noiseredux vs.

Posted on Jun 13th 2013 at 07:46:50 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PSP

I have considered myself a fan of the Final Fantasy series since right around the time that the very first game hit Western shores. Though in my fuzzy memories I can't quite recall if it was Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior that was my first RPG experience, I'm guessing it was the former since that's the series I ultimately felt more connected to over the years. To elaborate, I'd at least call myself more than just a casual fan of the series. I've played nearly every numbered installment - including sequels. I've played many of the spin-off's (Adventure, all three Legend games, Crystal Chronicles, Tactics, Tactics Advanced, Mystic Quest, etc). Hell, in many cases I've even played multiple ports of the same game - for example this first game which I've experienced on NES, GBA and PS1 before picking up this PSP port. And yet here comes the shocker: I've never actually finished a Final Fantasy game. Seriously. Two decades or so of playing these games and I had never watched the credits roll on a single one of them.
Whereas some gamers seem to feel a certain compulsion to beat every game they play, I've never really been that way myself. When I know I've got limited time for gaming to fit within my life, that means that I'll generally play a game for as long as it keeps me enthralled, and it's time to move on to something else when that something else successful grabs my attention away. Never once have I felt cheated though. It's just realistic to realize that in many cases RPG's are just too vast for me to see through to the end. Most recently I picked up Final Fantasy XIII-2, not long after launch and paying less-than, but close to retail. Did I finish the game? Nope. Sadly though that one had to do with losing a bunch of PS3 saves. At any rate, while I never got through XIII-2, I did enjoy the ten or so hours I spent with it. In that case how could I be upset? To me, I felt justified spending $4 per hour for a game that I enjoyed playing for ten hours. At the end of the day isn't a video game supposed to entertain us?

Oh gosh, I've certainly gotten off track here haven't I? Well the point of all this was to say that even though these are my feelings on such things as 'value' and desired game-length and so on, I also realized that while a fifteenth proper numbered installment to the series has been announced, I've still never seen the end of any of them. And maybe it was time to change that. Sure I could cherry pick. Maybe I could finally see what happens after Shinra Tower in VII (I've stopped there three times since the game's release)? Maybe I could finally decide if I really prefer IV to VI? Maybe I could finally give VIII and XII a much fairer chance than I have in the past? Nah. It seemed like the natural thing to do would be to just start back at the beginning.
The original Final Fantasy has been re-released many times over the years. And as stated earlier, I have played many of these different takes on the game. The PSP version seems about as deluxe as you can get. Not only is it easily the prettiest version of the game graphically, but the PSP's wonderful widescreen really accentuates the visuals. Add to this the fact that there were now many impressive cut-scenes to help progress the story as well. Along the same lines the game now has a wonderful CD-quality soundtrack in portable form thanks to the UMD media. Other additions beyond the superficial overhaul include some extra dungeons that I personally spent very little time investigating.

As I started the game up I decided to go with the default roster of classes: a knight, a thief, a white mage and a black mage. Sure customization and strategy is great - but for some strange reason I'm sometimes a fan of just sticking to the default and seeing how a game feels if you don't tinker with a thing. Overall, I found the party sufficient. My knight and thief handled the dirty work physically, the black mage was there to unload some brutal magic on bosses, and the white mage did her best to keep us all alive. In fact the party was so sufficient that I actually had very little problem advancing for the entire twelve hours it took me to get up to the final boss, Chaos. I did very little grinding up to that point. I was mostly only equipping items, weapons and armor that I found in dungeons or won from battles. And really my mages (well, now wizards) had only a handful of magic spells to work with.
The Chaos battle did not go well. And after a half-dozen or so failed attempts I admitted to myself that it was time to backtrack out of Chaos Tower, go back to all the towns and start spending money on hardcore magic and weaponry. And why not? I had maxed out my gil by the end of the game. I told you I was stingey about spending.

As I made my way back up Chaos Tower an hour and a half later, I started thinking back on my quest. Here it was, my first RPG and twenty years later I was finally making a solid effort to see the story come to a close. Oh, how many times over the years had a slain Garland with a level 3 or 5 party and then watched those beautiful opening credits roll? But never once had I seen the end credits. All those years I had gone missing out on so much of the awesome middle game. I hadn't even been aware there were mermaids in this game all those years. But now I was progressing from one floor to the next in Chaos Tower now. My party was all above level 50. We had weapons like the Excalibur and the Marumasa. Heck, even my black mage was killing most enemies in that final dungeon with a single hit.
So once more we faced Chaos with narry a worry in mind. Among us four we had nearly every spell in the game including protection spells, and spells that would make us move faster or hit harder. We had a spell that would not only revive a fallen character, but refill his HP completely. We carried 99 potions, hi-potions, ethers and phoenix downs with us. Chaos didn't stand a chance.

You better believe that the internal speakers in my PSP were tested that night as I blasted the end-score that played over the closing credits. I saved my game and took the UMD out and realized that for the first time a Final Fantasy game to me wasn't just about enjoying the journey while it lasted until my eventual detour. For the first time I stuck with it until I reached my destination. And though that final few hours dealing with Chaos and grinding infuriated me, I realize it was my own stubbornness about spending gil and powering myself up that put me in that position.
And I also realize this: as much as I prefer console gaming, there's no doubt that playing this on a PSP made it far more likely I'd finish. The ability to save anywhere, and pick it up later and continue immediately at the exact spot I left off meant I continued far more often. Any bit of progression could be made with even a spare 20 minutes while half-watching TV. So to that I must conclude that although I've played nearly every version of this game to be released in the US, I'll plan to make my way through II, III and IV via their PSP ports as well.

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I still have fond memories of playing Final Fantasy on the NES back in the day. The saleslady actually warned me that this game was too hard for kids, but I told her I'd already beaten Dragon Warrior, so I could handle this just fine. She looked skeptical, but mom gave her the money and I tore into it with passion. After beating Chaos, I felt a definite sense of accomplishment. It had been tough at times, but I was patient, and I ultimately triumphed in the end. It was the start of a long and beautiful friendship with me and Square, one that has unfortunately soured in light of recent games.

Looking back, it's kinda sad to see what's become of the FF brand in recent years. Hopefully FFXV ends up recapturing the magic, but my heart just isn't into S-E the way it used to be.
That was a very well written and fun to read post Noiseredux Smiley Final Fantasy on the PSP is such a beautiful game, and looks great in widescreen (and sounds great on the PSP too)!

Have you been able to get a hold of Crisis Core? The battle system is very different and is by no means a perfect game, but damn the story is a tear jerker! Zack Fair certainly is a stark contrast to Cloud Strife.

Thanks for the great read!
I'm in the same boat completion wise. The only final fantasy game that I have ever beaten was Final Fantasy XIII. I am however at the final boss on 3,7,8,10, and tactics advanced Tongue. I really need to go back and replay these games now that I have matured a bit :X.
I have the case and manual for crisis core but no game. Sad
Uhoh Sad would you like me to keep an eye out for you? I think I've seen some loose copies for sale for cheap...
yeah totally. I got the case/manual for free with the intention of snagging a cheap UMD down the road. Thanks man!
I'll keep my eyes peeled!
I remember growing up with Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. I still love that game and still play it on my emulator. This one kinda reminds me of it from the pictures shown. Might make me want to go out and get a PSP

The PSP and DS Final Fantasy remakes/ports are amazing totally worth picking up the systems just to play those. Plus the spin offs like Crisis Core are pretty amazing games.
Congrats on beating FF1!  I consider the PSP version to be the best version of the game. I would love to see another Blog Post on FF2 for the PSP.
I was a late-bloomer when it came to Final Fantasy.  I was always a Zelda fanboy back in the 90s and never gave Final Fantasy a chance.  I picked up FFX from a clearance bin years ago and I fell in love.  It was my first and still my favorite.  I've since played all of them (but IX) and beaten 1, 2, 3, 4, X, X-2, and XII.  I loved Crisis Core but my PSP is on its deathbed so I haven't finished it :/

Right now though I'm finishing up XIII and about halfway through V.

          I haven't tried the PSP port of FF2, but at least the PS1 Origins collection had an annoying levelling/stat increase system.  Maybe they changed it, but besides that the story was pretty good.
I hardly ever finish RPGs either, but only because i love the game so much i don't want it to end.  I think the only two Final Fantasies i finished were VII and Tactics.  Good blog.
While Final Fantasy was not my first RPG experience (that would be Dragon Warrior), it was the one that really made me look at what an RPG had to offer, and managed to sustain a fascination that has not ended yet.  Saying that, this is the first version of the original Final Fantasy that I have never played and you, dear sir, will be driving me (not literally) to the store later today to purchase this game.  Thank you.
Nice write-up noise. On to FFII!
there are phoenix downs in the psp version? it's been a while but i don't remember there being any sort of revival item you could use in-battle in the NES version...that must have made it a lot easier. good blog post!

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