@darji: Freya is far from a joke character in IX, but Quina definitely is.
thatpinguino's forum posts
@starvinggamer: I have actually done a full write up on why I find the combat system in VIII so compelling. In short, I think that the combat system in VIII is something wholly unique that gives that game a ton of replay-ability and it completely restructures what is important in combat. The volume of battles does not matter, the knowledge of which magic to junction and use is. Now it is easily exploitable and some people really dislike how much it trivializes the minute-to-minute gameplay of VIII, but I find the intellectual puzzle more compelling than, say, the exp based system in FFV and VI.
@tsutohiro: The reason i discount it is because the game has more in common with Fire Emblem than it does anything in the main line series. The aesthetic between tactics and the main series might be shared, but the actual gameplay is very different.
@mezmero: I broke up the card game and the side quests because I wanted to reward each game for its most excellent side content. I think Triple Triad is a great game, and like I said I have played it a ton and its rewards are game breaking. However, the chocobo sidequest also breaks the game in IX if you do as much as possible at each section of the game. You can get Freya's best weapon and Amarant's second best weapon in the middle of disc three and you can get Vivi's oak staff half a disc before you can buy it. These Items make battles a breeze through some of the tougher parts of the game. As for which story is more memorable, I agree that VIII has better set-piece moments. It has a ton of high drama, high impact scenes, but around these scenes the dialog and the character development are not great. It is not simply a matter of localization, since the non-Squall/Rinoa main characters are never really given the opportunity and moments to grow. I really didn't think that FFVIII should be given bonus points for having a more absurd and memorable stroy. The plot of VIII just goes so many nonsensical places that it is really hard to compete from a memorability perspective. But it is really easy to argue that the game does not earn many of those moments, as things like a space fairing hidden continent and a monolith that pulls monsters from the moon are really ludicrous constructs that come entirely out of left field. IX does not got that far in the direction of melodrama, even the concept of Terra is not as far out as the concept of time compression or a the idea that Seifer could find, dredge up, and refurbish Lunatic Pandora in the amount of time it takes Squall to get Rinoa to Esthar. Also you could easily argue that the best world category should have gone the other way, but I rewarded VIII for its absurdity and variety there.
@darji: The problem with the characters in VIII is that other than Squall and Rinoa, none of them show any real signs of growth or maturation. Despite all that Squall and Rinoa go through the rest of the cast kind of just stands by and gets out of their way. The only real growth I can see from the supporting cast of VIII is Selphie going back to Trabia Garden and Irvine settling on Selphie, rather than flirting with anything with 2 X chromosomes. Now if you prefer the personalities of the cast in VIII that is fine, but the characterizations of the cast in IX is just a whole lot stronger. For example, Freya has to overcome being literally forgotten and abandoned by the man she loves, as well as being unable to save her homeland. Garnet actually feels the impact of losing her mother and watching her home get destroyed, as she becomes borderline unusable for the second half of disc 2 as she sometimes fails to act in battle. This uses gameplay to show how much turmoil she has experienced and how that turmoil affects her ability to fight. Steiner has to overcome the realization that his oath of fealty binds him to a corrupt and irredeemable Queen that has slaughtered thousands in the name of power. The list goes on. Now if you find them boring, that is your own opinion, but there really is no contest as to which cast is better developed.
@xeiphyer: Tactics is a great game, but it isn't part of the main line series. It is a different style of game entirely. Crisis Core is also a really good game, but it isn't really comparable to games of the main line.
@bongchilla: 8 is totally worth playing. If you are giving it a first try I would love to know how you find the junction system. I know my first time through it was a real problem for me, but I'm not sure if I was too young to understand it or if it is just really complex.
@draxyle: I'm afraid that asset creation time and cost has made it way too expensive and difficult to create a new world every year like in the ps1 era. When all of the backgrounds were pre-rendered images you could churn that stuff out, but now everything has to be 3d modeled and that stuff is time-consuming. Square is reusing models and assets because they have to.
@crithon: The world of Ivalice was tied in, but the gameplay style never was. The tactics stuff has stayed tactics and the turn based battle has stayed main line.