Please, Square-Enix, Don't Put Mini-Games in Final Fantasy XV

24/02/2016 09:36 GMT | Updated 23/02/2017 10:12 GMT

Without a doubt my favourite games, the Final Fantasy (FF) series is famous for producing masterpieces in strategic gameplay, masterful storytelling, fully developed and diverse characters, stunning graphics, and out-of-this-world music. It can hardly be overstated how great these games are.

But they are not perfect. There are some things they are not good at - and when I say 'not good', I mean BAD BAD BAD! And I speak for all FF fans when I say, Please, Square-Enix, don't put mini-games in FFXV. You can't do them.

There are too many to write about (as much as I would like to!), but ever since they introduced mini-games in FFVII, players have found themselves on hiatus from the game's narrative as they try to time basketball shots into colourful hoops and button-mash the 'X' button in order to defeat hologram arm-wrestlers, and later on repetitively race Chocobos in order to get some of the best items in the game.

Amongst the panoply of annoying mini-games in FFVIII, the most frustrating (and darn-right ridiculous) is the Queen of Cards side-quest which, if you are a die-hard completionist (which, unfortunately, I am) you need to do if you want to collect all of the cards in the game. It's not that it's particularly hard, but you need a lot of luck to do it (and without luck, it's a long time of anger and frustration). This requires resetting the game over and over again just to get the results you want - and if only it was as simple as that, too. But the game has a warped Random Number Generator (RNG) system and no matter how many times you reset the game, you'll get the same crap results unless you work out how to manipulate it. This requires you to perform repetitive tasks, talk to a bunch of people, do more repetitive tasks, save the game in a particular place, run to a different location, reset the game again, and do more repetitive tasks just to complete one more stage in this long quest. And this mini-game is no exception: there are many more like it throughout Final Fantasy.

FFIX isn't as bad because some of the mini-games, such as button-mashing 'X' a thousand times in a row for the 'skipping' mini-game, are simply impossible and not even worth the effort. Hunting for 'chocographs' in the 'Chocobo Hot & Cold' mini-game is slow and time-consuming, but necessary to get some of the best equipment in the game.

FFX is almost a masterpiece; its mini-games are hard, but they are addictive. However, I'll never forgive them for adding the Thunder Plains 'Lightning-dodge' mini-game. You need to dodge 200 lightning-bolts in a row to get one of the best weapons in the game - again, impossible, unless you learn how to exploit this. (There is a spot where the lighting guarantees to strike.)

This is precisely what made FFXIII the true masterpiece - it had a couple of small, simple mini-games, but that's it. FFXIII's gameplay was made up of precisely what makes the FF games so good: difficult enemies and mega-bosses, which require strategy, and not as much luck. (Unfortunately, they brought back mini-games in the next instalment with the Temporal Rift puzzles, which, true to Final Fantasy tradition, probably drove every FFXIII-2 player somewhat insane.)

FFXIII also got rid of some of the other annoying aspects of the old FFs, such as random encounters and annoying steal rates. It remains a testament to perfect gameplay. One hopes that FFXV goes the same way.