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Why I Hate Squaresoft


biglime
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Their Super Famicom games are mostly top shit, though during and post PSone they pretty much fumbled the ball (Xenogears was criminally unfinished). There are a few nuggets of goodness though (such as the above).

Xenogears unfinished? Okay maybe so....but disk one was so good it can be forgiven. Personally I'm hoping Monolith remake it as part of the Xenosaga series (as it is supposedly part 5).

But fumbled the ball in the Psone era?

FF Tactics, FFVII, Brave Fencer, Front Mission 3 all beg to differ I'll think you'll find.

However even I'm not goin to defend the Chocobo stuff

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Like mentioned before, I hate them for giving me some awful gaming experiences but I'll love them forever for giving me games like Final Fantasy VI and VII, Secret of Mana, Xenogears and Bushido Blade. With them, I have the same Hate/Love relationship as I happen to have with Nintendo. However, the one with Nintendo is a little bit more love...

I am looking forward to Final Fantasy XII however, which for me, will mean either the last Final Fantasy I will ever play or a fresh new start of the franchise.

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This really comes down to the difference between linear RPGs and emergent ones. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, all RPGs, even Squaresoft ones, will follow the Bioware approach.

The point, theoretically, of Squaresoft-style linearity is that it sacrifices interactivity for an epic, emotional, intricate storyline - sadly, the plotting, characterisation and dialogue of the FF games is uniformly dire, thus defeating the point entirely. Add to this combat systems which get soul-crushingly boring after ten hours, never mind fifty or a hundred, and you're left with an expensive, funless mess, of little or no merit as a work of art (ie: FFX). I didn't cry when Aeris died: I laughed, because the dialogue I was reading sounded like it had been written by a four year old. KOTOR, by contrast, was a powerfully emotional experience for me.

holy superficiality, batman! didn't you notice that kotor was going to pains to dress up as a totally open-ended game where everything you did mattered when it actually delivered the worst experience possible--a very open-ended game where nothing you did mattered in the least, and not only because none of the freaking scenarios that that open-endedness threw at you had the slightest bit to do with the game's plot, but also because it never mattered whether you were naughty or nice until bloody christmastime! i never felt the slightest connection to anything in the entire game, and that includes the flat cardboard people you meet whose romeo & juliet ripoff sagas you force yourself into and the mostly cookie-cutter assholes in your party.

it's really amazing that, the more bioware tried to disguise it, the more obvious it became to me that the game was totally contrived in every aspect. i've been both a star wars and an rpg fanboy, and kotor was a powerfully emotionless experience for me. i'll take square's rpgs over bioware's fraud any day.

ATTENTION: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A WONDERFULLY DISORGANIZED AND UTTERLY JOYOUS RANT ABOUT WHAT MAKES EARTHBOUND SO INCREDIBLY PERFECT, YOU PHILISTINES

videogames, and especially rpgs, need to learn to show, not tell. come on, this is a basic tenet of creative writing classes everywhere. there should be as little dialogue as possible devoted to intentionally connecting a player emotionally to the game. the cliched love affairs and other crap that my party members tossed up in my general direction in kotor made me ill. take instead a game like earthbound where your emotional investment is rooted in the things your characters have done (they are totally voiceless and yet they have so much personality based on where they've come from, what they've done, the items they can use--take poo's training and inability to equip anything except the unique "of kings" items; or better yet ness's family, baseball bat, and omfg the place where you read his thoughts on the wall and the level near the end that takes place in his mind and that culminates in the most amazing affirmation of leveling-up's importance to the player's feeling) and the party members' connections to one another that you've developed only in your mind (your memories of everything they've adventured through together; the coffee and tea drinking segments (best game ever)). the end is a total revelation in terms of any game or for that matter art i've ever experienced. the game, through a slowly building climactic battle that ultimately renders your party helpless, suggestively and subtly prods you into first realizing that you care about these voiceless characters and causes you to feel that this sentiment allows you to make an active difference in their fate. i have played through this game multiple times, and the power that this final battle has over me is still, even in these repeat plays when i know what is happening, completely unrivaled anywhere in gaming or anywhere at all. the game plugs me in completely at that moment.

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I swear, it's about fucking time the backlash against FF VIII began. What a load of shit. The story - what I saw of it, I only got about half way through the second disk was dull. World in peril from undefined forces from somewhere or other. But worse were the characters. For some reason, Square thought I'd enjoy it if I got the chance to play an RPG as S Club fucking Seven. Bring out the teenyboppers, the world's in danger! And worst of all of course was fucking Squall. The whiniest fuck alive. Quite why they thought that making the main character who you play throughout the game the biggest twat ever to walk the Earth would be a good idea is beyond me. And the whole SEED combat-high-school was shit too. FF games have always been a bout a rag-tag band of adventurers who each have their own story and reasons for taking part in the quest. FF VIII is about 8 kids who are paid to save the world. Woo!

Worse than all this though was the joke of a battle system. A system that for the first 15 hours at least makes the summons by far the most effective form of fighting and lets you use them an infinite amount. Which would be fine, if only they hadn't made the summons longer and more elborate than ever, and of course, still unskippable. The drawing system was shit too - it only made levelling up far more annoying. In an RPG battle system I want a system that allows me to easily fight crappy enemies without thinking about it, but allows me clever tactics for the "proper" battles (boss fights and stuff). FF VIII made me have to treat every shitty fight against a squirrel as an event, drawing magic, then waiting an age for my summons to end. Bollocks.

Oh, and the Limit Break system was a joke. It only happens randomly, when things are going a bit badly. Which means you could never plan for them, and that when they do actually turn up, they are so rare that you've never really had a chance to practice the elaborate routine you have to follow, so fuck it up anyway. Nice one.

Oh, and making you permanently poor unless you go on the internet and cheat on those shitty tests the game sets you? Great idea.

Nice FMV though.

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what a stupid thing to say. people like you are holding us and the industry back in this mire of muddled, cliched filth.

Eeesh... I thought that was a fairly innocent comment. :(

I don't play games primarily for plot, a decent plot is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. And the best video game plots have never achieved the depth that films and movies have (IMO). Really, can you argue with that? (dumb question I know...).

If there are games out there with this incredible depth and breadth could you maybe recommend them, because I've not come across any and I'm open to suggestions.

I like the FF games, I like the plots, but they're hokum, enjoyable hokum. I'm not going to stop buying them just 'cause they don't meet some mythical standard of videogame script excellence.

As for the couple of comments I've got about holding the industry back... ;)

I buy more stuff then is healthy, a lot of it niche titles. So I bought and enjoyed a few FF games on top of that, most of them second hand. Shit, I should be strung up...

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It seems like the Square-Haters are more miffed that people buy these games that they don't like (and in their millions) rather then they just dislike the games themselves. You say it's holding the industry back, well it's more likely that this multimillion selling 'shit' and it's kin are keeping the industry alive.

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If there is one way - one way - to get me angrier than The Incredible Hulk being stung by 1,000,000 killer bees whilst slipping, comedy style, on a banana skin causing a 10 ton gorilla to sit on him in a vain attempt to grasp said skin that curiously was only moments before shat upon by a dog that had terrible liquid-shits due to eating Hulk's slow-cooked lasagne that contained the herbs that his mother gave to him before she died... it's being unfairly harsh on Xenogears.

Yes, the translation is shitty. Blame Square USA and their notoriously lax translation standards for that one. But to denounce the hugely detailed, multi-generational and frankly spellbinding narrative because of a lot of largely throwaway references to religion pretty much only there to stir up controversy is silliness in the extreme.

I love it when writers denounce game plots. You see them do it all the time - biglime here has done it, Mr. Biffo has done it, a friend of mine regularly does it. And then those writers who actually try to transfer their skills to gaming largely make a huge, appauling mess out of it. Quite often, they under-account for the huge difference in the method in which the story has to be told. David Freeman's excellent book Creating Emotion in Games has a couple of pages devoted to the mistakes regular writers often make when thinking 'Game writing - it's so underdeveloped, it must be piss-easy'.

So the next time you hear a developer shrieking "we've hired Hollywood scriptwriters!", don't be so quick to dig out the champagne - it can often be worse than in-house efforts.

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If there is one way - one way - to get me angrier than The Incredible Hulk being stung by 1,000,000 killer bees whilst slipping, comedy style, on a banana skin causing a 10 ton gorilla to sit on him in a vain attempt to grasp said skin that curiously was only moments before shat upon by a dog that had terrible liquid-shits due to eating Hulk's slow-cooked lasagne that contained the herbs that his mother gave to him before she died...

10^10/10

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Perhaps Square-Enix need to do a Rare and poke fun at the type of game they are most popular for. Conkers Bad Fur Day at heart mocked all of the principles of platform games with The Grim Reaper telling Conker about how the lives system works and the scarecrow pointing out how money is needed to progress in the game. For a change they could make a FF game less serious and poke fun at themselves and just make the whole thing a lot more lighthearted and humourous. It will probably never happen but it would be nice if they did.

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Perhaps Square-Enix need to do a Rare and poke fun at the type of game they are most popular for. Conkers Bad Fur Day at heart mocked all of the principles of platform games with The Grim Reaper telling Conker about how the lives system works and the scarecrow pointing out how money is needed to progress in the game. For a change they could make a FF game less serious and poke fun at themselves and just make the whole thing a lot more lighthearted and humourous. It will probably never happen but it would be nice if they did.

Sort of the Puni Puni Poemi of games?

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Perhaps Square-Enix need to do a Rare and poke fun at the type of game they are most popular for. Conkers Bad Fur Day at heart mocked all of the principles of platform games with The Grim Reaper telling Conker about how the lives system works and the scarecrow pointing out how money is needed to progress in the game. For a change they could make a FF game less serious and poke fun at themselves and just make the whole thing a lot more lighthearted and humourous. It will probably never happen but it would be nice if they did.

They've made in-roads. FFX-2 was very light hearted and was definitely a change for the better. Hell, I'm sure the title is a knowing-wink to their numbering system. I'll totally agree, though, that the Final Fantasy series is stuck in the muddy puddle of pretending to be all grand but actually just retreading the same theme every time with simply a different setting. It's, frankly, embarrasing.

But Xenogears... it did something different, it did it a bit shambolically. Not nearly worthy of the scorn that biglime has poured on it in this thread.

Incidentally, you'd have a point if you mentioned the stunning Chrono Cross - excellent graphics, sparse use of FMV, a novel and fantastic battle system, a simple yet really effective spell system (none of this Sphere Grid bollocks), one of the best examples of plot-branching seen in Japanese RPGs (still way behind western freeform standards then, shame about Bioware needing to learn to better everything else) and possibly the most stunning soundtrack in gaming history ruined by poor story pacing. Starts off with a brilliant hook (a flashforward of the main character stabbing the female lead in cold blood) but then dribbles story slowly until the last fifth of the game when it dumps all of it on you in a huge non-interactive portion. When you consider that this last bit is so convoluted it makes your brain hurt, it's not particularly an enjoyable final fifth, and definitely betrays the sheer brilliance of the rest of the game. Oddly, it was possibly the best in terms of translation, despite having a shaky original story. They've got some kind of inverse-proportionality thing going on there, the cunts.

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Perhaps Square-Enix need to do a Rare and poke fun at the type of game they are most popular for. Conkers Bad Fur Day at heart mocked all of the principles of platform games with The Grim Reaper telling Conker about how the lives system works and the scarecrow pointing out how money is needed to progress in the game. For a change they could make a FF game less serious and poke fun at themselves and just make the whole thing a lot more lighthearted and humourous. It will probably never happen but it would be nice if they did.

Sort of like what 8-Bit Theater would be if turned into an actual game?

That could work, actually. I'd buy it.

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Sort of like what 8-Bit Theater would be if turned into an actual game?

That could work, actually. I'd buy it.

Which would be a good sign if 8-Bit Theatre had ever been within atomic-blast distance of "funny", so as it is that's quite the damnation.

Although given Square's previous attempts at humour, you're probably on to something there.

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(Hi fives only to those who those who see FF7 as nothing more than a substandard RPG)

It is. People always say "but it gets better after the 1st disc"... Why should I have to play through a whole disc of crap before it gets any good? Bugger that. I can't be arsed fighting evil houses with guns on the roof.

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It's called Mother and was released 20 (?) 15 years ago by Nintendo.

damned right.

would everyone who has never played mother please go and spend 2 hours with an snes and a copy of earthbound? i think that if everyone did this it might be the end of squaresoft fanaticism, the more fascist strands of christianity, and enormously vague wars on unimportant countries who may or may not have any weapons of their own. on the other hand, we may see a rise in rampant happy-happyism, corrupt traffic cops, teleporting desert monkeys, ritual carpainting, and the presence of sentient puddles of puke.

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So the next time you hear a developer shrieking "we've hired Hollywood scriptwriters!", don't be so quick to dig out the champagne - it can often be worse than in-house efforts.

Wasnt that the reason FF The Spirits Within turned out be an "average sci-fi movie"?

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