This summer I went to a small Greek island for vacation. I sat on my balcony in the afternoon and evening, drinking beer and iced tea, while 7th Dragon III.
The reason I’ve long want to say a few words about this game, is simply, that it’s so unapologetically a Japanese roleplaying game. The first game in the series was a Dragon Quest-like tradition honouring game of hiring a crew of fantasy fighters without personality, but sweet character design, and slaying lots of Dragons. Hundreds of them. The fourth game in the series (yes, the one titled “3”), is a perfection of this idea: Get your team, slay dragons, often big ones.
It’s a game for people who actually like playing JRPGs for the gameplay, not just the story. Like me. Look, I love the QoL stuff in the English release of Bravely Default, and I appreciate what AlphaDream did in the Mario RPG games to make battles more exciting. Oh and certainly the original Tales of Phantasia for the Super Famicom is technological marvel. Fuck, and the Star Ocean game for GameBoy Color. I mean, damn, that’s almost the same machine as NES. We could’ve been playing something like that on the fucking NES?
What I mean to say is, I like to play Final Fantasy V simply because it’s fun. The basic interaction of navigating the menus, and seeing the effects of making selections is aesthetically and kinetically pleasing. The job system improves upon this, but at its core, a JRPG like FFV is still a pleasant thing to play for me.
For someone like me, 7th is a treat to play. Navigating menus, making a strategy, grinding a few levels. It’s fun to do. Sure, it has quality-of-life stuff like Bravely Default, and moves that instantly and automatically will kill random encounters, but these are not in there to make us not play a JRPG, it’s to improve the feeling of becoming more powerful with great determination.
And then there is the story. Such a trope-filled, generic thing. I should hate it, but really, the game is just so god damn ANIME. It doesn’t even include an English dub, just to force the correct experience.
I’m going to finish this random deluge of words, with an element of 7th that feels equally as random: Your interactions with the characters moves you towards being able to date every single story related NPC. And have sex with them. No matter the gender, species or age of either of you. While not explicitly stating it, every dating-route ends with a few lines of dialogue leaving pretty much nothing ambiguous, and rewards you with powerful exclusive equipment. I have no idea how this made it into the English language version, when you see what petty stuff gets removed or changed in other games (The potato characters of bravely Default couldn’t wear a skimpy bikini or a toga). Oh well. At least we got this.