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Role Playing (Games)

Final Fantasy Turns 20 88

1up has a massive quartet of features up this week, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series. Starting with 'Origins', the site looks at the beginning of the series, an event that was supposed to spell 'the end' for Square. The company lived on, of course, and in 'Everyone's Fantasies' series author Nadia Oxford looks at the rise of the Final Fantasy dynasty going from 8-bit obscurity to the 'mega-fame' of FFVII. Her final piece in the set 'Fertile Fantasy', examines how Square/Enix is now franchising the heck out of the name. To wrap up with 'Future Fantasy', Jeremy Parish looks at the staggering fifteen games with the FF brand due out in the next year. "Even if all of Fabula Nova Crystalis slips to 2009, that's still one title per month -- and we haven't even seen what's on the roster in the way of announcements for the new year. Clearly, Final Fantasy is going strong, but Square Enix's franchising efforts may be doing as much harm as good; of those 15 titles, only one is a new 'true' Final Fantasy game. True, the series has always supported its share of spin-offs -- even blatant name-whoring back in the Game Boy days. Still, we can't help but worry that the Final Fantasy name is being spread a bit too thin; if Square Enix really hopes to keep the series alive for another 20 years or more, they'll need to reconsider what the name Final Fantasy really means."
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Final Fantasy Turns 20

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  • by lonesome_coder ( 1166023 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @04:47PM (#21618075)
    ...'nuff said.
    • I think its one of the quickest wins, especially since you don't need to bother with equipment other than selling for potions.
      • Amen to that. Those guys were great, after a slow start until about level 8 or 9.

        Nearly as awesome was three black belts and fighter, which allowed you to actually use the really good equipment you got later on, and made the first eight levels a bit more bearable.

      • On the PS1 remake, I played through with just one black belt. By the end, he was so overpowered it was just embarrassing. I even managed to kill Chaos in one hit. Well, one attack... it was actually around 20-something hits.
      • by G Fab ( 1142219 )
        Yeah, that's the easiest way. If you can beat that game with four white mages though, you're a determined little fucker.

        I liked three black belts and one Yuna summoner, with the princess outfit collection that you can change to make her match the environment in a most PRETTY way!!!!
    • by Sta7ic ( 819090 )
      White Mage must've clocked you pretty good with the hammer if you're seeing double doubly.
    • I like having a fighter, two black belts and a red mage. You can't use the higher level spells but your fighters will kill just about anything before they can do much damage any way.
    • How about one white mage? []

      (I've never tried this. 4 black mages was hardcore enough for me.)
    • by colmore ( 56499 ) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:10PM (#21626323) Journal
      FF1 is a great game. Anyone who likes older console games and hasn't played through it should. It's kinda hard though, harder than later members of the series at least.

      Here's a breakdown:

      - Run away. The dungeons are hard. (especially the marsh cave - the first real dungeon, the ice cave, the fiend of wind's dungeon(s) and the final castle) There are a small handful of really efficient places to level up. When you aren't actively leveling up, you should run from just about everything. Once you have protection from death effects and reusable healing items, you can be more lax with this, but in general run away. This, by the way, is what the much-maligned Thief is useful for; he's got the best chance of getting away. But in practice, the fighter, red mage, and black belt get away about as often.

      - Starting right after you get your first orb lit up, keep 99 heal potions at all time. The game lacks effective healing (except for 3 vital items you find in the late game) so you'll want to have access to the at most 2970 points of healing the potions offer. However, white magic isn't all that great. It's pretty viable to not have any healing except potions.

      - Here's where to level up: until level 8 or so, walk around outside towns. After level 8, make sure you have Fire 2 and ideally Harm 2, and go to the tip of a little peninsula east of the second town. There's hard but not too hard monsters that will give you 600-1000 XP per encounter; just be sure to nuke the frost wolves a.s.a.p. Later, there's recurring undead on a square in the waterfall, and once you have ProRings, the Eye at the end of the Ice cave can be fought again and again. Much much later, the vampires on the penultimate floor of the final level are the fastest way to reach levels 30-50.

      - Though it lacks flavor, the party of 2 fighters and 2 red mages is so good as to be something of an easy mode. Black and white magic are both kind of underpowered, and having a team that can all take punches makes up for not getting Harm, Heal, and Nuke. Make sure you don't skip Fast, Invs2, Exit, all the Cures, all the Fires (for undead, the other attack spells aren't nearly as important). Life and the aElement defense spells are pretty good. Everything else is either useless or good only in a specific fight (e.g. sleep against the pirates) or is available too late (aRub). Really black magic sucks in the game. It's useful against a handful of obnoxious encounters with massed enemies, but not so much against any of the bosses. Red mages much better than black mages.

      - If you do want a black and white mage instead, I'd still put a second fighter in as #2. The first two positions absorb the lion's share of attacks, and having both get to wear full armor is amazingly useful. The upgraded thief gets almost as good of armor as the knight and he can cast Fast, so a thief is a pretty viable option. Black belts only get better than fighters at the very highest levels, and they have the most boring upgrade. Red mages aren't really strong enough to stand in position #2; it'll be hard to keep a second-in-command red wizard alive in the final dungeon.

      - Use the floater in the desert southeast of the volcano. If there's a clue to do this that's placed in the game, I've missed it. I think everything else can be figured out by talking to people.

      - Use attack magic to kill enemies that have ugly mass attacks or instant death effects. Hit bosses with swords.

      - Don't throw away magic items just to keep lousy helmets and shields on non-knight/ninja characters. You want a fire item, a harm item, a lit item, 2 or (much better) 3 heal items, and the white shirt.

      - Speaking of items, the swords and armor that are extra strong against certain elements or types of enemies don't actually have any effect. There's a patch out there for the ROM that will enable this feature. It's worth seeking out, as Square *did* intend the Dragon sword to be good against Dragons etc. But if you don't use it, don't hold on to any weapons or armor for specific encounters.

      - Once you beat the game, there's a rare challenge enemy on the walk up to the fourth fiend.

      Ok, that's enough. I love that game.
      • They made the FF1 version in FF:Dawn of Souls for GBA easier. I believe there was an NPC somewhere that says something about using floater, but it has been so long since I played the original I am not sure if that was added in the GBA release. I finished the game with out a ton of grinding with a party of 2 Fighters, one Red Mage and one Black Mage, but I only completed one of the bonus dungeons. The updated graphics are nice too. I
      • It's been a long time since I played this title. I tried the first final fantasy as a veteran of the SNES games. I was not expecting it to be as difficult as it was. I remember finally getting to the end, and it came down to the final round. 3 of my characters were dead. My white mage was the last man standing, and he didn't have enough HP left to last another round. I had that sword equipped on him that was suppose to be really good for white mages, and I fired off my last attack..... and I won! :)

        After re
  • What's sad is that 20 years later, FF1 is still the best. With the possible exception of FF Tactics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lendrick ( 314723 )
      That would be really sad, if it were remotely true. :)
    • What are you on? The original is almost devoid of story/plot, the battle engine sucks, and the graphics aren't that good. It really shows its age.

      The battles go really slow unless you adjust some setting. Characters will hit air if they were commanded to attack the same enemy as one that another character killed before their turn.

      And have you seen the dialogue window in action? Talk about sluggish and annoying.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gknoy ( 899301 )

        The original is almost devoid of story/plot, the battle engine sucks, and the graphics aren't that good. It really shows its age.

        The graphics sucked, the characters are nameless and have almost zero character development. The plot DOES exist, but it's all based on uncovering what happened (in a very linear manner), and solving the problems of the world.

        FF1 is far from perfect, and yet .. I've enjoyed playing it more than almost any other (except 6, mostly). The simplicity of its sandbox meant that it was

        • Final Fantasy V allows for the same meta-game setups, since it allows you to choose the classes of your characters. But it's deeper than the first Final Fantasy's.

          I enjoyed its story and plot too, even though most people didn't.

        • (I still know at a near-instinctive level how to get through almost the entire game,

          That sounds like nostalgia, and familiarity, much more than good game design to me. Not that FF1 was bad by any means, of course.

          Moreover, it allowed you to try very different party setups, and play a "meta-game".

          EVERY Final Fantasy lets you do this (well, all the ones I've played). Just go to gamefaqs and look at the "challenge faqs" if you don't believe me.

          FF1 was a good game for its time, and is worth playing for historical reasons alone (if you're a series fan), but the new FFs have everything FF1 has, and more. None of what you like about FF1 went away.

          • >>EVERY Final Fantasy lets you do this (well, all the ones I've played). Just go to gamefaqs and look at the "challenge faqs" if you don't believe me.

            Look at FF12. All the characters are identical. Ok, some base stats are a little different, but all of the characters can buy the same licenses, use the same gear, etc. There's really no reason for there to even be 6 people in the party (except as "extra lives") since only 3 can be on screen at once.

            I much prefer the FF1 system. I've tried and beaten the
            • Er, by that logic:

              Look at FF1. All the characters are identical. All of the characters can choose the same class at the beginning of the game, use the same gear based on that choice, etc.

              Most Final Fantasies (IX was a notable exception) have characters who can be the same or different depending on how you build them. If you choose to do so, you can strictly pick licenses and equipment for your characters in FF12. Most people prefer greater flexibility, so the system lets that do. I really don't see how

          • by gknoy ( 899301 )

            I still know at a near-instinctive level how to get through almost the entire game...
            That sounds like nostalgia, and familiarity, much more than good game design to me. Not that FF1 was bad by any means, of course.

            It is indeed nostalgia. =) I didn't mean to imply that it was due to good game design. That said, it WAS well done, each dungeon was unique -- more than I can say for portions of some games (Halo...).

            Also ... for the poster that mentioned how to beat the game with white mages ... wow. I couldn

        • - all white mages (how the hell do you do damage??)

          With HARM, FADE, and a lot of patience while your characters repeatedly swing their tiny rubber mallet. Fortunately, it gets somewhat easier in the second half of the game, once you find items that allow you to cast a little bit of black magic.

          I myself beat FF1 with four white mages/wizards, at level 50, with the added restriction that I did not let a single character die. (I may have allowed myself to suffer death if I could flee afterwards

    • by Sowelu ( 713889 )
      Ah! So "best" means "most challenging", or "least accessible to new players". Me, I was a bigger fan of IV. And FFTA, for which I will hide my head in shame.
    • "What's sad is that 20 years later, FF1 is still the best. With the possible exception of FF Tactics."

      FF2 and FF3 (US) were just as good if not better then FF1. FF1 was a total grindfest with no story, it was amazing for the time (NES days), but let's not pretend it was the best. FF3 (US) is the best in the series with FF2 (US) and perhaps FF7 near tied.

      People are just graphics hoes these days.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing our favorite spoony bard in 3D for Final Fantasy IV. I'll buy Tactics Advance 2 only if the plotline doesn't pander to the 12 year old crowd. Us 20-somethings play the DS too - just look at the success of Hotel Dusk.
    • As much as I love to lead the charge who mistake a 'Mature' rating for mature content [], I have to admit that you are absolutely right about FFTA. The storyline of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance really was a horrible disappointment compared to the intricate plot and deep characters of the original Final Fantasy Tactics.

      For an example of a storyline that can be about kids without being only for kids, look at Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I won't open the can of worms that is the gameplay, but the plot its
  • Amazing Series (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I completely missed most of the history of the FF games until recently. I pretty much thought they were just the same games made over and over again with better graphics each gen. But now that I've started playing a range of the games going all the way back to the first two I can see why the series is so wildly successful, IMO. Even though there are many recurring aspects Square keeps reinventing the series in major ways each new generation. I was shocked to see the large range different gameplay mechanics
    • The series numbering is a bit odd:

      *Final Fantasy I
      *Final Fantasy II
      *Final Fantasy III
      *Final Fantasy II
      *Final Fantasy V
      *Final Fantasy III
      *Final Fantasy VII
      *Final Fantasy LiveJournal
      *Final Fantasy IX
      *Final Fantasy X
      *Final Fantasy XII
      *Final Fantasy XIII
      • No, they're just like that to reflect the US publishers' idiocy. The SNES "Final Fantasy II" and "Final Fantasy III" are and will always be "Final Fantasy IV" and "Final Fantasy VI". They were just numbered like that because they couldn't publish the original II, III and V.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:04PM (#21618365)
    Feeling left out from the Final Fantasy lovefest? Regretting you never played any of the games? No problem just follow these easy steps to get you up to speed in any FF thread:

    1) Pick a FF game between 1-12 - This is your BEST FF EVAR!!! title. Make a note of it.
    2) Pick a DIFFERENT FF game between 1-12 - This is your WORST FF EVAR!!!. Make a note of it.
    3) Pick one or more random reasons why your random choice from 1) is the ONLY TRUE CHOICE. Best battle system, greatest story, best characters are good picks.
    4) Pick one or more random reasons why your random choice from 2) is the COMPLETE GARBAGE. Worst battle system, worst story, worst characters are good picks.

    You are now ready to jump into any FF thread on any message board on the net.

    Have fun!

    PS. Don't hold back! Never be afraid you are 'going too far' or are being a bit 'over the top' with your FF comments. Feel free to savage mercilessly anyone who dares to not hold your exact same, randomly, picked FF favorites choices...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by feepness ( 543479 )
      Stupid anonymous troll.

      FF5 was obviously the best Final Fantasy evar. And you only need one look at FFXI to see that there is an absolute worst to the series. FF5's pause menu completely changed and redefined an entire era of video games, while FFXI's boot screen was a disgrace that should have every copy burned and the ashes buried with all the remaining copies of "ET".
  • I remember playing the first FF, but really didn't get into it until FF 3 I think. That and the Dragon Warrior series got a lot of playtime on my Nintendo. I remember how bummed I was when Dragon Warrior 3 I think it was messed up and lost my saved game. Made me so mad, I quit playing those types of games until the Playstation came out with memory cards.
    • by karnal ( 22275 )
      You making the memory card comment reminds me of trouble I had with specific games - Square games - and 3rd party memory cards for the PS1. I had FF7 (or FFVII for purists) and Parasite Eve. Every now and again the saves would be corrupt and unreadable; back then I'd only use up one slot in the save menu. Imagine my frustration in playing for 4-5 hours, saving and coming home from work the next day to find my save bashed.

      Oh well, it did make for finding all of the extra items in PE more fun! However, us
    • by jaaron ( 551839 )
      Yeah, I completely missed the middle of the series. Played the first ones and then some of the recent ones since X. But I always loved Dragon Warrior. That was the best.
  • Great Memories (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neostorm ( 462848 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @05:44PM (#21618865)
    I've been a gamer for almost 3 decades now, but in 1987 I played Final Fantasy 1, and that game I hold responsible for inspiring me to aim my career towards the game industry (something I've since built my career out of successfuly).

    I hold that first NES FF game responsible for the direction my whole life took, so there's some serious gravity to this series for a person like myself. The series has undergone many changes, but I don't know if there will ever be a point in my life where I can't appreciate it on some, purely nostalgic level for that reason. :)
  • While not quite the original console jRPG, it's still, in my opinion, the absolute best, and continues to try to change and improve, in some fashion, with every subsequent entry. While many argue whether these attempts are successful, I think it is evident that, although the series is being milked, there is at least a fundamental attempt to make each game new and fresh.

    Yeah, there's nothing hugely revolutionary in this post. Just thought I'd offer it before the "OMFG JRPGS SUCK PLAY MASS EFFECT" starts.

  • I've enjoyed the Final Fantasy series quite a bit over the series. I'm no fanboy of the games but a few of them have interesting characters and a semi-decent plot. Others have pretty fun gameplay, unfortunately these don't meet very often in the series, but a lot of them are worth playing. I even enjoyed FFX-2 simply for the hyper fast battle system and the classes available (yes, you can turn off the magic dress changing sequences). I think my favorite of the bunch is FFX, a solid story and some very fu
  • 8 bit obscurity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluephone ( 200451 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2007 @07:07PM (#21619663) Homepage Journal
    Ok, when FF debuted, 8 bit was IT. The NES was only a couple years old, and a massive hit. Final Fantasy was Square's bet-the-house gamble, and it was a smash hit. It was THE seminal RPG for computing platforms. It solidified game systems and computers as the next great frontier for role playing games, relegating tabletop games to a mere niche in comparison. It singlehandedly saved Square, and yet again made the NES the must-have system. It was one of the top selling games on the top selling system, and changed the game (no pun intended) almost overnight for competitors. How the hell is that obscure?
  • by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:02PM (#21620837) Journal
    After 20 years, there's a whole generation who may not have even heard of the earlier some of the Final Fantasy games. With the holiday's approaching (or here, or never coming, depending on who's above you), now'd be the perfect time to pass it on to the next generation. Hop over to eBay and yoink a copy of FFVII and Tactics, and a used Playstation, and put it under someone's holiday-specific-gift-covering-item. =)
  • So there are other web sites out there doing good FF history stuff. Look at GameTrailer's Final Fantasy Retrospective []. It's not 20th anniversary, but whatever. It describes in video and narrative pretty well every FF game there is. Disclaimer: I actually like FFXI and I prefer the Tales series and more importantly, the DQ series

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