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Last of the FFX-2 Stuff, Move On
January 29, 2004

Thank goodness this ends the flood of electronic mail directed to my computating device regarding Mr. Holzworth's FFX-2 editorial. These folks will say their peace and then we move on. What are we moving on TO, you might ask? Well, the question I asked last time:

Due to media portrayals of video games and video gamers, some gamers have become disgruntled enough to do something about those portrayals. Events such as Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play toy drive and Nintendo’s policy of donating consoles and games to hospitals have shown that gamers are not all cloistered, anti-social fiends that the media portrays, but instead come from all walks of life and act in socially conscious ways. So the question is: how have video games (and RPGs in particular) made a positive impact in your life or the lives of people you know?

Send me those editorials, people.



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Agreement

Don't ask me why I'm doing this, I don't know but I'm going to have to agree with Chris on a few points at least. First off, I'd like to say that I've been playing RPGs since Dragon Warrior, and games in general since Pong (yes I'm probably twice as old as most of the patrons to your site). Does this old-age make me better than anyone? Certainly not! But it does give me the advantage of knowing what RPGs used to be. They used to be about Fun! Heck, all games used to be about fun. Now they're about the Almighty Dollar! The return on the investment. Instead of companies making a tried and true game better with each subsequent release, they dump the entire system in lieu of the newest Graphics engine or Crazy concept.

I'm senile you say? Well consider Breath of Fire. BoFs 1-4, while not shattering anyone’s senses, were for the most part solid games! What happens with Dragon Quarter, Capcom? While I won't say yea or nay on it, I will say this: it should have been called something else! Continue with the traditional formula, and the new increased power of each new Game System should be enough to draw fans back. Sure, make Dragon Quarter, but don't stop with the BoFs either! Same with the Saga series! Romancing Saga 2 hit a stride, and even though I might be of a minority, I enjoyed Saga Frontier 2. So what happened with the "ground breaking" system in Unlimited Saga? It's broken to say the least. Nuf’ said on that front(ier) lol (ed. bad puns are my job)

This is also how I feel about Final Fantasy! I've loved it since #1. #4 Easy Type (our FF-2) is my all-time favorite game. However, I loathe the fact that it's not the same series. Make the games but don't abuse the trusted franchise name. Call it something else. If it's good, it will sell right? Tits and muffs don't belong in games. To anyone who challenges this view, I say go buy a Hustler and take care of business. Not old enough to buy one? Log on to the net, I'm sure you can find something. Take this into consideration, these characters are usually fighting DANGEROUS/DEADLY enemies. Why then do the males usually have full-body armor and the females are dressed in thongs? Nuf’ said (ed. how about enough of nuf said?).

Well to anyone who disagrees, I say... it's a free country! But I'd also like to cite the Mario and Zelda franchises. True to their roots (even graphically). Not good games you say? Then I'd question your opinion to begin with. Merry Hanukah!

THE END

- Philip Neubauer

Damian:

I think that was an editorial about Final Fantasy X-2, but it sure did digress into some alternate territory to make its case. I don’t agree with Mr. Newbuaer’s opinion regarding changing the formula for new installments of a series. Keeping the same old formula is what has made series such as Dragon Quest stale (and I’m a huge DQ fan, lemme tell you!) There needs to be some innovation, something I’m pretty sure Chris would agree with. Even the Mario and Zelda series can get old fast with the same play mechanics. I know quite a few people who were not all that happy with Sunshine (whee, Mario 64 with a water pack) and Wind Waker, although the latter are communists.

As for your second point, maybe T&A doesn’t belong in a video game, especially one marketed to a younger demographic, but the more I hear about the game, the less inclined I am to believe that the amount of bared flesh is at all an issue in FFX-2. Now that I think back, if any of you remember the Shiva summons from darn near any of the FF games, you’ll note that she’s probably more scantily clad than YuRiPa in their most revealing outfits. I think I’ve said enough.

 
Opinions Well Written

I'm an ordinary-civilian fan of this site and have been for a long time; I'm just writing with a reply to the latest editorial, so sorry if I've taken the wrong avenue (I just clicked on the nearest e-mail address) (ed. you win!). I don't really have a big stake in the debate -- I wasn't a big fan of FFX, and I'm not sure if I'll ever accumulate the kind of attention span that would be required for playing the sequel... But I thought the article was interesting, and it definitely departed from the "here's a thing, there's a thing, what does it mean? who can say?" tone that's adopted by many editorial writers.

I just think that the author... Mr. Holzworth... might not be entirely correct. First of all, FFX-2 has been largely deployed in the shoujo market. If you Google it, most of the shrines and sites dedicated to those controversially-clad femmes are run by girls. I definitely don't find Yuna's tuchus offensive; I think most girls would agree with me.

Additionally, as clothing becomes skimpier and skimpier, it also serves to desexualize the wearer. There was a point in history at which it was considered lascivious for women to show their ankles in polite company; perhaps Yuna's hot pants are merely an extension of loosening cultural standards, which can only be a good thing. I mean, we're not suggesting that life was easier and less sexually dangerous for women during the Victorian Era, right? I think Jack the Ripper might have something to say about that. Also, targeting attire as the basis for perversion can be dangerously inaccurate -- remember that old 'Well, if you didn't dress that way, he wouldn't have raped you!' defense? Plus, I'd be interested to know if Mr. Holzworth is holding in abeyance a similarly vitriolic article in which he blasts the questionable morality of MTV? I didn't see anything in the previews for FFX-2 that I don't see every single day in any random music video.

Also, the "anime characters all look like they're fourteen" thing was a little odd. Anime is designed to capitalize on the big eyes/little faces look that most humans find so appealing. You can find this same aesthetic at work in your appreciation of babies, Marilyn Monroe, Kate Moss, and your housecat. It's just something folks find attractive. He might as well say that anime characters are considered sexy because they resemble Mr. Whiskers. Not that I'm sure that would help.

And, for someone who speaks oh-so-sensitively about "landing" a woman (and also deploys that extremely adorable argument suggesting that once a girl flashes some skin, all men in the immediate vicinity are her willing slaves), he's certainly taking a few liberties with feminism.

And, well, if "you don’t have a personality until you’re a sociable, active person," then maybe Mr. Holzworth has a ways to go. He's terribly concerned about the activities of people who are at home, playing videogames, minding their own business (however unpleasant that business may be), isn't he? Is it worse to be an obsessed Rikku fan, or a person who's obsessed with obsessed Rikku fans?

I think most of the arguments presented are accurate -- the game is designed to pander so ludicrously to commercial interests that it stands out in a field of pandering sell-outs. It doesn't appear to involve a lot of independent thought or creativity. It ruins the only satisfying parts of FFX. These things are definitely worthy of ridicule. I just don't understand why the editorial seemed to turn into an outcry for more RPG-style games with titles like "Pig-Eyed Unattractive Nuns Read Some Books, Part the Third. (ed. best seller in Albania, actually)"

- Emily

Damian:

Well that was certainly well-written and articulate. What in the world are you doing writing here? But in any case, I appreciate it. I think Emily sums up the middle ground pretty well, while at the same time pointing out the flaws in Chris’ editorial. Yes, this game is not the deep, involving storyline that the masses expect from the typical SquareEnix RPG, but that’s because it’s not supposed to be. I guess blame where blame is due.

 
Woojin Hates FFX-2

Damian recently asked me for my opinion on the huge debate on the editorial section on FFX-2 and well, I'm here to deliver.

After reading Chris's original editorial, I felt that he made many good points but was bothered by the fact that he didn't play through the game at all, which tends to make most opinions completely invalid. Don't bash what you've never tried, right?

That said, as one of the first people in the world to play through the sorry excuse for a RPG that is FFX-2 (I got it the day before it was released in Japan), let's bring up some more reasons (if you actually needed any) to bash FFX-2.

Let's first start with the story who am I kidding. What story!? What we basically have is a series of totally unrelated missions that the player must bare through in hopes that a plot will eventually unfold, and which can be easily summed up in a 50 page short story.

Sure, the graphics are pretty, and the quality of the FMV is nice, but not only does the story in FFX-2 suck, it's not even related to the current game world! In fact, I was reminded of the inane FMV clips in Myst while I was playing FFX-2.

Of course, the characters are no better. Since there are no more dark times in Spira, we have all the main characters acting like some teeny boppers like those girls on "Totally Spies! (TM)" and basically showing us what Girl Power is all about. Yes, that means that all the girls in FFX-2 act like loud, annoying, obnoxious teenagers that any self respecting person would stab to death if given the chance.

With the music being equally bad, the only thing we have left is the gameplay, and here I'll actually concede that the gameplay mechanics work. The battle system is a lot better than the original and faster and more dynamic as well, but the Job system is both firmly rooted in pleasing the sex-starved fanboys and playing up to the whole Girl Power image that the game radiates the entire time.

Sure, you get to talk to old characters one more time and go back to the same old sites and see what has changed, but I still can't shake the feeling that the FFX-2 is just an extravagant fan disc with a high price tag. The game adds nothing of note to the world of FFX and the game's clearly not even aimed at the same audience as FFX.

So why create FFX-2 at all? To make more money of course! This is what pisses me off the most about the game. FFX-2 is so obviously a ploy by SquareEnix to make the most money back from the huge development costs that FFX ran up (it's no secret that FFX, despite the fact that it was a blockbuster title, still was an underachiever in terms of sales) that it makes me sick. Would people be lining up to buy this game if it didn't have the FF label? If it wasn't touted as a sequel to FFX? I think not.

If SquareEnix created a similar game that was aimed at girls with an all new story and cast, I might've applauded Square for taking such a risky move in such a cutthroat world, but they didn't. Instead, they lie to consumers and sell us a game that is totally unrelated to FFX. Hell, I feel like I've fallen for the good ol' bait and switch. I was lucky in that I was able to sell back my game when there was a shortage of FFX-2s in Japan and make most of my money back. I somehow doubt my fellow gamers stateside will be as lucky.

- woojin Lee

Damian:

Harsh words from our own Woojin Lee. Still, it’s nice to have an extremely harsh opinion that WAS based on a play through of the game. While I’m sure the majority of gamers would not take as harsh an outlook on FFX-2 as Woo did, he definitely makes some valid points if the game is anything like that abysmal animated piece of trash, Totally Spies. I’m not a big fan of girl power, as I find it’s by no means “empowering” girls as much as it is making them seem as if they were vapid and incapable of tackling real issues. If Yuna, Rikku, and Payne do turn out like that, well I don’t want to even imagine the results. But hopefully SquareEnix treats the trio with a bit more dignity than that.

 
Our Last One

This is mostly in response to Holtzworth's article but I've read some of the 'replies' you posted up as well. First off, I'd like to point out two disagreements with what appear to be the 'consensus' of the game.

'The music sucks' - And yet in the same breath they say the music in FFX was good. Or, perhaps they insult FFX's soundtrack too. I think that simply saying 'the music sucks' is not much of an argument, especially if the people tooting their horn know nothing about music. 'Good' is something very different in regards to music than 'likable'. There is a lot of music out there that is amazing but I just don't like and a lot of crappy techno that I like but recognize as rather icky and simple.

For a video-game, it's probably most important to make music that fits the game's areas, moods, and scenes. It's also important to be able to listen to it without getting bored or irritated by it. In the first, it is pretty obvious the generally lighthearted melodies get through. All the Gullwings themes are excellent, and I haven't tired of it yet, despite having to hear it quite often. Other areas, such as Mt. Gagazet, have an excellent ambient theme that makes me really imagine the area. Other areas are not as good, but it is all-around pretty par for a Final Fantasy game. The opening pop song makes no sense and is 'nice' to listen to, but it is a pretty simple melody and really not that good of one at all because they had a pop singer do it. I've heard worse though. It is hardly groundbreaking, however, because Lunar had opening theme songs song by women -AND- they did it with good songs that weren't just Engrish.

Secondly, people seem to think that Holtzworth has no right to review the game even though he hasn't played it. He perfectly has a right, though perhaps what we hear him say should be taken with a grain of salt. He has heard about the game through other people and has probably managed to form a kind of image in his brain about how the game works that might not be entirely inaccurate. Obviously people who play the game can give a better review but that doesn't mean his comments are completely unfounded assuming he found reliable sources.

Most of this has already been said, but I think it bears repeating, perhaps in different words. First off, FFX-2 isn't a slut fiesta. The outfits are largely far more covering than most outfits in other games with females in them and no, they don't act entirely slutty either. You can play through the entire game without using a single slutty-sphere, and I don't count Rikku's thief since it's pretty much the same outfit as in FFX. However, the dress-sphere system -obviously- is largely in place for sex appeal. Not all the outfits are slutty or all that revealing, but they are all designed to spark a kind of arousal in your average Otaku. That's a bit different from slutty. It's also for sparkle and pizzazz to replace (thankfully) the uber-long summons for CG candy. They also run a bit too long, but there are many different ones so I don't mind nearly as much.

FFX-2 is as open a game as you can get with only a list of predetermined locations. You can go to them in any order you wish, pretty much, or simply avoid most of them and go through the game normally. To say that this makes the plot 'bad' or 'sparse' is simply to ignore that the game is meant to be open-ended, a DRASTIC change from the FFX-follow-a-line-system and also to be rather lighthearted compared to the FF games of late. It isn't without its drama, as you'll come to see in at least Chapter 2, but it just has a lighthearted focus. It's okay if you don't like that, but that's not going to make it a bad game. Lightheartedness plus a game that lets you do whatever you please may seem to make a jumbled plotline, but for a plotline that at least starts out with 'find spheres', it works out. If you don't like mini-games, you probably won't like FFX-2. The game is more mini-games than actual game. Some of them are annoying, some of them are quite addictive.

While Yuna acts like an idiot sometimes, I think I prefer that to someone who takes an hour to say one thing like in FFX. I don't think they were intending to make her more like an adult, but rather more like 'her own person' which leaves her open to more mistakes and more embarrassments. But will Yuna be a stronger person by the end of this turmoil? I don't know, I don't really care either because I'm still dealing with those damned thunder plain calibrations.

If I would like to make -one- suggestion to Holtzworth, it'd be to not be nearly as insulting to a game before he's played it, otherwise that will just spark people into biting at him without giving him much of an ability to retaliate (because they have played it, they will undoubtedly have an easier time in arguing against Holtzworth than Holtzworth would have arguing against them).

- Ruto Rutoson

Damian:

Interesting point regarding music in the game. Also, good to see someone giving Chris his due in judging the game before playing it. It’d be pretty ironic if he played it and gave it a good review, though.

Sometimes you need something light in your day. Not everything can or should be deep and involving. That being said, this topic has pretty much run itself out, so let us be done with it. Some people agree, some people disagree, who’s right? Nobody! Yay!



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