For those of you who have been following my recent activities, you know that I was an active participant in the eighth annual "Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run." For those who are not "in the know," The Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run is a yearly spring-time charity effort. Run initially by Giant Bomb user jeffrud; Giant Bomb moderator thatpinguino currently manages the event. The Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run raises money for Pencils of Promise, an educational charity that builds schools and trains teachers in the developing world. With the team total currently hovering around $8,000, the Giant Bomb team will be sending 100 kids to a fully funded educational opportunity this year.
Nonetheless, this is a blog, so that means I am here to talk about the ridiculous nonsense I was up to during the event. While most participating developed ambitious goals or tasks, I played the cards close to my chest: Final Fantasy games. Last year, I stupidly played an entire Final Fantasy game, in that case, Final Fantasy VIII, in three days. This year I had the foresight of mixing things up by playing something different each day.
Three heavy-hitters defined my live-streams. Friday was entirely about the PC port of Mobius Final Fantasy. Saturday featured my ill-fated folly involving Final Fantasy XIII. And Sunday ruined what little goodwill I have left for the Final Fantasy X universe. So, without further ado, let's review the smattering of games I played!
Author's Note: Full-disclosure, I am an amateur. Live streaming is a hobby, and I am far from being able to run a "professional live stream. Apologies for any audio or video issues with the archives.
Friday: Six Hours Of Mobius Final Fantasy
I'm no longer convinced Mobius Final Fantasy is a "bad" game. Sure, the game has every hallmark of a card-based free-to-play mobile game. There are dozens of different currencies which are easier to acquire if you are willing to shell out money. The mechanics are nebulous and barely amount to anything more than tapping the screen. Every part of its design screams "Skinner box." That said, parts of it are oddly compelling.
For a mobile game, Mobius Final Fantasy has astounding production values. The CG cutscenes are a marvel, and the attention to detail on the character models and costumes is charming. The problem is the game requires endless amounts of grinding to experience its emotional highs. Story cutscenes are hidden beneath grind loops and aimless fetch quests because, for lack of a better word, this is a mobile-ass mobile game. Plus, having game breaking character classes and magic spells hidden behind the real-world economy is decidedly shitty.
There's also something deeply upsetting about Mobius' use of "fanservice." Currently, the game has a couple of episodes that feature Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. Despite having my fair share of problems with Lightning as a character, to see her devolve into a "damsel in distress" is downright blasphemous. Mobius has done this time and time again. During the Final Fantasy VII event, Cloud became an ineffectual "second fiddle" to Mobius' protagonist. If anything, it's another example of how out of touch Square-Enix is with its fanbase.
Favorite quote from the stream:
"There's nothing wrong with 'brooding dark teenagers' as long as there is an arc to the character. With Cloud, he has an arc. He started out that way and learned to value his inter-personal relationships. "
Saturday: Thirteen Hours Of Final Fantasy XIII
Where do I even start? Despite sinking half a day, I barely made a dent in Final Fantasy XIII. My feelings have oscillated when it comes to Final Fantasy XIII's gameplay. The Crystarium is shockingly simple, but the UI is atrocious. Paradigm shifts are wonderfully customizable, but much of the early game involves small parties which cannot utilize it to its fullest potential. Air-jugging and staggering are wonderfully empowering, but the game does a shit job of underscoring their importance.
And yet, I cannot say I "hated" Final Fantasy XIII. Too much of the game is admirable. The wide variety of visually stunning set pieces is impressive, and not all the characters are bad. I found myself gravitating toward Sazh, Fang, and Snow. I know the latter of which might come as a surprise. Snow's characterization is one-dimensional for much of Final Fantasy XIII's introduction, but all the while, I fell in love with Troy Baker's performance. The man is doing his best to sell Snow's goofy-ass earnest dialogue. I cannot help but respect that level of professionalism.
The rest of the game's characters are "meh." Lightning is stale white bread with a pinch of salt, and you know EXACTLY what the game is going for with Vanille. Then there's Hope. Never before have I seen a game swing and miss with such a pure character archetype. Countless stories have used characters like Hope, and yet Final Fantasy XIII flounders every moment he is meant to stand tall. There's more for me to say about Final Fantasy XIII in general, but that is for another time.
Favorite quote from the stream:
"Oh my God! I pressed the X-button when it said 'gestalt mode' and the girls danced around and looked like they were going to kiss. They merged their bodies together, and then they turned into a motorcycle."
Sunday: A Bunch Of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Bullshit
The games I played on this day damn near killed me. They are among the worst Final Fantasy experiences I have ever had. Seriously, I dare anyone to play Final Fantasy X-2: The Last Mission, and tell me it is worth anyone's time. I dare you. I double dog dare you. Final Fantasy X-2: The Last Mission is the worst "playing" game I have ever seen my entire life. It is a slow kludgy nightmare with an unfriendly user interface. But at least it isn't Final Fantasy X -Will-!
So, Sin is back. Inexplicably, Sin can be summoned whenever someone wants Sin to return. Everything that made Final Fantasy X "special," is dead. Oh, and Tidus and Yuna broke up because they don't know if they love each other. So, they destroyed everything that made Final Fantasy X-2 special as well. I don't know what's real anymore. Someone, please hold me.
Favorite quote from the stream:
"Sin's back... Sin is back. Fuck off! FUCK OFF! Fuck. Fuuuuuck! So Final Fantasy X is dead I guess?"
Many thanks to all who donated and supported me throughout the GBCER! It was a ton of fun, and hopefully, I can concoct something to live up to your expectations next year. One of these days I have to consider playing a game that I genuinely enjoy, but all signs point to that never happening. Regardless, here's the link to the Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run Team page if you are interested: