After the amazing new trailer for Final Fantasy XV debuted at Tokyo Game Show, I decided to go and have a look at comments of numerous gaming sites to see how excited people were. Although most people were praising the trailer, there were a fair few people who urgently pushed the Majesty of the trailer to one side in order to wave their negative views of the series about. RPG fanatics were up in arms simply because the characters weren’t standing still waiting for the player to click attack. The seamless combat, the open world, the interesting characters, the colossal monsters, the flawless visuals, the stunning music, the diverse range of emotions, it all meant nothing for some people simply because the combat was not turn based. Is that what Final Fantasy represents? Is this amazing series, closely approaching it’s 30 year anniversary, only known for it’s turn based gameplay?
See, that’s something that I simply cannot agree with; Final Fantasy is a series that represents something so much for me. Final fantasy, at it’s most basic, has always been about a romance story for me. My first real turning point in gaming was seeing Squall and Rinoa dancing together in Final Fantasy VIII and watching their relationship develop over four discs and sixty hours of story. Final Fantasy VII hit me hard after watching a charming relationship develop between Cloud and Aerith, only to be cut down through a single moment that has cemented itself as one of the most iconic death scenes ever. That same game then gave me hope when Cloud and Tifa rekindled a childhood romance that’s as deep, touching and flawed as any other relationship in the series. Final Fantasy IX saw Zidane and Garnet fall in love with a storyline, similar to Lady and The Tramp, that ends with one of the most heartfelt embraces I’ve ever seen in gaming. In fact, Final Fantasy IX is full of amazing romances, there’s Steiner and Beatrix’s blossoming love amongst war and sworn royal duty; Freya’s heartbreak and hope as her longtime love, Sir Fratley loses his memory but begins to show signs of falling in love with her all over again; and then Eiko who is forced to accept Zidane’s feelings for Garnet as she develops a crush on the charming bandit. Final Fantasy X sees the epic romance between Tidus and Yuna that sees them both defy time and death in order to be together after falling head over heels for another. Final Fantasy IV has conflicted Knights Cecil and Kain vying for the same woman, Rosa, in a love triangle that still remains as important now as it was in 1994. Then Final Fantasy VI has the endearing relationship that blooms between Locke and Celes, which is represented by Locke’s bandana; a memento that actually keeps Celes from taking her own life at a critical point in the story.
One of the main reasons that Final Fantasy hasn’t impacted me as much since Final Fantasy X is mainly due to the story not having the same kind of emotion that was present in those early romances listed. Final Fantasy XII shunned most emotion to make way for the world driven and political tale, whilst XIII had characters that just weren’t as likeable as they could have been. Snow and Serah’s relationship didn’t impress me much due to the backstory for them doing most the talking instead of actual emotional storyelling. What has struck me as most important about Final Fantasy XV is the love story that the game will be telling between Noctis and Stella who, due to their warring nations, are forced to fight each other despite how strongly they feel for one another. It’s almost like an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet except with much bigger swords and spikier hair.
It isn’t just romance though, Final Fantasy is a series about adventure that sees all kinds of relationships form amongst a wide array of different plotlines, whether they be serious, heartbreaking, lighthearted, comedic or just downright bizarre. Final Fantasy XV looks to be recapturing some of the variety that was sorely missing in the last few titles, just listen to the conversations that are shown in the trailer which range from serious to lighthearted. If you don’t feel any emotion as Noctis looks up at the moon standing proudly in the sky, with the main theme of the series playing elegantly in the background, then there’s no hope for you as a fan of the series.
Sadly, it won’t be enough for some fans though, simply due to the fact it’s not a traditional RPG. If that’s all Final fantasy means to you then I really feel as if the magic of the series’ story and characters have been lost on you. That’s not the only example though, there are many recent games that it seems people just can’t help but be negative about.
The new Super Smash Bros has recently revealed it’s full roster of characters, with a total number of a whopping 51 combatants. How could anyone possibly complain about a cast of characters this big in a fighting game? Blame Dark Pit and Dr Mario, two clone characters who have forced the game dead to some people. These two characters have ruined a game that contains Wii Fit Trainer and her bonkers set of attacks; Rosalina, who brings along the adorable Luma for a unique set of tag team moves; Bowser Jr, who has seven completely different skins based on each Koopaling; as well Pacman and Megaman, who join Mario and Sonic to form the four biggest icons in gaming. That isn’t enough for some gamers though; comments made include “Who’s Shulk”, Why has Mario got so many representatives”, “Why isn’t the game faster”? To put it simply, some gamers are never happy with the final product and want to have a negative reaction, even if the game looks great. Even the critically acclaimed darlings The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V couldn’t come out of last gen unscathed despite being hailed as two of the finest pieces of art ever.
So why are gamers are so negative? Gaming is much more varied than films and books in terms of ways to play which means fanboyism has reared it’s ugly head. You don’t see DVD and Blu Ray fans arguing over their player of choice, yet gamers argue over franchises and consoles as if their life depended on it. Nintendo gets the most hate for this unfortunately with a large consensus being that their childish games are churned out every year with hardly any updates, even though it’s usually only a single game per each franchise that sees a release each console cycle (that are always critically acclaimed). Sony get a lot of hate for making gaming too serious, but we’d obviously have to ignore their exclusive games like Littlebigplanet, Tearaway, Disgaea, Ratchet and Clank and Singstar. Finally, Microsoft are only known for their online shooter games that have ruined gaming, even though they have the Fable series, Sunset overdrive, Project Spark, Killer Instinct and Kinect.
I remember back to when I was a child playing on my first SNES console, and then a couple of years later starting up my first Playstation 1 along with a copy of Final Fantasy VIII. I didn’t care about why each game was one each console, I didn’t care about how each game played or other people’s opinions; I simply gave each game a chance and went in with a wide eyed sense of anticipation and wonder. Thankfully, I still have that magic even today. I’m willing to give any game a chance and if I don’t like it, then at least I can say I tried to experience what other people might hold it in high regard. Gaming is still as special and magical to me today as it was 16 years ago, and I can’t wait to forge new memories and experiences with no preconceptions holding me back.