I need to vent about FF IX. The recent announcement about its fantasy and unrealistic characters has me shaken, and I want a second opinion. What do you think of FFIX? I hate it because, to me, Final Fantasy has always been the most progressive of all the RPG franchises. Where as most games feel slapped together, and put in a pretty box (Lunar), with a crappy plot that is supposedly "character based" (once again Lunar), but is really just crap. They have ugly graphics, a reused fantasy plot, and characters. I mean, don't get me wrong, the original Lunar was one hell of a game for its day, but to release a game made in 1992 with some average quality anime cinemas tacked on, and a couple of differences in the plot, and market it as new is a crime. Final Fantasy has ALWAYS been the antithesis of this. Ever since FF 4 was released here, it has taken the RPG genre into VERY exiting territory with every sequel, peaking with FF 7 and 8. FF 4 (or 2 here) had a great plot for its day, and people actually died in the story, which is rare for a game made in that time. FF 6 (or 3 here) had 12 well developed characters, and a setting that matched a sort of industrial revolution backdrop, with that of a fantasy world very effectively. FF 7 featured a cinematic presentation, an even better plot and characters, and was the first good RPG with a futuristic setting (no that crappy enix game Robotrek, where you built a robot on the SNES does not count). FF 8 had the best developed characters ever in a game, and the best graphical and emotional presentation I have ever seen. It had realistic character development, substantial dialogue, and a lot of symbolism and thought provoking material in Squall's inner struggle.
If you ask me, FF IX is like moving backwards. The fantasy world and
cutesy character designs make a mockery for all that FF 6, 7, and 8 stand for. It enrages me that people actually like a piece of crap game like Lunar or Tales of Destiny better than FF8. But what's worse is that Squaresoft has apparantly taken this to heed, and sold out to the whole crappy fantasy RPG genre. They really have sold out. They are giving up their ideals to make a game that will appeal to the public more. A lot of people say Final Fantasy 7 and 8 sold out but they didn't really. They were just new and different, which is a good thing last time I checked.
It's okay to make fantasy RPGs, and it's okay to make cute RPGs (Like Grandia, which also kicked much butt), but cute characters and a fantasy setting no longer have a place in the main Final Fantasy series. Tactics and SaGa Fronier 2 can get away with it because they
are good in that way, and they are good examples of what non Final Fantasy games should be, but Final Fantasy is more than just a game! They could have made a very good Final Fantasy with a fantasy setting, but there is no excuse for making it all cutesy. I knew after playing FF8, that Square would take Final Fantasy in a different direction, but this is just too much at once. They have actually taken the graphical quality down a notch. I mean, good graphics aren't really necessary in an RPG, but after FF8 and 7, it's hard to see them do this to it. The character graphics remind me of the characters in Wild Arms. Normally, that would be kinda cool, because Wild Arms was one of the
most progressive RPGs of its day, but its day just happened to be 1996-97, and despite the relatively high quality of the game, it could have been improved.
I just hope that after FF 11, they don't continue it in this direction. I would rather see them end Final Fantasy than to destroy it like this. I guess I'll just have to buy a Dreamcast for Grandia 2. Or I could import Growlanser, write Final Fantasy 9 on the cover in permanent marker and pretend like nothing ever happened.