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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 12:43 am 
I was having a discussion about art last night, and I realized why I always liked the Phantasy Star games better than Final Fantasy... and why I believe Final Fantasy is more popular. It's quite simple really. Phantasy Star presents us man as a hero, while Final Fantasy offers flawed characters as the people that drive the world.

Final Fantasy games, IV, VI, VII, in particular, offer us main characters torn by a terrible inner conflict, with Cecil, Terra, Cloud all in serious doubt of their own abilities, and all have to undergo a great deal of growth in their view of reality and morality to even fight. Some, like Terra and Cloud suffer complete breakdowns. This isn't just related to the main characters either; nearly every individual is crippled by self-doubt in these games.

On the other hand, the Phantasy Star series, we have characters that have their different reasons justifying their quests, but none doubt their efficacy for a moment, other than Chaz, (which is why I don't like him,) but even he doesn't reach the lows of self-esteem that haunt the Final Fantasy heroes. He has a reasonable defense, for though, he is not yet a man at his age of 16. Still, he admirably asks why he should take on a responsibility abandoned by a divinity.

Take someone like Rudo, out to avenge his wife and daughter, but we aren't dragged through his grief during the game. We don't have to endure a quest for him to regain his confidence. One could argue that this is simply a limitation due to age of the PS games, and lack of depth, but still, the Sega programmers didn't cut out part of the code to insert little egos into the game, so that's irrelevant.

I know this is why I've always loved the PS series; because it presents "man as he should and ought to be". Heroes should be strong, and sure of themselves. The time to find an ego isn't on the battlefield. Sadly, I think people's ego problems is a strong contributor to why the FF series is so popular. Too many people identify with it. I'll take strength, and therefore Phantasy Star every time.

What are your views on this argument?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 3:52 am 
It makes sense. I never really identified with any of the characters in Final Fantasy when playing the games, but reading read your second paragraph made me think about it. I can see how a lot of people could easily identify with some of them. Thinking of it in those terms, I do too, to some extent.

The heroes in Phantasy Star are more of an image that people would aspire to imitate. It's a group of like-minded people banding together to accomplish a common goal, with no doubt that they will do it if they dedicate themselves to it.

In one interview, Rieko Kodama said that when creating PSI, they tried to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. There were no animated monsters or worlds, so they made that. All the RPGs were fantasy, so they made sci-fi. I guess this is another example of that theme being kept throughout the series.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 5:20 am 
Great argument, Komrade! I don't think I can add much, since you've covered most everything. Though there's one thing that I see as a huge point when it comes to RPGs that hasn't been discussed.

Something Final Fantasy lacks in their stories is depth. Phantasy Star's story spans four games and there's a lot of events that happen, some things that are shown to affect later games as well. For example, the destruction of Palma in PSII? It's only the start of problems, as technology is lost and it leads to more disasters in PSIV. (better safe than sorry in case someone didn't play PSII :p)

Taking a look at FFVII, considered by some to be the best RPG of all time, I've heard some fanboys go on about how deep it is, and how its story is wonderful and how it's just the best thing ever. There's nothing complex in that game, as the story's scrambled and they leave "hints" and "clues" scattered around, that help "piece together" what really happened. If you ask me, there's nothing special about a confusing and poorly executed story. Cloud's little emotional episodes weren't too impressive, either. ;) I'll never understand how people can relate to that wreck of a character, unless they're suffering from an identity crisis.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 7:43 am 
FF7's story, *so says the creators* was suppose to show us how precious life is, i like FF7 to a extent, but after awhile it gets boring to hear about.. phantasy star is good to, the characters all have their individual problems, even though they really didnt start dealing with it until PSIII *even with the smal story it had*, but my favorite game series would have to be the Legend of Zelda, i mean even against all those odds he continues to go on.. i like it cuz to me it shows that even when all hope is lost, one person can make a difference.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 4:39 pm 
Kaloes wrote:FF7's story, *so says the creators* was suppose to show us how precious life is, i like FF7 to a extent, but after awhile it gets boring to hear about.. phantasy star is good to, the characters all have their individual problems, even though they really didnt start dealing with it until PSIII *even with the smal story it had*,

It's easy to gather what they were going for, but I think they were trying a little too hard. ;) But, if they were really going for that approach, of having some moral to the story, then no wonder that little fact tends to fly over people's heads. Perhaps they could've used Aeris's death scene as an anti-murder cause instead. Big bold letters, gracing the screen... "Life is precious. Call 1-800-LYFE if you wish to donate to our cause and help us revive Aeris..." Gotta love those 'revive Aeris' rumors. :mrgreen:

Kaloes wrote:but my favorite game series would have to be the Legend of Zelda, i mean even against all those odds he continues to go on.. i like it cuz to me it shows that even when all hope is lost, one person can make a difference.

Link was sorta like a one-man-army, in a manner of speaking.

Also... Great that you're a Zelda fan, but isn't that a little off topic? :p


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 5:16 pm 
Nice argument towards the two! I am a fan of the older FF games and can hardly stomach the newer games, although ff12 does look interesting...

Anyway!

I never thought of it like that! The hero versus the flawed hero. With Cecil and Terra at least, things went well for them in the end, even with some tragic events towards certain characters, but with Cloud, it just sorta dragged with him. Even with the movie that came out (I unfortunately watched), it was always that same depressed doubting personality. Which I guess, the majority of folks do sort of relate to. That, or he just looks so cool and appealing that people have to look like him. Bah!

But yes! As I think about it, I liked the confidence the PS Heros have! Maybe Chaz was doubtful at first, but the moment did not last long at all and he was able to lead the team pretty darn well (well in my game, Wren leads the game, but that is a different reason! :D).

You make me think about what sort of hero the main character is from Panzer Dragoon Saga! I like character analysis!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 2, '07, 11:13 pm 
I'm glad so many of you agree! (That's probably one of the reasons we all get along :wink: !) You've all offered some fine points to expand my thoughts. :D

Thoul, you're right, this series was different from the very beginning. The FF series let you create characters of your own with no background at it's start, but the PS series gave you predefined characters with stories of their own. I think this is the main reason my interest waned when Sega took the series to the Online games, and player-directed character creation.

You can see that even though the FF series adapted to having set characters as the "series" went along, they still let you customize all sorts of abilities to whomever you chose. You could shape the characters into just about whatever you wanted to. Terra and Celes aren't as great as they first seem because you can teach anyone Magic. Bah. As an author, I get mildly offended when game creators put the onus of creating the story or customizing the characters on me. I'm playing the game for an action-driven story, not to make the thing up as I go along, (sigh, MMORPG).

Tsunami, that's a great point about the continuity of the PS games. There are so many inherent limitations in the FF universe of starting with a new world every game. I think that's one of the great features of PSIV: it's an entire game of a climax, since all the other games were building to this end.

Atolm, I too liked the early games. When Square started off, I didn't feel like I needed a psychiatrist riding copilot.

It's refreshing to hear of other people that respect heroic figures! I forgot to give my quote from the first post his proper due; Aristotle said that the purpose of literature was "to portray man as he should and ought to be".

Despite all these years of playing these games, and now my time tweaking them, I hadn't ever consciously identified what it was that I found so appealing, but this is it!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 3, '07, 8:45 am 
yea i know the zelda bit was a bit off topic but i just wanted to make a sidenote in the post i guess u could say


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 3, '07, 2:49 pm 
I don't really agree about the PS heroes all being the strong, righteous archetype. At first glance they are, sure, but that's due to the limitations of how much story is in the game. I think that's a very relevant point - in PS2, most chars have two or three lines tops. They don't have their own scenarios like the FFVI characters.

In their back stories, described in the Compendium translation, many of the PS2 characters do have their own flaws. Take Kain... in the back story, he was supposed to be Nei's love interest and take her death pretty hard. But in the game, he's just a guy that breaks stuff. A couple of the guys were supposed to be hotheads. Shir was a thief just because that's how she got her kicks.

They all have their little problems. Okay, it doesn't run as deep as Cloud (he's just psycho, if you ask me), but they only seem perfect in game because we only hear from them two or three times.

One of FF's strengths, in their stories, is character development. None of the PS characters really grow beyond what they start out being. A few do: Chaz, Rhys, a few NPCs. In FF, there is usually more growth.

I don't mean to sound like a big FF fan here; I'm not. I just think that Phantasy Star, great as the series is, lacked a lot of impact in the story department.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 3, '07, 11:28 pm 
Neithird wrote:At first glance they are, sure, but that's due to the limitations of how much story is in the game. I think that's a very relevant point - in PS2, most chars have two or three lines tops.
Sega would've cut out part of the game to include it if they wanted to focus on flawed heroes. They didn't.

Neithird wrote:In their back stories, described in the Compendium translation, many of the PS2 characters do have their own flaws. Take Kain... in the back story, he was supposed to be Nei's love interest and take her death pretty hard.
Losing someone you care about isn't a character flaw; it's a trait of a value-driven person. Someone who doesn't take a love interest's death hard is a psychopath. That's a character flaw!

On a side note about someone like Shir; there are definitely some characters with flaws in PS, but the point is that story is not driven by them. In FF, the character flaws overwhelm the storyline.

Neithird wrote:One of FF's strengths, in their stories, is character development. None of the PS characters really grow beyond what they start out being. A few do: Chaz, Rhys, a few NPCs. In FF, there is usually more growth.
The majority of PS characters don't have to grow; they're not flawed. They're already heroes. They show us how life is supposed to be lived. FF's inclusion of flawed heroes is telling us that the natural state of a human being is to be flawed, while PS shows the natural state of man's life as an unwavering commitment to goal-driven behavior. The difference is in principle; there is a great deal of value in a story where a character corrects mistakes of their view of life, but to make it the focus of every storyline is to brand man as inherently flawed and to undercut the concept of heroism.

Neithird wrote:I don't mean to sound like a big FF fan here; I'm not. I just think that Phantasy Star, great as the series is, lacked a lot of impact in the story department.
I agree with that. There is tons of room to expand the story in the PS games in the realm of the grand struggle for a goal, but not in characters doubting their own efficacy in the universe.


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