Thanks to TBAAAGamer1 for the inspiration!
in ffxiii the whole series successfully lampoons the “warrior of light” trope by creating the l’cie, warriors of light forced to serve a crystal-life-form called a fal’cie and fulfill a higher duty, failing means being turned into a monster and succeeding means turning into a rock..neither choices being compelling. thus the idea of giving destiny the middle finger and becoming an immovable force of reckoning to the gods comes into play, lightning and gang, after a rather intense coping session, rise up to bitchslap the fal’cie but good, and eventually gain the sympathy of etro. the message here being “you can never defy the gods, unless of course you manage to get another god to help, in which case defy all you want” jokes aside though, the conclusion of the XIII trilogy with lightning’s fight with bhunivelze reveals that it’s ultimately possible to go against great forces with sufficient opportunism and determination. the trilogy’s message is more or less “don’t accept your fate, even if you’re screwed”
I know what you’re thinking:
“No, it’s not!”
Final Fantasy XIII, for many people, seems to be where the series took a misstep. It was way too divisive, futuristic and melodramatic. It, in many ways, became a reminder of what Final Fantasy should not be. But I think Final Fantasy XIII carries on the spirit of Final Fantasy.
The original Final Fantasy was about four warriors traveling with a crystal in hand to fulfill a task. The crystals were a source of magic for the world and controlled the elements. The crystals also chose the Warriors of Light.
Forget the medieval setting; there’s more than one way to do fantasy, as opposed to simply being a Dungeons and Dragon clone. Final Fantasy has made this clear. The time period is different, but it keeps its original theme of fantasy.
In Final Fantasy XIII, the fal’Cie brands (chooses) the party with shards of crystal. The six warriors in Final Fantasy XIII are:
- Lightning Farron (Fighter)
- Snow Villiers (Monk)
- Sazh Katzroy (Thief)
- Vanille de Oerba (Black Mage)
- Hope Estheim (White Mage)
- Fang de Oerba (Red Mage)
To which we have:
- Commando (Fighter)
- Sentinel (Monk)
- Ravager (Black Mage)
- Medic (White Mage)
- Saboteur (Red Mage)
- Synergist (Thief)
They have a task (Focus) to complete: to save the world (or in this case, Cocoon). And like the original Final Fantasy, both games are a bit linear. Later on, the sequel incorporates time travel and a misguided enemy trying to control a time loop.
Final Fantasy XIII did something that would make Sakaguchi proud. It took what made Final Fantasy famous, inverted it yet kept the same structure intact. Final Fantasy XIII was its own stand-alone title, with its own unique world. But it kept the tropes that made Final Fantasy memorable in the first place.
Final Fantasy XIII isn’t perfect, but that’s a story for another time…