In: GameHounds Replay by Leah "WhiteGodiva" Haydu20 Apr 2011
To feed our curiosity, we’ve launched a series we’re calling GameHounds Replay. Over coming weeks, GameHounds staffers will be looking back at these old games and replaying them, just to see if they’re as good as we remember.
The rules are simple: The reviewer must have played the title when it first released, and it must have really meant something or profoundly affected the reviewer.
And we’re going to be honest — perhaps painfully honest — about whether they stand the test of time.
This week, Leah Haydu reveals why she’s chosen to replay the Final Fantasy series and its role in her memory.
The first turn-based RPG I ever played was not a Final Fantasy game.
It was actually Paper Mario, which I picked up on a whim in college, for the first console I ever bought for myself: the Nintendo 64.
I’d been a fan of gaming for as long as I could remember, but relying on my to-this-day-suspicious-of-demonic-video-games parents for my fix meant that my access was sporadic at best until I was able to procure such things on my own. Through no fault of my own, I was a bit of a latecomer to the joys of RPG-dom.
Upon noticing how thoroughly absorbed I had become in Paper Mario, my then-boyfriend suggested that I give one of his favorite titles a try when I was done. It was a bit more complicated than what I was currently doing, he told me, but he really thought I’d be into it.
That’s how I was introduced to Final Fantasy VII–my first-ever Final Fantasy game.
This would have been in 2001, not long after the release of Final Fantasy IX (which Wikipedia tells me was on November 14, 2000 in North America), so VII wasn’t the newest title at this point; that didn’t matter to me, and was probably actually a good thing, because it meant that my boyfriend had played through the game several times himself by that point, and was more than happy to serve as my “strategy guide” while I experienced the world firsthand.
As predicted, I was in fact enthralled by Final Fantasy VII, and when I was finished, I proceeded to tear through FFVIII (which I loved) and FFIX (not so much). I didn’t get my hands on a Playstation 2 for a while, but once I did, you can bet that FFX was first on my list to play.
As time went by, I went back and played the earlier titles in the series that I had missed, as well as snapping up the new ones as soon as I could. I was so excited when I finally got to pick up Final Fantasy III for the DS–the only numbered entry I had yet to play at that point; I was so anxious for FFXIII that I actually bought my Playstation 3 for the sole purpose of playing it–this, of course, was a good year and a half bef0re we even found out that it would be available on the Xbox 360 as well, which was a bit of a sore spot for me.
Although not everything with the Final Fantasy name attached to it is particularly fantastic–I’m looking at you, Crystal Chronicles–I’ve had more than enough experiences and memories built around the series as a whole that when we started discussing replaying our own formative games on the podcast, there wasn’t a question in my mind as to which I’d go for.
In the upcoming weeks (and months, really; it’s a long series), I’ll be replaying these games and seeing how they hold up compared to my memories of them. Some I’ve played quite recently, some not for quite a long time, and some perhaps only once, but I’ve played and completed them all, so I’m interested to see what my conclusions will be going back to them in this context.
For clarity’s sake, here’s a list of what I’m committing to, as well as the platforms on which I’ll be playing them:
Final Fantasy–originally NES (1987), replaying on PSP (2007)
Final Fantasy II–originally Famicom (1988), replaying on PSP (2007)
Final Fantasy III–originally Famicom (1990), replaying on DS (2006)
Final Fantasy IV–originally SNES (1991), replaying on PSP (2011)
Final Fantasy V–originally Super Famicom (1992), replaying on GBA (2006)
Final Fantasy VI–originally SNES (1994), replaying on PS1 (1999)
Final Fantasy VII–originally PS1 (1997), replaying on PSN (2009)
Final Fantasy VIII–originally PS1 (1999), replaying on PSN (2009)
Final Fantasy IX–originally PS1 (2000), replaying on PSN (2010)
Final Fantasy X–originally and replaying on PS2 (2001)
Final Fantasy X-2–originally and replaying on PS2 (2003)
Final Fantasy XII–originally and replaying on PS2 (2006)
Final Fantasy XIII–originally PS3 and XBox 360 (2010), replaying on PS3 (2010)
As you can see, that’s rather a lot of games, even without the side-titles and the MMOs. Many of these have many different ports and re-releases, so the experience isn’t likely to be exactly the same as when I first played them, but I’m looking forward to the ride nonetheless.