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Since their introduction, achievements have frequently come under fire from fans and video game critics alike. Even now, over a generation on since they were first brought into the industry as accounts were popularised and online community aspects were pushed, the backlash against them remains ever strong.
The very idea of them seems to be scorned by a lot of major figures, especially John Bain and members of Polaris, with the very idea of them often being ridiculed. Many are argued to be unnecessary, to be a pointless addition which ultimately adds nothing to the experience and something which the industry never needed before now. However, I personally believe that this is not entirely true. While achievements have been mishandled certainly, there is a definite reason for them to exist and benefit developers of all titles.
It goes without saying that Final Fantasy is one of the biggest and most successful series on the market. Even after being repeatedly marred by the development team’s obsession over Final Fantasy XIII and a disastrous initial release of XIV, as a whole the franchise stands strong. While certainly having a fair number of dumb storytelling moments, you’ll find plenty of fans willing to defend just about any title in the series and put forwards genuinely good reasons why one in particular is a personal favourite.
Some enjoy how X dealt with the idea of religion, others enjoyed the more straight forwards adventuring tale of XII and how it tackled the subject of loyalty, and VII needs no explanation. This said, one in particular seems to have been constantly overlooked despite offering some surprisingly effective storytelling methods which hold up today: Final Fantasy II.
Before we truly get into the meat of this article there’s something which needs to be commented upon: Someone on the development team was obviously a fanboy of British sci-fi. It’s either that or they had one of the best casting teams ever attached to a project.
If you were to go into this, just booting up the game without looking up any new information, you might be a little surprised to hear Tom Barker’s booming voice serving as the narrator. A little surprising to say the least, but this was from the early 2000s, and Baker had worked on a few video games in that time. Of course, then you see Warren Ellis’ name being credited as the head writer, and in the following scene hear Paul Darrow and Glynis Barber discussing a new threat they face.
Of all the missteps ever made by Blizzard Entertainment, from balance problems in Starcraft to World of Warcraft’s increasingly convoluted lore, few failings stand out more than Diablo III. Released with the hype train pulling out all the stops to ensure a smash hit, sales for the title soured despite a decidedly mixed reception within its community. Some loved it for its core concepts, others hated it for the DRM policies and story, but now Blizzard seems to have fully devoted itself to answering the criticisms of its fans. At least on a mechanical level anyway.