xnera: Icon of Kyo from Fruits Basket, captioned "BORED". (BORED)
xnera ([personal profile] xnera) wrote2008-12-26 06:17 pm

epic post is epic, part 1: you call that a trailer? (thoughts about FFXIII)

And what could be more epic than Final Fantasy?

WALLS of text lay behind cut. You have been warned. But I really hope you read, because this is all fascinating to me.

You might have heard me talk about this video game series called Final Fantasy. ;) Unsurprisingly, there are some more FF games in development right now. 'Cause Squeenix has a good thing going with the series, and they know it. Slap "Final Fantasy" on a box and people are going to buy it.

This is really the first one I've had the experience of waiting for. My first FF game was FFX, and I got into it shortly after it came out. Haven't played XI at all; knew about XII being released, but didn't buy it right away, nor was I looking forward to it.

My love for the Final Fantasy series has grown over the past six years to this huge colossal thing. Heck, six years of listening to FF soundtracks and I'm STILL not tired of them? That says something. Most days I think about FF in some way, if only because I'm listening to a soundtrack yet again. (I hearts me some Uematsu-san.)

So you can better believe I'm looking forward to this game. Even so, I'm still not sure if I'm going to get it on release day or not. It's still far away so I've got plenty of time to decide, but... well, I don't yet own a 360 (though that may be changing soon) or a PS3, so I'd have to buy a console first. And newly released games are expensive. I usually wait until they drop down in price. But for Final Fantasy, I will probably make an exception.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Final Fantasy series, here's a primer: You've got an emo-riffic hero and his trusty sidekicks. There's usually four or six people in the party. You've got your swordsman, your white mage (healing spells), your black mage (defensive spells), and a summoner. Sometimes these roles are combined. They each have a special attack that does mega damage. There's dungeons and beasts and random, turn-based battles and boss fights. The storyline often involves crystals and the elements. Transportation is by train, chocobo, and airship. The airship is built/piloted by Cid. The world map is expansive; the terrain has mountains and plains and beaches and oceans. Cities tend to be fantastical rather than modern.

With me so far? Okay, let's take a look at the first FFXIII trailer.

Let's see... Train? Check. Airship? Check. Summon? O HAI THAR SHIVA! (Check.) Magic? Check. Mountains and beaches and cliffs and beasts? Check, check, check frakking check.

They're showing us everything we already know about the series. Yawn.

Okay, there's some new stuff. First, we don't often see so much battling against humans/humanoids. At least not in the ones I've played: most of the random battles have been against beasts. The city looks like a combination of futuristic and fantastic (it actually reminds me of Disney World. Specifically, Tomorrowland and Epcot's Future World.). The hero's a girl. She also seems to be party-less, except for blond biker dude.

I admit, the bit of gameplay we see does look pretty frakking fantastic. And also, a bit scary. There looks like there's more menus this time, or maybe it's just the way they're cascading, but it looks more complicated. It also looks like the action really is fast-paced, and I have a problem with that. I can't track fast-paced action very well, so I get confused and it makes no sense to me. But I've read that this game is indeed turn-based, so that eases my mind a bit.

Speaking about fast-paced: the trailer is non-stop action and short cuts. Kind of like they're showing off the pretty pretty graphics: i.e., catering to the hardware fanboys (and girls). Console wars bore me. I mean yeah, I like pretty graphics, too, but I care more about the STORY and characters, you know?

And my biggest complaint about this trailer is that we get no clue of who the characters are. Okay, Lightning looks kick-ass, but there was nothing about her that was really appealing to me until the very end, when she sees all the stormtroopers (what? you can't tell me those are not stormtroopers!) and... swears. That made me grin, and I decided I DID like her. But I still don't really know who she is, and that frustrates me. I don't know anything about this character or this world other than there's trains and airships and beasts and magic and summons and random, turn-based battles.


I'm worried about the score. Music plays such an important role in multi-media, but especially in video games. Little in the game happens without background music. The music needs to be evocative and emotive and epic, just like the story itself.

I was heartbroken when Uematsu-san left Squaresoft (was it Squeenix by then? I'm not sure) to form his own company, 'cause it meant he wouldn't be scoring the Final Fantasy games any more. Contributing, yes, but not fully composing. And that made me nervous, because his music is so, so good (see above re: six years of listening). I wasn't sure that a new composer could really live up to the epicness that this series requires.

And from what I've heard in the trailers so far... yeah, it doesn't. The music isn't bad, but it's mostly forgettable. It doesn't have that deep, emotive, EPIC feel to it. So I'm just not sure how that's going to work.

Anyways. Let's look at the new trailer. Maybe this one's better?


Okay, um, yeah. So let's see: it starts off with some four-legged creatures running down a cavern. (Hello there, Advent Children opener. And then it pans up to a flying beast and passes over... are those dinosaurs? o_O And the cliffs totally remind me of terrain in FFVII & FFVIII.

So we've got this red-haired chick with this really weird weapon. Seriously, what the frak IS that thing? It looks like it has antlers. And she's staring up at another world which is melting (or possible a Meteor, or maybe a Lunar Cry).

Next we have Generic Movie Theme with Generic Scifi ships. Feels reminiscent of Star Wars or BSG. Though the warp/dimensional gate thingy looks rather cool.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's your summons! Siren! Ifrit! Carbuncle! Collect them all!

Next up: some huge machina shit.

Then it's Tomorrowland with the stormtroopers invading. Switch to Lightning doing gymnastics (Moon Prism Power!) during a boss fight, intercut with the blond dude shooting his gun everywhere. And here's Shiva, and... WHAT THE FRAK IS THAT SHIVA TURNING INTO A MOTORCYCLE?!?! What, did Squeenix think the series wasn't good enough as it was and had to add some Transformers in there? My poor, poor Shiva. What did they DO to you? *wails*

More backflips and gunfire. *yawns*

Oh hey, it's a long bridge. We've never seen THAT before! (I was going to find a screenshot, but I am lazy. Anyway, there's a long bridge in another one of the games; either FFVIII or FFX, I can't remember which. I just felt strongly reminded of that bridge when I saw this one.)

At 2:10, a long light-haired person who looks to be carrying a thin-bladed sword... OMG IT'S SEPHIROTH!!! And here's a short red/brown-haired chick... hmm, Shelke perhaps? (Okay, okay, I know it's Pigtails.)

We go walking. Through the forest. In the daytime. And the ground is far below. This reminds me of the Treetops area of the Deep Jungle in Kingdom Hearts 1, kinda. And a bit like Macalania Woods, but without the blue tint and the sparkles.

Crystal cave, some random shots of Pigtails/Lightning, some stormtroopers, and ending with the Heroine shot... and her blade does a transforming thing kind of like Cloud's in Advent Children. I read somewhere that the Powers That Be asked the character designers to make Lightning like a female Cloud, and if she ends up being that way I will be so, so pissed.

And what is up with the music in this trailer? It's all over the place. They just strung together the themes from the different parts of the world/game, and it ends up being a mess rather than a cohesive whole. Bleh.

It's like... I know Final Fantasy has lots of repetitive themes. I understand that. But it feels like this game is too derivative of the other games. Part of the reason I got bored with FFIII is that I played it right after FFI & II, and they all started to blur in my head because of the similarities, so I had to put the game down for a while so it wouldn't feel so tedious. And I'm just afraid this game WILL feel tedious. I really, really hope it doesn't. At the very least, the battle system should be something to look forward to. I have no idea what it's supposed to be like, but Squeenix is good about doing something new with the battle system in each game.

Okay, that was all rather harsh, but I mock because I love. True, there's not much in these trailers to excite me, but I can't imagine a main-series Final Fantasy game being terribly bad (we shall not speak of a certain spin-off with "Vincent Valentine!"). So yeah, I'll play the game, and I expect I'll probably really enjoy it. I'm just not sure yet if I'll buy it on release date.

Look for Part II tomorrow...er, today. Or possibly on Sunday.

[identity profile] bookofjude.livejournal.com 2008-12-27 09:16 am (UTC)(link)
The last Final Fantasy game I actually played properly was FFIX--which I will confess to having enjoyed immensely, even if it was just a trifle silly. I never actually played FFVIII either. Anyway.

That bit at the end? With the frozen shit?

That is so Chrono Cross.
ext_16: Photo of my cat sniffing a vase of roses (squall)

[identity profile] xnera.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:10 am (UTC)(link)
VIII is my favorite, but that's because I'm a big Squall fan. *pets her new Squall icon* I haven't played IX yet, but I intend to. I have a goal of playing all the games in the series before XIII comes out. :D IX does look a bit silly--WTF, Zidane has a tail?--but I know others who have really enjoyed it. It can't be bad because DUDE IT HAS VAMO ALLA FLAMENCO IN IT!!! BEST. SONG. EVER!!! Plus, I'm rather fond of Vivi (he appears in Kingdom Hearts II).

That bit at the end? With the frozen shit?

That is so Chrono Cross.

Hahahaha! I've played most of Chrono Trigger, but haven't played Chrono Cross yet. I bought it earlier this year 'cause I'm collecting all the Final Fantasy games, and while Chrono Trigger/Cross aren't part of the series, they're connected in my mind because one of the PSX collections included C.Trigger on the disc. Eventually I'll play both of them, but I have to get through the Final Fantasy series first. :)

[identity profile] bookofjude.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
IX is so much fun. He has a tail--yes, but it's just really enjoyable and ... I suppose 'cutesy' is a word that could describe it. It's not as dark and as serious as VII (which I rather disliked).

Chrono Cross is great. Do play it!
ext_16: Photo of my cat sniffing a vase of roses (FF Vs XIII)

[identity profile] xnera.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:27 am (UTC)(link)
Oh gods yes I'm not the only one who is "meh" about VII!!! I did enjoy it, and am looking forward to replaying it, but I just didn't have the OMG! reaction to it that I was expecting from all the hype. I found it rather disappointing.

[identity profile] bookofjude.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:31 am (UTC)(link)
Yes. It's definitely the least enjoyable of all of the games; I actually preferred FFVI to it. I think FFVI is probably my favourite game out of all of them, though I did also enjoy IV and V.
ext_16: Photo of my cat sniffing a vase of roses (FF Vs XIII)

[identity profile] xnera.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:38 am (UTC)(link)
I've played I, II, VII, VIII, and X so far. On III now, but I got a bit bored with it for a while. I'm planning on finishing it in the upcoming week so I can move on. Several of my friends call VI their favorite, so I'm REALLY looking forward to that one.
ext_16: Icon of Kyo & Tohru from Fruits Basket, hugging. (full of love)

[identity profile] xnera.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:47 am (UTC)(link)
And since you said VI is your favorite, I has a present for you! (http://www.sendspace.com/file/742ojl) :D

[identity profile] goody-scrivener.livejournal.com 2008-12-27 07:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, you know I'm not into Final Fantasy (at least yet LOL). I totally get that they're selling the graphics capabilities. I felt like I was watching a CGI movie rather than a videogame preview. The graphics are just too realistic for me. Hell, Kingdom Hearts is almost too much for me, but mostly that's because I do best with sidescrollers or static frames.

TOTALLY stormtroopers. And did I get a snippet of something that sounded an awful lot like the Imperial March in the second trailer?

I noticed the drippy moon-planet-whatever in the first trailer you posted as well. You only mentioned it in the second, so I get the feeling this is something new to the story. There's something seriously wrong with that whole idea because of the gravitational and atmospheric issues. But yeah, it's a videogame LOL. And I thought I saw motorcycle-women in the first as well. It's difficult to tell for sure with what seems to be water spraying all around them.
ext_16: Photo of my cat sniffing a vase of roses (where's the frakking save point?)

[identity profile] xnera.livejournal.com 2008-12-28 02:25 am (UTC)(link)
Most of what you see in these trailers ARE movies. There's only a bit of gameplay. It's in the first trailer, about 40% into it (stupid lack of timestamps).

The main Final Fantasy series has turned-based battles. Instead of running up and hacking at enemies like you do in the Kingdom Hearts series, you select an action, wait for your timer to run down, and then perform that action. Your party members take turns and so do the enemies. Most of the time this means the battles are fairly static. I suspect with the increased capabilities of the 360/PS3, they're doing lots of fancy moves on each characters' turn, but I've heard that it's still going to be turned base.

You'd probably like the earlier games in the series, because there's a lot less action. Most of them have been re-released for the original Playstation or on the GameBoy Advance (which the DS can play). I really, really loved Final Fantasy II, so that's worth checking out. VII is good but impossible to find these days as it's out of print. VIII is still in print, and my favorite of the series (though X is close behind it).

And did I get a snippet of something that sounded an awful lot like the Imperial March in the second trailer?

Yeah, I thought I heard that motif, too. Grrr.

I wouldn't be surprised if the drippy moon was in the first trailer and I just didn't notice it. The motorcycle women was definitely in the first trailer, but I didn't mention it because I wasn't breaking that trailer down in as much detail. That's Shiva, one of the summons. She is NORMALLY by herself (the more white/blue-ish one) and her attacks are Blizzard-based, but for this game it looks like they gave her a twin, and it's a combo water/ice attack, not to mention the motorcycle morphing. Grrr. NOT happy that it appears to be water-based, too, 'cause traditionally Leviathan is the water summon, not Shiva. I suppose it does make sense because you need water to make ice, but still.

This is Shiva from FFX. Quality's just okay on the vid, but you get the point. I frakking LOVE her Diamond Dust attack. The way she lazily extends her arm and snaps her fingers.... <3!

Oh, and this will also give you a good idea of how gameplay works!