For a supposedly Final Fantasy, there sure are a lot of them…

So, I’m currently working on a campaign journal for the Reign of Winter game, but it’s taking me longer than expected to get used to writing in character again. So, it’s going to be a little while on that one.

In the mean time, I thought I’d talk about one of my favourite RPG video game series of all time. From the title, I’m assuming you guessed what it is, but just in case you missed it, I’m talking about Final Fantasy. I know a lot of my friends have made the obvious “It’s not really a final fantasy if there’s so many of them” joke over the years. I don’t know how true it is, but what I heard about the name was that the original creator of Final Fantasy had intended for it to be the last game he made, his literal “Final Fantasy” game. When the game was unbelievably successful, he decided to continue on.

Anyway, let’s have a retrospective¬†look at the Final Fantasy games (at least the ones I’ve played).

Final Fantasy VII:

The cast of Final Fantasy VII

The cast of Final Fantasy VII

I grew up playing these games. Sure, not from the very first one, since my first gaming console (if you don’t count a Commodore 64) was the original PlayStation, which I got in 1997. So my initial introduction to the series was, as I’m sure it was for many others, Final Fantasy VII… and man, it blew my mind. Here was a Science Fantasy story that rivalled the novels I’d been reading for how sheer bloody epic it was, except that this time I was in control of the action and pacing. Sure, to actually complete the story you had to take a set path, but I was free to explore the world and hunt for secrets and mini-games to my hearts desire. When you did decide to finally get back on track, the game was a rollercoaster of action and story. There were moments of victory, like stopping the train before it destroyed the town of Corel; and there were incredibly sad moments as well. The fate of Barrett’s childhood friend Dyne, after he realises that his daughter is still alive and he’s too much of a monster to ever be her father again, was a shocking moment for me. Even more shocking was the end of Disc One, where you catch up to Aeris again (yes, I’m going with the original mistranslation of the name, because that’s what I’m used to), only to have her killed in front of you by Sephiroth/Jenova. I’m going to be honest. That’s the first time a video game has ever made me shed a tear. It’s happened on occasion since then, but it’s a rare thing. Even movies can’t manage it all that often, though books do it surprisingly regularly.

Since then, there’s been a number of spin-offs from Final Fantasy VII, including movies, books and games. The ones I’ve seen and played have been pretty good, including Crisis Core, an action-RPG for the PSP; Dirge of Cerberus, a third person shooter featuring everyone’s favourite optional character, Vincent Valentine; and Advent Children, the direct sequel film. Little hint with Advent Children, unless you’re watching the Complete Edition, don’t bother. It makes much more sense with the huge amount of extra footage. Sadly, the one thing we haven’t seen, and that I doubt we’ll ever see (though I’d love for Square Enix to prove me wrong) is a HD remake of Final Fantasy VII.

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