Final Fantasy XIII
|Platforms:||XBox 360, Android, XBox One, PC, Playstation 3|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||6.4/10 - 5 votes|
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|See also:||Final Fantasy Series, JRPG Games, Sci-Fi RPG|
Final Fantasy XIII had some huge shoes to fill when it first released. Being the newest installment in the series after huge successes like FFVII and X, X-2, and of course the remasters that have slowly been produced, it would have been difficult for any game to follow suit no matter how many checkboxes were filled out for fans. Regardless, FFXIII taps into some of the very best aspects of the series, only succumbing to a few minor lapses in development. There are classic callbacks in terms of game design, new mechanics to keep older players invested, and a wealth of intriguing characters that can draw in anyone looking for a great story. Despite having its origins with the first Final Fantasy way back in 1987, alongside other classic JRPGs like Chrono Trigger and Dragon Slayer, Final Fantasy XIII managed to keep things fresh. Its not absolutely perfect, though it sets itself apart it just the right way to give it a unique flavor.
Face Your Destiny
Although this is an RPG title, and is often discussed as being somewhat open world, the reality is that its usually more heavily noted to be an ‘on the rails’ type of RPG. Essentially, most of the game is corridors despite having a complex story that contains equally diverse characters that face their own internal struggles. In terms of the Final Fantasy Standard, XIII does a great job of keeping the storytelling aspect of the series alive in well. Led by Lightning, the strong female protagonist who I felt grew on me as the game progressed, the team is comprised of Snow, Hope, Vanille, Sazh, and Fang. I personally feel each of these characters has an arc that is explored effectively (perhaps besides Fang, as she still feels like a bit of an outsider at times, though that’s debatable I’m sure).
Both Vanille and Sazh were great characters to get to know on deeper levels – the details of their lives really push this from being a game and into a fully fleshed out experience. The main story can get a bit convoluted at times since so many things are happening at once, but this is nothing out of the ordinary. It feels even a bit more streamlined/linear due to the combat design. Overall, it was strong and can easily rival the plot of FFVII.
There’s good and bad about the combat system as with any title, though the wider consensus is that it isn’t quite as intuitive as its predecessors. The combat itself is about as competent as any other JRPG/Final Fantasy title out there. Each character fills three different roles which can be changed during a fight – known as paradigms – and can add a lot of neat variety to each battle. To fight enemies effectively, its imperative to balance paradigms and perform combos with squad mates to get a stagger, though this can be challenging to do.
Where the game lacks a bit is in the progression system and the actual level design. Progression for each character is entirely linear – there are minimal branching paths and even when there are it plays little functional difference. Lighting and all here companions are essentially designed to fill a few specific roles on the team. The level design is equally linear, filled with endless corridors that, despite being set in wonderfully detailed worlds and improved by crisp graphics, quickly gets repetitive.
## Bottom Line
Though the battles can be dynamic, it always feels like something is missing when traversing the overworld. I can forgive this since simple level designs were purposefully done given the depth of the story and lore. These are, overall, two minor flaws in an otherwise amazing experience.
FFXIII holds up well even though it has been preceded by a long line of successful games. It provides its own take on the series without creating an alienating experience.
- Complex story
- Combat is dynamic
- Characters are satisfying to watch develop
- Levels are linear corridors most of the time
- Progression system is linear
- Overall gameplay can feel repetitive/grindy
Download Final Fantasy XIII
Stand down: Fantasy fanatics--we probably won't learn anything new about FFXIII (the first chapter in Square Enix's ambitious multigame Fabula Nova Crystallis project) until the Tokyo Game Show at the end of September. And the bummers don't end there: At a recent shareholders' meeting, Square President Yoichi Wada made some startling comm about next-gen development, promising more episc online content, increased in-game advertising, and regular "software updates." Frankly, Wada's planner "updates" sound more like bug-fixing patches than cool bonus content. He explained that Square Enix could save on the huge cost of debugging by passip the bugs on to consumers and fixing problems afte the fact. Yikes!