Tropes in Gaming: The Fanservice Pack with Mod Aria!

Mod Aria’s Back! This week I’m taking the reigns on our popular Tropes in Gaming segment, and I’ve decided to talk about a trope that everyone knows, but didn’t exactly know the name of it. This trope is dubbed “The Fanservice Pack”, and it is quite common in the video game industry. Particularly, this trope is quite common among fighting games, as you can tell by the flagship image of Soul Calibur’s most recent rendition of Sophitia. But what is The Fanservice Pack? I’ll tell you, but get ready to say an audible “Ohhhhhhh!”.

The name of this trope is a bit strange, but oddly appropriate. The Fanservice Pack, in essense, is the idea of characters becoming more and more attractive as a game goes on. However, this trope mainly centers around the progression of female character measurements. As a game series follows this female character, her secondary sex characteristics will change to make her appear more desirable. Sometimes it’s a chance it clothing, sometimes it’s not. Typically, it is denoted by a drastic, yet steady, increase in chest size. But enough beating around the bush, right? Video game companies just want these girls boobs to be bigger than they were.

Where can you see this? I counter with: where can’t you? Let’s look at Sophitia. Compare her Soul Calibur 2 sprite to her Soul Calibur 5; can you honestly say that nothing has changed? Oh yeah, there’s change. A couple cup sizes worth of it. Mortal Kombat, BlazeBlue and Tekken are also perpetrators of The Fanservice Pack. Because of the regular installments of the series, the excuse “Time is passing, a woman’s body changes” is easy to use as an excuse to up the fanservice for these female characters.

But fighting games aren’t the only victims. The Fanservice Pack can be seen in JRPGs like Final Fantasy X-2 and the Final Fantasy XIII installments as well as The Neptunia series and even Pokemon. Western games, like Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls series, don’t dodge the The Fanservice pack either. Now, male characters can also be affected by The Fanservice Pack, but the effect is nowhere near as drastic or frequent. As I said earlier, The Fanservice Pack is not necessarily a change in body, but also a change in clothing or hair design. Male video game characters often see new outfits as a series goes on, and they can sometimes be more revealing than before. Whether or not this is actually fanservice is debatable, but that’s a topic for another time.

So this trope can be a bit of a toxic one for gamers; there are some obvious and some not so obvious reasons. At the center, the reason why this trope is toxic is that it is blatant hypersexualization of female video game characters. There is a stigma in gaming that we are only just now starting to move away from: in order to be a strong fighter, a woman must be physically appealing.

This argument falls apart in so many areas; the definition of physically appealing is dynamic, the phrase “physically appealing” usually comes along with an addendum of straight, cis males, and the argument itself is nonsensical. A woman’s beauty and sex appeal does no way correlate with her athletic prowess. Breast size does not equal a stronger punch. An hourglass figure does not mean she can dead lift a car.

Nevertheless, it is the true heart of this trope that forces sexist notions on gamers: that the kind of transition these games are showcasing is a natural one. This goes for women and men too. Bodies come in all different shapes, sizes and skin tones. We should accept that our bodies are wonderful things, and that they are wonderful no matter what they look like. Having women grow three cup sizes in a matter of two games that take place within a few years of each other is absolutely unrealistic. And no excuse can justify it.

Take our poster girl today, Sophitia. It’s easy for people to say that her breasts have steadily enlarged because she had children. People know that having children can increase a woman’s breast size. But that argument is weak at best. Enlarged breasts is not the only sign of former pregnancy, nor would the increase in size be so dramatic. Everyone knows why Sophita was changed. The same goes with men’s bodies and their musculature. You don’t get ripped just by practicing martial arts. There’s way more to bodybuilding than just working out.

The first step to recovering from this idea that excuses can justify sexualization in the media is acknowledging what is happening. These fictional characters are being hypersexualized in order to appeal to their audience. Some people like curvy women with large breasts, some people like beefcake men. And what I’m about to say might blow your mind, but follow me on this: to an extent, I don’t have a problem with that.

Let me explain: there’s nothing wrong with catering to your fans. There’s nothing wrong with embracing your sexuality. You’re attracted to what you’re attracted to. You should embrace that. If fanservice is harmless, then there’s nothing wrong with sexy girls in bikini’s or cute boys in suits. Does that mean fanservice can’t be harmful? No. Fanservice can be harmful in numerous ways.

Forcing others to partake in sexual gratification via sexy fictional characters is wrong. Destroy the idea that everything must be sexual. Secondly, fanservice can be harmful because of unrealistic expectations it enforces on human bodies. Remember that these bodies are fictional for a reason. Do not hold others to standards that they will never be able to meet. Thirdly, justifying one type of fanservice while condemning another is not fair. Claiming that Sophitia’s huge chest is acceptable but a topless Kilik is not makes you no better than a child who didn’t go to a birthday party because they didn’t like the cake. The world does not revolve around you.

The Fanservice Pack isn’t necessarily a trope I think should be completely eradicated from the media. However, I think that we as gamers and creators need to take a step back from fiction and learn what we need to do to make this right. Stop making excuses for fanservice, don’t force others to consume types of fanservice they detest, and realize that fanservice can be okay if it’s not appealing to you. And, most importantly, separate fiction from reality. The sooner we can do that, the sooner we can all learn to love our own bodies. And appreciate fictional ones, too.


Thanks for reading this article and please continue to support NWG! Until we meet again!

Top 5 Best: Final Fantasy Protagonists With Mod Aria!

Mod Aria’s back! I decided that this week’s Top 5 would be some more Final Fantasy indulgence. I myself am a big fan of the series and have played so many of the titles. I’m serious. Every game from FF7 through FF15. Except for FF11 of course. I’ve also played the Dissidia games, FF4, FF1 and FF6, FF10-2, every FF13 installment, even some of the mobile games! While I’ve not played every game, I think it’s fair for me to say which Final Fantasy protagonists I think are the best of the best. So I hope you come along on this ride with me!

For clarification: These are characters that would be considered the “main characters”; the ones who you play as and control. Non-playable party members will not be included here. That’s a Top 5 for another day!

#5 — Squall Leonheart from Final Fantasy VIII

While the gameplay leaves much to be desired (you can beat the game from starting level really. All you need is Squall’s ultimate weapon. I’ve seen it done), the plot of Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most heart-trending of the franchise. And you will be hard-pressed to find a Final Fantasy with such great party cohesion and affection. I always enjoy it when the party members of a RPG actually love and support each other, so Final Fantasy VIII’s party will always be one of my favorites. But let’s focus now on how amazing Squall is.

Squall is a great protagonist because of how drastically he changes in the narrative of Final Fantasy VIII. While it does take Rinoa, Squall’s love interest and Manic Pixie, to ignite the change in Squall, he does a lot of it through his connection to Laguna as well as helping his friends. He goes from a stoic, emotionless fleshbag to a young man who cares for his most precious people. And I think that part of character development has pretty much disappeared from mainstream games. But, thankfully, a dynamic character has not completely vanished.

All in all, Squall is great because his character was incredibly well written and he played off the rest of his party incredibly well. I really wish I could have seen Square Enix expand on the story of Final Fantasy VIII. Maybe one day!

#4 — Zidane Tribal from Final Fantasy IX

Zidane is one of my favorite main characters from a Final Fantasy, and FF9 is my favorite Final Fantasy of all time. One of the reasons is that Zidane was the first Final Fantasy game I played with a protagonist that smiled and liked having fun. I feel like XI is an underrated game; it came out so close to FF10 that it kind of got overshadowed. But I think those who haven’t played the game are missing out on something amazing. As well as a really entertaining protagonist.

Zidane is peppy, but he’s brave and clever. He knows how to get someone to like him, and he’s a confidant person. He’s got all the tropes of a guy you’d want to hate. But you don’t hate Zidane. You love him. You love him because of the hardships you watch him endure, as well as for his kindness towards his party members and friends. Zidane is kind even towards Kuja, one of the game’s main antagonists. Despite struggling with his own identity, he still manages to help suffering people remember that they are worthy of life.

The only downside to him is that he is a bit of a pervert. But he is a pervert with a heart of gold. I really would like to see Final Fantasy IX receive the love and care it deserves (to see Zidane get some better treatment), but who knows if that will happen. I’ll go on loving the game regardless!

#3 — Notics Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV

If you’ve watched NWG’s first Feminism in Gaming, you’ll know that I think Noctis is a terrific character and that Final Fantasy XV is the best FF game to come out in years. But I’ll elaborate more on Noctis here than I will Final Fantasy XV itself. All I’ll say about the game is that, like FF8, the fact that Noctis is so close with the rest of the party and how amazing his relationship is with them. There are some really emotionally intense scenes between Noctis and his best bros, and I loved that so much because of how it defies toxic masculinity and develops Noctis as a character.

Noctis is a great character because he does experience some change in the course of the game, but he’s so refreshing in the fact that, despite is stereotypical edgy exterior, Noctis is a happy person, and intelligent person and free with is affections. It’s not often you see all three traits in a Final Fantasy protagonist. If they’re happy, they’re usually a bit slow or perverted. If they’re intelligent, they’re usually depressed or quiet. And if they’re free with their affections, they’re usually a flirt or considered “stupid”. Noctis destroys these stereotypes by loving his future wife (even if I think it’s too forced), supporting his friends and enjoying life.

Hopefully Square Enix will continue with the process of creating good main characters and work to improve their games even more. I think it’ll be a long time before we see Final Fantasy 16, but I can only hope the protagonist is as feminist as Noctis is.

#2 — Serah Farron from Final Fantasy XIII-2

Most people enjoy what Lightning brings to the FF13 table, but I have always preferred Serah as a protagonist. In the first FF13 game, I was much more attached to Snow and Serah’s story than I was any of the other characters, so I was incredibly glad to see Serah take the reigns in 13-2. It’s my opinion that the first Final Fantasy XIII should have been ditched (allowing 13-2 to be the core game and Lightning Returns to be 13-2), but I’ll save that opinion for another article.

It’s rare to see video games with a female protagonist, and it’s even rarer to see video games with a female protagonist that is allowed to own her femininity. I think to often we equate “tough” female protagonists with being “emotionless” and “angry”. This is done to rob a female protagonist of stereotypical feminine traits. It’s nice to see a break from stereotypes, don’t get me wrong. But forcing every female protagonist into that role isn’t true acceptance. It’s saying that females can only be protagonists if they subscribe to these “tough” qualities. Which is not true.

The only real downside is that Serah is not treated well in any Final Fantasy 13 installment; she is always used as a plotpoint and cannot control her own place in the series. But it is nice to see her be able to have her own story. Serah is a great protagonist because of her kindness towards Noel, her love for Snow and her sister as well as her bright and positive attitude. She is also not overly sexualized, which is even rarer for a good-natured female protagonist. It’s even more refreshing than Noctis. This is another trend that I hope is normalized in mainstream gaming.

#1 — Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI

One of the most heated debates in the Final Fantasy fandom amongst veterans and newcomers is which game holds the title for “best Final Fantasy”: is it Final Fantasy VI or Final Fantasy VII? Personally, I enjoy Final Fantasy VI, but it’s not because I’m a fan of “old school Final Fantasy” or think the first five games are superior to every other. I like Final Fantasy VI because Terra is the best FF main character, hands down.

Terra not only happens to be a terrifically dynamic character, she is also incredibly powerful. She spends the majority of her game fighting for people who are suffering as well as protecting the people she came from. She struggles through the entirety of Final Fantasy 6 to learn what it is to feel. She herself is trapped by the people who sought to use her, and she is fiercely independent when she finally embraces herself. She is kind, but also willing to fight and protect the people she considers close. She is thoughtful and grows so much. Terra is just really…really great.

It is amazing to see a girl suffer so much and still achieve happiness, and it’s the kind of story that young girls and women need to see. Terra is the kind of main character that female gamers need. Her story ends happily, unlike Serah’s, and it’s that reason that Terra will always trump any other female protagonist in the Final Fantasy series to me. She is the most refreshing character despite her game being so old. I want another character like her; maybe Final Fantasy will deliver one day.

That’s all for this list. What are your thoughts? Do you think there are other great FF protags that I forgot or did not mention? Let me know; I’d love to talk about it with you!


Thanks for supporting NWG. Until we meet again!

Character Spotlight: Sazh (with Mod Syrup!)

Hey guys! Mod Syrup here back with another Character Spotlight! Today I’m talking about Sazh Katzroy from Final Fantasy XIII!

Now if you’ve read my Problematic Fave article on Final Fantasy XIII you would see Sazh was a BIG pro for me on that game. (If you haven’t read it, please do read it here!) So let’s start with first

So let’s start with first impressions, shall we? When we first see Sazh, you see a baby Chocobo pop out of his afro and for me that was adorable. I instantly fell for the character just because of that scene.

Now, aside from that, I love Sazh because he breaks from the stereotype of black fathers not being a good father figure or to even be in the child’s life. How so?

Well, before we even learn about his backstory, we see how Sazh interacts with the other protagonists. But, more specifically, how he acts with Vanille. Vanille acts like a child despite appearing to be a young adult (and actually being a lot older). Sazh, being the eldest, quickly takes to trying to lead the party and keep them safe. This is especially shown with Vanille since those two get separated from the other members of the party.

As you gather more flashbacks that show you Sazh’s story, you learn that he is a single father to Dajh. When Dajh gets turned into a l’Cie and taken by the government, Sazh is heartbroken. Sazh’s whole purpose of this game is to find his son again and make him safe.

Despite showing his fear and concerns with going against Cacoon. He struggles with what his initial instincts are and what he knows he needs to do to not only survive but have a chance to be reunited with his son.

Aside from the father aspect on Sazh, that clearly isn’t his only amazing quality. I could easily argue that Sazh has the most depth out of all the other characters in this game. Literally, the only one I think could rival him would be Vanille, and that is because she is on the other side of this scene I’m about to explain. (Spoiler alert).

As you continue through the story, you find out that Vanille and her partner Fang were the reason the Fal’Cie at Cacoon turned Dajh into a l’Cie. Vanille and Fang were coming to attack the Fal’Cie, so to protect itself it turned the closest person into a l’Cie; who happened to be Dajh.

After Vanille revealing this to Sazh, he initially wanted to kill her. I find that because he had been such a father figure to her, he couldn’t do it. Instead, he turned the gun on himself because he couldn’t handle that his comrade was the one that took away his son.

Image result for sazh and vanille cutscene

Luckily, Sazh does survive and by the end of the game he is reunited with his son. Sazh from the beginning had to deal with so much turmoil. Beside having his son ripped from him, he also had to deal with his wife’s death and having to be a single father.

Sazh is a great edition to the POC of the gaming community and I love that he has depth and isn’t just a blank Greg who is just strong because he’s the main character.

This has been Mod Syrup and I’ll see you in my next article!


  • Mod Syrup

Top 5 Favorite Heroines (With Mod Syrup!)

Hey Nasties! Mod Syrup is back with another Top 5! Normally, we do Top 5 Best and Worst of a topic, but unfortunately, out of the games I’ve played, there isn’t a lot of Heroines to choose from. So I’ll just be bringing you my Top 5 Best!

Now it took me a bit before I decided what I wanted my list to be. But I think I have it figured out (for now).

 

Number 5: Lightning (Final Fantasy XIII)

Now, I feel a lot of hate has been oriented around this character. And I definitely understand it, (as I wrote in an article here); but I do identify her as one of my favorite heroines (out of the slim pickings I had). Now why do I? Well, first, I’m judging her purely after the first game since that’s all I’ve seen her in personally. To me, she’s a super badass and isn’t sexualized, which is nice. She also copes with depression of losing her sister and goes from a cold-hearted loner to one who wishes to aid her companions. This is amazing growth for me. Then, like mentioned before, I enjoy the fact that she’s able to hold her own. She’s a skilled soldier who also learns to summon an Eidolon, Odin, and use it in combat. Her design is beautiful, and I was super bummed when I found out she’s almost a carbon copy of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII. I felt we deserved better from Square Enix.

 

Number 4: Lyn (Fire Emblem)

So I just recently finished Lyn’s saga on Fire Emblem and I’m super hyped when I saw it’s possible for her to return in Eliwood’s story. When I first met Lyn, she seemed badass. I found out she was a princess, and I was super worried she’d fall into the trope that all princesses are damsels in distress. I was quite glad to find out she still held her own and LED the group all the way to Caelin. She easily took a place in my heart as one of my favorite heroines but came lower on the list because she felt a little flat to me. Lyn seemed to have a fire in her soul from her tribe and showed that even more so when she met Sain. Sain tried to hit on her with things he seemed to use on many girls, she quickly shot him down. As the journey went on, she let almost anyone who wanted to join her group join. She seemed to have no real anger in herself, even when she fought her grand-uncle. But, I did love her enough to think she deserved a longer story and it’s unfortunate that her whole story was the tutorial mode for this game.

 

Number 3: Zelda (Breath of the Wild)

Honestly, you guys should have expected this incarnation of Zelda to be on my list. Now, why is this Zelda on it and not Sheik since Sheik beat her on my Top 5 Zeldas? (You can read that here). Well, even though we mainly see Zelda in flashbacks, knowing the fact that Zelda has been holding Ganon off for 100 years blows me out of the water. She’s the first Zelda to explicitly show that she wanted to be the one to save Hyrule. She wanted to be the one to pull the Master Sword. She led the champions of each of the races. She was the tech-wiz on the Sheikah Slate. Zelda was more active up front than Sheik was. Not to mention, the original Sheik felt she had to hide the fact she was a female whereas this Zelda was proud to be the Princess of Hyrule and to fight against Ganon. (Not that I don’t love Zelda in drag as I showed in my recent article). So even though I prefer the bruttness of Sheik personality wise; heroine wise, I prefer Zelda from Breath of the Wild.

 

Number 2: Yuna (Final Fantasy X/Final Fantasy X-2)

There are not enough words in the English language that can accurately express my love for this game, but I’ll do my best to express how much I love Yuna. Yuna is one of the characters that shows the most growth in these two games (especially if you get the Sad or Perfect Ending in FFX-2). When you meet Yuna, she’s a shy summoner that never spoke her mind. She always did what she wanted for the people of Spira and did not even show how scared she was of dying to defeat Sin. Through her journey and aid of her friends, particularly Rikku and Tidus, she comes to realize her life is a lot more important. With help of her friends, she defeats Sin so he does not ever come to hurt Spira again.

In Final Fantasy X-2, you still have that sweet girl you originally had; but she’s not shy. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, even if she does it in a sweet way. Yuna holds onto her new found strength she had from her previous journey and is proud to be who she is.

Did I mention that even after she was no longer a summoner, she learned how to use guns? Yeah. She’s a gunner in X-2. Then, with the use of dresspheres, she also has skills of a swordsman, a thief, a mage, and more. Yuna is a poster child of being cute, acting sweet, and kicking ass! I love her so much.

 

Number 1: Alice (Alice Madness Returns)

Oh god. This game. It’s frustrating because I’m trying to do every mini-game thing, but god is it amazing. This girl has so many psychological issues and going with her on her journey to fight her demons is AMAZING. She solves problems, throws shade, and kicks ass.

I love how this is a heroine that’s not all smiles. She feels happiness, shows anger, shows depression. She’s not a cookie cutter which is very refreshing.

And above all, through ALL of her outfits in the game, none of them are sexualized. And that alone makes me extremely happy. All of these characters up to Alice have been sexualized by the developers to some extent. But Alice, Alice made it through.


This has been Mod Syrup and I hope you enjoyed my Top 5 Favorite Heroines! I’ll see you in my next article and enjoy the rest of the content from NWG this week!

Problematic Fave: Final Fantasy XIII

Hey guys! Mod Syrup here bringing you my first Problematic Fave! And to be honest I know at least one, if not more, of the NWG Cast would consider this a horrid game that is nowhere close to a fave, but for whatever reason I love it. So let’s get to talking about: Final Fantasy XIII (13).

Now I like how Mod Loser and Mod Zan break down these segments so my break down will be similar to their’s.

Reasons Why It’s Fave:

 

  • Visual & Audio Design:

 

Okay guys, this is a Final Fantasy game! If you have played ANY of them you know that Square Enix designs just BEAUTIFUL characters and GORGEOUS scenery and just fucking BLISSFUL soundtracks. The art is on a semi realistic level that also give a feel for anime, and the weeb in me loves it so much. The instrumental music puts me in a tranquil space, and I even started teaching myself the opening/start menu theme on the piano. You also get a wide range of area themes from the run down almost ruins of the starting area to the well developed towns in the later areas.

Honestly, I can’t unbiasedly give this a score since I probably could give it an easy 11/10 on this part; but I know that’s unfair given there’s gotta be something my weeb-lens isn’t picking up. And at most it probably gets a 9.5/10 because it’s a fucking Final Fantasy game, and no matter what you play (even fucking Final Fantasy Advance) it’s gonna be beautiful. SO I’M NOT GOING TO DO AN ACTUAL REVIEW ON THIS BECAUSE I CAN’T SCORE SHIT. 

 

  • Character Designs:

 

So I started off my journey into the world of Final Fantasy with FFX, SO NEEDLESS TO SAY, I do compare most things to it. And ya gonna hear me reference it a lot.

I can say though I fell in LOVE with the majority of characters in FFXIII, both for visual design and backstory design! Lemme go over a few of the main characters for ya!

Lightning:
She is the main protagonist of FFXIII, and god is she gorgeous! Her outfit doesn’t show any cleavage (yes I’m throwing shots at Lulu’s sexualization), and she’s wearing armor! Given some of her stomach is exposed and she’s wearing shorts, that really doesn’t make sense for a guard/knight type character, since she is apart of Guardian Corp. But she isn’t wearing a dress like Yuna in FFX, or extremely sexualized like Rikku and Yuna in FFX-2 or Lulu in both games. Like seriously; they had the woman pregnant, and they still had her in her belt dress and full blown cleavage?? I haven’t been pregnant but I’m 90% sure that would not be comfortable, and pregnant women LIVE for comfort.

I have no problems with someone being sexy, but if the point of the design is clearly to make the girls eye candy, I have problems with it. Thus, Lightning really pulls through for this. BUT THEN THE DEVELOPERS ABANDON THIS IN LIGHTNING RETURNS WITH SOME OF HER OUTFITS, but we aren’t talking about that game.

 

Now, other than design, I truly like her backstory.

 

Yes, she’s standoffish and such at the beginning, but let’s take note of the reasons that attribute to her being this way. First, she’s a guard in Guardian Corp who protects Cocoon. As a guard you have to keep your emotions in check and be rational. THEN FURTHER MORE, her sister, Serah, is turned into a l’Cie and then crystallized and it’s a bit clear she blames herself but openly blames Sanctum, the fal’Cie that turned Serah, and then Serah’s fiancé, Snow.

It’s a given that she shouldn’t have so much hate for Snow, given he did his best to protect Serah, but I think that was because she didn’t want to come to terms with the guilt she felt. And throughout the story, she does come to terms with Snow, and she cares more about the companions she’s with rather than just herself. She does show growth more than people give her credit for!

 

But let’s move on to:

 

Sazh:
One of the side protagonists but could EASILY be one of my favorite characters in the game. First of all when we meet him he has a BABY CHOCOBO IN HIS AFRO! Like SO CUTEEEE!!!! But aside from that, as we learn more about his story we find out about his search for his son who was turned l’Cie.

Sazh even had to reconcile with a companion who he eventually finds out was part of the reason his son became a l’Cie and was taken away from him! He couldn’t kill the companion so he attempted to take his own life and, thankfully, failed. There is SO MUCH FUCKING DEPTH into Sazh that I wish I had a solo game for him. I’m so glad at the end of FFXIII that he is FINALLY reunited with his son Dajh. (We are not talking about FFXIII-2 TT^TT).

 

I could go on and on about the characters of this game so I’m going to wrap it up with one more character!

 

Vanille:
Vanille was a character that you either loved her or you hated her. And it didn’t help that the English voice actor they had for her wasn’t the best. But trust me here when I say she’s a pro to this game. Her design is adorable, and at least is isn’t sexualized, even if it’s not completely practical. What I can give Square Enix is that at least she was a long range fighter with her magic and her weapon.

Furthermore, if Vanille was a D&D character, her BLUFF MUST BE THROUGH THE ROOF! First thing you find out she lies about is the fact she was a l’Cie WAY BEFORE Lightning and Company become l’Cie. She also was acting like she didn’t know Sazh even though (spoiler alert) SHE WAS PART OF THE REASON DAJH BECAME A L’CIE!

And fucking lastly, she lied to Fang, her childhood friend, about forgetting their Focus when they become uncrystallized. And even though at times she seems a bit of a selfish child, she become Ragnorok, despite originally wanting nothing to do with it, SOLELY to spare Fang! At first glance she looks like an annoying Mary-Sue, but if you dig deeper she was was DEFINITELY thoroughly developed.

 

  • Story & Plot:

 

Okay, okay; THIS. I love the plot of the game. But it’s a Final Fantasy game, so how can you not? But just like with Final Fantasy X, you are shown corruption in government. The plot also shows the government purging citizens with no valid reason and a war between two “god like” creatures. Whether it was the intention of Square Enix or not, I love how they hit on real world issues that we are experience TODAY.

There are people brought into a “line of duty” that they have no choice but to complete or theirs a worse consequence for not completing the Focus. The story it’s just beautiful designed and ties in each of the protagonists SO well. This is definitely a fact that I liked about this game.

 

  • Gameplay

 

I can hear the screaming and yelling now, but trust me, THERE ARE SOME GOOD THINGS IN FFXIII’S GAMEPLAY!

Okay, first is the fact you don’t have random encounters like you did on FFX. You can avoid the battle if you wish or even sneak up on them to get a first attack.The game play is in real time , which can have great benefits, and real time normally depends on skill and strategy and how quickly you can react.

The Paradigm system made it easy to change the roles of the party members that were in battle rather than having to switch characters out to get a healer or a mage, etc; like you had to do in the turn-based style of FFX.

Okay now that I fangirled and gamergasmed all over your computer/phone screen, I’m going to jump into the part you all have been waiting for (or even skipping to)

Reasons Why It’s Problematic:

Oh boi. What did I get myself into. Okay.

 

  • Characters:

 

Yes, there are characters that make this a problematic fave, and I’m going to start with one of the easier ones.

Lightning:
If you look anywhere on Google, it won’t be long before you find someone talking about Lightning being a copy and pasted genderbent character of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII. Now, I have yet to play that game so I clearly didn’t notice it, but it DEFINITELY takes off some points from this game. Square Enix couldn’t be more original for their second game with a female main protagonist in their core series (that wasn’t in a sequel)? Like seriously? Did you just decide to copy someone’s homework 2 hours before class? How about you GET SOME CLASS Square Enix. God, Sarah, stop with the horrible puns.

Okay, and furthermore, though I disagree that Lightning’s character development isn’t as flat as some people let on, I can agree that compared to other characters in the game, she is quite static. There’s only one character worse, and god, I could write a 5 page paper on why I hate him. But I’ll keep it brief.

Hope:
THIS LITTLE TWERP! GOD, HE MADE ME WANT TO QUIT PLAYING THE GAME! His WHOLE story is how he wanted revenge on Snow because he felt it was Snow’s fault his mom died. Need background? Okay. During the Purge, Snow was the leader of a resistance group called NORA to help the people fight back against the Sanctum. During the Purge the train derails and crashes etc and they are kind of stuck in Gran Pulse.

WELL Snow asked the people if they wanted to fight and Hope’s mom volunteered. In the fight, Hope’s mom ends up falling to her death. BUT SNOW TRIES TO FUCKING SAVE HER! AND EVEN PLANS ON FOLLOWING HER WISHES TO PROTECT HER SON! BUT GOD NO! HOPE BLAMES SNOW BECAUSE HE WAS A CHICKEN SHIT WHO COULDN’T FIGHT ALONGSIDE HIS MOTHER! God, I could easily continue tearing Hope a new one, but I need to refrain some.

Frankly, he was a dull character with poor ambitions that he couldn’t even follow through. Hell, he wasn’t even the best medic in the game, and that was suppose to be his specialty? You could’ve literally took Hope out of the game and see NO DIFFERENCE. God I hate him.

 

Let’s move on before I have a coronary.

 

Fang:
God. I hate that I have her in the Problematic category. Honestly I love her design, her voice actor, her play style, and her backstory. But her backstory is just so weak compared to Vanille. She is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to Vanille. Her sole purpose is really only to give Vanille more of a backstory. Fang is a static character with no development. Even though she’s kick ass, and is a nice addition to the representation of females in video games, there’s no growth. And for that, I have her in the Problematic category.

 

 

  • Gameplay:

 

Okay, I sang some praises to some gameplay features of this game, but overall the gameplay is what made this game HORRIBLE.

First thing I want to tackle is the Crystarium. It LITERALLY seems like a cheap knock off of FFX’s Sphere Grid. You get a linear way to level up each of the character’s roles but you get FUCKING LEVEL CAPPED IN AREAS! WHO FUCKING THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO LEVEL CAP!? THEN YOU GET TO A BOSS FIGHT THAT IS JUST FUCKING PROGRAMMED TO BE HARD AND IF YOU USE A WALKTHROUGH YOU STILL CAN’T BEAT IT! YES, I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU GALENTH DYSLEY!

And you know what? I could handle the level cap if you could AT LEAST FARM GIL TO GET MORE POTIONS AND SHIT! But the fiends aren’t random encounters and only respond when you leave and reenter a room. For that boss fight mentioned above, you literally can’t buff up for and it’s left up to chance! I’ve literally never beat the game because of that boss and had to look up the ending of the story to even review it! Guys, literally I was at max level and using a walkthrough, and I’m not a bad player. I’m definitely not the best, but god that boss was literally made difficult with demi just to prolong the game; and that is just bad design.

And lastly, though I had some things about the Paradigm being in the pros category, there are things about combat that make this game sooo problematic. First thing to tackle: there’s literally an auto-battle. WHAT KIND OF GAME HAS AN AUTO-BATTLE!? There is no skill or strategy of you solely let AI handle the fight. Furthermore even if you don’t use auto-battle, you could literally spam X or A for the majority of encounters. Leaving for around half, if not ¾, of the game you play without skill so when you get to a game designed fucked up boss like Galenth Dysley, you have little to no chance. And even if you do use strategy, like I said, they overpowered his demi. You normally get killed by it OR HE GETS TWO DEMIS IN A ROW AND THAT KILLS YOU GOD.

Concluding Thoughts?

I honestly wish the game mechanics were better so I can pick the game back up and finish it. It’s pretty much how I feel about Skyward Sword. Even though there were some things lacking, it could be tolerable if the game had decent leveling, boss fights, and farming.

I’d love to pick this game back up to finish the story and continue on the Part 2 and even Lightning Returns (even though I hate a lot of the outfits), but unless I can beat the first game, I’m not giving Square Enix money for them to slightly fix their mechanics in sequels.

If they ever remastered it, I hope to god they fix the level caps and fiend responding. That can make this game so much better.

So honestly, if you haven’t and get the chance to get the game for cheap, I’d try it out! And if you beat Galenth Dysley please tell me your magic because, god, all I want is to continue the story.

This has been Mod Syrup crying over the problems in one of her favorite games. I’ll see ya next time!