Gendo – My Love/Hate Relationship With Final Fantasy, and Why I Won’t Play XIII

March 10, 2010

With all the recent buzz about Final Fantasy XIII I figured I’d talk a little bit about why I don’t think I’ll be playing it. There probably is no possible way that I think I could sit down and enjoy Final Fantasy XIII, just from the information that I’ve gleaned from reviews it really doesn’t sound like a game I would like… but why? This won’t be an in depth discussion (it’s gonna come off as more of a rant), but more a casual glace at how I’ve come to hate the Final Fantasy series.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert on the series of Final Fantasy, but I have been here for a long time so I think I have a pretty good understanding of the series as a whole. I’ve loved the series since its inception on the NES, but the direction it started heading after VII had me losing faith in the series. Other people may have liked it, but for me it just wasn’t quite my cup of tea. We’ll go down the line starting with VIII:

Imagine me looking like this as I write to get the real feeling and raw emotion!

Final Fantasy VIII was mired in a terrible statistics and magic system that literally had you drawing magic for hours on end to improve stats. Summons would eat up hours of gameplay time and it had a completely nonsensical story with really forgettable characters. Squall really gave Cloud a run for his money as “worst protagonist ever”.

Final Fantasy IX was a return to form; I give Square props for that. Kickin’ it old school, they kinda brought back what made Final Fantasy so awesome in the first place. Though, I still didn’t enjoy this as much as previous games in the series. Didn’t this one sell worse than others? A sign of the times?

Final Fantasy X was fun, different but it still held a lot of the Final Fantasy ideals from the past along with pushing the game forward. Linear it was, but it worked. Had some really memorable characters too, ones you really could actually care about.

Final Fantasy X-2…do I really even need to bother explaining why I hated this pile of feces?

Final Fantasy XI of course was an MMO, and this is where the alarm bells started to ring even more than after VII. Didn’t want to touch this, and if you know me then you know why. For people who don’t, I abhor MMO’s. They keep you compulsively playing, even though you’re really not enjoying it. But that’s a topic for another time.

Final Fantasy XII was more of the same from XI, except offline. More forgettable characters (except Balthier), and a plot that didn’t seem to end up going anywhere, first time I quit a FF game after less than 20 hours of gameplay. Also, the battle system was a joke. You could honestly put down the controller and have that damn game play for you. I hated it.

Cecil. Square doing it right.

Now we come to Final Fantasy XIII. The “tunnel simulator” as it has “jokingly” been called. There is approximately 25 hours of gameplay before you’re allowed to move in a direction other than a straight line. No towns to flesh out the world, and from all accounts more cookie cutter forgettable characters in what’s supposed to be a “pretty good” story… The game has been compared to a FPS by I believe it was the games director? This is weird to say the least. And I know people will say, “Well these are pretty petty reasons to not play the game”, but you know what? From what I can tell, I won’t like the game. The series by this point has honestly completely forgotten where it came from. Most people have called this game the anti-Final Fantasy because it doesn’t even resemble a Final Fantasy game. There’s nothing wrong with changing up a formula (X did it amicably), but when a game in a long running series no longer resembles its past, then why would I want to play it? Why exactly should I care?

Final Fantasy XIII is the mass market friendly game that Square-Enix has wanted to make for a long time. It’ll either: sell millions to the hungry fanboys and bring in tons of new blood with its mass market appeal or it could end up flat on its face like it ended up in Japan, selling amazingly in its first week only to end up bargain bin a month later. This I honestly can’t predict…

I'll go ahead and say it. A much more compelling protagonist than anything Final Fantasy has offerred since Terra.

All I know is Square lost me as a Final Fantasy fan with games like VIII, X-2, XI and XII. XIII isn’t going to win me back, and really Lost Odyssey has done more for the old school Final Fantasy fanboy in me than any game after Final Fantasy VII. Maybe Hironobu Sakaguchi really was the soul of the series? Maybe I’m just bitter because Final Fantasy is no longer that little niche RPG that could? While people are enjoying their copies of Final Fantasy XIII resting snugly in their warm PS3’s or (God forbid!) 360’s, I’ll be “stuck in the past” enjoying what I think Final Fantasy truly was: A combination of great graphics and gameplay, without getting overly technical or flashy. Interesting characters and a simple but endearing story, without getting too caught up in cutscenes and melodrama. Fundamentally a fun RPG, dammit! I think they forgot how to make those to be honest…


Well, after some careful deliberation I think my previous statements are going to stand as far as my decision on Final Fantasy XIII.

I finally got around to reading Jim Sterling’s review of FFXIII, and I gotta say I think I made the right call. I trust Jim and Chad over on Destructoid and Jim really paints a grim picture. One that I suspected was true, even though I hadn’t had my hands on a controller and playing the game.

As I said in my post, Final Fantasy has been slipping over the past decade in terms of quality. Other (read: many) people might not agree, but I’m of the firm belief it has.

I’m going to wait for Final Fantasy XV to drop. If Square picks up the pieces and puts together a great RPG like they were once capable of I’ll be right here waiting. So this isn’t “OMFG I’m never playing a Squeenix game again!”. This is just me waiting for a better effort.



  1. Grow the fuck up you fucking cocksucker. This is Riku (Digiky), I really hated reading this shit you just wrote, Digz was right. You are a tool. You had to rant on shit you never played. I may not beat games but I at least play alot of games to try them out.

    Digz once compliment me on Star Ocean I am playing at the moment.

    I’m allowing this post just because of how hilarious it is. For the record, I traced the IP and it ends back up in the Lower Mainland, BC, Canada. Last time I checked Riku wasn’t from there, but a certain Digiky81 is. Nice try man.

    • LOL, oh Digz .. you can’t impersonate people when your English is so bad.

      Good job on making yourself look extra stupid.

      Oh and nice post Stephan. I agree with a lot of it. The Final Fantasy name is being milked, if this game wasn’t a FF game it’d sell much worse. Look at the XIII and tell me how this follows the original ideals of the series, because I don’t see it.

      • Thanks dude. A lot of it might seem silly to some people, but I just don’t really like the direction the series started to head… and with every new Final Fantasy that was announced I just anticipated it less and less. Culminating with XIII, which didn’t even interest me at all…

        I’m honestly a little sad about it all, because I was such a huge fan of those RPGs. Makes me kinda wish things had turned out differently…

        Who knows, maybe Final Fantasy XV will win me back?

  2. God, Gendo, you are such a tool and a jackass and this entire posting proves it.

    • Certainly hope you were just being ironic Tweets.

  3. There be some trollin’ up in dis blog post

  4. God I love you Shawn Speer



    • lulz, this shit is hilarious. I never thought it would seep into my blog.

  6. I’m not sure exactly how to replay to this post. On the one hand it is your opinion and I can respect that. But I do have a few problems with what you’ve written.

    There have been long running series before where a game has “no longer resembled its past” but have still been enjoyable games. Just because a series innovates and evolves does not mean it’s ignoring or forgetting its past. Take Mario and SM64 for example or Metroid with the Prime trilogy. Honestly the traditional JRPG is a dying breed this gen, so you can’t really blame SE for trying to innovate and revitalize the series.

    As for forgetting how to make fun games, maybe you should at least try it before saying it isn’t fun?

    Oh and why the 360 hate? >_>

    But like I said, it is your opinion and if you don’t think you will like the game then that’s fine, but it’s no reason to hate on SE or say that FF isn’t FF any more. By your standard of what makes a FF game then there have been just about as many that don’t go by those standards (7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13) as do (1-6, 9). At least you still have DQ right?

    • Well, let me see how best I can respond to your thoughts ierebus.

      There have indeed been long running series that have evolved and stopped resembling their past selves that have been great! You mention Metroid, and while I do enjoy the Prime games for what they are, they don’t exactly feel like Metroid games to me. Maybe that’s just me being stubborn, but Super Metroid will always be the embodiment of what Metroid means to me.

      The traditional RPG is indeed a dying breed, and frankly that’s a little sad to me. Why? Do people no longer enjoy them? Look at something like Mega Man, which was just revitalized by “devolving” into 8-bit again. There’s nothing wrong with evolving over time, but I think there’s a place for old design choices too. I think Lost Odyssey is the perfect example of an RPG that thinks like an RPG from the early 90’s but looks like an RPG from the late 00’s. It just feels like Square is trying to one-up itself with every Final Fantasy, trying to make it as radically different as possible.

      *sigh* But I guess I can’t blame Square-Enix for trying new things. Maybe I’ll try FFXIII one day, but I have so many other (better?) RPGs to play, it’ll have to wait.

      As for the 360 hate… I have nothing against the 360, but anyone who bought it for the 360 got gypped. The PS3 version being far superior. But hey, I suppose at least they got a Final Fantasy game. 360 never really seemed like an “RPG” system anyways. But I digress.

      The reason I doubt I’ll like XIII is based merely on the fact that I haven’t really loved a Final Fantasy game since VI. Every one afterward has disappointed me in some way. Will XIII magically turn it around? Not likely, but again like I said, maybe I will check it out one day…

      At least I have Dragon Quest? Yeah, I suppose I do. 🙂 And whatever Mistwalker makes. I’m really looking forward to “The Last Story”.

      • “anyone who bought it for the 360 got gypped. The PS3 version being far superior.”

        360 users got gypped from…sharper graphics, uncompressed audio, and all of it being on a single disc. if the 360 version had actual content cut, then there’d really be something to talk about. granted, if you have both consoles, there’s no reason not to get it on the PS3. but “gypped” would be paying the same price for the game with a quarter of the actual in-game content removed.

  7. Well hojo, you’re right, you did still get all the content. But it has kinda watered down visuals, sound and (supposedly the best part) cutscenes. If I were a 360 fanboy I’d be kinda pissed. And if I only had a 360 to play FFXIII on then I’d be a little annoyed that the version I got was inferior…

    That’s all I’m saying when I say “gypped”.

  8. The times….they are changing you can’t expect a company to always make the same thing and you can’t be upset if they choose to go in a new direction. Things change whether we like it or not, we can always go back and play old games but, with video games it’s about going forward and you as a gamer must accept that we all must push on forward. There’s nothing really wrong with sticking to what’s tried and true but, eventually you have to move on and we may not like it but, it is never the end there will always be Final Fantasy games and while they may not be the same I have major respect for a company that likes to take a chance and try something new for once even if the old formula works.

    Honestly, I hate fans….of anything even myself we are so stuck up and want developers to always do one thing and do it our way, I hate that shit whenever a good game of any franchise comes we compare the next one to the best one instead of what we should always do and rate on it’s own merits and honestly trying FF XIII will not kill you and it won’t bring you down a notch as a fan you’re letting other people tell you what you should do with FF XIII saying “I probably wouldn’t like it” and just because it’s linear doesn’t mean it can’t be any fun. I think you should borrow or rent a copy from somewhere or someone and just play it, DON’T just compare it to other versions or older games because it’s not an older game it’s a new game and it will NEVER play how it did before. I may not dig the FF series as much as other people but, I have played plenty of games some of them bad but, I was very happy I at least gave them the chance, like KOF XII before I even played the game I wasn’t really digging it but, you told me I should at least give it a shot and I did, I may have still hated it but, not as much as I did before I even touched it so now I’ll tell you (even though I have not played FF XIII) just give old FF XIII a chance.

  9. The question is: Would this be considered a good game if it were not called Final Fantasy?

    The name Final Fantasy is just used more as a marketing device. Perhaps with it’s original director/creator it stood for a theme but we are well passed that. We sadly live in a time where name helps sell a game as much as quality.

    I honestly have no problem with it.. I will play it eventually. I am not going to go out and buy it anytime soon but it does look like 10 and I enjoyed that game enough.

    I would however like to point out the things that bother me about it..

    Final Fantasy or not I am not a fan of being healed after every battle. Healing at save points was bad enough, but acceptable..

    Not having a World map.. even if I have to go on a linear path I would like some sort of map to see the scale of things. I’ve always enjoyed exploring the world in a boat or aircraft of some kind.

    I’m sure Final Fantasy XIII is not a bad game but there are better RPGs for me to play right now. At least it isn’t XII .. I thought that was the real mistake in the series.

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