Square Enix has spent the past decade realizing that, much like the Rolling Stones, its back catalog would excite fans far beyond any new release ever could. This peaked last month with the iOS release of Final Fantasy VII, a game dedicated to the belief that humans were blocky jumbles of polygons all along.
You just grab that… that brownish area by its points and you don’t let go no matter what your mom says.
Final Fantasy VII, Square’s breakthrough release, is the most popular game in the series, and earned the extensive commentary on its story and themes. And flaws. But it also marked the end of the glorious 16-bit history of Final Fantasy. The SNES installments—Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI—were the peak of the series. And I’m not just saying that because my mom wouldn’t let me have a Playstation.
Rin: Honestly, this year I wasn’t sure what to expect from E3. Sure, we had the old stand-bys of another Call of Duty game and another Mario game to look forward to (if you’re into that), but for the most part, viewers were going in blind. In lots of ways, I was pleasantly surprised, and even in some cases I got to revisit the emotions that E3 should give its audience: whimsy and unmitigated excitement. In other cases… uh, not so much.
Since this was such a jam-packed year, I’m pleased to be joined by my fellow games enthusiast, BrothaDom!
Dom: Hi Rin! Yes, I’m in agreement with you there: this year definitely brought some enjoyable highs, and some disappointing lows.
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.
Many stories struggle with showing over telling. While I can think of a few notable exceptions, I’ve noticed that it’s not very easy to make the supposed heroes of a story actually heroic when they’re terrorists. There’s nothing that grinds my gears more when characters are presented to me as self-righteous heroes before doing some pretty unheroic things. Final Fantasy VII struggles with this a bit.
Our playable party consists of people belonging to the terrorist organization AVALANCHE—which is apparently not an acronym, so I don’t know why it’s written like that—and their goal is to save the Planet from the evil corporation Shinra. As mentioned in a previous post, Shinra is an electric company, and it gathers power from something called Mako, which comes from the Lifestream. The Lifestream is essentially the Planet’s blood, so by sucking it out of the ground, Shinra is subjecting the Planet to a slow and painful death.
Once again, I feel the need to repeat that, yes, the world is actually called the Planet.
Aperigren: I will explain what this is about for those who do not know, but first I want to say something to those who do know. I am not upset over what will or will not be in the game, I am not upset over the trailer or how anything was portrayed in the trailer, and I am not upset over the way Ron Rosenberg, executive producer, initially talked about Lara or her characterization. I’m upset over how this whole situation is being handled both in the media and by the studio.
Yes, in case you’re wondering, FFXIII is apparently getting a sequel, on top of two other games being made to follow it up. While I personally found XIII to be enjoyable, and I didn’t hate it nearly as much as a lot of other people did, I can easily see why people didn’t like it. Having a dictionary as a guide to tell the audience what’s going on, instead of just showing them through the gameplay, doesn’t make a game fun; it makes it annoying. And being that XIII was completely boring for the first few hours before slowly—very slowly—becoming more interesting didn’t help.
Following up a mediocre Final Fantasy with a sequel is not something Square Enix is unfamiliar with. We had the same thing with Final Fantasy X, in which they produced a sequel that is best described as nothing more than a chick flick. X-2 was enjoyable, to an extent, I’ll give it that, but playing dress-up for the fifty hours it takes to beat the game moved too far away from the franchise and it was no longer deserving of its title.