Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Final Fantasy 10-2 (Square: 2001)

Can I just mention how much I am upset at this game?  Mostly because it was the first game that I’d ever played, the first long game with a story that I have ever played, that I didn’t finish.  I am a completionist.  I like to complete games.  I like to collect as much of the cool stuff that I can and beat every boss, including the hidden ones, and get through the whole game.  I do it with books too—it takes a lot for me to not finish a book.  But this game was horrible and forever hurts me, because it was my first.  It was my first failure.  I let this game beat me, and that makes me sad.  

In Context
I, like many FF fans, eagerly awaited the next Final Fantasy after 10, only to be told that the next game would be an online only game.  My feelings on Final Fantasy 11 being what they are, needless to say, in my disappointment, I threw my passion for FF into the only game that was available to me, FF10-2.  

In looking forward to this game, I watched the behind the scenes and the previews, and the thing that sticks most starkly in my memory is how the entire point of the game was to love the dress sphere transformations.  If you didn’t like them, you missed the point of the game.  

So wait, the entire point of the game is Sailor Moon-like naked transformation sequences.  Yep, this game was nothing but fanservice.  

But, you can’t just have a game based on fanservice, can you?  And besides, what about the girls, like me, who played this game?  Where’s the fanservice for us?  Granted, I was on the way out of my Sailor Moon binge of the 90s, and transforming and having cool super powers still did have a bit of draw, but the entire game seemed a bit too young for me.  As if, for the first time, I was not their target demographic.  Which struck me as odd, because the NES and SNES FFs were “fun for all ages.”  They had elements that appealed to smaller children, as well as seasoned adults.  Why drop the ball down to the Team Rocket level, like they did on this one?

The Plot
Yuna, from the previous game, lost her boyfriend due to his non-existence, not to mention her religion, and is seeking throughout the world, trying to find herself.  And her boyfriend.  But that doesn’t come up as much as you think it should.  Or at least not as blatantly.  Not to mention if you don’t play through the game perfectly, you won’t get that ending where you reunite with him.  And I mean, 100% perfect.  

She is joined by Rikku (from the last game) and Payne (not from anywhere, but because we needed someone to connect to the goth/punk/emo audience).  They find dress spheres and get into Shenanigans.  There is a comic-relief “bad guy” (in quotes because of the complete ineptitude).

The Main Conflict
No, not in the plot (PWP?), but that I had with this game.  Why did this game even exist?  Why, when you have a solid, long, and good game history, do you feel the need to continue a story that had ending and resolution.  Crappy and trite resolution, but resolution all the same.  To add the extra chapter to the story weakens the story as a whole.  It’s like the Star Wars prequels.  Yes, the story was kinda interesting, but knowing what I know about Darth Vader’s past, and *shudder* midichlorians, weakens the story of Star Wars, and weakens my love for my favorite childhood story.  (Also, http://www.supershadow.com/starwars/midi.html, you’re count is BS.  There’s no way that Han survived all that and was that weak in the force.  I don’t care what the books said.  That’s why midicholrians are Bull.  Quit trying to explain awesome.)

Yuna, by her stereotype, is a weak character.  She is suppose to be the Japanese fanboys’ dream. She is quietly strong, but demur, and her main thing that she needs is her man.  In this game they attempt to make her stronger, and give her purpose, but her purpose changes from religious quest to “finding herself.”  She could have used this medium to become a much stronger character, but she just doesn’t. She tries, and fails.

Rikku is the bouncy character. I liked her in FF10 because she was the thief, and I like getting things for free in my games, so bonus there, but due to the complete change in gameplay, this quality goes away.  What’s left is a bouncy, hyperactive, highpitched girl who is nothing but support for Yuna’s journey. Yes, she is a side character. That doesn’t mean that that needs to be her sole character description. Everything else about her is how she acts, but not who she is.  This makes her weak.

Payne. I wanna say that Payne had something to do with the story--that her backstory had something to do with the story as a whole, which I understand as she’s new to the plot and needs to have a reason to be there.  However, I think it would have been a stronger story to use the well (or at least better) established characters already established in the universe. They could have used this established character to bring in a new character, if thats what you really wanted to do, but centering a story that is a continuation of an established story by using a completely new character just makes me not care about your new character,or your new story.

The Team Rocket Villans.  I’m not going to talk about them more than to say they were weak and shouldn’t have been there.  Dude, I can’t even remember their names.

As I said, the whole point of this game is the dress spheres.  And they were kinda cool.  For about an hour. Then it just became a bit tedious. The rest of the play, outside of fights, was your typical PS2 RPG outside of fights. Meaning you couldn’t really do a whole lot except for walk around in predetermined areas. Oh, and I think you could climb in this game. Revolutionary. Not like you couldn’t jump in any games previously. Like Super Mario Bros.

And Now We Get To The Real Problem With This Game
There’s not really much else to say.  And that’s the problem. Positive or negative the whole thing was kinda meh.
You know what?  This whole thing felt like badly written fanfic. You have established characters and an established world, with a new character thrown in to propel the plot to this sequel.  Tell me that’s not a fanfic.

In Conclusion
This game just shouldn’t have been made.

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