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Kylotan

Final Fantasy 6 - Why?

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Any old timers on this board may know that I consider Ultima VII to be the greatest RPG of all time. I''ve always considered the Final Fantasy series, and all the other Squarealike games be be pretty inferior by comparison. I''ve watched the FF games be played, but not really played them myself. But recently, I started playing Final Fantasy 6 (aka 3 in the US, I think), which is commonly regarded as the best of the lot by many. I admit I haven''t got very far yet, but I will report back if I change my views. But I must admit that playing this game has only reinforced my opinion. The Final Fantasy games are somewhat overrated. Here''s a few of my thoughts: Random encounters : now I know people on here have complained about random encounters, and I have tended to go along with them. But little did I know it could get This bad. It seems like this game throws random encounters at me every 10 seconds or so. These get old after about the 3rd in any given dungeon/terrain type as they are almost inevitably against exactly the same type of foes. In the early stages of the game at least, I have very few options in combat and they all work out about the same anyway. These encounters take me out of whatever I am doing (exploring or travelling somewhere) and place me in a different context, where the outcome is pretty much assured anyway. What''s the point? Combat system : Sorry guys, since I know 90% of you RPG people are developing combat systems like this, but it sucks. Ok, I''ll be more objective. The scope for tactics is minimal: each character has few options available, making defeat or failure almost entirely based on equipment. The scope for manouevring is next to non-existent. (Contrast with Ultima, Baldur''s Gate, or Diablo, where you can get behind obstacles or doorways to better defend yourself, at a bare minimum.) About the only good thing about the system is the nice way they mixed turn-based and real-time combat... shame they didn''t manage to preserve many of the benefits of either. Music : on the whole, the music is quite good. The main theme in particular is very good. But it gets repetitive. It seems to repeat forever when you''re in a certain place and this truly starts to grate. Worst of all is the combat music. This is obviously a side-effect of the random encounter problem, but when you''ve heard that same combat tune and victory tune 40 times in 10 minutes, it starts to piss you off! Interface : their menu system is pretty unintuitive. (For those of you who disagree instantly, try looking at it from the point of view of someone who hasn''t played all the previous games.) Rather than picking a character and then the action you want to perform on it, you pick an action and then specify the character you want to perform it upon. This is pretty convention-defying and, as far as I can see, doesn''t gain you anything. Perhaps it''s conventional for SNES games, though. Sometimes it gives you options that are pointless: like magic screens for people who don''t have magic. (Maybe they get magic later: but why bother having the screen accessible in the meantime? Removing the menu option and then adding it later would provide a good cue to the player that a new option is available, whereas having to keep check a submenu to see if anything new is on it is a hassle.) Conversation Repeatedly clicking to get through conversation seems pretty boring and almost pointless. At least in Ultima VII you get to choose the order in which you ask things, and ignore stuff you''re not interested in. In Baldur''s Gate you get to influence the plot with your choice of response. I''ve barely seen any interaction in the conversation in FF6. Plot line : Disclaimer: I know I am nowhere near as far into the game as I need to be to deliver a good verdict on the plot. So I''m open to being proven wrong here. But from what I can tell, it seems pretty shallow. Go to The RPG Clichés Game page and read through that list. Much of that list relates to Final Fantasy 6 and others in the series, and casts a very unflattering light on the storyline. Given that these guys know the series far better than I do, yet find it clichéd, I can only assume from what they say and what I''ve seen so far that the Ultima 7 storyline is far better. And no: most of the clichés on that page do not apply to Ultima. Some do, but a far fewer number. Now, there are some good aspects to the game (including sub-aspects of the above mentioned aspects) but I''m not interested in mentioning them here. They are outweighed by the irritations and this makes me say the FF series are merely good games, certainly not great ones. Given my oppositions raised above, why do so many (of you) like these games? How on earth did they reach cult status? Is it just the animé thing? Do you all just have bad taste? What am I missing?

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I have to respond because Final Fantasy 6 is my favorite in the series.

Random Encounters- I like them. Let''s say I am right before a boss and I need to level up. In a non-random game, I have all the enemies on the screen beat and would have to leave the screen and come back to get some more enemies. That would waste time.

Combat System- You say everyone has limited options. It is more realistic that way. FF6 uses a vague class system and they have to keep in that class. For example, Locke is a thief. The only special thief a thief can really do is Steal so that''s what he does.

Music- The music''s pretty good. Not the best.

Interface- Does it really matter if you choose the character or the action first? Either way it''s two clicks. I have almost always used action first so that''s what I am used too. The magic screens weren''t that bad but the Blitz and SwdTech screen for every character was dumb.

Conversation- Where are you in the game? The conversation is pretty dull in the beginning but has some pretty good parts later on.

Plot Line- The plot will get better as the game goes on. I read some of The RPG clichés game article. Some things I disagree with but for the most part I like the way things are. One example is the Full Night''s Rest thing. Would you prefer waiting 8 hours while they slept? And when the game starts with an easy battle is better than sitting around talking to townsfolk.

Okay I''m done. It took me a long while to type this. Keep playing FF6. You might change your mind later.

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First let me say I think Ultima IV is the most innovative one in the whole series. Ultima VII, to me, is just better 3d graphic and a different social system that''s all.

Random encouters: Agree, that why a Square came out with the Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana series that dosen''t have random combat.

Combat systems: I think you are over rating this. After all, RPG isn''t all about combat, it''s about role playing and character developement. And some people just want to enjoy a good rpg without having to deal with the hassles of tactic/strategy.

Musics: No comment, but I can still remember the lyric of those combat and overhead map toons from 8 years ago.

Interface: FFVI dosen''t have the best interface, but neither does Ultima VII. I don''t even want to recount how annoying it was to look in a sack trying to find a key under stacks of potions and scrolls.

Conversation: But conversation are used to advanced the plot and develope characteristics... Is it really that repeatitive ?

Plot line: FFVI has a pretty straight forward plot, with a twist in the middle of the game. I would say it''s fair, but definately not on the level of awesome.

quote:
Given my oppositions raised above, why do so many (of you) like these games? How on earth did they reach cult status? Is it just the animé thing? Do you all just have bad taste?


Number one, any sequel of a smash hit is already guarentee to have more fame than an above the average product no matter how lame the sequel is. You can find examples of this in games, movies, books, and almost anywhere. Second, I don''t you should compare FF and Ultima for the sake of trying to find the best RPG. FF is aimed toward a younger audience by skipping alot of the complex combat and plot choices, then put the majority of the game design into the rich character stories and development which the gamers can relate to in personal experience. On the other hand, Ultima is obviously aimed toward older gamers where as a little kid would most likely give up after 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to get in the castle. (Took me 15 minutes go get in the first time)

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I''d just like to comment on the plot thing...

Yeah, the final fantasy series is becoming pretty cliche. It''s not that hard to predict aproximatly what is going to happen.

However, Final fantasy 6 wasn''t that cliche when it came out. It STARTED alot of cliches though.

Just my quick cent and a half.



Drakonite

[Insert Witty Signature Here]

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I would agree that Final Fantasy 6 is the best of the series I''ve played. That happy medium between making improvements and making another tired old sequel. As for cliches... there''s less and less excuse for them today. How many of them can be explained away by memory and other harware limits? To answer any of those items in that list that refer to lack of realism or an absurd, over used plot device, I got one word, "Soliloque".

FF6 is probably still guilty of more of those cliches than Ultima 7. U7 was good, but I enjoyed FF6 more. Each game has their flaws in the areas you give. Ability to freely roam the world always leaves me unsure of where to go. The only RTS party combat I''ve liked so far was in Fallout Tactics, 7 years after FF6 or U7.

I''m also told I''m insane for not liking mushrooms. It''s just a question of taste.

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Some nice responses: thanks guys.

However, Anonymous Poster : I''m gonna pick your reply apart though. Hope you don''t mind
quote:
Random Encounters- I like them. Let''s say I am right before a boss and I need to level up. In a non-random game, I have all the enemies on the screen beat and would have to leave the screen and come back to get some more enemies. That would waste time.
This sounds to me like a poor solution to a problem. Maybe the game shouldn''t rely on you levelling up to beat the bosses. Maybe you should get more exp per encounter and fewer encounters. Maybe the bosses should be scaled to match your level. I think there are better ways to deal with this.

quote:
Combat System- You say everyone has limited options. It is more realistic that way.

Making a game less involving and varied in the name of realism is blasphemy to me. Besides, if they wanted realism, they shouldn''t have Bio Blast and all those other ludicrous attacks. Castles that disappear into the sand? People that say "..."! I don''t mind lack of realism, but I do mind lack of gameplay.

quote:
Interface- Does it really matter if you choose the character or the action first? Either way it''s two clicks.

It''s not the number of clicks that''s the issue for me, it''s more the logical organisation.
quote:
I have almost always used action first so that''s what I am used too.

Most office applications follow the paradigm of ''select what you want to work on, then tell the computer what you want to do to it''. This is the standard system for ''operating on a subset of data''. You don''t go to the Edit Menu, select Copy, then go and find the text you want to copy. You do it the other way around. Generally this is because you want to browse the data before you decide how to operate upon it. By this standard, I would like to be able to browse my characters in an RPG before deciding whether I want to equip them, check their spells, or whatever. To reverse the paradigm is counter-intuitive in most situations and just plain awkward in others. (NB: Exceptions to the ''standard'' are things like graphics programs, where you select the tool before selecting the area. However, this is generally because the emphasis is upon creating new data, which requires you to select a tool first. You also tend to work with a single entity (canvas) rather than several distinct ones (characters).)

quote:
And when the game starts with an easy battle is better than sitting around talking to townsfolk.

Is it? I got bored selecting Bio Blast or whatever it is about 10 times just to get to The First Plot Device (tm).

quote:
Okay I''m done. It took me a long while to type this. Keep playing FF6. You might change your mind later.

I intend playing it to the end... give me a week or so

Ok, Mooglez next

quote:
Combat systems: I think you are over rating this. After all, RPG isn''t all about combat, it''s about role playing and character developement. And some people just want to enjoy a good rpg without having to deal with the hassles of tactic/strategy.

Very fair point, however: if the game isn''t about combat, don''t throw things at me to fight every 10 seconds Or, to put that another way: don''t pull me out of the main game into activities that aren''t very relevant or indeed enjoyable.

quote:
Conversation: But conversation are used to advanced the plot and develope characteristics... Is it really that repeatitive ?

By comparison with some other RPGs, yes. It reminds me of the LucasArts point and click adventures in some ways. They bored me too, since I never felt like I was interacting much. I don''t mind conversation: I do mind conversation where it appears to be read from a very rigid script.

quote:
Interface: FFVI dosen''t have the best interface, but neither does Ultima VII. I don''t even want to recount how annoying it was to look in a sack trying to find a key under stacks of potions and scrolls.

True enough. I am in love with the Diablo inventory system, personally. Who cares that it''s not ''realistic''? It simulates capacity and shape restrictions and provides instant visual feedback on the stuff you are carrying. However, I don''t think it could be easily generalised to a party of 8 people, which is what Ultima had to deal with. (See new thread on Interface considerations.)

quote:
FF is aimed toward a younger audience by skipping alot of the complex combat and plot choices, then put the majority of the game design into the rich character stories and development which the gamers can relate to in personal experience. On the other hand, Ultima is obviously aimed toward older gamers where as a little kid would most likely give up after 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to get in the castle. (Took me 15 minutes go get in the first time)

Interesting point, and probably a very accurate one. I hesitate to call all FF fans ''less mature'', but the game does seem to be aimed at younger people, as you said. As for character, The Ultima games do have some interesting characterization, although perhaps there isn''t so much of the interpersonal tension or whatever. Out of the 3 integral story elements (characterization, plot, and situation), Ultima wins on Plot and Situation. FF might be better on Characterization. (Although Dupre''s sacrifice in U7: Serpent Isle was very moving )

kseh : I respect your choice of preferring FF6 over U7. But are you able to put that into objective terms? (I understand if you can''t: RPGs are often more about ''feel'' than anything else, but I just wondered, for the sake of discussion.)

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I've never played Ultima VII more than a few minutes because the Ultima games never impressed me. Then again, it's been about eight years since I've been impressed with a Final Fantasy. Let's get one thing straight before we move on: for whatever RPG elements Final Fantasy possesses, it's nothing more than a glorified combat simulator.

Everything you do in Final Fantasy eventually leads to more combat. You can tell the game is combat-oriented because every single one of them starts off with a fight. All the abilities your characters learn are geared toward killing things. There are no puzzle solving spells. Items serve no purpose other than to open the story so you can kill more stuff. The only spell that came close to a utility spell was "Float" in FF2/4J, which could be used to avoid taking floor damage.

Random Encounters: Kylotan is half right. I think random encounters are to be expected in a world full of hostile creatures (which also justifies the combat system, since apparently nobody kills less than 3,000 goblins a day), but in such abundance? And the repetitive nature of combat is what drove me away from the FF series in the first place. (That's right, I don't play those damn games anymore.) Square could definitely use some lessons in depth.

Combat System: I could go both ways on this one. Combat in any FF game sucks because there's so much of it, but the system is actually very fluid. Once you figure out a creature's weakness, you can use that against it the next time. The huge variety of options at your disposal is what makes the FF games so popular. People like to have plenty of options. Tone down the number of battles and I think the games could be good.

Music: Nobuo Uematsu is the most popular game musician in the world. Kylotan can't even touch this one. Whether you like the music or not, you aren't going to change the opinions of several hundred-million gamers. I like most FF music up to FF7, which is when Uematsu seems to have lost his touch.

Interface: Again, I could go either way. Every FF game uses basically the same interface. If you weren't a fan of the first five, you won't be a fan of the sixth one either. By now, the FF interface is second nature to everyone who's played the previous games. Kylotan is the exception, not the rule. However, I agree that character should come first, since this represents acting upon a character instead of a command. Commands are abstract, and they wreck immersion.

Conversation: Final Fantasy is more of a movie than a game. It would have been better had you known that before you started playing. Kylotan, you're ripping on a game that came out in 1994 for a 16-bit console system . Surely even you must think that's hitting below the belt.

Plot line: First half of the game was great. Second half was a complete waste of time. Everyone I've talked to agrees on this. You're not in for any pleasant surprises, Kylotan. Go play Chrono Trigger instead. In my opinion, it's the best combat-oriented RPG in existence.

Edited by - Tom on August 14, 2001 1:46:28 AM

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(Have only played Final Fantasy 7).
Random encounters (ie. encounters which happen every few seconds with a slightly randomised time-lapse).

-Good. Adds tension to roaming the more dangerous areas, as you don''t know when you will be ambushed.

-Good. Adds strategic resource management of magic / healing. Will you survive this area?

-Good. Imposes need to obtain magic / health. (Dynamic economy?).

-Good. A source frequent source of gameplay in what is really a story-book / Lucasarts'' adventure (with a few sub-games).

-Bad. Can be too frequent.
-Bad. Can''t always run away from tough encounters.

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I love FF6, so I''ll defend it. First of all, I''ll only compare
FF6 to games released during the snes era or before it. Games
today have much better hardware to work with, so its unfair
to compare them to FF6. Anyway, I love FF6 because it had
a good story, good music, great graphics compared to FF2 (which
was also a snes game), and lots of neat ideas. I don''t want
to spoil anything for you, so I can''t list all the ideas I
loved. But I guess how you judge a RPG comes down to what
you''re looking for. I don''t mind not being able to influence
a story, so the fact that FF6''s story is linear doesn''t bother
me one bit. But for some people, linear stories are a real
turn off. I also don''t mind if few tactics and strategy are
involved in the battles. The reason is that I play RPGs
because I like to role-play. I like to build my characters up
to extreme levels and learn all the spells, just so I have that
feeling that my characters are gods among men. Anyway,
there''s always the possibility that I just like FF6 because I
was younger then. I haven''t enjoyed FF7 - FF9 quite as much
as FF6, and I always wonder if FF has changed or if I''ve just
raised my standards as I''ve gotten older. Sorry this hasn''t
been a great defense, but I think you should play the entire
game through, because the game is more fun as the story
progresses.

----Blah

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