In my life I have always had two passions: reading and playing video games. I learned to love reading with the Boxcar Children books and the Harry Potter series, and began my love affair with playing video games on the NES with the original Super Mario Bros. Throughout the years, my tastes have changed, but my fundamental joy at partaking in these two activities has never wavered. One of the ways said tastes have changed was when I started preferring RPGs to platformers, and that all started when I began playing Final Fantasy.
When I was in elementary school, I discovered Final Fantasy through Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I loved it: it was my first RPG experience, and while the story is considered lackluster to many fans of the franchise, its tale of a hero torn between disadvantageous truth and a beautiful lie was fascinating and moving. I wanted, being the child that I was, to live in a world like that of the game, where my choices mattered so much in regards to reality itself, and where I could interact with magic and powers beyond my understanding. I think, unlike Marche from that game, that I would not have chosen to go back to the real world, preferring Ivalice to my boring, small southern American town, but the moral dilemma of it all intrigued me.
Years later, I’ve played and beaten every major Final Fantasy game (except IX, X, and X-2, which, yes, I am working on). The franchise, while not “final” in terms of its ongoing numbered titles, really was the ultimate fantastic escape for me as a kid: the games were philosophical and intricate, their stories compounded by issues I had no experience with before. Their characters came to feel like friends, and their gameplay became ritualistic in its ability to be both strategically engaging and procedurally calming. They shaped my love of JRPGs and RPGs in general, from Persona to Dark Souls, and it’s both weird and true to say that my life would probably have been a bit different without them.
Now there’s Final Fantasy XV. As Jason Schreier reported in his article a couple of days ago, the story is getting patched at an unspecified, later date. It’s not the end of the world or anything, and heaven knows I have other major RPGs to play and beat in the interim, but I couldn’t help but be slightly miffed about the news. Final Fantasy is an escape for me, yes, but not really because it’s a video game franchise and the gameplay is so engrossing or anything. It’s an escape because of the epic stories it tells, and the awesome characters to whom it introduces me. I’m fine with DLC adding side missions or expanding post-game content, but patching the already existing story of the game after it’s been released just... annoys me. It would be like finally getting your hands on a new book in a favorite series, only to be told that a missing middle chapter will be added later on, and furthermore that you have to read all the way up to that chapter again to read it. The news of the patched story makes me, like many others, want to wait for said patch before I begin playing the game.
Between work and school, I don’t have the time I used to have for playing 60-or-more hours-long games, and the thought of having to play through a game again seems silly given how large my backlog has gotten (The Witcher 3 has been sitting on my console for over a year now). But this franchise means a lot to me, and I would really like to play Final Fantasy XV as soon as possible. My question, therefore, is this: should I wait, or should I play it as is? I’ve read opinions on both sides, but none have been all that compelling. Please let me know what you think in the comments below, if you share my frustrations, or if you think this is all frustratingly stupid considering how many real problems there are in the world right now.