March 23, 2011

Games for Gameless Situations: Final Fantasy 1-6

As you all have hopefully seen, CABXYZ is doing a little “Japan Week” thing about awesome stuff that’s come out of Japan,  as a sort of emotional boost (and slight monetary boost if you buy any of the games mentioned) to those hurt by the giant earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor problems in Japan. I like to throw my two cents in about everything (You’ve probably seen this by now.), so I’ll chip in to the Japan Week with some of my own favorite games from the far east.

^Except this one. I already talked about this one.

Quick! Name a classic console RPG series! I’ll bet five bucks that the first thing that popped into your head was “Final Fantasy”, unless of course you obsess over JRPG’s, in which case I dare not view your browser history. Final Fantasy is one of the most established and successful RPG franchises ever, and for good reason. They were good. They were great. They were some of the most epic damn games of all time. However, by now you’ve probably noticed I’m speaking in the past tense. These new Final Fantasy games are falling into the sub-par area, especially the DS releases. The storylines seem kind of half-baked, and when you’re playing Final Fantasy, that’s the first thing you notice. If it doesn’t have a good story, why have you been walking around on the overworld for three hours to level up? However, there have been several re-releases of my favorite Final Fantasy games, numbers 1-6. I’ll briefly go through each one, and score ’em as a whole.

Final Fantasy 1 and 2 were re-released a while back in a double-feature on the Gameboy Advance. This game pak, entitled “Dawn of Souls”, threw several new dungeons into Final Fantasy 1 (In which you fight bosses from the other Final Fantasy games), and threw an entire epilogue game for Final Fantasy 2 in which you play through the afterlife of four characters who died during the main story. A revamped Bestiary system and totally redone graphics made this one of the best GBA games I’ve ever owned. The classic pwnage of Final Fantasy 1 mixed in with a whole bunch of new awesomeness made for an epic remake, and Final Fantasy 2’s amazing storyline was new to many (who did not speak Japanese). Out of all the remakes, this is definitely my favorite.

^Do you smell the nostalgia yet?

Final Fantasy 3 got a DS remake later on. FF3 is the odd bird of the early games, with an entire slew of classes to pick from, but four distinct characters that participate in the storyline. The DS made this one look really pretty in 3D, but it still feels more old-school and less PlayStationey. The one thing I dislike about this game more than the others is the “Power factor”, otherwise known as the fact that you need either an internet connection or a Nintendo Power walkthrough to get past certain parts. Hidden doorways, bosses that are nearly unbeatable without some sort of magic secret, and a bunch of other BS make this a hard game to play at times. Overall, it’s really good, but it encroaches upon your gamer-macho when you have to get help.

^3d? Yes. Still ridiculously out-of-proportion? I am taller than a mountain.

Final Fantasy 4 got a double-dose of remake, both on GBA and DS. I’ve not played the DS version, but it looks a lot like the forementioned FF3, so just use your imagination. I’ll talk about the GBA version, as it seems to be the true-er remake. First off, you’ll either notice or remember that this was the first Final Fantasy game with an ATB system. Timing became important, as characters had to recharge, and enemies would attack on a timescale, rather than taking turns. You also had a few new options as far as combat went, and each character had a set-in-stone class. This whole game just pisses excellence, and you’re really missing out if you’ve not played it.

^Holy, just before another box pops up that says “SH*T WE ARE FIGHTING SKELETON DINOSAURS ON THE MOON”

Final Fantasy 5, another “new-if-you-aren’t Japanese” game, also struck GBA gold. You choose classes in this one, but I don’t think it really detracts from the gameplay too much. This one’s storyline doesn’t pack quite as much punch as 2, 4, or 6, but maybe that’s just me. Either way, it’s a hell of a lot better than most other GBA games.

^It’s like Final Fantasy 3, only with a fleshier plot. On a side note, Bartz is gangster enough to have a Z in his name.

Lastly, we have the big one. Final Fantasy 6, otherwise known as Final Fantasy 3 on SNES (I’ll explain at the bottom of the article), got the final GBA re-do, as it was the last 16 Bit game in the series. Very little was changed as far as I can tell, because you don’t screw around with something that good. This may be the best damn game in the entire series. Pretty much perfect in the storyline department, actually challenging in the dungeons (a rarity in most other FF games, grinding won’t help you as much as pure strategy will), this game just blows the mind of anyone who picks up the controller. If you’ve not played it, get it. Now. If you have to download a ROM do so, just send an envelope with your life savings to Nintendo (Square Enix doesn’t deserve that money after their recent… experiments.).

^Locke used a MASTER BALL.

Sto­ry­line:6/5- Yes. These storylines are MORE than perfect. They’re the best storylines on any games I’ve ever seen, with a select few exceptions. There are parts that might make you actually cry. Yes, you, mister “I’m so tough because I slaughter hookers in GTA and Nazi Zombies in CoD.” You will cry. These are better than just about any book you will ever read that’s considered a literary classic by your school. Your mind will be blown and you’ll behave weirdly for days after you beat them. You don’t play classic Final Fantasy, you experience it.

Con­trol:4.79/5– That’s a pretty weird number, but I can tell you that all the points came out of Final Fantasy 3’s piggy bank. You have to zoom in to see the occasional “secret” (which sparkles like a Twilight Gay Vampire Orgy), and it just distracts from the rest of the game. If they could set apart the secrets in any other way than sparkles, I’d give them back about half of those points. The other half stems from the movement. It’s just weird, and I can’t explain it. You just have to play it and go “wut.” You adjust to it, but it’s not Final Fantasy Kosher.

Addic­tive­ness:5/5- Side effects may include ocular bleeding, inability to sleep, and total detachment from “real life”.

Ease to Obtain:3.75/5- This is the one downside. You’re not gonna find these remakes in stores anymore unless you get really lucky. Buying from Ebay or any other online store should work, but the problem there lies with the fact that not all gamers (especially ones playing handheld consoles) have access or permission to use a credit card. However, once you get these games, they’re worth the trouble.

Bat­tery Life:4.5/5- You can play GBA games on a DS for upwards of ten hours straight. You’ll run out of eyeball juice faster than you’ll run out of battery. However, the GBA SP doesn’t last quite that long, and you end up switching out AA’s on the classic GBA every few hours. However, there’s nothing quite like an RPG (or Pokemon) by WormLight.

These games are pretty much perfect traveling companions. The remakes give you “quicksave” options for when you have to quickly shut off, but you still have to ration your tents and be careful with your regular saves. The playtime is ridiculous. There is no way to finish one of these classic FF games in one sitting unless you’re some kind of demon who never sleeps (or a Gay Twilight Vampire).

^This gay.

One more thing that may confuse some people is that not all of the Final Fantasy games were originally released in the US, but to keep continuity, the ones that did make it over were re-titled. We got Final Fantasy 1, Final Fantasy 4 (which was called 2), and Final Fantasy 6 (which was called 3). The original 2, 3, and 5 didn’t officially make it to the US until these GBA remakes. Everything from FF7 on up is correctly numbered, though.

Well, there you have it. Some of my favorite Japanese games ever. Let me know your opinions on these down below in the comment section. And if you still hold that FF7 was the greatest, don’t get your panties in a knot. I hear they’re remaking it for the PS3.

1 comment

  1. T8 - March 23, 2011 11:04 pm

    oh how i miss FF games. The new ones are shit and the old ones i have played so many times that its too easy.

    Great great, great nostalgia, great write CC.


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