Like many fans of the Final Fantasy series, I waited long
in anticipation of FFIX and the ensuing strategy aides. When
I first heard the Square was going to do an online strategy
to coincide with a printed guide, I was intrigued. I understood
their attempt to make the first step towards the online promotion
that would be needed for FFX and FFXI, both of which seemed
to be either partially or wholly involved with the upcoming
online service for the Playstation 2. My only wonder was whether
this was a good move. Having grown familiar with RPGs over
the past years, I wondered how they could successfully execute
such an aggressive plan.
But, they are SquareÉ
November 15th rolled around and FFIX hit the shelves. I,
like many other people, rushed out and snatched up the game
and the coinciding strategy guide from BradyGames. When I
reached home, the guide hit my desk, unopened, while I churned
through the first couple of hours of the game. I found myself
unstoppable until I hit a major snag: Tetra Master.
Finding this card game unpredictable and altogether difficult,
I went to the strategy guide and stated reading. Needless
to say, I was a little less than disappointed in the almost
ambiguity of the guide. Anything of real importance was "cross-referenced"
to the website. Any decent secret (special items, secret bosses,
the Stellazio CoinsÉ) had a look-up code for the website.
With a sigh, I went online. Earlier in the day, I had registered
for the website (and, mind you, I had to do that twice to
get it to go through), so I started to browse around. Once
inside, I checked out the BBS, finding there a number of fans
had already been there and were displaying some quite vicious
displeasure. It looks like I wasn't the only one miffed by
the whole string of events. But that wasn't even the least
of it. That Friday (Nov. 17th), I tried to get on, only to
find the site down. And it was down all through the weekend.
I guess It came up partially on the next Monday, but I still
found myself unable to log-in or register under a new ID.
Now, I wouldn't be giving this evidence of my own troubles
if I didn't think that everyone else were having similar troubles.
This leads me to wonder if this was the best idea for Square
to try. Yes, I congratulate them for trying something new,
but I have to wonder if they should have worked out all the
kinks before going live with this. If they can't seem to rectify
this problem, I almost wish that someone would have put out
an unofficial guide. (Anyone else remember the excellent guide
for FFVII by Versus Books?)
All of this just seems to leave a bad taste in our mouths.
With such a strong year from Square, we wonder if this will
end their year on a down note? We'll still play this game
multiple times in a row to get all of the secrets, but we'll
sit there wondering who dropped the ball.