In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

Jeff Dunn

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In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what?s preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

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Plinglebob

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I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)

I also agree that the characters were great and, in my opinion, some of the best they've done, but boy do I want to whack Snow round the head with something heavy. Its also one of the few Final Fantasy's I've played twice and gotten an entire different character experience because I know their history. First time round Vanille is the annoying peppy one that seems to be madatory in any Japanese game. Second time round, shes like the band on the Titanic as it sinks.

Oh, and while XIII-2 is good, its hard work with a story that, while interesting, really doesn't grab you and hold you like some of the others. Worth playing though.
 

Atmos Duality

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There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.
What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

EDIT:
Final Fantasy XIII gave fans something new. And it was vehemently hated as a result.
Actually, the whole time I was playing FF13 (brief as it was), I could not stop thinking of another game that had similar problems: Xenosaga Episode 2.

It had very similar gameplay related problems and an overwrought story.
 

Aiberg

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I read the whole article but I still think it is only being devil's advocate to try to defend this game. How are you suggesting that the game was never supposed to be an RPG and the players just didn't get that the game tried to be better by being different? Such comments anger me, really. And I don't listen to each and every one of the producers giving speeches about the genre of the game they are making to check whether it matches with the genre I expect. Those producer speechers usually contain a lot of useless stuff, anyhow. All in all I'm still mad at anything Final Fantasy XIII.

Oh, and I never found Zell annoying... Why did you suggest that?
 

GloatingSwine

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I think the things that hampered FFXIII are not specifically to do with the name Final Fantasy as much as the expectations placed on the JRPG format itself thanks in large part to the success of Final Fantasy since the Playstation.

It has become de rigeur for a JRPG story to confuse pretention for grandiosity, because dammit it worked for FFVII (Let's face it, the story of Jenova is just the story of Lavos from Chrono Trigger with a bunch of unnecessary cruft about lifestreams and whatnot), there are very few that actually connect us to the protagonist on a personal level like, say, Breath of Fire 3 did.

The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.

The problem with it is repetition, because there are quite a low number of potential encounter groups in each area the player will find themself fighting the same encounter repeatedly, and because the nature of the encounters is that they are now almost a puzzle, when you have solved the puzzle there is no need to modify your approach. Contrast that with, say, Enchanted Arms, an otherwise pretty terrible game which had a similar restoration of characters between battles, but which rationed the restoration of HP and MP (used by all attacks) by the reduction of another resource, so there was always an incentive to improve your solution to the same encounters so that you could keep fighting further towards the next save point.

Had FFXIII had either a system like that to push the player to continue thinking even in repeated encounters to refine their approach to them, or altered the encounter design to provide a steadily staged and increasing challenge curve through each area (a tricky task), it would have fully succeeded in what it attempted to do.
 

jurnag12

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Well, it's a pretty good argument that the reason for the backlash was that it deviated too much from the series' template for the old fans to like it. But then again, everyone whom I know who has played it as their first FF game, including me, still thought it was crap. Then we went off and had a jolly old time with some of the old ones after we found those lying around in a store's retro section.
 

Aeonknight

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Jeff Dunn said:
In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what?s preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

Read Full Article
I was waiting for someone to say it.

Fucking thank you.
 

Simonoly

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jurnag12 said:
Well, it's a pretty good argument that the reason for the backlash was that it deviated too much from the series' template for the old fans to like it. But then again, everyone whom I know who has played it as their first FF game, including me, still thought it was crap. Then we went off and had a jolly old time with some of the old ones after we found those lying around in a store's retro section.
Haha same thing happened to me. Leant my copy of FFXIII to two friends. Both of them hated it and accused me of 'trolling their gaming experiences' (apparently that's a thing?). One of them never wants to go near the series again, but the other one of them bought FFIX and now he won't shut the fuck up about it! He said he liked FFIX over FFXIII because he didn't want to murder all the main characters. I can relate to that.
 

kurupt87

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You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.

I can't remember if it was a Red Alert or Tiberium Wars game but when they "innovated" with the mobile bases that killed the game.

-

You can't claim the people hating on CoD for not innovating back your argument either because they hate the success of CoD and the fact that people still buy it, they tend not to hate the actual game.

You can also bet everything you own on the massive shitstorm that'd absolutely occur, compared to the minor pooh flinging of those now disenchanted with CoD, if ActiBlizz ever chooses to do major innovations to it.

-

If you want to innovate you do it with a brand new game, or one that isn't hilariously popular.
 

Jikuu

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Thanks for writing on Final Fantasy XIII and being open about why people feel so divided over it. For what it's worth, ever since Final Fantasy became popular in America (around FF6/7, depending on who you talk to), the next one's always been a bit polarizing. Folks who liked 7 disliked 8 or 9, folks who liked 8 hated 10, folks who liked 10 hated 12, and so on down the line. I'd actually argue that 12 and 13 aren't that far off mechanically, since both had little programs for your guys and they were on some sort of auto-pilot. If anything, the menu-based system that's become ubiquitous in most JRPGs was more apparent in 13 than 12. I will agree that the legacy of the series name is troublesome. While there are some expectations for staying the same, Final Fantasy implies a somewhat new system and other innovations every game, and these innovations aren't always welcome. Basically, no game bearing Final Fantasy is ever going to be 100% accepted because we have these weird convoluted expectations. 13 and 13-2 are just the latest to bear the bulk of the grudge.
 

jurnag12

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Simonoly said:
He said he liked FFIX over FFXIII because he didn't want to murder all the main characters. I can relate to that.
And there you also have my reason for hating VIII and X. They'd have been decent if Squall and Tidus hadn't been the 2 most annoying and whiny f*cks on the face of the planet.
 

Dr3Daemon

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I like all of the FFs. But even I have to say that XIII was the first one I have felt dragged on a bit (rather than feeling sad when it finished).

I don't want FF to change its game-play between iterations. I want it to change the story it tells and maybe the detail of how it plays - like the difference between VII and VIII - but I actually LIKE the way they play. It doesn't need changing and it won't get "tired" so long as the stories and characters are engrossing and engaging. I think the call for progress is a red herring - just make good stories set in interesting places with great looking cut-scenes and I'll be happy...
 

Something Amyss

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Atmos Duality said:
What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?
This is what really got me. Also, I thought that "change is scary" thing was kind of a shot at people.

I like change. I like new ideas and I like things that break out of the mould. But perhaps the 13th core installment of a long-standing traditional rpg is not the best place to do it. I'm not sure this is at all about change, it's about fans expecting an RPG series to continue to be an RPG series. This isn't unexpected. It's not unreasonable.
 

Gizmo1990

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Plinglebob said:
I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)
See I do not understand why people were confused by the story either. I just throught it was a shit story with really bad characters. You like it and that's fine but tell me that Snow is not the biggest douche in fiction?
 

Blade_125

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I have to disagree a bit with the author. While chainging the name might have reduced the hate toward it, a different title would likely have reduced sales. I enjoyed the game well enough, but some someone who still plays the older final fantasy series games, I have yet to soa complete second playthrough on XIII.

The game did change, but it wasn't as enjoyable, more so because it wasn't just that they moved away from a typical RGP, but that they moved away from it being much of a game at all. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been a 10 episode anime. When I play a game I like to be immersed, and feel like I am doing something. The game was follow the corridor and hold down teh a button in a fight. Even the leveling was boring, since you picked one of three trees and went up it (although I will admit that the older games didn't always even have this much depth, V excluded).

The story could have been better done. I like stories where little bits of what is going on are doled out to keep you in suspense, but at times I had to go to the journal to figure out what was going on.

So, while not the worst game ever made, it wasn't the best, and a name change wasn't going to make people think this was a revolutionary game.
 

Simonoly

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jurnag12 said:
Simonoly said:
He said he liked FFIX over FFXIII because he didn't want to murder all the main characters. I can relate to that.
And there you also have my reason for hating VIII and X. They'd have been decent if Squall and Tidus hadn't been the 2 most annoying and whiny f*cks on the face of the planet.
Agreed. I actually really like Zidane from FFIX, simply due to the fact that he is neither whiny nor a depressing little shit. He was just a normal guy (albiet with a tail) that liked to have a laugh and stab the crap out of wildlife. Cloud, Squall and Lightning all fall under the depressed teenager category for me, which just isn't fun to watch. Tidus and Vaan from FFXII were basically the same whiney characters. If Square Enix want to create something unique, maybe they should start giving their main characters new personalities?
 

Weaver

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All I know is I literally fell asleep while playing FF 13. I've never done that with any other game. It was the dullest experience of my life. I'd rather sit through my cousins piano rehersal. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, that's cool; but whatever it WAS trying to be it did that really poorly.
 

Manji187

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Whatever the matter with FF XIII is, it still has some undeniably bad design decisions. Decisions that would kill fun and engagement in any RPG.
 

Lord Amazing

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The problem with FFXIII was not that it was different, it was that it was different and bad. I loved dissida despite the fact that it wasn't an rpg like the games all the characters were from. It also wasn't a fighting game in the traditional sense. It was new, unique, and good. FFXIII was a movie that seems to resent giving control to the player. It made a passing glance at a job system and gave you limited control over one person. I promise you if it had gone a different direction that had been a fun game at the end of the day, FFXIII would have a completely different reception.
 

Suicidejim

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Do I dislike FFXIII because it didn't feel like what I had come to expect from the Final Fantasy series? Sure.

Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.

Ironically, I was in denial of this for so long after buying the game, it was my love of FF that stopped me from hating the game, and made me defend it to people. But after I finished it, I was just underwhelmed. The battle system was largely rather dull, there was very little scope for character customization, the game was mostly quite linear, the story didn't hook me in, and none of it ever came together for me.

Although it was pretty, I'll give it that. Veeeery pretty. And I did like the sub-plot between Sazh and Vanille, that was one of the few parts where the story did actually catch my interest.

Also, I actually don't hate Vanille.
 

Frylock72

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AC10 said:
All I know is I literally fell asleep while playing FF 13. I've never done that with any other game. It was the dullest experience of my life. I'd rather sit through my cousins piano rehersal. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, that's cool; but whatever it WAS trying to be it did that really poorly.
I thought I was the only one. I rented it from GameFly, then about an hour in on the bridge that falls apart at the beginning I just got so bored I turned off the XBox and went to sleep.

Also, Zell was a fine character. I'm not sure I'm interested in you as a person, author.
 

omegawyrm

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I'm not really sure you're "defending" FFXIII just because you disagree with one of the criticisms of the game, that it wasn't trying to be innovative, but agree on all of the other complaints, and think it was crap as a result. That's not a terribly good defense.

And I did actually read that 1UP article before the game came out over here and thought the game accomplished pretty much everything they said they wanted it to when I actually got to play it.
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

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The mistake in the article is that Final Fantasy is *exactly the same* as CoD and those other franchises. It's not the fans of any of these franchises that criticize it for being too "samey" all the time. It is, however, the fans that lament when there is a drastic shift in the formula of their beloved series. If Call of Duty suddenly changed into an RTS or something, you can bet that it's fanbase would be out with torches and pitchforks.

But yes, I agree that it's shocking people couldn't seem to grasp the fact that a project literally called "The New Crystal Story" was trying to reinvent a stagnate franchise.
 

90sgamer

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Mr Dunn, I am sorry to say you are off point in every area. People who hate FFXIII hate it because it's not a good game by its own merits. Some of those same people *also* hate it because it is not true to the Final Fantasy formula, if there is such a thing any more. It seems you spend three web pages rebutting a very slim and specific group of people who take issue with FFXIII solely because of the latter, which is an entirely unproductive endeavor because you are addressing the minority. Your accusation of hypocrisy is also unwarranted. People detest Call of Duty because it makes no changes to its formula--only the setting ever changes. FFXIII did not change its formula, it changed its genre, a point you argue for. Apple to Oranges, bud. In any case, you are assuming some who hate Call of Duty are the same people who hate FFXIII but provide no evidence to support this assumption. Since the RPG genre is nothing like the FPS genre I doubt your assumption to be true.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel. That aside the things the article is completely dismissive of are big issues. The unlikable characters, the terrible combat, the movie like gameplay.

I can play a linear game and be happy, Dead Space or Crysis 2 for example but the fact is that if that linear experience is horrible why would I want to endure it.

It seems like you are making flimsy excuses for a bad game.
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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Come on,
the issue with FFXIII is not and never was an issue with it's history or namesake.

FFXIII can best be described as an interactive movie, and not as a game. The creator described it more like an FPS. Sure, I'd describe it like that if I cut out all the actual game play of Master Chief and left a small hallway for the player to run down before the next cut-scene takes the control away. It wasn't innovative any more then just taking the control away from the player putting them on YouTube and letting them watch someone else play FF7.

I watched interviews with the creator and when he described it as an interactive movie I was not expecting him to deliver it. I was expecting him to say whatever hype he needed to to sell another RPG with the Final Fantasy Franchise label slapped on it. The very nature of a franchise is to create a look at feel that can be replicated and carbon copied again and again. If I bought a Halo game and was given a JRPG instead I'd be a little offended.

I bought FFXIII expecting a Game and was given a Movie.
 

jurnag12

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Simonoly said:
jurnag12 said:
Simonoly said:
He said he liked FFIX over FFXIII because he didn't want to murder all the main characters. I can relate to that.
And there you also have my reason for hating VIII and X. They'd have been decent if Squall and Tidus hadn't been the 2 most annoying and whiny f*cks on the face of the planet.
Agreed. I actually really like Zidane from FFIX, simply due to the fact that he is neither whiny nor a depressing little shit. He was just a normal guy (albiet with a tail) that liked to have a laugh and stab the crap out of wildlife. Cloud, Squall and Lightning all fall under the depressed teenager category for me, which just isn't fun to watch. Tidus and Vaan from FFXII were basically the same whiney characters. If Square Enix want to create something unique, maybe they should start giving their main characters new personalities?
Giving them new personalities?! Next you'll be asking that they make their next game without androgynous teenagers as main characters!
And yeah, I'd forgotten about Lightning. Christ, the only person in XIII that managed to out-annoy her in my eyes was friggin' Snow (Who, together with Hope, needs to die in some sort of grisly accident involving chainsaws, napalm, and a morbidly obese walrus).
 

ElPatron

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medv4380 said:
Didn't they also say that you can't tell a compelling story on an open world game?

Perhaps he never heard of Grand Theft Auto... or previous FF games...
 

starhaven

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the reason cod doest change for the people whining about it not changing is because they are not the ones who make the game money its the millions of people who like cod they way it is who make it money.

its the same or any game that has not changed much and when these games do change its slowly so people can get used to it ff12 was a change. one that i hated at first with the weird tacitic system for my ai allies rather than full control as i was used to and the no ramdon encounters was kinda fun once i got used to it.

the ff games where changing (albit it slowly) and i enjoyed the change then ff13 game out and even removed the gamit system any type of smblence to any other ff this ofcourse angered those very fans who make squre enix MONEY if you wanted to try somthing that diffrent and new dont slap it on a existing IP because your just gonna piss people off you would have been better off making a whole new game to test the waters.
 

tetron

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In defense of FFXIII, I didn't care about the linearity, and I don't care if I can't run around in the forest outside of town for hours this game is no less linear than every other FF game. Doesn't matter how many sidequests you do you still have to go to the next town to kick off the story, and chances are you won't be coming back to that town anytime soon once you're done with it. As linear as the game was at least it made sense. You're criminals on the run, you don't really have time to stop and smell the roses.
There may be a lot of hallways but at least they're pretty hallways. Have any of you ever taken the time to stop and actually look at what's going on in the background ?

The story, characters, and soundtrack were phenomenal. Nothing more to say on that because if you disagree then ok then.

So with that I give FFXIII the highest praise I will ever give an FF game besides IV. Best FF since IV, excluding tactics of course.
 

Atmos Duality

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Zachary Amaranth said:
This is what really got me. Also, I thought that "change is scary" thing was kind of a shot at people.

I like change. I like new ideas and I like things that break out of the mould. But perhaps the 13th core installment of a long-standing traditional rpg is not the best place to do it. I'm not sure this is at all about change, it's about fans expecting an RPG series to continue to be an RPG series. This isn't unexpected. It's not unreasonable.
Aye, not all change is good.
"Bold but random/stupid" isn't the solution to "Safe but stagnant/overdone".

It's much better to have some actual vision for the project, rather than changing shit just to make it look like you're making progress...I saw enough of that in the 90s.

Gizmo1990 said:
See I do not understand why people were confused by the story either. I just throught it was a shit story with really bad characters. You like it and that's fine but tell me that Snow is not the biggest douche in fiction?
I don't think he's isn't even remotely close to that title. Then again, "douchebag" used in this sense isn't exactly well-defined.

My brief take on Snow:
We hate him because he's ignorant and naive' and has an overwhelming hero-complex.

To me Snow wasn't a "Douchebag". Seifer was a COLOSSAL douchebag. Way worse than Snow. But people don't hate Seifer because he isn't a player character; you not only get to witness his hubris, you get to administer it personally.

Zell, to a lesser extent, was a douche. Zidane was a borderline Douchebag, but I let it go because he was more carefree than obnoxious and stupid. (still didn't like him much, try as I might)

Snow came across more as an overly eager puppy. One who was about to learn a very harsh lesson about reality. If there is one thing I appreciated about Snow, it's that he wasn't another wet blanket downer nor a nasal imbecile like the previous two FF protagonists (Tidus and Vaan to a lesser extent).

Incidentally, I hated Vanille because she's just ridiculously creepy.
Like the Goddess of the Uncanny Valley.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Now defend XIII-2 cutting the ending from the game completely and releasing it as DLC.
 

Ashoten

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Sorry you lost my interest towards the end of the first page. FF 13 wanted to be a movie that resented being a game. I couldn't get past 2 hours of its tedium. The game play just wasn't engaging enough to keep me going from movie clip to movie clip. Glad I was playing on a friends copy instead of spending my own money.

Yeah Kingdom Hearts 3 would be a nice.
 

T'Generalissimo

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I haven't played FF13 so I can't actually contribute anything meaningful to the conversation, but I was greatly amused by the idea that fans might have a pretty solid preconception of how a game called Final Fantasy XIII should play. What a tremendously unreasonable thing for them to do. Especially given that the FF series doesn't have a single story or setting to unite it, it depends entirely on the gameplay and aesthetics to make it feel like a Final Fantasy.
 

kurupt87

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Lvl 64 Klutz said:
The mistake in the article is that Final Fantasy is *exactly the same* as CoD and those other franchises. It's not the fans of any of these franchises that criticize it for being too "samey" all the time. It is, however, the fans that lament when there is a drastic shift in the formula of their beloved series. If Call of Duty suddenly changed into an RTS or something, you can bet that it's fanbase would be out with torches and pitchforks.

But yes, I agree that it's shocking people couldn't seem to grasp the fact that a project literally called "The New Crystal Story" was trying to reinvent a stagnate franchise.
How was the franchise stagnant?

XIII was stupidly succesful despite it being a shit game purely because the franchise was anything but stagnant.

-

A really big factor is, I think, the loss of control of the characters. People hate, or at least I do and I commonly see others moaning about, AI controlled teammates. So why the flaming fuck balls do they impose AI on us when we had a perfectly functional system before?
 

Rad Party God

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My first Final Fantasy game, heck, my first RPG was Final Fantasy VII and I don't regard it as the best of the series and I certainly don't expect every RPG I play to be similar to FFVII.

I haven't played XIII yet, but I seriously can't think of a better way to keep the game retain the Final Fantasy name without changing too much, I agree that it should've been named differently.
 

Laughing Man

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The conclusions and defence of FF13 are wrong, essentially the article can be summed up as the fans didn't like it because while it tried to make significant changes to the expected FF archtypes this is the exact reason that the long term fans hated it and that had the creators stuck to the FF formula then the fans would have loved it.... well that's kinda wrong.

Firstly despite what Square Enix would have you believe FF13 was NOT a huge change from the last FF game, in fact the FF games have slowly been evolving towards the linear limited, control, streamlined and for quite a while. I joined the FF series with FF6 and have played and completed all of them up to FF11.

The movement towards what we saw in FF13 started with FF10, yes you could select where you wanted to go in the world but travelling there was essentially a process of you walking down a straight linear corrider, it was a huge set from the massive free to go anywhere worlds of FF6, 7, 8 and 9.

FF11 on the other hand brought back some the open world and in turn tried it's hand at limited character control, allowing you to only control on character with the AI doing the job for the other two.

FF13 then decided to take these two factors, essentially the worse aspects of the game and then refine them to some how make them even worse. Yes FF10 had the linear go in one direction travelling but it managed to mask it very well, FF13 didn't. Yes FF11 had the single player controlled character but it left a wealth of options open to the player in the set up and behaviour of the remaining party members, FF13 just plain dumbed it down to the point that you could enter a battle and hit auto battle until you won.

FF13 didn't try anything new, it took questionable ideas that had appeared in the games that came before it and decided to make them a key feature. FF11's one character control was brought forward and put on display by the fancy cinematics, that added nothing but removed just about any real feeling that you, the player, were controlling what was going on when your party entered combat. FF10s linear go here before you can go there was implemented becaue the game wanted to force feed you a story in such a way that you had to go in the direction it told you to, but some how FF6 - 9 managed epic and complex stories without noticeably forcing you to go in a single direction, yes when you look at it you logically had to go to point a then point b then point c and you could only really go that way for the stories to progress BUT all the other games hide it behind a disguise of open world freedom where as FF13 totally failed.

So FF13 didn't bring anything new to the table, it didn't try to take the FF series in a new direction because it didn't do anything that previous FF games hadn't tried before, all it did manage to do is highlight that the poor ideas that previous FF games HAD tried had been very well hidden behind much better and much more involving games.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Whew. Okay, first, thanks everyone for the feedback. I love you all. Even (Especially) the ones who disagree with me. That you guys are engaging with something I put a good amount of time and thought into means the world to me. It's a special feeling, so thanks guys.

That being said, I'm going to get to responding to some choice complaints. I feel like John Marston right before he dies at the end of Red Dead. Anyways, this is going to be a MEGA POST, so here we go...

Atmos Duality said:
There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.
What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

EDIT:
Final Fantasy XIII gave fans something new. And it was vehemently hated as a result.
Actually, the whole time I was playing FF13 (brief as it was), I could not stop thinking of another game that had similar problems: Xenosaga Episode 2.

It had very similar gameplay related problems and an overwrought story.
No, I don't find that unreasonable Atmos, not at all. But when the guy who makes the game tells you this before the game comes out, I think you should adjust your expectations accordingly. The interview I referenced came before the NA release of the game (or at least right around the same time), so it was before all the backlash. Also, "something new" up there refers to it being new relative to the franchise, not to the genre as a whole.

Aiberg said:
I read the whole article but I still think it is only being devil's advocate to try to defend this game. How are you suggesting that the game was never supposed to be an RPG and the players just didn't get that the game tried to be better by being different? Such comments anger me, really. And I don't listen to each and every one of the producers giving speeches about the genre of the game they are making to check whether it matches with the genre I expect. Those producer speechers usually contain a lot of useless stuff, anyhow. All in all I'm still mad at anything Final Fantasy XIII.

Oh, and I never found Zell annoying... Why did you suggest that?
Ah, "devil's advocate." I was hoping to avoid that. Oh well. I see your point. I'm not suggesting that it wasn't supposed to be a (full-fledged) RPG. "You don't have to take my word for this." The guys behind the game said so themselves.

Also, never said that it was trying to be "better" per se, merely pointing out that the Final Fantasy name is an anchor around the developers' collective neck. I'm trying to put us in their shoes. Final Fantasy makes money, lots of it, because everyone is content with its formula, its consistent way of going about things. FFXIII was different, I don't think anyone is going to disagree here. So the team behind the game decided to change things up. Now, if you're a developer, wouldn't you grow tired of rehashing a similar project repeatedly?

What we're essentially arguing here is the validity of "The customer is always right" policy. At what point do developers have to make an effort to nudge the fanbase along into accepting something different? Think of what happens if FF keeps doing its standard thing over and over. Are we saying that people wouldn't deride them at some point for making the same thing repeatedly? Would we really always be content with just incremental changes and new stories (all of which tend to focus on the same themes)? Some of you may very well be, and that's perfectly fine. But, for me, and I think many others, the series needs to take more risks, like they did with FFXIII. Now, FFXIII didn't exactly succeed, which brings me to my next rebuttal...

xXxJessicaxXx said:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel. That aside the things the article is completely dismissive of are big issues. The unlikable characters, the terrible combat, the movie like gameplay.

I can play a linear game and be happy, Dead Space or Crysis 2 for example but the fact is that if that linear experience is horrible why would I want to endure it.

It seems like you are making flimsy excuses for a bad game.
My point was not to say FFXIII is the "BEST GAME EVAR," I didn't want to spend an article responding to forum rants about the game. That's what this forum is for. I merely wanted to point out that people have come to expect a certain thing from this franchise, and that expectation naturally breeds stagnancy. I know FFXIII wasn't a great game. It wasn't a bad game though, but it received a whole lot of backlash despite being a decent title. Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.

But, and this applies to a lot of y'all, if you genuinely believe FFXIII was a bad game, and your pre-determined expectations of the game, based on its status as a Final Fantasy title, had no bearing on your judgments, well then there's not much for me to say. But that's not my point. I didn't think it'd be interesting just to write "NO FFXIII IS GOOD! IT'S GOOD!" in 1500 words. I did think that the complex relationship between the series' developers and its hardcore fanbase, and how that affects what kinds of games come to be created, would be interesting...

Ashoten said:
Sorry you lost my interest towards the end of the first page. FF 13 wanted to be a movie that resented being a game. I couldn't get past 2 hours of its tedium. The game play just wasn't engaging enough to keep me going from movie clip to movie clip. Glad I was playing on a friends copy instead of spending my own money.

Yeah Kingdom Hearts 3 would be a nice.
...which I guess it wasn't to Ashoten. Sorry you feel that way, man. Hope I can get you with the next one :)

90sgamer said:
Mr Dunn, I am sorry to say you are off point in every area. People who hate FFXIII hate it because it's not a good game by its own merits. Some of those same people *also* hate it because it is not true to the Final Fantasy formula, if there is such a thing any more. It seems you spend three web pages rebutting a very slim and specific group of people who take issue with FFXIII solely because of the latter, which is an entirely unproductive endeavor because you are addressing the minority. Your accusation of hypocrisy is also unwarranted. People detest Call of Duty because it makes no changes to its formula--only the setting ever changes. FFXIII did not change its formula, it changed its genre, a point you argue for. Apple to Oranges, bud. In any case, you are assuming some who hate Call of Duty are the same people who hate FFXIII but provide no evidence to support this assumption. Since the RPG genre is nothing like the FPS genre I doubt your assumption to be true.
They're a very vocal minority then, wouldn't you say? The internets be full of people trashing the game. Again, see my above point, my intent was not to tell you that your judgment of the game was wrong, unless you thought it was trash because it didn't do what you expected a FF game to do.

Also, I'm getting two different reasons on why people hate COD. Some saying it's because it doesn't innovate, some saying it's successful. I focused on the former. Oh well.

I think the "bizarro world" quote confused some people. Besides making a reference to the "Bizarro Jerry" episode of Seinfeld, what I meant there was that FFXIII is the same as COD, just for a mirrored reason. Whereas COD is bemoaned for not changing, FFXIII is bemoaned for changing. That's all I meant by that, really. Also, I could have polled everybody who hates COD and everybody who hates FFXIII and see if they overlap, but I had to make deadline. I know lots o' people dislike COD, and lots o' people dislike FFXIII. I'd venture to say there's an overlap there. Gamers, I hope, typically don't restrict themselves to one genre, especially in this case when it's two massively successful franchises like COD and FF.

Angry Juju said:
Now defend XIII-2 cutting the ending from the game completely and releasing it as DLC.
Well, when I play FFXIII-2, I just may. xD

Aeonknight said:
Jeff Dunn said:
In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what?s preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

Read Full Article
I was waiting for someone to say it.

Fucking thank you.
No, thank YOU.

Oh, and Zell is a tool. You guys can't change my mind there. Think of hanging out with that guy. I guess I'm a little like Seifer then.

Well OKAY. I'm never doing a post this long again. Hope I gave some insight, though. Again, thank you all a ton for giving my article a once-over. It's huge to me (That's what sh...no, nevermind). If I didn't get to any points, and you want me to that bad, post again, and I'll be back. Though I won't write a thesis next time. Later, my friends.
 

Sandytimeman

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Jikuu said:
Thanks for writing on Final Fantasy XIII and being open about why people feel so divided over it. For what it's worth, ever since Final Fantasy became popular in America (around FF6/7, depending on who you talk to), the next one's always been a bit polarizing. Folks who liked 7 disliked 8 or 9, folks who liked 8 hated 10, folks who liked 10 hated 12, and so on down the line. I'd actually argue that 12 and 13 aren't that far off mechanically, since both had little programs for your guys and they were on some sort of auto-pilot. If anything, the menu-based system that's become ubiquitous in most JRPGs was more apparent in 13 than 12. I will agree that the legacy of the series name is troublesome. While there are some expectations for staying the same, Final Fantasy implies a somewhat new system and other innovations every game, and these innovations aren't always welcome. Basically, no game bearing Final Fantasy is ever going to be 100% accepted because we have these weird convoluted expectations. 13 and 13-2 are just the latest to bear the bulk of the grudge.
It's okie, I loved 6, that was my entry into the franchise and HATED 8, 10, 10-2, etc etc all the way through. Hell I even hated the Final Fantasy movie.
 

Gatx

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Atmos Duality said:
There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.
What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.
To me, the Final Fantasy series, past one at least, has only been an RPG in mechanics only, that is to say the stats and combat and what not. I don't know if you've noticed but you don't actually do any "role-playing" in them, you just play out a pretty linear plot.

The newest Extra Credits talks about how JRPGs and Western RPGs could possibly be considered different genres, with JRPGs being focused on narratives, so I can kind of see the reasoning behind the direction FFXIII took, cutting out a lot of RPG fluff to focus on a core narrative.
 

Tiamattt

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I didn't find the game/story itself confusing at all, and I never got the whole "it doesn't feel like a FF" idea. To SE's credit they do try to mix up the formula for all the FFs so they don't play like each other, so gameplay wise it's kinda hard to make a complaint about 13 playing different from the rest of the FFs when that's exactly what they were going for with every game. There are plenty of other things worth complaining about in FF13, but trying to be different isn't one of them.
 

Bara_no_Hime

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You know, this article clarifies something that's been bothering me for a while.

I loved FF 13. I thought it told a great story - I hated Hope and Snow at the outset, but watching them grow and change as people made me care about them, something I did not expect at the start of the game.

I loved that FF 13 tried something new and different. I didn't even mind the linear levels (just look at FF 10! It was nothing but linear paths! Why love 10 and hate 13?).

I've never really been able to place what I liked - and everyone else hated - about FF 13, but I think I have now. I wanted something different, and I got what I asked for. And I loved it.
 

Furrama

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Since this is a JRPG and is a very story driven linear game, (which I like more than open world but that's me), one MUST like the characters and the story. This is the one time where the gameplay is second fiddle, though it must be a decent fiddle. Story and characters are king. This FF has characters I just can't like... save Fang. Oh things pick up later, but it's soooooo many hours in that it can't make up for it. There is too much whining, too much "why would you do that?" stuff going on. (Part of me has this theory that FF hasn't been able to do well since voice acting in video games happened. Things sound less stupid when you read them than if you hear them out loud.)

It's a game I want to like but don't. I want more good stories, memorable characters. I do miss real turn based combat, (which I haven't seen since FFX), but that isn't a deal breaker. While I like my "Pokemon" style chess fix I am more than happy to experiment. Give me a good story and a game system that just bearly works and I'll have the best time ever.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Bara_no_Hime said:
You know, this article clarifies something that's been bothering me for a while.

I loved FF 13. I thought it told a great story - I hated Hope and Snow at the outset, but watching them grow and change as people made me care about them, something I did not expect at the start of the game.

I loved that FF 13 tried something new and different. I didn't even mind the linear levels (just look at FF 10! It was nothing but linear paths! Why love 10 and hate 13?).

I've never really been able to place what I liked - and everyone else hated - about FF 13, but I think I have now. I wanted something different, and I got what I asked for. And I loved it.
Glad I could be of service then, my friend.
 

Lord_Jaroh

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I'm playing through FFXIII right now. I've "forced" my way to chapter 13 and I'm a chunk of the way through it now.

I'm sorry. If FFXIII were renamed anything different, it would still be a terrible, terrible game, and not one that would be "praised for it's evolution of JRPGs".

My faults with FFXIII:

1. Story - The story as played out in the gameplay is nonsensical. That I have to read datalogs to figure out what the hell is going on is not an evolution in any way, shape or form.

2. Linearity - This wouldn't be AS bad if the story were any sort of decent (so you had something to drive you further). Instead the linearity stands out like a sore thumb because all there is is moving forwards on screen and nothing comes of it.

3. Gameplay - It is luck based rather than skill based because you can't really control your character's actions. You "sort of" have control over your leader's actions. I say sort of because the game's pace plays too fast to really let you have any control. If you direct your actions, you will play poorer because of it. Your party...beyond the lackluster AI scripting of the paradigms, they control themselves, and you have no input in how they play.

4. Monster design and layout - The monsters are very unremarkable, and also very samey. It seems to stand out more than the early Final Fantasy's palette swaps for some reason. Considering the game is all about the combat (as there is nothing else redeeming in the game), making the monsters unique should have been paramount. As well, when I run through an area, the monsters respawn in exactly the same spots, with the same numbers and types...why? Why not change it up so that the monsters can be in different locations with different group makeups when you re-tread down a path?

5. Characters - Flat and uninspired. This is also due to the story being told through the datalogs rather than on screen where you see them, but they really stood out as being caricatures rather than people, with over-the-top actions and dialogue that makes no sense.

6. The Tutorial - It was so slowly paced from beginning right to end.

7. Unintuitive and/or clumsy systems - The Weapon/Accessory upgrading. The Crystarium Levelling. Not being able to save Paradigms when changing team members.

8. The Grind - Now this is something that I could just "see" being terrible. I will say that I didn't grind at all. I've been playing the game from start to finish with minimal "killing to earn experience/gold". Hell, I didn't even do all of the hunting quests (mainly due to the boring running). The pacing for the game is "okay" so far. What is terrible is that if you want to upgrade things in this game the amount of grinding you would need to do just to get money. There are youtube videos on how to earn money in the game efficiently, so that it ONLY takes you hours to earn the necessary money to upgrade one weapon! And this is monotonously fighting the same enemies over and over again...

9. The Cutscenes - Wow, are there a lot of them, and wow are there tons that add nothing to the game character or story! I can see why they let you finally skip them (and why this was received as such a "good" thing...)

10. The World Layout - Running down a long monster-less and featureless corridor after finishing a cutscene to another cutscene (with no interruptions! Literally, I leave a cutscene, walk down a hallway, with no opportunity to interact with anything in the world to another cutscene. And this happens often!).

11. Inconsistent - From walking down a hallway to find a "jump point" to leap over an obstacle to finding another area that doesn't have a jump point, yet I still leap over an obstacle.

12. Things don't make sense within the context of the game world - Why are there "treasure balls"? Why are there save points? Why can I only upgrade at these save points? Why can I shop at only these save points? Why are these shops selling to a L'Cie?

Truthfully, FFXIII felt like a half-finished game. A game that wanted to do so much and then ran out of money and time, so it had to be rushed out the door as is with a couple of band-aids added to it to make it function. I guess that's why we are getting so many FFXIII games, but it's too bad we will need to pay for the game many times over...

It's sad to see how far Square has fallen...I used to like their .games so much, and they showed such promise. To think that this was the road they somehow took...
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Jeff Dunn said:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.
Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.
 

Whimsi

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Oh sure "Uh...yeah, we never REALLY meant to make an RPG at all! Yeah!"

Try saying it BEFORE the game comes out for more effect...
 

Jeff Dunn

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what miffed me with ff13 was not the gameplay, or the auto combat (actually i like not having to work with that old and tried combat system unless i really have to due to the ai fucking up.) but the fact that i despised all characters for they were annoying cretins.

i'm to old to still tolerate these kind of chars. They should all die - which presumably they did since i never finished the game.
 

Jeff Dunn

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
Jeff Dunn said:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.
Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.
Multiple times. That line was in response to this:

xXxJessicaxXx said:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel.
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
 

Hulyen

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I liked FF13 once it actually got to the point of being a GAME. It felt like a long boring dragged out tutorial for a good many chapters. Add in Chapter 7 almost making me stop playing because I couldn't stand to hear Hope whine ONE MORE TIME and nothing happening at all in the story, and you have a terrible first part of a game. I didn't enjoy it until chapter 11 when you hit Gran Pulse and finally get to go explore and feel like you have control.

I didn't hate those portions of the game because they weren't 'Final Fantasy' - which is kind of a hollow statement, since 13 is a natural progression from 10 -> 11 -> 12 combat and even setting-wise, I hated them because they were poorly done. The game felt like different departments of Square worked on different sections of the game, then just mashed it into chapters.

RPG or not, FF13 was a story and character driven game that had a painfully slow story and poorly presented characters, and THOSE are it's critical flaws.
 

Hulyen

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Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
 

Danceofmasks

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What ..

Even if every single thing said here are amazingly apt points of merit for the game, there is no excuse, none, under any circumstances, for any game, ever, to have a 30 hour tutorial.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.
 

Hulyen

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Jeff Dunn said:
Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.
It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.
 

Simonoly

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jurnag12 said:
Simonoly said:
jurnag12 said:
Simonoly said:
He said he liked FFIX over FFXIII because he didn't want to murder all the main characters. I can relate to that.
And there you also have my reason for hating VIII and X. They'd have been decent if Squall and Tidus hadn't been the 2 most annoying and whiny f*cks on the face of the planet.
Agreed. I actually really like Zidane from FFIX, simply due to the fact that he is neither whiny nor a depressing little shit. He was just a normal guy (albiet with a tail) that liked to have a laugh and stab the crap out of wildlife. Cloud, Squall and Lightning all fall under the depressed teenager category for me, which just isn't fun to watch. Tidus and Vaan from FFXII were basically the same whiney characters. If Square Enix want to create something unique, maybe they should start giving their main characters new personalities?
Giving them new personalities?! Next you'll be asking that they make their next game without androgynous teenagers as main characters!
And yeah, I'd forgotten about Lightning. Christ, the only person in XIII that managed to out-annoy her in my eyes was friggin' Snow (Who, together with Hope, needs to die in some sort of grisly accident involving chainsaws, napalm, and a morbidly obese walrus).
Oh what a dream - a Final Fantasy game not starring a passive agressive androgynous teenager as the main protagonist. Really, one can only dream....

I like your method of destruction when it comes to Final Fantasy 13 characters. I just want to blend them in my shitty under-used smoothie maker. I love blending stuff I hate. It's cathartic.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.
Understandable. And you're right in that, naturally, it's "more money, more problems" for the franchise with regard to the amount of flak they're going to get. I suppose I don't like the fact that they have to have a separate vehicle for "innovative games," then (although they're not the only studio to do this). But agree to disagree. Thanks again.
 

Atmos Duality

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Jeff Dunn said:
No, I don't find that unreasonable Atmos, not at all. But when the guy who makes the game tells you this before the game comes out, I think you should adjust your expectations accordingly. The interview I referenced came before the NA release of the game (or at least right around the same time), so it was before all the backlash.
Ah, well I must have missed that.
Then again, I was away from civilization around when FF13 launched; I mostly remember being worried about my back yard flooding.

Also, "something new" up there refers to it being new relative to the franchise, not to the genre as a whole.
Actually, looking at it a bit more closely, shaking up the mechanics/mood started from about FF5 onward. It's not that new to the franchise. I'd argue that Squaresoft actually experimented a fair bit during their "glory years" (1994-2000).

FF5 introduced the class system, FF7 and FF8 are very unique installments, FF9 was a throwback to (especially to FF4 and FF6 mechanically, where characters had more unique skill sets), FF10 was sort of a hybrid of FF8 and FF9, and mechanically is very similar to FF13 in character progression.
FF12 was literally designed to play like an MMO, but as a single player title.

So for me, it wasn't any great shock when they "changed" in FF13. It's just that the changes weren't interesting or good. Adding "live-action" timing to what is essentially a turn-based game (there's a rhythm to it) didn't really bother me; I like a couple of Namco's "Tales Of..." games and they essentially treat combo chains as turns taken in real time.


Oh, and Zell is a tool. You guys can't change my mind there. Think of hanging out with that guy. I guess I'm a little like Seifer then.
I consider him a prime example of an "attitude" character taken too far.
There were points where he was approaching Bubsy levels of douche. I cringed when he launched into his "chicken strut" upon making it to SeeD.

Gatx said:
To me, the Final Fantasy series, past one at least, has only been an RPG in mechanics only, that is to say the stats and combat and what not. I don't know if you've noticed but you don't actually do any "role-playing" in them, you just play out a pretty linear plot.
Heh, part of the problem is that "RPG" has the broadest definition of any genre/element in the entirety of gaming. I cannot begin to describe how nebulous the term is; even "game with stats" is a pretty broad categorization when you consider how many games there are with "stats" there are that aren't RPGs; or multi-genre titles.

What gets defined as "role-playing"? Pretending you're someone/something else and playing their story? Playing one "class" from a series that has a special "role"? Both of these have been done with and without the other.

As for the linear plot; well, that's a limitation of production. Even in the games with non-linear plots, and you will find that nearly all of them have to cut corners somewhere to deal with the fractal-logic and exponential growth of plot branches. (Radiata Stories, Blade Runner by Westwood)
 

Hulyen

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Jeff Dunn said:
Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.
Understandable. And you're right in that, naturally, it's "more money, more problems" for the franchise with regard to the amount of flak they're going to get. I suppose I don't like the fact that they have to have a separate vehicle for "innovative games," then (although they're not the only studio to do this). But agree to disagree. Thanks again.
A valid point of view, and agreed! Thanks for the civil discourse. :)
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Jeff Dunn said:
xXxJessicaxXx said:
Jeff Dunn said:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.
Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.
Multiple times. That line was in response to this:

xXxJessicaxXx said:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel.
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
From a business point of view it makes no sense to try something so radical with such an old series. People have come to expect something from those games and when you radically change that you are asking for trouble. There's no reason why they couldn't release it as a new IP if they were looking to establish a new style of game.

People end up paying for something they didn't want if you do that. The same thing happened with Dragon Age 2. If you are going to do that then at least be honest about it and make sure people know ahead of time that this one will be different.

Being dismissive of valid complaints about the game and gathering everyone under the banner of 'not wanting progress' is kind of ridiculous. Especially since that 'progress' isn't an improvement but a backwards step.
 

Canadish

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Every Final Fantasy game brought a load of change.

The issue wasn't "change".

If everyone was complaining about it going from Fantasy to Sci-fi, like with from XI to XII, THAT would be an complaint about change.

But FFXIII was just a worse game. Period.

It was that the game was focused on style-over-substance and was a vapid, shallow, BORING experience.
Repetitive, simplified combat was all there was to this game. There was no variation at all.

The characters were unlikable cardboard cutout's that didn't develop properly.
We never got an Act 1 in order to get to know any of them or establish them in a normal situation. Their peril had no weight to it because of this. We have no idea what they've lost or seek to regain, except via a hand full of cut-scene flashbacks.

Nothing was gained. All that was improved on was the graphics.

That's the issue.
 

Dice Warwick

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I agree In full.

I always liked how "FF" did thing differently in each game, with a new story each time, but at the same time it annoyed the hell out of me that they never kept any of the good stuff they were able to do. But to me FFXIII was an astounding fail at all level, the game ply was a glorified autopilot, the story was mixed up and made me feel annoyed, and other then Fang, the characters just did not connect with me at all. It's good that they tried something different, but with FFXIII, if felt like they forgot to check with the fans, and by the time they remembered about them, it was to late and they had to finish the game.

to me Square is dieing from the inside, fans are trusting them less and less with every game, and it seems that Square dos not care.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Ahahahahh!

Ha ha!

hehe....

heh.

Erm, no.

Ashoten said:
Sorry you lost my interest towards the end of the first page. FF 13 wanted to be a movie that resented being a game.
Hey, that's what I was going to say!
 

xyrafhoan

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Plinglebob said:
I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)
Okay, I'm going to agree with you that VIII's Time Compression was just weird as hell, Cloud admitting he lived his whole life as a lie pretending to be someone he wasn't was the moment where he went from being a shallow character to someone I actually cared for. I'm more bothered that Square doesn't remember Cloud's vulnerabilities in any meaningful way in any of the FF7 spinoffs. Sephiroth's existence is much more confusing than Cloud's character arc.

FF13 could be followed easily enough even with all of its terminology. L'cie, Fal'cie, and Cie'th were not hard terms to follow along with considering how long the group talks about their fate about becoming l'cie. It's a minor gripe when many games are much more confusing about their terminology (Tales of Abyss, anyone?) The real problem is that the villain's plan in FF13 is a complete mess that makes my brain hurt just trying to figure it out. I didn't understand the whole final gambit until I read through TVTropes... and even then it still was incredibly hard to comprehend a plan so stupid. Characters who died are brought back only to die again like 5 minutes after they come back. Characters who weren't developed at all keep coming back and I wonder how they survived being gunned down/shot down in their plane/etc. The game was clearly developed in separate segments and then was woefully stitched together so they could have cool cutscenes with little regard for continuity that makes a lick of sense.

To reiterate: Motivations of the villain are bad, treatment of minor characters is completely nonsensical. I didn't even mention combat or linearity, which weren't that bad though it requires almost no input from the player. Paradigm shifts are clunky the first time you shift, putting you in a damned if you do damned if you don't scenario with such a long delay where you are definitely not invincible and time is still moving. I don't really care about the linear hallway design, as Shin Megami Tensei is almost nothing but narrow hallways, and less detailed ones to boot. The lack of variety in gameplay really hurt FF13 too. Even if a lot of the minigames in FF are of questionable quality, it's something that breaks up the pacing and leaves you refreshed, even if the minigame left a negative impression. In FF13, the only thing to do is walk around and get into into battles (which all play pretty much the same), and watch cutscenes.

Two activities in a 40 hour plus game.

I realize nothing else like FF13 is on the market, but unique does not equal good. Persona has been telling better character-focused stories for years, and Tales in general has focused on strong stories building up a whole world. FF13 had weak gameplay (which was remedied in FF13-2 by fixing that awful 2 second paradigm shift delay), a confusing story that was hard to derive satisfaction from, and an utterly forgettable cast of characters beyond your party members, the main villain, and Serah. There's no excuses to be made for FF13's failings and I am glad that FF13-2 took the problems to heart and at least polished the gameplay and brought in new elements beyond "walk down corridor and kill everything... Oh hey chapter 10! Now walk around the big plain and kill everything!". FF13-2 was not a step backwards towards safe territory. It only acknowledged that FF13 was a shallow game, too focused on style and not enough on function.
 

Plinglebob

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Gizmo1990 said:
Plinglebob said:
I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)
See I do not understand why people were confused by the story either. I just throught it was a shit story with really bad characters. You like it and that's fine but tell me that Snow is not the biggest douche in fiction?
The funny thing about Snow is the way he acts (I'm the hero, getting people to fight with him, jumping head first into every battle) is pretty much how the player usually acts in RPGs (more specifically WRPGS). Its just while the player is good at it/destined by fate, Snow just really bad at it. Like Vanille, its taking a standard character convention of the genre and twisting it slightly to show you the darker side.
 

Truniron

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It was not bad, but lots of the element from previous games in the franchise have either been changed or gone to waste. The good things about the game is that the random encounters, which I actually miss, but when I don't have to worry about being forced to battle every 4th step in a cave, I say it's OK. The cut scenes could have been without all the whining and all the grunting sounds, sometimes, it's too much. The Square-Enix franchise is taking a different line from how the Squaresoft FF where, but like everything (except war according to Fallout) it changes. If this is how Square-Enix FF games are gonna be, it's OK, but please. At least once, or twice, I hope that they take inspiration from one or more of the previous games and make a game reminiscing to the classic style of FF games.
Overall, not a perfect game, but can be entertaining to the right audience
 

newdarkcloud

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Final Fantasy 13 should not be like Call of Duty where it feels like (at least from my perspective) that you are doing the same thing year after year.

However, what we got was more like Call of Duty suddenly becoming a puzzle game. It doesn't make sense and felt kinda wrong.


I also dislike being on auto-pilot for a good half of the game. FF13 was more than just bitching fans. There are many legit criticisms of it, and that's why many changes were made for 13-2.
 

Skyy High

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I can't agree with the premise of the article, I just can't. FFXIII wasn't "innovative", at least not in any direction that we should be encouraging. It took the fairly standard linear cinematic experience that has come to define the JRPG genre, and amped it up to 11, at the cost of every other part of the game. 20 hours of pushing a character forward on a set linear path with zero choice involved in how you build your character, your party, your looks, or even which enemies you fight is NOT "innovation", it's just stripping out what makes JRPGs fun and not replacing it with anything worthwhile.

Oh, the combat system was innovative, particularly for a FF game. Needless to say, the combat system is the part of the game that I liked the most, because it was clear that they were trying to iterate on the tired FF formula to get something new and better. Every other aspect of the game, though, doesn't show signs of innovation; it shows that Square-Enix just wanted us to sit down and watch its goddamn terrible movie without having much, if anything, to say in the matter. _That_ is why it's hated; not because it's not a FF game, but because it's just not fun to have close to zero involvement in your character or the story, particularly when that story is completely nonsensical anyway.
 

DjinnFor

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Jeff Dunn said:
The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what's preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.
No, not at all.

Here's the two cents I posted a while back:

DjinnFor said:
Here's my two cents:

I just lost interest at about, I think, Chapter 12. If I recall. Whichever chapter gives you access to the fairly open, non-linear map where you can start doing missions.

Here's my problem: I was pretty bored overall with the game until I hit that point. At least the linearity of the game focused me enough on a clear goal that I could pave forward despite my boredom. As soon as I realized that the game was about to give me twenty different goals to complete (in the form of 19 missions to 5-star and 1 path to progress forward) I sort of just said "Screw it". I knew I'd have to grind up myself some levels and I couldn't face the prospect of doing so given my current opinion of it.

Basically, I recognized that the combat system was fairly shallow and it wasn't going to get much better, and the story itself just wasn't interesting me.

You see, I didn't want to sit there facing jellies and penguin-bird-things all day, so I figured I'd take on some Wolves or Greater Beast(-y thingies). Of course, the game has absolutely no penalty for failing over and over, so I figured I'd master taking on extremely tough enemies until I could 5-star them. Of course, its more luck than not, but it's doable given the right timing if you can just stagger the right enemies at the right time. Chain-launch the Greater Beasts and you can take them out before they stand and heal themselves.

On one hand the battle system creates an illusion of complexity, but on the other its just a glorified "Simon Says" game. Simon says, switch to MED/MED/SEN. Simon says, switch to SAB/SYN/SEN. Simon says, switch to COM/RAV/RAV. Simon says, switch to RAV/RAV/RAV. Simon says, switch to COM/RAV/SEN. To make sure of the job, of course, be sure to switch paradigms every ten seconds so your ATB bar gets a free refill, and auto-battle by default since no human can input commands as fast as the computer can, unless it's just to spam a single move (blitz-blitz-blitz). Even if you know the enemy is weak to lightning but don't have it scanned, you're wasting valuable time where your ATB bar doesn't fill while you sit there dilly-dallying.

You know exactly how to win every battle at the outset, and given a particularly tough battle, victory is a combination of luck (the enemy doesn't hit you anything particularly dangerous) and timing. 5-staring battles underleveled is basically a "sprint for the finish, all or nothing, no healer or buffs" dash where you retry the moment anything goes wrong. 5-starring battles overleveled is a combination of (ab)using particular equipment that doesn't increase the maximum time... and a "sprint for the finish, all or nothing, no healer or buffs" dash.

Was there a sweet spot I missed? Perhaps. Sometimes buffs are important: your default position is usually "buffs on", but most battles are 5-starred without them once your timing is down.

Overall, the story itself has its ups and downs. Vanille is everyones least favorite 21-year-old voice actor trying to play a 14-year-old sounding girl (that's really 19 years old according to the manual). The other characters do develop somewhat: Snow warms to the player with his badass "fall fifty feet then carry someone on his back five miles moment", Hope goes through an uplifting transition but only really because that's the only direction he could have gone (it's not like you could have made him more whiny and annoying), Sazh has a mini-struggle beneath his calm and positive demeanor... but the female cast is lacking. Vanille is pure eye-candy with a backstory added for the sake of completeness, Fang has no real role (so far), and Lightning just sort of stays aloof except for one moment when she cries to Hope about her feelings.

The story is still a definite improvement over 12, which just gave each character an intro and a little motivation for joining the group, and then went off in some long-winded plot tangent that was completely irrelevant as far as most of the characters were concerned or bothered to express. I suppose I'm used to traditional Final Fantasy where the hero gets their spotlight throughout the story, and secondary characters get a bit of an introduction as they are introduced and some development along the way in the form of dialogue and commentary, with some extras and optionals thrown in to flesh them out. That was a fair way to do things: from what I see, 13 gives the characters some more introduction and some meaningful development along the way, but its sandwiched in the beginning and middle. The old FFs were episodic in a sense: they created their main interaction between characters by introducing some sort of small challenge or goal in the context of a larger goal, and having the characters talk about it and share their opinions as they overcome it. This allowed them to actually develop as characters.

This one splits up the characters and has them do some really exciting things right away, but I find myself missing the moments like the Black Mage village of FF9 or being trapped in the Casino in FF7: a change in scenery, pace, and mechanics. More memorable are the moments where you return to an area you previously visited and do things even more exciting, like in FF7: going back into that portside town where you originally took the boat ride and being captured/trying to escape, or returning to Midgar and fighting the Weapon.

FF13 does away with the "overall, fairly clear goal" and "episodic challenges" that you see in FF7 and FF9 and goes for a more "changing or unknown villain" and "fairly linear path" method of FF8 and FF12. The overall motivation is fairly unclear, and even the protagonists are slightly confused as to what to do, so the game has to give you a straight line from A to B to walk along in order to keep you motivated. Where FF7 was well-paced, with the episodic challenges varying in importance and climaxing at about every half disc, FF13 is almost a roller-coaster ride that always falls down: by the end of it you're bored. It just rises and rises in impact and significance and almost never slows down for a moment: you really have to give the player a reference to compare to, a moment in the story where things are slow and lackadaisical, or funny and joyous, for those action-packed or tragic moments to hit hard.

FF13 just struggles at basic storytelling conventions where its predecessors excelled or at least functioned (depending on who you talk to), and when the gameplay isn't much it's hard to appreciate it.

In any case, I'm bored of FF13, and I probably won't get back to it for a while.
 

AbstractStream

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Jeff Dunn, I like the way you think. Good article even though there are 3 pages of hate (for the most part).
 

Sylveria

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Atmos Duality said:
There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.
What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

EDIT:
Final Fantasy XIII gave fans something new. And it was vehemently hated as a result.
Actually, the whole time I was playing FF13 (brief as it was), I could not stop thinking of another game that had similar problems: Xenosaga Episode 2.

It had very similar gameplay related problems and an overwrought story.
I struggle to see how FF13 gave us anything new.

A game that was mostly cutscenes? Been done. The difference is that usually cut scene heavy games are still games. FF13 would happily never let you touch a button.

The combat system? They mashed together "action rpg" combat and "Turn based/Active Time" combat with an audible clunk to give us twitch-based menu navigation.. which isn't new either.. FF11 was essentially the same system just with only 1 action at a time being picked. 12 could be played in a nearly identical fashion to 13 if you were mad enough to not use gambits. The whole Paradigm system exists to mask them being too lazy or inept to create an AI that can competently use a wide variety of skills or give the characters any real concrete characterization to match their skill set. That's not new, that's failure.

The Characters? Worse than the "Staff girl, Sword guy, etc" tropes because while they don't fit those profiles, they still fall into the "tough guy/tough girl, kookie girl, emo git" just without any of the secondary characteristics like a set of abilities that actually match what they do or their personalities. Let us not forget that most of the characters have an "ultimate ability" which tells you they do have a "class" it's just so vaguely defined to be inscrutable.

The story? Big Bad Evil Guy wants to bring down civilization for kicks. Though making the BBEG a transforming mecha-pope is kinda new I guess.

If anything, FFXIII is a regression rather than an innovation. The players control over the game is minimized. Where limiting player action used to be the result of tech limits, now it's just for the heck of it.

I finished FF13-2 not all that long ago and found it to be superior in every way; they built upon the ultra-restricted system and improved it. It still isn't that good and probably never will be cause it has so many inherent flaws, but it shows they were at least thinking. It also had, what I feel, was superior story structure. FF13 had no driving force beyond an unseen ticking clock where as 13-2 had an antagonist who was a legitimate threat in person, but also the idea that the whole of creation was starting to unravel around you and if you didn't move your ass everything was going to come crashing down (literally and figuratively). Not to mention the game actually let you play it from the word go, no 15-20hr long tutorial section.

Lastly, I really find the idea of blaming the legacy holding the series back preposterous. FF13 isn't so widely loathed by fans of the series because it's different, it's loathed because they think it is a bad/boring/unenjoyable/flawed game. Innovation and refinement are fine, but here's the issue, those changes need to be provide something superior than the old way. Failure to do that is still failure and that failure is only magnified when there's a history of exceptional product.

I also find the idea of saying "it didn't intend to be an RPG" a total cop out defense. I've often called the justifications/defenses of FF13 to be desperate, but that takes the cake. Like someone above me said, it's like Timmy Wisaeu saying "The Room" was supposed to be funny after everyone started laughing at it. I guarantee that if FF13 didn't have "Final Fantasy" in the title, no one would be defending it. It would get laughed off the stage and buried in obscurity ,but it has that legacy that the article is so quick to criticize to use as a crutch.
 

Tarkand

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Maybe I'm weird, but I don't feel like FFXIII tried something 'new' or 'different', has much as it just finally reached a 'critical mass' of Final Fantasy-ness and imploded on itself.

Pretty much every iteration of FF has had plots that got more and more complicated and non-sensical. People's hair has gotten more and more spiky. The characters become more and more annoying. Gameplay has gotten less and less involving. The world has shrunk. The game becomes more linear.

So FFXIII isn't so much new... has the conclusion of that trend.
 

BabuNu

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If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!
 

Jeff Dunn

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There are many reasons I despise FFXIII. And no, it being "different" isn't one of them.


FFXIII had the worst combat system in FF history. I beat every battle for the first 15 hours pressing auto-action. THAT IS NOT A GOOD COMBAT SYSTEM. It wanted players to interact as little as possible.

Vanille and Hope were completely unlikable. When an explosion takes place 12 hours in, and you know a party member is there in danger, Vanille tells Sazh "Let's just go the other way". REALLY? FUCKING REALLY? No choice? Just flee for no better reason? Really?

Party leader dying means Game Over? BULL SHIT. I stopped playing when one boss 17 hours in would attack my party leader with everything first turn and kill her, ending the game. I would normally grind to get around something like that but...

YOU CAN'T GRIND. The arbitrary limits on how strong you can make your characters scream "We want to tell a movie, not a game"

No sidequests for at least 20 hours. EVERY OTHER GAME HAD SOMETHING TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF THE TEDIUM. Blitzball, Triple Triad, Mini-Games in VII. XII had it best, if you didn't feel like going after the story, you could hunt some mobs and have fun that way. XIII? NOTHING FOR AT LEAST 20 HOURS. THE FUCK?

THAT'S WHY I HATE FFXIII.
 

Hashbrick

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When I first played FFXIII so long ago on launch I was so so disappointed. Weeks before FFXII-2 came out I decided to sit down to play FFXIII all over again, from start to finish. I realized I was a lot harder on the game then I should have been, it's not that it was a bad game but it was so different in linear that I hated everything it ever stand for. Playing it my second time through was much relaxing and satisfying. I started to appreciate the story that was told and the characters that were telling it.

The combat system was never about choosing "Fira" from a menu, it was about switching to paradigms at the right time and knowing how to endure the battles that would come. Each character played an important role in your party to survive, which many FFs could say otherwise.

If you asked me what was my favorite FF, well you'd be surprised to know it wasn't FFVII of FFVI or FFV, no it was FFXII. So many fans hated FFXII for what it achieved, personally I thought it achieved greatness. The battle system was something to behold, the world was elegant in its own way, and the characters felt alive.

13-2 improved on the 13 system, the battle system is tweaked to really make the battles more fast pace and intense. The creature catching, chocobo racing, slot machine fenzy, fragment collecting, notorious monster, multiple ending, time traveling game was a worthy stand in the FF line up. It was what the fans were asking for, something more than just the story. I don't see how any fan wouldn't be happy with 13-2 and maybe just maybe they will appreciate FF13 more after playing it, I know I have.
 

Raika

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NameIsRobertPaulson said:
Vanille and Hope were completely unlikable.
So the only characters with any development or depth were unlikable? Okay. Have fun with that.
 

mireko

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Sep 23, 2010
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A little side-note: Dark Souls has some huge differences from Demon's Souls. They have the same combat system, but where Demon's Souls uses a mission hub and fairly straightforward levels, Dark Souls is almost completely open-world. You could argue that each "zone" is the same thing as a level, but when they're all stitched together then it's still a major difference, not an incremental change. If a game like Uncharted had all its zones be interconnected and allowed the player to travel in them as they please, it would completely transform the game.

But yeah, I agree with some of the points made here. I've been thinking about how they could've salvaged Final Fantasy XIII, and I've come up with one thing that would've magically changed it from a mediocre game to the game of the year, and here it is.

The voice actresses/actors should've been drunk and added a ton of ad-libbed lines. There. Now it's a satire. Motomu Toriyama's hack writing is so bad that if it got that extra little push into the uncanny, it would become brilliant. Lines like "BECUZ IM A HERO LOLZ" and "MOMS ARE TOUGH LOLZ" would've immediately become parodies of the dialogue, and it would have all that post-structuralism stuff you hipsters love so much.

Another option would've been to employ someone who isn't a horrible writer.
 

wooty

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Aug 1, 2009
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Nice article, but I didnt think FFXIII needed defending.

Some people liked it, some didnt.
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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ElPatron said:
medv4380 said:
Didn't they also say that you can't tell a compelling story on an open world game?

Perhaps he never heard of Grand Theft Auto... or previous FF games...
I don't remember that prior to launch, but it may have been put forward as an argument to justify some of the complaints. I do remember them saying that it was originally designed for the PS2, and that could actually explain some of the design choices. For the PS2 to do that level of graphics many things have to be cut out. This would explain the lovely but small linear hallways all over the place.

I completely disagree with the articles argument that FFXIII was innovative in any way shape or form. I don't think they were going for innovation ether. Thinking back on those original interviews prior to launch this is always what they were building up to. They always wanted in interactive movie, and that's not to surprising given where these companies originally started with way back. It's also not my fault or the users fault for not believing them as Jeff Dunn implied. The entertainment industry is notorious for over hyping anything it produces, and, for the most part, the audience has accepted that a long line of buzz words is not actually reflective of the real product.

FFXIII and -2 have already proven that they've killed the franchise and square must know that they have to do something to fix it. 13 never come close to the sales of 10 which is a bad sign. per vgchartz
7 = 9.72 million
10 = 8.05 million
10-2 = 5.29 million
13 = 4.77 PS3 + 1.84 XBox 360 = 6.61
13-2 = 1.69 PS3 + 0.39 XBox 360 = 2.08

10 is at least a couple of million to 7 which is good since 7 has had a longer sales period and works on 3 generations of consoles where 10 only works on 1. I'd expect both of the -2 to do less then the first release but 10-2 did 65% of what 10 did and even though 13-2 hasn't been out as long the initials sales don't look good since 90% of what is going to sell should be about out the door. This looks even worse when you look at the Japan figures only (which have a longer time on the market), and that's the primary market for JRPGs.

13-3 can expect even less performance if it is even done. Honestly with the damage 13 did to the franchise, as shown by 13-2s performance, I'd be looking to escape out of the money-pit I put myself into.

They should probably reorganize, and put some effort into some of their old and dusty properties. Then move back and make a decent FF title.
 
Jun 11, 2008
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GloatingSwine said:
The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.
I would like to add that is they had of changed the UI for combat. Three columns rather than 2 and had things separated by spell type as in 1 row for Fire one for Blizzard it would be the best combat system. The UI is what ultimately killed the combat for me. There are a couple of tweaks I would do the combat myself but it is far from the worst.

OT: While I do agree with many of the points put across or the general reason why this article was written(as in FF fans don't like change as all games have wildly different aspects and mechanics) I do agree with the sentiment that game was not entirely bad. Especially, since you seem to like to alienate readers on their decision and opinion as you go to refute another different opinion made the whole article a lot more hard to swallow.
 

Jeff Dunn

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I really have to disagree with this article. I think a lot of people, myself included, were kind of on board with the change in style which we were sort of looking forward too since the Kingdom Hearts series did a good job of innovating the JRPG template. FF XIII, deserves to be hated on it's own merits, not just because it is part of a very respected franchise or because it took risks (which I doubt it did take).

The game isn't fun to play, it's hardly a game at all. End of the subject. I also think the story is sort of sucky, the characters uncharismatic, etc but that just feels like beating a dead horse. The game was too cinematic and linear. I's not that much to ask of a game. Be interactive, give the player some freedom, etc.
 

Tharticus

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Even with the innovations they added on the game, FFXIII still blows monkey balls.

My issues with the game:

1. The storyline is terribad. With about 7 hour gameplay, you barely their character's ambitions, what their universe is about and what the villains are up to. Being that this is also an interactive medium, it fails on its storytelling with little to no exposition. Datalogs? This is about as bad as watching a movie "Clash of the Titans" and read cliffnotes about Greek history. At least what FFX did the exposition right by having Tidus the main character not knowing what world is he in.

2. Characters are about as a cookie cutter from their predecessors notably from 7 - 10. Hope happens to pull a boomerang out of nowhere. Inconsistency much?

3. The combat system is about the same as the old except the active time battle, removing magic points and put inside two characters on auto attack and your main character getting knocked out means you start over.

4. Badly interfaced upgrading system. Why would I even bother giving Hope or Vanille the Commando class when they are fine as Ravenger or Medic. I guess if people are curious on playing all Commandos. That's considered non linear gameplay. Speaking of which...

5. Linearity is about as a straight rod. Half Life 2 was also strict but give little freedom to roam around at least.

The only praise I give to this game is how gorgeous it is both cutscenes and game.

All in all, Final Fantasy XIII might as well be a rail RPG. Or a damn movie to make up their awful CGI movie The Spirits Within.

Despite all this, the game sold well. And Squenix is in trouble, especially Versus XIII and XIV.
 

Callate

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There's a reason the phrase isn't "build a different mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Change that exists solely for change's sake is one of the forces in the universe uniquely suited to shooting itself in the foot, and "the designers were getting bored" is an out-and-out stupid reason to monkey with a successful franchise without serious consideration of how players would react to those changes.

Now, full disclosure: I haven't played FFXIII, in fact, my most significant exposure to the series has was the demo for FFVII. But I object to this notion that all criticism of a "new direction" is hypocrisy, even if the critics might have felt some elements of a series were starting to stagnate. Considered change with a particular end in mind can be a great thing indeed. But by many accounts, FFXIII was the new mousetrap that, incidentally, also killed all your household pets, is that a problem?
 

panosbouk

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The people didn't want Final Fantasy XIII, the game, the attempted reinvention of streamlining a decades-old formula. They wanted "Final Fantasy," the template, the familiar modus operandi, the standard, comforting type of game that, even in the eyes of its own creators, was frankly starting to get old.
NO! we do not want that! We do not want the tamplate only!

There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.
That is not a bad idea for an RPG title? It should never been supported or try and defend it either.

Linear, cities, minigames that is not the only things that made the funbase divided, not what defines a good RPG.

The limited leveling system. "once you get to Pulse the game expands etc" that is why only after you finish the game you unlock the final sphere lvl?

For the final weapons you get (farm) the material from the "hardest" enemies. So where you supposed to use them then?

Data logs? Another bad idea to use for your naration. Whatever is not presented on screen should be optional and not mandatory!

You cannot have 6 main protagonists in a game. It doesn't deliver well. Lightning was presented as the main hero but she wasn't. At the very end Fang was.

A combat system that was playing by its own. (here a big congrats to the programers that had such a good AI at least)

FFXIII was a game of bad ideas and bad implemented ideas.

In FF-XII you had the gambit system that it was bad for reasons i will not explain here, but another company actualy took that system and used it right. Bioware with Dragon Age:Origins had tactics, the exact same system. Where it worked for the best?

Just because something is new doesn't mean it is good as well. Same goes for the old things as well. We look at those things and we try to expand them not ignore them.
 

ArkhamJester

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Jeff Dunn, this is adressed to you, how did FF13 innovate? I know what the commenters think but in the forums and the even the article you said the game was different and innovative, but how? A change of setting doesn't equal innovation (Black ops anyone?)I'm just curious because you said the game was innovative and different but you didn't give any reasons how it was. Just something that bothered me.
 

Smokescreen

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kurupt87 said:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.
Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim said:
Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.
Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!

This might have been forgivable if the majority of characters had been ones we liked or grew to like but they didn't do that. Most of them started off as insufferable and became tolerable. Story can go a long way to keeping players interested, because as GloatingSwing says:

GloatingSwine said:
The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.

The problem with it is repetition, because there are quite a low number of potential encounter groups in each area the player will find themself fighting the same encounter repeatedly, and because the nature of the encounters is that they are now almost a puzzle, when you have solved the puzzle there is no need to modify your approach.
Exactly. Once you know the pattern, there's no need to change.

Contrast that with, say, Enchanted Arms, an otherwise pretty terrible game which had a similar restoration of characters between battles, but which rationed the restoration of HP and MP (used by all attacks) by the reduction of another resource, so there was always an incentive to improve your solution to the same encounters so that you could keep fighting further towards the next save point.

Had FFXIII had either a system like that to push the player to continue thinking even in repeated encounters to refine their approach to them, or altered the encounter design to provide a steadily staged and increasing challenge curve through each area (a tricky task), it would have fully succeeded in what it attempted to do.
But what this post is boiling down to is: Once we (as players) figured out the game system, there was no further challenge to us and with 20+ hours left to go in the game, why should we continue playing if there is no challenge and the story is filled with people we are apathetic about?

It isn't about the changes to a 'series' or 'genre' it's about the changes that don't work.
 

Jeff Dunn

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AbstractStream said:
Jeff Dunn, I like the way you think. Good article even though there are 3 pages of hate (for the most part).
Aw man. I don't hate anybody...We're just all of different opinions, that's all.

Glademaster said:
GloatingSwine said:
The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.
I would like to add that is they had of changed the UI for combat. Three columns rather than 2 and had things separated by spell type as in 1 row for Fire one for Blizzard it would be the best combat system. The UI is what ultimately killed the combat for me. There are a couple of tweaks I would do the combat myself but it is far from the worst.

OT: While I do agree with many of the points put across or the general reason why this article was written(as in FF fans don't like change as all games have wildly different aspects and mechanics) I do agree with the sentiment that game was not entirely bad. Especially, since you seem to like to alienate readers on their decision and opinion as you go to refute another different opinion made the whole article a lot more hard to swallow.
Didn't want to "alienate" anybody, Glade. To buy into my argument, people kind of have to be of the mind that FF13 wasn't that bad of a game. Lots of people don't think it was on its own merits, I knew this going into the article. Whatever, that's cool. You have your opinions, I have mine.

But when I researched fan feedback to the game, much of what I read basically hated on the title because of how it wasn't like 7/8/9/10/what have you. I thought this was a startling way of going about things. Gamers like new things, typically. But here was a case where people distinctly wanted the old ways. I'm not trying to lump all detractors of FF13 into one pot, I know some people genuinely felt that the changes were "just bad," but I don't feel that way. One thing I am trying to say is that the game should be appreciated for risking its livelihood and risking commercial failure for presenting a different product. I think there's something noble in that, even if it doesn't make everybody happy. And, as we've seen, interest in the series as a whole is FAR from the days of FF7.

Again, though, this is just my informed opinion. I felt this was an important issue to make note of. If the article made people think, and sparked healthy debate (which it has here, something I'm very proud of), then I can't complain.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Smokescreen said:
kurupt87 said:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.
Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim said:
Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.
Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!
Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.
 

Jeff Dunn

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....Oops, I meant to edit another post, and hit the wrong button. Well, this is awkward...
 

Smokescreen

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Jeff Dunn said:
Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.
Well OK: I didn't catch your opinion correctly but you did spend half your article complaining about the game/understanding why the complaints. I apologize for misrepresenting you, though.

A series can innovate, I'd agree. But this game failed to implement the gameplay or story that would've made it worth it and I think that's why it failed, as opposed to RE4, which is STILL looked at as a classic.
 
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Jeff Dunn said:
That is fair enough and just because parts of it alienated me as reader doesn't mean it was like that for everyone. You gave your opinion and that is fine personally I think there are much more different reasons as to why FF XIII can be considered a bad game in some respects.
 

CardinalPiggles

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All of what you said is complete and utter bull considering the game was not enjoyable, I understand the fact that so many people are holding things back, but you can't treat the internet as 1 entity, you say we are hypocritical, but I say there are two groups here, both voicing their opinions directly at the Publisher.

For me, the gameplay was not fun compared to that of FF12, and I didn't know exactly what was going on in the story so it was hard for me to give a shit.

I just got fed up with it, and to me that game failed.
 

Jeff Dunn

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I loved Final Fantasy 13.
It had its issues, my god the first 20-30 hours still haunt me every time I feel like playing the game. The lack of towns didn't bother me too much, specially considering the last time you went into town you had the entire army committing mass-genocide just to reach you. And sure combat was serviceable with just "Auto", but I'll tell you something. The game doesn't take into account nearby enemies when you do so, specially when they are staggered. It forces the AI to focus-fire on that one, and when there is multiple staggered foes it ignores them. I used Auto for the most part because the AI was smart enough to apply buffs and debuffs or hit with the enemies weakness, but I'd also frequently entered commands manually in order to take advantage of circumstances like multiple enemies being staggered. Why focus on one, when you can blitz/ruinga them all at once?

I also loved Final Fantasy 13-2.
I didn't see it as some attempt at getting back to the basic formula, instead it was fixing the issues inherent with 13. Linearity/non-linearity was never an issue, but I appreciate the various branching paths the game lets you take. They still kept pretty much the same shop system, and while there was "towns", it served moreso as peace zones to relax a little, along with some annoying difficult trivia question mechanics in one of them.
And my god... NO 20 HOUR DRAG! It throws you right into the action with a brief yet good tutorial. And the live event triggers? They pop up literally like... 5-6 times throughout the 40-50hr span of my game time. They aren't that bad.

Instead, now my biggest gripe is DLC. I loved that 13 was the full package right from the start. Yet 13-2 reeks of cut content and wasted space just to sell DLC. I mean god, the coliseum is hyped up as an area to fight strong monsters in game, but Square Enix didn't even bother to put a few fights in there for free. And costumes? Its right there in the main menu, and they couldn't even be bothered to give you any free costumes to unlock? It all smacked of bullcrap to me.
And of course, the ending... While a 13-3 would be interesting to see how it handles that, I'm expecting it to just be patched in with the game's "true ending" with more paid DLC.
 

Ace of Spades

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FF13 did not give me anything new. It gave me a game with great animations, horribly written characters, a confusing and poorly presented story, unengaging and repetitive combat, and extremely linear environments. It might have been trying something different from other Final Fantasy games, but that doesn't excuse it from being a thoroughly bad game, and a waste of $60. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, then whatever it was trying to be was crap.
 

theultimateend

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Frylock72 said:
AC10 said:
All I know is I literally fell asleep while playing FF 13. I've never done that with any other game. It was the dullest experience of my life. I'd rather sit through my cousins piano rehersal. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, that's cool; but whatever it WAS trying to be it did that really poorly.
I thought I was the only one. I rented it from GameFly, then about an hour in on the bridge that falls apart at the beginning I just got so bored I turned off the XBox and went to sleep.

Also, Zell was a fine character. I'm not sure I'm interested in you as a person, author.
Friendy of mine fell asleep while playing 13.

A day or two later he wrote on facebook "FINALLY I beat this game..."

Finally? really?

Is that what we've come to. People being relieved they don't need to think about a game anymore :p.

Jeff Dunn said:
Smokescreen said:
kurupt87 said:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.
Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim said:
Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.
Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!
Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.
The difference with RE4 though is that it isn't that it just "did something new because" it did something better.

That's the difference. Change for the shit of it is not what people want and anytime a franchise just changes things for no reason they say "Look people hate it!? This is why we churn out the same games normally."

A great example is Sim City Societies. Damn near nothing in that game was the same as Sim City and almost everything new was bad. If it had been called "City Town" or something else it STILL would have been bad because the ideas in it were bad.

Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.

But I don't necessarily think that was your point. But yeah, RE4 is not a good example to defend FF13. Because Re4 actually improved the formula, instead of just changing it.
 

Hugga_Bear

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No.

See I understand where you're coming from and I'd be inclined to agree if you didn't trip up. The reason we want the same stuff from Final Fantasy, or the reason I do is because they are producing things which are similar but different. FF7, FF9, FF10, X-2 (yes even X-2) and XII are all individually enjoyable games. I like all of them for their own reasons and many of them cross over. 7 and 12 had a fascinating story, 9 was a throwback to the childish style backed with a brilliant story and A-grade characters. X-2 had a really interesting approach to 'jobs' and the fighting which I thoroughly enjoyed. X was in my view a jack of all and master of none, with some fascinating story parts, several really cool characters (with their own arcs) and some nifty parts to the gameplay (man do I love aeons).

I haven't played 8 for more than ten minutes (I lack my PS3 here at uni) and though I have 1-3(6) I've only played 6 and have yet to finish it so no comments there.

Point is they're similar but different, each installment WORKS for me.

If CoD put out a GOOD game, you know what? I wouldn't care. I wouldn't care that it was using the same mechanics (give a tweak here and there) or a similar style or character archetypes. If MW2 had made me care as much as CoD4 had then I would not utter a complaint. It didn't though, CoD is complained about because it's akin to those sports games EA loves to churn out. It's not that they're similar, it's that they're exactly the same.
 

Susan Arendt

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BabuNu said:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!
Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.
 

Scars Unseen

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Jeff Dunn said:
Hulyen said:
Jeff Dunn said:
I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?
Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'
Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.
I would say that this has some truth in this, at least for me. Despite reviews painting the game as mediocre to poor, I never had much to say about Dirge of Cerberus. I just didn't buy it. FFXIII, on the other hand, was the Batman and Robin of video games. I bought the game after the reviews and player outrage because it couldn't be that bad, could it? And yet it was. It was a linear(at least as far as I could stomach the game) tube filled with uninteresting dialogue, unlikeable characters and boring fights.

Final Fantasy XIII marked the end of my trust in Squeenix's ability to develop a quality product, because if this is all they can do with one of their flagship titles, the company has clearly lost its touch altogether. I wouldn't feel any differently about the game if they had called it Final Fantasy Gaiden or something, but I might have a better opinion on the company that developed it.
 

Elyxard

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I almost take offense with FFXIII being called a "unique step forward". It was a Final Fantasy that gutted absolutely everything good about Final Fantasy. When you take something out, you have to replace it with something better, FFXIII absolutely did not do that.

I would argue that Final Fantasy has never truly been about the overall narrative, but the world it takes place in. Every time you bought a Final Fantasy, you weren't just getting a game, you were being given a whole new world to explore. FFXIII.. did not have a world. I never once got a sense of time or place in the entire time I played that game. Therefore it had to rely entirely on the narrative, rather than the world to tell it's story, and we all know how that turned out.

I say this as someone who's replaying FF9 as we speak, and my god is that such a great world. So much stuff to interact with, so much beautiful, hand-painted scenery to explore, so many things to actually do. You can actually trace the paths and locations of every character and how they traverse and interact with the world itself. It's really understated to how invaluable that was to the atmosphere of a Final Fantasy.

Without that, FF is just another JRPG, which is what FFXIII was. FFXIII didn't bring anything new, it only took things out.
 

Super Fooby

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OK, I'm going to claim that I'm unbiased because I had an open mind going into FFXIII and it was my first time playing an FF game. I heard all of the reviews were good and so I decided to check it out. I had absolutely no expectations other than it was a good game.

FFXIII, RPG or not, will always be one of the worst games I ever played. From the terribly written characters and story, to the padded out world, to the dull game-play. No matter if you look at it as an RPG or any other genre, all of FFXIII's aspects make it a terrible game.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Susan Arendt said:
BabuNu said:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!
Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.
Thank you kindly Susan. And yes, this. Look at Nier. Decent to mostly positive critical praise, brought a relatively different experience to the market, didn't exactly have blockbuster sales.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Susan Arendt said:
BabuNu said:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!
Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.
You could argue that it's false advertising though as they are basically lying to the consumer to sell their product.

It's like advertising your produce as oranges when in fact they are kumquats.
 

Something Amyss

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Atmos Duality said:
Aye, not all change is good.
"Bold but random/stupid" isn't the solution to "Safe but stagnant/overdone".

It's much better to have some actual vision for the project, rather than changing shit just to make it look like you're making progress...I saw enough of that in the 90s.
Indeed, O'Neill.

I have friends who seem to be big fans of twist endings, whether or not they make sense. Granted, if you didn't see it coming, but can look back at all the pieces, yeah, it can be pretty good (shocking does not make a good ending either, so "I didn't see it coming, but it makes sense" does not rule out "stupid" as well). And yeah, a well done twist in a well done plot tends to thrill me.

Then there's the "pulled from ass" ending. And just because I didn't see it coming doesn't mean it's good.

Having not actually played XIII, I don't know which this is. I don't know if it would have been a series of well-played ideas in another game, or if not calling it "Final Fantasy" would have meant nothing and it was still trash. I was curious about the defense of the series because I thought maybe it would point out some salient points. I more got "you're playing it wrong!" from this article. More a "How silly to expect a final fantasy game in a final fantasy game" than a specific endorsement of the game. Or even a proper defense.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Atmos Duality said:
Aye, not all change is good.
"Bold but random/stupid" isn't the solution to "Safe but stagnant/overdone".

It's much better to have some actual vision for the project, rather than changing shit just to make it look like you're making progress...I saw enough of that in the 90s.
Indeed, O'Neill.

I have friends who seem to be big fans of twist endings, whether or not they make sense. Granted, if you didn't see it coming, but can look back at all the pieces, yeah, it can be pretty good (shocking does not make a good ending either, so "I didn't see it coming, but it makes sense" does not rule out "stupid" as well). And yeah, a well done twist in a well done plot tends to thrill me.

Then there's the "pulled from ass" ending. And just because I didn't see it coming doesn't mean it's good.

Having not actually played XIII, I don't know which this is. I don't know if it would have been a series of well-played ideas in another game, or if not calling it "Final Fantasy" would have meant nothing and it was still trash. I was curious about the defense of the series because I thought maybe it would point out some salient points. I more got "you're playing it wrong!" from this article. More a "How silly to expect a final fantasy game in a final fantasy game" than a specific endorsement of the game. Or even a proper defense.
-I think you're just misinterpreting me, not playing the game wrong. I think that, after 13 entries, the FF series should be granted some room for drastic changes, instead of confining itself to former structures.

-Virtually every FF game that's come out after 7 has received some form of backlash, essentially for not being like the one before it. FF13 isn't the first FF title to be like this, sure, but it is the most recent one, and it did make the most extreme changes to the series (save for 11, which wasn't exactly "loved" either). Yes, I know, lots of FF games have made innovations. I'd say none of those core games have made changes as extreme as the ones in 13 though.

-But, to your point, my goal was to explore the relationship between the artistic aspirations of the developer, the demands of the hardcore fanbase, and, to a lesser extent, the pressures both of these factors bring upon a franchise's commercial success. I used FF13 as a lens through which to look at this. This issue is not uncommon to many game companies.

-I don't care if you thought the game was good or not, really. If you think that was the point, that I was trying to give some sort of "retro review" of the game, then I don't think you're reading into the whole of my essay. I'm not "endorsing" anything. Lord knows I wasn't paid by Square Enix to write this.

-Also, one of my points was to say that people didn't realize that these changes didn't "come from nowhere," but that the developers had announced their aspirations before the game even came out.

-I really, really don't think FF13 wanted to "change shit for change's sake." There's changes people like, and there's changes people don't like. Lots of people didn't like them. That's okay. But, lots of people did like them. Just because you (not you specifically, Zach) didn't like them doesn't mean that they were made for no reason.

-That being said, when I researched feedback to FF13, I saw many complaints essentially boil down to one sentiment: this isn't what I'm used to, it's not what I expected from this series. Now, one could say "I wouldn't care if it was different if it was actually GOOD." Okay. Fair enough. That's your opinion, that they were bad. It's not my goal to tell you "no...YOU'RE WRONG!!" My goal was to present an alternative reading to the backlash, a possible underlying motivation to the hatred. Most outlets haven't really taken my position. I thought it'd be nice for readers to have another side of the argument laid out for them. Could "Final Fantasy" get away with trying a new style of game with all of their loyal fans? I don't think that they could. Rather, I know they couldn't. They tried to with 13. It didn't work.

-I think the game still would've been trashed if it hadn't changed anything. They're stuck in this weird limbo between their desires to break from making standard RPG games, the fans' desires to have the type of game they're comfortable with, and the market's desires to make something safe enough to ensure blockbuster sales, both for now and for the future. I found that to be a bit of a tragic situation for them.

-And another thing, comparing Final Fantasy 13's relationship to past Final Fantasy games to standard Halo games' relationship to Halo Wars isn't really a valid argument. FF13 wasn't really an RPG, yes, but it's not like it dropped every RPG element from its design. It was a hybrid of action, RPG, and FPS, game design, as I see it. This is what the developers said they had in mind when creating the game as well. That still doesn't make it a real RPG though.

-Basically, I think that, for many people, separating yourself from the inherent expectations of a "Final Fantasy" title is more difficult than you think. Why was it "bad"? I'd argue that it's because you can't shake yourself from what you thought you were going to get. Without Final Fantasy having a legacy, without it having certain traditions it adheres to, I think that FF13 would've been received better. If it was a standalone title, perhaps even one from a separate company, I don't think it would've been as roundly bashed by the core fans the way that it was. Hindsight is 20/20, though.

-You'll notice that I used "I" and "me" often in what I just wrote. That's because this is just my opinion, how I saw things. Anyways, thanks for the feedback Zachary, hope I gave you some insight into where I was coming from upon writing this.
 

BabuNu

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Susan Arendt said:
BabuNu said:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!
Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.
Wow! My third comment ever and Susan Arendt quotes it! What a honour :) I totally fancy you by the way Susan, just putting that out there...

My point is that by slapping the Final Fantasy name on a game that they're so desperately trying to steer away from the Final Fantasy M.O. they're almost admitting that the game needs a marketing boost. If they were confident enough that the game could stand on it's own two feet then they shouldn't need to call it Final Fantasy just to ensure sales. If they're not confident that it an survive on it's own then, in my opinion, it shouldn't be released.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Angry Juju said:
Now defend XIII-2 cutting the ending from the game completely and releasing it as DLC.
???

I didn't get any DLC, and I got the ending (and Platinum Trophy) - what was there to miss?

Serah dies and the world is destroyed. The Gates of Etro releases chaos energy (Darkness) destroying all timelines in the process. Contrast with the upcoming and aptly named FF Versus XIII which see the Gates of Etro emitting light... *cough*Terra/Gaia*cough*

FFXIII's colour - white {notice: Lightning, Snow, Vanille(a), Serah(phim), Fang (are white), Noel (I dream of a white one), Hope's hair (a stretch - I know)...}
FF Versus XIII's - Black {Noctis}

So far the only DLC I see are some costumes, a casino game and arena battles - which I didn't buy

OP: I for one have been playing FF since the first on the NES. I had no real issue with FFXIII, other than it being different - yet still played to platinum. I always thought of each iteration being fairly different anyhow - usually different magic/skill system, ATB or not ATB, on rails or open, classes or no classes, etc, etc, etc...


Atmos Duality said:
Incidentally, I hated Vanille because she's just ridiculously creepy.
I liked Vanille, but then again I <3 Flonne...

The thing about Vanille is, as she herself stated: she "was always afraid". She had to pretend to be something she wasn't to hide her true nature (Pulse L'Cie) from the group. She had to hide her memories from the amnesiac Fang, so as to not awaken Ragnarok. She had to live with the burden and guilt of being the cause of most of the horrible things happening around her (Serah, Dajh, the newly christened Pulse L'Cie that is your party, the Purge, etc...)

How she handled it is not unlike that of Yuna in FFX.

Interesting note: Vanille was originally supposed to be the main protagonist, and Fang was supposed to be a male (my theory from this - Noel is Fang's unused male character model...)
 

Atmos Duality

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s69-5 said:
I liked Vanille, but then again I <3 Flonne...
Flonne worked because the tone of Disgaea is very very different from that of, well, just about any other jrpg I can think of (actually, Radiata Stories is similar once you get past the intro; it too is a satire on rpgs and gaming. Bard's Tale too, though that satire was more on the darker side.)

She's meant to be the innocent backdrop to the rest of the demon world; and her serious moments are actually touching, rather than soul-grating irritation. A lot of her cuteness is done tongue-in-cheek, whereas Vanille is meant to be taken seriously, and she has a very serious reason why she acts the way she does (as you stated).

So instead of the kind of cute/creepy like Ed from Cowboy Bebop, you end up with one of the Stepford Wives. Or Kathy Bates.
 

RandV80

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There's a lot I find wrong with this article, but the main gist of it is the idea that Final Fantasy XIII failed (or maybe just got trashed) because the old fans don't like the changes being made to bring it to a larger audience. As in if only the fans would embrace it, the Final Fantasy name could continue on being successful.

But what do you say of a game, no even beyond that a genre, that while managing to alienate it's existing fanbase fails to capture the larger market audience? You would say the problem is the fans are fighting against change, I would say the people the changes aren't interested in the game to begin with. Western RPG's have made a strong transition from being hardcore isometric CRPG's to big budget blockbusters with a wide appeal, but JRPG's have failed horribly. And I don't think it's because they're 'stale' or 'tired' or 'lack innovation' or whatever you want to call it, but rather because it wasn't a widely popular genre to begin with and what innovations/changes they can make the Western audience at large will get turned off by the Japanese influence int he art, style, and characters of the game. After all the number one complaint about FFX is that people hate the main character Tidus, who's probably a fairly common archetype character in Japanese media. It seems the more expressive the median becomes the more it's Japanese roots show through and the more we turn against it in favour of our burly space marines and grizzled warriors. It seems the only way a JRPG can really 'win' is to give up and become a WRPG, like Demon's Soul for example.

So yeah this is what bugs me, what's wrong with giving fans what they want when the fans are the only audience you have? A perfect example of this in my opinion is Dragon Quest VIII, kept all the norms of a traditional JRPG but used modern technology to add to the overall experience.
 

Jeff Dunn

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RandV80 said:
There's a lot I find wrong with this article, but the main gist of it is the idea that Final Fantasy XIII failed (or maybe just got trashed) because the old fans don't like the changes being made to bring it to a larger audience. As in if only the fans would embrace it, the Final Fantasy name could continue on being successful.

But what do you say of a game, no even beyond that a genre, that while managing to alienate it's existing fanbase fails to capture the larger market audience? You would say the problem is the fans are fighting against change, I would say the people the changes aren't interested in the game to begin with. Western RPG's have made a strong transition from being hardcore isometric CRPG's to big budget blockbusters with a wide appeal, but JRPG's have failed horribly. And I don't think it's because they're 'stale' or 'tired' or 'lack innovation' or whatever you want to call it, but rather because it wasn't a widely popular genre to begin with and what innovations/changes they can make the Western audience at large will get turned off by the Japanese influence int he art, style, and characters of the game. After all the number one complaint about FFX is that people hate the main character Tidus, who's probably a fairly common archetype character in Japanese media. It seems the more expressive the median becomes the more it's Japanese roots show through and the more we turn against it in favour of our burly space marines and grizzled warriors. It seems the only way a JRPG can really 'win' is to give up and become a WRPG, like Demon's Soul for example.

So yeah this is what bugs me, what's wrong with giving fans what they want when the fans are the only audience you have? A perfect example of this in my opinion is Dragon Quest VIII, kept all the norms of a traditional JRPG but used modern technology to add to the overall experience.
Thanks for the comment.

You don't think JRPG's were ever popular to begin with?

If the only way a JRPG can "win" is by changing its style and form into that of an existing genre, isn't that kind of proving my point? I tried to get into this on the last page of my article. I'm probably misreading you, though.

I think what's "wrong with giving fans what they want" alone is that the developers are people too. They're artists, to some extent, at that. They have urges, they want to grow with the times. They probably wouldn't like to spend their game developing lives building a similar product over and over. How many times can you break down the block tower only to build it back up again? As many times as the fans keep telling you to? Is that the right thing to do? Is that fair? This is sort of what I'm getting at. Just my opinion, as you know.

The gist of my article, here said in another form: I think many longtime fans hated FF13 because it fucked with their proverbial "childhood memories" of Final Fantasy.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time out to give it a once over.
 

RandV80

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Jeff Dunn said:
Thanks for the comment.

You don't think JRPG's were ever popular to begin with?

If the only way a JRPG can "win" is by changing its style and form into that of an existing genre, isn't that kind of proving my point? I tried to get into this on the last page of my article. I'm probably misreading you, though.

I think what's "wrong with giving fans what they want" alone is that the developers are people too. They're artists, to some extent, at that. They have urges, they want to grow with the times. They probably wouldn't like to spend their game developing lives building a similar product over and over. How many times can you break down the block tower only to build it back up again? As many times as the fans keep telling you to? Is that the right thing to do? Is that fair? This is sort of what I'm getting at. Just my opinion, as you know.

The gist of my article, here said in another form: I think many longtime fans hated FF13 because it fucked with their proverbial "childhood memories" of Final Fantasy.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time out to give it a once over.
Well there was a time when most never got a North American release, such as Final Fantasy II, III, and V, Dragon Quest II, III, then V-VII, Secret of Mana 2 and 3, etc etc. FFVII brought the genre to the mainstream and all of a sudden they all started getting translated, with many great games for the PS1, and it carried into the PS2... but for this generation? Where did the console JRPG's go?

You're focusing on the Final Fantasy series, but personally I've been a lifelong fan of the genre starting with the first Dragon Warrior and Phantasy Star games so I look at it from a bigger picture problem and wonder what happened to the genre, as we're almost back to where it was before FFVII. The best I can figure is that it's followed the decline in Japanese game development in general. Used to be that company's like Capcom, Konami, Square, etc were at the top of the console market, but now it's all Western developers. As the graphics and technology allowed for developers to enhance the vision of their game the Japanese brand seemed to became more and more foreign, and while some over here love everything Japan others hate it.

Take Cloud for example. In his original incarnation:


Very blocky with little finer detail, so you can picture him however you please. Then you get to Advent's Children and can see what the creators really intended him to look like, and I'd put money down that if he looked like this:


From the start FFVII wouldn't have been as popular. I mean probably the biggest complaint with FFX (my second favourite FF game after VI) is that they thought Tidus was a whiny, girly-looking emo teen and hated him. This outrage was followed up with FFXII (which I didn't mind) and Vaan, and avoided in FFXII because they just went ahead and made the main character a girl. Maybe I'm wrong but I feel this is perhaps the root of the problem of as to why the FF series has become so polarizing. People buy it based because of reputation and the general impression that as a 'hardcore' gamer you have to play every AAA title, but then they get it and don't like what they find.
 

AquillaValefor

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Responding to the article:

The author makes a lot of valid points. Yes, you can't make everyone happy. However, fanboys of anything are pretty damn bizarre.

I think -- and the point was made earlier in the thread -- that if you took the FF label off FFXIII, it probably would still be considered a bad game, and would probably be a pretty big flop. Without the insta-buzz that the FF label still generates, it would've been reviewed on its merits, which are pretty damn paltry.

FFXII didn't have turn-based battle system, and is actually my favorite one of the series as far as battle systems go. FFXIII's auto-fight was about as engaging as watching paint dry. I don't want turn-based combat back, and I certainly don't want it back to where my input in the battle is so minimal, that the game might as well play itself. (not that XII was perfect, singe gambits could make the game play itself, but at least it wasn't turn-based.)

The story was terrible. FF games have usually had pretty terrible stories, but most other ones had a few redeeming moments. FFXIII's story was bass-ackwards, near incomprehensible, and got worse as the game went on -- including a pretty blatant recycling of VII's characters, with some gender-swapping and retardation thrown in. Lightning's take on Cloud's broodiness was particularly odious.

I'm all for innovation. I just don't see how FFXIII innovated anything. Linnear progression isn't innovative. Retarded storytelling isn't innovative. Turn-based combat with minimal input certainly isn't innovative. I dislike FFXIII because I felt like it was recycling the worst of the FF series, without adding anything new, and without imbuing it with any meaning.
 

zaphod121

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While I prefer the traditional FF games I did have fun playing FFXIII. It's story actually seems better now that I've played XIII-2. Maybe in FFXIII-3 they will figure out what they are doing.

Or maybe I'll just wait for the next one ....
 

remnant_phoenix

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Jeff Dunn said:
In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what?s preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

Read Full Article
I don't hate Final Fantasy XIII because it experimented with the Final Fantasy formula. I hate it because the experiments were failures.

Cases in point...

Square-Enix: We're going to re-vamp the turn-based battle system to create more dynamic, fast-paced, and intense battles!
Me: Then why am I locked out of all the battle system's features from the get-go? Why do they unlock slowly over time? Why does the first half of the game feel like a tutorial with little-to-no challenge? Why are most of the battles in the game repetitive, unchallenging, time-sinks until we get to the later chapters?
Square-Enix: We wanted it to be more accessible to newcomers.
Me: And by doing that, you've alienated seasoned gamers and your core fanbase. Have you ever heard of these wondrous things called "difficulty levels"?

Square-Enix: We're going to use the linear approach to tell a grand story that couldn't be told in a non-linear fashion!
Me: Then why did the story have terrible pacing, lack in focus, and make little-to-no sense?
Square-Enix: It makes sense if you read the Datalog...
Me (channeling/paraphrasing Yahtzee): THAT IS NOT GOOD STORYTELLING! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO WEAVE EXPOSITION INTO THE NARRATIVE, NOT HAND THE AUDIENCE A SET OF CLIFFNOTES!
Square-Enix: We hoped that by making large chunks of the story optional, it would be more appealing to fans of other genres and more action-oriented gameplay...
Me: You can't please EVERYONE! You need to decide what you want your game to be and then make it good in regards to THAT goal!

Mr. Dunn, I'm afraid you assume too much. I concede that many (probably most) FFXIII haters fall along the lines that you describe in this article. But I DO understand what FFXIII was going for and I don't fault FFXIII for it-and-of-itself being experimental; I hate FFXIII because the end result of the experiments was a disjointed, unfocused, pile of tripe.
 

bimon_1234567

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I am not a fan of the Final Fantasy games and I have barely played them. You could even go so far as to say that I dislike them.

I can however totally understand why fans would get very annoyed by what the developer did with FF-XIII.

If you have a long-running game franchise like FF (which to me is essentially about making the same game each time with slight variations in flavor and color) in its thirteenth installment you should not use that franchise as a platform for innovation.

Publish your innovative new game under a new title like for example "Initial Imagination".

Don't be surprised if people get pissed when they order pizza and you serve them something else no matter how innovative.
 

reachforthesky

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So, I read this after Shamus linked to it. Because I can't think of an eloquent way of putting it, I find this article very, very stupid. If you think FFXIII is original or forward-thinking, I would question your definition of those terms. As one who was never a fan of the franchise to begin with, I can definitively say that the "departures" of FFXIII were nothing I was looking for. What they didn't change was Squenix's retarded archetypical character design, boring, mostly impenetrable narrative, or its extremely played-out and unoriginal character types (A healing white-mage class! ground-breaking!) What they did change? This is how I imagine the battle system was created.

The design team for a different RPG is having a brainstorming session. Terrible, inane suggestions snowball into worse decisions. A.I. controlled party members are one, a convoluted resource system that doesn't do anything to reduce player idling is another. Eventually the discussion director realizes where this is going and chunks the whiteboard into a dumpster. Someone at Squenix finds it and implements all features on the board immediately.

Also the map is super linear. This is not always a bad thing, but when the ride is as boring as it is in FFXIII, it doesn't help that you can't occasionally pull over at an attraction. Seriously, I HATE the way FF generally does its worlds. It tacks on a ton of random bullshit that's completely separated from the core gameplay. But a dull ride on a railroad is no better.

"New" or "Different" is not always better. A retread is always good for nostalgia's sake at least. FF isn't my cup of tea, but I do have plenty of franchise's that have been buried because some "re-imagining" completely dropped important aspects that I enjoyed about the original and replaced it with something completely generic. Change can be good, and fans do not, regardless of popular belief, despise any change. Many franchises have had complete reinventions and remained successful (see, just about every famous franchise that started on the NES OR SNES and eventually transitioned into 3D.) But the change has to stand on its own. Metroid prime was able to go from a 2D platformer to a first person shooter because it added to the series while preserving Metroid's signature features. FFXIII removed the expansive world and the party management in favor of...really nothing.

The Escapist is infamous for being oppositional-defiant. Whenever a group of people start to hold a concurrent opinion, there's some Escapist writer condemning them as sheep and defending the opposite point. As a non-fan, I will happily announce that any fan that found offense with this game is justified. Your precious innovation is fucking bad and anyone with half a brain could have seen it coming in development.
 

commasplice

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Great article, Jeff. I feel like I have to disagree with you, though, at least insofar as the reasons that I, personally, hate Final Fantasy XIII have nothing to do with it being Final Fantasy or not.

I really could not care less about most of the Final Fantasy franchise. Ten was my favorite, and if I ever want to replay it, I've got two copies (long story) sitting in my bedroom. I don't need to shell out another sixty bucks for the same old shit.

So, I'm totally cool with SquareEnix shaking things up. I'd be content to see a Final Fantasy FPS or hack 'n slash, tower defense, or even something completely different from what we're used to. Further, I don't really count FFXIII as having strayed too far from the RPG formula, at least in any meaningful ways. You still get EXP, level up, then use new abilities to kill stronger things. There's still an extreme focus on overly complex storyline.

The thing that I fault FFXIII for the most, though, is that it bored me. It bored my pants right the fuck off. The first three quarters of the game are spent with combat, exploration, and party management on autopilot. You get sent down long hallway after long hallway, you have extremely limited choices in how your characters grow as fighters, and you have NO control over who is in your party. The combat is only marginally better because you have SLIGHT control over how your party fights.

It was much more like watching an interactive movie for those first thirty hours than it was like playing a game. This would have been okay in my mind if that movie had any likable characters or a story that I could care about.

Take, for example, Indigo Prophecy. It wasn't the best game ever, but it eventually wound down into an interactive movie, and I didn't fault it for that because I CARED about the story. I wanted to know why I began the game in a diner bathroom after having just MURDERED a stranger. I wanted to know why I was hallucinating for half the game. I wanted to know how this would all end. I wanted to know what my character's past was.

Likewise, I care about Solid Snake and Otacon. I want to know what Snake does in his spare time when he's not saving the world. I want to know how Otacon lives with the death of his sister and the fact that he spent months (years?) mindlessly developing a WMD with no consideration for how it might be used. I want to know what goofy thing they're going to make Dave Hayter parrot back to Chris Randolph next.

I do not, howerever, care about fal'Cie, l'Cie, Coccoon, or Pulse.

I could not give less of a shit about Hope or his mother. I really have no reason to. We don't know anything about Hope's mother, and we aren't really given a reason to care about Hope before bad stuff starts happening to him. Then, after we get to spend a little time (LOLTHIRTYHOURS) with him, all we know about his personality is that he's sad and angry. A lot. Because they really only show us how he's dealing with his mother's death, and they don't try to give him any depth outside of that. If I were Hope's mother, I would have killed myself long before the events of FFXIII because I just would not be able to handle all of the whiny bitching he's constantly doing. I also wouldn't have wanted him to murder a guy (who's been nothing but nice to him, and who tried to save my life) in order to avenge me, because that's what CRAZY PEOPLE do.

So, in summation, Final Fantasy XIII wasn't a terrible game because it wasn't Final Fantasy enough. It was a terrible game because the only things Final Fantasy about it were the things that sucked about Final Fantasy in the first place, and the changes they made didn't really do anything to enhance the gameplay.

I will give credit to FFXIII for the section where you get to run around a bit and make some choices, though. They gave us some interesting, beautifully designed areas to explore, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also liked being able to sideline all of the characters that I hated. I also liked being able to turn my fighter into a medic, if I so chose. If the rest of the game had been even just a little bit more like that, I would have been much happier with it overall. It's just a shame that it takes goddamn thirty hours of boring gameplay to get to the fun part.
 

Smertnik

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kurupt87 said:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.
You don't even need a franchise for that. I still vaguely remember the flac DA2 was getting for having several major gameplay mechanics noticeably altered.
 

Jeff Dunn

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I could stomach the bad stuff (Vanilles voice and hopes whining) but the combat was ungodly bad, you know you failed at making a game when cleaning your room is more fun than the combat in that game and considering my room is a tip, that's saying a lot.

I didn't hate hope because he was sad over his moms death (that scene under Palompolum where he says that he fought to try drown the pain of his moms death because he had to focus on fighting was great, I loved that part, but the fact that he whined about L'cie having no hope and a quick death is all they need got on my nerves and his unjustified hat for Snow (it was a fat NPC that caused his mom to go with the "Moms are tough" bullshit) I found it distracting and annoying.

Vanille having to put on a cheerful demeanor to cover up her loneliness and pain was good too, but that fucking voice...
 

Jeff Dunn

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Atmos Duality said:
Actually, looking at it a bit more closely, shaking up the mechanics/mood started from about FF5 onward. It's not that new to the franchise. I'd argue that Squaresoft actually experimented a fair bit during their "glory years" (1994-2000).

FF5 introduced the class system, FF7 and FF8 are very unique installments, FF9 was a throwback to (especially to FF4 and FF6 mechanically, where characters had more unique skill sets), FF10 was sort of a hybrid of FF8 and FF9, and mechanically is very similar to FF13 in character progression.
FF12 was literally designed to play like an MMO, but as a single player title.
It actually started a long time before that.

FF1 had the then-traditional "build party out of a set of classes" approach to party construction that was popular in Western RPGs like Dungeon Master or Ultima. It also used the "sprawling overworld / dungeons" approach that Ultima liked. It just added a Japanese sensibility and blended in some ideas from Dragon Warrior that made for a good fusion that everyone liked.

FF2 added the idea of a rotating cast of core characters who each had their own story and specialties, which set the tone for the rest of the series. It also experimented with a wild new experience system, which did not work out and was never revisited.

FF3 actually added the class system that 5 later improved on (dramatically), and created a few of the "appear in every game" characters.
 

Atmos Duality

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Holy old threads batman...

Friv said:
It actually started a long time before that.

FF1 had the then-traditional "build party out of a set of classes" approach to party construction that was popular in Western RPGs like Dungeon Master or Ultima. It also used the "sprawling overworld / dungeons" approach that Ultima liked. It just added a Japanese sensibility and blended in some ideas from Dragon Warrior that made for a good fusion that everyone liked.

FF2 added the idea of a rotating cast of core characters who each had their own story and specialties, which set the tone for the rest of the series. It also experimented with a wild new experience system, which did not work out and was never revisited.

FF3 actually added the class system that 5 later improved on (dramatically), and created a few of the "appear in every game" characters.
True.

FF2 and FF3 are the only games in the core series that I have little to no experience with, primarily because I cannot read Japanese.
 

Jeff Dunn

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Feb 29, 2012
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Atmos Duality said:
Holy old threads batman...
Oh, wow, you're right. I totally did not notice the necromancy, this was sitting on my front page.

True.

FF2 and FF3 are the only games in the core series that I have little to no experience with, primarily because I cannot read Japanese.
There was an English PS1 port of FF2 (coupled with FF1, as Final Fantasy Origins), and a DS port of FF3.

You are not missing much. While they were pretty innovative at the time, time has moved on. Expansively.