Final Fantasy-How Did This Game Spawn Countless Sequels?

I am here to rant about a game most people have heard of… Final Fantasy. That’s right, I’m talking about numero uno! The one that started it all back on the NES in 1990. For the time where there wasn’t much expectation and they were still trying to get the genre down, I suppose it was a pretty good game. But I am saying that very loosely. There shouldn’t have been any reason to ever make a sequel to this, much less at least 20 others, though sequel really isn’t the best word since most of them have nothing to do with the rest.

Anyway, before I start my rant, I just want to give you my history with Final Fantasy. The first one I ever played was when I was back in grade school, Final Fantasy 8 for PlayStation. It was a pretty sweet game, and though it’s been well over a decade since I’ve played it, I remember enjoying it. Only problem is once I was about to beat the first disc, the game froze and I could never get past it. What a piece of junk!

Then I got Final Fantasy 7 a little after that, and I enjoyed that too, though I had commitment issues as a child and never finished it. I played for a while, then stopped for a few years, then played again and stopped again and have never gone back to it.

Oh yeah, and I also played an emulated version of Final Fantasy 3 for SNES for about 20 minutes, but never went back to it for whatever reason.

Since that time, a billion other games have come out with the title “Final Fantasy” and the only one I ever got was Crystal Chronicles for Gamecube and actually played it quite a bit, though again, I never beat it. Came close though.

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Anywho, throughout my life I have watched these games spew out and watched people rave about them. I began to wonder if I was really missing out on one of the greatest series in gaming history. So naturally, I decided to get back into the games, but starting from the beginning. Soon after I made this decision, the PlayStation store was kind enough to hold a Final Fantasy sale, and I was able to pick up 1, 2, 4,5,6 and 9. I already have 7 and 8, so I didn’t bother rebuying them. Later I got 3 and 13 on Steam.

And by the way, if you are like me and are trying to figure out which games to buy, it is quite confusing. The original versions are all numbered in a non-sequential way, for most of them were never released outside of Japan. It wasn’t until recently that they rereleased them all and renamed them the numbers they actually are supposed to be. So the FF 3 I played briefly is now officially Final Fantasy 6. It’s a confusing mess and I was nervous I was going to buy the same game twice, just with different titles. It also doesn’t help that each game has been rereleased like three times. It’s a nightmare.

Anyway, I have now finally set out on my Final Fantasy adventure, and just like I wanted to, I started from the very beginning. Though I have the updated version from Final Fantasy Origins on PlayStation, so it scares me to think that the original version is even more inferior.

So finally, what are my gripes about the game? Where to begin? Let me start off by saying, it has the potential to be a good game, but there are so many unnecessary annoying things about it that completely ruin it for me.

Let’s start with something I experienced in the very first minute of the game that set the tone for one of the most annoying games ever.

I walked into the first town and many of the people just block your path. There are many tight paths that only one person can fit through, and there are just all these jerk faces standing in my way. I shouldn’t have to wait for these idiots to move before I can proceed! And sometimes they move and I start to go, and then they quick move with lightning speed to block your path again. What crap programming! And there is an item shop that always has some douche blocking the door. I deal with idiot people standing in my way enough in real life, I don’t need it in a game too!

And that is nothing compared to the last town in the game, Lufenia or something. The entire town is practically a one person-width town and it takes forever to push your way through, having to wait every second for someone to walk over to a spot where the road widens and then move out of they way! The spell shops are kind of hidden, and I missed them at first. It wasn’t until I looked it up that I knew how to get them. But it was no wonder I missed them, because they are far off to the side where you have to follow a one person wide path, but I missed it because some guy was always standing in it, and he was nowhere near a two-wide path. So it’s no wonder I missed them. I had to wait close to 5 minutes for his old scraggly ass to move. What the fudge!

There are even sometimes bats in caves and such that love to fly in your way, forcing you to walk around them. This wouldn’t be quite so bad, but every extra step you take is a huge risk of being caught in an enemy encounter, which brings me to my next complaint…

There are a relentless amount of enemy encounters. This is far from the only game with this issue, but I don’t care about those game right now.Rarely do I get to take more than five steps without getting into a fight. This drives me crazy! Especially when you are trying to explore a dungeon and get lost. You never have time to figure out where you are going because you are constantly being bombarded with enemies to ever remember where you have been and haven’t been yet. Like, it’s crazy. And most fights aren’t exactly easy either!ff-nin

So let’s talk about all the issues I have during fights. There are quite a few!

First off and most importantly are your characters. I picked the warrior, thief, white mage and black mage. Of these four only the warrior is good. The other three are entirely useless. And I mean USELESS! Seriously, you could not beat this game and even beat more than two enemy encounters without the warrior.

The warrior has high physical attack power and high defense. Throughout the game, he can kill almost anything in one hit and he also takes very little damage. He rarely ever misses his attacks too. He’s a real stand up fellow.

The other three are just a huge liability. They miss 8 out of 10 physical attacks, and do hardly any damage when they actually connect. The mages don’t have high armor value, so they take a ton of damage, thus they can die very quickly.

Now you might be thinking, “well mages are supposed to use magic,” which is all well and fine, but this game limits your magic to the extreme. Instead of having mana or MP or anything like that, they give you spell levels. Each mage can learn three spells per level, and each level has its own set of charges. So say my black mage knows fire, lightning and some debuff spell, each a level 2 spell. By the time you buy these spells, you probably have about three charges for this spell level, meaning you can only use any of these spells 3 times. And not three times each, mind you…if you use fire, your charge drops to 2, then if you use lightning, it drops to 1, etc.

So basically you have to save your spells for really tight situations. The higher your level, the more charges you can gain, but that’s useless. The most charges you can get is 9 for each spell level.But by the time you get a decent amount of charges, those spells have no relevance anymore, meaning they are all too weak against enemies now, so why would you ever use any of those spells? My point is, your useful spells will always be limited to 2-4 charges before you and the enemies outgrow their effectiveness.ff-char

So yeah, all the characters are just there to inconvenience you. The tempting route is to just let the useless ones die and let the warrior soak up all the experience. He hardly ever takes more than 2 damage, so he is just a killing machine. But you want your other party members to level, so you do all you can to keep them alive, which is more annoying than it needs to be.

Healing is so stupid in this game. My white mage has all sorts of healing spells, but again the charges are so limited they aren’t very helpful, and even when you do use them, they only heal like a fifth of your HP. Your main way of healing is potions. But here’s the kicker. The potions only heal like 15-30 hp, and when your party has 300-600 HP and each battle the useless ones stand to lose 50-150, you have to use an awful lot of potions. So you have to constantly spend around 3,000-5,000 gil (the currency) to restock potions. Having 99 at all times is a must, for it takes 10-15 potions to bring the HP up of a severely damaged character. And you can never buy any more potent potions either. It’s always those. No high potions or super potions or anything like that. What a bunch of crap!

And speaking of potions, you better stock up on a crap ton of antidotes too, because like all old rpg’s, this game loves poison. I would venture to say that at least 60% of the enemies in the game can poison you. And the only way to cure poison is with antidotes. It is so annoying. And what’s worse…antidotes cost much more than potions, though I only usually carry around 25 with me at all times, so buying as many is not required.

Going back to annoying things about battling is the turn order. It seems to be completely random, but I swear it works to your disadvantage all the time. If you are fighting a big group of enemies, (6-9) you will more than likely need to cast a spell to do a lot of damage to them quickly. But your caster will likely go last, so if he is the target by most of the enemies he will die, leaving you with a much longer battle. Or even if he doesn’t die, it’s annoying to watch all the enemies attack you while you wait for your most important attacks to go off. Not to mention you might kill an enemy or two, making you feel like you wasted your precious spell charge. The warrior and his one shot will almost always go last too.

What is annoying is I swear the enemies you target will attack before the ones you don’t. Most of the time, I will select my targets. The ones I selected will all “happen” to attack first. Then my party will go and kill the ones that just attacked. Then all the remaining enemies attack me. What the hell? Why can’t I ever get lucky and kill an enemy before it attacks! The game cheats in that way. And what’s more. When the enemies finish out a round, you think “Oh, good, my guys will go now and finish them off.” Nope. More often than not, the enemies will attack twice in a row, once at the end of the last round, and once in the beginning of the next round, just to sneak in that last attack before they die. What bull crap!

The damage you receive is random as all hell to. I know it is supposed to be, since its an rpg and all, but this takes it to a whole new level. Like I said, my warrior will generally take 2 damage, and my other guys about 30-60 in your average fight from one hit. You start to rely on that formula to know when you heal or not, but then eventually it just will throw you for a loop. My warrior will randomly take 50 damage and the others over 100! And that isn’t even when the enemies land critical hits either. It just randomly will devastate you with the same attack that barely hurt you last round.

Another annoying thing are “enemy first strikes” which means all of them will go in advance before you can even input your commands. This happens in many rpgs and that’s fine, but it happens wayyyyyyy t0o often. I would say once every five fights or so. And it seems like forever when a group of 9 enemies gets first strike. On more than once occasion, I ran into enemy first strikes three times in a row!

There are preemptive strikes where your party can attack in advance, but that only happens about once every 20 fights. Fair, right? And the best part is there are instant death traps that take advantage of the enemy first strikes. You will be walking along a dungeon and a random encounter will occur with enemy first strike. Then they will all use instant death moves and it’s game over. Just like that, there is nothing you can do about it. What is the point of that? It doesn’t add to the challenge and improve upon the game in anyway. It makes you just want to quit the game because it’s so cheap, pointless and just a waste of time! Thus with this always being a threat you have to “memo save” which is just a temporary save for you to restart at if you die, after every battle. How annoying is that?

And when a party member dies, the only way to revive them is to bring them to a town with a church and pay a butt load of gil to revive them. The white mage can eventually learn a revive spell, but if she’s the one who dies, you’re screwed. And you’ll want to save all the charges for the revive, so using any other spell on that level is out of the question.

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If you’re in a dungeon and the white mage dies, now you have to make your way out to get to a town, fighting enemies every five steps. You don’t have enough HP to fight everything and you want to get out as fast as possible, so you start running from every fight. This tactic will lead to all your party dying except the warrior, who is too slow to run from fights. So you will sit, having to solo fight every enemy that comes along, killing them one by one. This is really fun when fighting 9 enemies, just having to wait for 9 attacks, before killing one guy, then waiting for 8 attacks and so on. You just want to die so you can restart at your memo save, but it is just faster to fight and make your way back than to wait for something to kill you, for when you have 400 HP, and they take away 1-2, it takes a long time. But even if you do run, you end up dying like right in front of a town anyway. It’s really great.

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And what is really terrifying to think about is that I guarantee the memo save is a feature added to the PS version of the game, meaning the original is probably nearly impossible to beat unless you grind the fudge out of every dungeon and have an enormous amount of patience.

“UPDATE”

I learned that you can press L1, L2, R1, R2, Start and Select to reset the game in a way where you don’t lose your memo save. This improves things slightly. SLIGHTLY!!!

Eventually, my thief became somewhat useful, and by the end of the game, he is almost as good as the warrior, but the other two suck unless I need them to perform a spell. But as I said, you are so limited to how many times you can use them that you will do everything in your power not to use a spell. You get to upgrade your character classes, which other than making them all look cooler and allowing the thief to equip heavier armor, more or less does nothing at all.

But those are my beefs with this game so far. Thankfully, I have finally beaten it. Honestly, it is not the worst game out there, but boy is it annoying, and stupid, and bad. I can’t believe this trash is what spawned the biggest franchise in video game history.

Here’s to hoping the second one is a vast improvement. Though I am doing nothing but dreading it right now…

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