FF, going downhill ya say? I’ll show you my take on the FF’s I have played.
FF1 (remake): Simplistic, but effective. A good way to play an otherwise almost unbearable game (the original FF had a crummy translation and NES quality graphics and sound, and well…I’m not very tolerant of anything below GBC/NES quality).
FF2 (remake): Blah characters. Gus has maybe four lines of dialog. Plus, it seems that just about every additional character dies to further your cause. Yawn. Plus, the level-up system was too easy to abuse. The music was really neat, though. You could tell that the graphical polish went to FF1 instead, though.
FF4: Early SNES music at its best. The songs are some of the best even though they tend to be short and simplistic. The graphics were bearable in the overworld, and had some neat graphics in battle (summons had 2 frames of animation, cool). Storyline was okay.
FF5: I love that job system. Too bad that some of the music was…mediocre at best. Storyline features a very boring villain that does some nasty stuff that actually saddened me. Plus, the death of a major character in this game is one of the best ones. The character that dies is pushed past their limits to protect their friends, and the old question of “Why don’t they use a Phoenix Down?” is answered.
FF6: A intricate plot, with good graphics and more sidequests than you can shake a stick at. Still, there is strangely enough something about this game that mildly irritates me…I don’t know why.
FF7: A masterpiece of its time. Had a cool variety of monster models that, while primite today, are still pretty neat. Featured a laughably flawed death in execution (The magical vanishing gloves and the body magically sinking, for instance) that was still very emotional. The scene tends to be ingrained in your memory. Lots of sidequests. Heavily flawed minigames…some are fun (snowboard), while others (submarine) are definitely not. Features a diverse cast of characters, including the “lovable” Cait Sith. Unfortunately, erveryone seems to fixate on Cloud, Sephiroth, and Aeris. I enjoyed the storyline, but at times it becomes confusing.
FF9: An odd one. There’s something about the flavor of this one that I enjoy. The music is surprisingly low quality but a few good pieces pull it through. Freya, though very underdeveloped in story (She’s a Burmecian Dragoon and loves Sir Fratley. End of development) is definitely the coolest rat-woman I have ever seen. The plot is “meh” (Garnet: Mother really is sweet under all those rolls of fat and evilness, really, she is!) but does the job.
FF10: A dramatic change from the previous installments. Voice acting, aeons, weapon customizing, Blitzball, different turn-based battles, frequent use of damage over 9999, lack of a world map, and much much more… Voice acting is “eh”. Characters are also “meh” overall. Kimarhi is your standard boring anthromorphic creature…I was hoping for more. Yuna is really well developed in story, though. Some of the minigames to get Sigils for your ultimate weapons are hellish, though (Blitzball, Catcher Chocobo, lightning dodging). I like it, but it kinda irritates me a bit at the same time.
FFX-2: Whoa, maybe too dramatic of a change. I enjoyed the class system and Oversouling but disliked the anal story requirements, most of the music, most of the storyline and characters (I would like to shoot LeBlanc into the sun), and that fact that the Via Infinito bosses past level 40 are impossible without Cat Nip.
FFTA: I can’t really sympathize with Marche, but the game itself is fun, with missions that come in all flavors. Too bad Vieras are so ungodly powerful (Summon + Doublecast, Assassin + Concentrate). It’s fun collecting all the different pieces of equipment. I practically cheer every time I pick up a new mythril weapon.
FFMQ: This was my first “real” RPG. It’s fun when you haven’t played anything better, but in retrospect: “Holy crap, this was actually fun?”
Well, those’re my thoughts. Whenever a series progresses, there are always cries that it is going downhill. I don’t enjoy all the changes that have happened since Square moved onto PS2, but I enjoy many of them. Each game has its own enjoyable flavor (excepting MQ :P).