I don’t know about you guys but I have had a problem with Final Fantasy ever since they released the ninth installment in their series. It seems like, since that moment, Final Fantasy has been rapidly declining in it’s challenge factor. The seventh and eighth games in the series were both pretty challenging in their own aspect and strategy was used a lot more often in order to progress and be victorious. The ninth game had a really challenging Final Boss but it seemed to be a bit easier than it’s previous brethren. The tenth title and Final Fantasy X-2 were both really simplistic in terms of challenge and the release of Final Fantasy XII was no different. So we are left with the biggest question, is Final Fantasy XIII going to follow suit?
In Final Fantasy X it was the “Magus Sisters” trick that made the game ridiculously simple to complete. All the player had to do was progress far enough into the game to complete the “side quest” to gain the sisters as a summon. They had a special attack that, in a word, was devastating. It crushed anything in it’s path, even bosses were annihilated by the sheer power of the summon. This made the rest of the game just a cake walk and it was more like watching a story unfold rather than playing a challenging game. Even the Final Boss was no match for the powers of the Magus Sisters which made for one, truly boring, epic boss fight.
Final Fantasy X-2 had a similar trick that you could use on Yuna. If you obtained this special item it allowed her to deal more than 9999 damage. Pair that with another item that made her “special attack” deal massive damage, and she was firing over 10000 damage bullets in a massive spray. You’re talking about the premise of dealing over 100,000 damage in a single attack. The kicker? She had to be in the “yellow” in terms of health meaning her health had to be under a certain amount. But you can literally attack anyone in Final Fantasy X-2 which means, yes, you could use your other two characters to attack Yuna, put her into her critical health stupor, and kill the mightiest of beasts in just one attack. This strategy made the game anything but challenging and took away the strategy element that the game has become famous for.
Final Fantasy XII may not have had any of these fancy strategies to utilize but it did have a rather “easy” way of going about things. Unlike a lot of the other Final Fantasy titles all you had to do was reach a high level before progressing through the story. This made everything incredibly weak in comparison to you and therefore made things far too easy. Sure, you had to grind a little to level your character up, but once you did you were practically unstoppable.
So what does that mean for Final Fantasy XIII? I’m not sure yet, but I am hoping they haven’t included any of these “quick kill” shortcuts like before and I am really hoping that “level” just becomes a number once more. What Square Enix needs to do is get back in the groove of making those challenging strategy games we have come to love. Force the player to develop a strategy of using potions and attacking weak points instead of “hitting X to summon” or “tapping square to kill.” I can’t wait for the release of Final Fantasy XIII, I just hope it’s a little more old school Square Enix (Square Soft).
What do you all think? Has Final Fantasy lost it’s challenge edge or do you think it’s fine? Why or why not? Come on people let me know what you think! Post a comment below.