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APFFRT 4 Round 1: (14) Final Fantasy Mystic Quest vs. (19) Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings

Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Seeing Revenant Wings on the bracket immediately brought three things to mind: 1.) the last time an FF didn't get a sequel (or expansion) was way back in FF9; 2.) FF12 could end up playing its own sequel in round 2; and 3.) wait, is this even remotely an RPG? Then again, the same question could be asked of Mystic Quest, albeit for different reasons. Full disclosure: I don't hate Mystic Quest. Hell, I kinda like it. It has good music. It's OK, dammit!

Game 1: Visuals
I don't know how I feel about RW's visuals. They feel like one part FF tactics, one part Chrono Trigger, and one part Xenogears. And not really in a good way - the sprites scale, but aren't nearly high-enough in resolution to do so well. The backgrounds are fine, but nothing special. I also question the character design, particularly the propensity for characters to be wearing MC Hammer pants. Finally, things seem to get a bit too cluttered for the RTS-style play.

FFMQ has simple tile-based graphics, even more straightforward than those in FF4. They're charming, but not very noteworthy. The one aspect of FFMQ's visuals that does stand out are the monsters. From their tiny map icons to the multiple stages of damage, these are actually pretty entertaining. The game also has some nice NPC animations, although it relies on FF4-style random NPC spinning as well. But Benjamin's "what is up with this shit?" shrug never gets old.

I actual prefer the graphics of FFMQ: they're clearer, they get the job done, and they don't get in the way as RW's sometimes do. The monster graphics in particular are quite nice - nicer than any monsters I've seen in RW to this point.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest leads 1-0

Game 2: Audio
FF12 has decent music, which means RW has decent music. I didn't hear a single original track, I believe, but the ones that were featured were pretty good. I could take or leave the Rabanastre theme, but the battle music is fun and this is, after all, a game about fighting. There's none of the voice acting that made FF12 so memorable, though, and the sounds of combat are far too chaotic for any particular sound effects to stand out (which is, itself, perhaps a failing of the audio design).

FFMQ only has one really strong point, and that's its music. Some of it is repetitive and can get annoying - I'm looking at you, world map music. However, the battle music is good, the boss music is better, and the various character themes range from good to great. Tristam's theme is entirely inappropriate (it might make more sense in like, Vegas), but I love it anyway. Even though Tristram is kind of a dick.

Although the first half-hour doesn't feature any of my top favorite tracks, FFMQ starts with the good music early. RW tries to ride on its prequel's coattails, and it ends up being pretty uninspired.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest leads 2-0

Game 3: Combat
As an RTS, you'd expect RW to have fun combat, and it does. The base idea is that you have a rock-paper-scissors relationship between the basic types (and unlike some RTSs, there are in fact exactly three types). This game needs a Baldur's Gate-style pause, because identifying your enemies on the fly can waste time. The summoning mechanic for your minions is enjoyable, although I have no idea what determines your maximum minion count. The biggest problem is with the controls - you can quick select main characters, but this doesn't appear to select their group. I think I may have managed this once, so perhaps it is possible, but frankly, combat quickly degenerates into a clusterfuck (that's the technical term). And it's not trivially easy, either, which is both surprising and refreshing.

FFMQ's combat shocked me. It actually holds up extremely well in modern times. Sure, it's still a maximum of 3 enemies against a maximum of 2 party members, damage numbers are mostly static, and the MP system goes by spell - but at the same time, there's a lot of strategy (particularly if only one character can one-shot a given enemy type), there are debuffs (the first boss uses defense down!), and all the weaknesses and resistances are spelled out when they come into play. The fact that it gives you so much information, combined with being mostly predictable, makes it an almost modern-seeming combat system. It's all about planning your attacks. It feels like if FF1 were modernized (and also made way easier).

It seems so wrong, but I have to give this one to FFMQ. Combat is fun, it's strategic, and it's super fast. I easily fought at least 40 battles during a half hour. There are legitimate uses for two of my three weapon types (even if, historically, I never really used bombs), and I managed to use my last spell slot during the first boss fight. It's shockingly well-balanced. It's easy, yes, but you don't recover after fights so it's more of a test of efficiency than outright skill. That and the lack of random encounters makes it almost a relaxing system.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest leads 3-0

Game 4: Advancement
I'm not really sure what you have control over in RW, but there's plenty of potential for cool advancement. New monster minions? Varied party choices? Who knows? What I actually saw was some leveling, which came with new abilities, and a pretty limited minion set. I can't judge the theoretical, so I'm calling this system pretty limited for the moment.

With damage numbers being static, levels are very important in FFMQ. Right from the start, the game is tuned so Benjamin often can't one-shot enemies when he first arrives in an area, but can after a few levels. Your partners don't level, which actually makes things more interesting in combat because the balance between the two of you evolves during a given dungeon. There are very few items, which means they're all significant. All the armor I've found so far required me to go a bit out of my way, making them very effective rewards.

It feels wrong to give the nod to a system with literally no advancement choices whatsoever, but FFMQ gets it. The gear system is simplified but great, and RW hasn't shown me anything on par with it yet.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest wins 4-0

Conclusion
What the hell just happened? I actually enjoyed RW, but FFMQ is kind of everything I like about Final Fantasy combat distilled down to a ridiculously concentrated essence. Even better, it has a ton of hints of modern gaming (or perhaps just western gaming) - no random encounters, the ability to save anywhere. Hell, it's the only FF game I can think of that increases your current HP proportionally when you level. And perhaps most importantly, it managed to hide its weakness - a complete lack of an interesting plot or characters - by pulling off the sweep.

Next Game: (11) Final Fantasy III vs. (22) Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I always like Mystic Quest growing up, but I'm pretty surprised it managed to sweep any game at all. I only have to question your judgement that Hammer Pants didn't automatically win game 1. That seems like should have been an easy gimme for Reverent Wings. I guess that's just further proof that the FF franchise is all down hill lately Wink

Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Hammer pants by themselves are bad enough, but Penelo's in particular are... let's say questionable. And arguably NSFW.

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
http://hommemaker.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/hammer-pants.jpg?w=500&h=276
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