Friday, June 29

where the night takes you

well i started tonight off wanting to get some work done - actual work, as in "my job." yes i know it's a friday night but i'm taking a week off next week and so there's things to be wrapped up before then.

anywho, what started out as a simple search on youtube has again turned into a couple of hours wasted - well, not wasted THIS time (so often youtube is synonymous with wasted time), rather, it was time spent reminiscing.

it started with a search for the end cutscene for Final Fantasy X, morphed into a search for the best rendition of "To Zanarkand" (the most recognizable theme song from FFX), and ended with a search for the "perfect ending" end cutscene for Final Fantasy X-2 - in ENGLISH. and i was reminded yet again...

we haven't had a good Final Fantasy game in several years. the last one was X and X-2 (i'll count them as one here for the sake of argument). XI was some MMO crap and XII was, well, i haven't written my formal review of it yet, but let's just say it lacked heart.

yes, heart. as i watched the end cutscenes for these games i played several years ago, i was still moved. i just watched the end cutscene for FFXII maybe 3 weeks ago and i was hardly moved at all. in fact, i've played quite a few RPGs since FFX and X-2 and most of them didn't move me as much as they did. yet here it is, several years later and i just watch these endings on youtube and they illicit more of an emotional response than something does after just having played it for weeks on end. nostalgia? or something more? (something more - if i were to watch the end of FFXII years from now, there's no way i'll have an emotional response even close to the one i have when i see the end of X).

to be honest, the Kingdom Hearts series is a close second in terms of eliciting an emotional response from me. if that series hadn't come out, the last true RPG i loved would probably be FFX, a game that came out 6 years ago. that's one hell of a drought.

Star Ocean: Til the End of Time? once i knew the big secret of the game (and trust me, it's a doozy), i never beat it (i'm probably an hour away from beating it) why? i was turned off by the fact that it was called "Star Ocean" meaning space, and yet you only visited 3 or 4 planets over and over and OVER again. also, i really don't know how they could top the secret they already revealed, so i don't need to know the end.

Radiata Stories? here's a game that had promise in the first half, but then petered out toward the end. the end was rushed and had no emotional impact.

Dragon Quest VIII? ok well this one got me. perhaps it was the fact that i had just clocked 90 hours into beating the game and was with these characters for so long, but yeah, the end was pretty emotional for me - but not on the same level as FFX.

and now i'm on to Rogue Galaxy, and maybe this anger for a good emotionally satisfying ending is stemming from the fact that i'm close to losing interest with this one just as i did with Star Ocean, for almost the exact same reason - it's called "Rogue Galaxy" and yet i've only visited 5 planets over and over again. when a game promises the universe, it should deliver. i think Mass Effect might have the goods, we'll see.

oh, and the "love story" between 2 of the main characters in Rogue Galaxy is so very weak. i like my RPGs to have a love story, is that so wrong? every one i've mentioned has had one, and in different fashions, some more satisfying than others. but you know? i think FFX is one of the ONLY RPGs that has a love story as one of its main focuses, like the 2 main characters are falling in love and you see it happening, it's not just hinted at constantly and you never see it.

maybe THAT'S what i long for - an RPG with a love story central to it. god knows FFXII had nothing even CLOSE to that (sure she loved her dead husband but that was blah).

or maybe i'm not missing RPGs with emotional endings, but rather just games in general with feeling. i like games that make me feel different things. Shadow of the Colossus is probably the most perfect example (next, Ico).

who knows what i'm missing. i think i just want a good RPG that keeps me emotionally invested in terms of the story. and a love story! is that so much to ask for? i have hopes that Eternal Sonata is going to be the next RPG i really love - though i thought that was going to be the case with Rogue Galaxy and so far i'm wrong. so... we'll see.

- kawitchate

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