Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review: Final Fantasy 1

So... this is the last fantasy we'll ever make, right guys?
Final Fantasy is a pretty big name in the gaming industry. Some might argue one of the biggest out there. So for its 25th anniversary and the fact that Allie is a complete stranger to the series, we decided to work our way through them. Before we get into this, what exactly do you know about this game? What are your expectations?

Like the first game? I don’t know.. pretty much like Dragon Quest I guess? I know it’s kind of a precursor to that whole genre of JRPGs , so I do kind of expect it to be like the bog standard variety. There’ll be 4 characters and there’ll be a warrior and FF’s infamous black mage archetype and they’ll have big swords and attacks like lightning bolt and face such thrilling adversaries as SOME BEAST DUDE and A DEMON LORD. Maybe I’ll meet a fortune teller.

Sort of! Whether there’ll be a warrior or black mage is entirely up to you. Since pre-made characters with names, personalities and backgrounds weren’t a thing yet, you’re forced to make your own posse. So who are we working with, Al?

Alright my elite squad is the following:
  • Allie, a warrior because, just like in real life, I’m pretty rubbish at casting spells.
  • Tobi, a black belt because of your muscly arms.
  • Isaura, the mean sneaky red mage based on Tobi’s mean sneaky cat
  • And Fee, my family’s late great sassy pet degu shall be commemorated as an angelic White Mage (aww)

    We did a pic, so it's canon 4eva
When you start off, your party is immediately thrown on the overworld. You don’t really get much explanation on who your dudes are or where they come from. All you need to know is that you’re the heroes and you need to go off to do hero stuff. At least that’s what I assume. For an RPG, this game has a surprising lack of dialogue and story.

It’s actually weirdly a whole lot more like Ultima 4 than I was expecting. You’re travelling a big map and you’re left to figure almost all of the game out. (presumably by using some kind of manual) You have to acquire better modes of transportation to get further. And collect orbs. Always with the orbs.

The orbs kind of weird me out, to be honest. I thought Final Fantasy was all about crystals. Where are the crystals, Square? And Chocobos? And moogles?

To be honest, the classic LotR style high fantasy kinda weirds me out a bit too. Where's all the... yknow... Japaneseness? There’s no sexualised anime girls and blobs of slime with cat ears and stuff.
Teeheehee bone r
In terms of design and interface, the game’s problems are apparent very quickly. Perhaps I am looking at it unfairly with my 2013 gaze, but I can’t imagine people not being bothered by a bunch of this stuff. As soon as an enemy dies in a turn, the enemy dissolves into thin air. However the party members that still had attacks queued up against that enemy will still attack the space, whether something is there anymore or not. Another big problem is managing your equipment. You have no easy way of knowing if the stuff in the store is better than what you’re using or if your character can even use it to begin with.

I knew it would be rough, but I guess I didn’t fully grasp how rough this would be. This isn’t like SNES RPGs with your tight interfaces and mostly understandable localisation. But it’s really tight for a NES game I suppose. You can see how it was a big deal for its time.

Having played this before and knowing what I was getting into, it’s still not the easiest or most entertaining game out there. However it’s still worth going through as it’s a pretty crucial entry if you want to get a large chunk of references in Final Fantasy 9.

This game is suuuuper boring. More boring than I expected? I guess not. I give this game a ‘patronising acceptance even though I'm totally bored out of my skull’ out of 10
Really? That seems a little lazy and easy. No wonder this is the last fantasy ever.
I should note one thing though before closing off. Am I really the only person out there who is irrationally irritated by the fact that the only highlighted shape in company named Square’s logo is a triangle? Whyyyyy?

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