Geek Eternal

#121SoBePosted 8/18/2014 2:42:04 PMmessage detail
The problem for me is that when I deliberately try and ignore all the minor flaws, the only thing I can see are the major flaws. I'm honestly hard-pressed to think of a single thing that FFVIII did right.

That was my point.

That being said, FFVIII is still terrible.

It really isn't.
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#122CynicalZealotPosted 8/19/2014 11:42:56 AMmessage detail
SoBe posted...
The problem for me is that when I deliberately try and ignore all the minor flaws, the only thing I can see are the major flaws. I'm honestly hard-pressed to think of a single thing that FFVIII did right.
That was my point.

That was the literal opposite of your point.



SoBe posted...
That being said, FFVIII is still terrible.

It really isn't.

Except it is.

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones
#123TaintedSeraphimPosted 8/19/2014 2:34:22 PMmessage detail
Blighboy posted...
Linearity is not even an inherently bad thing. There are tons of great linear games, it's just not what people expect and so they blow up about it.

I enjoyed the hell out of FFXIII...once it got going. Takes an agonizingly long time for that though. And by get going I mean, once the combat got interesting, not when it becoming slightly less linear.

FPSs can be linear and still be fun. RPGs cannot, especially not with freaking tunnel environments like FFXIII had.
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FFXIV: A Realm Reborn: Anan Atiyeh (Diablos) || Rhianu Esparta (Ridill)
World of Warcraft: Hazumu (Proudmoore)
#124SoBePosted 8/19/2014 3:08:36 PMmessage detail
That was the literal opposite of your point.

My point was people don't like FFVIII because they can't see anything but the flaws.

The problem for me is that when I deliberately try and ignore all the minor flaws, the only thing I can see are the major flaws. I'm honestly hard-pressed to think of a single thing that FFVIII did right.

And you demonstrated it exactly.

Except it is.

Except it isn't. And, by your own admission, you are blind to anything positive about the game making any negative opinion you may have on it completely biased and unreliable.
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#125TaintedSeraphimPosted 8/19/2014 3:29:26 PMmessage detail
ITT: fanboy rage
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FFXIV: A Realm Reborn: Anan Atiyeh (Diablos) || Rhianu Esparta (Ridill)
World of Warcraft: Hazumu (Proudmoore)
#126CynicalZealotPosted 8/20/2014 7:05:28 AMmessage detail
SoBe posted...
That was the literal opposite of your point.

My point was people don't like FFVIII because they can't see anything but the flaws.

And my point was that that's not the case, because it implies there is actually good for the flaws to obscure. Which there isn't.

This is not a case of missing the forest for the trees. This is a case of looking for trees in the middle of the Sahara. Then getting mad at people for telling you there aren't any trees. And that, if you want trees, there are probably hundreds of better places you could be looking.



SoBe posted...
Except it isn't. And, by your own admission, you are blind to anything positive about the game making any negative opinion you may have on it completely biased and unreliable.

Except I in no way admitted to that. I do not acknowledge that there are positives that are being obscured by the negatives, I am explicitly saying there are no positives that exist to be obscured. Which is a qualitatively different statement.

The fact that, even in the last few posts, you haven't really mentioned a single positive to counter my suggestion that there are no positives heavily underlines that fact. You're basically being forced into a "NUH-UH! You're just blind to the truth!" style argument because even you have to admit, on some subconscious level, that you can't actually name a single thing about the game that makes it stand out as a net positive in any way.

And to be completely honest, even if I were to lay aside my traditional hyperbole and admit that yes, there are SOME things that the game does that aren't completely terrible (which I already did, previously, IN THIS VERY THREAD), the problem is that minor positives here and there in no way offset glaring, major negatives. At a certain point, the net value shifts, and a game stops potentially being "a good game in spite of its flaws" and becomes "a bad game with one or two minor bright spots".

A game which is 90% flaw and 10% minor positive is NOT a good game. It is not even remotely a good game. It is certainly not a game anyone should ever think of as being better than other games in a series that has produced games which are at least inoffensively mediocre, and games which were stellar achievements in their own time period.

That is a game that should metaphorically hang its head in shame and never show its face in polite society again. The sort of game that should go live in a belltower somewhere.



(more to come - I'm not even remotely done with this train of thought, but GameFAQs hates my long posts and unfairly oppresses me and makes me split them in two.

...or three.

...or...)

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones
#127CynicalZealotPosted 8/20/2014 7:05:32 AMmessage detail
The real problem is, I tend to grade games first on narrative (mainly because I tend to play mostly narrative games), and that's a perfectly fair metric on which to judge JRPGs, because it's one of their main selling points. Gameplay tends to be secondary to me, but it can still make or break (mostly break) a game (see also, why I despise Morrowind so much, and why it biased me so strongly against the entire Elder Scrolls series). Other factors can include stuff like music and graphics, or even more ephemeral elements like characterization (which is part of the narrative, but in a way can also stand alone). And since we're talking about Final Fantasy, it almost behooves me to toss out "minigames" as another evaluable factor (because they're usually a significant presence).

And when it comes to FFVIII, I find the narrative utterly abysmal, full of more holes than swiss cheese, and trying too hard to be deep and meaningful without actually succeeding in any real way. Each moment that is meant to be a "SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT!" tends to be more and more asinine than the ones before, until by the end any enthusiasm for the story is replaced by dull incredulity. Combined with the fact that there's just about three marginally likeable characters in the entire story, and one of those is the dog (and most of the rest of the cast is either outright soul-numbing loatheworthy or at best mildly tolerable - and most of the "tolerable" ones are the characters that are more blank ciphers than actual personalities so they probably shouldn't even count), and the narrative is about the most significant negative that exists. The narrative cannot be justified. It cannot be defended. IT IS OBJECTIVELY BAD. And in a genre where narrative matters (and again, is often a major selling point), it means the game is already catastrophically crippled.

But for the sake of argument, what about the other factors? Music? The music wasn't all that memorable on the whole. I still stand by the statement that the most memorable music the FF series has ever had was the midi files in FFVI (but I'll happily give credit to a number of songs from FFX as well, especially including "To Zanarkand", as still being better and more memorable than anything in FFVIII - and certainly nothing in it compares to its predecessor's iconic "One-Winged Angel" (which I don't even like as much as most people seem to). Arguably, even the leitmotif movements from FFVII tend to be more memorable than FFVIII). About the only real claim towards musical innovation FFVIII has is including "Eyes on Me" - which is itself kind of a negative, because it was the first step in the downward spiral that eventually culminated in FFX-2 having idol singers. On top of which, it wasn't even that good of a song (ironically, when it comes to J-pop soundtracks, Square itself did it FAR better with Kingdom Hearts). Consider how it was effectively shoehorned into the game into the (terrible) space scene, and the game probably would have been better off without it.



(And oh hell no, son, we ain't done yet. Not by a long shot)

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones
#128CynicalZealotPosted 8/20/2014 7:06:37 AMmessage detail
Gameplay? Well, we've already established that it's divisive, with some people liking the junction system and other people hating it for myriad reasons. But that also means we really can't count it as a positive that offsets other negatives if a hell of a lot of people (and quite possibly a majority) view it itself as a negative. I've already said I give it a nod for the attempt to eliminate grind, but the implementation was terrible, and I would easily argue that the cure wound up being worse than the disease in this case. If anything, it's the sort of system that would appeal to the same sort of people who enjoy optimizing in KoL, and you already know how I feel about those people. And optimizing (pronounced like a dirty word) in general. And about the sort of people who act like anyone who doesn't love optimizing is "playing wrong". Seriously, **** those people. **** them hard.

But as you say, the junction system itself does not make FFVIII a bad game. Other gameplay positives could have salvaged it. A more engaging story could have led me to ignore or at least suffer through it. But as a dollop of manure on top of the turd sundae, it merely contributes to the already terrible nature of the game. I am given literally no reason to WANT to put up with it, or with the broken limit break mechanics, awkward "active" Guardian Force summons, the astronomically flawed leveling system, or weapon crafting tied to a card-based minigame. The gameplay as a whole, much like the narrative, seems scientifically designed to drive me away from the game as effectively as possible. At that point, grind would almost be a PLUS - at least grind is something that could appeal to my sense of nostalgia.

So, what's left? That card game? Awkward at best (and one of the earlier examples of the terrible fad of forcing CCG mechanics into literally everything else, no matter how poorly they fit, which was an interesting premise for all of about 15 minutes back in 1995), and once various rule alterations kicked in (no matter how hard you tried to stop them), annoying in the extreme. Which would be fine if the sole function of the card game was as a minor distraction from the main game (I'd count almost any distraction from the main game as a positive, honestly), but when it was the sole source of rare cards, which in turn were necessary for crafting rare items and powerful weapons, it blows 17 types of horse dick.

About the only positive thing I can say about it is that at least it wasn't as ******* annoying as the dozen different minigames (some of which were soul-crushingly hard, or at least boring as ****) you had to play in order to get the various ultimate weapons for your characters. But on the flip-side, at least SOME of those were actually enjoyable. And most of them were more enjoyable than attempting to play FFVIII. Yes, even dodging the 200 lightning bolts.

Again, as I mentioned earlier, about the only real positive I can think of is that, when it was released, it looked pretty. The animation was a step-up from FFVII, as was the switch from lumpy polygons to characters that actually resembled people (even if the character designs were generally terrible for every character who wasn't named "Quistis" or "Angelo"). The summons looked cool, even if some of the summoned monster designs were... not so good (Siren immediately springing to mind). The scene where Esthar is revealed was impressive. But that positive stops being a positive when, 15 years later, it looks... bad. The more realistic style aged very poorly, to the point where it actually looks worse now than tons of games released before it. So if this were 1999 I'd count it as a positive, but since this is 2014, I have to add it to the list of negatives.



(almost there!)

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones
#129CynicalZealotPosted 8/20/2014 7:07:03 AMmessage detail
So, if the game fails on story, characters, gameplay, music, graphics, and minigames... precisely what positives am I missing? What phenomenal gift from the gods is hidden in the code that offsets ALL of those negatives? What glaringly obvious awesomeness am I missing, blinded as I am by apparently "superficial" terribleness? Did your copy of the game come with a free blowjob machine? Did it contain the secret formula to turn dung into gold? Precisely what is it about the game that you seem to think would win people over if only they'd stop focusing on the negatives and pay attention to... what?

I can generally find positives in FF games, no matter how terrible. FFXII, for all its inherent boredom and secret desire to be a bland MMORPG, could have been made 1000x better by murdering Vaan before the game starts and having either Balthier or Basch be the main character (or even Ashe - she seems like she could have developed a personality, or at least had a worthwhile story arc, if she hadn't spent most of her time being overshadowed by the game's foolish insistence that we should care about Vaan). Hell, Ghis was voiced by Mark Wing-Davey - aka the original Zaphod Beeblebrox from the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy radio and TV shows - and I probably got more amusement out of that fact alone than I ever did out of anything connected to FFVIII (well okay, other than my deep-seated sexual fantasies about Quistis). FFX-2 had the shadow of an interesting plot hiding behind its pop-idol love story, Rikku never bothered me as much as she did some people (and hell, Selphie's similar Genki Girl-ish tendencies don't really bother me either, and I liked Yuffie more than most people seem to), and as much as people love to bash on the dressphere concept as "girls playing dress up", it was really just a variation of the "class system" mechanics that everyone claims to love so much in other games (FFV, FFIX, Tactics). Even FFIX, a game whose reputation is almost 80% composed of nostalgia (both retrograde and anterograde, in a manner of speaking).

Hell, I even sort of like Final Fantasy II, in spite of that having what is possibly the most hated gameplay mechanic system out of any FF game ever released. Because while most of the characters were bland or one-dimensional, they weren't terrible. While the plot was relatively simple and generic, it wasn't horrifically bad. While the game was linear, it didn't take me to places I wound up hating. There were ways around the gameplay issues. And I didn't spend hours wanting to find a way to magically punch straight through my TV and directly into the face of the main character.

So, honestly, I am not a person who sees one flaw and immediately dismisses something. Or even a handful of minor flaws that cause me to obsess over them to the exclusion of all else. I can enjoy things I am critical of. I still watch and enjoy current Doctor Who episodes in spite of my growing distaste for the modern writing/formula/narrative style (that I blame Moffat for). I quite enjoy Dragon Age 2 in spite of the flaws that seem to have pissed 99% of the Internet off, and in spite of hating the last 20 minutes or so of Mass Effect 3 with a searing passion, I still like the game (and the series) as a whole. I have come to admit, after playing Oblivion (and soon, Skyrim), that the Elder Scrolls games are not universally terrible - merely very, very average (though Morrowind still sucks with the force of a million exploding suns). I even freely admit that I enjoy Return of the Jedi, in spite of it having numerous flaws and not quite being as strong overall as Empire is.

So I AM capable of seeing past negatives to give positives a chance to shine. But there are no positives in FFVIII. There is only mediocre, and bad. And the bad far outweighs the mediocre.

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones
#130CynicalZealotPosted 8/20/2014 7:16:19 AMmessage detail
Okay, there. Done. Everyone can relax now.

Though one last thing potentially worth noting:


SoBe posted...
My point was people don't like FFVIII because they can't see anything but the flaws.

The problem for me is that when I deliberately try and ignore all the minor flaws, the only thing I can see are the major flaws. I'm honestly hard-pressed to think of a single thing that FFVIII did right.

And you demonstrated it exactly.

You deliberately added your own emphasis there, and effectively changed the entire meaning of that sentence. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that's actually how you read it, rather than assuming you did it deliberately in an attempt to strawman the **** out of what I was actually saying, because I do like you, even if we constantly fight and I basically tell you all the time that everything you love is bad, and that you should feel bad for liking it.

But if you really want to hinge the entire meaning of my argument on that single sentence, you probably could. Just so long as you realize it's not saying "My focusing on the flaws blinds me to anything else", it's saying "When you take away the flaws, there is literally nothing left. The whole is entirely woven out of flaws, with the only difference between those flaws being whether they're minor complaints or massive gaping wounds."

I would freely agree that often, many people DO let their distaste for minor flaws cause them to dislike what is otherwise a relatively good (or at least tolerable) game that can be fun. But that is not the case with FFVIII. When you ignore the minor flaws, there are only more flaws. Ignore those flaws, and then there are still more flaws. The entire game is basically flaws nested within flaws, like a matryoshka doll of suck.

The only thing the minor flaws in FFVIII might be obscuring are the deeper, more terminal major flaws. Because it's flaws all the way down.

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"This calls for a particularly subtle blend of psychology and extreme violence."
--- Vyvyan, The Young Ones