Final Fantasy Thread

As a companion to the Suikoden thread, have a Final Fantasy thread. There has been a lot of really interesting discussion of the comparisons of FF and Suikoden over there, but several of us were trying to avoid cross talk and thus clipping off some legitimately interesting takes on FF. So let’s have them over here!

I'll start by asking which version of Final Fantasy IV you think is the best? I want to play and the consensus around seems to be between the PSP and DS ones.

@JoJoestar#11968 Oh boy. I‘ve played both the SNES and the DS versions. I think that the DS version is a really excellent (maybe the best) example of upgrading a pixel-art 2D game to a 3D game. Contrast this with the war crime that is whatever they did to FF6 on mobile. That’s another discussion to have…

That being said, my nostalgia is driving me to say the SNES version. It was the first video game I ever played with the training wheels off, that is to say without one of my brothers guiding me, and I brute forced my way through it as an 8-year-old and fell in love with games. When I played the DS version I desperately missed the pixel art, and I also thought the end game shift to having party selections, a la later FFs, detracted from the tightness of the storytelling. If I recall correctly, don't they just revive several characters from the dead for this purpose? That sort of robbed some of the late-game beats of their weight. Also, having FuSoYa for the endgame is just cheating.

Think I‘m gonna give this one and the GBA version a try and see what feels better. I was like an hour in in the PSP version and while I didn’t mind the RPG maker sprites themselves but something about the text format, interface and presentation felt a bit off.

Bringing back the discussion about FFX, it has always been my favorite since I played it. I wasn‘t able to finish any FF pre-PSX so my opinion is a bit skewed, but with VIII and IX, and with everything that came after X I felt there was always something lacking. For that reason, VII and X, along with Matsuno’s Tactics have always been my favorite Final Fantasy games.

FFX is a really interesting game because it got rid of the traditional overworld/town/dungeon structure and opted for a more pronounced narrative focus with a story taking place during a journey, which to me it also made it more different and special to the rest of FF games and also gave it huge road trip vibes, which I loved. It also divorced itself from the saving the world cliché by presenting a world in which there was no villain, Sin is characterized as a natural phenomenon, and entity that doesn't act on impulses or desires, it's just a thing that happens and that periodically destroys the villages, exactly as a storm or an earthquake would do (hence the natural phenomenon comparison). And yeah I am purposefully ignoring Seymour because that dude was there as an excuse to have someone to beat from time to time.

The whole drama derived from the fact that people have accustomed to living in a world where your house gets destroyed each 5-10 years and how each of the characters have made their peace with that and have chosen how to deal with that reality is great (I particularly enjoy ||Wakka's brother subplot, for example||). On that regard the whole theme of religion providing comfort and becoming an extremely important part of the world's culture and an inmense source of relief is super well presented as well.

It's also a deeply intimate and personal story. In a lot of senses it's a game about Tidus and his daddy issues and Yuna's journey and acceptance of what becoming the summoner means (||being sacrificed||). It's a game that focuses on loss, fear and trauma and in which each of the characters stories and motivations become more important than the fate of the world itself. All of this is very well represented by what I consider the main theme of the game, or at least the song that represents FFX the most, To Zanarkand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwbYy7rbJ3c

The game eventually touches all the cliches of what most people expect from a FF game, the metaphysical final bosses and all of those shenanigans, but to me it ultimately remains a personal story about maturing and coming to terms with our own fragility.

I played a ton of FF in 2020:

  • - ff7 remake: 80 hours. I cried, jumped for joy, wet my pants, etc. I will suck on whatever Barret wants me to suck on.
  • - ff7 90 hours. Fan translation patch on original PS1 hardware in 240p using PSIO! My guilty favorite FF game. I think it has the best battle system in the series. All the wikis use upscaled assets from PC ports. This game looks amazing in 240p and must be played that way IMHO. I have played this one since 5th grade. I don't remember how many times.
  • - ff6 90 hours. Fan translation patch on original hardware using custom hard-patched OEM cib copy of the sfc cart that I burned the chip and soldered myself. I always feel this one is overrated, I dislike how many horny dudes are in the cast. But there's a lot I do like.... Celes character was also squandered, later to be made badass with Beatrix from FF9. Floating continent is my favorite part of the game. I've played 3/4ths into the game over 4 times but this was my first time finishing it.
  • - ff9 90 hours. Original hardware, PSIO, patch that makes ATB gauge as fast as FF7. Love this game, wish it had as much endgame content as ff7. Wish there was a fan translation to correct a lot of translation errors and make it more consistent. (maduin, madeen, madain, who do you choose?) This is one you gotta play slowly and savor. LOVE it. I've played it to the last area before, and played the first half of the game many times. First time beating it though.
  • - ff12 Zodiac Age (switch version) 80 hours. For the Matsuno-lovers ONLY. I have a lot to say about this game. I **am very annoyed** when people call it a single player mmo. I think **it delivers a table-top experience** more than any other mainline game. I will expand on this later. I played the first parts of the game plenty of times before but always lost steam. first time finishing.
  • - ffx 50 hours. International version, original hardware, OPL. 480i on my broadcast monitor. By the 30 hour mark I was ready for it to be over, but I did enjoy it to the fullest. I played the first part of the game many times and always quit because I didn't like it very much. This time, I committed to making the most of the experience and I'm glad I did. But it's not the one for me, lol.
  • - kingdom hearts 40 hours. Original US PS2 version on PS2 fat with OPL, I swapped the O and X keys with cheat codes like a boss. I like to live in an imaginary world of my own design where there was only 1 Kingdom Hearts game, it was a weird crossover title that never went anywhere and everyone forgot about, now it is an obscure cult classic. I played this game for hours and hours when it came out but didn't ever get further than the first area of Hollow Bastion. Simple and Clean is the banger of the century. I have been to a grip of nerd-raves where this track has been bumping and the dance floor was lit.
  • I think the best version of FFIV is a fan translated super famicom rom played on original hardware. I like that there's a couple little quirks that tie the mechanics to FFIII JP, which was my favorite classic FF for a very long time, might still be. An example is how in FFIV when you enter the forest, the graphics do not transition smoothly at all and for a grip of frames your guy is not covered by brush until his idle frame. Also the title screen graphics on the JP version are a lot more detailed and realistic. I love the DS version of FFIII, but with FFIV, the only way I enjoy playing the DS version is on a CRT **with progressive scanned resolution** , which is pretty difficult to accomplish. Easiest way is if you have a PC that can output 240p, which is rare, or a DS that can output a video signal, which is rarer. PSP version is cool, but I always find myself asking why I'm not just playing the SFC version. I think the thing is, I need to beat the SFC version at least 2 more times before I need to play something revised...
    For some people (zoomers) they can just play the newest version, but for me, I wanna play the original a million times before I play an upgraded version. The only exception in the Final Fantasy series I think is that FF12 zodiac age. FF12 was ahead of its time, and is still misunderstood.

    Here's my Final Fantasy tier list, because no one asked:
    SS - Tactics, Tactics Advance
    S - I, III, IV, VII, IX
    A - II, VI, V, X, X-2, XII
    Not included: VIII, XIII, XII-2 etc. because I intend to play those and form my opinion after. There are no tiers below A because even the worst Final Fantasies are still top tier RPGs, and people tend to exaggerate how bad they are.
    I used to be a mega-Final Fantasy-hipster (still am) who had beaten FF5 and FF3jp, FF1 and FF2, but still hadn't beaten FFIV, FFVI, etc. and said they were better. FF5 is great on smart phone, it's wild how well they remade V for ios and then totally dropped the ball for VI....
    But I'm a proud VII kid. That game was the legendary untouchable one through my elementary school years, I had a friend who played his older brother's copy and hyped me up on all the secrets, demonic facts of FFVII and Xenogears and Diablo, told me he hacks the game, etc. We drew sephiroth in the 5th grade classroom. We drew sephiroth, **a lot.**
    I saw my cousin playing the PC version for 30 seconds before he told me to go away. Then in middle school I got a used copy from blockbuster for like $10 and the rest is history. The whole reason I'm here is Tim Rogers' .... 50 hours? long video series about FFVII. Aerith is the love of my life and I hope she _does_ get those bellbottoms that were rumored to be in part 2 of the remake.
    If anyone is going to play the GBA version of FF4, do yourself a favor and patch the everloving crap out of it. I have my "ideal" patched rom of FFIV GBA, and _I still don't play it_. But if I knew I was going to prison, and I could only smuggle 1 item, I would put my FFIV revised .gba file onto my everdrive x5 mini, put my everdrive x5 mini into my mother 3 gameboy micro, lube it up, and put my mother 3 gameboy micro with my everdrive x5 mini where the sun don't shine.

    In early 2019 I decided to start playing all the mainline FFs because… I liked the idea of exploring the idea of Final Fantasy as a whole series rather than just a couple games I had strong feelings about (IV, VI, VII, XIII, XV). I played the GBA version of V and then started X on PS4. I got interrupted and moved away from my PS4 for a year, and coming back to X after that felt weird (though reading @JoJoestar's comment has given me renewed resolve to finish it :slight_smile: ).

    While I was away I played FFVI for the... third time? I first played it in 2010 (on GBA), then again in 2011 (SNES/Wii), and hadn't revisited it in the decade since. It was a really important game to me back then, so I wanted to see how I'd respond to it now. I still love it, in some ways more deeply than I did before. I named every character after one of my real-life friends, and somehow the characters are written in such a way that my fan-casting all made some amount of hilarious sense (though my real-life friends do not include any casanova types nor an assassin who'll slit his mama's throat for a nickel).

    To weigh in on the IV debate, I only ever completed the DS version, and I liked it a lot. It's good! I started the GBA version, which is supposed to be way easier??? and got stupidly stuck in a cave early on.

    @Syzygy#11982 Agreed, however FFX does technically have some kind of monster collection mechanics. Entirely optional though lol.

    For X, rather than complain about what I don‘t like, here’s the stuff that I value about the game, making the most of it:

    The adult humor, and actually really decent voice acting. Seeing “cringe” cutscenes out of context will spoil FFX for you… The VA is actually fantastic! Dimaggio is my best friend forever! The scenes where they‘re in an Al Bhed Inn that feels more like a Holiday Inn suite had some comedy beats that had me laughing out loud like I was watching a comedy show (super rare feeling from a JRPG). The shoepuff was pretty funny too.

    The Y2K neo-east aesthetic, while, an acquired taste even for 90’s babies like me, was beautiful. I love all the cyan, magenta, yellow, blacks.

    The battle system, at times was a letdown, in the exact way that you said, but also, was pretty cool at times. I really liked the bosses! And even though the overdrive system has me ticked off, mixing items with Rikku was a much needed crutch for me during hard times.

    The story was actually pretty good too, it was the only thing getting me through! Unlike other FF‘s, this one plays like a movie the whole way through, so my enjoyment just had to shift gears a little bit. It may be the “least Final Fantasy” one, but still it was sweet!

    Ok this is a complaint, but I hate the weapons system too lol.

    Also, a lot of people say FFX “dropped the pre-rendered backgrounds entirely” and this is such a dumb baby mistake to make. There’s still pre-rendered backgrounds in FFX, and they look WONDERFUL!

    The Music was bumpin‘ at times!

    The cutscene graphics are beautiful even by today’s standards, and viewed on a CRT with my fat booty PS2, I was like damn. Good Graphics.

    Deciphering a fantasy language, while overwhelming at first, actually can be done on one playthrough alone, I did it on paper instead of collecting all the cyphers.

    While there‘s a lot missing from FFX, they replaced it with an all new vision… And you gotta take it that way IMHO.

    In conclusion: There’s no blue menu background, no cool gloved hand cursor, but the menu confirmation sound is smooth like butta, and the visibly artifact‘d PNG they used for the cursor is…. A choice!

    Overall, when it comes to stuff like frequent underwater battles without a submarine, holding their breathe underwater forever, blitzball, stuff like that, from the start once I committed to enjoying FFX, I viewed it like I would a film, it’s a dream, a wacky wacky dream…. And I was right to do so! Because that turned out to be a theme, lol!

    I have this weird thing going on with the VII remake in which I didn‘t hate it at all and thought it was a cool take on those characters and world but at the same time I don’t care enough about it to finish it. Reached the last bit with sidequests just before going to the Shinra building in march and haven't played again since.

    I think it was because as someone who has played the original several times and knows the pace of the original game very well it feels extremely padded and excruciatingly slow. I was hoping they expanded on the original with stuff like Jesse's bit going to steal the bombs, which was new, but instead it just goes with let's do the exact same things but 100 times more involved and long but also not better or more interesting in any way. It's a 10 hour game stretched to be 40 and man, it drags a lot.

    I ended up getting The Twist spoiled and it didn't bother me at all. I was like "oh, so that's what happens, that's an interesting idea", which to me is a symptom of me not caring enough about the whole thing.

    I also can't shake the feeling it was extremely dishonest calling this FFVII Remake and not... anything else. It's neither the full thing or the thing it advertises, so... I don't know. Also the fact that at least here in Spain was 10€ more expensive than the regular PS4 game price (70€ as opposed to 60€) also rubs me the wrong way.

    A whole lot of negativity in this message but I think mechanically it was great. I enjoyed the battle system a lot and I think these interpretations of the classic characters are awesome, specially Aerith, Tifa and Cloud. Also the Wall Market part was fantastic.

    Overall it's a 6/10 for me. Not terrible but very disappointing if you think about what something called FFVII Remake should be.

    For me, that padding of FF7 Remake was kind of the point. No! Aerith don‘t leave, I want our date to last forever

    but seriously, if it didn’t hit the same for everyone, that's cool. The remake was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life though, lol.

    Fuck it! I'm gonna finish the damn thing right now, will report back here when I do.

    My favorite version of Final Fantasy IV is the GBA version, but the US version is unfortunately super glitchy, most notably in the form of the ATB zonking out and giving characters extra turns or just forgetting to execute commands you‘ve selected. I’ve always heard the UK version was based on a patched rerelease from Japan that fixes just about everything, and I recently tried to get ahold of a copy to play for when the Analogue Pocket comes out, but it was a reproduction cart and it didn't even have the UK rom on it.

    My top five is something like:
    IV
    VI
    VII
    IX
    XII

    I've also got a soft spot for Final Fantasy V, but that might largely stem from my love of its OVA sequel Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, which is one of my favorite anime ever, weird glowing butt stuff aside. I think it's impossible not to see Prettz ride a motorcycle up a monster's back and cut its head off with a katana and not immediately fall in love with anime forever. Best US version of V is definitely the GBA one, which I recall having an actually kind of great translation! I'm also willing to bet about 60% of my affinity for the GBA ports comes from that font. I love that font.

    I'm also a big FFVIII fan. It's just full of these weird systems that seem off-putting at first but they become so fun to break. I always love trying to give Squall his best weapon as soon as humanly possible. And the story is really weird and dumb but it leaves just enough of the lore kind of ambiguous that it becomes fun to speculate on as you piece together stuff from NPC dialogue. It feels Dark Souls-y like that in a way. I've always loved how when you look at the static-y monitor in Timber you can read a psychic message transmitted from Sorceress Adell, and then you're like, ""oh, THAT'S why they don't normally broadcast using satellites!!!"

    I’ll always feel guilty for not enjoying IX. It just feels way too slow - that’s really it for me. Loading screens, battles, etc. I know the HD versions added speed up, but it’s too fast for anything but grinding. Loading into a battle is still slow. And of course, HD models on old backgrounds will always look bad to me.

    There’s gotta be a mod or ROM patch to help with these issues, right? Granted, I have beaten the game and both the story and characters didn’t grab me as much, so not sure if it’s worth the trouble to find a patch or fix.

    VI, IX, XII.

    I like seeing those in a row.

    They shared key staff.

    @GigaSlime

    I have a theory,
    IV is to VII as VI is to IX.
    Make of that what you will, it's up for interpretation.

    I have another theory. I need to find the images and then I'll post it here.

    @sotojuan I mean, if you read my admittedly long-ass post, you see I mentioned there's a patch for FF9 that I used, that makes the ATB move as fast as FFVII.

    @treefroggy#11993 I totally agree. FFVII remake strikes the perfect balance between freedom and easy to read, hard to master. My main problem with combat though is that there are some parts unexplained and I don't know if the game informs you of some perks right away or wants to really make you learn some advanced things intuitively, but to me is one of the best systems of the whole franchise only rivaled by FFV. Even though, I think FFIX is still the best even if the combat aged quite a bit (FFX was very close in terms of story, though, but the combat feels kinda dated).

    I want to make, though, a hot take: I loved the open world system FFXV gave me instead of the close narrative. It was weird, but the charisma of the characters and their chemistry was so on point that I wished a whole game of four dudes punching some monsters, doing some quests and enjoying new recipes, and in that sense I felt the villain was like a kind autoinclusion. I hope FFXVI will have similar vibes to Vagrant Story in terms of story, because I feel this game have at least some markings of being a great game for 2021 or 2022.

    I like V the best

    Also really like the way XI looks

    @sotojuan#12006 i have these same problems and actually from a technical perspective, i don‘t understand how when i’m playing IX on the switch it can take literally 8 seconds to load up all the battle textures for the first battle when i enter a new area

    Would love XV‘s open world part a whole lot more if it wasn’t full of generic ubisoft sidequests, but hanging out and camping with the boys was the best.

    @treefroggy#12007 It's not just the ATB bar. Everything about that game feels slow for me, with the worst offender is loading random battles. Maybe I’m just impatient :stuck_out_tongue: