Tag Archives: JRPG

Final Fantasy II

Sixteen years ago, somehow, I played Final Fantasy for the first time, with my only previous JRPG experiences having been an abiding love for Dragon Warrior, deep amusement at Secret of Mana, and unremitting loathing for Final Fantasy VII. You’ll note, if you clicked through, that I had evinced an intention to continue playing the remainder of the Final Fantasy oeuvre. Believe it or not, that was actually true, and I really have been playing Final Fantasy II on and off for all of those many years since[1].

The main difference between the first and second game is that where the first game used “save the world!” as an excuse to string together a lot of random encounters in the world and in various dungeons wherein you could level up and get better equipment and better spells, allowing you to fight harder random encounters and dungeons… In the second game, all of those actions are strung together by an actual plot, with actual characters. I mean, plot and characters as imagined through the lens of the 1980s, but it’s actually there.

I’ll go a step farther, and say that the plot, although largely on rails, feels as if it is reacting to the actions of the characters. Which is impressive! There are three main characters, teenaged friends who get caught up in events, and a floating fourth character, who you are supposed to become attached to but who I largely viewed as a tool who occasionally stole my equipment by leaving the party without warning in any number of various ways.

That said, the game still punishes you for playing a game that old by having bizarrely restrictive spell and items capacities and random bugs that make the nominally most powerful spell in the game be functionally useless. Nevertheless, it was a good game. I mean, if you’re okay with mindlessly wandering the world having random encounters between various dungeons that advance the plot, but that’s just what a JRPG is, you know? (But Dragon Warrior was still better. For one thing, no goddamned chocobos.)

In case you’re wondering if I will play Final Fantasy III: I’ve started it already. (This proves nothing, of course.)

[1] Although I restarted at one point post-2014, switching platforms from DS back to Playstation[2]. (Well, PS2, since manufacturers once upon a time understood backward compatibility.)
[2] Because it’s harder to play a game together on a tiny-ass DS screen[s].

Final Fantasy

Over the past several months, I’ve played Final Fantasy (with intentions to play the other ones, eventually) as my tiny-TV-in-bed time-waster of choice. The amazing part is that I actually got around to finishing it, just last night. Well, it’s not that amazing. I am a jobless bum with no real prospects, since my marketable skills have been eroded over the past three years of getting paid a king’s ransom not to use them.

…but it’s possible that this is not about that. Um. Where was I? Right, the game. I’ve been reading 8-bit Theater for lo these many years, and once I realized they were re-releasing the game, I got it in my head to play as the characters from the comic. Then, I played it for a while. Then, I didn’t. Then, after I got unenjobbed, I returned to it, and after a quick walkthrough to remind me of the dungeon I was in the middle of, I got back to plugging away at it. It is mindless, but certainly entertaining. Even with cleaned up translations of the spells and people’s speech patterns, it still makes barely a lick of sense. But at the end of the day, the world was saved, so that’s pretty cool.

Also: unlike any other Final Fantasy game (well, that I know of; I admit that my knowledge in this regard is limited), there are no chocobos. This alone makes it the most awesome thing ever for the whole of the minute or two that you’ve spent reading just now, not to mention the minute or ten I’ve spent typing. I mean, just imagine it. A world with no chocobos! It would be fairly breathtaking, but luckily we are blessed by other video games who have never heard of such a beast, on even the quietest winds of rumor. But if we weren’t, man. People would be lining up to play this game over and over again, just to avoid that terrible fate.

Or, maybe it’s just me with the chocobo aversion.