and a guest used FFXIII as a completely-out-of-context punchline to a joke. I'm pretty sure he's never touched the game. It gets old, and it's why I do feel like there's something of a bandwagon mentality about the game.

#4 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

I ended up writing more than I first intended, guess I had a lot to say.

So I played the game on PS3 for a while around the time it came out. I remember being cautious because what I had heard of the game. I expected it to feel dated design-wise but was surprised that it didn't. Corridors aside, it wasn't without what I would consider modern touches. Like when there were characters around you, you didn't walk up to them and press X to hear them open up about something random to a stranger. Instead you heard them talk to each other as you passed by, which felt like it made a whole lot more sense. A good break from conventions I felt.

Story-wise I had heard many being confused by what was going on in the beginning, I didn't really have that problem. It had a couple of terms to keep track of that I had heard mentioned in some trailers before hand but that was about it. I didn't think it was a terrible way to start a game.

As it went along I felt the characters and their arcs were kind of hit or miss. Some things I thought was pretty good. Other things, like the Sazh/Vanille confrontation scene or when Hope meets his dad and his dad is super nice and supportive, making it pretty confusing what Hope ever had against him. Or just in general how casually they talk about people's preconceptions based on what they were told all their lives by what ruled them, while themselves seeming mostly, if not completely unaffected by it. Those things were pretty iffy.

I made it up to the Hope and Lighting team-up section before taking a long break. When I tried to go back I made it up to the part where the group is all reuntied, before confronting that Pope guy, before I burned out on the encounters (and grinding I was doing) and stopped going back to it.

By that point though, I had managed to gain an appreciation for the battle system. There was a moment, after having played the story with several parties of 2 for a very long while, where you're starting a bossfight as Hope alone. You manage on your own for half a minute or so and then Fang and Lighting fall in, as well as the final piece of the puzzle. It was the moment everything clicked. I triumphantly juggled the boss with my commandos, preventing any counterattack, and shit was hype!

Though I didn't finish it, and wish that it was better in some areas I have some respect for it.

BUT WAIT! The story doesn't end there! With the game coming to Steam a friend and I joked about both getting the game and playing it at the same time. It was kind of a jokey idea. But with Steam enabling users to easily stream games for others to view another idea was born. Me and my friend begun our own little Endurance Run. I play the game and my friend watch while maybe doing something else. It became another way to hang out when there was no co-op game to play and doesn't require his full attention outside of cutscenes.

For me, who very rarely finish RPGs, its made it easier to get through when I have someone to share the experience with. To make fun of its excruciatingly slow start, lacking combat complexity, or the occasional dumb line (worst birthday ever!) or how bad Vanille's voice acting is (and comparing the voices to the Japanese version, since the PC version has that feature). I liked mopey Hope before he got better (yet still sorta cheer for him) and think Sazh is the most likeable. My friend think Hope sucks and likes ragging on him, as well as Snow. It's all a good time :D . As of today, we've just arrived at Gran Pulse and gotten Hope's Edolith, so we're finally further in than I was in the PS3 version.

It definetly has problems, but I'd say its far from a straight up Bad game. I reread Brad's review recently too and found myself agreeing with it. To me this is a very weak 4 or maybe a 3. The best I can say about it is that it's convinced me that there could be good Final Fantasy games in the future. 15 still holds the weight of its legacy, so who knows how that will turn out, but maybe whatever comes after will be something everyone can get behind.

Oh and I thought the leveling system was BS for the longest time with its lack of choice, but it eventually got ok (around the time I originally stopped, figure that!). Still gets a minus for taking forever to get there, though that's a not insignificant part of all the things that are wrong with this game to begin with.. so I guess it's par for the course.

After starting our Endurance Run I picked up XIII-2 on a sale. Never played it, heard that's kind of when it went off the rails. Will be interesting to try if we make it through 13. Would be fun to get a perspective of the whole "triology".

I was nodding along with almost everything you wrote, including the spoilered section. As I touched on in the blog, I'm quite aware of FFXIII's many flaws. The best rationalization I can come up with is that the things it does well are things that I really value in games, and the things it doesn't do well are things that I'm able to overlook. If I had different priorities, I'd probably be quite hostile to the game. I think that's how most people enjoy games, and it's the reason I haven't enjoyed darlings like GTA IV, BioShock Infinite, and Dragon Age.

As I recall, finally (and it admittedly takes way too long) getting a third party member was the moment the combat "clicked" with me as well. It's -- to me -- a finely-tuned system, and a vital component is the third character. It's so clearly balanced around that.

I love the idea of your private Steam streaming Endurance Run! Kind of harkens back to days of playing through a game on the carpet with a childhood friend or something.

The story certainly starts getting convoluted at XIII-2 (time travel contrivances have a way of doing that). I feel like it's a worse game in most respects, but I know that a lot of people disagree with me about that. It has a really cool and idiosyncratic soundtrack.

#5 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@liquidprince said:

@grantheaslip: I have no real desire to get into this debate again, so I thought I would just pop in and say, yes, I do believe that FFXIII is one of my favorite Final Fantasy games. I love the characters, the story and the battle sequences. It was a fantastic mix of feeling turn based yet also feeling like things needed to be done with a sense of urgency. It also looked straight out of Advent Children with Lightning jumping around and doing her ultimate screen filling attacks. The entire XIII trilogy has been a treat, and it's quite impressive that they were able to make three complete games before XV (which has been in development since before the PS3 even launched) is still not out.

Oh, no intention to rope you into anything -- I just figured I should link names I mentioned!

#6 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@lastly said:

I played XIII for the first time last fall when it released on PC and it ended up being the first Final Fantasy game that I've played to the end. It definitely has its problems, but I like it more than I like most of the other Final Fantasy games. Overall I feel really conflicted about it. Some parts of the game I really enjoyed (the combat system, the crystarium, the section of Chapter 11 with all the side quests), but then some parts of it were just dreadful (I didn't particularly like the characters or story, it takes way too long to get going, and the last hour or two were incredibly un-fun to play through). I would never argue in favor of it being the best Final Fantasy, but I certainly wouldn't say it's one of the worst.

I just started playing through XIII-2 a few days ago and while I'm not far enough in to say much about it overall, it does seem to fix some of the problems I had with XIII (although it also has problems of its own).

Cool! It's a weird and flawed game, but comments like this are why I really like talking about it. People are all over the place about it.

My take on XIII-2 is that by addressing the more vocal criticisms of XIII (something the directors were very upfront about), they ended up messing up some of my favourite aspects of XIII. The combat balancing is my big complaint -- by removing level caps, they sort of broke the battle system up until the final boss. I was also disappointed by the step down in production values, but I absolutely understand why a quickly-developed sequel to a ludicrously overdeveloped game wouldn't be quite as polished. It has some really cool music, and Caius is a great villain. Once I'm done with this series, I might continue on to XIII-2.

#7 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@torrim said:

Bandwagon? Jesus the battle system was an automated nightmare of made up words and systems that made no sense. The story was complete anime that had no cohesion and again, was completely full of an index of nonsense words. I would hardly call the negative critical reception of that game bandwagony.

I don't want to get into this too much until I start addressing it in future posts, but I don't quite see where you're coming from about the battle system. I mean, Paradigms are assigned fictional names, but the name is just a more readable shorthand for the role combination (e.g. COM-RAV-RAV). The battle system has standard Final Fantasy spell names and status effects. Is it the stagger system that didn't click with you?

The first Final Fantasy that I sunk any amount of time into was XII, so like you I was a latecomer to the series (although unlike you, I played VI a fair bit later and thought very highly of it.)

I didn't think too harshly of FFXIII either. It's a good game. I don't think it's the kind of game that will affect me as much as it affected you or Hailinel, and I do think there's some genuinely bad dialog in there, but most of it is fairly good. Much like FFX, actually, although the ratio of acceptable dialog to "oh God this needs an editor" is much more out of whack in X.

There's absolutely some dumb dialogue in it. Then again, there's some dumb dialogue in every Final Fantasy game. FFXIII may have more overt writing issues than some other entries, but I feel like it's a matter of degrees rather than absolutes (not that you're speaking in absolutes, but many do). Saying "oh, but your favourite thing is dumb as well" is a bad comeback, but I feel like it's a bit of an elephant in the room when people pick on FFXIII's writing issues.

Hailinel will be missed from the FFXIII apologist camp! I believe Video Game King was also mostly positive about it. As I recall, @demoskinos, @starvinggamer, @liquidprince, @xyzygy and a few others are still carrying the torch for it :).

@atwa said:
@torrim said:

Bandwagon? Jesus the battle system was an automated nightmare of made up words and systems that made no sense. The story was complete anime that had no cohesion and again, was completely full of an index of nonsense words. I would hardly call the negative critical reception of that game bandwagony.

+1. If anything, I think the bandwagon lately has been in favor of FF XIII. Which blows my mind, its cemented as the worst game in the series for me still and that is despite going back to it and trying to like it. People generally defend the combat system, but I hate it with a passion. You can clear almost all of it by just auto battling and changing paradigm shift whenever you get a tell or get into a situation where you need to heal or whatever. Even without auto battling you have minimal interaction with the systems. There certainly are older entries that are simple, but they were always fun and at least somewhat tactical. XIII tries to be a mix between real time and turn based but fails at satisfying either camp. Its just flash with no substance whatsoever. I deeply hate the characters too, with each having more set of clothes than emotions and one single motivation they go on and on about. Its insufferable.

I'm glad someone liked it, I just can't gather any love for it. Generally see that my opinions are usually different from @grantheaslip anyway so! To each his own.

Oddly, I kind of feel the opposite when it comes to tactical depth. I found the combat of the previous FF games to be fairly rote compared to XIII's. In the ATB games (that is, VI, VII, and VIII), I was mostly just repeating the same obvious best actions, and in most cases I felt like my success was almost entirely dictated by how over/under-levelled I was. I preferred X's system to old-school ATB, but it was arguably even worse about having very obvious best courses of action in battle. In XIII (in the boss fights, at least), I found balancing competing draws on my ATB points (that is, building the stagger meter, building stagger maintenance, healing, buffing, debuffing, and entering defensive stances) to be really satisfying and well-balanced in a way the previous systems weren't.

Sorry, I had to get this nitpick in: he characters wear the same outfits for the entire game :).

Likewise, to each his own!

@lawgamer said:

I think it's interesting that you rate FFX as your second favorite. I'm noticing more and more of a split among people who play FF games. People who like X also tend to like XIII. People who don't like X also don't like XIII. Not saying there is an absolute right or wrong to that divide, I just find it interesting.

Personally, I really didn't like X, and I thought that many of its problems were carried forward and writ large into XIII; narrow, mostly linear corridors, largely one-dimensional characters, cringe-inducingly bad writing and voice acting, a world that never felt very fleshed out, etc.

In terms of story, both X and XIII are Toriyama's babies, so it makes sense that many would be drawn to both. In my eyes, VII is of on that side of the fanbase "split" as well. It's sort of a special case because it was such a medium touchstone, but I get the sense that someone who still considers VII to be a favourite is more likely to enjoy X and XIII as well.

You're right, XIII is in a lot of ways a spiritual successor to X. When I played X HD last year, I was surprised by how many of the controversial elements of XIII existed (to lesser degrees) in it as well. The way XIII is talked about in some circles, I assumed it was a lot more of a departure from X than it turned out to be.

#8 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

Yeah Final Fantasy XIII is the best Final Fantasy (after IX but you haven't played that so I forgive you)! It still boggles my mind how irrational and bandwagony the criticism of that game was when it first came out. At worst you could say it did things differently, but always with a keen eye and deft touch.

Ok maybe Vanille's battle sounds were a bit porny. Maybe that's just my brain.

I wasn’t paying much attention in 2010, but if the reviews are any indication, the (press) narrative about the game has soured over time. For a game that garnered so many 8s and 9s, it’s odd that it’s largely referenced as a punching bag at this point. While I disagree with Destructoid (4/10), EDGE (5/10), and Brad (3/5) about the game, I at least respect that they’re not contradicting themselves when they bemoan it.

I own IX, and I plan on giving it a shot at some point. I tried VIII about a month ago and didn’t get very far before I ran out of steam, so I think I should probably give it some time.

#9 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -
@matatat said:

To me the one thing that I loved, and still love today, are just the locales of FF VII. I thought all the characters were awesome when I was 8, but as time went on you realize they're not that fantastic (although I still think the Turks are pretty cool). And the battle system is okay, although for as many JRPGs as I've played I still dislike static turn based combat. But the locales just came together so well for me. All the technology juxtaposed against the other more natural landscapes has always been something that I find really pleasing aesthetically. The Slums is easily within my top RPG locations across any game, and the other places like Golden Saucer and Junon are just so awesome. If you think about it they're all basically the same though. The game definitely is just playing on the "rich at the top, poor at the bottom" motif, as well as nature vs man, but I think the game does a superb job of maintaining those themes throughout the entire game. Everywhere you go you're always reminded how things in that world are.

I see where you’re coming from. A lot of aspects don’t necessarily hold up to much scrutiny, but there’s a simple earnestness to this and other FF games that’s missing in a lot of contemporary writing.

@dan_citi said:

You should totally play Crisis Core if possible. It's very good. Final Fantasy VII is nice even if it is very similar to VI.

I do want to, but as far as I can tell there’s no way to play it without a PSP and a UMD copy of the game (neither of which I have). I may make an exception and play it by more… nefarious means.

#10 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1640 posts) -

@jigenese said:

I'm sad that I'm late to this thread. For what's it's worth, here are a few thoughts I had while reading your well written post.

1. I lived in Japan shortly after FFVII came out. Although I didn't understand Japanese then to a level that I could have understood the Japanese version, I did ask a Japanese friend at that time what he thought of FFVII's story. He said it was confusing and he couldn't figure out how many of the plot lines tied together. So, even if the translation was perfect, I think that many of FFVII's story and over-arching plot issues run deeper than just the poor translation.

2. Finally, someone that agrees with me that the Tifa-Cloud relationship was much more interesting than Aerith. I first played FFVII while I was in high school. At that time, the Aerith murder scene didn't really affect me. Years later, after reading more about how much of a topic that scene had become, I still remember being confused by this and thinking, "I'm glad it wasn't Tifa". Maybe I'm just that superficial that I would find the relationship with the large bosom-ed, tough, cool girl to be more interesting than the modest, woe-is-me, precious girl - then again, I was in high school then.

I haven't played FFVII since 1998. I'm always afraid to go back to it because it seems like it won't hold up - I go back to FFVI every few years and really enjoy that, but tired FFX again and found it impenetrable (I enjoyed both of these games when they came out). I'll have to give FFVII another try soon, after all it is my second most favorite game of all time (yeah, I was one of those it effected for an entire decade).

Once again, great post!

Much appreciated, and thanks for the perspective about the original Japanese writing!

With regards to Aerith vs. Tifa, I do wonder if the fact that I knew what happened to Aerith coloured the way I looked at her character building. Stuff tends to seem more on-the-nose when you know what they’re going for.

@djmoo said:

Nice read. I think you articulate a lot of sentiments I have/had about the game when I first played it (which was also years after it was released). I also really enjoyed the game, and a single tear drops from my eyes every time the Bomb crew rips it apart.

My favourite part of GB’s periodic shitting on FFVII was always Patrick’s vehement conviction that Tetsuya Nomura was secretly responsible for everything he disliked about the series, despite the fact that his favourite FF game (VIII) is possibly the most Nomura-influenced game in the series.

Goddamn those music links. I might have to do another playthrough...

Yeah, the music is pretty fantastic!

@jigenese said:

Maybe I'm just that superficial that I would find the relationship with the large bosom-ed, tough, cool girl to be more interesting than the modest, woe-is-me, precious girl - then again, I was in high school then.

It's an East Asian thing. They like their women soft-spoken, shy and giggly around here. Tifa's type is not relationship material.

I miss arguing with Hailinel about the FFXIII trilogy. There's no one to come barging in telling me I'm insane when I call it garbage anymore.

Boy do I have the blog series for you!