Review by Garan

"The weakest Final Fantasy since part V"

After all of the great games Square has given us, I am afraid they are running out of ideas. The newest Final Fantasy has absolutely no new elements. The story, characters, gameplay, and even the music has all been done before. Sadly, when they were done before, they were done much better than this.
I really enjoyed the first half of the story of this game, but the last half was so predictable and boring that I was extremely let down. Many of the supporting characters stories are never resolved, and when they are (as in Vivi's case) they are done very weakly. The main story is such a cliche that you might as well not even play the game. This is due to the very weak factor of the game...
The two main characters of this game are so boring and trite, it's hard for me to imagine why Square would not want to create something better for their fans. Zidane is Locke from Final Fantasy VI with a tail. He is completely redundant and is of no interest. Princess Garnet is one of the most overdone RPG cliche characters-- the naive princess character needs to be banned from all future games. The villains are all psychotics who either want to take over or destroy the world-- they don't have the depth or the personality to make them as interesting as past Squaresoft villains like Sephiroth or Ramsus. Sadly, the supporting cast holds some intriguing ideas, but most of them are not given any chance to develop as characters. The only supporting character who has a complete storyline is Quina, who serves basically as comic relief. What a disappointment.
This Final Fantasy combines the traditional weaponry and armor set up with the ability learning from Final Fantasy VIII, only this time the characters themselves learn the abilities. The problem is that the characters have no balance between them-- Zidane could probably beat the game by himself, and most of the others are only about half as useful as him. His Thievery skill (only 8 MP) did full damage (9999) for the last 2 discs to everything, and he practically beat the final boss without any help. Yawn. By the way, the game's pretty easy-- nothing has more than about 60,000 HP, which translates to about 6 turns of Zidane's Thievery.
Once again, Square shows that no one makes prettier games than they do. The FMVs are amazing, as always. The backgrounds and characters are colorful and full of detail. There's nothing else to say.
Nubuo Uematsu is known as one of the best composers for video game soundtracks. I don't understand what happened here. Usually, Final Fantasy games have many catchy songs that you want to listen to again and again; many people, including myself, have bought the soundtracks for these games. But I can't think of any good songs throughout the entire game. There are several songs either repeated or remixed from the previous games, but they aren't any of the really good songs-- who cares about the Shin-Ra march, or a remix of a simple song from the primitive Nintendo era Final Fantasy? This is Uematsu's weakest effort since Final Fantasy V.
RPGs are not the type of game that many people would want to replay-- they're just too long. However, I am the type of person who replays RPGs regularly, and I must give this game a mixed score of 5. There are a lot of side quests and mini-games of interest, including another horrible card game, so there are a lot of reasons to want to replay this game. But if you're anywhere near as disappointed by the lame ending of this game as I am, you'll be wanting to replay one of the earlier games that made you love the Final Fantasy series in the first place, and not this game.

I'm not sure if this game is worth the $40 I paid for it. It was enjoyable for awhile, but ended up being such a huge disappointment, that I kind of wish I could get my money back. It's not really a bad game, but it certainly isn't a great game. After the masterpieces that have comprised most of the series, anything less than great is a big disappointment.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/25/00, Updated 11/25/00

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