I have a confession. I'm a big fan of JRPGs, and I'm a bit more of a completionist than your average gun-toting spartan, but I've never, ever completed a Final Fantasy.
Before I even knew what an RPG was, I knew I wanted VII. I got it and did everything in it short of defeating the god-forsaken Ruby WEAPON… and Sephiroth. I got to the end of VIII, too, again doing all I could to extend its life, but when Edea kicked my ass, that was the end. I got lost on VI's floating continent, and IX was taken away from me before I reached the final disc.
X was always going to be the first game I got on the PS2, and although I didn't enjoy the start, I quickly fell in love. By the time I got to Zanarkand, I'd almost completed the sphere grid for each character, but then I just kind of lost interest. I'm one of few that took the direct sequel seriously, but as with IX, it was taken away from me before I could finish.
At this point, I was hunting out every JRPG I could get my hands on. I completed some utter dross (Atelier Iris 2, Steambot Chronicles, Drakengard 1 and 2), but I also tore through some gems (Digital Devil Saga, Nocturne, Kingdom Hearts II, Phantasy Star Universe), and I finished them all.
When Final Fantasy XII came around, I was a seasoned RPG destroyer. It became one of my favourite games of all time. I got every esper. I defeated every mark. I finished the license grid, and bought every spell, skill and gambit there was. I loved it so much that I didn't want it to end. So it didn't.
By the time I got a 360, I knew I'd be playing more rpgs than anything else. On Blue Dragon, I got every shadow on every character to level 99, and I killed the King Poo and Gold Mecha Robo. On Lost Odyssey I did everything short of picking up all of the items and getting all of the immortal skills. I played PSU again, because I could, became a master crafter in Infinite Undiscovery and went through the Seraphic Gate. I got all of the golems on Enchanted Arms, and then Final Fantasy XIII was released. It's much easier in XIII, but I didn't miss a trick, all the way up to Oerba. My party has been stuck there for months.
So why can't I complete a Final Fantasy?
Up to X-2, the answer was fairly obvious. Either I'd lost interest in the game after going through all that it had offered, or its loan period had expired. With XII though, there was a conscious decision not to finish with a game I'd thoroughly enjoyed.
Why end a good thing? I could play XII right now and continue where I left off, or I could start again and still have something new to explore. Best of all, I'll never disregard it on the basis that I've completed it – as I do with other favourites that I have beaten; every now and then, I look at my game collection and I consider playing a game that I've completed. I never do. Why play a game you've already seen through to completion, when there's a dozen other titles you're not finished with?
I put off finishing Tales of Vesperia for a long time, and when I finally did, I felt a pang of regret. I loved it like I loved Final Fantasy XII, and although I intended to play it again, I never could. I'm sure my experience with Tales had a direct impact on what I did in the latest Final Fantasy, because when I felt the end was near (I don't know – I wont use a walkthrough on JRPGs), I stopped.
And I'm glad I did.