May 3, 2008

The Hook

It's a good general rule of most media that your heavy-hitters are going to do something to grab your attention right away, then they're going to manage to hold you until the end.

I think Final Fantasy XII does the first well enough, but hasn't managed to do the second (and arguably more key element) all that well. It doesn't mean I won't finish the game, but I probably won't get as much out of it as I did the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th installations of the series.

As to why I think this is, I believe I have issue with the fact that Vaan is 100% pure cypher in the story. It's not that other "main" characters haven't been cyphers to some extent, but it honestly seems like he serves no other purpose in the story but to represent you, the player as the outsider. To illustrate the point further let me take a look at each of those other games.

  • Final Fantasy VI - Terra. As a half-human/half-esper young woman, her history and her future were tied directly in the Empire's (and later Kefka's) plans.
  • Final Fantasy VII - Cloud Strife. Not as integral to the back story as he thinks he (futzed up memory and all that jazz), his connections to Aeris and Sephiroth make him key to the outcome.
  • Final Fantasy VIII - Squall Leonhart. His connection to SeeD and eventual love of Rinoa tie him into the story of the Sorceresses.
  • Final Fantasy IX - Zidane Tribal. His history as part of Garland's plans combined with his relationship with Garnet pull him to the center of the tale of two worlds.
  • Final Fantasy X - Tidus. So what if he's a bit of whiner or a girly-man, as a dream of the fayth and son of the latest Sin, he's wrapped up in this story even more than most of the above.
So, as someone without a love interest or a real place in the political power struggles of FFXII, Vaan just really doesn't keep me interested in the story.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I really want to like FFXII, but for some reason I just get bored. Which is weird, since I totally dug Tactics with its similarly politically-tinged plot. Go fig.