Final Fantasy VI: One of the Greatest Games of All Time?

Continuing on with my marathon of Final Fantasy, I have just beaten number 6 and thought it also worthy to comment on.

For most of my life, I have heard that this is one of the best games of all time, and most people claim this one or Final Fantasy VII as the best in the series. Sure enough, if you look at best games of all time lists, FFVI will likely be at least in the top 20, and for best SNES game lists (as Final Fantasy 3), it will be in the top 5, if not the top 3.

So, you would think I would go into this game with incredibly high expectations. But don’t worry, I treated this like most any movie or game I play…meaning I went in with no expectations…well if anything, they were probably a little low judging by what I think of all the games prior.

What I found was that I was right in not expecting much. The game is mediocre, like the rest of them, and I certainly wouldn’t put it anywhere near “best games of anything.” And yeah, VII is way better. And VII isn’t even my favorite.

But that is not to say that this game was bad though. It was just okay. First let me mention what the game does well.

All the games prior to this one followed a basic format. Walk around on the world map, go to towns, then to some dungeon or cave or castle, fight stuff and kill something or find something, rinse and repeat. While this game does that as well, it doesn’t feel like it. All the environments are very varied and fun to traverse through. The environments just look great and don’t give the game a boring, repetitive feel like some of the others did. In terms of scenery and setting, yes this game is by far the best out of the first 6 games.

They also relaxed a bit on random encounters, making it bearable to walk around in this game. This is a huge plus for me. And what’s more, they even let up on the unbelievably annoying, and seemingly constant status effects. So, in other words, the gameplay is the best I’ve seen so far as well, well except for maybe FF4.

Honestly, through most of the game, it is pretty fun and a solid game overall. I like how the story dictated what characters you could use about half of the time, instead of just picking four of the 14 possible characters and just using them throughout the entire game like a lot of RPG’s do. The story itself started out interesting, but then it just kind of stopped halfway through the game and turned out to be not so great.

I like how every character could learn any spell by equipping the summons. That was a nice touch.

The best addition to this game is the fact that you keep all your experience if you die. You will start at the last time you saved like all the other games, but this time you kept all that hard earned experience, making it easier to ensure you aren’t always underleveled.

So yeah, not a terrible game. But here is what kind of ruined it for me. Instead of having annoying status effects all the time, this game loved putting in enemies that would counterattack after you killed them. This became quite annoying, as these counters were generally very strong. There is even one part where you only have one character in your party, and when you kill a certain enemy, it countered by casting a spell that turns you into stone. In other words, that’s an instant game over. That is just cheap and/or horrible game design! You shouldn’t be able to find yourself in that kind of situation! And towards the end of the game there are enemies that when killed, instantly kill one of your party members. Why? You just wind up running from them, because you typically fight two of them along with another enemy. It is not worth using the items or magic it cost to revive two characters that are guaranteed to die. This should not be in the game. It doesn’t bring any challenge to the game, it is just an annoying, cheap, unfair way of inconveniencing the player. But you can’t have a Final Fantasy game without those factors involved, it seems!

 

And speaking of death after battle, there is a spell that puts a timer on one of your characters, usually about 30 seconds. When it drops to 0, that person is dead. But you would think that when you defeated all the enemies in that battle that the counter would stop. But no, it doesn’t. After killing the enemies, the amount of gold, experience and any items you get all show up one at a time, and that counter is still going, so if you take too long to read your rewards or if the counter is very low at the end of the battle, you can count on having to revive the character after the battle.

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Another issue with this game is the frame rate during battles. It just randomly slows down badly, often messing up my timing and so many times I’ve used the wrong attack or targeted the wrong thing because the game was too busy sucking to register my button inputs.

But all that is tolerable. What really killed me was the end of the game. As a child, in every RPG, I would switch out all the characters and level them all equally, only to find that towards the end, I was horribly underleveled and had to grind four characters to make them adequate enough to beat the game. So after falling into this trap a whole lot of times, I learned to just pick four characters from the get go, and things got a whole lot easier. It turns out, for FF6, I would have been better off playing this game as a child. For the last area of the game, without any warning or chance to back out and prepare, you have to choose 12 of the 14 characters and split them up into three groups. Most of the characters were within 5 levels of each other thanks to the story having you always using different characters, but most of the time I used the same 4, who were much, much, much stronger than the rest. So now I had to divide them up to carry my weaker members. But I didn’t know this was going to happen, so everyone had crappy gear, didn’t know many useful spells, and were slightly underleveled. I also never got a chance to buy a bunch of items to keep me alive.

So what did I have to do? I had to unequip all the characters I wasn’t using and equip the group I was using with the best possible stuff I had. Thank goodness I never sold any equipment, for some members were stuck with old crappy weapons, but this was better than having none at all.

To make matters worse, the strength of your enemies seemed to have tripled. These fights would have been easy with my A-Team, but now they were downright difficult. The game doesn’t give you enough magic points to use any offensive spells, you had to save it all for healing, and I barely had enough to do that. My saving grace throughout the whole game were 3 items that allowed you to equip two weapons and double attack on each round. So yeah, I beat the entire game more or less just using physical attacks. It was cool.

But anyway, after dying a bunch of times, they eventually all grew a few levels thanks to keeping your XP when you die. Once I finally reached the end of one section, I had to unequip all my weapons, armor, relics and summons, so that they would be available for the next group, then painstakingly equip it all on them. So I just kept moving on, fighting a bunch of bosses with my three underleveled/undergeared groups and somehow managed to eventually beat it. I progressed through the game fairly quickly and easily, but I was in the last area for around 4 hours before I conquered it. The worst part is there is a long boring scene before the last boss that you can’t skip. The first time I fought him, I didn’t know what I was doing, because all your characters might have to fight him, so I ended up fighting him with all completely unequipped characters and died immediately. Then I had to watch the long boring scene again, and lose to the boss again. After the second failure, I understood what was going on, and after once again watching the long boring scene, I went all out and beat him. By the end of it, I was sick of the game.

Image result for final fantasy 6 kefka

But they had one more great surprise for me at the end. A long…oh my God, how long…boring…seemingly never ending scene. I kid you not, between the ending and the credits, its over 20 minutes long. The credits are terrible even! Instead of the traditional scrolling text, they opted to just show an airship floating around through clouds while occasionally showing a name or two at time. I mean, it is so uninteresting AND SO F-ING LONGGGGG!

And the game suddenly becomes obsessed with this woman you never even see in the game having a baby. Like towards the end, you go into this town you’ve been to a couple times before, and she’s all the people can talk about all of a sudden. Who is she and why should I care? She isn’t important to the story. She doesn’t do anything useful at all. And then when you beat the game, like 3 minutes of the ending scene is dedicated to this woman. Who is she? Is it just supposed to be some weird happy ending, symbolizing that things live on and grow in the aftermath of chaos? It’s just stupid.

So the game is pretty good until the last dungeon. That is the point I am trying to make I suppose.

To rank them from best to worst, I would say

FF2

FF4

FF6

FF5

FF4: The After Years

FF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Final Fantasy V=Annoying Game

Well, I’m back, here to talk about my experience with Final Fantasy V as I plow my way through most of the series. I’ve already spoken about 1, 2 and 4, and now I’ve got a bit to say about 5 as well.

To start, it’s not a horrible game, but it isn’t very good either. I like the story and the job system was kind of fun, albeit annoying at times. But it made for some fun customization options.

There isn’t too much to say about it that I haven’t already said with all the other games. By now I have realized that all these games have one great flaw. There is just so much annoying crap in them that it makes them very difficult to fully enjoy. This one is no exception. So I am going to single out what really made this game annoying.

That would be the last area in the game…

As per all the games, this place is loaded with difficult monsters that would love nothing more than to kill you most savagely. That’s not the real problem though. The problem is is that these monsters prefer you to be a zombie, a rock or a frog before they kill you. This is the most obnoxious thing about this game. Every monster seems to have the ability to turn you into one of these things. And the dungeon is very long, so you are constantly having to cure yourself of these ailments.

 

The rock and frog status isn’t horrible, for you can cure them with the Esuna spell, but it gets pretty taxing on your MP, so thank God I just happened to stock up on the curative items, Soft (cures rock) and Maidens’ Kiss (cures frog) throughout the whole game so that I had a crap ton to heal with. I stocked up on these because the last three games taught me that they would most likely come up to annoy the hell out of me, and I was right. But what I had not counted on was the newer zombie ailment. This can’t be cured by any spell other than using a cottage on a save point or sleeping at an inn. The only item that can cure it is Holy Water. I unfortunately did not stock up on these, so I only had 4 on me that I happened to find in chests.

So I painstakingly fight my way to the final boss, only to find that he loves using some spell that does a ton of damage to you, but worse, puts a random status effect on all characters. This is just great, for my first time through, I had used up all my Holy Waters, thus any characters that were zombified had to stay like that. And if you don’t know, this is a serious problem. A zombie character is basically dead, so you lose their attacks against the boss, but they don’t actually die, they instead attack you. And you or the enemy can’t kill them, they will be there forever. You can’t heal them if you don’t have Holy Water, so you are completely screwed and might as well reset the game at this point, because you won’t beat the boss.

So going through from where ever the last save point was, I made sure to keep my 4 Holy Waters. This meant that every time I was turned into a zombie I had to reset the game and try again. After like four tries, I finally made it to the boss and was able to cure all characters that turned into zombies.

This is a needless annoyance. What if I didn’t have any Holy Waters? I would have had to fight my way back out of the dungeon and then buy a bunch of them, and then redo the entire final area all over again! And that is something that just should not happen! Why do all of these games just have annoying, time consuming issues? This doesn’t make the game anymore challenging, it’s just cheap and unfair, stupid and a waste of time. The challenge in a game should not come from such cheap tricks. They are on their fifth game and they still have yet to figure that out!! They wouldn’t be such bad games, but my God! It eventually just gets so irritating that I may or may not look like this…angry.person

And one more thing that is super annoying in this game is the time it takes to bring up the menu. It takes about three seconds. This doesn’t sound like very long, but dear God, when your sitting there just waiting, it seems like much longer.  It takes a tad longer to exit the menu too. So it becomes very annoying.

But the dumbest thing of all about this game is the enemy counterattacks. This is nothing new in the series. Some enemies can counter any of your attacks with either spells or physical attacks. The counterattack would occur immediately after your attack. But not in this game. They would counter whenever they feel like it. And some of these counterattacks are devastating. In the older games, you could react by holding off on an attack or healing someone who was countered, but those simple strategies become obsolete in this game. They will randomly deploy their counterattacks in FF5. So say your guy hits an enemy that counters, you wait a bit, but he does not counter, so you attack again, still nothing, and then again. You’ve done 3 hits to the guy, but one of your characters hits twice in one attack, so that’s four hits to the enemy. After those four hits, he decides to counter with four attacks of his own…one for each hit he took. He will then use his normal attack as well. So that’s five hits coming at you at once. If the counter hits all your characters, there is an extremely high chance you will all die. If it a single person attack, he will likely take out 2 or 3 of your characters.

There seems to be no pattern to when they counter, it is just completely random, and many times have I died due to this horrible flaw.

Would I recommend this game to anyone?

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If I had to rank the games at this point, it would go as follows, from best to worst…

FFII

FFIV

FFV

FFIV: The After Years

FF

 

Fantastic Four (2015): Not Nearly As Bad As The World Made It Out To Be

I remember when the reboot to the Fantastic Four movies came out, within 24 hours, the world rang with cries of rage and disgust, calling this movie an abomination and unfinished crap and other derogatory things. I finally got around to seeing it myself, and I have got to say, it is not nearly as bad as people say. People were freaking out about how bad it was, as if they took it as a personal insult, like the movie slapped everyone’s mother and kicked their pets in the face.

Now, I am not saying this is a good movie. But it’s not bad. It’s just okay. Though this is coming from someone who never goes into anything with any real expectations and just enjoys everything for what it is and does not dwell on what I wish it was or could be.

That being said, I also should mention that I find most superhero movies very mediocre at best. Since I am talking about a Marvel movie, I will focus on them. I don’t really like many Marvel movies. Most of them I can consider watchable, but border on being bad, and are far from good. Fantastic Four fits right in with this.

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So why is this movie so hated? My guess is because movies like the Avengers and Captain America have set the bar very high for what makes a good superhero movie, and I mean very high. And it even came out a few months after the second Avenger’s movie! That isn’t something too easy to follow up! So I guess maybe people were expecting an edge of your seat action movie with amazing fight scenes and all that fun stuff.

But no, instead we get an origin movie! Boy howdy! These origin movies are never that good, except for Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Captain America. But movies like Iron Man and Thor are crap. In fact all the movies in those series are garbage, but everyone loves them! The trouble with these origin movies is that they spend 3/4 of the movie explaining how they got their powers and then learning to control them and what not. At the same time, a villain has to be introduced, developed and also equipped with unnatural powers and then do something that must be stopped by the confused people who just got powers of their own. The line from Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility” is a wonderful line, because this is something virtually every hero learns and allows them to shape what type of hero they are, even including their abilities, name and costume.

Fantastic Four fits right into the typical origin movie, but as I said before, the standards of movie making are much higher nowadays. If this came out 10 years ago it would be a hit.

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Think back to the old style of Marvel movies. There was one villain that did stuff, and maybe encountered the hero in a small fight, with more threats and plan revelations being thrown than punches. Then the suspense would build up for a final climatic battle, where both villain and hero really come into their own, learning the true limitations of their powers, with the hero always coming out on top. Then the hero would realize what he/she could do for the world thanks to these newly received powers, and they officially become a proud guardian of wherever they live, taking pleasure in the fact that they are using their powers for good. The movies always end on this high note.

That is the basic premise, throw in a love story, and day to day struggles, and you’ve got your movie. They were very simple, but had a nice charm to them. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, basically every movie made before like 2008 fit this bill.

Nowadays, there are groups of heroes, combining their powers and talents, fighting multiple villains or other people or things every 3 scenes in amazing action sequences with countless explosions and all that great visually appealing stuff. Their might be a love story crammed in their somewhere, but overall, they are much more action based and crazy, keeping you on the edge of your seats for most of the movie.

Both styles are great in my opinion. Trouble is, most people probably find the older style very outdated and boring nowadays. But to me, they are easier to follow and understand, and like I said, there is something charming about them.

That being said, let’s talk about the sequencing of Fantastic Four. It spends most of the time explaining how they got their powers, then they struggle with them, both in being unable to control them at first, then struggling in life with them or how to live with them…a love story kind of blossoms, a villain gains powers and tries to do something the rest of the world doesn’t agree with. The heroes accept the responsibilities their powers give them, learn to utilize them instead of being ashamed of them, and then in the end, there’s a climatic battle where they learn to use the full potential of their powers to stop the single villain.

Afterwards, they unite as a team and get their feeling of self-worth, proud and happy that they can make a difference in the world.

So which style does this movie sound like? That’s right, the older one. And actually, for an origin movie, this one is pretty interesting. I like the depth they go into showing how everything came about.

Image result for fantastic four 2015 dr doom

Like I said, it’s not a bad movie, but it’s not good either. If I had to guess, the reason why everyone hates this movie is because there is one real fight scene, the final battle between Dr. Doom and the four. This is disappointing for sure, since the reason anyone wants to see a superhero movie is for the action, but it doesn’t necessarily make a movie bad either. It shined in other ways to redeem it a bit.

So overall, it is far from the best movie out there, but far from the worst. People should really give it a chance, just because it is not like the Avengers, doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed.