The Final Fantasy Series has always been about getting stronger, getting ultimate weapons and defeating bosses to unfold a spellbinding story line. The protagonist is faced with odds that usually add to the holistic growth of the character as well as adding new team members to his/her quest who have their own little story that gradually unfolds too.
The central theme of all of these games is always love- be it family love or true love, but when it comes down to it Squaresoft (Formerly Square Enix) now owns one of the most renowned and spellbindingly popular RPG in the history of time.
The central theme is coupled in each respective installment with other elements-such as noble sacrifices and old-school, identity crisis-ed villains-gives Final Fantasy an edge over other RPG games. With the intricate story lines and the melodic background music from each segment of the game is just icing on the cake.. Artists such as Nobuo Uematsu and Emiro Shiratori add amazing tunes to the game series that do not lose their value over time.
FINAL FANTASY - CRISIS CORE
Cloud Strife is an ex-SOLDIER of SHINRA - an organisation out to steal and plunder the planet of the remaining reserves of energy. The story revolves around his quest to defeat SHINRA and their most elite soldier ever, Sephiroth.
In further instalments of the game, such as the anime or Playstation Portable (PSP) version of Final Fantasy: Crisis Core, we witness how Zack - Cloud’s friend in SOLDIER- had sacrificed his own life to protect Cloud. The tale of bravery and true friendship between these two characters are strengthened. Crisis Core mainly focuses on Zack’s ascension in soldier and how he plays a role in helping Cloud throw Sephiroth in the Mako stream. It shows the beautiful bittersweet relationship between Aerith and Zack, and introduces the original Turks. It also shows us how torn Zack is when his role models Genesis, Sephiroth and Angeal lose themselves.
As Hojo wants to take over Cloud and Zack to experiment on, players see the struggle Zack faces to save Cloud and how he eventually sacrifices his own life. Zack gives Cloud the Buster Sword that was handed down to him by Angeal - his mentor - and tells him to “follow his dreams” and “protect his soldier honor.”
FINAL FANTASY 7
Years have passed and now Cloud has joined AVALANCHE, a group determined to overthrow SHINRA and put an end to their sinister plots and experiments dealing with MAKO energy. Along the journey, players come across more characters such as Aerith, the girl who — apart from being an ‘Ancient’— was Zack’s sweetheart. She was helped by Zack to build her flower wagon in Crisis Core.
Vincent Valentine, the man who was trapped in a coffin under the Shinra Manor in Nibelheim, Cloud’s hometown, joins the story line as an extra character. His limit breaks transforms him into berserker beast modes, among which Chaos is the ultimate. RED XIII, another one of Hojo’s experiments and the son of Saito from Cosmo Canyon, as later showed in the story, is adept at both magical as well as physical based damages and joins Cloud’s party from an early stage in the game. Cid Highwind, the man whose desires to reach the skies and space were ruined but later gets over his own personal qualms and constructs the Highwind, is extremely powerful with his spear. Finally, Cait Sith, who though betraying the whole group-as he was being controlled by Reeve of the Turks- redeems himself in their eyes by telling Cloud and his friends about Barret’s daughter being held hostage, is another additional character in the game.
We see RED XIII’s love for his grandfather and his metamorphosis when his grandfather passes away, as well as how his father sacrificed his life to save his village. Cloud’s love for Tifa is a sweet puppy-love that blossoms and soon before Sephiroth is about to destroy the world, they realize their feelings for each other. Barret’s love for his child and Vincent’s unrequited love for Lucrecia are also there in undertones and are brought out in the game as the plot advances. For some reason, Yuffie seems to love nothing more than materia, but the way in which it is portrayed in the game is extremely funny.
The climax of the story is when Cloud falls into a coma and Tifa has to help him search his memories of what happened when Nibelheim was burnt all those years ago when Sephiroth learnt the truth of his origins. Cloud had basically removed Zack from his own memories, but with Tifa’s help, he remembers. There is a very short game play where players get to control both Zack and Sephiroth, showing us the Crisis Core part of the story at a glance.
Players have different approaches as to which characters to use in their party of three. Cloud, Cid and RED XIII worked out for me as all of their strength and magic were high in comparison to the other characters. However, there is one advantage of the game, the other characters in the game will automatically level up to the active party’s level, making game play easier.
Final Fantasy: Advent Children
In the movie, the world is in anarchy over a Geostigma virus, which unfortunately Cloud has become a victim of. We see how Cloud blames himself for Aerith losing her life. However, he is motivated by his group of friends who help him take down the organisation that is bent upon having the Reunion to bring back Jenova and Sephiroth. Rufus Shinra — who was thought to be dead — reveals himself and contacts Cloud via the Turks-Reno and Rude’s help.
Cloud has a constant depression throughout the movie as he still blames himself for both Aeris and Zack’s deaths. In his first bout with the organisation, planning to bring back Sephiroth via the Reunion, Cloud is saved by Vincent, who notices his Geostigma.
My favorite track that was present in both Final Fantasy 7 as well as Crisis Core was “One Winged Angel” which was edited into a whole new version in Final Fantasy: Advent Children. By the end of the movie, Cloud realizes his true inner power and defeats Sephiroth with his ultimate move — Omnislash — which looks insanely attractive in the movie. Irrespective of Sephiroth’s constant goading to get Cloud irritated and lose focus, Cloud pulls through in a pinch and tells Sephiroth to stay in his memories where Sephiroth mentions that he will never be just a mere memory.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
Following this, another game known as the Dirge of Cerberus was also launched for the Playstation 2 platform that had Vincent Valentine as the protagonist in the third-person shooter game. The storyline and the music scores were built with great depth and detail once again.
The plot introduces some villains known as Ceruleans who are out to wreak havoc and destroy the world. Although still in the process of playing the game, the mode of combat and changing between gun types according to the opposing enemy paired with melee combat style adds flavor and a whole new dimension to the game play. Further obtaining items and upgrading weapon power after each level is in accordance with clearing each stage and points the player is awarded with.