I recently just replayed both of X’s games and VII, because hey, they are my favorite Final Fantasy games. With the exception of direct sequels, most Final Fantasy games are completely independent from each other. That’s not always true—we have the Ivalice Alliance games such as XII and Tactics that both take place in the world of Ivalice, albeit a thousand years apart from each other. But unless we’re specifically told otherwise, it’s always been safe to assume that the Final Fantasy games have no impact on each other. At least, that was the case until X-2 happened. During an interview for Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania, Nojima confirmed that X and X-2 are prequels to VII. While the stories in the games are still more or less independent from each other, this connection allows for some interesting social and religious implications, specifically for the Al Bhed.
All people who play video games must make a choice: there’s no possible way we can invest ourselves in every game franchise that hits the market, so we pick a certain set of titles to get into, to watch more closely than others. I think I’ve gotten the biggest response from people, however, when I tell them which series I never got into. Yes, people seem strangely shocked that I really could not care less about the Final Fantasy series. The games are okay, and I understand why people like them, but I don’t exactly give a shit when a new one is announced. As such, when people began relaying news of Final Fantasy XV and how it played, it didn’t catch my attention as much as, say, news on the new Tales of game. Still, these new forays into the Final Fantasy series have been garnering attention on a level I can’t just blissfully ignore. No, there’s some bullshit going on that’s indicative of the societal standard in gaming that only serves to cater to the boy’s club mentality.
Well, that might be a little strong. I heartily dislike Dona. Having played through Final Fantasy X-2 before the original, I always thought she was a little off-putting. Not that I expect every character to get along with the protagonists, but there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. This feeling only continues to grow as I watch the events of Final Fantasy X unfold in more recent times.
Antagonistic characters are my bread and butter, but Dona never really felt like she had a solid reason for all of her bitterness and outright hatred toward Yuna. Sure, there’s the jealousy toward Yuna’s heritage and the bitterness that everything seemed to be handed to Yuna on a silver platter, but these are all inferred. The game more or less makes Dona the token bitch of the game only for the sake of conflict; a conflict that didn’t really need to exist, narratively speaking. Dona never really prods Yuna to do anything—the conflict is one-sided and directed toward Dona, and since we don’t get to see Dona’s character growth it’s all pretty much pointless.
I don’t typically go looking for fanfic of characters I dislike: I went out looking this week for a family fic about Rikku and Yuna, to be completely honest. But lo and behold, fate had me stumble upon owlmoose’s Rebuild. I’m pleased to say that this fic fills in a lot of holes that the games left. Continue reading
Recently I’ve been watching my brother run through another round of Final Fantasy X. Personally, I’ve never been very into the series (except for X-2, but I think I’m in the minority there). However, seeing as it’s hailed as one of the masterpieces of the franchise, I’m more than willing to watch my brother go from temple to temple gaining summon spirits (or “aeons”, I guess) until the final summoning. It’s all very interesting and Tidus isn’t nearly as annoying as I imagined him being, but as he continues fighting through Sin spawn and other various baddies one thought has been ringing through my mind: being a white mage sucks. Not only in Spira—in many Final Fantasy games it seems as though if you’re a practitioner of the healing white magic you’re stuck healing and only healing—unless you’re also a summoner (which only aids this trope, but I’m getting ahead of myself).
Of course, this isn’t anything new; these limitations of the white mage far extend outside of the world of Final Fantasy into other JRPGs. A white mage, in addition to replacing combat expertise with that sweet healing magic, is almost always a woman. A “pure”-seeming woman (aka virginal). Ace spoke about one of the outliers (who just so happens to be in another Final Fantasy game) in a previous article, but the trend at large still stands. Yet, in more recent titles, it seems as though developers have taken it upon themselves to finally twist this trope for the better.
I mentioned a while back that I had started replaying Final Fantasy XIII. There are a lot of things that I don’t like about the game—such as the storytelling for the first couple chapters—but one thing that I really love is how magic is used. I find magic much more of an interesting concept when it has limits and specific rules that it needs to follow. I like those rules and limits to be rather strict, otherwise, for me personally, magic then runs the risk of becoming a deus ex machina—it’s capable of solving any problems our heroes may have. But what I also like is for magic to have consequences.
Sometimes rules and consequences go hand in hand. Some stories, like The Inheritance Cycle, say that using too much magic can kill a caster, and therefore, there are limits to which spells a person can use. In others, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, using magic can be addictive and corrupt the user. What I find interesting about FFXIII, though, is that using magic doesn’t have consequences. Having the ability to use magic, on the other hand, does.
Spoilers for FFXIII below the jump.
I’ve been waiting for this game for what seems like forever now. Originally, it was titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and it’s been so long since I heard anything about it that I feared the project had been cancelled. At first I thought that this might take place in the same universe as XIII, back on Pulse, before civilization got wiped out. XV is based on the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology, but I’m not entirely sure if it takes place in a different world or not.
Fabula Nova Crystallis, which means “the new tale of crystal” in Latin, is a certain kind Final Fantasy game similar to Ivalice Alliance and Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. XIII was the first game to follow this mythology, and there have been a couple other games thus far that also use it. Much like other Final Fantasy games, none of the games following this mythology have to take place in the same world. They are only connected to each other vaguely by using crystals for different tasks, like leveling up and learning spells.
Our main protagonist this time around is Noctis. He lives in the city-like country of Lucis, which is a technologically advanced nation surround by a bunch of medieval ones. Currently, there is a war over crystals, the last of which are in Noctis. Eventually, the country of Niflheim invades Lucis for the crystals, and there’s our plot.
So far, from what I can tell from this trailer and articles I’ve read, the cast for this game seems to be mostly male, which oddly enough doesn’t really bother me. Final Fantasy does a lot of great work with characters—normally, it’s better with male characters than female ones, but it does really well overall. Additionally, we’ve already had one Final Fantasy game with an all-female party, even if that game is not very good. So I don’t really mind that this game seems to have an all-male playable party. What I do mind is that XV potentially takes place in a world where women won’t have that many important roles. Most of the other countries in-game are based on medieval societies, so I can understand if this world is dominated by the patriarchy.
Unfortunately, that’s not really an excuse to not have female non-playable characters, at least. Regardless of whether or not women are in power, they still make up around half the population, and they still have their own wants and interests. I think I saw all of one female character in that trailer, among a myriad of male characters. There is one female character that I know of, Stella, and I am worried that her purpose in the game will be “love interest who furthers Noctis’s storyline”. I just hope she’s not the only female character of note.
The battle system seems similar to the battle system in Kingdom Hearts. It’s not the kind of battle system I prefer, but I still have a lot of fun with it, so XV looks like it’ll be great. Now I just have to save up for a PS4 when it comes out.
Libra is another fanfiction that is sadly not completed, but thankfully not abandoned. The fic follows Reno, Tifa, and Marlene from Final Fantasy VII on their journey after AVALANCHE fails to stop Sephiroth.
As the last of the world’s order crumbled away beneath a black wing that promised to extinguish all light, a judged Reno still dared to hope. And as broken and unbalanced as he was, he would fight to see the sun again.
Once again, this fic deals with a lot of heavy subject matter, like PTSD and insanity.
Advent Children takes place two years after the events in Final Fantasy VII, and it introduces three new villains to our cast, as well as a few other characters. The world is being overrun with a disease called Geostigma, and many people are dying. Geostigma turns out to be connected to Jenova and her son Sephiroth—the main villains of the game—and the three new characters also consider Jenova their mother and plan to use some of her remains to revive Sephiroth.
Cloud returns as our main character and works as a delivery boy. He doesn’t really want to be caught up in anything else that’s going on, because he’s still coming to terms with Aerith’s death and being unable to save her. But when the three new villains kidnap a bunch of children suffering from Geostigma and with the threat of Sephiroth on the rise, Cloud eventually decides to stop moping around long enough to do the right thing and stop our new villains in epic, physic-defying battles.
Most reviews for this movie have been mixed. On the one hand, it had amazing CGI for its time. On the other, most people who hadn’t played the original game would have had trouble following its plot. I feel mixed about this movie for a different reason. I like it simply for existing and delving deeper into the world of Final Fantasy VII. However, this movie is completely pandering and clearly only exists as a cash cow for Square Enix.
Read Part 1 here.
Last time, I talked about Aerith, Tifa, and a little bit about Shera. Now I’m going to talk about Yuffie and Elena. Yuffie is much the same as Tifa and Aerith. She has a lot of good qualities about her. She also has a very interesting past. But in a lot of other ways, she falls flat. Elena is a little bit different. She is more like Shera, in that I have relatively nothing positive to say about her.
A game certainly would have a hard time becoming as popular as Final Fantasy VII if it didn’t have some decent characters. On the whole, I think the game did a really good job with its characterization—but like just about all video games, it is not excused from sexism. Unfortunately, when it comes to VII, the sexism seems almost worse than it is in the other games because of how much more successful this one became.
Tifa and Aerith are the two most prominent female characters. In some ways, however, that’s not because of their personalities, but more because of their relationship to Cloud. Both of them are relegated into a love triangle with him. Fortunately, this does not cause any catfights or petty backstabbing. However, that’s all the more I can positively say about it. Not so positively, both of their motivations and their reasons for existing in VII are there to further Cloud’s storyline, when Tifa and Aerith could have been well-written characters otherwise. Much like Barret still displaying some racist qualities despite otherwise being a really good character, the same can be said of Tifa, Aerith, and sexism.