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lawl at people saying 9 is the least dark, stupid ppl don't know anything, must not have played.
Deaths in 9 are more heart felt than others, complete genocide, Viv coming in terms with death and his life span, how he was made, finding out what the Mist really is, and how it is harnessed, destruction of so many cities and lives lost.. so much manipulation.. and lots more im not mentioning....
IV had potential--if only they actually made Cecil a villain for the first few hours--the emotional impact of the redemption story would be so much stronger.
Regarding the topic, I'm inclined to say VI from a purely story-standpoint, but VII does have the "dark" atmosphere to it; X and XIII do a good job of mixing a tragic storyline with an atmosphere that's generally devoid of hope and struggling against a tyrannical force in society.
if this topic has taught me anything it's that this whole series is depressing, every time I see a new suggestion I go "oh yeah that was pretty bad" then someone brings up another game, and I get even more depressed.
That said I think VII had the overall dystopian atmosphere, but IX had the most dark moments
You will give the people an ideal to strive towards... But in time, they will join you in the sun.
its weird that people associate ff with happy chocobos etc.
why everyone hated the final fantasy the spirits within. it was great (IMO subjective), dark for sure (as i expected from 7 and 8). but so many people say 'oh it wasnt ff'. 'where were the chocobos' etc.
the city is basically midgar. theres the lifestream, theres the whole 'conscious planet all returning to the lifestream mumbo jumbo'. theres soldiers with funny high tech helmets that look stupidly impractical.
but oh well....
also FFX is pretty dark with the cycle of death and all the religious manipulation screwing everyone. death just happens to make pretty coloured pyreflies. its still a colourful relatively happy game. ff7 was darker. more sacrafice etc.
ultimacia is also pretty dark, and her whole castle section in 8 (in fact even the lunatic pandora section aswell) were pretty dark.
but shadow hearts is 10000% darker than FF. shadow hearts 1 is easily the darkest JRPG i have played, or am aware of.
SMT: nocturne and the digital devil series are close seconds. i mean DDS games tagline is pretty much 'canibalise everyone or go insane and canibalise everyone... but your also insane'.
also the whole 'god screwed the world and everyone who was touched by sunlight turned to stone slowly and painfully'. to the point that theres a person who put a gun in their mouth to end the pain but was unable to pull the trigger, and was slowly turned to stone with the gun still in their mouth.
but its never that explicit on the canabalise front. and it tends to favor 'save the princess' as a plot point and canibalising is secondary.
meanwhile shadow hearts has demons with mountains of skulls... demons... ummm... haunted mansions with demons... possessed dolls.... insane asylums at night.
also blood. shadow hearts has blood and isnt afraid to show it. oh and the second one takes a more comedic tone, but its still has some pretty dark / emotional scenes due to *spoilers* the main love interest having died in the first one, and when the main character ALMOST brings her back, and she smiles but her body melts away... and he crys. thats stuffs pretty dark. also rasputin summons demons.
theres the love interest dying. then theres bringing her back just to rub it in the main characters face only to have her dissolve. ouch.
also about ff7 being darkest -> the DYNE scene was pretty dark. DYNE believe his wife/daughter died. when he found out his best friend (who he feels betrayed him) saved his daughter and raised her as his own... his reaction was 'you bastard, my wifes been in heaven all alone... im going to kill you'.
barret stands there and takes it. then when dyne is done, he kills himself.