Entering the press room at BlizzCon 2010 late Saturday afternoon, I overheard one of Blizzard's PR people arguing that Final Fantasy XIII was the best in the series. I couldn't help but get involved. Neither could Heroes star Masi Oka.
I didn't get involved in the conversation because Masi was standing there. I got involved in the conversation because someone, who shall remain nameless, was calling Final Fantasy XIII the best game in the Final Fantasy series.
As I approached, an attractive Asian female started to loudly argue that Final Fantasy VII was the greatest game in the series, hands-down. The Blizzard PR rep argued that it was overrated. I crassly commented that Final Fantasy VII was only popular because teen girls want to see Cloud and Sephiroth making out.
The argument went on for nearly a full minute before I realized I was in a Final Fantasy discussion with Hiro Nakamura and his female companion. I wasn't even sure it was him until he held out his hand and offered, "Hi! I'm Masi."
Somewhere deep inside me my inner fanboy was screaming, but there was Final Fantasy to discuss. I showed Masi and friend my tattoos.
"The first Final Fantasy was brutal," he commented. I agreed. All of that trouble to save Princess Sara, and all you get in return is a bridge. There was tons of grinding, and little instruction on where to go or what to do.
"The second and third ones got better at it," he added.
Note that I didn't ask Masi for his autograph, or take his photo. We were inside the press room, and while a major star in geek circles deserves to get mobbed when walking into a room full of journalists, it seemed a bit tactless to go from a frank discussion on the Final Fantasy franchise to "Hey, can I get your picture?"
While we were chatting I called my camera woman/fiancée over to show off her chocobo tattoo, which led to her and Masi's female friend pairing off to discuss the relative cuteness of chocobos in Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.
In the end, both Masi and I agreed that we didn't mind the straightforward, linear gameplay of Final Fantasy XIII when compared to the aimless wandering of the original.
Before wandering off to grab a little press room dinner, I suggested Heroes' Hiro try out Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light for a nice balance between old and new. I hope he didn't think I was trying to be funny.
Masi Oka can currently be seen playing the role of medical examiner Max Bergman in the CBS remake of Hawaii Five-O.