Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Final Fantasy Xperience: Where Main Character Design Goes Wrong

Ah the Final Fantasy series, just thinking of it evokes memories of epic quests, magical and technologically advanced worlds on the brink of destruction, and lately, sissy-boy main characters who do nothing but whine and complain.  What has happened to the leading characters in FF games?  We didn't have this problem in earlier games in the series.  I'm sure that when you first read the words "Final Fantasy" in this post, most of you immediately thought of Final Fantasy 7, with the badass leading character Cloud Strife.  This guy was pure awesome, the only character in the game able to face Sephiroth one-on-one and carve him to pieces.
It's time to kick ass and chew materia gum.
Side note: I'm not even going to touch the topic of the emo Cloud in the Final Fantasy: Advent Children movie; as far as I'm concerned, movies based on games are not canon and therefore do not exist.

Another character in the game who was almost equally as awesome as Cloud (and who was also my favorite character in the game) was Barret Wallace.
A Final Fantasy game with a party member who is basically Mr. T with a robotic machine gun arm?  How could anybody not like this?

So, now that we've set the bar for how awesome characters in Final Fantasy games can be, let's see how more recent FF games fall short with their main characters.

The one Final Fantasy game that has probably received the most ridicule due to character design is Final Fantasy X.  Let's just jump right to a picture of the main character Tidus to set the stage for this topic:

Is it a boy? A girl?
 Do you hear that?  It's the sound of all the Cloud Strife fans groaning in disgust simultaneously.  Tidus is the exact opposite of everything we expect from a strong leading character in a Final Fantasy game.  First and foremost, he never stops whining.  From the very beginning of the game, you are treated to nonstop complaints from his ridiculously annoying voice, where most of his dialogue sounds like something you'd hear from grade school brats throwing a tantrum.  It's as if the developers intended Tidus to originally be an obnoxious little girl but changed this at the very last minute, which would explain why most people at first glance can't even tell whether Tidus is a guy or girl.

 Speaking of the visual oddities of characters in Final Fantasy X, it would be unfair not to mention party member Wakka, the man with the laughable haircut.

Wakka finds your lack of hairspray disturbing
Wakka isn't anywhere near as annoying as Tidus, he's mainly just a naive, goofy character with a wannabe Rastafarian accent.  So besides his strange hairdo, there's not much to say here.

Now that I've mentioned hairdos in FFX, I might as well mention one more character before moving on, and that character is Maester Seymour.

Just look at that impossible hair, did the devs at Square think we could take this guy seriously with his triple claw hairdo?  He's one of the main villains of the game, yet instead of commanding respect and awe, he commands laughter and ridicule from gamers worldwide every time he makes an appearance.

Ok enough of the freaks from Final Fantasy X with their whiny voices and laughable haircuts.  There is one more character from recent Final Fantasy games that must be mentioned, Vaan from Final Fantasy 12.  He's absolutely pointless in the main story and contributes nothing in grand scheme of things apart from making small observations here and there.  Vaan is just a homeless kid tagging along for the ride while delivering lines (in mostly monotone, probably should have placed him in my article about bad voice acting) that you'll neither remember nor care about.

And believe me, when I refer to Vaan as "he," I'm using the term as loosely as possible, because it's seriously hard to tell what Vaan is.  Square seems to have gone overboard with the uber-sissyness of this character.  Looking back at Final Fantasy 7, would you ever have believed that Square would develop a FF game with this he/she kid as the "main" character?  To be fair though, since Vaan doesn't speak very often, he automatically isn't as annoying as Tidus, and he tends not to whine anywhere near as much, which is also a plus.

This concludes the What the hell was Square thinking moment.

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