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Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



Alris posted:

I enjoy asking people who liked FFX but hated FFXIII how a game all about running down a single corridor for 40 hours with painfully unlikeable characters and shitawful side content is good while another game dedicated to running down a single corridor for 40 hours with painfully unlikeable characters and barely any side content is bad just to see their flustered justification. XIII is everything bad about X concentrated to its purest form. Both games suck, and X's only saving grace is it gave us X-2 which revelled in its stupidity and let you beat the poo poo out of a Tidus lookalike (and didn't have the OG model until the very end anyway).

Both games are still better than anything with the words "Kingdom Hearts" in the title.

e: and if Xenoblade Chronicles had chocobos, changed the Nopon race to be called Moogles, had a name change to Final Fantasy XV and a Square-Enix logo on startup, it would have sold way more and been hailed as revolutionary and a return to form. Goddamn that was an amazing game.

I never played FFX but I imagine I would not like it if I did. My favorite FF games are 1 and 12 (and tactics). I played 1 on the gameboy because I was born after the SNES.

There's nothing more I can say about FF13 that wasn't said in Tim Rogers' 18,000 word review of it which is good and insightful if you take the time to read it:
https://web.archive.org/web/2016053...tton.net/?p=630

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Hokuto
Jul 21, 2002




Soiled Meat

Nanomashoes posted:

There's nothing more I can say about FF13 that wasn't said in Tim Rogers' 18,000 word review of it which is good and insightful if you take the time to read it:
https://web.archive.org/web/2016053...tton.net/?p=630

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not so I'm responding to this as though you're not. Sorry if you are!

Please do not take this man's advice. This is a rambling and incoherent article that makes a bunch of overly broad gripes about things like the concept of "numbers" that all boil down to Tim Rogers wishing he was playing a different kind of game entirely. You will never make sense of it.

precision
May 7, 2006

Gonna have me some good friends around
Gonna have me some good times in town


Nanomashoes posted:

There's nothing more I can say about FF13 that wasn't said in Tim Rogers' 18,000 word review of it which is good and insightful if you take the time to read it:
https://web.archive.org/web/2016053...tton.net/?p=630

I don't know who this Tim Rogers is but holy poo poo that is some intensely insufferable writing. I made it all of two pages.

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



It's long and sometimes digressive yes, but every sentence and paragraph makes complete sense and he understands the game on a level that I think very few people do.

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



The most important part is this, I think:

quote:

A recent story on Kotaku.com supports our hypothesis. You don’t have to click: we’ll explain it. A producer of Final Fantasy XIII explains that there was “enough discarded content” from Final Fantasy XIII to make a whole other game. The “content” in question is mainly levels — game-play areas. That’s a real, huge red flag, right there. Seeing as the “levels” or “areas” in Final Fantasy XIII are first and foremost venues for monsters to appear, and seeing as how monsters are selected for how niftily they clash against the background graphics — seeing as how the majority of the minor in-game cut-scene dialogue consists of main characters discussing things no more detailed than “What are we going to do?” “We have to survive.” “We have to fight.” “We have to fight . . . them.” it’s quite pitifully obvious that none of the scripted dialogue or level events had anything to do with the player characters’ current location.

This is the kind of thing that we, as a marketing / PR person, always tell game companies to never, ever, ever say in interviews. Like, there’s enough levels to make another game? That means that they spent huge amounts of time making levels that they weren’t going to use. That’s because (believe us on this one) the overall arc / scope of the story wasn’t fixed early enough in the development: the areas that were eventually actualized as levels by artists (judging by our complete playthrough of the game, we’re going to say there weren’t actually any “level designers”) were originally conceived by checklists drawn up during regularly scheduled brainstorming meetings. “Fire level”, “Ice level”, et cetera.

Seeing as most of the levels in the finished game lack any kind of sense of common sense, or even one-word-summaryable background art gimmicks, we can surmise that the artists themselves were in charge of thinking of the “themes” for the backgrounds, and then actualizing them via a series of rough drafts and object asset requests.

In short: they had no idea what the game was about. Tetsuya Nomura designed characters, some other artists designed some other characters, some other artists still designed huge amounts of enemy-like robot-ish machine-things, some other artists flung together lavish architecture inspired by lifetimes of playing Final Fantasy VII and longing desperately to work on a Final Fantasy game — though, of course, if they did, they’d do something kind of different. Then someone came in and was like “btw dudes, the game is about this”. Then someone was like, “Oh, i guess we don’t need that dinosaur island part, or that part on the moon.” Owning up to “enough cut-out levels to make another game” is pretty much admitting “yeah, we lacked focus from the very start; we had close to no idea what we were doing.”

Our conclusion is that throwing artists at something doesn’t make a game. You need some actual honest-to-god directorial control. We’ve played all of this game, and then some, and we realize that it had no directorial control. The story makes no sense. The characters talk in nonsense nonsentences. They can’t speak ten words without three of them being some made up thing. You know how, when you say “Ballerina” over and over again the meaning of the word totally evaporates and you’re left giggling for a second, forgetting your age, your name, your birthday, your phone number? That’s what all of Final Fantasy XIII is like, as a narrative experience. It’s a euphoria compounded by the dread of, even for a second, having no identity.

If you don't want to read the whole thing but want the thrust of it.

Hokuto
Jul 21, 2002




Soiled Meat

Nanomashoes posted:

It's long and sometimes digressive yes, but every sentence and paragraph makes complete sense and he understands the game on a level that I think very few people do.

The guy literally complained that you can't see enemy HP totals when you get Libra right from the start of the game. He didn't know it existed, from what I could gather. I'm no ardent defender of FF13, but come on.

chumbler
Mar 28, 2010



Switchblade Switcharoo

Hokuto posted:

The guy literally complained that you can't see enemy HP totals when you get Libra right from the start of the game. He didn't know it existed, from what I could gather. I'm no ardent defender of FF13, but come on.

More to the point, HP totals are even kind of irrelevant because like 90+% of the time their health bar is just the stagger meter.

Edit: To be clear, I don't actually have a problem with this, and liked 13.

chumbler fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2016 around 07:52

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



Hokuto posted:

The guy literally complained that you can't see enemy HP totals when you get Libra right from the start of the game. He didn't know it existed, from what I could gather. I'm no ardent defender of FF13, but come on.

He knows it exists because he talks later in the article about how useless of an ability is because 1: the health bar 2: your AI teammates will automatically find out the enemy's weaknesses at the start of the battle and strengths and your actions will be automatically selected based on those and their current class.

e: what chumbler said too, the complaint is more a part of a larger complaint about how every number that pops up, both for damage and max health is completely incomprehensible and useless, because the only thing that really matters is the break bar

Nanomashoes fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2016 around 07:48

Hokuto
Jul 21, 2002




Soiled Meat

Nanomashoes posted:

He knows it exists because he talks later in the article about how useless of an ability is because 1: the health bar 2: your AI teammates will automatically find out the enemy's weaknesses at the start of the battle and strengths and your actions will be automatically selected based on those and their current class.

What? No, you can manually select your own actions as much as you want in FF13. Oftentimes it's faster to let the auto-select do its thing, but that doesn't mean you have no control.


I know I already said a bunch of words, but I think I can sum up my stance on people who complain about modern FF games as follows:

If you want a set of RPGs that keep the same system and same gameplay over multiple iterations, all while keeping the game primarily story-driven, you should be playing the Dragon Quest series instead of Final Fantasy. It's exactly what you want: Mechanics that haven't fundamentally changed much from the SNES era, a consistently high bar of storytelling quality, and an art style and music style that don't drastically change from game to game.

Final Fantasy is a set of wildly experimental RPGs that throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks. Dragon Quest is a set of traditional RPGs that adhere to their roots. This is how it has been for the past 20 years, and this is probably how it will continue to be for the next 20 years. Instead of being unhappy with a series that doesn't cater to what you want, wouldn't it make more sense to play a series that does cater to what you want?

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



If you manually select every command in a battle FF13, or even the majority of them, holy poo poo you are some kind of menuing god capable of dealing with unceasing tedium. The battle gameplay in that game is paradigm shifting at the right times and letting auto battle do the grunt work of hitting attack 6 times in a row. You can't manually select actions for the other two members of your team anyway, so no, you can't manually select your own actions as much as you want.

Jenner
Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.


fivegears4reverse posted:

I think the core issue with your argument that FF7 is the ruiner of the franchise is pretty much encapsulated by this sentence right here.

You're repeatedly given evidence as to why some of your assumptions and personal fanfiction about FF7 is off or incorrect in some way, and you basically disregard it as either not being "good enough" or not mattering anyway because it doesn't fit into your internalized narrative of What Brought Final Fantasy Down.

So, first off, I acknowledge a few things that are good about FF7 and conceed points and arguments. I am not just sitting here going, "Nuh uh" about everything. But, yes, I do point out how other arguments/defenses of FF7 either aren't happening, aren't special/unique, aren't good enough, etc. I can understand the frustration of what might seem like me being a purist who is moving the goal posts around and being difficult. I don't see what I'm doing that way. I am saying things like "X is just like Y" or "X is like Y but Y does it better" because, to me, these things are true. When someone says "X is special because it did thing." I am not trying to be a bitch when I point out that Y did the same thing and it was no more or less special.

But there are things about this game that are really good and that I really like. In fact, I am now convinced FF7 is better than FF8 and will adjust my tier accordingly. I don't think my refusal to like FF7 equates to the good things about FF7 not mastering to me. But... I guess they are not good enough for me. I'm not sure what to do about that.

I am willing to consider thar the problem might just be with me.

However, I don't think that when somebody acknowledges some of the points someone has made about a subject/thing are good but still do not agree with that person for their own reasons they should be responded to with, "Gah, you suck! You just said it was good! Your opinions about it being bad are invalid because you said things were good!"

I said in my last post that I'm replaying the game and actively looking for the stuff other people are pointing out and still not seeing it. I repeat, so far I am not seeing all this complexity and grandeur that other people are pointing out/talking about.

I don't want to have to get so entrenched in my opinion about a video game I don't like that I have to reject everything about it that is good in order for my criticisms of it to be valid. I think getting people who disagree with you about a thing to acknowledge the thing has done some good is progress. They might not think the thing is good like you want but they no longer think the things is pure poo poo. This is good. Pushing people to just wholescale reject everything is bad. This is just my opinion though.

quote:

All this poo poo about FF7! Shinra loving everywhere, ruining loving everything! Just so much stuff!

I'm not sure I ever said that the oppressive and destructive reach of Shinra was downplayed. FF7 makes it very clear that Shinra sucks, you see its reach and influence poisoning pretty much everything. But, again, in other games the lovely evil empire isn't just twiddling it's thumbs being evil. I don't remember what goes down in FF4 all that well but I'm pretty sure the empire keeps invading people and carpet bombing places with the red wings and doing war crimes. I remember a whole lot more of FF6 however. The empire invades towns and cities and takes them over, Kefka poisons and wipes out Doma. I'm not sure if FF7 depicts Shinra as more lovely, more threatening and more bad than other FFs do their evil powers. In my opinion, they all get equal attention. You can think it's better in FF7, it's cool.

quote:

I think that your claims about FF7 aren't coming from a particularly intellectual perspective specifically, because like most people have doing in this thread deliberately or sarcastically, you are overlooking, dismissing, and misinterpreting huge swaths of the game for the sake of presenting your own arguments, while also playing up events from the game you do love and countering any criticism of it with a perfunctory you're wrong. I know that this is peak goon school of internet debates here, but come on.

Look man, I don't know what to tell you. I don't know what kind of "intellectual perspective" you are looking for. I am replaying the game, I am actively looking for this good poo poo people swear is there, I'm not seeing it. I am not intentionally or maliciously misinterpreting things, I am trying my best and I can only go by my experiences. I mean, AFAIK all we can do to evaluate a games' quality is consider events in the game and the experience of the game on their own merits and then compare them to other games. This is what I'm doing and I'm not sure what more you want from me.

I'm sorry I don't like a thing you like? I honestly wish I got this wonderful experience you all talk about. I feel like I missed out and got cheated. I'm gonna keep playing the game and see how things go.

Hokuto posted:

You blaming FF7 for the downfall of gaming is stupid. Other games had good graphics. WTF do you want from them? You will never be happy. Also I liked FF7.

Forgive me if this is over simplifying your message but this post is already so huge. I'll try to make this quick.

A lot of games were released around the time of FF7 and they all had good graphics. At the time, there was a lot of contention over whether FF7 or OoT was better. But it was at the time of FF7 that Square and other companies started to focus more on graphics and less on substance which reduced the quality and enjoyablity (totally a word) of games as a whole. (Note, my opinion.) And FF7 was heavily marketed in both Japan and America as, "drat it's so pretty!" Perhaps I am wrong to blame FF7, perhaps this is just the way the industry wanted to go. But FF7 was super profitable and I can't imagine that didn't influence the move.

I don't mind a game being pretty. Hell, I like a pretty game. I just want more from my games than pretty graphics. I want an entertaining story that grips me and good characters I can care about (or at least love to hate.) You can do that and have good graphics (FF9) and you can do that with basic sprites and poo poo (Undertale.) You can even say next to nothing openly about your world or its lore and opt to hide everything in item descriptions and still have an interesting story, engaging world, and good game (Dark Souls.)

If you're saying my desire for appealing and developed characters and an enjoyable (not even good, just enjoyable) story is unrealistic then that is just sad. My standards, however, might be too high.

However, I would like to provide evidence to the contrary of this by reminding you all that I liked Chrono Cross. (I know, I am the worst.)

And again, it's okay for you to like FF7. It's 100% okay. I'm here for you.

Hokuto
Jul 21, 2002




Soiled Meat

Jenner posted:

If you're saying my desire for appealing and developed characters and an enjoyable (not even good, just enjoyable) story is unrealistic then that is just sad. My standards, however, might be too high.

I would encourage you to read my follow-up post on this page, which I assume you'll get to eventually. Basically, I think you're asking for the wrong things from the wrong series. I think Dragon Quest would be way more your style, judging by the kinds of things you like.

Jenner
Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.


Nanomashoes posted:

FF XIII just turned the artists loose with practically no direction and they flailed about making the prettiest poo poo ever. Lots of it was just thrown away and the rest of it was just cobbled together with no rhyme or reason.

See, I kind of like the idea of letting artists with a vision set the tone and building from that but I just don't know if that's realistic or would work.

Super Giant Games says they hired Darren Korb to just write a soundtrack for a game and then they made a game based on/inspired by that soundtrack. Bastion was really good!

I think it can not only be done, but done well. And maybe a bit of cooperative creative interaction between the story writers and the artists could lead to some good poo poo.

The only thing I really liked about FF13 is how loving cool the enemies and environments looked.

Hokuto posted:

I would encourage you to read my follow-up post on this page, which I assume you'll get to eventually. Basically, I think you're asking for the wrong things from the wrong series. I think Dragon Quest would be way more your style, judging by the kinds of things you like.

Final Fantasy used to be this thing. It used to do the things I liked. But I guess you're right and it's time to move on.

Nanomashoes
Aug 18, 2012



Jenner posted:

See, I kind of like the idea of letting artists with a vision set the tone and building from that but I just don't know if that's realistic or would work.

Yeah but there was no vision. Read that big quote I posted.

Hokuto
Jul 21, 2002




Soiled Meat

Jenner posted:

Final Fantasy used to be this thing. It used to do the things I liked. But I guess you're right and it's time to move on.

Dragon Quest 8's 3DS remake/port is coming out this coming January, and it promises to be really good. There are also very beautiful mobile ports of DQ1-3 with SNES-style high quality sprite graphics and really nice English writing. If you want the older experience, you could try the NES Dragon Warriors, or try the regular DS ports of 4-6, all in English. Sadly, the SNES era of DQ games never made it here in English, but their remakes did, on the DS. It's a great series, and the Dragon Quest megathread loves to welcome new players with open arms. DQ Builders is also great and just recently came out, but that's more of a Minecraft game than a traditional RPG so YMMV.

Eej
Jun 17, 2007

HEAVYARMS


Still never understood why DQ got "Heal" and "Cure" right and Final Fantasy didn't

JT Jag
Aug 30, 2009

Fandom is misery.


g0lbez posted:

They realized with 12 that fighting hordes of trash mobs sucked but with a jrpg there was no way around it, so what's the best alternative? Just program your dudes to do that poo poo for you! it's genius
If they could combine the gambit system with the FF13 paradigm system while keeping the action real-time (kinda like it looks like it'll be in FF15) it'd be perfect for Final Fantasy

Hot swap between complex, pre-defined tactics with a press of a single button

Chillgamesh
Jul 29, 2014




Alris posted:

I enjoy asking people who liked FFX but hated FFXIII how a game all about running down a single corridor for 40 hours with painfully unlikeable characters and shitawful side content is good while another game dedicated to running down a single corridor for 40 hours with painfully unlikeable characters and barely any side content is bad just to see their flustered justification.

No one in FFX even approaches being as obnoxious as Hope, so there's one thing. While I'm not going to plant my flag and die on FFX's hill the way I will for FFVII, the world and plot of FFX are just a hell of a lot more compelling than FFXIII. The main thing is pacing; FFX is technically a corridor but it's broken up by towns, dungeons, puzzle sections, blitzball (as controversial as that is) and so forth. FFXIII is literally a corridor. The closest thing to breaking up the gameplay cycle of "walk forward, fight trash, walk forward, fight boss, cut scene" is when there are NPCs standing in your way that you don't even talk to so much as walk vaguely next to, or when a path forks and you can choose to go get a piece of loot or not.

I don't think I've ever been quite as angry at a video game as I was when I got to chapter 10 of FFXIII, which begins with the characters literally saying "why are we here" "no real reason" "oh well i guess this is a filler chapter" followed by what basically amounts to the library level from Halo 1 except two hours long.

Panic! at Nabisco
Jun 6, 2007

it seemed like a good idea at the time


I think comparing FFX with FFXIII based solely on "they're linear and I don't like the characters in either" is insanely reductive. FFX has an actual coherent narrative that, while occasionally a bit tonally weird, hits home more often than not emotionally, and brings its themes from start to finish, with some clever world-building and twists thrown in.

Final Fantasy XIII requires reading the optional datalogs to understand the plot. Like, it actually does not make sense if you play it as normal. Characters and concepts come out of nowhere. The cosmology of the world, which is incredibly important to understanding what's actually happening, is not explained or even alluded to until you're supposed to already know it. If you went through the series and thought "wait, who's Etro? why are they talking about this goddess Etro like I'm supposed to know her?" you know what I'm talking about. Beyond all other problems with it, which have been exhaustively discussed, it fundamentally does not function as a narrative unless you give it a massive amount of benefit of the doubt.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Jenner posted:

Square focused most of its energy and resources on making FF7 look as pretty and impressive as possible and the story, plot, and characters were obviously an afterthought.

Now whether you love or hate the game this is just plain wrong. I could write 124,000 words about why this is wrong.

Saintv77 posted:

All the old people who actually made the games you liked left.

fin

Pretty much this.

Elentor fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2016 around 13:55

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Panic! at Nabisco posted:

I think comparing FFX with FFXIII based solely on "they're linear and I don't like the characters in either" is insanely reductive. FFX has an actual coherent narrative that, while occasionally a bit tonally weird, hits home more often than not emotionally, and brings its themes from start to finish, with some clever world-building and twists thrown in.

Here's my take on it:

FF7 AC, Kingsglaive, FF13 and modern FF games in general seem to have characters and dialogues that are very disconnected from reality, both from ours and from the fictional ones they inhabit. The interactions just aren't there. It feels like something is missing, that the dialogues weren't written by an actual person. Is there such thing as an uncanny valley for scenario writing?

I remembered FF5 as being a very bland game with a fairly generic storyline but interesting gameplay elements. I played FF5 this year for the 4JF and I was actually surprised at the jokes the characters make, how the game tries to keep the interactions grounded while being snarky and genre-savvy. Basically not taking itself more serious than it should.

I think things went downhill after FF10. I don't know who left, who was still in, couldn't really bother to keep track of it. Everything after FF10 gives me the feeling that the game is being designed and written by a marketing committee and no one really has a vision of what they should do. Every FF up to and including 10 feels like someone wanted to tell a story. Sometimes multiple people wanted to tell a story and that hosed things up (like how FF8 had 3 different directions going simultaneously) but they're in general dark character studies set in a lighthearted adventurous fantasy world. The character study is the focus and the plot is a background to let their interactions happen.

Then you had quotes like Yoshinori Kitase explaining the meaning behind Aeris' death and why she shouldn't be ressurrected, as it was included because he was grieving for his mother and in the real world "People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness." Whether the story was well told and you like the game or not, this is a guy who was pouring himself into his work.

I get the feeling that all the people who had stories to tell either left the company, are severely limited in what they can do, or don't really have anything else to tell. The games feel like they're made by a new generation of developers who are fans and only know how to superficially mimic the games they loved as a child without understanding why they enjoyed the games in the first place. And since the games were famous for having complex and convoluted stories the focus right now is making a story that is just plain complicated for the sake of being complicated with weird names, political drama, etc. The characters are secondary. The game has to be biggerer and betterer and epic.

Remember when Hayao Miyazaki bashed the anime industry?

quote:

Miyazaki's specific concerns are over the lack of attention paid to people in real life. He said people in the industry "don't spend time watching real people" and can be characterized as "humans who can't stand looking at other humans."

This is how modern Final Fantasy games feel right now. And we know Final Fantasies are the biggest anime.

Crab Destroyer
Sep 3, 2011


I've tried nearly every FF, and 13 is the only one I've been able to finish. It's the only one where "random" encounters are any fun at all, and one of the only ones where party composition actually matters (props to 4, 6, and 10 for being the other games where party composition actually matters).


Panic! at Nabisco posted:

Final Fantasy XIII requires reading the optional datalogs to understand the plot.

This simply isn't true. I read some of the early datalogs, but then stopped because they were basically just repeating things that were said in the cutscenes. If you didn't want to watch those terrible cutscenes you could read the datalogs instead, but you only need one or the other, not both.

13's plot was bad, but it was not literally incomprehensible.

Clarste
Apr 15, 2013

Just how many mistakes have you suffered on the way here?

An uncountable number, to be sure.


Yeah, the "inmates running the asylum" seems to be a general problem across the entertainment industry. When writers whose total life experience can be summed up as "played a lot of video games" try to tell a story, they really have nothing to add and they tend to end up making shallower copies of what they grew up with. And the generation after that might be even worse, since they'll be copying the copies.

Not to say there isn't any good writing anymore, but Square-Enix seems to be pretty bad at managing their flagship series, which has continuously gone overbudget, delayed, and FF14 1.0.

Cao Ni Ma
May 25, 2010


Nanomashoes posted:

First they let the guy that made the good d&d inspired turn based fantasy games make a terrible movie and then they fired the guy that made the serious political dramas based on historical events and they wound up having to give directorship over to the fashion reject so he could make his game about a beautiful perfect pink haired woman who becomes real and marries him.

The problem with the latest FF games is the new directors have a very narrow range of interests that reads: Video Games, Fashion, Anime. The older guys had interests outside of games, Matsuno was big into medieval European history, Sakamoto liked tabletop games and mythology. Now the games are just so up their rear end in anime bullshit that nothing looks interesting or real or makes any sense anymore.

Matsuno got way over his head with XII. Apparently he kept growing the scope of the game till there was no reasonable way to finish everything and everything had to be cut out at the last moment to actually get it done. It also doesn't help that he got dropped into the sort of "trial by fire" SE sometimes does where you either rise to godhood or come tumbling down, he didn't have the experience working with large teams and the decision making process of them at all.

We still dont know how FFXV is going to end up like. It could be a complete mess for all we know, but we at least know that Tabata took over an obviously troubled production and finalized the game. Most people seem to be positive of the combat system and at least the first 5 chapters, we still dont know if everything after that shits the bed.

Elentor
Dec 14, 2004



Jenner posted:

But, despite being not that good, FF7 was a commercial success. And because of FF7's massive popularity and profitability Square, along with almost the entire video game industry, embraced the trend of prioritizing graphics over actual substance with frankly depressing results.

This is only halfway true. No one in the 90s had the power that Square had to prioritize graphics at the cost of everything else. FF7 opened the way to a bunch of JRPGs that had story on par with non-Squaresoft games from the SNES era. I don't think any of them is as good as the games Square crafted but the PS1 era is sometimes called the golden age of JRPGs for a reason. Following FF7 you had Parasite Eve and Vagrant Story, two great games that are very experimental, there are other lovely Square JRPGs that are also experimental and definitely not focused on graphics. The other PSX JRPGs were all more of the same but they were, generally speaking, decent - they featured a cinematic here and there but no one was competing to make a show stopper, they were playing catch-up which wasn't anything novel.

Also, and I must stress this as a Technical Artists who writes video game special effects for living - the emphasis on pushing the envelope has always been there in the industry. The only difference is that FF7 represented a reasonably impressive jump in the scope of pre-rendered cinematics and it was particularly more impressive to us as a child. The other companies did not have that power. Historically speaking companies only started catching up once production QoL improvements kicked in in the early 00s. There were no more JRPGs labelled as super productions as any other genre back then. FPS games were trying to push the envelope with their engines, Blizzard was trying to show off the most impressive cinematics, and most games released were fairly mediocre in the graphics department. Even the ones released by Squaresoft for the PSX.

People followed on both FF7's and Zelda 64's success just like a bunch of FPS games were made following on ID's success. After the PSX, JRPGs died a slow and boring death and outside of the major franchises that ascended to popularity during the PSX era you seldom see a new fancy AAA JRPG hit nowadays. All these games kinda evolved and merged as the story-centric FPS/TPS platformers and the trend of triple A games the way we know only came afterwards. The graphics rush has been there from the start and it had never been an excuse for lazy storytelling. FF6's art is completely bananas and pushed the limit of what was possible on a 16-bits platform for its time just as much as FF9 did.

This transition you're thinking happened during the PS2 era when a bunch of stuff in the industry happened that made making super elite graphics more accessible. These changes are still ongoing. During that period companies started to standardize their practices and their games so as to minimize risks which is a consequence of the industry growth and that resulted in following recipes for storylines. Square in particular hosed up that transition royally and their management has been historically terrible, bleeding money on unnecessary projects, almost bankrupting the company more than once, not planning games' development ahead, etc.

Jenner posted:

I am replaying the game, I am actively looking for this good poo poo people swear is there, I'm not seeing it. I am not intentionally or maliciously misinterpreting things, I am trying my best and I can only go by my experiences.

It's okay for you not to like the game, that doesn't mean there's a connection between it and other things you don't like. You can easily spin this bias the other way around too - the PS era was when a bunch more games started focusing on the story and got popular. A lot of kids in my school were talking about how creepy Silent Hill was and discussing its plot, the same kids that had never cared to play Alone in the Dark before.

Clarste posted:

Yeah, the "inmates running the asylum" seems to be a general problem across the entertainment industry. When writers whose total life experience can be summed up as "played a lot of video games" try to tell a story, they really have nothing to add and they tend to end up making shallower copies of what they grew up with. And the generation after that might be even worse, since they'll be copying the copies.

Yeah, it pretty much sucks. I've been seeing better stories out of FPS campaigns than out of actual RPG games for some time now, probably because of that. I imagine they're hiring actual writers who if anything have experience making a generic story that is interesting to the broad audience, and the RPG writers are people trying to copy these old-school games while missing the point entirely.

Elentor fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2016 around 13:59

Jenner
Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.


Heaven Spacey posted:

Second, by romanticizing teen pregnancy I mean depicting it as something desirable. The beauty myth perpetuated by pretty much every culture basically states the most "valuable" women are those that are sexually attractive, youthful, and virginal - teenagers. But I guess the characters involved in this scene were minor NPCs anyway, so I feel like this can all go out the window!

I missed this post somehow! I thought I read all the posts! I didn't want to not respond to you after you responded to me but I strongly agree that culture feeds a message that the most "valuable" women are attractive, youthful, and virginal.

I don't want to get off on a discussion that has nothing to do with FF so I'll just say that the fact that making something appear sexy/sexually appealing has the result of that thing selling more/better has lead us to a place where we are sexualizing children and it is gross and I don't like it!
Now I am going to just be so old and complain about how kids dress these days (I'm not a fan) and how there are little to no clothing options available for people who don't want revealing clothes!



Blargh! My point is sexualizing teenagers sucks but I don't think that's what's going on in FF6 and I'm glad we're dropping it!

Thank you for talking about the Sector 6/Honey Bee section with me! It was very helpful!

quote:

I'M loving STOKED FOR FF15!

Noooooo! Pull up!
Please come back to this thread and tell me about the game after you've played it.

Nanomashoes posted:

Yeah but there was no vision. Read that big quote I posted.

I read, I know.

Hokuto posted:

Dragon Quest 8's 3DS remake/port is coming out this coming January, and it promises to be really good. There are also very beautiful mobile ports of DQ1-3 with SNES-style high quality sprite graphics and really nice English writing. If you want the older experience, you could try the NES Dragon Warriors, or try the regular DS ports of 4-6, all in English. Sadly, the SNES era of DQ games never made it here in English, but their remakes did, on the DS. It's a great series, and the Dragon Quest megathread loves to welcome new players with open arms. DQ Builders is also great and just recently came out, but that's more of a Minecraft game than a traditional RPG so YMMV.

Hmmm...

Dragon Quest Megathread posted:

Art by Akira Toriyama.

Noooooo!

Video games are dead.
(But seriously, I'll give the games a shot. Thank you for the recommendation. I've been kinda liking the Fire Emblem series too.)

quote:

FF sucks because all the old people who made the games you liked left.

Oh...

quote:

No, FF sucks because you are old.

DeathSandwich
Apr 24, 2008

I fucking hate puzzles.


Panic! at Nabisco posted:

I think comparing FFX with FFXIII based solely on "they're linear and I don't like the characters in either" is insanely reductive. FFX has an actual coherent narrative that, while occasionally a bit tonally weird, hits home more often than not emotionally, and brings its themes from start to finish, with some clever world-building and twists thrown in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H47ow4_Cmk0

For what it's worth, in the argument between 7-8-9, I'm one of those mutants that likes 9 the best. There's just something compelling about the character specific b-plots that I loved. There was, in my mind's eye a overarching theme of the characters questioning their lives around them and yearning to find their place in the world. It's especially impactful for Vivi, who is basically made a monkey paw wish, he found a society of people like him, but at the same time discovered that he's essentially terminally ill and now he has to learn to cope with that and find purpose in the face of his looming mortality. In the end, he winds up dying offscreen between the final boss and the ending cutscene. Granted not every character has a satisfying arc like that (looking at you, quina) but I remember the Steiner, Freya, and Garnet character arcs being pretty good as well.

7 in my minds eye was fine, it wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst. It made a lot more sense to me when I came back and played it again as an adult and realized the Jenovah was basically a Lovecraft-styled cosmic horror so I didn't need to keep asking myself why we kept fighting and killing her yet she kept coming back (also the cultists and such when you get to the crater).

8 was probably the most deeply flawed of the bunch, but I also wound up liking it's aesthetic style the most. It's about the closest the series has come to "What if modern day but magic" The magic and leveling systems were total messes in ways that you could just break over your knee pretty much at any point after the tutorial ends and certain elements of the plot were nonsense and required huge leaps in logic, but man, that game had style (comparatively speaking, of course).

I bounced off of 10 pretty quickly because I couldn't stand the voice acting and Titus. 12 I bounced off of because I specifically couldn't stand Vaan and turned the game off at the "I'M CAPTAIN BOSCH" section. 13 I played to completion but I can be hosed if I remember anything about it other than really liking Sazh's character arc and specifically his 'You think you just die?" speech.

guts and bolts
May 16, 2015

Have you heard the Good News?

I should clarify my point about "profound loss" - I do not personally find FF7's story profound and its surface reading is super bad, but the losses that the characters experience are profound in the sense that they are "very great or intense." Also I'm not sure there's anything else I could add about Final Fantasy VII that I haven't already said or that someone else hasn't succinctly summarized - it's a good game with some serious flaws that prevent it from being an unassailable classic. That describes basically every good game in the franchise barring Final Fantasy Tactics, which actually is an unassailable classic and I'll fight you to the death if you breathe otherwise.

Actually, w/r/t FF7 - I've really only glanced off the surface of non-mechanical, non-narrative things to say about it, but the score is genuinely really good. The battle themes are appropriately high octane, the opening theme and in medias res presentation are great, and the soundtrack does a really good job setting the stage and mood of a given scene. The JENOVA battle music is probably some of the best in the franchise, and it makes me sad that more of the game isn't fundamentally about JENOVA and exactly what the hell it is and how it functions.

It's also really cool that every character in FF7 is immediately identifiable basically by silhouette. Their designs really are radically different from each other both in terms of Nomura's character art and their models in-game. The FMVs are obviously super-dated now, but at the time they were pretty breath-taking, especially when you first catch a glimpse of the Highwind in Junon. FF7 is traditionally associated with amping up the spectacle elements in Finals Fantasy, and there's certainly a lot of spectacle here. It'd be great if you could skip summoning animations for things like Bahamut ZERO and Knights of Round, but again, at the time, that poo poo was pretty incredible to see put in motion.

FF7 is a good game.

FF13 is not a good game, but it is bad not just because it's a linear corridor filled with cutscenes and boring battles, and not just because the Paradigm Shift system was reductive and boring, and not just because the cast was probably the worst in the franchise, and not just because the mainline plot was incomprehensible and forced you to read codex entries to suss out even a basic understanding of what was happening, and not just because the music was largely forgettable at best. It is a bad game because it is and has all of those things in confluence. FF10 has the linearity but the plot offered an effective reason for it, and Blitzball offered reprieve from the endless slog of fighting new random encounters at any given save point, and the game also somehow features a more elegant implementation of the Sphere Grid than 13 does. FF12 has a battle system that can effectively play itself, but it's slightly less linear, emphasizes a plot I personally found refreshing, and has an antagonist I personally found to be among the best in any RPG, let alone Finals Fantasy, in Gabranth. FF8 has a plot that is so full of holes as to be almost incomprehensible once you get past Disc 1, but the score and cast are better, and the battle system and character management systems are better even if they're wildly broken - at least they're the fun kind of insane.

Basically a lot of Finals Fantasy have one or more of the problems that 13 does, but none of them have all of the problems 13 does, and not to the same degree. To this day I've finished 13 once, and I've beaten almost every game in the series at least three times. I cannot bring myself to play it again.

precision
May 7, 2006

Gonna have me some good friends around
Gonna have me some good times in town


Heaven Spacey posted:

No one in FFX even approaches being as obnoxious as Hope, so there's one thing

Hope is the best character in FF13 that isn't named Sazh. His arc is fantastic, he starts off as The Whiniest Little poo poo Ever but is one of the only JRPG Whiny Little Shits to actually change and grow throughout the game. By the end of it, I really liked him.

Super No Vacancy
Jul 26, 2012

yahallo


the final fantasy xv anime is good, and the game will be good

i am tim!
Jan 5, 2005

God damn it, where are my ant keys?! I'm gonna miss my flight!

precision posted:

Hope is the best character in FF13 that isn't named Sazh. His arc is fantastic, he starts off as The Whiniest Little poo poo Ever but is one of the only JRPG Whiny Little Shits to actually change and grow throughout the game. By the end of it, I really liked him.

FFXIV has a similar arc, but rather than a whiny little poo poo you had a self important teenager who was convinced he understood all the worlds problems and how to fix it all if only people would listen to him! You get a front row seat to when it all blows up in his face, and a major subtext of the following quest lines is him reflecting on the mess he caused and growing up from it.

Another subtext in those quests is practically everybody making fun of him for being an awkward teenager. It's great.

Captain Oblivious
Oct 12, 2007

Could people please stop fighting the avatar war over my avatar. I really appreciate people being nice about it but I'm feeling crappier that people are wasting money because someone is an asshole than I am about the avatar in the first place.


Final Fantasy 14 is the last bastion of sane people in the company.

Jenner
Jun 5, 2011
Lowtax banned me because he thought I was trolling by acting really stupid. I wasn't acting.


Sazh is really good and deserves to be in a better game.


guts and bolts posted:

I should clarify my point about "profound loss" - I do not personally find FF7's story profound and its surface reading is super bad, but the losses that the characters experience are profound in the sense that they are "very great or intense."

Ah ok. So profound but not profound.

I've just been leveling up and not advancing the plot today but I'm liking Tifa more and more.

I still don't like Cloud and I'm not having fun but the experience is not miserable either.

What ever happened to the FF7 LP Elentor was doing? Did it actually finish?

Sunning
Sep 14, 2011
Nintendo Guru

I'd say the root cause is the destruction of the company's system of check of balances due various factors from ballooning budgets to a lack of upward mobility for younger talent to take on leadership roles. It's the same thing that's happened to many developers who were once top of the industry, such as Origin Systems, iD Software, and Lionhead. Sometimes, technology and consumer tastes change and developers who don't adapt fall off the top. You can look at Naughty Dog as a successful example in that they transitioned from making platformers for children on the PS1 to creating action-platformers for teenagers on the PS2 to story-driven action games for adults who have children on the PS3/4. You can also see this in Blizzard Entertainment in that they're transitioning from solely releasing mega-AAA games to including smaller, service based games aimed at adolescents n their catalog.

If there was one key factor, I'd say it was the departure of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. He was the connective tissue that held everything together between creative and business. After stepping down as director, he served a similar role to Sid Meier in that he would let younger talent be hands-on with the series he created. They allowed young talent to cut while Sakaguchi could serve as a soundboard for advice and create a sense of tradition for the series. It was a good system in that you had multiple teams having their own take on the series in quick succession. This allowed the series to be competitive and keep up with trends.

Sakaguchi was active in keeping the company competitive and with industry trends. He poached Yasumi Matsuno from Quest due to his experience in making strategy RPGs. He pushed to make FFXI an online game due to playing Ultima Online while in Hawaii. He helped Tetsuya Nomura become director of the Kingdom Hearts series. He wasn't successful with everything he did but he made sure their games were competitive and young talent was given opportunities to prove themselves.

There hasn't been someone to bridge the divide between business, technology, and creative in console game development. On the brighter side, they company is doing well as a mobile/MMO publisher. They'll survive even if Final Fantasy is no longer a premier console RPG.

Clarste posted:

Yeah, the "inmates running the asylum" seems to be a general problem across the entertainment industry. When writers whose total life experience can be summed up as "played a lot of video games" try to tell a story, they really have nothing to add and they tend to end up making shallower copies of what they grew up with. And the generation after that might be even worse, since they'll be copying the copies.

Not to say there isn't any good writing anymore, but Square-Enix seems to be pretty bad at managing their flagship series, which has continuously gone overbudget, delayed, and FF14 1.0.

I don't think any other publisher would allow game development to go off-track as much as Square-Enix. Rockstar Games had Leslie Benzies come in whenever things got out of hand. Sony Santa Monica shutdown a new IP that didn't come together in order to work on a new God of War game for the PS4. When Bioshock Infinite was repeatedly delayed, Rod Fergusson was brought in as a hatchet man to get the game out. Even then, the studio was shutdown despite Bioshock Infinite going on to sell over ten million copies. Most publically traded publishers usually have someone step in at the first sign of trouble.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007

It's long past time for some good old fashioned middle class life relief



So what's good JPRG-wise then?

I'm old as gently caress and only have a PS3.

fivegears4reverse
Apr 4, 2007

by R. Guyovich


Shageletic posted:

So what's good JPRG-wise then?

I'm old as gently caress and only have a PS3.

Trails in the Sky part 1 and 2 can be played on pretty weak PCs, PSP, and Vita, Trails of Cold Steel part 1 and 2 are available on PS3 AND Vita. They are all connected, but you don't have to play Sky in order to GET Cold Steel. Playing one series will likely enhance your enjoyment of the other when you get the references.

Cold Steel 1, in particular, makes me think that Falcom looked at Persona 4's school drama, and said OH, YEAH?! And this was accompanied by some sort of awesome synthrock power chord and there may or may not have been doves or explosions that represent the part where the writer started writing the bits of Cold Steel 1 where poo poo gets real.

Play Persona 3/4 again.

The Trails games ought to come with a caveat, though. Incredibly slow burn at the start of a given Trails series, and I've seen a lot of people bounce off of them pretty hard because of it. But, Trails has tons of world building and LOTS of focus on developing your party into likeable individuals you can empathize with, to a degree that FF really doesn't do. Everyone has an FF that they CLAIM does this (see Jenner writing screeds about FF6 has great character development that no other game afterwards approaches, see my own defenses of FF7's characters), but none of them come close to what the Trails games try to do. Whether or not they strike your fancy is entirely personal.

guts and bolts
May 16, 2015

Have you heard the Good News?

Here are some jRPGs you should play, because they're really good:

Final Fantasy XII
Valkyrie Profile
Front Mission 3
Skies of Arcadia
The Legend of Dragoon
Star Ocean 2
Persona 3
Arc the Lad (there's a Working Designs collection that exists somewhere out there I think???)

It's a good smorgasboard of offerings with different play styles, different plot styles, and different mechanics. If you haven't played these games you really should.

fivegears4reverse
Apr 4, 2007

by R. Guyovich


guts and bolts posted:

Front Mission 3

I didn't mention this because I treat it more like Turn Based Strategy than a JRPG.

FM3 is great though. It was available around the same time that Gundam Wing was airing in the US, and like Gundam Wing it features a cast of completely loving insane people given access to giant robots who then go on to influence POLITICS, with explosions. There's a super soldier plot in there, too.

DeathSandwich
Apr 24, 2008

I fucking hate puzzles.


Shageletic posted:

So what's good JPRG-wise then?

I'm old as gently caress and only have a PS3.

See above, add Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne to the list. It's basically Mad Max Demonic Pokemon and it's pretty great.

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precision
May 7, 2006

Gonna have me some good friends around
Gonna have me some good times in town


Shageletic posted:

So what's good JPRG-wise then?

I'm old as gently caress and only have a PS3.

Tales of Xillia is really drat good. Also the Yakuza games.

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