Are you a fan of Final Fantasy? Were you excited about Final Fantasy Versus XIII? I was. Let’s just make a note of that word there. WAS. After seeing game play trailers of Versus XIII I was very excited about the game’s future release and the prospect of a decent next-gen Final Fantasy. If you were too then prepare to be disappointed. Square Enix have dropped Versus XIII in favour of Final Fantasy XIII-3. Yeah…
After the uproar following the half-arsed release of XIII-2 in which players had to BUY downloadable content which would allow them to properly complete the story. Before I go further with this I just want to set a few things straight. My first Final Fantasy game was X. It stands as my favourite. I have played 3, 4, 12 and 13 and started 6, 7, 8 and 9. I liked 13 first time around, but that was because I was good at it. Well, I was better at it than my sister at any rate. Then I played my friend’s Xbox copy and I started to notice something. It was boring. The characters were irritating at best (except Sazh, I love Sazh and I dare anyone to doubt his awesomeness), the plot was OK and the battle-system was casual gaming at its worst. Sure, 12 had the gambit system which eventually had you just pushing the joystick towards enemies, but you had to set them up yourself. With 13 you could just mash Auto-Battle and occasionally make a paradigm shift. And there was just no challenge. Even with your gambits you still got a challenge in 12’s bosses and marks. FF13 was casual gaming at its worst.
And then came 13-2. After FF13 I vowed not to buy 13-2 after playing the demo. Sure, the monster party member was a nice touch, but Quick-Time Events? A convoluted storyline involving multiple time paradoxes? A random other world we never even knew existed? Seriously? Maybe I’m biased. I get that Final Fantasy needs to keep with the times and keep updating itself. After all, we’d all complain if they just kept making the same game over and over with a different story-line. But you would think after the complaints over FF13, Square would have tried to improve the battle system, which was their biggest flaw. But no.
And now, FF13-3: Lightning Returns. The final instalment. With another time-based story-line featuring a single playable character and an action battle system I lament to say that the Final Fantasy RPG may be gone. I hope Square has learnt some lessons, but I doubt it. The Final Fantasy we knew is gone and with the desperation to appeal to casual gamers, it’s not likely that it will return. It seems stupid to have cancelled Versus 13 to build another sequel to the second worst Final Fantasy game (after XIV), but it seems XIII-2 made enough money to warrant more.
Goodbye Final Fantasy. It was nice knowing you.