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SERIOUS SPOILERS FOR FF 8, 9, a little on Chrono Cross and some serious Square opinions!
The Final Fantasy series has spanned about 9, and including divisions, (such as Final Fantasy Tactics or Chocobo Dungeon,) games. Of course in the states we have only seen : 4 (2 in the US,) 6 (3 in the US,) 7, 8, Tactics, Chocobo Dungeon, and the most recent addition, 9. I'll admit I'm a pretty hard-core Squaresoft fan, I loved FF 3, Chrono Trigger, FF 7 and FF tactics. But recently a disturbing trend has appeared.
When Final Fantasy 8 came out my faith was shook. Sure, everyone had said it had the best graphics and the greatest summons; All I could think of was the storyline, it got pretty weak at times, like the point when Squall, Zell, etc. found out about their foster home. It didn't fit at all, and it felt as if it was just injected into an already existing frame to quickly solve some mysteries that hadn't been solved earlier. After Squall got back to the planet with Riona the story slowed considerably also; there was no real reason to take Riona away! The excuse wasnât very concrete in my view, I kept thinking, 'whatever happened to taking chances and being brave? Why didnât they break free and go after the Sorceress?' I know the society was xenophobic but it still didn't seem to fit. I really felt the player could have been led around a little bit more to strengthen the plot.
Final Fantasy 9 just came out recently too and I was appalled, the characters would *irritatingly* explain every incidence, somtimes I didnât really care about the characters either! After the Iife tree guardian 'thing' was destroyed they narrated exactly what was happening in nauseating detail. Then of course the clich event, 'somebody stole a precious item from the city!' I saw it coming from a mile away and at this point almost quit the game. The story, although stronger then Final Fantasies 8 in my opinion, was too staggered and explained. You knew disaster would befall the Giant Tree city. It was also pretty obvious that Garnet (Dagger,) would almost disturbingly believe in her mother.
What does this mean in my opinion? Well either I'm extremely jaded or Squaresoft hasn't been trying very hard lately. I give three pieces of evidence.
A.) If you scan by each Final Fantasy story; you'll see new 'skins,' (persons, places, things, times) placed over the same storyline. The storyline being rebelling against a kingdom or fighting some massive power, going to the peaceful outskirts, finding a powerful something or other, and coming back in an airship. Always an airship. There are system changes and shifts around the plot, but it keeps falling into a formula.
B.) The quality of the games has plummeted. Take Chrono Trigger for instance. It had a deep storyline, a new and interesting format (time travel and it's effects,) and you actually enjoyed battling in the game (quick battles). Compare this to Chrono Cross, no character development at all nearly, a used theme with a new spin (dimension travel,) and an annoyingly slow battle system that took hours to load. Notice the difference?
C.) Square has just been PUMPING out Final Fantasies; 7 was good, 8 was a little too soon, 9 is getting out of hand; now they're already in the works of 10 and 11!
When will Square let go of the Final Fantasy line? It was a great series, yes, but series can get very old, very fast. It hurts to say it, but it feels like Squaresoft is milking the FF series for all it's worth, and disappointing some of us in the process. I'll admit they've been coming out with great graphics, but graphics don't make the game, and sometimes mildly interesting plots, however none of these plots succeed in measuring up to the classics like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy 3; none of them give me that strange awe or sadness like the last great Final Fantasy 7 did, (when Aeris dies *sniff*.) I pray everyday Square comes back to quality over quantity.. that or I stop being so Jaded. =P
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