Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Looking back on: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

This is not a post where I get you guys into a game (old or new); this is a post where I look back on a game and really talk about it. This is usually done for games we've played in our childhoods that either really stood the test of time or just suck ass nowadays, but sometimes, we cover historically significant games. Amazingly, today's post is going to cover something from the latter category, as I've only played this game recently (well, about 3 years ago was the first time I played it, but that's close enough) and thus there's no nostalgia to wade through. Instead, there's significance to take on board with our judgement.

Don't get me wrong - if you don't consider what it was meant to do, then yeah, it is a piece of shit. It's a retardedly simple JRPG with zero plot or character development and very little difficulty. That's a red light right there, but did you know that it was Square's intention to do it like that because they thought western audiences were dumbells? No? Damn, son, you better get some Happy Video Game Nerd in your life! But yeah, this is certainly one of those games where its significance outweighs the game itself - in fact, if you compare them, the historical significance is an obese man and the game is a bulimic girl. Not kidding. The game itself is a mess, but what it did for JRPGs was astounding... in spite of the game.

What I mean is that this game got the shit smashed out of it by critics back when it was first released and in general, it was pretty poorly received. Nobody wanted to be talked down to by a video game. Nobody expected a dumbed down JRPG to be extremely dumb. Nobody took too kindly to Square making what was essentially shit in a paper bag. Let's not forget that Final Fantasy 4 (which was known as 2 before we knew of the real 2 and 3) achieved, at best, moderate sales, which lead Square to make... well, this, but yet, I think more people bought Final Fantasy 4 because they were like "fuck it I want a complicated game".

The backlash made Square think "hmm maybe there is a market for JRPGs that aren't meant for the mentally retarded" (well maybe not their exact words, but you get the picture). Various JRPG developers put more work into translating them quicker and better so that we can play the next big JRPG months, not years, after the Japs. Various western developers felt like trying it out for themselves, or at least publishing them themselves. Hell, some companies tried their hands at simple JRPGs, and as a result, we got Secret Of Mana and the enormously popular Pokemon series (which, in my eyes, was what made JRPGs the monolith it was between the late 90s and mid 2000s - Final Fantasy 7 just had pretty graphics and a beautiful soundtrack to bring to the table).

So while it's a piece of shit, we should at least give it some respect. Otherwise, I don't think JRPGs would've had any place in western society, except... as it is now, which is a mere niche appeal at best. Although there's no denying that the soundtrack is awesome.

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