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I never did get to play FFXI so I'll have to settle and say that it started significantly losing it's appeal around FFXII. Now FFXII did have some awesome new features and the side quests were great fun, but the characters and story were pretty bad imo and to me the story of an RPG is one of it's most important parts. I'd still say it was a fine game, but it just didn't feel like a Final Fantasy game. There was a much larger downward turn in FFXIII when the characters, story, AND battle system all sucked and honestly the whole game just didn't feel like a jrpg at all, let alone a Final Fantasy game. I like to end on positive notes though so I will say that it had a great soundtrack, voice acting, and visuals.
All of that being said, FFX is still ties with FF Tactics as one of my all time favorite games.
At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I'm going to have to say that it began to go downhill with Final Fantasy X and then jumped off the deep end with Final Fantasy X-2. Basically, my rationale is this.... the older Final Fantasy games (NES, SNES, and PS1 eras) were akin to the original Star Wars trilogy. Graphically not up to par to today's standards, but very good back in the day, still having quality aesthetics for the most part, and focused primarily on telling a story and character development (especially in the SNES). As such, there are a lot of quality and memorable characters and scenes throughout most of the older games, especially in VI, XI, and IV (which I still hold to be the best three games in the franchise).
Starting with the PS2 era though, Square has gone the route of the new Star Wars trilogy and making it about just being flashy. Now, don't get me wrong, some games have had quality gameplay (as much as I hate the game overall, I do have to admit that X-2's gameplay was actually quite solid), but they tend to discount the importance of story and character, at least in my humble opinion, just to make the set locations look graphically stunning and the characters all hot and the cut scenes all spectacular. That's nice and all.... but I never played RPGs for the graphics, but rather for the story. I've tried to get into the newer games, but I've mostly gotten bored or downright cringed at the horrible dialogue, lack of general common sense of the main characters, and even obvious plot holes in the core game (especially in X-2). Not to mention that a couple of the newer ones take forever to actually get good, sometimes being jokingly referred to as have twenty hour training missions before the game actually starts, and you get to a point where I'm honestly of the opinion that the Final Fantasy series has taken just a massive step down in quality that I'm not excited for new releases anymore.
I still remember getting X-2 new, putting it in my PS2, and then watching the opening scene where the game right from the get-go made it obvious that it would've been better served as Charlie's Angels game. Upon watching that opening, I immediately turned to my brother and said, "Yeah..... that was the jumping the shark moment for Final Fantasy."
Almost ten years later, I still stand by that opinion.
Oh, and taking out the open world in the newer games was a breaking point for me as well. Just something about traveling across the overworld and eventually getting an airship to fly all over the place to explore was a liberating and very important aspect of the games for me. Without having an actual overworld to explore, but rather a series of interconnected areas or just a map you can go to and from with, RPG's lose a lot of their character and truly epic feel to them that drew me to the genre/series in the first place.
[INSERT WITTY SIG HERE]
final fantasy became horrible. The only good one is type 0 which is for the PSP.
FF13--no storyline and no direction
FF12--only fran was nice
FF10--I liked it. Kinda short
i gotta agree with the 10-2 comment, i did enjoy the game i did enjoy the idea concept of doing back story and linking spira with final fantasy 7's planet. (i think it was gia not too sure though)
but the way they presented it, the way i was playing a game within a game. i dont mean minigames, i mean suddenly going from turn based combat to a dace simulator. it all felt like they were holding the story hostage, and demanded that i make a fool of my self before they gave the the story back.
when 10-2 happened, for me, is when it all went down hill. although the 7 spin off was quit decent, but i think they let someone else do it for them.
Eliminating the original active time battle system and turn by turn play (FFI, FFX) was what, in my personal opinion, caused and is continuing to cause a downward spiral of negativity and uproar among veterans of the series. I understand that SquareEnix has great intentions to innovate their series and try to soar it to new heights, but without these older elements, the game loses quality in my eyes, and something like FF13 isn't worth a second look after getting through an hour of gameplay to realize that you could have more fun dressing as a celebrity and asking your rich friend to bring his $10,000 camera to do photo shoots of you in public while everyone is staring at you to wonder if you are a celebrity or who exactly you are. SquareEnix is constantly luring fans into a similar kind of pseudo-reality, where some fans accept the changes and embrace their almighty series without question. Many on the other hand, (majority of the people on this thread) may be able to sense the deceit of what SquareEnix is expecting Final Fantasy faithful be forced to accept. Don't get me wrong though, the graphics, side quests, and character development, from what i have heard, are great in FF13, but linearity and the lack of an over world (FF1 through FF9) are serious problems the game faces. After playing bits and snippets of other games by SquareEnix (Unlimited Saga, Radiata Stories), I feel that the fragments of the past final fantasy elements lie in some of the continuing non-Final Fantasy based games because some of these games have originality and special elements that older final fantasy games have (ATB, side quests), but of course without the defining characteristics of a Final Fantasy game (Chocobos, moogles, Cid, recurring villains, etc.). My only salvation for this series lies in replaying the oldies and playing all of square's old titles that not many know of, along with taking a shot at old ps1 RPG's, because it was during the ps1 era where FF began to take root at the greatest rpg series of my life.
As for my favorite FF game, well FF9 and FF 3 for snes (FFVI) are tied. Both games are masterpieces of their eras imo.
FF IX is the only 3D final fantasy the held or even grabbed my attention. Wanted to like FF VII but it was too dated by the time I picked it up. Loved the SNES FF II (4?)and gameboy ds remake of III though I might just be a SNES fanboy.
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