On Valentine's Day, people began posting up pictures of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. This made me feel nostalgic for the original Final Fantasy XIII, a game which I abandoned some time ago when I felt like I wasn't doing anything in it any more. (Then my brother bought a new PS3 and my save data was erased forever. It's a long story.)
With all of this nostalgia kicking my ass, I started a new game.
And I haven't stopped playing since.
Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. I mean, I've attempted to maintain a social life since I started playing. And I've been writing and reading and watching Grimm (I got Season 1 for my birthday!) but other than that I've been returning to the game. It's been wonderful.
I forgot an awful lot about the game, and replaying it is giving me a chance to see why I loved it so much to begin with. I think I appreciate the battle system a little more, now, than I used to, too. I like the Paradigm Shift. I like the need for strategy and forward thinking and focusing on different skill-sets and techniques.
Most of all, I love the story. I love how complete the religion feels in the Final Fantasy games. I like how expansive the worlds are, and how everything fits together wonderfully. I like how much the characters are forced to grow, and how the dynamics of the game are affected by the relationships between characters.
Case in point: Eidolon battles. Each is based on the type of person the character is. I've done three so far, and what I can determine already is: Snow has a need to protect people, and so the Shiva Sisters needed him to be defensive; Lightning felt guilt about Serah and Hope, and so had to help Hope to beat Odin; and Sazh felt anger at Vanille, and so was required to help her while she helped him in the battle against Brynhildr. (Those make more sense when you play the game, but to avoid both spoilers and the need to explain how to play the game, let's just leave it at that. Essentially, what was happening in the story determined how to defeat the Eidolon.)
It's been wonderful, and I'm determined to play until the end, this time. I want to finish the game, and give XIII-2 a try, before moving on to Lightning Returns. To give people an idea of where I am in the game, I'm still on the Fifth Ark.
This isn't the first time I haven't completed a Final Fantasy game, of course. I gave up on Final Fantasy IX back in the day, because I couldn't figure out what to do. It was as simple as that. This was in the days before Internet access was common. (I also technically abandoned Final Fantasy VII, when I couldn't defeat the final boss. I also couldn't go back and train more, so I was essentially screwed, and returned the game to my older cousin who had given me a loan of it.)
Eventually I'll play it more regularly and less sporadically (you know, I'll play for an hour a day or something, not for several hours some days and not at all on others) but for now I'm just going to enjoy getting back into world that's been built up around the series. Sure, it means not doing other things, but getting to play a game I couldn't play a few years ago because of college is important to me, too. One of the few reasons I actually want to own a PS3 is for the Final Fantasy games. (And just for the record, I think I prefer them to the The Elder Scrolls games!)