Why I Hate... Final Fantasy • Page 2

Role-playing gahhhhhhhh.

Why is there so much walking? Endless, tedious, brain-numbing walking. It's punctuated only by episodes of being forced to consume thousands of words of poorly-translated dialogue exchanged by increasingly infuriating characters.

If I felt like reading, I'd pick up a book. I play games because I want to avoid anything that remotely resembles self-improvement. And no matter how many times I have to press a button to make my character spew out another inane sentence, you won't convince me this is anything other than a Japanified version of a Dan Brown novel.

"But!" I hear the fanboys cry. "But what about the cut-scenes, the epically glorious cut-scenes?"

Screw the cut-scenes. If you want to watch a digital render of a fantasy realm, go to the cinema. Perhaps to see one of the horrendous movies the Final Fantasy series has belched into existence. But don't pretend hours of repetitive gameplay are worth it in exchange for a few moments of CGI wizardry telling chapters in a fruit loop story.

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Seriously? Does this look like fun to you?

A story which, no matter how ostensibly insane, is really just the same as the one in the last game - seemingly insignificant hero defies odds to save world. These plots are always played out by a cast of deliriously over-the-top characters, who look like what would happen if Jedward raided a hair dye factory and a giant's armoury.

Final Fantasy is the standard bearer for giant swords and mental hair-dos. Weapons like Cloud's Buster Sword and Squalls Gunblade are ten-foot tall physics-defying monstrosities only overshadowed by the bizarre barnets our heroes sport.

Or are they heroines? So androgynous are the characters in Final Fantasy that it's often hard to tell. Perfect skin, gentle smiles, beautiful long-lashed eyes - these are just some of the features boasted by the series' male characters. They've surely been the biggest cause of sexual confusion amongst adolescent males since Bugs Bunny put on a dress and lipstick.

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More spiky-haired goings-on than a Jedward convention at a hair gel factory.

Even putting the silly characters and daft storytelling aside for a moment, there's no hiding the fact that the FF games just aren't much fun. They feel like a chore, a daily grind. They don't offer the pleasurable distraction I want and expect from a game.

To make matters worse, there's a never-ending tide of them. More than 30 iterations hit the shelves in the last decade alone. Having laboriously completed a Final Fantasy game, there's barely time to catch your breath before the next one turns up to eat away at your social life.

FF requires the kind of commitment I'm just not willing to make in the pursuit of entertainment. And certainly not for a series of games which feels increasingly mechanical compared to modern Western RPGs. I'd rather play Fallout and Mass Effect, games which don't force you to play out a storyboarded journey but which let you shape your own adventure.

As for Final Fantasy, I hope the next instalment in the series will live up to its name.

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Daniel Bettridge

Daniel Bettridge

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