Apr 022014
 

I’m not going to write a review of Final Fantasy X because I suspect most of the things I would say about it are going to be contained in the two posts I recently put up and the two other ones I’m working on. I understand why many JRPG purists don’t like the game, and whether it is actually any fun to play is as always a matter of taste (I happen to really enjoy it). However, in terms of a game design that helps tell a story and a story that’s worth designing a game around, I don’t think there [Read more...]

Apr 012014
 
These are his levels

“This is my story!” Tidus shouts in the last battle of Final Fantasy X, but that’s only half of it. Final Fantasy X is also his game. The minigames and some aspects of the battle system, as I mentioned in the last post, tie back to his athletic personality, but the game goes further than that. The level design of Final Fantasy X is a mirror to Tidus’ experience. In their classic form, JRPGs, including the previous Final Fantasy games, have a large zoomed-out overworld that essentially mimics walking across a map, studded with dungeons and towns that have greater [Read more...]

Mar 242014
 

I spent the last weekend between two screens. On one, I was playing the HD reissue of Final Fantasy X. On the other, I was watching a particularly exciting edition of America’s annual exercise in basketball excess, the NCAA tournament. Every year the tournament becomes a point of conversation across the country as Cinderellas like Dayton outplay their reputations, traditional powers like Louisville live up to theirs, and upstarts like the almost-victorious Coastal Carolina try to do the seemingly impossible. Final Fantasy X has a deep connection with sport. Protagonist Tidus and party member Wakka are both professional athletes, as [Read more...]

Sep 052013
 

Playing Tales of Xillia made me think of Final Fantasy, which was probably not the intended effect. Of course, Xillia is unquestionably a Tales game. Its story leans heavily on the series’ core tropes – dual worlds, alienated (or alien) young women, uses of magic causing imbalances in nature – and its chaotic combat could never be confused with the more stately pace of the active time battle system. Several Tales hallmarks are downplayed, however – Xillia has possibly the simplest food system in the series, and the title and grade systems have been fused and shoved down into a submenu [Read more...]