If Wizardry is considered the grandfather of western-style fantasy games. Than Final Fantasy is its far-eastern cousin. While Wizardry was rooted in classic Tolkien style swords and sorcery, Final Fantasy can be summed up as a more unfamiliar techno-fantasy type of genre. I was introduced to the series while living in Japan. I had noticed the game in the collection of several of my Japanese friends, and I knew that it was off limits. “No play!” They would tell me. I assume they feared I would accidentally delete their character data due to my inability to read the Japanese menus. I enjoyed watching them play the child-like characters, as they explored weird underwater shrines, and did battle with goblins or vampires.
Eventually, the game was translated to English and made available to the western audience. I snapped it up immediately and never looked back. The summer of my post 6th grade year was spent exploring the game to the fullest. I created characters of every class, snooped through every nook and cranny of every dungeon, and defeated the final monster countless times.
I knew that Final Fantasy II and III were already available to my Japanese friends, and I was more than upset to learn that Nintendo of America intended to skip these tiles and repackage the upcoming Final Fantasy IV and “Final Fantasy II” for the American audience.
Over the years, I consumed every Final Fantasy title made available to me. Eventually, after I was married and had children of my own, the elusive third entry in series was finally brought to the American shores in the form of a 3D remake.
To date, I have played and beaten every single-player entry in the series (except for the newly released XIII-2). As far as the online titles go, I was active in Final Fantasy XI from 2003 until the spring of 2011. I have been a supporter of Final Fantasy XIV ever since.
While Wizardry, nurtures the purest part of my dungeon crawling, spell casting, classing D&D spirit, Final Fantasy appeals of me in other ways. The art direction reminds me of my years living in Japan, while the settings and in-depth stories cater to the classic fantasy elements that make Wizardry so appealing.
A few years ago, I thought it might be interesting to play through various game franchises and post reviews of each game, noting how they have matured and developed over time. I did this with the Final Fantasy series.
In the coming months, I’ll be posting these reviews.