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Final Fantasy: Discover the plot in a 5 minute segment

  • Puddor
  • 01/21/2013 10:45 AM
  • 2532 views
Admittedly, I’m rather hesitant about trying or reviewing this project because first and foremost I have issues with the idea of trying to blend multiple Final Fantasy systems. There’s a reason they’re kept in separate games rather than in one, but in the end I decided to try this game out and see how it fared.

Sigh. I’ll save the meatier sections for last.

Graphics: 3

Although I’m not 100% on where he got the tilesets, most of the graphics were ripped from Final Fantasy PSP remakes and the like. They’re not too badly put together, though Pulse’s graphic does stand out as edited. The first dungeon feels a little bland, and the bottom most area of it doesn’t feel all that ominous despite what happens down there. The animations are nice and fancy, though at times it feels like they take a little too long to execute.

Music: 3

Dissidia and various Final Fantasy games. I wasn’t able to place the main dungeon’s theme so I assume it’s from a Final Fantasy pre 7. However, I felt the music changed way too much to be justifiable. The main battle theme for the dungeon is the FF13 battle track from Dissidia, which is fine, but this is then followed by Dissidia’s Battle 1 from FF9, then the main boss theme from FF12, then the Dissidia battle theme from FF4 I believe, all subsequent. They’re massively chunking up this game (the demo wouldn’t be more than 30 minutes in length and the game is around 160mb in size). Yes, it is epic, and yes, it does sound great, but at this stage of the game it shouldn’t be that big. The filesize should be reflective of the content and so far that’s not the case.

Gameplay: 2

Standard RPG fare. The battles are ok up until ‘reinforcements’ start arriving, which ups the frustration level several times to the point I was rapidly mashing Enter just to get through them. The battles were two enemies each usually with around 150-200 HP, followed by an Ensign at 110. Your party members dealt around 90 HP per round which isn’t too bad, but at this stage, despite having a team of temps, you’re reduced to Attacking every round. Only ‘Lightning’ had access to anything of remote use- which was Thunder- and it took too long to cast to feel worthwhile dishing out every turn.

Oh, and then there’s the boss battle. Though the game seemingly presents you with two options; take out the support drones first or take out the centre drone and kill the other two; you’re really only going to do the latter, because the main drone deploys a replacement immediately. It was enough that I just ended up throwing Attack and Thunder at the main drone although it now had ‘Protect’; despite my use of two Electro Marbles to take out the support first. It’s an illusion of choice when there’s really only one route, and it isn’t remotely fun, either. It just feels frustrating and button mashy with no real choices being made.
This is then followed by the main character miraculously learning Auto-Bowgun on the airship, which would’ve been IMMENSELY HELPFUL throughout the original dungeon, but wasn’t present due to…plot? Gradual introduction of abilities?

Along with that development, there are enemy-containing chests during the first section of gameplay- really? Usually this isn’t introduced until midway or equivalent- and SHIFT to run. Ok. I am guilty for doing this. I am guilty for keeping it in there (for the sake of people seeing my run graphics but that’s not really an excuse), but it’s a default feature of Ace, and it’s not hard to set it so the default speed is the increased one. Square Enix phased it out in 1999, man. The dungeon was long and windy, the encounter rate occasionally stupid (most likely RM’s fault, though) and the battles were tedious (for no apparent reason, either, which I’ll cover in a second). With the amount of interesting and dynamic systems that have come and gone in Final Fantasy over the years, I was hoping for something a little less standard. Hopefully this can be remedied, though it’s…second priority.

Story: 1

THIS is your first priority.

Tropes are great. Stereotypes are created because we enjoy revisiting concepts. They can be used to craft a fantastic plot if executed well and in an elegant fashion.

Final Fantasy Discovery fumbles this task and then accidentally drops it in the fish tank.

The characters I had even the remotest interest in were the temporary guys. They seemed to have a bit of personality depth, though a lot of it felt tacked on and shallow, especially the random limit break tutorial. (Oh, right, they have limit breaks. Yeah. Your main character’s is the ability to steal things, and I didn’t even get one during the boss fight). And then there’s Cid/Pulse whatever his name is; he’s a Gary Stu if I’ve ever seen one. He feels overpowered right off the bat despite sucking pretty hard in your fights, and everything he does feels like it contrasts. He’s impulsive, then thoughtful, then an ass, I don’t even know. He’s barely defined at all in half an hour of gameplay. Is this an early Final Fantasy trope of some kind? I felt more connection to characters like Reks than I do to Cid, and I’m going to have to be dealing with this guy for the rest of the game.
Then there’s the forced and tacky banter between Reeve, Vicks and her brother who I don’t remember the name of because I named him something stupid by that point. Their ‘personalities’ are stereotypical and they feel absolutely one-dimensional and bland, puppets to the plot rather than having their own goals or ideals. And if they did they wouldn’t feel all that developed either. The dialogue tries to craft exposition but does it in a brutish way, thus the characters sound more like instructional robots with programmed directives rather than real people. It needs a serious revision so the characters aren’t physically painful to read.
Aaaand that’s not even touching the plot or pacing.

So apparently, the King of Palamecia, who everyone thinks is a good guy, is turning on the rest of the world and going to use a crystal as a war weapon. Ok, that’s fine as a plot, and can be executed quite elegantly if written well.
The thing is this is all revealed in a five minute spiel from the protagonist’s father, who is the evil scientist present in every Final Fantasy after FF7. He happens to be holding some nethicite, which in turn holds an aeon, who the protagonist apparently killed and now it wants revenge. Oh, and the three mercenaries working with you are spies! And Bahamut just blew them up.
Still in the same five minute spiel.

This is then followed by the typical traitor speech, convenient airship finding, and inconvenient airship crash. In which we also discover the protagonist is an inventor who created the parachute.

Still the same five minute spiel (or it would be if it wasn’t for the three fights against bombs, which are what blew up the airship).
So the protagonist is a master thief, an inventor, a freelance mercenary and a guy who can kill Bahamut by using solely the attack command and stealing. Oh, and a really great pilot, apparently?

Ok, big dramatic events are great, really. And they can be well executed, too! But the pacing here is terribad and feels forced and clunky. There’s too many face-heel turns in one cutscene for me not to sit there incredulous and at the brink of bursting into laughter. Cramming every single RPG and Final Fantasy trope into one game isn’t going to work, and especially not when you attempt to do it in one scene.

Conclusion

I’m the last person who’s going to discourage blending Final Fantasy’s, you know. I’ve been there, done that, and completed the project. The truth is you have to pick your battles carefully; what should stay, what should go, what works, and what doesn’t. At present, the two core elements of an RPG- which are story and gameplay- aren’t up to scratch in any way. The gameplay is frustrating, and I’m not of the mind ‘it gets better later’, because I am playing the game now, and the other thing that could hook me into continuing- aka plot- is nigh laughable.

My advice to the creator is to sit down and seriously assess the plot and whether its blended features are really working, because right now the pacing is horrid and the plot cliché. And it’s not even ironic or funny cliché. This game would be delightful and would have me hooked if it was intended satire of the RPG genre, but the plot takes itself completely seriously, and thus it’s painful to experience. Also, overview and have a few people test only the battle system and try to bring it to a balance of blended systems and fun. I wasn’t enjoying myself while playing this game, and really it doesn’t matter what kind of systems you’re throwing onto the table if I’m not having fun using them (or not getting to use them). You’ve handed the player three temporary members, you could easily allow them to have a selection of the upcoming systems and functions and still kill them off.

My advice to players is perhaps give it your own attempt- I have my own views, of course- but it may be wise to wait until a later version to play. Even if this is apparently some kind of tech demo it doesn’t really demonstrate any of the technical aspects of the game or how the blended systems are going to function together.

Although at present the download is out of date, some issues brought up here could still very well be present in the game and I wanted to address them formally. Just because a demo is slightly out of date doesn’t mean every single issue is fixed within gameplay, I know this from experience (OTL). This game has some of the finest gameplay mechanics in RPG history under its belt, so I sincerely hope WCoulliard can bring it up to scratch so it lives up to its so-called title of ultimate fangame.

I will refrain from rating it officially for now, but at present the game stands at a 2.

Posts

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Interesting review. I'll mark some of my opinions:

Graphics --
With Yanfly Engine Ace, and its 30 to 60 FPS animations, I cannot agree more. Players like me don't have fun watching the same casting animation for 30 hours -- RTP or not.

Music --
I can't really offer any points other than the fact that I put a couple of songs on my playlist for awhile.

Gameplay --
Normal attack spam is an RM sin. Right now I'm working on videos that talk about spell rotations. One thing I frown on is spells being made before their relevant. This turns 50% of the spells into Useless Usefuls.
What I would try and do is made sure the player isn't spamming normal attack more than 3 times before using a spell. I don't know how this will translate into an FF fangame, but cooldown spells are great for allowing the player to use spell rotations.

Also, it would be nice to make at least one state powerful against a boss. I haven't played the demo in a while, so this is just a warning,
And feel free to make bosses hit hard while having low HP. This will allow for the white mage to get some action without making the player feel as though their wasting a turn healing.

I don't agree with SorceressKyrsty's Critique on Auto-Bowguns, as it was irrelevant at that point of the game. I do, however, know where you're coming from. This is a dungeon design flaw if anything... make the enemies weak to a certain spell, and the player spamming said spell should outright kill them in the first dungeon, IMO.

Also you bought up the fact that this game holds many great features. A lot of games hold great features.
And a lot of games fall under those features in very little time.
Watch this, as it holds my opinions on everything.

Story --
I agree with you for the most part. Though I tend to be biased against stories like this.

--
Good read, SorceressKyrsty. :)
I'm glad you didn't rate the demo as that can be a huge deterrent to star whores.
I like that you used the term "heel-face turns" ::grasps WrestleMania tickets::

Can't wait until April.

In any event, Krysty, I'll take your critiques into consideration for the next version (a lot of things already changed from the release of the Lite Demo but there's always more improvements to be made).
I can say that the only thing I found really annoying in the demo was that it was hard to have the Limit gauges filled for the guests to see their Limit Breaks. If you could make so that more actions would charge the Limit gauge, at least for guests, it'd be cool.
author=Noel_Kreiss
I can say that the only thing I found really annoying in the demo was that it was hard to have the Limit gauges filled for the guests to see their Limit Breaks. If you could make so that more actions would charge the Limit gauge, at least for guests, it'd be cool.


This has already been done. Various actions increase Limit Break charge while certain weapons multiply the charge rate.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
This review reflects an outdated version of the game, correct?
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