With FF13 - 2 around the corner I am going to post what changes I would like to see not only for FF 13 but to the FF formula in general. Now I know the venerable Jim Sterling did not like FF13 but I enjoyed my time with it. My biggest lament toward the game was that I thought it was good but I know it could have been infinitely times better simply by doing things that previous final fantasies had already done. In many ways 13 felt like it took great steps backwards.
Anyway, what I would like to see change for FF13 part deux:
1. Towns are a must I think. It is a nice change of pace and offers a breather after a long dungeon or hard boss fight etc. Otherwise you are pretty much fighting or walking the whole game.
2. Side quests throughout is a must. This goes hand in hand with having towns. Without towns and people to actually give you quests, it is difficult for this to exist which is probably why FF13 saved them all until the end. Again good for a change of pace and to make you feel like your gameplay is varied.
-Addendum: I like the idea also of continuous almost unrelated side quests ala ff8 card game and ffX blitzball. Given that most of the summons in FF13 were transformer like vehicles, a racing game would have been great. It keeps gameplay varied and adds more depth.
3. Tough epic monsters are awesome to fight. convenient ways to fight them is appreciated as well.
Addendum: tough epic monsters are fun to fight a few times. Not hundreds. Any monster that requires you to be invincible in order to beat it is broken and is cheating.
4. The only reason I like monsters dropping money is that it gives you a way to actually make money throughout the course of the game. But it doesn't really make sense. however, the alternative to not dropping money could result in crap like farming for money... this could be easily remedied by having other ways to make decent money. side quests are a great way to implement good money AND a break from the main story. jobs are a cool idea as long as they are not super boring like real jobs... or maybe a realty system like fable to make money. but please NOT farming enemies for drops. or if you must then have random enemy drops throughout the course of the game actually make them be worthwhile. one of FF13's cardinal sins I thought was that 90% of the crap you get throughout 90% of the game was 100% useless. unacceptable. wolf pelts or talons etc should sell for decent money or be useful in SOME way. otherwise why give it at all??? totally unacceptable.
5. Less characters is more. Too many just becomes overwhelming. you dont know who to choose and don't end up even using some at all (cait sith who?). FFX did a fantastic job of encouraging you to use all the characters too by making it streamline to switch them during battle. Great gameplay choice.
Addendum: these are powerful game consoles. if we are going with fewer characters why not have them ALL fight during battles as you come across new party members and harder enemies! i mean what are the other members of your party doing while you fight? watching? sleeping? they are traveling with you right? alternatively do a ME2/FF6/FF13 party splitting up style. divide and conquer. this can lead to broader uses of the parties and larger more epic dungeons as well as a greater sense of team work. the possibilities are endless. i think it is nice to be able to choose who is in the parties though. Bottom line: make it so that the players feel every party member is useful for both story and combat and deserves to be on the team. otherwise why did you even recruit them in the first place? why not just kill them instead??
6. The map in FF13 was great but i would have liked it to be fixed instead of randomly rotating. I found that disorienting.
7. transportation -- Most FF's do this fine. You start out limited and eventually get better and better ways to travel. I like this
8. i also am a huge fan of recurring battles against a hard final boss. games like metal gear were great at setting up the villain early then culminating in the final battle. rpgs should have no problem setting up enemies like that. yeah and final bosses should not just randomly appear at the end. it detaches you from even knowing why you are fighting it.
9. Weapons i think are one of the things that REALLY need a change if FF12 and 13 are any indication of a trend. materials are a pain in the butt. no more please. I really liked the weapon upgrading system in Infinity blade, a fucking iPhone game. Just fighting with the weapon would level it up. Like the character was becoming more proficient with it. It was very simple but really encouraged varied weapon usage. I dunno. There are probably lots of great ways to do weapons and upgrading but i do NOT want material gathering. Maybe ever again. two FFs are more than enough to sour me from it forever. I'd rather them just not have you upgrade weapons at all than gather materials. It has become just as out of control as "collect 1000 blast shards". It's a cheap lazy uncreative way to add "replay value" without having to do anything extra or interesting to the game. This gameplay mechanic should be reserved for MMOs. I don't play those games for that very reason.
10. I haven't had too many issues with the leveling system in any of the games except the draw system in FF8. Each game seems to have a slightly new take on leveling to keep it feeling relatively fresh.
11-12. I don't see why a cutscene viewer is not standard nowadays. is that difficult to implement in some way? I mean aren't the cutscenes on the disc somewhere? didn't they work really hard to make them?? why not offer them as a reward to the players for beating the game?? it boggles my mind how this is not just a standard thing for pretty much any game that has cutscenes and is more than 2 hours long.
13. A new look. The techno future thing is getting a little old in my opinion. like every game square makes is set in techno future with tron looking stuff everywhere mixed with swords and guns wielded by a bunch of anime style anthropomorphic characters. I mean i understand the games come from japan but after soooo many years i think it could use a makeover in some way. Example: Basch in FF12 looked SO cool with his Judge armor. I could not wait for him to be in my party. But when he joins, what is he wearing?? This.....
instead of this:
what.... the.... fuck.....