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The Final Fantasy XIII Argument…Again…

With the imminent release of FF13-2 and the renewal of friction between factions of what once might have been called a singular fanbase before the game’s immediate predecessor caused massive division, thought I’d make an attempt explain the “troll” or “hater” side of things. If only because those individuals who are quick to make such claims upon their fellow gamers not only seem to do so from an stance unwilling to understand much less hear an opinion different from their own, but often give no reason except for the love of the franchise in general as they try to defend this one – now two – games.

And speaking personally for a group I say that it wasn’t the overly linear map that made me a “Hater”. As any true Final Fantasy fan knows, all entries into the franchise have been linear. It was just that in the particular case of Thirteen, such was painfully and blatantly obvious. Likewise I didn’t have all that much trouble with the combat engine. Was frustrated by it, finally quit forty-nine hours in because of a cheap shot near the end of a boss fight, but it wasn’t the real reason why I just gave up on the game. Much less turned my back on a company I’ve been following since its Nintendo days.

I’ve all but given up on Square Enix because they’re lazy.

If you’ve defended them and are still reading this, aren’t just a fellow hater looking for validation, I can only ask that you continue to read. Actually I ask that you consider the blatant evidence of Final Fantasy Fourteen. How its lead developer at the time felt that he could get away with what turned out to be a shoddy release. The lengths and expense to which Square was then forced and continues to commit to repair the damage done there, yet still allowed it to happen in the first place. Then look at Front Mission Evolved which was a deliberate cash in of the First Person Shooter genera. Gun Loco which was canceled almost as soon as it was announced. While these and other possible examples might speak of “Moving With the Times” as many say when trying to defend the company’s motives, they can hardly be compared to announcements made back in the day that generally spoke of imagination.

Weird Japanese imagination – which we Westerners loved with a passion regardless.

Now looking back to FFXIII-2, my first reaction was to call it fan service: catering to fans for the sake of catering to fans. This is where I likely fully earned the Hater label – this despite my position towards FFXIII – even though those who gave it with a negative connotation were agreeing with me in one form or another when they were listening, before they stopped listening to anything other than their own shared opinion. Was an action I understood as attempt to not spoil someone’s self-enjoyment of the game, but then I was finding such mentality being applied to FFXIII-2’s general success. That somehow a game aimed at fans of FFXIII would perform better than it had.

Then the fringe group, the hardcore fans who will state, even though some will admit that FFXIII-2 fixes issues with the prior game, that FFXIII itself is perfect started to speak up. And things really hit the fan from there.

Again, speaking personally, the one thing that I truly hate is the idea that expression of my own opinion towards Square and the FFXIII titles might be souring the enjoyment others still have towards them. At the same time however I’m not just going to go silent or leave no comment when I hear about how absolutely wonderful and perfect those games are from Square much less their fans. The story in FFXIII was shallow if not non-existent and many if not all of the minor characters were wasted. Square will likely never admit but the changeover from standard to hi definition gaming caused them major development strain, not to mention the switch over from single to multi platforms.

And please don’t start up on *that* particular argument below: FFXIII-2 shows that FFXIII could have been a better game if it had begun as a PS3/360 title regardless of how it turned out as it did or as it was originally intended.

Its just as true that the direct sequel was as much an attempt at damage control as the current updates and patching that are going on with FFXIV. Square is trying to make up, and cash in, for not doing the job that they should have done right in the first place. Enjoy Thirteen-Two if you liked the game before it, but please at least try to admit that truth to yourself.

Likewise I share this with my fellow haters to try and consider: Final Fantasy Versus Thirteen was conceived in this new era where Square is relearning how to walk while saying it can do the hundred yard dash in ten seconds.

It will not be a perfect game – it may not even be on one system – just hope that its not a mess, has a decent story with palpable characters, and doesn’t have full game sequels or requires DLC for the complete ending...

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DragonKnight2146d ago (Edited 2146d ago )

FFXIII should never have been an FF game. SE should have made it its own game and let it stand that way. As a part of the FF series, it is a terrible game. The FF series has a pedigree of excellence that FFXIII simply doesn't live up to.

If you look at the main series as a whole, the last true to form FF game that was released was FFX. FFXI split the fanbase and is nothing like what we came to expect of the series, and everyone likes/dislikes different things about FFXII for anyone to make a conclusive case for or against it.

The FF series ranks among the top selling franchises of all time because it was a series of excellent games. Yes, linearity was present in all of the games at the beginning, but only FFXIII made it painfully obvious. In all other FF games, even though you were moving in a straight line, you could still explore the towns, or the immediate map area, talk to people, had interesting characters and other small things to do. Hell, even shopping for equipment took away from the linearity, as you could grind for gil to stay ahead of the difficulty of later areas.

But FFXIII made absolutely EVERYTHING linear, and in an immensely boring way. No NPC's to talk to, no towns to explore, story progression leveling instead of enemy grinding, and even shopping for equipment was pointless as the only time you'd really need to is towards the end of the game. Add in auto-battling and the game is incredibly hands off, which is how the director wanted it. He wanted it to be more like a movie than a game, but should have paid attention to how Kojima did it with MGS4 if that's how he wanted it.

Now FFXIII-2 is pretty much Enchanted Arms and Chrono Trigger but in the FFXIII universe. I don't know how many of you played Enchanted Arms, but here's a quick description. Battling is very boring. Usually the best way to fight is auto-battle because you really won't want to bother with the mundane manual way. You can find or purchase golem (basically monster) cores that allow you to have monster allies in your team, each of a corresponding elemental affinity that dictates their strengths/weaknesses and types of attacks. There is a main character completely different from normal people with his own "special skill."

And where it factors in Chrono Trigger is the time travel mechanic, but it's not as good as Chrono Trigger. It seems that SE are content with phoning in FFXIII and FFXIII-2, probably because they both have the same director. Now, we can hope that Nomura won't phone in Versus XIII, but it's easy to have little faith in the company as a whole when most people are actually anticipating FFXHD than the next new FF game to release. It's clear people want SE to return to their roots, but Western media have Japanese development studios thinking no one likes their traditional JRPG style anymore and that's simply not true. Get back to what works SE. Simply improve upon what you know people want instead of telling us what we like.

EnzoLuca2145d ago

I was going to write that.

But you did it first. Bravo!

lasersquash2144d ago

Thats why there is Tales, Kingdom hearts, SMT games, etc. to fill the hole that FF left behind when it went downhill.

Ranma12143d ago

FF13-2 is just the sequel to the worst FF ever

XishikiX2145d ago

I'm a fan, of FFXIII (not, I think it's the best, I also don't think it's the worst. I think it's in the middle). But obviously this post was not made to debate this.

But I agree, FFXIII-2 was made to address complaints that people had with the first one. I've been playing it, and I like it a lot.

However, I'm confused with their logic. There will be some people that didn't like FFXIII and will like this. But I'd have to think the majority of the people who really disliked FFXIII, it's not going to convince them otherwise no matter what they do particularly since the core is still the same just with a lot of extras. People don't normally buy a sequal to a game they didn't like.

FFXIV I don't understand. A lot of effort was put into it (I played the beta) but you could tell it wasn't close to finished. but the maybe Execs wanted it out regardless. That happens in company's :-/

Also, I liked your post. I don't mind people being negative about FF13 or any game in particular. It's just often on N4G, people are full of incoherent hate and trolling. But your post was well thought out.

XishikiX2145d ago (Edited 2145d ago )

you completely missed the point. I said incoherent hate. That article is mostly coherent. People going to metacritic, and giving FFXIII-2 a 0 out of 10 when they can't have played it 5 hours is nonsensical. Just like the people that give it a 10 after playing it for 5 hours.

You can make an argument, that every story is FF is crap compared to 2001, Citizen Kane etc, because of plotholes, bad motivations. You can make an argument, that they all are way more linear than western RPG's and therefore are inferior. You can make coherent arguments that every Final Fantasy is bad if you so select to.
I mean FFIX (my favorite dialogue), you can make an argument that if it was voice-acted it would sound utterly ridiculous.

You can make arguments for why you people like FFXIII, music, graphics, art design, battlesystem , maybe some people just want battles and linear. And people on each side are neither right or wrong.

Sprud2145d ago (Edited 2145d ago )

"Again, speaking personally, the one thing that I truly hate is the idea that expression of my own opinion towards Square and the FFXIII titles might be souring the enjoyment others still have towards them."

Don't worry about it. I can assure you that liking a game brings more enjoyment than hating a game. And personally, I only feel increased enjoyment by knowing that I can enjoy something the haters can't :)

It's also interesting that the haters seem to have a great need to broadcast their hate to the world. Just like you did with this blog. It's as if you want to "convert" the people who actually liked the game. Surely you realize how futile that is? It's not like people pretend to like it out of spite.

Godmars2902145d ago

But it is possible that people like it out of fandom. And that's the worry when Square does something like XIII-2 to try and fix XIII. The reason haters feel that they have to speak up is so that the only voices that are heard as those of the fans who'll buy anything with a FF logo on it.

That's the direction Sqaure has pretty much been saying they intend to go since the beginning of this console generation.

Ingram2145d ago (Edited 2145d ago )

"And personally, I only feel increased enjoyment by knowing that I can enjoy something the haters can't"

Oh, that says so much about you, but I'll try not to be personal about it.I'll just sum up your apparent "motiv" here.

"haters"...this is you implying that you're "getting" FFXIII and people who don't like it, just did not "get it".

Let me tell you here and now; FFXIII is not precisely a Stanley Kubrick movie or Hermes Trismegistus "Corpus Hermeticum",

So, you just said you feel better just knowing other people are not as happy as you are with something.Sorry for asking, but is that a legitimate reason for liking FFXIII or just the public reassurance that you're a classist hipster?

Again, you're basically saying "the game IS very good, some people don't see that"

You're entitled to like it and you don't need to explain why, but let me tell you, that does not give you the right to disauthorize and look down people who did not enjoy the game for legitimate reasons, which is surprisingly the usual and only COA of most FFXIII lovers when defending their ground.

Ingram2145d ago

I'm a hater...And I can't stand it anymore.

They hired too many CG artists this decade, it would seem that more than 50% of their workforce consist of this kind of people.
Their videos are impressive, but their game planning, scenario & battle design, script and such other important assets for a story driven game have become soulless.The game is just a neverending hallway.A guided visit in a PG-13 rated theme park full of pink bunnies.

This is an unforgivable flaw.

You're given a false freedom to develop your characters.
They can only grow so much in segments of the story, you're not really allowed to grind your characters or "specialize" them, they only give you that impression.

This is an unforgivable flaw.

90% of Major characters are unambitious, shallow, frivolous, posh and puerile archetypes.

This is an unforgivable flaw.

Summons are preposterous, underpowered and absurd, NPC's are braindead, AI is retarded, music seems taken from a 90's tampon ad.

These are all unforgivable flaws, but since lots of you "don't get the hate" and received this pretty turd with open arms, the rest has to cope with XIII-2.

You so called "fans" just don't realize that a critic attitude is needed as feedback, so companies don't perish in their own corporate ineptitude.You just came late to the party, wowed at the videos and defended your legitimate right to be a FF fan since you heard it's a hip thing from your older brothers in gaming.

Thank you,"fans", I hope you enjoy the subpar bastard child between Disney and Uwe Boll that is going to be Squeenix from now on.

Dac2u2145d ago

I agree with everything you've said, but I've never seen a better description than: "the subpar bastard child between Disney and Uwe Boll." That was a perfect description of FFXIII.

iamtehpwn2145d ago

Good read.
I had mixed feelings about XIII. On one side, XIII had an incredible concept, Rich world, tons of lore, a fast paced battle system, and a cool protagonist like Lightning. The premise was excellent.

It's just the way it was all executed was terribly wrong in almost every conceivable way. There was no variety to the game at all. Really, I felt like I was walk down a hall way and mashing X the whole time without really thinking about what I was doing. This did all change when I got to Gran Pulse, and I was exploring. That was fun.

But the thing about it is, almost every single thing about the game was fundamentally broken, even down to the map on the HUD, which rotated AS you rotated meaning it always threw you off course when traveling across the pulse. The battle system was decent, but only if yo went into your settings and default "Abilities" instead of "auto battle".

I still found the game enjoyable in some respect. It had some cool moments. Thankfully XIII-2 does fix almost every major complaint, although it does bring in it's own problems as well. But it shows that Square is listening to us perhaps even the small aspects, even though it wasn't Versus XIII or FFXV that people were clamoring for.

GamingTruth2145d ago

you mashed x the whole time? that right there made you loose credibility in itself, i dont really care if you had 2 agrees for it and no disagrees, you should really post a video of you playing through ff13 tapping nothing but a, and never changing a paradigm at all, that would be absolutely joyous seeing you get so many game overs but what ever

iamtehpwn2144d ago

Are you serious? I thought paradigm shifts were implied, but I never used any sort of advanced strategy to win until the post game challenge monsters. I played XIII for 89 hours, and I even bought XIII-2 Collector's edition and I just played that for 9 hours last night. Loving it a lot more than XIII as there's more to do outside of battle.

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