24 July 2010

An open letter to Square Enix

Dear Square Enix,

You don't know a rat's ass about role-playing games. In a computer RPG, you, the player, create a character and play his/her role by choosing his/her actions and conversation choices in different situations you meet during the course of a game. Take BioWare's epoch Mass Effects; perfect computer role-playing games, where you create a character and play his/her role by choosing his/her actions and conversation choices in different situations during the course of a game. Simple, eh?

You, Square Enix, have never allowed any of this in your so-called role-playing games. In your Final Fantasy series, the player is given a role of a main character and just run through the game without affecting the outcome in the slightest. But in Final Fantasy XIII, you don't allow even this! The least you could is to let the player play the character he/she wants. But no! In your infinite wisdom, you have divided the game into parts in which one must play characters one absolutely doesn't want to play!

I don't want to be Sazh, I don't want to be Snow, I don't want to be Hope, I don't want to be Vanille! All I want is to be Lightning from beginning to end! But I friggin' can't do that! Damn you! So dear Square Enix, how... how on earth do you suppose I have the stamina and endurance to bear your atrocity of a game till the end?

Yours truly,
- Pissed-off Shunichiro

You know, if I could, I'd turn around and chop the heads off of everyone behind me!

13 July 2010

Final Fantasy XIII - the beginning

A while ago I picked up Final Fantasy XIII for PS3 from a summer sale. I must admit, I was both anxious and hesitant, but the handsome price won.

Straight to the matter. It really seems the game is full of contradictions. Take Lightning, the lead, or at least I hope she will be the lead. First, her looks. If I were to name an actress to play her in a live-action movie, I couldn't name anyone. Just... no one. She doesn't look distinguishable, yet, she's totally distinguishable. I also love her attitude, a no-nonsense loner who'd rather just fuck off everyone than be with with them. On the other hand, we have the co-stars, a less and even more less characterless folk. I was told beforehand Vanille is the most annoying of them all but I find her more amusing than annoying. A regular prep whose chirpy attitude is actually refreshening among other co-stars. Don't even start me telling about Snow...

The music. Towards the end of chapter three, there's some amazing music playing; a deep bass-driven song with a young female voice singing, or rather, whispering in the background. I wouldn't mind having that on a soundtrack to back me up while drawing. When the cut-scene kicks in, with Shaz flying an aircraft (in a scene so reminiscent of the new Star Wars trilogy it's not a coincidende but a puke-inducing event), the music shifts into 'funny' and 'funky'. In fact, whenever Shaz is shown, the music is 'funny' and 'funky'. Nyaaaargh! So, Shaz is your regular comic-relief. Racist, anyone?

I can't deny the game has some amazing graphics. I can't deny it has some high-cost production values put into it. I can't deny it has certain epic depth to it. Yet... it's no Mass Effect. Then again, what game could ever be - until Mass Effect 3, of course ;)

But I keep on playing, the progress I will try to tell you about in forthcoming entries. I want to believe in this game, I want to believe in Lightning, I want to believe in Japanese video games - that they still have life to them. I don't want to believe the west has won and where it got us. Save Mass Effects, most western games just glorify ulta-violence and nothing else. Just take games presented at E3. Depressing...

 "Waaaaah! It's all a blur!" "Shut your trap, Shaz!"