Final Fantasy XIII review

March 18, 2010 at 6:51 am 6 comments

Worst birthday ever.


Sazh: "What'chu lookin' at?!"

There are many things that Square Enix does well in FFXIII. It looks beautiful, it controls very well and the battles can get very exciting. However, Squeenix just never hits the nail on top of the head due to some very key faults that lie in the game.

Cid's airship.... I'M SERIOUS!

A lot of you have already heard about this, but I’m gonna say it anyway: Final Fantasy XIII is shockingly linear: no sidequests, no exploration, no back-tracking. We’re talking about a very visible unidirectional track on your map, with the occasional off-shoot that promises some booty. This game was clearly designed for a much wider audience and as a result, gamers who cherish those hours spent just bumming around will receive a significant slap in the face.

Some Metal Gear action right there~

At least Final Fantasy XIII has looks to be proud of. The cutscenes are spectacular, the character designs are perfect in appearance and the locales you roam around are amazing to behold. While they’re definitely not perfect, I guarantee that most people will be simply stunned by the graphics which clearly are the best of any FF game to date.

Don't forget to wear your sunnies!

However once players discover that there’s no going beyond the boundaries of your fated path, the sheen of Pulse and Cocoon quickly diminishes. I was seriously pissed off when I read in the Datalog how people often get lost in Gapra Whitewood. How can you freaking get lost when there’s only one track and there are even BRIGHT, SHINING BEACONS which tell you where to go.

FINALLY! Some open space!

You’d expect that the story in an FF game these days involves huge amounts of teenage-fuelled angst, a hefty dose of b/romance and some pretty full-on rebellion. FFXIII delivers on that as expected. It’s set in a world called Pulse where mechanical god-like beings called the Fal’Cie have created a haven for humanity, Cocoon, which floats above its harsher surface.

Go go chocobo!!!

Cocoon’s inhabitants are illogically afraid of all things Pulse due to a reason which takes too much effort to explain. The Fal’Cie mark certain individuals as l’Cie, people with magical power who must complete an unknown Focus, otherwise they’ll turn into a monster called a Cie’th. Our lady protagonist Lightning’s sister Serah is turned into one of these l’Cie, setting in a chain of events that drags all our heroes into the fray: Hope, Vanille, Snow, Fang and Sazh.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

It sounds better than it actually is and the flowery terminology Squeenix has used doesn’t help. The first few hours are shockingly slow and tedious, for all FFXIII’s opening glitter and fireworks. I do admit that the story does improve, but storytelling is affected by a severe lack of continuity. At some stage you’ll hop between groups travelling in different places for an hour or two, leading to some very poor plot maintenance.

Prepare the defibrillator/phoenix down! Lightning's having a heart attack!

The characters don’t help. I can find something to b!tch about concerning all the main characters bar one. Vanille, the ‘moe’ character of the group, just kept annoying me. She’s just too dainty and glitzy. Hope can be likened Shinji Ikari from Evangelion: he starts off as  a weak fag and develops some pretty annoying personality issues. Snow – ‘I’m so freaking awesome’ – Villiers is so block-headed. He’s a complete twat, only equalled in retardedness by his rebel group NORA. On one hand Lightning is often the ‘tough-guy’ soldier character in the group. However, her softer side isn’t executed very well, resulting in her rather weird personality.

"Oh sh!t."

The dubbing doesn’t help and it’s very average.  Initially Sazh sounded rather Caucasian. Fang’s iconic Australian accent doesn’t quite suit her, nor is it nailed effectively and Vanille’s imitation-‘moe’ voice really annoyed me. The soundtrack is good enough, even though it’s not composed by Uematsu this time round, and it tells. You get quickly sick of the same battle music playing over and over gain, and the tunes themselves aren’t extraordinarily special.

Squall and Rinoa, Tidus and Yuna, meet Snow and Serah

The battle system is surprisingly good, and even though you can only control one plot-determined character at a time early on, there is a great deal of micro-management needed, especially when tackling bigger enemies. For those who have played FFXII, you could liken it to an automated version of the Gambit System. You can switch your party’s job classes at any time using ‘Paradigm Shift’, and I found myself shifting quite often depending on the tide of battle.

Battle against Giant Tortoise.

However the ‘leveling’ system in FFXIII is relatively disappointing. Gone is your traditional exp farming. Instead, you earn ‘Crystogen’ points which you use in the ‘Crystarium’ to purchase stat upgrades and unlock abilities specific to different classes. Though in theory this should give you the liberty in choosing what abilities you want for your characters, and what job you want to max out, in reality, like the game itself, the system is very linear. There are no real options but to follow one linear path of progression per class, and there will come various points in the game where you might have maxed out a class at that stage, so the only choice you’ll have is to level up other classes.

Looks like the Helghan have invaded Cocoon.

One thing I absolutely loathe about the game is how simplistic levelling up weapons is. Essentially you jam in your weapon as many materials as you can. Different materials give you different amounts of exp, but they don’t give special abilities, or change the weapons in any way besides increasing their stats. That’s just poor, Square Enix.

Where IS the Batman?


Though I found FFXIII had several very big faults, I still found myself enjoying the game. It soaks up the time well and the environments are fantastic to see, even though it’s still only look but not touch. There are plenty of pretty lights to keep the bugs of the gaming audience fixated. The battles are engaging and probably one of the highlights of the game. FFXIII is nowhere near the definitive FF game, but I don’t see why, as a PS3 owner, this game shouldn’t be in my library. It’s just one of those games that must be experienced.

Yaag Rosch - this guy is actually awesome.

Story/setting: 8/10

Graphics: 9.75/10

Sound: 8/10

Gameplay: 8.25/10

Lasting value: 8.25/10

Overall: 8.45/10

Meet Stiria and Nix, the Shiva twins whom Snow... *ahem*... rides on.

Whoa. Awesome view.

Entry filed under: Videogames.

Katanagatari – 03 Demotivator of the week #9

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Baka!  |  March 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Pretty colours…..That is all……a rather long review I must say but I do agree with you….the linearity is really annoying….

  • 2. hlvietlong  |  March 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    True! I found it quite annoying that you can’t backtrack so missing 1 treasure chest can be frustrating although u can buy most stuff at the store.
    Have you played The Last Remnant? TLR got worse review but I had more fun playing it than FFXIII, I guess its brand name saved its ass.

  • 3. ippius  |  March 22, 2010 at 4:13 am

    i heard the last remnant was actually pretty good~

  • 4. Reltair  |  March 22, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Vanille’s english dub was just facepalm. The beginning hours was definitely not as good as the later parts. Near the later chapters of the game, I found some of the battles to be more fun with all the paradigm shifting going on.

    It’s just one of those games that everyone should play since it’s Final Fantasy. ^^

  • 5. ippius  |  March 22, 2010 at 6:52 am

    exactly 😛

  • 6. Bonkler ftw!  |  March 26, 2010 at 11:48 am



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