I realize, going into this, that I am most likely wasting my breath. About .000000001% of the population reads this blog, and of that percentage, maybe half of those readers will agree with what I am about to say.
Still, if something upsets me as much as this does, then I feel that I have to write about it. Perhaps there are more of you out there who care about this than I originally thought.
Final Fantasy IV for the DS comes out tomorrow. Graphically, it’s most stunning installment of this game to date. I love the character designs. Each character is drawn pretty much exactly as I pictured them. Back in the day when this game was first released, you only had a tiny sprite and Amano’s very loose character artwork to go by. I think that might have been a nice way of me saying that I don’t think that Amano’s art style works with the very cartoony final fantasy iv, but i’m not sure. I’m not dissing his art style, so please, no hate mail.
Here’s where the problem comes in, and it seems more and more games are doing this lately. A feature of the game was taken out that many people, creative people, have come to love. And it’s bad enough that it’s been taken out. To add insult to injury, the character who changes your name is in the game, his name is still Namingway, and when you speak to him for the first time, you even have false hope of changing Cecil’s name. But then he goes on to say “Oh yeah, I don’t do that anymore.” and that’s that.
Many people will argue “Well, the game has voice acting, what did you expect?” to which I would immediately counter: It’s a handheld. I own a handheld system so I can play it at the movies while I’m waiting for the film to start, or while I’m waiting in line for something. I actually had to play Crisis Core while sitting on my couch at home because of how many voiced scenes there were, thus defeating the purpose of a handheld or “portable” game, in my opinion.
I could take the argument a little further, citing games such as Star Ocean for the ps2 and Tales of Destiny 2 for the playstation, which creatively let you name your characters through the status screen if you had voice acting turned off. This is a way for people like me to get their naming fix, and people who don’t give a damn about naming things to… well… keep the names that are dealt to them.
There are other games, like Shining Force for the Genesis, which allowed you to name your first guy, and if you cared enough, you could hold A and start after naming him and name the rest of your squad. These are things that I did, but I’m not sure how many others cared enough to do this, and maybe I am a dying breed.
Before you start to think that I am crazy, allow me to explain why I like to name my guys.
I like to put myself into the game. My life, my characters, my experience. I find myself enjoying a game 100 times more if Jeremy and Sara are fighting the evil Sephiroth, rather than Cloud and Tifa. When Sara, Karl, Robbie, Reed and Patton travel to the moon, i feel for the characters much more than if Rydia, Cecil, Edward, Rosa and Edge are doing the very same thing.
I personally thought that namingway was a great way to change characters names. If you liked the in game names or just didn’t care, you could just bypass this character and be done with it. This, to me, was fine. I will say this. All four saves on my Final Fantasy II cartridge were filled with games. Each game was that of a different friend of mine. In each game, my friends changed the names without question. So, perhaps it ISN’T just me.
To conclude this particular point, let me say this: I find myself less inclined to take a chance on a Role Playing Game if I know I can’t put myself into it. I also find it silly that a handheld with no spoken dialogue (final fantasy tactics advance2 for instance) forces you to use the default names. I don’t want to, so therefore I will miss this tactical adventure, unfortunately.
On the other side of the coin, I find myself playing mediocre games just for the naming aspect alone. The minute the game is remade and the naming aspect is gone, I find myself caring less and less about it. Case in point, I purchased La Pucelle Tactics only to find that each and every monster had a stupider name than the next and it could not be altered. While Bones Pizza is a funny and cool name, I never got any random names that were that cool, and so, I gave the game away the next day.
All of this being said, it seems that the future of me being a gamer girl is bleak. I still love games like Katamari Daimacy and Loco Roco, but am finding myself drifting further and further from the RPG genre. I play the Nippon Ichi games for the naming aspect before any other aspect. I don’t know what I’ll be doing ten years from now and that scares me. I don’t want to turn into one of those old people who doesn’t play video games anymore. I want to be 80 and playing video games, but it seems that there are just fewer and fewer for me to play.
Every once in a while a game that seems like it was made just for me, like Drawn To Life, comes along, but this comes along once in a blue moon.
Anyway, we’ll see tomorrow if I actually go and buy final fantasy iv ds or not, but I am inclined to think I will not. If a text hacking utility happens to come out for it sometime soon, then, hells yes I’ll play it, but as for right now, unfortunately, I think I’ll pass.