What makes a good plotline? A lot of things…most of which video games aren’t renown for. Often, you only need just enough plot to give the character motivation, especially in the older days of gaming. Players used to be far more tolerant, after all. Did we really care why Pacman had the need to eat those little pellets and ghosts? Or how Donkey Kong managed to get so large without crushing himself under the weight of his own skeleton and why he had a fondness for attractive women who weren’t his species?
However, times have changed. Players demand more story, especially in RPGs. And with any good story comes plot twists and things that simply shock the reader. In other words…a WTF moment. RPGs are renown for these.
Because of that, I present to you yet another pointless Final Fantasy orientated list I have constructed, as I am (or was) an avid Final Fantasy fan: the biggest WTF moments in the games from Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy XII.
(Sorry that I have nothing past that. I still feel violated by Square Enix after Final Fantasy XII.)
Biggest WTF Moment: “Scooby Doo Reveal”
By that I mean the one and only twist to the entire game…that the first boss, Garland, ends up being the final boss as well after he was sent back in time and embued with the power of Chaos. And he would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.
“Final Fantasy II”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Is Big Bird Giving Me A Lift?”
At this point in the series, horses were still prevalent. Many of the weakling enemies ride horses. So, when you see a little tuft of forest in the middle of the Palamecian landscape and walk inside only to find an odd bird sprite that lets you get on it and plays a quirky tune as it allows you to run through the world…you may raise an eyebrow. However, you’ll shortly realize that you aren’t getting mutilated by the super-strong enemies all the way back to Fynn. Other than that, the first chocobo ever has no use or relevance whatsoever to the game and is effectively a “game secret”, so it gets a WTF.
“Final Fantasy III”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Female Plot Armor – Negated”
While major NPCs had been getting the axe liberally ever since Final Fantasy II, it had been confined to the male gender. Both Hilda and Leila got through almost every city in the world getting smashed and literally Hell breaking out on Earth without a scratch. Elia wasn’t so lucky. We hardly knew ye.
“Final Fantasy IV”
Biggest WTF Moment: “I Am Your Father…Er, Brother”
This game actually had a couple of good WTF moments, considering it was the most plot-intensive game to date. Another good one would be “Deus Ex Rydia”. (“…Did the first boss really just drop in to save my ass?”) Yet I’ll give it to this pseudo-Star-Wars-Original-Series knock off scene when Vader, I mean, Golbez drops the bomb on Cecil. Alright…so, ultimately, it was kind of a “more sophisticated” version of a similar sequence in Final Fantasy II…but no one likes Leon anyway. 😛
“Final Fantasy V”
Biggest WTF Moment: “It’s Only A Flesh Wound!”
I give credit to Galuf for going out like the biggest badass in the entire Final Fantasy series. For one time only in the history of the game, you enter a fight where you are immortal. Even after Exdeath/XDeath/X-Death/Exodus/whatever reduces your HP to zero, Galuf continues to take piece after piece outta him until the boss croaks. Even Exdeath(there, I decided on one) is shocked at how he can’t kill you, and is left vainly hitting you with powerful attack after powerful attack which does nothing since your HP is already 0. Makes sense why he can’t be revived afterward…as he’s gotten about “OVER 9000!!!” KOs at that point.
“Final Fantasy VI”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Kefka…’Nuff Said”
Seriously…the selling point for a good part of this game was a villain who blew away the mold of every previous Final Fantasy villain, who were all interested in boring, dumb things like world domination. Kefka’s just out to see the world burn. His personality alone made it enough to have everyone hate him for poisoning Doma while, by comparison, people just fell asleep when Mateus destroyed one city and everyone in them after another. (…Seriously, why do I keep comparing everything to Final Fantasy II?)
“Final Fantasy VII”
Biggest WTF Moment: “…” (Do I REALLY need to tell you which one it was?)
Yeah…you all know what was the biggest WTF moment, whether you thought it was great or thought it was pathetic because you hated the character (…BTW, you’re a liar. You cried like a baby, didn’t you?). So instead I’ll give the runner up: “Faceless Stormtrooper Hero”. I honestly didn’t see that one coming and it was about as much a WTF as the one above…plus, it helped wrap up what the *bleep* was going on with Cloud.
“Final Fantasy VIII”
Biggest WTF Moment: The Plot
Seriously…what the heck was going on? Starting with Final Fantasy VII, Squaresoft (and eventually Square Enix) decided to increase their replay value by making it so you couldn’t fully understand the plot of any of their games unless you played them through more than once. But even this game was in a league of its own. The only more indecipherable plot done by the company was “Chrono Cross”.
“Final Fantasy IX”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Alexander vs. Bahamut”
After this scene, everything else in the game, even the White Dragon assault, was just kind of…empty. The two biggests summons/espers/GFs/eidolons/metaphors/half-kaiju/whatevers go against each other in the most beautiful FMV to date. After all, we had to have something artistic to look at in the game after the disproportionate characters and she-male Kuja. (On a side note, there was a lot of things the series could have done to make villains more appealing…and nowhere on that list do I think “make them androgynous” was on it.)
“Final Fantasy X”
Biggest WTF Moment: “The Opening”
The writers of the plot for Final Fantasy X were presented with a simple task…create the most head-scratching, confusing opening sequence in history to make the audience have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. Between the kindergarden-level cyberpunk city to the water-polo/team-handball-sequence to the sphere of water destroying everything to the mystery-one-armed-guy treating the whole thing as routine (Exactly why did Auron wait until after Tidus was sent to Spira to explain anything about what happened to Jecht again? And how did he age about 40 years in 10, especially since he was already dead and shouldn’t have aged at all?) to the loss of the ATB battle system to everything going into white oblivion before getting stuck in the ocean…not to mention the fact the entire sequence is in a flashback from an equally confusing opening shot…the player’s head falls off before you even reach your first “town”.
“Final Fantasy XI”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Pry Your Next Level Out Of Our Cold, Dead Fingers”
It’s bad enough being dumb enough to pick a White Mage since, after years of playing FF, you know the healer is the single most important member of a group. Yet seeing as most FF players are used to playing solo for years they aren’t very conducive to groups, so when you try doing some solo leveling-up you find that weakling enemies don’t give you experience anymore while they’re still able to kill you. That’d be bad enough if you had to get the same amount of experience each time, but since you also need more for each new level like in any other FF game, that’s kind of a slap in the face if you’re a White Mage. Worse yet, the game decides to mug you of your experience if you get killed and shove you back a level. Jerks… A close runner up is how ridiculously hard it is to revive in that game. Not only do you have to be at an insanely high level and have a friend who can do it for you (and you’re screwed if that friend gets whacked), it takes about 10 full minutes…and you better hope no enemies decide to just come along and kill you while you’re doing it.
“Final Fantasy X-2”
Biggest WTF Moment: “Minus Infinite Respect Points”
Final Fantasy X was serious but lacked the “darkness” and “substance” of other dark entries in the series…choosing to rely on almost grotesque and improbable eye candy instead. So making a “lighter” version only really served to make Yuna and Rikku, who were already incredibly annoying, even more annoying…so much that they need Raven, I mean, Paine to level them out simply by reminding us all how stupid and annoying Yuna and Rikku are with her own unimpressed reactions. Did we really need Paine to tell us that?
“Final Fantasy XII”
Biggest WTF Moment: Absolutely nothing
This game was so bland, boring, colorless, mundane, and just plain not fun that it didn’t even have anything that made anyone go WTF. The summons being former FF final bosses is almost noteworthy, but not quite. It’s more indicative of how this game set out to find whatever was left in the series that initially attracted players in the first place and made sure to destroy it. Good job, Square Enix. 😛