I’d like to tell everyone a tale, it will be a tale with many ups and some downs. The tale is called..”Final Fantasy used to be really good and lately it’s been sucking a lot.” Now as we all know over in Japan the numbering sequence of the Final Fantasy games is a bit different from over here. For the sake of this story and my review I will stick with the American numbering of the series to avoid any confusion. Now for me my journey into the Final Fantasy realm didn’t happen until Final Fantasy 2 came out on the SNES. I’m not sure why I decided to get it, until then I had no idea that RPG’s existed.
I missed the first couple of Nintendo games and Gameboy games of the series. Little did I know it was going to open me up to a whole new world of gaming. Then hearing that there was going to be a Final Fantasy 3 April of 1994 couldn’t have come soon enough. Then Final Fantasy fans including myself had to wait 3 years and would have to buy a new console before we could delve back into the world of Final Fantasy. I won’t even discuss Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. I did play it through a few times, but it really was just a joke. The wait and the console acquiring was worth it with Final Fantasy 7 it blended what was great about 2 and 3 and added some cut scenes and graphical upgrades which were amazing. However when 8 would come out it would start to bring about changes in the gameplay of the Final Fantasy world.
Having to draw magic and equip different spells and such to boost attributes while took some getting used to was really just a hassle to me. Also the story was kind of out there for me which I know it’s a Final Fantasy game, however I didn’t really feel connected to the characters as I did in the past and that’s really what drew me into the world. So skipping 9 and just going right into 10 when it came out, with another console buy I had high hopes for the series. All I have to say is Tidus and that should make most people cringe. Although that’s not the only thing that killed it for me.
Changing combat and taking away my ability to explore wherever I want is what really turned me off to the whole thing. I haven’t even played 12 or any of the MMO’s, I did give 13 a try mainly because of the $15 price tag. To this reviewer however it doesn’t seem that the series has gotten any better. I hated the combat and really couldn’t figure out the stupid story and it was basically go from point A to point B down this “hallway” and watch a cut scene fight some guys. Rinse and repeat. Now I know that there are some other Final Fantasy games that are still good out there such as Final Fantasy Tactics and all that. I’m mainly just touching on the main series though. I know this seemed more of a rant than a tale, but it’s just really sad to me that as great as the Final Fantasy games were the ones that have been coming out lately are just terrible. Every time a Squaresoft game came out I couldn’t wait, if it be Secret of Mana or Secret of Evermore and of course Chrono Trigger. I’d like to end this tale on a high note so without any further delays here is my review of the first RPG I’ve played. Final Fantasy 2
The story to me is one of the highlights of the game and was what made it such a great game. When first popping this game in I had no idea what sort of ride I was in for. It actually starts out that you play a bad guy who is a Dark Knight named Cecil who has to go to a town of defenseless wizards to “acquire” a crystal. When the wizards refuse to give it to you, then you take it by force which means a few dead wizards. On the way back to the castle of Baron Cecil has some mixed feelings about what just happened. Without giving away too many spoilers I will leave it at that. This is game is best experienced, let’s just say there will be plenty of plot twists to keep you interested in it. Another thing that kept me connected was they refer to the planet as Earth which they didn’t do very often. On a side note that I do have to mention that the main villain Golbez is pretty dang awesome. He has so many tricks up his sleeves,I truly wanted to defeat him of all the things he did to me.
The gameplay is pretty typical RPG, you move around on an over-world map going from different places whether it be on foot or Chocobo or other means. Now the thing that most gamers hate now are the random encounters. I have to admit there were times that I wish I could just take 3 more steps, but monsters stopped me. However it’s not like it wasn’t that hard to run away from encounters you didn’t want to mess with, at the slight cost of some gold. The gold could however be easily made up and then some from the next battle you did. The battle screen was active meaning while you’re trying to decide what to do the enemies will still attack. Which I really enjoyed because it kept me on my toes and had me making decisions on how to fight particular monsters. My only complaint would be that on certain fights you are destined to lose and sometimes it’s hard to know that. Sometimes I’d find myself in a fight and using all my items and all that and dying and it was meant for me to lose. This too however isn’t as big as a deal as you may think because you could just buy all your potions and all that back. I did like that certain characters had different abilities so it made that person feel really important to the party.
Sound and Music:
Ever since putting the cartridge first in and that melodic Final Fantasy melody comes on I was hooked. There were times I would just sit there and let it play all the way through. I think I could honestly say that there isn’t a music moment in this game where it didn’t seem to fit. If it be climbing a mountain or exploring a cave or climbing a tower. At the time I had never heard such haunting melodies come from a video game and I was just simply amazed by it. The sound effects though which aren’t terrible weren’t really anything too special. Some of the spells and weapons sound pretty good, but other than that not anything too great.
Most people would say that Final Fantasy 3 for the SNES is the better of the two games. I would have to agree with them, however having experienced this first I have the fondest memories of this one. Having many sleepless nights playing this game over and over and also making my own strategy guide for it listing weapons and the such. This game opened me up to a whole genre of games I really knew nothing about at the time. After this game I was hooked I had to have anything with Squaresoft on it. It may not have the grand scale that Final Fantasy 3 had, but it told a really good story that had me feeling attached to certain characters and really feeling bad when things would happen to them. Being able to name the characters too made it all that more engrossing. Now I won’t give this a perfect 10 as I’ve been doing in the past I would have to give it a little less than I would Final Fantasy 3, but without this one Final Fantasy 3 may not have been as amazing. This game has everything action, adventure, love, deceit, betrayal, and even a spoony bard.
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