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Does Final Fantasy's Greatness Rely Too Heavily On Nostalgia?

It's a question that needs to be asked.

Final Fantasy will go down in history as one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. I suppose if Square Enix persists on this downward spiral that began with Final Fantasy XIII, it'll continue to lose a lot of that hard-earned respect and mystique.

But millions will never forget what FF once was: The series that essentially defined core gaming for decades. Whether or not the franchise earned every scrap of its accolades remains up for discussion but personally, despite the downfall, I still - and may forever - say that Final Fantasy is my favorite game IP ever. I think the last truly great one was FFXII, though, and it begs the aforementioned question...

Honestly, though, I think the answer is quite simple: We can't really say a game like Final Fantasy VII is just plain superior to any game today (by today's standards, the story, character development, and of course, the graphics, are just ridiculous). It's even more ridiculous when we start talking about the SNES iterations. However, it's not about comparing them to what we have now; it's just about trying to remember how far ahead of the game (pun intended) they were then, and why everyone remembers them so damn fondly.

There are a ton of games that we recall with smiles on our faces. That's what nostalgia does. But FF fans have a special place in their hearts for these games, and that's what tells me this goes well beyond nostalgia. The experiences made permanent, lasting impressions when they first came out, and those experiences remain firmly entrenched. That's the mark of something fantastic at the time, regardless of how it would seem today.

So no, nostalgia has nothing to do with the franchise's greatness. Everything Final Fantasy achieved then - which continues to stick with so many of us - is what makes it so great. The nostalgia part just makes us keep saying things like "FFVII is still the greatest RPG of all time." ;)

Tags: final fantasy, final fantasy games, final fantasy sequel, role playing games

4/5/2015 9:43:37 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (10 posts)

Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 2:29:42 AM

Obviously nostalgia helps mask how outdated a game like FFVII is.

However, even after recently replaying it, there was a lot of stuff going on in that game. Think of the mini games, gold saucer, music, customization, etc. etc. A lot of current games don't have the variety that game had. Plus, the new frontiers it opened up are a huge add-on, too.

But yes. It is outdated now, and nostalgia covers that up. But it's not an unreasonable claim to think it's one of the best. Those PS1 FF's had so damn much going on.

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 9:59:14 AM

There's nothing wrong with remembering or playing the the greats, however when this nostalgia allows the future of the series to crumble because the developers know that gamers will buy anything with the right logo on it, then we have a problem. Gamers tend to be extremely nostalgic, take Metal Gear Solid for example a game that even back in the day was considered to have too many and too long of cutscenes yet 4 numbered sequels later and people continue to let it's poor control, and bad acting combined with brutally long monologues continue because it's Metal Gear Solid and it has already "earned it's place." Now I'm not saying that the first Metal Gear Solid wasn't a great game, but after the second one we saw very little in the way of advancements and improvements that other games of the genre were making.
Despite how much gamers clamor for something new, they prove otherwise by purchasing sequels which are often more outdated than the new IP's released today. Final Fantasy is extremely guilty of this and had they not thrown the Final Fantasy on it's recent titles it would've been forgotten like all of the other mediocre JRPG's.

Last edited by Squirreleatsman on 4/6/2015 10:05:11 AM

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 10:47:41 AM

FFXIII wasn't as great as other FF's, but it was in no way mediocre. Solid 8+ title.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015 @ 6:57:54 AM

Squirrel, completely disagree with you about metal gear solid - have been changes throughout the series to improve control, the long cut-scenes are pretty much essential for the story being told and are always done to a very good quality. Metal gear has been one of the most consistent franchises in turning out high quality games in every sequel.
Underdog - spot on, think XIII is a good game, would probably rate about an 8. Not too keen on XIII-2, but enjoyed Lightning Returns more than I expected after some of the reviews.
Hopefully XV will be a kind of return to form, even if it is more of an action rpg. I want to see the great story telling that kind of got lost in the XIII games.

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 11:00:22 AM

As for the downward spiral, after playing the demo, I'm hopeful for XV.

As for the nostalgia thing, I don't know... from VI to X, the games all have a sense of harmony that makes them playable (at least in my eyes) even today. Yes the graphics are outdated and so are some aspects of the story and character development, but the games are so well directed that everything falls in place in a way that feels as close as perfect as you can hope in this industry.

I think about the classic FFs as some of my favorite movies. I'll rewatch/replay on every opportunity I get, because I know that no matter how much technology has advanced, no amount of cgi/graphic improvements will replace what I liked about the movies/games in the first place

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 11:10:26 AM

Other series, such as Tomb Raider, have proven they can come back after some unimpressive iterations. I believe FF will do the same (hopefully with XV).

Currently my favorite is XII. Considering how long the series has been going, that didn't come out all that long ago so I still have faith that SE will right the ship.

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 11:15:51 AM

No, its based on good games.

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 2:03:40 PM

No. I can say that the games do not rely on nostalgia. I recently played through VII, VIII & IX to test that very notion and see if the games were worthy of greatness & all 3 titles still exceed my expectations in being such thrilling adventures. I don't believe the story telling or character development is behind todays standard at all. Sure more games these days focus on time with story cutscenes but while they're more present they certainly aren't as well written as games like Final Fantasy VI - X.

I also believe the dowfall began when Square-Enix was created. I don't blame Enix for this necessarily, it just seems that ever since then the company has been a mess as have every series since - Kingdom Hearts/Final Fantasy XIII as a series being an example. However, I hope with XV that turns around. I loved what I played from the demo and regard it as one of my greatest gaming experiences ever - which is heavy praise for a demo indeed! So there is plenty of potential, I just hope they can polish it off with a well written narrative and good pacing.

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Monday, April 06, 2015 @ 2:12:30 PM

It's not just the nostalgia talking -- the classic FFs are, in my opinion, just fantastic video games. Period.

FF VII is probably my favorite RPG ever, and the limitations of the tech it was built upon helped shape what it is. The best art is almost always made within some sort of limitations, sometimes due to technical limitations of the day. Everything shows its age eventually. Truly great ANYTHING -- books, plays, films, games, whatever -- remain relevant and important beyond nostalgia. The classic FFs fit the bill.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2015 @ 9:24:11 PM

i think that will definetly has been a major part of it as far as i can see atleast

happy gaming

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