Thursday, May 01, 2008

VG Review: Some dull Final Fantasy games

Square-Enix, for Nintendo DS, rated E10+ for ages 10 and up, $39.99.

Square-Enix, for PlayStation Portable, rated T for Teen, $39.99.

Dear Powers-That-Be at Square-Enix,

Please stop.

Stop releasing such mediocre games with the words "Final Fantasy" emblazoned on them. Stop cannibalizing beloved old games for the sake of a quick buck. Just stop.

For what seems like an eternity now, we've been treated to an endless array of sequels, prequels and remakes of role-playing games from years past. Titles such as "Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerebus" have done little, however, to justify their existence.

Enough is enough. The well has not only run dry, it's been sealed up with cement and there's a barbed wire fence running around it.

Take "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates," for example. Designed for the DS, it tells the story of twins imbued with special powers, yadda, yadda. You know the drill.

The combat here is woefully dull. The game attempts to liven things up by incorporating a magic system, but that requires you to hold down a button while moving a target reticule with the directional pad, which can be a wee bit frustrating.

You also can switch among characters in your party, but, as with most games of this ilk, your computer controlled allies have a tendency to die fast.

Add all that to an awkward level design that makes it hard to tell where you are, and you have one really disappointing game.

Worse yet, though, is "Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core" a prequel to one of the most popular rpgs ever that plays like the worst sort of fan fiction. Dull fan fiction.

The story -- oh why bother. The story really doesn't matter unless you're a hard-core "FFVII" fan, and even then it's just an excuse to see your favorite characters again ("Hey, it's Yuffie!").

As with "Ring," combat here is surprisingly easy. Way too easy in fact, so that boredom sets in fairly quickly.

Perhaps the most laughable aspect of the game is the "DMW," a slotslike reel that spins around randomly and lets you level up or perform devastating attacks -- but only when it feels like it.

Of course, fans aren't buying this game for the intricate game play, which makes you wonder why they bothered adding the game aspect at all. Why not just release it as a full-fledged movie?

But perhaps that would have meant fewer bags of money piling up on your door. I realize, dear Square-Enix, it's hard to ignore all the cash, but consider this an intervention. You really need to stop.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2008

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