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noiseredux
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Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by noiseredux Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:05 am

hello and happy February. For this month's TR, we'll be digging into the many MANY offshoots and oddities that the Final Fantasy series has taken over the years. I nominated this theme because well, frankly we've never done any Final Fantasy game for TR which is kind of surprising. But I figured that while many of us have delved into the proper mainline series over the years, there was a much larger pool of tangents to choose from. Plus the range of genres and systems those games would be available on would probably help encourage participation. Indeed everyone should be able to find *something* to play this month based on what kind of mood they're in or which systems that own.

I'll be interested to see what games everyone chooses to explore. And I encourage everyone to get as creative with their picks as they may need to in order to play along. My biggest hope is to just see a lot of conversation about the games. So let's go ahead and have some fun, yeah?

(Maybe a mod should lock the old voting thread so it can sink and avoid confusion?)
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:03 am

I'm in.
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Sload Soap
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by Sload Soap Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:10 pm

Gonna dust off the PSP and boot up Crisis Core. I did try this a while back but didn't get very far. I am slightly apprehensive; the game exists in that post Advent Children bubble where the fanfic versions of the characters replaced the real ones. I like Zack though, he seemed more like Zidane than Cloud.
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by BoneSnapDeez Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:11 pm

You're a brave man.
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noiseredux
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by noiseredux Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:12 pm

I started Final Fantasy Type-0 a day early, though I only had an hour to get into it. So far I'm mixed, though admittedly I've barely scratched the surface of the game. The opening (superlong) cinematic was really dark. Like, I don't remember another FF that has had such gritty violence. I quite like the concept of this kind of young army, though. It seems like the idea is that there is a lot of customization depending on which characters you end up using. It being a FF game, I'm not sure I really know what the story is about but it seems pretty cool anyway, haha.

I don't know how I'll feel about the hub-world versus a more traditional overworld map. Who knows, maybe I'll grow to appreciate it. And in fairness, I've loved that approach in stuff like Phantasy Star Online. I haven't dabbled in the menus yet, so don't really know how leveling up skills or weapons work.

My main apprehension thus far is I'm not sure I'm too thrilled with the combat. I should divulge that - and this was my own misconception - for some reason I had thought going into Type-0 that the combat was turn based. It's totally not. So I guess that expectation getting dashed was a let down. It seems like the combat can be fairly complex, with switching between 3 characters and using various attacks/magic/skills. But eh, what seems like a reliance on having dodge attacks coupled with a rather lousy camera has so far made me think that the combat will be my least favorite part of the game.

I hope this doesn't sound overly negative, as it's just my initial thoughts on an hour (which with cutscenes, is not a lot of playtime). I'll be working on it more in the next couple days and hope to see it click a bit further since the reviews had all been quite positive.
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by Sload Soap Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:24 pm

I look back on Type-0 with fondness but its story is a shambles. It starts off all gritty as you say then alternates between high school hijinks and Lovecraftian horror with no connective tissue. The gameplay got me through, I really liked the combat. It's about building a team that works best for you.
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by Sarge Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:06 pm

Welp, looks like it's time to get rolling on Final Fantasy Mystic Quest again.

The funniest thing that happened (at least to me) is that I encountered some tree enemies that performed a Full Nelson on my character. That conjures some weird mental images. :lol:
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by Exhuminator Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:12 pm

Sload Soap wrote:I am slightly apprehensive; the game exists in that post Advent Children bubble where the fanfic versions of the characters replaced the real ones.

I know where you're coming from, and don't blame you for being apprehensive. I didn't expect much out of Crisis Core when I played it, but I ended up liking it quite a bit. Crisis Core has one of the best endings in any video game I've finished, especially if you've played through FFVII first. My only advice is to stick to the campaign missions, and only dabble in side missions if you need to gain a few levels. The (optional) side missions are extraordinarily repetitive, and it's easy to get burnt out on them. The campaign missions are fun though.

noiseredux wrote:I hope this doesn't sound overly negative / since the reviews had all been quite positive.

Well, I hope you end up enjoying it. I put over 20 hours into the original PSP version, and walked away dissatisfied. These were the notes I left myself on the PSP experience:
Good: The best graphics you will ever see on a PSP. Frantic combat engine that is fun despite a bad camera. Really nice looking CG movies. Above average OST.

Bad: Type-0 is wholly centered around hours of grinding due to level tiered mission requirements. You have 14 playable characters and all of them require copious amounts of grinding to keep up their usefulness. There's so much bad game design insofar as player inconveniences that it boggles the mind. This game does not respect its player's free time, and attempts to stretch about 10 hours worth of game content to 40+ hours, by artificial contrivances such as grinding, grinding, grinding. Also the writing is a wretched mess of characters you will not care about, plus a jargon addled plot that is at once byzantine and banal.

Overall: If you want something beautiful to look at on your PSP, play Type-0. If you want to play an actual fun JRPG on your PSP, avoid this game entirely. After over 20 hours of mucking through Type-0, I now understand why SQEX was reluctant to bring it overseas. And when they did, now I see why the HD version was completely rebalanced and had an Easy mode added.

Still, remember my experience was based on the PSP original, not the rebalanced console remake which everyone adores. It'll be interesting to see your overall takeaway from the experience.

-

I mentioned it in the other thread, but for the sake of posterity, these are the games I will try out for this TR:

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS) <-I plan to start this tonight.
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (DS)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (DS) <-I didn't enjoy Rings of Fate, but maybe I'll like this one.
Chocobo Racing (PS1)
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon (Wii)

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's picks.
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by noiseredux Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:20 pm

Exhuminator wrote:Still, remember my experience was based on the PSP original, not the rebalanced console remake which everyone adores. It'll be interesting to see your overall takeaway from the experience.


I read your notes, and yeah - I'll be interested to see if after putting in some more time if my opinion falls more in line with your takeaway, or that of the adoring critics.

We'll see how it goes. Either way I'm interested in enough to put some time in and give it a fair shake.
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Re: Together Retro: Final Fantasy Spin-Offs

by dsheinem Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:55 pm

noiseredux wrote:
Exhuminator wrote:Still, remember my experience was based on the PSP original, not the rebalanced console remake which everyone adores. It'll be interesting to see your overall takeaway from the experience.


I read your notes, and yeah - I'll be interested to see if after putting in some more time if my opinion falls more in line with your takeaway, or that of the adoring critics.

We'll see how it goes. Either way I'm interested in enough to put some time in and give it a fair shake.


What version are you playing again? Here were my thoughts. I wrote a surprisingly long thing on it - more than I would have thought :lol:

I am really not sure what I think of this game, even after finishing it. There are lots of things I really liked, lots of things I found really mediocre, and more than a few things that I found to be poorly done. I'll write a bit about each.

I liked the combat. It was fast, fun, and provided a good mix of action and strategy (with the emphasis on the former). I initially thought controlling a dozen or so party members at all times would be burdensome, but it was genuinely enjoyable to shuffle characters in and out and provide myself with new approaches to combat throughout the game. The auto-party member swapping during missions helped keep everyone close to the same level, too, which was appreciated and minimized my micro-management. I liked the soundtrack - it isn't amongst the best in the series, but it is still beautifully composed and doesn't overdo the nods to those familiar FF jingles...I am glad the CE came with a CD of stuff from the score. There was some stunning art direction, and more than a few stellar cut scenes. There was a traditional "old school" world map with random encounters and things to explore on the side. The game was about 25-30 hours, which is a nice length for an RPG for me. I did only a few side missions, though.

There were a lot of things that were clearly "mixed bag." While the art direction was itself phenomenal, the graphics were wildly uneven - distractingly so. It was impressive that they turned a PSP game into something that regularly looks like a PS3 game (and even sometimes a PS4 game at moments), but in almost every scene there are some jarring graphical details that can suck you out of the moment. On a related note...with a few brief exceptions, I didn't find the camera to be as frustrating as many reviewers did. The story had the kind of large scale grandeur and the type of varied set pieces that one would hope from a JRPG in general and from the FF series in particular, but it was very poorly told - the pacing, the character arcs, the twists, the climax - none of these were especially compelling. This is a shame, as the world building was impressive and I wanted to care about what I was doing, but it was tough to do so given what I had to work with. Also on the mediocre side was inventory/character build management - the menus were clunky and a bit confusing, even if they ultimately let you do some cool things.

There were things I hated. The dialogue. My god, the dialogue. Not only was it gratingly juvenile and boring, but it was horrendously delivered. This game has perhaps the worst English dub I have heard in a video game (though it should be noted that I don't play many games that feature this). The in-between mission stuff around the school also became tedious about half way through the game when you realized that maybe 1 out of every 6 interactions at best would be interesting. The game is also too easy - and as such you collect a lot of stuff that you never need or use. The game also has some poorly developed large-scale "capture/defend the town" skirmishes that take place on the world map: these are a boring waste of time (though at least the creators acknowledge this, as you can skip them with no penalty). Oh, I also hated hearing "Kupo!" approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 times while I played the game.

Still, I think I'd play Final Fantasy Type-1. The story actually ends on some interesting ideas (some of which are oddly hidden away in unlocked movies that you have to go watch on your own outside the story), and this was the newest FF RPG I've actually finished since FF9. I think I'd recommend it (especially if you can find it cheap at some point), just be ready to find a lot of poor execution mixed with some really good ideas.


As for me, I ordered some 8bitdo SNES BT controllers to play SNES Mystic Quest on my mini. They should be here tomorrow - I hope it is fun!
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