Archive for April, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII Review.

April 20, 2010

I recently finished the storyline portion of Final Fantasy XIII (I’m still working on the trophies) and I must say that I really enjoyed it. It was a bit linear, as some have complained, and the world didn’t really open up until Chapter 11 and then more after you defeat the final boss. I actually thought the game felt short until I thought back to the beginning. By the end of the game, the character development isn’t all that noticeable until you think back to Chapter 1 and realize, “Wow, that seems like a really long time ago at this point.” I’ll go through the pros and cons briefly.

Pros:

1. It’s easily the most graphically amazing game I’ve ever played. I played this on PS3 as well (The only way it should be played). It really does blow me away. The environments were just so detailed and amazing and made to look so vast. It’s just beautiful. The cut-scenes were just incredible as well.

2. The battle system. Everything about the battle system is great. This is coming from someone who considers Final Fantasy VII and VIII as two of my favorite games ever. Sure, you only control your party leader, but the battles move so fast and it’s not exactly turn-based like it used to be. You can attack an enemy as it’s attacking a member of your party. You can issue multiple commands to be unleashed at once, which I love. It just helps the battles move so much faster and makes them more intense (and more difficult). I also love the paradigms.¬† There are also a few things to be improved on this system that I’ll address in the Cons. I love the stagger bar as well. It adds a new element to the fight. For instance, if you properly debuff an enemy and then stagger it and raise the chain gauge up to 999.9%, you’ll find yourself hitting for 100,000+ damage easily with each strike (given you’ve equipped certain accessories) as opposed to maybe 8,000 or so per strike normally. You can see how strategy allows you to take down the 4+ million HP enemies with ease.

3. No more random battles! It used to drive me crazy when you wanted to run around and you’d get caught in random battles. Now, you actually see the enemy and you can (most times) avoid them.

4. I liked the story. Like all Final Fantasy games, it takes a twist and gets incredibly complicated at the end, but the ending left me mostly satisfied. What happened to the other Sanctum Fal’cie or Fal’cie in general? How will the population do on Gran Pulse? I guess all the games do that to an extent and leave the future wide open. The theme was also good, even a little Matrix-like. The Fal’cie much like the machines (although not created by humans) with a single purpose with no morals or will. Then you had the humans, who seemingly had no choice being branded as L’cie, but in the end, it was their ability to use free will that saved the world. It dealt with the dilemma of their own people casting them out as the enemy even though they wanted to save them. Guilt, vengeance, forgiveness, humanity – it’s all there within the internal struggles of the main characters.

5. The boss fights. They were epic as usual and I’d almost always get destroyed the first few times around. They were actually fun in that each one was a new challenge. In this game, it’s not so much about party strength and abilities, it’s about strategies. You will die and die and die again. The Eidolon fights can be incredibly frustrating as well. They’re unique in that the goal isn’t that you beat them (you can’t), but you have to impress them enough within a time limit and then you earn the ability to summon them. The post-game mark missions are easily the most challenging, though. They may not be challenging to defeat, but if you want a 5-star rating (to get all the trophies), you must be good. There are a few in particular (#51, 62 and 64) that are absolutely insane. I’m presently on #64. I have 5-stars in the first 63 and my party isn’t even half developed or using any ultimate weapons.

6. The music. It is epic as usual. Just absolutely amazing, really. I also don’t mind the Leona Lewis ‘My Hands’ song as the theme. I have no idea why so many people hate it, but it fits in really well with the game’s ending.

Cons:

1. While I absolutely love the paradigms, there area¬† few ways to improve it. One, I wish I could set more than 6. Two, I wish you could save them as presets for certain battle teams. As it is now, if you swap out a party member, you have to redo all your paradigms every time. That gets kind of annoying. Lastly, why is the first paradigm shift in battle delayed? It takes 3-4 seconds to shift that first time, but it’s instant from then on.

2. Gil. I don’t mind the weapons upgrading, but it is really difficult to acquire enough gil to purchase the catalysts needed for ultimate weapons. Some are dropped from battles, yes, but the ones for ultimate weapons are nearly impossible to get. You don’t get gil after battles, either. you either have to find items via chocobo or enemy drops and then sell them.

3. It had to end? Like all FF games I play, I just never want them to end. You get so wrapped up in the characters and story that it’s just sad when it’s over.

So what is my final rating for this game? Is it better than Final Fantasy VII? I can’t really answer that. I will say that I absolutely loved it and am still loving it. I would give it a 95/100 easily. So the ‘true RPG fans’ hated it – so what? It was incredibly fun and that’s what really matters in my opinion.