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The irony in progression.

Discussion in 'Final Fantasy Discussion' started by xXShuyaXx, Feb 5, 2017.

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  1. xXShuyaXx

    xXShuyaXx Clan Centurio Member

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    Over many years, up till this very day, people have complained about FF changing a lot of it's old formulas in which the series had taken comfort with.

    This is on my personal level of ranting, but in my opinion, it's not a problem where like FF moves from turn-based to action that people are actually complaining about. But it's simply wanting what you don't have.

    To elaborate, FF has seen some major changes in the recent years, strange changes at that. FFX was probably the last game that was released in the mainline series that came before the world was given the freedom of speech on the internet. The time before things like Facebook and twitter, or anything related to a large scale social media platform were still very weak.
    And being the very first FF title in the PS2 era, it challenged the industry with it's high quality development. Which is what wowed us. But if you look at FFX, it was a drastic change from the previous titles. Linear (more or less, probably even more than XIII), lack of a world map, unable to control an airship etc. It dropped many elements from the previous titles, however because the majority of people were still trapped within their own little world outside of the internet, these changes weren't as prominently detected.

    Ignoring XI, the next big mainline title came with XII. That was in 2006, the social media bubble had already begun. People started talking and XII in my opinion was the first FF title that had it's own ''hype train'' with the internet denizens.
    Then FFXII did what was considered progression, but called fallacy by many of it's fans. FFXII had changed the formula greatly. But oddly enough, when time had passed, this was majorly forgotten and FFXII remains a classic despite it's initial backlash. Now it's something that fans relate FF to as part of it's formula.

    3 years later, FFXIII comes in. Comparatively, XIII is nothing like XII, but looks and feels a lot more like X. If you make a comparison of the two, you will be able to see that it those two games have more in common than any other in the series. Yet, only one was praised, while the other was trashed.

    Why? I think that is because, XIII was so different from XII. X was praised, XII being different from X is trashed, 3 years later XII is considered a classic, FFXIII comes to be different from XII, so it's trashed. There are more reasons, but in my opinion this is the general trend that I am seeing.

    A lot of old-time FF fans want FF to remain what it used to be, like remaining turn-based. They want it to remain the same.

    However, at the same time, which is also ironic...

    When other games like the Tales series remain generally the same, people start complaining and ask for a change.
    CoD retained the same formula for years and people complained about it being the same. The latest entry changed a lot of it's old formulas, now it's being trashed for having been changed or clunky compared to what it used to be.

    And there are many of the titles and series out there going through the same thing.

    Again, this is my opinion, but I think that we as gamers are poison to our own world.
     
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  2. Jubileus

    Jubileus AVALANCHE Warrior

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    Pretty much this, however I like to think that it's the loud vocal minority that are poisonous to the industry, even though this "minority" probably numbers in the millions...

    I think that, with the world being what it is today, there's always going to be someone complaining and not happy with how games have progressed. People are overly sensitive, hyper critical, and are quick to vocalize it (thanks a lot social media).

    If people are able to enjoy things for what they are whilst also being capable of pointing out areas that can be improved upon in a diplomatic and friendly manner, the fanbase would be far less "toxic" than how it is perceived today. But alas, such a utopia is not meant to be as much as I desire it.

    Personally, I am quite happy with how the FF franchise is progressing. It all comes down to choice I think. You can choose to overly focus on the flaws whilst not acknowledging the good parts, or you can acknowledge that there is good and bad in every game yet still enjoy the heck out of it.
     
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  3. T.O.T

    T.O.T Clan Centurio Member

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    Aye. Keep things the same, and there will be complaining. Change things, and there will be complaining. It's a lose lose situation truth be told. My suggestion to any person that does not care for the changes taking place within the mainline FF series would be to respectfully depart from it, while still cherishing the titles that they love. I am sure for example some of the SNES era players have done that in regards to 1 - 6. FF probably has one of the most diverse fandoms out there imo. It's impossible to satisfy everybody to a high quality at the very same time. In most cases, what one would despise another would love.

    I thought of an outside analogy. Imagine FF is like a person's best bud that they thought was the greatest thing ever since childhood. Obviously they grew up as a person as adulthood struck the door. FF as well changed as it went into adulthood. However instead of letting FF change at adulthood, the person rather have FF continue to operate as a kid as an adult. Some things are just going to change. Sometimes for the better...and sometimes for the worst.
     
  4. AnGer-dono

    AnGer-dono ShinRa SOLDIER

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    Change, as I said many a time before, needs a point. There is nothing inherently wrong with changing, as change can lead to betterment (or worsening), but near-constant, jumpy change gives off an erratic vibe, with the subject of said changes becoming increasingly less pleasant. To pick up on @T.O.T's analogy, this behaviour behooves a hormone-driven adolescent person more than it does an adult.

    But, allow me to break something down in regards to the progress of criticism heaved upon each of the single-player FF's in the post-ATB era to dispute the following claim:
    Let me work backwards here: XIII - and in some aspects its two successors, XIII-2 and LRFFXIII - are widely criticised for the following aspects:
    1. The plot, which has multiple issues, from the massive padding in the first part, the 'ticking off' of plotpoints in Chapter 11 and the overall lack of narrative pacing.
    2. The characters, which are drawn with the most rudimentary outlines, sometimes pivotal non-player characters serve as little more than deliverers of exposition or plot devices instead of fully realised characters.
    3. The overall world-building, which was relegated to an in-game wikipedia (the 'datalog') instead of exploration and interaction.
    4. The governing mechanics - the awkward combat system, the arcane character building and the focus on very little detail variety.
    5. (The lack of a successor within a close timeframe - for some arbitrary reason, XIV isn't properly counted.)
    Now, I do not believe one is being overly critical when applying the first three - these are pretty damn near the very foundations of narrative construction, going back decades, if not centuries of people creating and telling stories. In comparison, let's look at the criticisms heaved at Final Fantasy XII:
    1. The story was considered 'too political'.
    2. Vaan was 'not the main character'.
    3. The combat is perceived as being 'MMO-ish'.
    In comparison to XIII, the points made against XII are, in retrospect, far more subjective (the same goes for X, which some people consider to be 'too anime-y') and in some degree very poorly constructed (particularly the third point, which relies on the deprecation of a specific set of systems to portray it as 'unworthy', a very poor device of criticism, but quite common in the gamer mindset). It has also occurred to me that some people who dislike XIII also tend to dislike X, either equally or less, but the tendency is, in both cases, towards negativity.

    From my point of view, there is indeed a criticism of FF XII founded on rejection of change, but said foundation can barely be put forth in the case of XIII. I could be wrong, but the general consensus on FF XV seems far more positive when compared to XIII (most of the current criticism being targeted at publishing instead of the game proper), so I doubt there will be a re-evaluation of this trilogy in the 'post-XV world'.

    There is absolutely no 'irony' in this. What you see is solely black-and-white, but the truth lies within a grey area - people DO want change, but they also want security. As I said at the beginning of this post, change is good, but too much change from title to title - which FF does - comes across as irritating and insecure on the side of changing subject. Now, I cannot speak for the Call of Duty players, as I am not one of them, but much of the criticism levelled at the Tales series comes largely at the series from its strong adherence to repeating tropes and plot points in its narratives, plus both Tales and Call of Duty had an installment released every year for a fair amount of time now (although in the case of Tales, four of those games (Abyss, Graces F, Symphonia Chronicles and Hearts R) were remakes/ports of pre-existing games) making the feeling of them getting stale stronger.

    A series that has handled change fairly well, in my book at least, is the Ys series by Falcom. While the series was constant subject to change in the form of minor tweaks (like the introduction of magic in Ys II as opposed to Ys I), real major changes were only made after roughly three to four games (going from the 'bump attack' system to single-player button-oriented combat and then introducing a party system) and stuck around for a while, keeping the high-speed combat at the core of the experience though. It kept the series fresh throughout, but it never was too radical a change and gave off a feeling of proper evolution.

    And finally, let me get back to something that really bugs me:
    That is wrong, for all video games. People involved with them - both developers and fans - are caught in a technocratic mindset which dictates that 'progress' can only come in the form of either game mechanics or graphic fidelity. However, as we see with the criticism of the Tales series, that is but one of many routes to take for changing things up and, as a matter of fact, Final Fantasy wasn't always keen on completely reinventing itself. Whilst it is true that Final Fantasies IV through IX had the famed ATB combat, there were notable mechanical differences between each and every one - IV featured fixed characters with abilities tied to levels; V had its extensive job system; VI magicite; VII Materia; VIII the Junction system (which was the first 'true' departure from typical RPG system fare) and IX taught its characters new abilities by having them be equipped with specific items. And, of course, the world and the cast always changed, with FF VII and VIII actually receiving some backlash because the settings were so different from the usual sword-and-sorcery/steampunk fare prominent in JRPG.

    My point is, there are more places to go with a game series that don't necessitate the drastic changes that recent Final Fantasy games have evoked - having a solid basis and working from there can function just as well and maybe even invite more experimentation than you'd think.
     
  5. Hey Everyone

    Hey Everyone ShinRa SOLDIER

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    XIII was trashed for more a lot of reasons apart from it changing the combat formula, as someone who is pretty new to Final Fantasy and has only ever beaten 7,8,9,10, 13, and Type-0 I never really had any type of nostalgia towards the FF formula itself, and want it to be changed to real-time combat Kingdom Hearts battle system.
    But Final Fantasy XIII's flaws are worse than Final Fantasy X, or 12's for that matter.
    Combat: Abilities is slow and clunky, where the game itself moves at and incredibly fast pace, and practically punishes you for not clicking an ability fast enough, not to mention abilities are locked behind a paradigm, where as Final Fantasy games of old, they would just be all available to you, if you learned them, for example in Final Fantasy X if you unlocked it on your sphere grid, you can use it. In Final Fantasy XIII you have to press LB(I was using an Xbox controller, but I played it on PC), shift to your paradigm, then attack. Also unlike Final Fantasy games of old, it's best to use auto battle to perform a simple attack action, than to go into abilities, because it adds the attack to the ATB gauge faster. The game also plays itself at that point it really is just use Libra, see their weaknesses, Auto Battle(It's faster than abilities, and this game was clearly going for fast, but the combat system is just too slow well at least Abilities is too slow, and it feels like a detriment more than a plus which is why I barely used it where as games of like 10, 12, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 1 the combat is paced evenly with the game itself so it means a much more enjoyable experience, as you don't feel punished for experimenting, and the attacks are all there right in front of you, you just need to select them like for example if I want to use magic, I shift through the menu go to magic, select the spell done, switch the the next character, I don't have to jump through far to many hoops just to get to use one spell in FFXIII it's press LB, select paradigm, Libra, autobattle, rince and repeat it gets tedious boring and annoying. Honestly Final Fantasy XIII should have just been an Action RPG like Kingdom Hearts, or Type-0 would have had much better combat as a result. I could see a mix of Kingdom Hearts and Type-0 working for Final Fantasy XIII's combat personally. FFX actually had a pretty good battle system, because it actually allowed for strategic thinking in fact if FF wanted to go turn based I feel like that would be the best way to go about it.

    Story and characters: I didn't like the story or characters, the cast I largely found to be unlikable, apart from Sazh, and the story isn't comprehensible, and with Barthandelus(The whole fal'Cie not being able to talk, but he instantly breaks this rule), and the story being pretty hard to understand, and this is someone who has beaten every Kingdom Hearts game, but I found there stories much more comprehensible even the time travel stuff in Kingdom Hearts 3D which I find to be the only hard to understand thing in Kingdom Hearts.
     
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  6. Hey Everyone

    Hey Everyone ShinRa SOLDIER

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    I feel like Final Fantasy should drop the ATB system, and go straight turn based like Final Fantasy X, or full on action combat like Final Fantasy XV.
     
  7. AnGer-dono

    AnGer-dono ShinRa SOLDIER

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    I'd be okay with any of that, just as long as they manage to keep a system in place for at least a few mainline entries. Or maybe have them alternate, so fans of either can get their fill - though I am a fan of XII's ADB and I'd like that to stick around.
     
  8. T.O.T

    T.O.T Clan Centurio Member

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    I could see the next few mainline installments being ARPG given that there is room for improvement and a different experience. The only exception would be if one of those titles turned out to be an MMO.

    Far as FFXIII playing itself, that isn't completely true. You still at the very least have to switch roles correctly. The auto-battle I found to be pretty fail for me, so I manually put in commands instead. From my experience FFXII plays itself more than any other mainline game I have dealt with. I believe that was possible because too many gambits became available to use. FFXII is the only FF I could put down my controller, go fix some food, and come back and watch the action. I can't do that with any other mainline game.
     
  9. xXShuyaXx

    xXShuyaXx Clan Centurio Member

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    Geez that's long.

    As I said, everything I said is in my own opinion.

    You call it the wants of stability.

    I call it as human nature - ''I want what I don't have, but I don't want to lose what I have'', in order words ''fear of change''. It all comes down to wanting change, but wanting to stay the same, creating a stalemate.
     
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  10. AnGer-dono

    AnGer-dono ShinRa SOLDIER

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    No, I call it 'moderation'.

    EDIT: What doesn't help Final Fantasy XIII's case in particular is that the systemic underbelly is largely built on 'novelty' - change for change's sake - rather than 'progression', which is change towards a plausible end goal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  11. The GemiKnight

    The GemiKnight Red Wings Commander

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    It's refreshing to see comments like this. I think Jubileus makes an excellent point here. If I were to add anything to this thread, I would simply say that gamers need to lighten up! At the end of the day, it's just a video game. As far as FF changing over the years goes. Whilst this is true, every game past, present and future has and will continue to have one thing in common. They are developed by a dedicated team of people. Everyday men and women who spend long hours doing the hard work so that we, the fans, can do the easy part and play the game. So, at the very least, gamers should show a little appreciation to the people that make these games a reality.
     
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  12. coffee-san

    coffee-san Red Wings Commander

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    Just interjecting here (I've been lurking for a while), but I think this post pretty much sums up my feelings about the current age of gaming. The new interconnectedness between consumer and developer as a result of social media, is really a double-edged sword.
    The internet has given almost everyone a voice and it's unfortunate that the majority of people fall into the "overly sensitive, hyper-critical" description as Jubileus stated.

    I am also a staunch believer that the majority of people with voices are not very.... articulate when it comes to making a critique, which can cause developer confusion to any studio that cares to listen to fans.
    Can't count how many times I've seen people making weak comparisons between FFXV and whatever new action RPG that's out, just to say "This game did it better than FFXV!!", rather than carefully pinpoint FFXV's flaws and make suggestions on how to improve.
     
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  13. Storm

    Storm AVALANCHE Warrior

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    the problem with changing things all the time is that, in general, when you make something for the first time (let's say, an open world for last gen or even implementing a new design idea) it won't come out in optimal state; only with refinement you can achieve that.

    that's why games like pokemon, uncharted, souls franchise keep consistent scores; they keep the same formula but refine it over and over again; FF changes a lot, FFX is totally different than FFXII which is the opposite of FFXIII and once again FFXV is another beast; SE should keep the same formula for a while and not change all the time, that's my opinion.

    FF didn't blew the world in a day, it was only with VII entry that it reached it's prime (in terms of success and reception), it took six games for that; i hope to god they use FFXV as the foundation for future titles, instead of trying something totally different.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  14. T.O.T

    T.O.T Clan Centurio Member

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    This reminds me of FFVII. The 3D modeling in that game is very poor imo, but was greatly improved with both VIII and IX. Lip sync for English dialogue in X is horrid, and there was even criticism toward a few of the VAs. Those issues pretty much weren't talked about by the time FFXII came around.
     
  15. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    It's worth pointing out that both of those transitions are great examples of how it's possible to refine things and make major changes at the same time. FFVIII's realistically-proportioned, fully textured characters looked nothing like FFVII's untextured sprite stand-in field models or untextured anime battle models, and FFIX's fully textured SD models didn't look like any of the others. Similarly, FFX and FFXII did very different things with their voice acting, but the latter still obviously benefited from the existence of the former.

    Personally, I think FF is better off insisting that the only constant is change than it would be if it settled down into any particular formula. Changing from a formula that's worked in the past but is slowly starting to work less is one of the most dangerous times for any series, and FF's insistence on constant change seems like an effective way to avoid that.
     
  16. Hey Everyone

    Hey Everyone ShinRa SOLDIER

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    Luckily Gambits are optional, for auto-battle I found it to be a requirement for me in combat, it was more effective than abilities most of the time.
     
  17. Ikkin

    Ikkin ShinRa SOLDIER

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    I tried playing FFXII without Gambits on my first attempt at the game. It didn't last long -- the game's refusal to make command menus work the way they do in ATB games drove me up a wall. >_>;
     
  18. coffee-san

    coffee-san Red Wings Commander

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    Agree.
    That kind of modest progression is why I always harken back to the days of FFVII-X so fondly; It was a good time for both Square and Final Fantasy fans because of two things that stemmed from it:
    1. Those games all stuck to a similar formula in their design, so they were much easier to develop.
    2. As a result of that development, FF titles came out faster. (The average dev cycle back then was like 1-2 years at most?)

    And what I love most about this era was that despite each game being so similar in concept, each one found its own identity through some kind of modest change in the formula.

    We even saw that kind of thing happen again with the XIII series. Because they stuck with Crystal Tools for the trilogy, those games were coming out almost back to back (The dev cycle for these games was also 1-2 years.) And even here, each game was able to find its own identity as the each sequel was able to improve on things its predecessor didn't do as well.
    I feel like this kind of development cycle should be the standard for Final Fantasy with each new console generation. Create a dedicated engine for the era, make some /stable/ games on it, move on.

    It's obviously more nuanced than I'm making it out to be, but I believe it's a feasible goal regardless.
     
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  19. T.O.T

    T.O.T Clan Centurio Member

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    Auto-battle is optional because at any given point you'll only have full control of a single character. Gambits are a requirement in FFXII because otherwise you as the player will be doing a lot....and I do mean a lot of micromanaging across all three characters in longer fights where berserk is not used at all.
     
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