FFXIII international trailer impressions

January 16, 2010 at 11:39 am 6 comments

What happens if your actions end up ruining someone’s life?
Well I don’t think Square Enix’s actions will kill anyone anytime soon, but I see potentially dangerous faults in what is not only one of the biggest game releases of 2010, but also one of the few games that define its genre.

You make me frown, boy

You make me frown, kid

General synopsis:

Enter the world of Pulse, a world of fantastical monsters, cold-hearted machines, and unpronounceable names. In this world, the fal’Cie, aka mechanical entities with god-like abilities, mark certain humans for a greater purpose (their ‘Focus’) as l’Cie. Seriously, alphabet soup much? If the the l’Cie don’t fulfil their Focus, they become monsters called Cie Corpses, and if they do, they get turned to crystals.

Along comes a fal’Cie named Orphan who creates a sanctuary of sorts for humanity to flourish: the city of Cocoon, which floats high above Pulse, governed by Sanctum and enforced by PSICOM. Here, anyone who has stepped on Pulse is quarantined and exiled.

Why are all figures of religion in video games evil...

This is where our heroine Lightning comes in, along with her merry band, who brashly takes PSICOM head on in order to find a fal’Cie called Anima, who turned her sister Serah into a l’Cie. Rescuing civilians from PSICOM’s purge operations comes as part of the package.

Not quite 'the men in tights'...

It’s a familiar, but safe story to go by: village/forest people oppressed by the those (quite literally) above and in authority; a small group of unlikely heroes seemingly against the world.  If Square Enix was aiming for something unique and original, clearly they weren’t when writing the plot. But then and again, if you are looking for something new, perhaps the later members of the Final Fantasy franchise aren’t good places to start. By watching this trailer, I feel that FFXIII will easily fall into generic subtones of teenage angst and emo vibes, things that sell in the wider public and the easily entertained, but don’t necessarily engage moderate-to-serious fans and more mature gamers.

I'm Snow and I need a shave~

Graphics and Sound:

What can I say? There’s more glitter in FFXIII than a gay parade (no offence intended)! Like many blockbuster games such as Metal Gear Solid 4, Killzone 2 and Modern Warfare 2, a very strong emphasis has clearly been put in the visual effects and CGI. Not that it’s a bad thing. The result is a stunningly beautiful game that will please most. However once again, I feel that the characters have been fleshed out almost too perfectly. Considering the fact that Lightning was initially developed to be “not very feminine”, she pretty much conceived as a perfect female.

Look, it shines!

I personally haven’t heard much of the soundtrack, bar the theme song for the North American (and Australian) and  European versions: ‘My Hands’ from Leona Lewis’s second album Echoes. While I know there has been strong opposition to this choice, I personally think this ballad complements the angst and tones of  love and struggle that underpin FFXIII. Such heresy! Moreover, mega-composer Nobuo Uematsu wasn’t involved in FFXIII’s music, so it’ll be interesting to listen to the first numbered FF game without his signature orchestral pieces. As for the voice acting, overall it’s not bad on the ears. The mystery man who voices Sazh Katzroy does a fine job in my opinion, and Georgia van Cuylenburg conveys Oerba dia Vanille’s weak and emotional character well. I still feel Alis Hillis’s Lightning is a little weak for what I think should be a stronger character.

Gameplay:

Explaining what I’ve heard about FFXIII’s gameplay in depth would be a tedious exercise, so I’ll go through it in brief. Essentially we’ll still have our favourite Active Battle System which has been present since FFIV. Enemines will appear in the actual environment, but battles will obviously take place in a separate battle screen. Multiple commands can be stacked, and as seen in this trailer, pretty combos can be executed. “Paradigm Shift” allows the roles of party members to be shifted e.g. offensive to defensive. The result is combat that appears hectic and action-packed. However, if players have to see the same moves every single time they battle a monster or a boss, I fear players might get a teensy-weensy bit bored, no matter how sparkly Lightning’s blade gets.

My final impression:

I fear FFXIII will be the Anna Kournikova of RPGs: looks good, but never wins. Like a dumb blonde, FFXIII is full of eye candy, but appears to lack the substance and personality that truly made older FF games awesome. Nevertheless these possible faults won’t stop me from pre-ordering a copy of one of the most hyped-up games of the year. FFXIII will be released on March 9 in the US and Australia.

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Entry filed under: Videogames.

Baka to Test to Shokanju – 01

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baka!  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:08 am

    “There’s more glitter in FFXIII than a gay parade” – LOL. The language in this review is almost as colourful as the trailer itself…

    Reply
  • 2. ippius  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    um yeah thanx

    Reply
  • 3. brijan  |  January 19, 2010 at 1:39 am

    um this game has been out for ages in japan to incredibly rave reviews

    what “personality” are you referring to in which ff’s?

    Reply
  • 4. ippius  |  January 19, 2010 at 2:50 am

    just because it’s got awesome reviews, it doesn’t mean it’ll be entertaining for me. super smash brothers brawl got 40/40 from Famitsu Magazine, which is one of Japan’s most popular gaming magazines, but I hardly believe it deserves all the Lord’s praise it received globally. The same goes for GTA IV, which simply bored me for some reason.

    Perhaps ‘personality’ isn’t the best word to use in this case but let me clarify myself before the metaphoric grave I’m digging gets deeper and deeper. FF 7 was full of angst and struggle. FF Tactics had twists and turns in its political plot, combined with a healthy class system that made it a rather engaging and sophisticated game for its age. FF VIII had a lot of sentimental scenes, and an intricate and customizable battle system. I’m just not sure what Sqeenix is aiming to do in FFXIII bar making a fortune

    Reply
  • 5. The Ninja  |  January 19, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I think we’re going to need more Uematsu

    But more hawtness never goes amiss heh

    Reply
  • 6. ippius  |  January 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Uematsu in for FFXIV.
    ah fanservice ❤

    Reply

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