As you will no doubt be aware we occasionally put up features sent to us by readers and other awesome folk, and now we have another new contributor in the Lolocaust Flat, warming himself by the smouldering corpse of Jim Sterling. Please welcome Dalek Sex, who would describe himself with these words: “Over the last fifteen years I have written for some of the most popular and revered print publications and websites in existence, all of which are now deceased in ignominious circumstances. When I’m not being the Typhoid Mary of journalism I work for a private healthcare company and my hobby, like everyone else’s on the internet, is being right about video games.”
So, with that in mind, enjoy the words he has thrown our way, as he takes on a couple of rather horrible Final Fantasy ‘-2’ titles. ENJOY!
Everybody who loves Final Fantasy has an opinion about the point at which the series was officially over. For some, it was the point at which they switched over from engaging pulpy plot-lines to emos with spiky hair and giant swords. For some it was the point where they realised people would rather spend two minutes watching Bahamut being summoned than actually choosing proper tactical fight commands. For some it was the very second they let Tetsuya Nomura and his box of fucking crayons loose on the character designs.
Wait, those are all Final Fantasy 7, aren’t they? I’m showing my age. I’d best move on.
For me, the point at which I decided that Final Fantasy was something I officially hated now was when they started making sequels. Not spin-offs, which they’ve been technically been doing since the FF4 DLC for the Nintendo Satellaview (showing my age again), but actual sequels to games which are meant to be self-contained stories. We all wanted to know whether Kain would actually come back. We all wanted to see whether Celes and Locke would get it together. We never would. It was a bittersweet pain, but it made our appreciation of the product in hand all the more poignant. So yeah, sequels. That’s my watershed. That’s my Troubled Third Album mark. That’s my Babylon 5: Crusade moment.
Well, I’ve never played Final Fantasy X-2, and I’ve never played Final Fantasy XIII-2. But which do I hate more? THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT! FIIIIIIIIIIGHT!
Round 1: Which Game Has The Funniest Bad Reviews?
If Cracked has taught us anything, it’s that people on the internet are stupid and need everything broken down into lists. Therefore, the following internet fight will be presented as a point by point breakdown based on measurable criterea, the first of which will be amusing quantities of shit slung toward the product in question. For this section I was originally intending to lean on Metacritic, the Rotten Tomatoes of video gaming. However, where better to go for uninformed pink froth than that wretched hive of bumfluff and villainy, the GameFaqs user reviews? Take it away, flapping gumholes of the internet.
“Isn’t it funny how men think they know how girls act, and then dress them like prostitutes?”
“This game ranks right up there with chemotherapy.”
“Characters who range from insultingly stereotypical to Jar Jar.”
“The Team Rocket of Final Fantasy.”
“8 parts J-pop, 1 part Final Fantsy and 1 part God knows what else.”
Ouch. OK. How about Squeeenix’s latest offering?
“Prepare to hear the classic chocobo theme turned into an angst-ridden barrage of power chords and screaming.”
“I found myself missing some of the voice actors from Final Fantasy titles on the Playstation 2, which speaks volumes.”
“A mix of superfluous and unlikable.”
“Takes around only 18 hours to beat. I didn’t skip any cut-scenes.”
“It has quick-time events now. Sigh.”
Wow. That’s… that’s not very funny at all. In fact, all the negative comments on FFXIII-2 seem to be completely factual and reasonably-stated arguments about how the game is objectively poorer. There’s not a single racial slur, misspelling or veiled piece of misogyny to be found. On GameFaqs? SERIOUSLY? The average 13-year old GameFaqs poster hasn’t even got as far as his Cornflakes in the morning without calling his mum a nigger for waking him up.
Conclusion: Congratulations, FFXIII-2. You’re not only bad, you are observably and measurably SO bad that you have warped the fabric of reality. You broke the internet. Round 1 to you.
Round 2: How Crushing Was My Sense Of Ennui When The Game Was Announced?
We’re into Hard Word Territory now, so let’s do a quick Countdown-style Dictionary Corner for the benefit of the internets at large.
A crushing moment of ennui is something you may have experienced under the following circumstances:
– In 2008, when every goddamn news story was suddenly about the goddamn 2012 Olympics, realising that you had another four years of this to put up with
– On watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, on realising that there were another two movies to go
– At the start of every new Saw or Paranormal Activity movie
I managed to finish neither FFX or FFXIII. I played up to the point where it becomes open-world, and was instantly FLATTENED by the same steamroller-like feeling of insurmountability that one might experience after twelve hours of going down on Katie Price, upon realising that she wanted a seeing-to as well. In both cases, also, the announcement that there was – should I ever be SO bored that I summon the gumption to go back and knock either game off properly – a whole extra GAME waiting for me… wow. I took hostages.
Deciding on which one is worse, though, is relatively simple for me. You see, against all my expectations (I’m a dyed in the wool RPG snob) I actually liked playing FFXIII. The battles were quick, dirty, fun and whizzbang. If I really had to play one of them – like, if I had to choose between that and a testicle – I think I could just about turn my brain off and survive FFXIII-2. If it was another 40 hours of watching Yuna summon a fucking Pikachu, though, they could have that bollock.
Fuck it. If I could be let off playing the Final Fantasy 7 spinoffs as well, they could have them both.
Round 3 – How Much Visceral Hatred Do I Bear The Characters?
Jay ZUS that’s a tough one. I don’t suppose I could duck out of this one by asking the critics again?
“All the characters are completely unlikable or act like they’re from space.”
-Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw on FFXIII
“It’s like someone wrote down everything irritating about the way teenagers dress.”
-Dr. David Thorpe on FFX
Hmmmm. Looks like we need a tiebreaker of some sort.
Yeah, something like that. Three nil to FFX.
Round 4 – Is The Game Trying To Make You Want To Bang Children?
Disclaimer: The title “Is the game trying to make you want to bang children more than the average Japanese video game” was too long. Incidentally, did you know that Japan is suffering a crippling population crisis? The predilection for lolicon in Japanese games and entertainment is like a real life Krogan Genophage, only they inflicted it on themselves.
Anyway, are they? FFX?
Apparently so. FFXIII?
CHRIST GOD NO!
Round 5 – Arbitrary Tie-Breaker
That last round has put things in perspective a bit. While all four measuring points reveal clearly that the FFX game I have never played is demonstrably more awful than the FFXIII game I have never played, I’m going to give FFXIII-2 a bonus four points because I’ve just realised that playing through it would mean another 30 hours of having to put up with Vanille.
So, it’s neck and neck with everything left to play for. As a decider, I’m going with something which may not be immediately obvious to the casual gamer, but which every serious player judges their games on whether they realise it or not. I’m talking, of course, about how much the main character looks like Jamie Oliver.
It’s a close one, but I’m going to have to say that Lightning looks JUST a bit more like Jamie Oliver than Tidus does, Tidus being that little bit more feminine.
THE WINNER: Final Fantasy XIII-2. Bad luck, Lightning and crew. The evidence was mounting up against Final Fantasy X-2, but you fell at the last fence, hobbled by your horrible characters and your main character who looks a little bit like a man. The prize for the winning is for me to never play it, and the consolation prize for the runner-up is for me to watch Midsomer Murders instead of playing it.