More commonly known as Pokemon’s syndrome. Way back when Pokemon Blue/Red came out on the original Gameboy, it was one of the most revolutionary RPG battle system at the time. But behind every great battle system, is one shit filler environment (which was acceptable in an 8 bit handheld, but has looked as crappy as ever in the current Pokemon Platinum).
When the PS2 came out, Dynasty Warrior revolutionized button mashing, but introduced vast, outrageously boring landscapes. It’s like when Japanese game developers start penny pinching, the landscape goes first.
This trend of crap environments continued in my current game, Last Remnant. Oh sure, I love the fighting system. But all the environments outside of the city areas look so half-ass compared to the rest of the game. My theory is Last Remnant got the short-stick in Square-Enix’s budget. I’m pretty sure Final Fantasy does not have this problem.
This is in contrast to American games such as Grand Theft Auto or Assassin’s Creed where the landscape and environment is THE main feature of the game.
I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon and even crappy environments will not prevent from enjoying games like Last Remnant. But if any more games remind me of Dynasty Warriors I’m gonna start drinking.
Update: Final Fantasy XIII does not have this problem, not even a little.