Final Fantasy Friday: The System Is Down

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

The system isn’t really down, rather I want to know which system you’re down with.  Which Final Fantasy has your favorite magic/leveling/battle system?  Are you a Materia hunter?  Do you prefer to have a specific Job?  Or would you rather Junction your way through random battles?Since this is a bit of a three part question, a three part answer with potentially different games is more than acceptable.

Hm, well, it’s hard for me to separate the systems from the story.  FFIV’s job system fits with its story line (especially considering the main character’s job changes as part of the plot) just like FFVII’s Materia system fits with its.  I’m going to try to stay objective and look at the systems outside of their respective narratives.

For leveling, the only system I absolutely abhorred was Final Fantasy II’s.  Having to fight with a weapon, shield, or magic spell a hundred times in order to make progress was one of the worst decisions Square ever made, and I’m happy the company didn’t suffer for it.  All of the other Final Fantasies I’ve played level in the way the video game gods intended, and I’m perfectly fine with that.

To be honest, I like VIII’s Junction system.  I like the versatility of it.  I like how you can switch around GFs to make your characters tanks.  I like how you can add/take away abilities, and I think the system gets much more hate than it deserves.  When I first played the game, I didn’t quite understand how it worked, so I spent a lot of time summoning my GFs, but once I figured it out, it was a simple matter of drawing a hundred of applicable spells and junctioning them to the appropriate spots.  I also liked how you would make a specific salary depending on your sEED rank, not that I mind beating up monsters for gil.  FFVIII just had this organization to it (maybe because it was about a military organization that was trying to do good as opposed to VII’s…) that fit well with my Taurus mind.  It was a very well organized game in terms of its systems.

I know magic and battle systems are intertwined, but there are some slight nuances.  Going back to the Jobs systems, I like how IX handles it.  I could say similar things about VIII, but I feel like they updated where they were going in the prior game with IX.  I like that each character has a specialty, which is the opposite to VIII’s Junction system where anyone can be customized for anything, and then switched around at a moment’s notice (barring their Limit Breaks).  The only thing I don’t like about IX’s battle system is if you go into Trance at the end of a fight, you lose it regardless of if you use it.  I wish they’d kept the same system used in FFVII and revived in X where the Limit Break was available until you decided to unleash it.

I think Steiner’s was my favorite.  He looked like an actual knight instead of a grumpy, old man in rusty armor.

Let’s discuss favorite systems in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “Final Fantasy Friday: The System Is Down

  1. The Junction system was very interesting (although hard to understand at the age i was playing the game!) due to the depth that was available. I liked that FFX let you switch party members in and out mid battle to alter strategies on the fly and potentially grow lesser used characters. Wasn’t a fan of the sphere grid though. It felt like a nice idea to grow characters as you wanted, but in reality you just upgraded whatever was next on the track.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I had the age problem with the Junction system, too! Once I was a bit older, its complexities were a lot easier to navigate.

      Oh good point! I forgot about that in X and I liked that it, too, had a job system, but you could trade in the exact person you needed without losing a turn. The Sphere Grid gave the illusion of option when in reality it started each character off on a particular track. I think you had to “break down” something in order to go off the beaten path. It’s been a while since I’ve played, but I think I remember something like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, you had to open up certain paths that gave different options, but those options were really just giving skills that other characters had. And seeing as it worked on “jobs”, they often weren’t suited to those skills anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting question! I loved the job class system in Final Fantasy Tactics, which let you apply a subclass to each of your characters to give their current job the subsclass’s abilities. Having an archer that could use a knight’s loadout to break armor and weapons from a distance usually meant the enemy’s army arrived at my group of ninjas and monks ass naked.

    I like when RPGs give me these types of flexible systems and let me run wild with them. It becomes a game in itself trying to figure out how to make my party as overpowered as possible. For that reason, I think FFVII’s materia and FFVIII’s junction were the most fun in the numbered entries. There were SO many insane materia combos to play around with that basically made your party unbeatable.

    I’ll always be a fan of traditional XP-based leveling systems as well. FFX’s sphere grid is my second favorite, with FFXV’s skill trees easily taking top honors.

    Although it’s one of the more unpopular choices, I stand firm in my belief that Final Fantasy XIII had the best turn-based combat of any FF. I felt that having to adjust your party’s classes on the fly to fulfill specific rolls was engaging and gave the usual plodding pace of turn-based combat a much needed dash of excitement. FFX’s was fun as well, switching in Lulu to deal with elementals or Wakka for the out of reach enemies.

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    • You know I’m going to have to ask all these questions again when I play all of the Final Fantasies hehe.

      I think that’s why I enjoyed the Junction system once I understood how to use it. The freedom it gave you to customize was amazing. You weren’t confined to any limits, but I’m not averse to the job system either where each character has a particular skill/break unique to them. It just becomes another factor in the equation. I think they really ran with that in WOFF especially considering you can add abilities to blank spaces. This is probably why the Pokemon meets Final Fantasy thing works, because they were already moving in that direction to begin with!

      Do you remember the W-Item trick in FFVII? It was similar to the duplicate trick in FFIV hehe. Cheats galore!

      Well I know a certain Lightning lover who will appreciate you saying that about her beloved XIII :p That’s next on my FF list to play because I’ve apparently abandoned all order for them. I blame World. Wait, didn’t you sort of persuade me to blame World? Ah! In all honestly, I am going to fit in V at some point. I may need to abandon DoS for a bit, but I was already done with the I version of that anyway so no big deal.

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        • I’m pretty sure it’s s a sign of my own increasing insanity that I can keep them compartmentalized lol. I do tend to forget exactly what happens/comes next in each story whenever I replay them. I know the general plot line, but I won’t quite remember each key point until I get there. It’s kind of nice, because then I get an “A ha!” moment.

          I think I’m going to fire up FFV today actually. I played a little bit of WOFF, but it’s all just finding the remaining Mirages and whatnot.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The leveling system of Final Fantasy II was a mess. I give them credit for wanting to experiment, but there’s a good reason they switched back to the familiar leveling system for Final Fantasy III.

    Anyway, I’m really fond of the Job system from Final Fantasy V. It was okay in III, but it suffered from spotty execution, and it wasn’t until V that it became my favorite character customization system in the series. I was really glad to see it make a return in Bravely Default.

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    • I’m so glad they abandoned that straight away, because holy crap, was it awful. I look at it like they tried something different that didn’t work out, learned from their mistake, and didn’t repeat it.

      I’m just about to start playing FFV so I’m excited to check out how they did they job system there! I know III does a sort of “floating” job system where you can switch it up if you have a certain amount of an item. I do like how each Final Fantasy doesn’t just repeat the system from the last, but rather does something a little bit different.

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  4. I could hardly hear his comment over all the internet hate, but needless to say, I agree with Mr. Cheap Boss Attack’s fine taste in Final Fantasy battle systems. 🙂

    FFXIII’s battle system is truly exciting and just plain fun. It’s so satisfying watching your Ravagers/Commandos/Saboteurs rack up the chain meter, and then unleash hell when the monster is vulnerable. The Paradigm Shift mechanic makes the battles fast paced, and you have to think quickly about adjusting on the fly. For example, if a monster is kicking your ass, you better switch to a Paradigm with two healers for a few seconds to get people healed up. Add in summons and limit breaks too! So awesome 😀 Oh and no annoying random battles! I love how you can see the enemies in the world so you sort of know what to expect.

    I should also mention Lightning Returns has the most difficult system I’ve seen so far. It has a steep learning curve (even I, of all people, almost rage quit it while I was learning, haha), but it is incredibly satisfying once you get the hang of it. It’s basically just Lightning against the world, and she has different setups you can switch between on the fly. The random enemies are so challenging! If you don’t know their weaknesses they will likely destroy you in the beginning. There is also a nice feature of making monsters extinct. If you kill enough of the same type, a boss one will appear. If you kill that, you’ll never see another one of that enemy again (unless you fail to save the world in time and have to start over of course). I was not a fan of the XIII day time limit since it made me feel rushed (Lightning keeps her stats if you fail making your next attempt easier though). It was a great game overall and the most rewarding Final Fantasy game I’ve played so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really hoping I can pick up on this learning curve. I’ve always enjoyed Final Fantasy’s battle systems, which is why I had such trepidation for XV and still do for the VII Remake. It’s such an integral and unavoidable part of the game, and one of the things I loved about FF was how it was more strategy based rather than hack and slash. If it retains that strategy paradigm (heh), I’ll be able to pick it up 🙂

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      • My advice is to put Lightning Returns on easy difficulty (which trust me, is not so easy). I made the mistake of choosing normal at first, and poor Lightning was destroyed very quickly, haha. The VII Remake looks like it’s taking the battle system in a very different direction. I can understand your concerns! Hopefully it turns out awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wasting a Trance on a pointless encounter does suck. Despite that I liked FF9’s system for learning skills from equipment.

    Normally I don’t like job systems because everyone in my party ends up being good at everything. I like it when every character is unique and specializes on a certain role. That said I am a fan of Bravely Default.

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  6. I am a fan of FFIX’s abilities system. It was straightforward and generally yielded good results for me! The Sphere Grid in FFX was so straightforward that it hurt, and seeing how that was my first FF game, I have to acknowledge its awesomeness as well!

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  7. FFV job system all the way! It’s complex, customizable, and fun! It’s good enough to make me love FFV despite it not having the best story or characters (seriously, Bartz?). I also like any system featuring an “equip” system that lets you level up AP to gain skills. This includes VI, VII, and IX. I have to say though, I hated VIII’s junction system. The way I play is trying to be the best you can be at any point in time during the game. Because of the junction system, this meant spamming Draw on random battles or even boss battles until I had 100 of each magic. Then I couldn’t use the magic because I wanted to have the best stats. I suppose I didn’t have to play it that way, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed VIII as much without getting the best stats anyway. This is why I much prefer the job system or AP. And also why I don’t like VIII… haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m just about to start V so I’m going to see first hand what its job system is like! Haha, Bartz is at least a better name than the alternative translation :p What were they thinking lol.

      Once I got used to the Junction system, it was so easy to take advantage of, but I know what you mean about not being able to use magic. I noticed most spells weren’t very effective even against monsters that were weak against it. I would just junction the magic to my attack and that was much better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you enjoy V as much as I did! I played the GBA version, so it wasn’t the original, but at least that one had novel jobs. The job system is so refined, and I wish they had it in more games besides III, which is so hard, and X-2, which is… what it is. 😛

        Also, for VIII, I never used magic. I did the same thing you did and junctioned the magic to my attack. Sometimes, I junctioned it to my magic, which in retrospect, makes no sense, haha.

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