Big game design post next Friday, but this week I just want to plug a series of articles called the Rise and Fall of Final Fantasy.
(don’t worry about the URL – I can assure you that socksmakepeoplesexy.net is not a fetish site)
It examines and reviews each of the Final Fantasy games. I disagree with the author, Pat, on a few things regarding difficulty, dungeons and battle systems. (OMG YOU GUYS MATERIA > ESPERS) But on the whole, he knows his stuff. It’s pretty informative, entertaining and is just plain right most of the time.
His explanation on how Final Fantasy VII is not overrated but is popular for the wrong reasons – is absolutely top notch.
Although he was far too kind to the intro of Final Fantasy XIII, I mainly wanted to show off this excerpt from his article article talking about ‘The Tube’:
“Here’s how it goes: you watch a cutscene, then take off down The Tube. You run through The Tube and fight monsters until you reach a point marked by an orange circle on your map. Most of the time the marker is superfluous, since The Tube generally follows a straight path. (Any deviation invariably leads to a dead end, a treasure chest sphere, and a group of monsters that must be defeated in order to open the chest sphere.) Then you watch a cutscene. Usually, these cutscenes say very, very little. It often seems as though the developers recorded the voice cast acting out a seven-minute conversation, then broke it up into several parts and and scattered them throughout The Tube. After the cutscene concludes, you continue on your way through The Tube towards the next cutscene marker, fighting inescapable two to five-minute battles against whichever monsters your character bumps into or gets jumped by. And then you watch another cutscene. And then you keep running through The Tube. And then you watch another cutscene. And then you keep running through The Tube.
And you do this for fifty hours.
The best part of The Tube is its wallpaper, which is very pretty. Square Enix spent millions of dollars designing The Tube’s wallpaper. It is very detailed and shiny, but it is only wallpaper. The Tube is a blank and sterile place. Aside from monsters, treasure chests spheres, and Save Points, virtually everything in the Tube might as well be painted on because it doesn’t do anything. There is occasionally a switch to activate an elevator or open a door, but that’s usually the full extent of The Tube’s interactivity. If you happen to pass by a human NPC that isn’t trying to kill you, you are almost always restricted to listening to him/her mumble something as you walk by. There are a handful of sections where you are allowed to press the “interact” button to solicit scraps of dialogue from NPCs and examine certain objects in your surroundings, but these are rare and wondrous things within The Tube. Most of the time, all of The Tube’s contents are beautiful, useless, hi-definition paper mache stage props.”
And you can’t argue with that. So go and read!
Pat said he’s giving up on the franchise after XIII, and I don’t blame him. But I hope he at least goes back and covers Final Fantasy Tactics.