Friday, June 25, 2010



I just finished the 2nd of the 3 discs of the xbox 360 edition of Final Fantasy XIII.

Apparently, scenario and script writers in Japanese Role-playing game land have run the proverbial narrative well dry, so to speak. FFXIII has the usual "let's stop the evil God/empire/ubermench conglomerate-conspiracy" plotline, complete with the usual cast of cookie-cutter character archetypes to illustrate the anti-authoritarian allegory (with one noticeable exceptions, on which I will hopefully elaborate on in a future posting). However, the end of the second disc (about 23 hours into the game, FWIW), commences with the *ahem* "totally unexpected" awful truth trope - that is, the point in a JRPG where the main characters/"band of heroes" discover that what they THOUGHT was the bad guy really isn't the pernicious villian they presumed he/she/it was, but something else. In most games, this enemy is usually revealed (upon its defeat, of course) to be servant/pawn of the REALLY bad guy, the good guy in disguise, or the unwitting interlocuter in some grandiose scheme of some other entity yet to be fully revealed within the narrative. In the case of FFXIII, however...(SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!)


The "final boss"/king of the animist deities that acts as the catalyst to this major plot twist IS, in fact, the "bad guy" after all - but after you "defeat him," he just laughs you off and says that you can't kill him - AT LEAST NOT YET! Apparently, the animist deities in this game want their subservient human "tools" to kill them off - but on their terms, not the humans', so they still "win" at the end of the day.


Nietzche, eat your heart out. Ugh. Thanks be to God for the resevoir of theological and theodical coherence in Catholicism. Beats JRPG nonsense anyday :)


Anonymous said...

I had a question. Do you think you guys could do a review on the Prince of Persia series?


Paul Giacchetto said...

Hahaha, I get scared to get into the newer Final Fantasy's, since they seem to be getting progressively crazier without getting more interesting. I loved FF4 for the simpler story (the moon thing I think stretched it JUST enough), and I loved FF5 for its job system. I have never played FF7, and I don't know if I'm missing out on anything.

Xystvs said...

I am almost to the end of the game myself, and I'm not quite sure what to think of the plot.

The development team for FFXIII is the same that created FFX and the similarities are pretty striking. (religious leaders as villains, a dark god, racial tensions,overtly linear storyline, vague plot, etc..)

I much prefer the teams that developed FFIX, FFXI, and FFXII. They have more traditional Final Fantasy themes to them and are also more fun to play.

Sidenote: A friend just alerted me to the fact that John Paul the Great University now offers a program on game design and animation~

It's about time we made head-roads into this industry!

Xystvs said...

@ Paul Giacchetto

I would highly recommend FFVI and FFIX if you haven't played them yet.

FFVI is considered by veterans to be the best in the series.

Andy Kirchoff said...

@ Xystvs:

Yeah, I've reached the endgame as well, and the story has certainly taken a turn for the convoluted. It's not at all what I originally posted, obviously, but its certainly not any better.

I will say, however, that FFXII's anti-theist plot and absolutely abominable gameplay automatically disqualify it from possibly being better than FFXIII. Worst FF ever IMO.

Good find on JPIIU. Is it the first Catholic college to offer such a program?

Miles Mariae said...

I haven't played XIII but, as Xystvs commented above, there does seem to be strong similarities between it and X.

I think the winner for blasphemous storyline goes to FF Tactics though!

When you investigate into Square's history it is amazing how many of their games are mockeries of the true faith (xenogears is another one!)

7 is my fav fantasy game for sentimental reasons its pantheism sickens me.

FF5's job system is cool, 6 is decent enough again, like CT, we are talking of games here that know that they are games- they are not trying to be theologies or present philosophical responses to reality.

Paul Giacchetto said...

@Miles Mariae

O yeah, the award for blasphemous storyline definitely goes to FF Tactics. When I finished the game, I stared in disbelief at what I just played. Do not play that game for the storyline. Luckily FF Tactics Advance has a much better storyline (about escaping through fantasy and how it can be harmful if done too much). It makes no statements about churches and conspiracy while still keeping the job system.

Andy Kirchoff said...

I've never played FF Tactics, but that game is famous - or, in this case, infamous - for its anti-theist (especially anti-Christian) storyline. FFXII has similar problems (I've actually played that one), but FFXIII is too convoluted in both its gameplay systems and its story to communicate much of any theme in particular (reviewers are right to criticize it as a failed experiment), but the game does, at the very least, appear to act as a condemnation of despair.

Now DQIX, on the other hand - that's a game with a narrative I can appreciate. A nice change from the standard gnostic JRPG fare that has passed for a "story" since 1995.

JTS said...

Any chance you could link to God bless you! Jim

dustin (The Boston Celtics fan) said...

For me, FF6 is still fun to play, but when I went back and tried vii, it didn't hold up well. Thought about going and getting a ps3 just to play FF13, but if it's just the same tired jrpg cliches, I'll steer clear. Thanks for the heads up!