Some brief thoughts on Final Fantasies

Yes, I know, I said no news here, but I am a liar! A big fat, possibly Greek liar (yes, I went there. It’s early enough in the morning to go there). But you know what? Final Fantasy deserves an exception because I love making fun of Final Fantasy. It’s just so ludicrous that it deserves brutal mocking, and BRUTAL MOCKING I CAN PROVIDE. Or, kind of provide. And it’s hard to spoil anything when the whole thing is in Japanese, a language I definitely do not speak.

So, the news of the day was the release of trailers for every one of Square Enix’s identical action RPG products. If you want the trailers, I’ve linked them under the cut. I don’t really care to give Square Enix promotion, but I figure making fun of their games balances out any promotional concern. Your level of snark for the day is determined by the header picture which means we’re about at Snark Code Orange. Because I dug up the Final Fantasy movie in all your collective minds.

The big* announcement**, of course***, was Final Fantasy XIII-2. It is, affectionately, a game that shouldn’t exist. It’s probably spawned out of the fact that they made so much extra, useless content for Final Fantasy XIII, and in good Japanese tradition they couldn’t just throw it out. This game has the least trailer support (literally, half the trailer is the ending of XIII, which I pretty much called four hours in, down to the setting), and honestly doesn’t inspire confidence. Then again, it would require a fair amount of work to make me interested in anything with Final Fantasy XIII attached.

Square Enix then spent 12 minutes trying really hard to make me interested in things with Final Fantasy XIII attached.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII is, apparently, a graphical orgy. It makes Advent Children look like…well, about as good as Versus XIII, except one wasn’t interactive at all. These are graphics. There’s also a lot of gameplay. Sweet, Kingdom Hearts inspired, vapid, happy mush gameplay. You can hear the wind exiting the sails when you see the Kingdom Hearts combat. Especially when they can’t really make the camera work in a trailer. That is a bad sign, folks.

Really, I like the style it’s got. It’s got some of that cool, new school style, though god knows I never really expected a Final Fantasy to look like that. Could they pull it out? Maybe. I don’t have confidence in it. It looks pretty mediocre, and while I was thinking, yeah, this is pretty cool while watching it, honestly, I can barely remember any bits of it. I’m getting the impression the game is an empty monument to style, and while I give it points for prettiness, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be mediocre unless you have a television the size of a house.

Fortunately, the third in the awkward Final Fantasy XIII trilogy* is on the PSP, so no house TV’s required.

Okay, I’m a cynical bastard, but…there were times in this video for Final Fantasy Type 0 (formerly known as Agito XIII! See? It’s still a trilogy!) that I thought yeah, this might be awesome. I would say almost the whole time. My thoughts were between, “This isn’t a Final Fantasy game how could this be a Final Fantasy game?” to “This looks pretty radical.”

And yeah, it does. This is a trailer that seems to focus a lot on story, but it’s got all the proper imagery down. Yes, it’s Final Fantasy meets the Hitler Youth, but you know what? It’s not like that’s worst than Final Fantasy meets corridor shooter or Final Fantasy meets Kingdom Hearts. It looks good stylistically, and this sort of combat seems to fly better on the PSP than on the PS3, in my mind. It’s legitimately pretty, and there seems to be enough meat behind it that maybe, maybe, this could be the best Final Fantasy since XII, at least.

Of course, I think it speaks a bit to Final Fantasy’s credibility in a post-XIII world where something so mind bogglingly pretty as these two games can be utterly tarnished. We’ll have to wait and see if they’ve still got the magic touch, or whether they should fire everyone and hire some new dudes to make Final Fantasy XV. Nah. XV will probably be an MMO.