I have been a Final Fantasy fangirl for about ten years. It’s the only game series I’ve continued to buy on its release date, although I can no longer keep up with the spin-offs and direct sequels. The latest game, Final Fantasy XIII, comes out in a little over a week. What’s got me especially excited? The protagonist is finally a woman for the first time since FFVI’s Terra in 1994. (Excluding spin-offs!)
I’ve avoided spoilers and reviews of FFXIII, I suspect the cast of FFXIII will fall into some of the archetypes we’ve seen in earlier games with a broody, emo protagonist (Cloud, Squall), whiney doofus (Tidus, Vaan), the bubbly teenage girl (like Yuffie and Rikku), and bad-ass mysterious side-kick (Auron, Paine).
Lightning, like the rest of FFXIII cast, is dressed in the typical over-the-top anime attire, but as women’s outfits go, hers does not especially scream “eye-candy.” My only criticism is that her bare legs don’t look muscular enough to me for someone with abilities, but overall I can’t wait to play her. I’ll finally get to be a protagonist who I have gender in common with. This means a lot to me because Lightning has rejuvenated my excitement about a series that was starting to seem same-old to me. Although I still enjoy the gameplay, the plots don’t amaze me like they used to. I don’t know if it’s because I started playing when I was a 15 year old and I’m now a jaded 25 year old, or if the quality of storytelling has gone downhill. But I’m optimistic that FFXIII will do something new, beginning with taking women seriously enough that epic RPGs no longer need to revolve around teenage men.