It has been a contrasting decade for both Final Fantasy and Persona. While Final Fantasy has lost its charm and pull thanks to the XIII saga and XV, Persona has simply gotten bigger, better, and more popular.
Not only that, but Atlus’ has embraced and improved the JRPG genre, while Square Enix has betrayed old-school fans in failed efforts to entice new audiences.
And this is why Final Fantasy is a buried and unrecognisable corpse that is unable to rise from the dead because of Persona sitting on its grave.
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Final Fantasy is dead to me and Persona sits on its grave
There’s no doubting that Final Fantasy is much bigger than Persona. Despite Final Fantasy XV being a bad joke and the Final Fantasy XIII saga being an abhorrent parody, Square Enix’s long-running franchise is still one of the gaming industry’s most successful and popular properties. And the Final Fantasy VII Remake will undoubtedly be a triumphant cash cow that can be milked for years.
However, speaking purely from a quality perspective, Atlus’ Persona has surpassed the once unconquerable beast that was Final Fantasy.
Everyone has their favourite Final Fantasy (mine is IX), but it has been a long time since I have liked anything about the franchise.
Final Fantasy X (released all the way back in 2001) was mostly horrible, Final Fantasy XII was an entry I quickly chose to forget about, Final Fantasy XIII was a never-ending nightmare I can’t forget about, and Final Fantasy XV was the most painful kick to the nuts I have received.
While Final Fantasy has been unable to reclaim what made IX, VIII, and VII unforgettable masterpieces, Atlus has made Persona the number one JRPG on the market.
Persona 2 Innocent Sin was a fantastic and underappreciated experience, but Persona 3 was the beginning of the series’ rise to dominance; it implemented the social links mechanic, and the franchise has since become an innovative yet faithful and familiar home for JRPG fans.
Instead of abandoning the turn-based combat and social link mechanics that make JRPGs and Persona so popular, Persona 5 instead improved upon these features while implementing new stuff. In contrast, Final Fantasy isn’t recognisable as a JRPG anymore.
Thanks to Final Fantasy XIII being an insulting and linear parody in which the turn-based combat pretty much played itself, the series has now become an action RPG as epitomised by the new combat system in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
The hack-and-slash combat in Final Fantasy XV was a stiff, clunky, and awkward mess that appeared more complicated than it truly was, and the combat in the Final Fantasy VII Remake appears to be a mixture of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. While this doesn’t spell doom and gloom for the remake (I like Kingdom Hearts), it makes it hard for me to be excited as I’ll undoubtedly miss the turn-based fighting that made me fall in love with Final Fantasy in the first place.
I want the Final Fantasy VII Remake to be an excellent retelling similar to Capcom’s Resident Evil 2, but - on the surface - it appears nothing more than a cheap imitation that is hiding its unrecognisable identity by wearing the skin of Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth. Just like Final Fantasy XV was a poor imitation that hid behind Final Fantasy menus, summons, and music.
In its current state, Final Fantasy is no longer recognisable for me, and I consider the series to be dead and buried with Persona having filled its void. Final Fantasy used to be the JRPG I would obsess over, but now it’s Persona as Atlus hasn’t abandoned their core fanbase and values.
It's possible that Final Fantasy will one day become important to me again, but the Final Fantasy VII Remake will more likely have me mourning rather than jumping with joy. However, so long as Persona continues to be what it is, I won't be missing and weeping over Final Fantasy that much.
In other Persona 5 news:
- Persona 5 The Royal – New gameplay video and screenshots
- Persona 5 The Royal – Full translation of the Famitsu interview
- Atlus’ Persona 5 The Royal gets a 2020 western release date
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