I've never gotten over ten hours into a Final Fantasy game. I own copies of VI, VII, and I had XIII for a brief period, but I only played a bit of each before I either lost interest, or got turned away by the controls (PC port of VII. Bleh). However, I've always really respected the series for being the RPG juggernaut for over a decade, and evolving alongside the gaming industry. Today, I want to look at how my relationship with Final Fantasy has changed over time, and how I hope to become more of a true fan of Final Fantasy, instead of just a guy who listens to One Winged Angel.

Not finishing Final Fantasy VI is one of my greatest regrets.

I'm not sure when I originally heard about Final Fantasy-I know it was before I started playing Kingdom Hearts, so I guess that I heard about it around 2007 or so. Yes, I know, I'm a late gamer. In any case, that was around the time period I started to try and gain an understanding of the industry, and so I looked at the various games in the series. It was around this time I also found out that I found role-playing games very fun, and so I started to think about eventually trying out a game in the series. Playing the Kingdom Hearts games also helped me understand the games more, thought it was a bit before I managed to remember his name is Squall, and not Leon.

In what I believe was my freshman year of high school, I thought about trying Final Fantasy XIII, because my girl friend liked the game (the battle system and the characters, to be specific), and I had wanted to get into the series. I know now how the title is sort of seen as the beginning of the downhill slope for the series, but I still have some respect for XIII. It does have awesome characters in the form of Sazh and Lightning, and the battle system is a deep and highly praised one. I kept going for awhile, but stopped after maybe ten hours, and traded the game back in, because I just lost interest. Since then, I've thought about giving the XIII series a second chance, but I still haven't made that thought become reality.

A few months before I did pick up XIII though, I borrowed a game from my friend that I still love today, and a game I consider one of the very best RPGs of all time: Chrono Trigger. I played a lot of the DS version of the game, but never completed it. About a year and a half ago, I suddenly got a great urge to play the game again, and purchased the game off of the Wii Virtual Console, along with Final Fantasy VI. I never finished Chrono Trigger (I've been meaning to go back and finish all the late game sidequests), but it held my attention much longer than VI. Watching the intro with the brainwashed Terra walking with Biggs and Wedge in the Magitek armor was awesome, and going through that first town told me that VI was definitely going to be a great game. After eventually getting to pair up with Edgar and Locke, I started to head toward the cave that's East of Edgar's castle, but I had trouble finding it. I found where to go, but I think I was a bit underleveled, and didn't continue playing. Trust me, this is my biggest gaming regret of all. 

I want to explore you very much.

Finally, when Final Fantasy VII released on Steam in July of this year, I couldn't resist and purchased the game. I knew that the port of the game probably wasn't going to be great, but once I came in and found out what keybindings Square Enix had decided to give the game...well, I wasn't exactly pleased. I've always enjoyed VII's characters in the Kingdom Hearts universe, and hearing the love of if from Andrew Reiner and other Game Informer editors over the years. Even though VII is going to be a challenge to get into, I think I might be able to eventually do it. And once I do that, I may pick up Final Fantasy VIII off of Steam as well, or a copy off of PlayStation Network instead, to be safe in terms of controls.

I'm knowledgeable enough about the Final Fantasy series to know why Final Fantasy X is rumored to be a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, but knowing a series isn't the same as playing it. I've had a similar experience with the Metal Gear series, although I have had an easier time getting into those games compared to the Final Fantasy games. However, that isn't going to stop me from eventually beating VI, VII, and playing games later released in the series. I respect the series so darn much for it really putting JRPGs on the map outside of Japan, and I want to put that respect into real practice by actually completing some of the series' games.

One thing I do want to mention is that I do have a real love for the games that have come out of Final Fantasy: Kingdom Hearts, Xenoblade, and possibly very soon, Bravely Default. I know that Xenoblade does have more ties to the Xenogears and Xenosaga, but some of the key people at Monolith Soft, such as Tetsuya Takahashi, worked on some of the SNES and PS1 era Final Fantasies. Also, I've tried out some of the more recent works of the two men most associated with the Final Fantasy name: Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Nobuo Uematsu. I haven't completed The Last Story, the Wii RPG they both worked on, but I am excited to get into it someday, like I am Final Fantasy VI.

I can't wait to see this.

So now, for the future, I have one realistic and immediate goal: complete Final Fantasy VI. It's been noted as one of, if not the best RPG of all time, as well as one of the best games of all time. Afterwards, I'll try to get into Final Fantasy VII, or I might investigate Final Fantasy IV and V, as they come from the same era as VI, and it may be more preferable for me to knock them out before moving on to the PlayStation 1 era. I know the ending of the game, but I haven't spoiled myself with things like the opera scene, nor do I know the exact time and place of the train suplex. I'm very excited to witness both of these events firsthand, to finally see two of the most praised moments in all of gaming that I have yet to spoil myself on.

Yes, that is my estranged relationship with Final Fantasy. As the year moves on, I will try to rise up to the wrath of Kefka once again, and finally find myself worthy of being a fan of Final Fantasy. Have you had a similar experience with any notable series? Leave any thoughts you may have below, and again, I'll see you all tomorrow.