The Final Fantasy series has developed as one of the most popular and stylized franchises in videogames. Beloved by millions, the Final Fantasy games have managed to develop an almost baroque formalism in terms of both mechanics and narrative. There have been many milestones in the history of the series, but none that have been so momentous and yet nearly forgotten as the first two entries.
Game Description: Final Fantasy Origins, a special package of the original Final Fantasy (released in North America 1n 1990) and Final Fantasy II (never before released in North America) have been remade for the PlayStation game console and feature new cinematic movies, opening theme songs, event scenes including updates of the original event sequences, enhanced graphics, improved sound quality and new gameplay modes. Together, these two titles laid the foundation for the series and spawned many hit sequels that have now sold over 42 million units worldwide.
I've always thought I could enjoy any game so long as it was a feast of sight and sound, not frustratingly difficult, and filled with enough diverting gameplay to keep my mind off the responsibilties of day-to-day existence. I'm also a fan of the production values and atmosphere of console role-playing games (RPGs) in general and the Final Fantasy series especially. So when Final Fantasy IX was released, I was sure I was going to love it.
Game Description: Dark times have spread over the world of Gaia. Four separate governing nations, some blinded by their short-sighted greed, some persevering in the name of justice, are battling on and off in a deadly game for power. One kingdom, that of Lindblum, headed by the honorable and trustworthy Regent Cid, finally decides to take a stand against the unspeakable massacres by the troops of Alexandria. Enlisting the aid of mere bandits to kidnap Princess Garnet of the Alexandria Empire, for information and interrogation, Garnet and her bodyguard actually join Cid's cause, knowing full well the outlandish recklessness of the governing Queen, who counterattacks with an onslaught of warriors. Thus begins a crossfire that would engulf the world in something far worse than political standoffs. Out of the band of thieves, one boy along with his entourage must battle his way through several awe-inspiring challenges to restore order and peace.
Kingdom Hearts was formally announced at the Electronics Entertainment Expo of 2000, which I was fortunate enough to attend. Most convention-goers (myself included) waiting in the mile-long line for the preview left stunned, amazed, or a quivering mixture of both. The game that was shown represented nothing less than a completely unexpected merger of two colossal forces, two seemingly invulnerable icons, each at the summits of their respective media.
Game Description: This is the story of Sora, a 14-year-old boy whose world is shattered. When a violent storm hits his island-paradise home, he is separated from his two best friends and goes to look for them. Meanwhile, King Mickey is missing from Disney Castle and Captain Goofy and the court wizard Donald are off to search for him. When Sora, Donald and Goofy meet, they hear about the Heartless: Strange and powerful creatures who caused the terrible storm and kidnapped King Mickey. They'll work together to help each other meet their goals - and have an incredible adventure as they go!
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