Really, I'm more concerned with 13's effect than anything else. A lot of people regard 13 as being poorly done; it was pretty much one giant movie while running through a tunnel. Many people joke that "Once you get past the first 15 hours, it's pretty good" but I haven't hated myself enough to have gotten through more than 5 before I gave up on it.
13 really was poorly done, and the things that I didn't really like about it was how it was talked up to be the first FF with a female lead character. They thought that would sell more boxes, and then we all got it expecting this awesome experience but it fell really short of the mark when all of a sudden control was passed to some guy in a trench coat smashing his fist into his palm, and then to a couple of kids running around randomly. I just couldn't get far enough into the game to where I guess it gets *good*.
FF6's Terra was a female lead character. Shame on anyone who said that 13 was the first to have one.
Another complaint I had about XIII was that it threw you into the character's too fast. With most games, you have one or two characters at the start, and your group gradually grows over time, as you find yourself adding people one at a time, with the occasional two. Conversely, XIII pretty much threw Lightning, Snow, Vanille, Hope, and Sazh at you all at once.
Some past titles (4 and 6 come to mind) even provided you with a brief 2-3 line back story before you named the character and added them to your party.
Many FF games also start heavily in-character; in the middle of a serious plot about a country and a leader and a place and a thing and some people, none of which you have ever heard of. Here are some examples, with the fakes/unknowns bolded, of what one can gather within the first 15 minutes of the game.
FF4: Cecil has rebelled against the King of Baron
after stealing a crystal (why?)
from the Mysidians
, and now has to deliver a ring (what?)
to the village of Mist
. His friend Kain spoke up on his behalf and is forced to accompany him.
FF7: Cloud, an ex-SOLDIER
(It's in all caps for some reason) has joined with the terrorist group Avalanche
to partner with a guy named Barret (with a gun on his arm?)
to destroy a Mako Reactor (why?)
in an attempt to cripple SHIN-RA
The games do hit you with a lot of terms you've never heard of, but usually they limit it to the stories of one or two characters. Every character has some type of back story that you'll learn in time, but they explain it little by little.
In 13, it felt to me like you had missed something. Ever turn on a Law & Order or a CSI 20 mins in? Try to watch Lord of the Rings, but skip the first half hour. Try to watch the Harry Potter series, but skip the first film or two. That's what 13 feels like. It's not a major issue to immerse your viewers/players in a "real" world to get them into the feel of the movie, and to give them an understanding of the characters, but in the case of 13, if felt like you got there late and had missed a TON of sh*t. There was so much sh*t that they threw at you about things that had already happened or were happening that you pretty much HAD to refer to the glossary to understand what the **** was going on. Why are they being exiled? What the @#%^ is a cocoon? Who is this ice chick, and why am I supposed to care that this trenchcoat guy is trying to break her out? What the @#%^ is a Pulse l'cie or a fal'cie and wh'y do t'hey n'eed apo'strophes in ev'eryth'ing? Everything gets explained in the process of raising two more questions. If I wanted to be this confused, I would have started watching Lost in the middle of Season 2 instead of at the pilot. At least that way, I wouldn't have to keep pushing my analog stick in one direction and mashing a button over and over.
Besides that, single-player FF games don't GET bad reviews - FF 13, which is the worst reviewed non-port in the entire franchise, received overall positive reviews (PS3: 83 Metacritic, 85.17% GameRankings - XBox 360: 82 Metacritic, 82.18% GameRankings).
The problem is that they are pulling in 80's while other games are pulling in **** close to 100's. Oblivion got a 93 and Fallout 3 a whopping 96, Dragon age managed a 90 and even Heavy Rain scraped out an 89. The low end of the 80 spectrum isn't good enough in my eyes to buy their product over another one just because I liked past Final Fantasy games. That's just a reality that folks need to face. You can't package a sh*t gaming experience in HD and expect the illusion to last for long.
We all want FFXIV to succeed - but it won't do it with the way that things are shaping up right now. Unless Square gets with the program and fast, they will be completely overshadowed by other companies who are doing it right.
I don't get why all these reviews are so high; I mean, I know I complain about certain TV channels
who have a ***** for certain games
, but what's the point of having a scale of 0% to 100% if everyone scores 80-100? It's almost like the no child left behind thing has made its way into the entertainment industry; if I had to guess, I'd say that maybe reviewers are scared of giving a game they don't like a negative review for fear of either fan or company backlash. First off, if you're grading on a scale of 0-100%, then no game should ever get a 100%, because there's no such thing as the perfect game. Few games should breach the 97-99% barrier. Most should sit in the 80-95% realm if they're good/great, the 'meh' games should be in the 70-80% range, and the bad games should have 69% or lower. There's no reason to grade 0-100% if you can't provide examples of games that scored in the 30-50% range or lower and why. Edited, Jul 14th 2010 5:01pm by Mikhalia Edited, Jul 14th 2010 5:02pm by Mikhalia