Saturday, 10 October 2009

Nostalgia's an indecisive bitch

I am scared of playing what I think might be my favourite game. I think it’s a great game, and I remember playing through it many times in my childhood and having tremendous fun each time. Then again, I also thought that snorting sherbert at that age was a good idea, and you can imagine how that turned out.

In this instance I am talking about Final Fantasy VII which I remember very fondly, but I have to ask myself, am I only remembering the good bits? Picking my apparently biased memory I can not think of that many flaws with the game which has already set the alarm bells ringing as I know that it is fairly easy to criticise at least something in any game.

The only frustrating bit I can remember is a boss encounter in two lifts moving in parallel on the outside of the Shinra building where only ranged attacks are useful. This is hardly a criticism though, as if games didn’t have frustratingly difficult bits sometimes then it would be a world that is about as entertaining as Gordon Brown giving an after dinner speech on sand.

I just can’t help shake the feeling that I would be disappointed if I were to pick up and play it today though. Too many times have I gone back to a game optimistically thinking it would be as awesome as it was five years ago only to be disappointed.

I think one major problem is as certain game genres evolve, staple features that get introduced, such as cover systems or magical recovering health become so mainstream that not having them feels like you are missing a leg or child. Going back to older games that don’t feature these can be a bit of a pain as you frantically mash the controls assuming that a function you are used to is there but instead end up horrifically dying in the confusion.

It’s a bit like Metal Gear Solid. I honestly do not think that I could go back to the PS1 game and cope as that lack of the ability to aim in first person would not so much leave me feeling like a fish out of water, but more like a bear in a volcano. How are you supposed to take someone out with a headshot when your rifle’s plane of vision is securely bolted at chest level?

I can see FF7 on the PSN store and as my fingers slowly twitch towards the purchase button I keep getting the nagging feeling that it will be nowhere near as good as I remember it.

I keep looking at trailers for FF13 and hope that it might play similar to seven, but I hear that the combat system has been tweaked. In a series gap of about six games that I haven’t played the result is probably some sort of disfigured Frankenstein monster that I will barely recognise, but I will be delightfully happy to be proven wrong.

Maybe it is best leaving games from the past in the past. At least that way it guarantees you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately applying that logic to the rest of life probably means that you will end up as a very unexciting person who will one day own far too many cats.

Then again, Banjo Kazooie is fairly awesome even by today’s standards so maybe FF7 will follow suit. I suppose there’s only one way to find out. Don’t fail me now childhood memories!

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