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Thread: Help me play through the Final Fantasy franchise

  1. #1
    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Help me play through the Final Fantasy franchise

    I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Start at 1, end at 15, hit them all in short order without my usual focus on 100% completion, but rather a start to finish ride to take in all the story lines.

    Two conditions:

    It has to be available on PC

    I really really really don't want to touch those weird-looking chibi remakes of FF2 and FF3. The closer to the originals, the better. I'm not sure that's an option with 2 or 3 except by way of a fan translation. Any alternatives or good resources for that?

    Are the updated versions of 5 and 6 worth it or should I just dig up ROMs?

    Was FF12 never released on PC? I don't see it for sale on the Square-Enix website, but that's pretty odd given every other title since 7 has been.

    Are 11 and 14 capable of being experienced as a standard game with a fairly linear plotline, or are they open world exploration types that you can never really get a feel for without investing 100+ hours?

    Any other general advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Grand Shriner PforPianist's Avatar
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    Saw your post so i thought i'd put in my 2 cents.

    Lo and behold, the only way to play 12 is on emulator. They never released it for PC (this might change with the remaster however)

    Okay, so 1 and 2 are available as Dawn of souls for GBA. So again, emulator (1 and 2 are not available on pc as yet, like 12)

    if you mean 2 (4) then yes chibi. and 3 (steam) is chibi also.

    5 and 6 are good for the end game, so if you are just doing the story it's no different. In fact you wont notice any difference until after you defeat kefka. (apart from the graphics) Same also for 5. no difference until after you defeat xdeath

    as far as 11, there are now 9(?) expansions.. it depends on what you want to do. 11 is really not story driven.. it wasn't when i was playing it. Though you do get cool cutscenes letting you know about the new expansions. Literally when you walk into certain areas. There is a narrative to follow, but you'll always be grinding to get to the next part in the story - it requires you to be at a certain level. This is the same for 14. If you go in for story, just following the main story quests is possible (they are seen by a crown symbol instead of the classic "ARR" looking quest icon, which is like a circle) But you may fall behind in levels to get to the end of the story - especially at low levels.

    I would say you can experience 11 and 14 as standard game... i have a fc member doing that. (FC = free company, guilds) 11 and 14 are mmos, so they are huge games, with lots to do, and basically centred around team work - if you want to do the story you have to level a character from 1-50 to finish the story. There's a new expansion coming out, if you really poured into getting to the end of that, yeah easily 100 hours. I haven't done it fast, but i think my clock is at about 100 days playing. (time spent playing the game) However i'd say that the story can be done quickly if you just want to finish the first game. As mentioned before, main story quests are easy to identify
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    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    From what I was looking at later, apparently non-chibi updates exist on the PSP. I don't know how easy it is to get emulators for newer systems like that, but I'll look around.

    In general, closest to original as possible is my goal. With 4-6 a little graphic boost would help mix things up against since I'm already highly familiar with the games.

  4. #4
    Grand Shriner PforPianist's Avatar
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    If that's the case then go for the steam versions.

    PPSSPP is the main psp emulator. I've played crisis core on that... just be sure the game works on it before trying to play. I think the emulation is pretty good but it's always safe to check what games work well on certain emulators.

    Also, when you get to 14 let me know! i'm getting ready to get into stormblood. They actually have multi-server parties now. They even let you pass word protect it so only certain people can join it.

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    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Will do! That might be a good year from now, because I'm currently still trying to read all of the Wheel of Time series before I even start this (going to be wrapping up book 8 of 14 soon) and then I intend to start from FF1, but I'll definitely let you know.

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    Grand Shriner PforPianist's Avatar
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    Btw, looking on google i found out that others have been complaining about 1 and 2 not being on pc. I don't know how long one of these would take - and they'd probably do the new treatment to it. As far as keeping to the originals, gba versions are kinda close. (no more classic battle screens or general 16 colour sprites)

    For ff14, it is a really good story. The storyline takes you through most of the game. Meaning there are optional areas, but you get dungeons, primal fights (ifrit etc) and even fighting with npc characters. You get to fish, gather and mine (i think.. it's quite late though) You join a grand company (there are 3) which you can pursue to get more xp and better equipment... Battle chocobo... (it's optional but you unlock the quest for it as long as you sign up for the company) There's also some optional quest lines which are cool to the story too. Like gilgamesh and other characters. Yeah, and battles do get harder as you play through the story. So there's some very rewarding parts to it. I tried to be silent on the details. Hope that helps.

  7. #7
    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Well one aspect of this just got easier.

    I found a Gameboy Advance in my closet with a copy of Final Fantasy I & II sticking in it. An hour digging around yielded a charger to match it.

  8. #8
    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    I guess I could be posting here instead of hijacking a random other thread.

    Finished FF5 last night. I remember it being fairly dull compared to 4 and 6 as a kid, and I think that still holds. Exdeath is a very bland enemy. There's a heavy dose of forced tragedy with the NPCs--the NES cliche of "so-and-so just showed up at a critical game moment after having no plot relevance for the last five hours so this scene will be exactly them dying to aid the main party"--is alive and well. The music is certainly solid, but not consistantly on par with its immediate predecessor.

    What I did like a lot, and didn't pick up on quite as much as a kid, was the sort of tenderness of the main cast. Unlike 4, where your party is changing constantly, we're back to the classic four players chosen by fate at the start of the game to be your champions without much variance. But here an effort was made to show them stepping up into their role. The original partnership is viable; there's a good reason for them to all wind up together besides being the "chosen ones". While Butz eventually falls prey to the "destiny" cheese in his backstory, he mostly just functions as an average Joe who got caught up by chance in a quest to save the world. I think that approach is a lot more compelling, and they develop it in him.

    There's a lot of formality going on in FF4 (especially in the original English translation I chose to roll with), and there's strong support for it. The characters had an established professional relationship going into the game, and they were nobles more inclined to express themselves at some distance. It worked, for 4. In 5, Square does a good job of selling the cast as a more casual band of soldiers. There are endless scenes of them just having fun together and growing progressively more comfortable with each other as they transition from strangers to seasoned veterans. Butz isn't some icon of the ideal warrior. He's just a dude. Enjoys throwing a few back after a long day's journey; gawks at women all the time in a way you might expect from a country bumpkin (as opposed to say, Edge in FF4); playfully picks on his partners when they make mistakes; is kind of a dick to animals (maybe not the most directly endearing quality, but it certainly helped give him a distinct flavor that fit his broader mold). Family matters; the characters have functional relationships with their family, and as tragedy strikes the game develops a more authentic sense of grief in them. Sometimes they just act in impulsive rage at what's happening around them. It's a far cry from the stone-cold determination to rise to all adversity that you see earlier in the franchise. It progresses. By the last few deaths, they aren't even trying to pull themselves together. You can feel their morale tanking more and more as things go on; they aren't "rising to the challenge", they're just pressing on because they have no other option. Square never tries to cheese a romantic engagement out of Butz either, despite that he's surrounded by women. He's too dejected and pissed off by the tragedy engulfing him to think of his partners as anything but friends. Once again a sharp contrast to FF4, where the cast felt more like hardened fighters accustom to death coming into it and could get over the hump relatively quickly.

    I dunno, I'm not going to say the character development was better than FF4's. It's more like 4 took an old trope where characters weren't even important enough to have names and infused them with personality, whereas here they're trying something brand new for the series: all back stories aside, they made the characters normal people.

    I don't mean to oversell it; they could have done a lot more. But relative to the previous games in the series, I felt the character development here was convincing and took a novel approach.

    One point that's... not really a good or bad thing, but just something I noticed, is how much easier the game felt. Granted I did a lot of mindless grinding to get my skill points up, I don't think I ever felt challenged at any point outside of the non-mandatory boss fights, many of which were so intense that I didn't even bother (Shinryuu opened its fight hitting me for more than my max HP at level 61 with all skills maxed and 30% HP boost activated). I guess I could grind for hours to get my level high enough to beat him if I really wanted to win the best weapon in the game, but at that point I'd be 1-shotting the final boss even without it, so what's the point really?) I played FF4 easy (US SNES) type for translation purposes, and I still ran into a lot of bosses against which I had to actually take some caution and think about my choices. By the end of 5, I was using exactly X-Attack and Cure 3 as the entirety of my rotation--the former consistently hit for the equivalent of 9999 damage, and the latter every other turn was enough to outheal every boss in the game. Obviously you don't get there witout maxing out a lot of skill classes in the first place, but the end reward for doing so felt pretty underwhelming in so far as it left almost every class nonviable, perhaps even more so than in FF3. That being said, if the franchise hadn't accustomed me to needing to power level to progress, I might have just enjoyed a fun play without the compulsion to seek extra encounters along the way and enjoyed a casual challenge. Having that option is a good thing. I miraculously still had my end game save from like 1998 when I loaded this up, and in that playthrough I was a whopping 20 levels lower at the final boss, 41 vs 61.

    Starting 6 tonight probably. This series playthrough is going really fast so far, though that's going to take a hit once I get to 7 and can't fast forward through random encounters anymore.

    ---------- Post added at 12:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:28 AM ----------

    Quick take rankings so far, from best to worst:

    1. Final Fantasy IV: huge turning point in the series for depth of play; phenomenal soundtrack; breaks away from the all-encompassing black and white good vs evil pitch to give characters points of internal conflict; enemy battle sprites are infused with Yoshitaka Amano's twisted and bizarre style to feel really creepy in spite of early SNES graphics; first game to attempt actual character development, with lots of compelling twists as characters you begin to bond with suddenly keel over

    2. Final Fantasy V: reverts to a more cliche approach from the start compared to 4. Heroes and villains are defined immediately and never waver. Some death events are just happening for the sake of maintaining an established "kill everyone non-essential" cliche approach to tragedy. A general feeling that the game was a bit of a rush job. Good character development in the main cast though, presents the heroes in a more casual light. Ample cut scenes project the cast as a band of relatively normal people experiencing joy and sorrow as opposed to battle-hardened veterans. Establishes an intimate bond between them that doesn't feel cliche. Job system is diversified and less tedious than previous installments that used it, although by the end most classes are overwhelmingly inferior to the best options.

    3. Final Fantasy III: Fun prototype to the series. First game to really immerse you in the flavor of the franchise and not just feel like a generic RPG. Not sure how much I enjoyed it independently, but it was fun seeing so many elements of the future franchise find their footing for the first time. By far my favorite of the NES titles. Still completely devoid of character development (the cast don't even have names), but the environment is unique and the mechanics, music, and art come together to really feel like Final Fantasy for the first time in hindsight.

    4. Final Fantasy I: Nothing I couldn't have thrown together in RPG Maker. Really just a mechanical procedure of fighting mobs and piecing together some really obscure hints to figure out where you're supposed to go next. Competitive with other RPGs of its day, but doesn't stand the test of time. Boring, really.

    5. Final Fantasy II: This game was bad. No getting around it. The skill raising system is god-awful and requires endless mindless grinding with no room for enjoyment. First attempt to create a plot (yes the characters actually have names) falls off a cliff. Like, Leon goes from being your unskilled childhood friend to the supreme evil leader of Team Evil over night with no freaking plot justification and then rejoins you as the prodigal son presumably only because his quest for world domination didn't quite pan out. Attempts at character development are so superficial that the simple fact that they have names is their most meaningful identifying features. Yet I do remember the story better than FF3's; it did at least attempt to have one. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly enough, and almost all other features of the game were bad.
    Last edited by Shad; 05-27-2018 at 09:43 AM.

  9. #9
    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Kind of unreal how much better FF6 turned out to be than any game in the series before it. That's not to say the older games were weak, but so much more went into crafting 6. It's on a completely different level, and they accomplished that without a system upgrade.

  10. #10
    Tone-Deaf Evil Fiend Shad's Avatar
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    Beat FF7 today. Hot take:

    First of all, I was shocked by how little I remembered of this game. I had to check my notes (yes I started keeping logs of this crap when I was like 8), and I'd only ever beaten FF7 twice as a kid, compared to say, 7 runs of FF6, Chrono Trigger, and Suikoden. Many aspects of it were very much a novel experience for me.

    My eyes adjusted to the poor quality of the CG, but I never got completely used to all of the characters being boxes. Compared to FF6 maxing out the SNES's potential, it was just a little rough. That certainly wasn't a game ender though.

    As a kid, I loved the Shinra. They had so many characters, and it was really their collapse from power that I took as the focal plot of the game. I think my imagination imbued them with a lot more personality than they actually had. As an adult, I found them a lot more 1-dimentional. The Turks are still cool guys just doing their jobs, but Heidegger, Scarlet, Palmer, they were all essentially chaotic evil types. Rufus was evil. Hojo was evil. Tseng was evil. Reeve is really the only normal guy with human emotions, and he spends most of the game in the avatar of a freaking stuffed animal. No, the Shinra weren't half as fun as I remembered. They were pretty shallow. A lot of that enemy-of-my-enemy empathy I thought I remembered never really blossoms. They're too busy going GYAHAHAHA when buildings topple over. It's a wonder they even bothered to fight the Weapons; I think most of them would have enjoyed watching Junon and Midgar burn. At least a lot of the nameless every day soldiers and employees you encounter had a human side.

    On the other hand, the more integral theme of the fight to save the planet made more sense to me. It was also kind of shallow and vague (ok so there's this thing that exists that is Jenova that destroys planets but the planet has a big white ball of stuff and some monsters that will fight it and if a Cetra prays to it it will turn green and Jenova's meteor can only be stopped by green glowing things not white ones), but as a kid I just remember going huh? and ignoring it. Um... I don't know if that's a good thing, it's just a thing.

    I did appreciate the playable characters a lot more than I used to. I ended up rolling with Barret and Tifa all game just like I used to, but I wanted to put Cid in my party too. I wanted to put Red XIII in my party. I felt like they all had well developed personalities except Vincent, and all but him and Yuffie had a clear reason to fight by my side. (Interestingly enough, Vincent and Yuffie were my least favorite characters as a kid too.) I think Barret and Cid especially shined to me in a way I wasn't able to appreciate when I was younger. Like Barret was always the tough guy, but it never sunk in before that the dude's a freaking terrorist. He's killed thousands of innocent civilians for his political cause. He's really not a "good guy" in the classic sense. He's uneducated and radicalized, and Tifa and Cloud aren't much better. Cid and Red are more the brains of the operation, and Cid's got his own agenda that only gradually comes in line with the interests of the planet. Not the pure, selfless heroes we're used to at all. I really liked that.

    The scene where a Weapon attacks Junon was freaking epic.

    The materia system was kind of fun in itself, but made the game comically easy. I made almost no effort to power up my characters (didn't even bother with the whole chocobo breeding crap to get Knights of the Round and some of the top tier materia) and bosses were still barely scratching me. About the only times I stopped to think about what actions I needed to take were learning the Midgar Zolom's enemy skill early and in the final dungeon when I ended up sticking myself with nothing but Cloud and an underleveled Vincent to fight off enemies that used instant death crap after I hadn't been able to save my game for two hours. (I assumed the party split would require me to actually play each of them, so I sent off the characters that were actually prepared for it into different groups.) Basic physical attacks took out just about any average monster. Bosses were quickly shut down with limit breaks and summons. I beat Sephiroth while I thought the fight was still just warming up. Dude just kind of rolls over and dies as long as you use a megalixir after his ultimate ability.

    On the whole though, I really did like it, and it was tastefully brief (my timer was somewhere between 35 and 40 hours). It's hard to even relate it to the other games. Definitely not as good as 6. Did I like it as much as 4? They're so radically different. Classic high fantasy vs steampunk fantasy. The latter naturally appeals to me more, and I want to say yeah I enjoyed this more than 4, with a caveat that 4 had significantly better music and that factor is pretty relevant to my overall enjoyment.

    So where am I at in rankings now, eh?

    Something like
    6
    7
    4
    3
    5
    1
    2

    And now it's time for the real test. I've been looking forward to this a lot. As a teenager I hated FF8. I thought it was really emo and sappy and I just couldn't enjoy anything about it outside of the card game. I know it's a lot of people's favorite game in the series. I remember approximately nothing whatsoever about it besides that random encounters level with you (hated that at the time but might like it now) and that Squall says "..." and cries a lot. Will I walk away from this with a radically different opinion, or will I feel about the same now as I did then? I'll start to find out in a few days.
    Last edited by Shad; Today at 08:12 AM.

  11. #11
    Grand Shriner arthurgolden's Avatar
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    This intrigued me enough that I'm going to pick back up FF7 after I finish replaying Front Mission: Gun Hazard.

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