Gaming: Final Fantasy: The 13th Installment

3/23/2010 Posted by Admin


Final Fantasy: The 13th Installment

By our guest blogger, Jeff Hwang

When analyzing an entertainment series, the concept of success usually hovers around a sequel or so, but nothing more. Trilogies are common, but that is as far as they go. However, when the "Final Fantasy" franchise announced they were going to release their 13th title, no one was really surprised.

In fact, consumers were ecstatic.

It all started in 1987, when a lone title called “Final Fantasy” was released for the Famicom--the Japanese version of the first Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)--to save a small media company called Square Co. Back then, Square was suffering from heavy financial losses as a result of producing less-than-enjoyable video games. Yet even with the success of “Final Fantasy,” the company could not guess that they were going to make entertainment history.

That was 23 years ago. In 2003, Square had merged with the Enix Corporation, another media company, to form Square Enix. In the two decades since the release of “Final Fantasy,” the role-playing game had spawned a myriad of sequels, spin-off titles, animations, films and other merchandise. When Square Enix is mentioned, the "Final Fantasy" franchise is usually tied into the conversation as well. The two names are nearly synonymous.

How or why the franchise became such a global phenomenon is a mystery. Regardless, as new installments continue to arrive, fans around the world simply keep begging for more. They are now up to 13 titles, with the 14th already in the works. But for the time being, the subject is “Final Fantasy XIII.”

At a glance, one would have trouble determining whether “Final Fantasy XIII” is a video game or a feature CGI film. Truthfully, it is indeed a video game and that is it. Transitions between player-controlled scenarios and full-length cinematic sequences are virtually flawless.

With each series, it almost seems as if the worlds become grander, the music becomes more dynamic, the graphics become more realistic and the storylines become deeper and more complicated. When “Final Fantasy XIII” was announced for seventh-generation consoles Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, only anticipation awaited. Many of the recurring Final Fantasy elements remain, but of course with improvements.

Bear in mind that the Final Fantasy games are originally in Japanese. Because of this, voice acting and lip-syncing do not work very well in English translations. Square titles such as “Final Fantasy X” and the Kingdom Hearts series have subpar dubbing performances. However, scenes in the English version of “Final Fantasy XIII” have exceeded and raised the dubbing bar to a new level. It is not perfect--those who choose to can set the audio to Japanese and subtitles to English--but it has improved immensely. In fact, it seems that every aspect of “Final Fantasy XIII”--aside from the storyline, which is always debatable--has set a new standard. It could be because of the new engine in the seventh-generation game consoles, but nonetheless, “epic” would be the proper term to summarize this game.

For over 20 years the Final Fantasy franchise has existed. Games, movies and other media merchandise have already been written into the entertainment history books. With the release of “Final Fantasy XIII” and a pending release of “Final Fantasy XIV,” it does not look like Square Enix will be slowing down anytime soon.

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  1. Edward29 said...

    I have been a Final Fantasy fan since 6 and I just recently bought 13.
    I entered to win a PS3 on this site just for FF13. I even saved up just in case I didn't win.

    I am about 4 hours in to the game and I am enjoying it very much.
    The game is beautiful in glorious 1080p HD on my 20" LCD.
    The gameplay is fun with the ever evolving active time battle system.
    I like the story and characters I've seen so far. I think I can see where the story is going but i've been surprised before.
    Only character I dislike is whiny little Hope.
    I thought the voice acting as good and in sync. A lot of people look for it and ruin it for themselves. Even when I looking it is pretty good.
    The game is very linear at the beginning, but that his just to spread out the huge amount of tutorials. It is also tell the story.
    I hear you can branch out midway through the game.
    I don't have a lot of time these days to explore an open rpg world like I used to. Airships I kinda miss and seem to be a Final Fantasy tradition to me.
    I can't wait to get home from work to play more of it.
    Oh and for those who bought the PS3 version hurry and register the game so you can get into the FFXIV beta and also get a in-game exclusive item when it is release.
    Sorry for my unorganized spew of thoughts on Final Fantasy.

  2. Edward29 said...

    Holy cow did I really write that much!