I am so not kidding. Go watch the trailer.
Done? Good. Now, tell me…
What just happened?
I have long stood by my stance that Final Fantasy (and most of Square’s works in general) takes itself way, way too seriously, but that all goes down the drain next to this. Dramatic music with the Sephiroth choir singing to two people kissing in front of fireworks just before the girl starts randomly crying, assumedly because she isn’t telling her sister she’s some made up noun, or running off with a guy named after a weather condition. Then some chick sings some most-likely heart-wrenching song (or so the moody piano implies, but it’s in Japanese so good luck there) as things explode, people talk about how they’ve ruined everyone else’s lives, and a villain who comes out looking a lot like a less cool Sephiroth (because, you know, he has to counter what I’m told is a completely intentional female Cloud lead character, also named after the weather) come out and justify why they all have to die, and people start crying, and arguing, and crying, and screaming, and “you can save us!”
Oh, and somewhere in there it shows that they’ve gone back to the traditional turn-based battles, or something similar, which admittedly irks me but I see something there trying to add some sort of depth to it. Hopefully that meter where I see “Attack” four times doesn’t mean I’m just pushing X three to six more times to attack repeatedly when the inevitable level grinding comes into play. FF12’s system wasn’t ground-breaking, but at least I got to run in circles while waiting for Panelo to get done recharging from yet another Cure spell, then beat things with a stick. Then run some more. That little bit of input, kids, makes the difference in whether or not a player feels involved, which is often important to things like interactivity, the separating factor between games and a TV show.
I planned to rant about game design tonight, between some forum discussions and my own approach to how I work out my little theories and designs, but this so won. Sure, FF has always been kinda a stick in the mud as far as being upbeat is concerned (though in my experience retranslations have helped this – I never knew Edgar was supposed to be funny until the GBA version of FF6. Kinda makes me miffed 7 still only has the original release, though Barret tries, bless his heart. Coincidentally, there’s also a token borderline racist black comic relief in 13. And yes, he is crying and I think pointing guns at people. I’m confused), but compared to this the most serious moments in the series seem like a bunch of clowns prancing around in posies singing gleefully about kicking midgets, and then they do so, and then the midgets laugh as they fly away, propelled by the kick and their own rainbow-colored farts. That’s how incredibly drama-infused this thing is.
Don’t get me wrong. This is the first FF of the console generation, and it’s about darn time. I’ll be getting it, but I’m a lot less eager about it all of a sudden. The battles aren’t what I’d crossed my fingers for, and while the story seems a bit more character-focused (as it dang well should be), the overall amount of “holy crap look how serious the voice acting is” (which actually during that opening bit made me verbally state “are you kidding me?”) ends up being repulsive more than anything else. Too thick, Squaresoft.
This is a 7+ minute trailer, here. There’s roughly 30-60 seconds of clips from battles on it, and those actually look good. Sure, it looks like it’s back to being turn-based, but when lady-Cloud comes flying in on a horse or someone comes out on motorcycle-stolen-from-Cloud-and-totally-pimped to BURN THE ENEMIES WITH IT’S EXHAUST FLAMES you take notice and think “okay, that looks pretty sweet.” Undoubtedly about the 50th time you’re forced to sit through it it’ll be much less so, but for a trailer, lookie there! But screw that, let’s focus on the sheer, unrivaled drama that would make your grandma’s shows seem like comedies. Holy crap.
I’m glad the new Mario & Luigi is out. I’m going to need something to counter that mass of emo I just sat through.