Last night I finished up the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and with the twists this new version brought I kind of reflected on my time with the series. So, I thought, why not jot down my thoughts and memories on the games after alll these years? Maybe someone will find them interesting. POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!?
(This is my first attept at a blog here, so there may be typos and layout troubles. Thanks!)
Final Fantasy-The original came out for the NES a few weeks after I finished my first year of high school. Nintendo Power had been teasing the game for months, and even released a ull-length strategy guide/issue to guide players. At this time the only RPG I'd ever played was Dragon Warrior, which was all one-on-one battles. I beat that game something fierce after a long playthrough. Now suddenly we had four characters to use, each of whatever class one chose, and would fight up to 9 or 12 enemies in a battle! I forget which, it's been a long time. And this is back when the Thief was useless and the Mages had their D&D style spells per day casting limits. My brother and I usually used the same party make-up-Fighter, Black Belt/Monk, White Mage, and Black Mage. Cover the bases. I usually named the Fighter Dave, because he was the hero and that was my name. Still is. The rest of the party would be named after friends.
I got about halfway through the game beofre losing interest, that or another game caught my eye. My brother would be the one who'd start new games all the time, sometimes working with a different team. But he got to the final dungeon. One day after school I booted up his save, encountered, and defeated Chaos. I told him about it, and he was able to do the same. Just seeing that huge enemy sprite taking up the whole enemy box blew me away. Years later I'd get one of the remakes,I think in FF Origins, and get through the game proper on my own.
Final Fantasy II-The first time I ever played this was in the late 90's, with the internet being a thing, and discovered emulators and ROM hacks. These included a fan-translated version of FF II. All I recall is going over a bridge and being slaughtered by a werewolf or something straight away. Maybe it was FFIII, but I'm not sure. But I didn't get far. I'd play a proper remake later and discover its infamous no clases/no levels system. The build up these rather generic characters by use was a nifty idea, but it was rough to play. The is something the Elder Scrolls series did, but better. Everything was a bit too generic character-wise and I lost interest.
Final Fantasy III-Characters with some personality and the introduction of a Job system. Again, one I played in a later edition. I don't remember much of it due to it still feeling too generic. FF II and III didn't sit well with me, as they came out after I played the SNES "II and II"-ames that had actual set characters to enjoy.
Final Fantasy II/IV-The first "real" RPG of it's type, as far as my experiences are concerned. A cast of colorful characters, each with their unique jobs/classes and abilities. It wouldn't be until a later releease that I found out Cecil's Dark Knight was supposed to have that sweet dark energy attack. Tht name is part of what endeared me to the game-when I was a wee lad, for a short time we had a kitten, whom I'd named Cecil (see-sill, not seh-sull). A kitten which would disappear one day-later I found out my Dad literally kicked it out of the house, thinking it was going to scratch up my toddler brother in his sleep. Anyway, you had this awesome guilt-ridden not-cat, his ever-kidnapped girlfriend, and his ever-brainwashed badass dragoon best friend. The game was almost completely awesome, save Edward as he was crap in the SNES port. I just remember grinding the fnal dungeon day after day, trying to get strong enough to take down Zeromus.
Final Fantasy V-As it was skipped over in the west intially, it too ended up being a re-release playthrough. This would be the first FF game Iplayed with a swappable Job system, and really dug it. The characters were okay-Faris was the awesome pirate, and I;d find out this is what the weird FF anime movie was a sequel to. Again, that swapping jobs thing made it hard to recall who did what. Bartz was someimtes Buttz depending on the translation. But it was neat-I wouldn't mind giving the game another go, as again I never finished it. I did get to the point where you got Krile, whom of course had all her grandfather's abilities.
Final Fantasy III/VI-This is my second favorite game in the series. At the time of writing this, I just heard the church bell across the street ring, and it brings me right back to the game's opening. That bit of percussion in the distance as three Magitek armors trudged through the snow to raze a city. Something like 20 characters, each with an involved story. Everyone had something cool to bring to whatever team you wanted to assemble. A game where the villain wins, destroys the world, and that's only the halfway point. You'd find out it was possible to lose a character permanently if you weren't careful. The Esper system was so solid-anyone could learn anything and everything as far as magic went. Plus summoning in battle for everyone. This is, of course, except for Umaro. He's a crazy berserker yeti. But so many things and so many characters-the game was just so jam-packed with content.
I remember stumbling through the opera my first 4-6 times. The battle with that one mage boss who constantly cycled his weaknesses atop a tower where you HAD to use magic. Sabin and his superior suplexing prowess. Waiting forever for Cyan's stupid meter to charge up while the enemies whittled at yur team. That or equipping him with the Genji Glove and Offering so he could attack 8 times every turn! Grinding away in that dinosaur forest so people could learn the highest level spells. And then that final battle, with its multiple stages using your entire party. And only in the past few years did I find out about Shadow being Relm's father and that you could save Dr. Cid by catching the fast fish. I thought he was just menat to die.
Final Fantasy VII-The first time I played, I did a straight-out story run. I ddin't know about Vincent and Yuffie, or about all the goodies the Gold Saucer truly offered. I enjoyed the heck out of the game, though getting to Sephiroth at the end I was woefully unprepared and got my butt soundly kicked. I also only used the one save file, so I was stuck there at the final fight.
But I'd get the strategy guide and try again. I got some of those final weapons and limit breaks, got the extra characters, and this time went into that final fight with Omnislash ready to go. Nothing like One-Hit-Killing the end boss. I remember Bugenhagne's speech really getting to me, about the lifestream and flow of life energy-that cycle of life and death. Thinkng back, I don't think I was either Team Aeris or Team Tifa, each were cool and had their strengths.
Final Fantasy VII Remake-My mind is still piecing together everything that happened-all the new stuff that was added and especially the weird direction it took. For the most part I dug the game; I had to set the game to easy because I wanted to enjoy the game and not get frustrated by the gameplay. I love the new characetr depth (Avalanche, esp. Jessie) and the new characters for Wall Market. New Materia and events, great. I'm just really curious now where the game is going to go, now that so many deaths have ben undone...
Final Fantasy VIII-The one that got away. When I was playing the game, I had gotten to the final boss and gotten it into a stalemate. But the only character I had left was Zell. He had an auto Hi-Potion, but was just ticking away at the boss, whom had these way-too-long attack animations. I had to be up for work at like 6 am, so I was forcd to turn the game off and never went back. Up until then, I mostly enjoyed the game. The characters were okay, though I never really connected to Rinoa or Selphie. I wanted to smack Emo-Lad Squall for not noticing stupidly hot Quistis throwing herself at him (I have a type). Irvine being a useless sniper ddin't help, but otherwise he was okay. The card game was okay until certain rules got introduced and spread, killing my enjoyment for it.
Then ths story twists. I thought then, and always will, that the Junction-based plot convenient amnesia was some horribly lazy writing. "We were all friends, that's why we're freinds again". The weird stuff with laguna was kind of confusing, but this was just insulting. It's part of the story, I get that, but the game's been beat without junctioning. I digress. Luckily a FF protagonist would never pick the least interesting girl again, right?
Final Fantasy IX-Not only was the more "Fantasy" feel returned to the series, but FUN was as well. Remmeber fun? An upbeat hero that still stands out amongst his moody brethren to this day. One of the best unique systems in the series, if not the best. Learning permaent abilties from item, then customizing your character with them? Awesome! Unique abilities that get stronger with certain accomplishments? You can bet your last gil that I maxed ut Freya's Dragon Slayer and Quina's Frog Drop. I never did realy "get" Amarant-with no real relation to the plot I just didn't care about not use him. My only probem with the game was the Trance system-that random activation was junk. If yu could bank that power-up, then heck yeah!
FF IX is my favorite game in the series. There's a good reason my avatar is ine of the Black Waltzes. Everything about it, especially the world building with all its fantastic races and locations, just did it for me. I adore Chocobo Hot and Cold. The card game was great, though on my most recent attempt at the game I really sucked at it. I need to try it again. I never beat Ozma, or at leats True Ozma, and I'm okay with that. I'll never get Steiner's speedrun weapon; no biggie. The thing is, I had a save file where everyone had been named after anime characters they were similar to, and were all in the 90's level range. I went to check the names one day and plugged the memory card into my PS2...which immediately wiped the entire card of all its data.
Final Fantasy X and X-2-The hero chose the least interesting girl again. Who'd of thunk it? I enjoyed both the games, and am an unabashed Wakka fan. A positive, energetic character whom is fun to play? Heck, yes. The story did get stuck up its own rear from time to time. I'm still not 100% clear on what Tidus (Tie-dus, not tee-dus) IS. He's technically the most powerful Summon in the series, but was he real? He was supposed to be drea of the Fayth, but therefore must have been someone's memory. It's weird. But I played the heck out of Blitzball in the first game, at least on the playhrough when I made sure to get the Jecht Shot.
Kimahri was always an odd one for me-like Strago and Quistis, a dedicated Blue Mage can be tricky to use. Epecially one without a clear combat role in a game where everyone else was neatly defined. You already had everything you needed in a battle, so a jack of all/no trades didn't do much. Why swap him in if he's never needed? Lulu, though made to make jaws drop with her design and personality, had a crap overdrive. Spin a stick to multi-cast a spell, but the game never registered more than 2-3 spins, it felt. But Auron was a badass-I had it so he roke the damage limit and pretty much one-shotted every damned enemy in the game.
I don't recall X-2 quite as well. The dressphere system was goofy but fun, which was the game in a nutshell. Paine was an okay addition to Spira's Angels the Gullwing trio, with a personality that needed to not be uber-chipper. The laziness of Lulu's character model, though. Apparently the uterus in this world is located in the chest. That's the only place that baby could have been growing.
The actually sold Blitzballs in Japan for a short time. WANT.
Final Fantasy XI and XIV-MMORPG's, which I dont play. The internet here is pretty crap. Otheriese I'd love to play XIV with some of my online friends.
Final Fantasy XII-I believe the last "new" Final Fantasy I played. It was okay for a one-player MMO-Vaan being an afterthought is pretty obvious-you have a game with a few awesome characters, then these two kids from the desert. Right. I honestly don't reember much about the game-I had picked up another game at some point and never went back to XII, though I'd give it another shot at some point.
Of course the series has had other games-I haven't heard much good on XIII, and the videos I've seen on it make me feeel better off I haven't touched it. I know nothing on its sequels and alas don't care much about them, though I loved some of the chracter designs for XIII at least. I've heard nothing much good about XV, and didn't think it seemed interesting. I have hope for XVI, though the namess are horrible. Tactics wasn't for me, as I'd never played a tactical game before and was used to grinding. I played Mystic Quest and some of the Gameboy games a little, but the latter were only Final Fantasy games in name only here in the west.
BONUS: Kingdom Hearts-I went into the game blind. I only knew it was a combination of Disney and Final Fantasy. I was expecting Final Fantasy but with Disney characters. I wasn't expecting Kingom Hearts. I was able to get used to the action RPG side, but was put off by not having a safe haven in town. I was used to going into a shop and catching my breath; not having enemies spawn literaly everywhere. I was able to play it for a few worlds, but I kind of got lost in Agrabah. I was the first person in town to pick up a copy, and likely a week later the first person to trade it in. Looking at the franchise's insane release "pattern" over the year I may have gotten lucky.