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by Mike Dore
Ah, another Final Fantasy is soon to be upon us! I was originally excited by the idea of returning to Final Fantasy's fantasy roots, as many old-schoolers are (not all, mind you.) At last, Square had gotten so freaking rich off of Final Fantasy, we thought, it would finally be catering to the long-time faithful. We were finally getting our dues.
Hate to break it to ya folks, but that's just a LITTLE off. Because while FF9 may have a fantasy setting, not that much else is going to change, it seems. There will still be the amazing story, the well-developed characters, the spectacular graphics, and of course, the always craptacular gameplay. Because we all know Square has been taking all of it's Final Fantasy Funds, and dumping it into everything but gameplay. Sure, they come up with new stuff, but how much of it is really THAT good? Frankly, all these new gameplay systems blow chunks. Not only do they detract from the story by having a character undefined by how they fight, they also make the game way too easy to play. If there wasa Knights of the Round Summon in FF4, it would be only Rydia that could use it, would take practically all her magic, would not hit seventeen times, and yet woul dstill be incredibly difficult to obtain.
What, an old-schooler complainging about FF9? But it's got the fantasy setting you begged for. For starters, I never asked for that, however, I know many old-schoolers did. But it wasn't just because we wanted a fantasy setting (it might've played a part, but not a very large one.) We asked for that because we remembered all the games of old, with the gameplay we so cherish, and were blinded into believing that with a fantasy setting would come the return of what we loved. We were such fools.
Final Fantasy 9 is going to change some things, but not in any way Square has planned. No, we old-schoolers will not shut-up, because we will not have been appeased. Rather, we will become louder, beter organized, and we will no longer be blinded by the past.
You see, most of us care not for whatever setting it is (except for nostalgic purposes, the kind of urges we need to limit), we want a game that plays good. A game that challenges. Hell, we actually want them to be games. What? These new Final Fantasies games? Haha! Hahahaha! You must be kidding? These games are designed with intent of telling a story, a movie which the user can set the pace to. Games like Final Fantasy 8 have fantastic stories, but honestly, it's got to be one of the most freaking boring games I've EVER played. The games are simple, and completely unchallenging, because if they were hard, then the story would be harder to progress, which wouldn't be what the product is about. Only meaningless things like the Weapons in FF7 and the Card Mini-game in FF8 are actually challenging, but these serve NO purpose. What is the point of playing those battles, except for the heck of it (or because you're a perfectionist.) I am rewarded in no way for doing it. It in no way adds to the story. NOT AT ALL!
In closing, this is what Final Fantasy 9 is gonna do. It's gonna make people realize that what we want isn't so much a fantasy setting but an actual game, and a damned good one at that. And we old schoolers are gonna be heard for once, in tha year of tha boomerang.
P.S. - not all games, heck, not even all square ones have bad gameplay. It's just that so many of them, most in fact, do.
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