That Grim Exodus
Gabe never gets out exactly why he’s running a petition around his neighborhood in the comic, but I’ve got space to do it here. If I had to say, I’d put it like this: Final Fantasy XII is an insult to a once proud franchise and to the people who have made it so. I think that gets it across.
With the extended delays of the title, I had imagined that the rough trade they received at the hands of almost every person who saw it had sunk in and they had begun to realize the intense shame they’d bring upon themselves by continuing in this direction. That’s not what happened. They’re Final Goddamn Fantasy, they don’t have to worry about larger industry trends toward approachability and away from turn or phase based combat. They create trends, like a massive stellar body distorts local space.
This isn’t just slavish devotion to tradition - the fact of the matter is that the system they had works better. It’s more explicit regarding game events, and the player has greater control. You don’t have to take my word for it - Dragon Quest VIII is awesome, and includes the same demo I played. There are two combat modes, the "Wait" mode being slightly less bad but not what you might call "good." Give it a whirl, the whole thing is trash. If for some reason you do enjoy it - and I’ve certainly done my best here to lower expectations - then rejoice. You must be the person they’re trying to appeal to. It’ll feel good for a while, until they determine that mass market annual "footy" titles are where it’s at. Then you and I can sit together in a cafe and talk about those good times.
I’ve had a chance to play a ton of 360 stuff on a "press" box, no steel case unfortunately, but the rest of it is the same. I’ll go into what I’ve seen either today or Monday, before the official launch in any case - but I do have one tip that will help you get set up with a minimum of fuss if you’re already a Live subscriber and you’re just upgrading your box.
The procedure for moving your existing Live account over to the 360 is more onerous if you have not "linked" your Gamertag to a Passport. Yes, Microsoft Passport. This is one of the ways in which they "get you." It does enable some interesting online functionality, but the main reason I’d suggest it is that you’ll just enter your passport account/password and be done with it. The launch definitely has some high notes in it, but the sports/ports ratios do leave me a little cold.