Where did the fall begin? Can we trace the ongoing slide of one of the industry's greatest franchises back to its origins? Did it really begin with FFXIII?
FFXII was the first one that felt different for me.
I'll never agree with the word "decline" being used in reference to Final Fantasy. They have evolved, and perhaps evolved away from what everyone WANTS...but they are brilliant in their own right to many of us who are still able to appreciate them, perhaps with more of an open mind than most.
I wish I was that accepting because the only good thing about FF13 was the visuals/graphics.
What Final Fantasy is doing is not "evolving." Not all the fans are just blind fools who live in the past. They'd love great games that have "evolved;" in fact, all they're getting is a series that's moving farther and farther away from ROLE-PLAYING (which is what FF was supposed to be), for the purpose of catering to a crowd (the casual, twitch-gamer crowd), who doesn't even LIKE role-playing. And above all else, Square Enix completely and entirely ignored the fans. They've ignored those fans for years. Nothing about that is "evolving." And if it was evolving, sales numbers would be rising, not falling.
Final Fantasy Sales according to VGchartz: VII - 10 million VIII - <8 million IX - 5 million X - 8 million XII - 6 million XIII - 7 million Sounded better when you didn't use numbers, didn't it? :p And lest we forget that 4 less than 3 million, and 6 sold less than 5 million...both considered some of the best titles ever in the series. 13 was a fantastic game in many peoples' minds. The gameplay has evolved over the years. Battles are no longer simple menu commands, they are a rather complex selection tactics, especially in 13-1. Such a great game...I'll agree to disagree with people like you for all eternity.
Too bad you've overlooked one critical fact: The rapid growth of the gaming industry. There were only a tiny fraction of gamers in the world when FFVI was released, and even when all the PS1 FFs released, as compared to today. It's the percentages that matter. Final Fantasy used to be a giant title and it also used to be widely revered. How's about you scratch together review scores for those games? Or are critics just too stupid to understand "evolving?" Or rather, do they recognize the decline as easily as every FF fan on the planet does?
Again, I just gotta disagree. I don't recognize the decline and I have been an FF fan since Final Fantasy "II" graced my SNES. A large portion recognizes a decline that I simply do not see. THey are all great games and have gotten better in relation to the tools available with better hardware IN MY OPINION. I realize I am of a minority in this perspective but it is what it is. While the rest of you find it hard to believe that anyone could see greatness in these games, I find it equally hard to believe that you all don't. I chalk it up to the fact that we're not robots with the same brains, who get different value out of different things. FF12 and 13 both have given me goosebumps in multiple playthroughs the same way that VII and VI did. I guess it's just personal preference but I HOPE that Square keeps doing what they're doing: Bucking the status quo and actually bringing ingenuity to a genre that is quickly becoming cookie cutter much like FPS' are.
Watering down a genre to the point where it doesn't even resemble role-playing anymore isn't "evolving." And I never said there wasn't ANY greatness in those games. I actually think FFXII was fantastic, just in a completely different way. And that's the point. FFXII wasn't like any other FF before it, but it was still an RPG. It was still a defining title. That DID evolve. Since then, it has been nothing but a regression because Square Enix got trapped in the "we have to find a way to cater to the Call of Duty-loving Western crowd" mentality. The stories take a hit, the gameplay takes a hit, etc. Have you even seen Lightning Returns? How in God's name is THAT a true RPG? How is that "evolving?" I think it's telling that nobody - and I mean NOBODY - who has loved FF all their lives wants that game. And I wouldn't expect high review scores, either. As for sales, like I said, several million in sales 15-20 years ago is an entirely different thing. And by the way, FFXIII-2 didn't sell much more than half of what FFXIII sold, last I checked. It's not going in the right direction. I'm glad you like the games and your opinion is your opinion. Doesn't change the downward spiral fact.
The fall began with FF7. The author laughs this off (but doesn't actually explain why). Here's why: FF7 began the Age of Production Values™. Prior to that, Final Fantasy was known for it's excellent storytelling, believable dialog, believable characters, etc. I'm not saying FF7 is a bad game. Not at all. It's a rather good game, but its success (and continued popularity) made Squaresoft think "hmmm, we don't need to have good writing or good characters. We just need to have flashy visuals, crazy cutscenes, and off-the-wall environments and enemies". They did that with FF10 and guess what happened? FF10 is probably the second-most beloved game in the franchise.
Yep. Prior to FF7 it was about making a world which characters both fit in, and could become larger in order to save it. Though FF7 still fit the category, it lead to FF8 which was mess in several ways.
I would like you to explain to me how the downright painful and even laughable writing of FFVI was superior to FFVII. "Believable dialogue?" ...you've GOT to be kidding me. It was written by the programmers in those days. LOL It had nothing whatsoever to do with production values. FFVII is not beloved and widely considered to be the greatest in the franchise because of flashy things. That's entirely untrue. It's because character development greatly outstripped the amateur-ly displayed characters in the 16-bit era. And the world...? Not even close in terms of design. I know we all want to see the oldest FFs as representations of pure greatness. But those rose-tinged glasses of nostalgia will sink you every time.
It started with FFXI. That's when the storytelling took a sharp turn for the worst. Boooooooo.
For me it started with FFX. No proper world map, linear corridors to get from one city to another, terrible voice acting, lightning bolt dodging... it did have a great battle system though.
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