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Blog: A journey through Final Fantasy

Damian Seeto discusses his belated and unlikely love affair with the monster RPG franchise from Square Enix. Final Fantasy VIIJapanese style RPGs can be quite a journey. You literally have to invest a lot of your free time in order to be strong enough to beat the many bosses within these games. That’s why I was never a fan of the Final Fantasy games when I was younger. I was too impatient to wade through hordes of random battles in order to level up. The infectious gameplay of Crash Bandicoot 2 and Tekken 2 was more my thing, and subsequently, they were my favourite games in 1997 - NOT the popular Final Fantasy VII.Fast-forward to the year 2005. This is when I have been playing video games for quite a while now. Something in my mind told me that I had become a more “patient” gamer. I decided to give Final Fantasy another go - eight years after my initial aversion to Final Fantasy VII in 1997. The only Final Fantasy game available at the time in my local video store was Final Fantasy X-2, so I decided to hire it out and give it a go. Within minutes of witnessing its gorgeous cutscenes and hearing its beautiful music, I became immediately hooked.Sure, there were still lots of random battles to go through, but I didn’t care. All that mattered was getting through to the end. Funnily enough, four weeks later, I did just that. “What a cool game,” I thought to myself. This prompted me to buy Final Fantasy X just a few months later. I was lucky enough to score a pre-owned copy for only $18 – it even came with a bonus disc! What I didn’t realise was that Final Fantasy X is a much longer and harder game than Final Fantasy X-2. Within six months of purchase, I eventually found myself face to face with the final boss. Unfortunately, my characters were weak and did not have the required stats to beat him. I was annoyed by this and didn’t touch the game again for nearly three years.Even though I was annoyed that I was stuck on the final boss, I was still quite a fan of Final Fantasy after watching the 3D animated movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Hypocrite that I am, I decided to backtrack and pick up Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX just to see what I was missing all those years ago. It soon became clear that all Final Fantasy games (and all RPG games, for that matter) were hard, and I became stuck on all of those games too!My brother came home one day with Final Fantasy XII, but this time I had the official strategy guide with me. Dare I put myself through the torture again? However, after following the guide and a mammoth play-through of 100 plus hours, I’m proud to say that I eventually completed the game. This inspired me play Final Fantasy X again – only this time I ltook care to ensure that my characters levelled adequately. To my amazement, after nearly three and a half years of purchasing the game, I was able to beat the final boss! It was all because I now knew what Japanese RPGs are all about after playing through Final Fantasy XII. It’s important to invest a lot of your free time into the game, and every random battle is important. If you don’t take this into consideration, you’ll get stuck like I did.That said, I’m still struggling to finish the PS1 Final Fantasy games. But that’s no biggie; I’ll try to complete them another time. Currently I’m enjoying Crisis Core and Dissidia: Final Fantasy on PSP. As for next year, bring on Final Fantasy XIII, especially now that I know what it takes to complete a Final Fantasy game.Keep an eye out for Damian's full review of Dissidia: Final Fantasy in the November issue of NetGuide/Game Console

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