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by Jacob Horner
Squaresoft has made many RPGs, good and bad. While they have made many great games out there, I am convinced that the quality of their games has diminished over time. To exemplify what I mean, I have chosen to talk about FFVII, and FFVIII.
Final Fantasy VII was a great game, no doubt about it. I loved the gameplay, and the materia system. However, there was one thing about FFVII that made it a flawed gem. The translation for this game was absolutely horrendous. I can excuse a simple spelling error or two throughout the game, but the dialogue is so bad for some of the scenes that it reads like a rough draft of a script for the next Adam Sandler flick. I told myself, as I played through the game, wincing from Barret's pathetic attempt at ebonics, that Final Fantasy VIII better be perfect.
Well, it wasn't. A couple of reasons why:
1. Difficulty: I thought the game was WAY too easy, even against the "hardest monster ever", Omega Weapon. The simple fact of the matter is that if you have a few holy war or hero items, or Angelo's Invincible Moon, coupled with Squall's Lionheart weapon, you can kill anything. FFVIII's "Omega Weapon" is like a Shinra Soldier compared to FFV's "Omega Weapon", which was next to impossible to defeat.
2. Storyline: The story strayed enormously from the original theme, which was the romance between Squall and Rinoa. I thought this theme was very well written, and I loved some of Squall and Rinoa's little conversations together, and all the little side stories, like when Rinoa innocently asked Zell for a copy of Squall's ring. However, what was a great story to begin with was dashed against the rocks with a ton of other garbage about time compression and sorceresses. I would've liked the story a whole lot better if the game would've just ended when Squall and Rinoa came back to the planet on the Ragnarok, a beautiful moment between two teenagers reunited, although an awkward moment for Squall. Instead, Squall and company have to kill Adel, and Ultimecia (who, by the by, isn't even shown to the gamer until he fights her! Sephiroth, Kefka, X-Death, Zeromus, all of them must be turning in their silicon graves!). Why did Square have to add in all of that crap? Arrrgh!!!
3. Departure from previous Final Fantasies: Final Fantasy VIII was much less in depth than its predecessors. Instead of having to hunt around for rare treasures in FFVI, or re-arrange many different materia in FFVII, all one has to do to make their characters combat ready in FFVIII is to junction a GF and some magic that they have drawn. One does not even have to look around for treasure chests, because 99% of all the items they will need are dropped by bosses which they are required to fight. Some of the side quests are well thought out, but the ease of the game makes most of them unnecessary, especially if someone(who bought the game because of a commercial, and has never played a REAL RPG before) is just trying to beat the game so they can see a super cool FMV at the end.
What has started to happen is that Square is becoming more focused on making money than they are at making good RPGs. What will always be true is that if Square makes good RPGs than there will always be a multitude of people that will buy them, which probably includes some of the many people who visit RPGamer. If Square stops making good RPGs, that means that they have become just another company in a dog-eat-dog market. There will always be people who play RPGs, but video game companies may come and go.
For example, Working Designs is an up and coming company that translates games from Japan. They have many good titles that have come out, but the one that most comes to mind is Lunar: The Silver Star Story. If one were to look at that game, they see a RPG that is witty, well written, and just plain fun to play. RPGs should be about enjoying oneself, engrossing oneself in the complex storyline. RPGs shouldn't be about whipping through a game as quickly as possible to see an FMV, and not like subjecting oneself to doing a chore.
[My Comments: There's a major problem with this editorial. The beginning statement and the conclusion are not even near each other. Generally speaking, the conclusion summarizes the things you have said that prove your beginning statement, rather than introduce a completely new idea. This leaves your ideas hanging, and really doesn't help your case any.]
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