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Final Fantasy v Oblivion - RPG greats

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Cavedweller 9th June 2006, 11:08 Quote
The pencil drawing of Cloud isn't fan-art. It was used in the games manual, where all the characters were drawn that way.

It's actually less than a yeah ago i replayed FFVII, and it must've been the 5th time. The game is still stunning.

To Alex: Did you remember to enable the enhances PS2 can do to PS1 games? You do it in the menu before loading the game. It really makes a difference.
And how far have you come? Whats your most recent event, and how many hours have you played?
Veles 9th June 2006, 12:21 Quote
FFVII is a great game, it's managed to get a big anti-following on the internet from being so hyped though. I'm not sure why, but go to a few forums and there are quite alot of people who absolutely hate the game. (The same goes for many things I suppose, FEAR, even books like the DaVinci Code).

Once you've played VII you should get the rest of the series, the PS1 release of VI is excellent, as is 8 and 9 (used to think it was dog turd but looking back I really want to play it again, need to get back home to my precious consoles damnit!). 10 is ok, would be great if they didn't screw up the 2 main characters voices, can't stand the voice acting for Yuna and Tiddles in some parts. Stay away from 10-2, don't even go there.

Oh and if you can find it, Vagrant story is an excellent game by Square, was overshadowed by Square's own FF series so it didn't sell too well but it's really great.

Oblivion and FF games are totally different though, in some ways Oblivion is better (if you just want action you can easily skip through the dialoge, whereas in VII it can go on a bit sometimes), and in other ways FFVII is better, a stronger plot and character developement. I enjoy them both greatly though (well Oblivion is ok, I prefer Morrowind, the scaling enemy system really makes gaining levels pointless).

It isn't completely linear though, more like a straight road with lots of branches that end in a dead end, if you want to progress through the game, you have to take the main road, but if you want you can see what's down one of the roads. Often you get some of the games most powerful weapons and spells by following side quests.
Tibby 9th June 2006, 12:51 Quote
Reading the end of the article you mentioned DVD Commentaries, can you imagine commentaries on a Computer Game?

I know it would be hard and it would require alot of thinking to do, but it would be pretty awesome :p
WilHarris 9th June 2006, 13:13 Quote
Actually, Lost Coast / Episode 1 for HL2 do have commentaries, and they are neat.
Da Dego 9th June 2006, 14:23 Quote
The two games were also VERY different in the scope they cover. Oblivion is about you being A person in this huge, expansive world. FFVII has a lot more character development in its story, as the characters are all independent of you personally (save combat abilities)...you just guide the 'team'. It's almost like comparing Neverwinter Nights to Baldur's Gate II.

Oooh, I feel geeky now.
Cavedweller 9th June 2006, 14:27 Quote
Veles: since you don't mention it I'll asume you havent played Crono Cross, and considering the other games you mention you absolutely _MUST_ try that. Imo one of best games Square has made. It runs on the FFVIII engine so it's quite beautiful as well.
dream caster 9th June 2006, 14:35 Quote
Wrong base for article; Final Fantasy III (VI in japanese numbering, as Veles says) is much, much better than Final Fantasy VII, there you have good characters really integrated with plot. I bought Play Station just to play Final Fantasy VII and it was a disillusion.
Graphics are a little better in Final Fantasy VII but that's no big difference.

EDIT:tookout edit, put it as another post.
woodshop 9th June 2006, 15:51 Quote
I buy my console systems based soly on following the Final Fantasy series. That and Zelda :)

However i will say that FFVII IS better then Oblivion if only becouse of the LACK of Options.
Veles 9th June 2006, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilHarris
Actually, Lost Coast / Episode 1 for HL2 do have commentaries, and they are neat.

Yeah Valve did thier commentaries very well, they seemed to be well thought out, just like the rest of the game. I think it's entirely possible for a tacked on commentary to be really awful, kind of like the rubbish you get on most film DVDs :p

Cavedweller, havn't played Chrono Cross although I have heard of it, gonna have to check that out :)
Tolsk 9th June 2006, 16:55 Quote
btw chrono cross is the second one in a series, chronos trigger was the first for SNES and is damned near impossable to find. though i havnt played it ive heard it was better then the final fantasys of its time (4-5)
Paradigm Shifter 9th June 2006, 17:44 Quote
Chrono Trigger was absolutely fantastic. I loved that game. Final Fantasy VI was (in my opinion) better than VII, and V was about the hardest of the lot. VIII was my favourite, however; the whole game just drew me in... forgotten how many hours I'm lost to that game.

FFX still makes my jaw drop on some of the areas... the fact that the CGI movies don't look massively better than the normal screen are testiment to how much effort Square put in for that game.

Star Ocean:Till the End of Time was another Square PS2 RPG that I liked a lot. Very different to the FF games, but worth trying.

I think I'd better end this before this post turns into a lecture about the wonders of Final Fantasy. :)

...

FFIV Advance arrived this morning, so I'm gonna play that again... :D
cjmUK 9th June 2006, 18:26 Quote
Am I the only one who thought the whole FF series rather tedious. Average graphics combined with monotonous gameplay? The fantasy element was prevalent in that the game was so cartoon-ish that you couldnt even begin to suspend belief.

I like Oblivion, though it isn't as good as it ought to have been, but to compare the two is rather insulting.

A friend of mine tried to use FFVII as encouragement for me to by a console, but I used as the reason not to...


Each to their own I guess....
Firehed 9th June 2006, 18:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Once you've played VII you should get the rest of the series, the PS1 release of VI is excellent, as is 8 and 9 (used to think it was dog turd but looking back I really want to play it again, need to get back home to my precious consoles damnit!). 10 is ok, would be great if they didn't screw up the 2 main characters voices, can't stand the voice acting for Yuna and Tiddles in some parts. Stay away from 10-2, don't even go there.
Funny... I'm an insane hardcore FFVII fan, enjoyed VIII, thought IX was total crap (never finished it), liked X and X-2 but for different reasons. VII had everything come together wonderfully. X had a good story, but had some weak parts. The story and voice acting of X-2 were horrible (and don't get me started on the soundtrack *gag*), but the way gameplay was designed made it surprisingly fun.

will post more, I'm in cooking class right now :)
Stevedroid 9th June 2006, 18:51 Quote
RE the Article:
The argument at hand really has nothing to do with FF7 versus Oblivion. The core issue is simply linear, narrative based RPGs vs non-linear, player based RPGs. Linear RPGs can offer a strong, compelling narrative and emotive characters - but they're not really RPGs in the truest sense since the role you're playing is the one the developers assigned. Non-linear games on the scale of Oblivion offer more freedom for the player - but how compelling they are really depends on how much the player "invests" in the game, in a sense you need to generate your own motivation.

I don't think one style is better than another, it's really a matter of personal taste. They're different that it's sort of like comparing RTSs to FPSs. I tend to think of FFs as being more like adventure games than RPGs really.


RE Developer Commentary:
The first game to have developer commentary was not HL2: Lost-Cost or Episode 1. It was, in fact, the PC version of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Valve basically stole the concept from them, even going as far to have it implemented in basically the same way (e.g. icons in the game world that you "use"). I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I'd love to see this feature becomming more common, but let's give credit where credit it due. Escape from Butcher Bay was an incredible game and hasn't really gotten the widespread recognition it deserves.
Nature 9th June 2006, 19:28 Quote
"here here"... Good article, yes mmm.
Firehed 9th June 2006, 20:11 Quote
Ok, now that I'm at home.... (just as a warning, I may accidentally have some plot spoilers in here, though everyone should have played FFVII by now anyways)

Oblivion and Final Fantasy are two totally different themes. Oblivion (etc) are all about exploring a massive world, doing whatever you want along the way in order to your final save the world goal. FF games are about a fairly linear storyline for most of the time (save X-2, but seeing that it had no storyline, it doesn't count) in order to get massive character background and development, not being The Hero of Kvatch who has a background limited to being lucky in jail cell placement.

Having played both quite a bit, I definitely prefer the FF style. While I enjoy the open-endedness that Oblivion and similar games have, I much prefer being able to get attached to characters. Non-linearity is nice, but it severely limits how much character development you can have.

Gameplay style is also completely different. FF games have a menu-driven system (and numerous styles within that, which varies by game) and world-independant battles, whereas Oblivion takes a sort of quasi-FPS approach - more twitch-based rather than planning things out. While they both work for their environment, the menu system tends to level the playing field a bit for those that aren't as well-practiced with their thumbs (although clicking wildly levels the playing field across mental ability, I suppose).

Re: FFX-2. The game is completely different from any other FF I've played. It's a rather quirky non-linear game that can be played linearly. Because of this, character development sucks - better than Oblivion, but horrible for FF - (the rather stupid scripting didn't help things) and is probably why they added a completion counter. Despite this, I found the job system genuinely lovable and the faster-paced battles were more to my liking. I came into it expecting not too much based off of what I heard, and got exactly that in terms of storyline and character development. There's no excuse for the world music (though I enjoyed the concerts); while nobody could live up to Nobuo Uematsu in my eyes for game music, Matsueda and Eguchi really just fouled it up. Were it not a voice-based game (the voice-acting wasn't wonderful either, but I put this more to the script than anything else), I'd have played the whole thing with the volume off and listening to something else. However, due to the nature of the battle system, I really did enjoy it quite a bit - you just need to completely disregard the Final Fantasy name. In fact, I think it's the only game where I legitimately got all my characters to level 99 (though only having three made it much easier), and I completely maxxed out all jobs, save a couple odd blue magic spells. In short, the mechanics of the game are excellent, but they're marred by reused environments from X, a fairly cheesy (or, at the very least, poorly executed) storyline and the general gameplay expectation of being a Final Fantasy game.

I love the materia system that FFVII has, and the way it was not only intertwined with battles but the entire storyline. It forces the player to keep a balaned party, since you can switch neither jobs nor characters in the heat of battle. I don't know how many times I've played through FFVII, but I never fail to enjoy myself. Especially once you hit the open-ended part, you get a chance to really explore the world but it's done in a way where doing so isn't just a sidequest but usually beneficial in some way (chocobo breeding -> KotR -> whoopin' some major arse in boss battles). Arguably, FFX's sphere grid system has decent integration with the story, but FFVIII's junction and FFIX and FFX-2's job systems were largely irrelavent, and just another way to get it done. The way equipment is handled in X was quite interesting, and its complete absence in X-2 was quite unique and surprisingly well-done.

I've enjoyed Oblivion so far, certainly, but the play style is hugely different, and comparing the two really doesn't make sense. You get an FPSish battle system with a massive world; one main quest to guide you but fairly irrelavent other quests that can crop up along the way. While a single character that's built to your play style is a great idea, it just doesn't work as well for me (especially since it's quite out of balance towards short-range warriors, in my experience). I haven't yet finished the game despite having played a mage and a warrior (though both with a Splinter Cell-esque play style, which can be kinda funky), though that's more due to all the crap you get at the end of the school year than lack of interest.

Also, the way you just play the game is different. FF works best with a controller, where Oblivion is best with a keyboard, despite both PC and console versions being available to both. I own both versions of FFVII, and I hate using the PC version - being generally crappy in Windows aside, the soundtrack was ruined and the controls just don't feel at all right. Conversely, the first-person nature of Oblivion more or less requires the keyboard and mouse IMO - I absolutely hate doing anything where you need to aim on a console, and menu-driven stuff just seems off with a keyboard. I could see myself enjoying a first person version of FF7 on the PC - at least for navigation, as the multi-person battle system wouldn't work too well (KoToR II had a decent implementation I'd say, but not great).



So... if you ask me (and if you read all that, you certainly did), you've got two completely different sub-genres of RPG, and how much you like either is quite personal. They both work, and work well, but the play style between Final Fantasy-style and Oblivion (among dozens of other typically-computer RPGs) are completely contrasting. Personally, I love them both, though I feel that FF-style gives you a deeper storyline while Oblivion-style gives you a wider story and some faster-paced gameplay which could attract in some FPS addicts.
yagisencho 9th June 2006, 20:17 Quote
I think this is a great idea for an article, but could he have picked any two games that are further apart in both spirit and design? :|

Japanese console RPGs (16-bit onward) are typically narrative-focused, while traditional computer RPGs are typically world simulators. It could be argued that beyond the shared attribute of stats-based combat, the two approaches should be categorized as two separate genres. Other recognized genres are the action RPG (Zelda), adventure RPG (Bioware games), and MMORPG (WoW).

A better comparison for FFVII would have been Grandia III, Rogue Galaxy, or FFXII. A fair comparison for Oblivion would be Ultima IV, Fallout, or Daggerfall.

As for my personal opinion on older RPGs, I tend to enjoy replaying the ones with a strong narrative. The world simulators tend not to age as well, as they're more dependent on advances in hardware and AI. However, in the world simulator RPGs, you expand on the narrative with your actions and imagination.
g-freak 9th June 2006, 21:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibby
Reading the end of the article you mentioned DVD Commentaries, can you imagine commentaries on a Computer Game?

I know it would be hard and it would require alot of thinking to do, but it would be pretty awesome :p
The F.E.A.R. Director's Edition DVD has a pretty good commentary on the gameplay by some of the devs and a producer(I think it was a producer?)

I really liked it as i got to see the game play from their perspective and hear their comments about it.

I wish more games had things like that.

EDIT
P.S. this article makes me wish i had a Playstation.
TheoGeo 9th June 2006, 22:15 Quote
riggs 9th June 2006, 23:23 Quote
Great article, and a damn good point.

Although, I feel you really need to be of a certain age to appreciate the early games. I can't see some 10 year old PS2 fanboy wanting to play anything that isn't 3D..which is a shame really, they just don't know what they're missing out on.

On a side note, I played through 'Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow' on the GBA a while back, and was interested to find out what the other (earlier) games were like (since I'd never really got into the Castlevania series as a kid).
Started out with the first one on the NES, then onto number II, then 'Castlevania: Adventure' on the GameBoy (which imo, sucked!) and I'm currently working my way through number III (NES).
Only a few more to play through before I'm onto the Castlevania game; 'Dracula X' on the PC-Engine...can't wait to start playing that one!
Juggernaut 9th June 2006, 23:32 Quote
Yeah good article! What did he do to his PS2 to play the game that good and sharp looking! Those screens are sharp! I played the game yesterday and it 100% sure didnt look that sharp.

Or am I just seeing things and is it the cropping of the images that made it look that good. If you look at the screens you really see no jaggies! Amazing... Just like the game :D
automagsrock 10th June 2006, 03:45 Quote
FF7 rules. I have played that game at least 100 times. I have always loved it and I always will. Great story, great gameplay, really cool spells and some of the weapons are absolutely devastating.
wafflesomd 10th June 2006, 05:46 Quote
Man, FF7, what a game :)

I lost count how many hours I put into it, and loved every single minute.

Though i could never actually play it again, idk why.
WilHarris 10th June 2006, 08:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juggernaut
Yeah good article! What did he do to his PS2 to play the game that good and sharp looking! Those screens are sharp! I played the game yesterday and it 100% sure didnt look that sharp.

Or am I just seeing things and is it the cropping of the images that made it look that good. If you look at the screens you really see no jaggies! Amazing... Just like the game :D

Some of the screens are pinched from the PC version :)
eddtox 10th June 2006, 08:57 Quote
Great article! Although I haven't played either one of the games I can relate to the idea behind it. I love old games because they seem to have had much more thought put into the plot and characters than most games today. Oh, and speaking of Square, has anyone played Front Mission 3?

I think developers ought to release the games as open-source after a while (especially if they plan to abandon them) as this would allow fans of the games to push them forward. As for sequels, have you ever thought "Why did they change that? The original was perfect - just add more story!" I know I have.

-ed out
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