Why keep the one person who's waiting waiting?
Final Fantasy XIII
Japanese Release Date: December 17th, 2009
North American Release Date: March 9th, 2010
Original Platforms: Sony Playstation 3, Xbox 360
This game is really the whole reason I started this thread. I’ve lived with it for four years now. And sometimes you just need to talk about things. Is there a more polarizing game in the whole Final Fantasy series? I really don’t think so. Many people (mostly older fans) hated this game from the word go; whereas younger gamers embraced and loved it. I’m so confused by this game that I don’t even know what to think.
On the one hand the game looks beautiful (which is to be expected with every Final Fantasy). The environments, character design and creature design are toned down a bit from the last numbered title (XII) and it just looks…great. The music is phenomenal too. It’s more electronic based but it may be one of the best soundtracks in the whole series. And the actual gameplay is really well done. It’s essentially a button-masher (you’ll wear out your X button) but it does require some thought and skill. They got rid of Magic Points, which was actually a good idea that was long over-due. Really, if I was a wizard in real life I’m sure I'd be able to cast a spell as much as I damn well pleased. Not run out of “power” and be unable to. The Crystalarium leveling system is really great. Similar to the Sphere Grid in FFX but a little more flexibility. And thank god that after over twenty years they FINALLY decided that characters not in your immediate party got the same amount of experience as your other characters. No more needing to use someone you never used and having them way under-leveled.
But then…there’s the bad. The biggest criticism was that the game was very linear. Your goal is to get from point A to point B; wash, rinse, repeat. Remember how in my intro to this whole thread I spoke of how Final Fantasy II (IV) was the first time I’d ever seen a game that wasn’t just “walk from left to right”? Well this game wasn’t that bad but it really was close. Just walk, walk, get there…then walk some more. No looking back. Grinding was unnecessary, buying items or upgrading weapons was a waste of time. There were no towns, no dungeons, no airships, no exploring, no point "C". Basically nothing that Final Fantasy fans were used to. Until the last quarter of the game when the world opened up a bit. But not as much as people will have you believe. It was just a breath of fresh air after thirty hours of running forward. The story is a mess of confusion and stuff that’s really hard for me to give two shits about. I really never knew in the end, even after two playthroughs, the answer to one lingering question: why? Why do I care? What am I fighting for? Who the hell is that guy? What is he talking about? And how, how have I spent sixty hours sitting through this? And my biggest complaint was that it had some of the worst characters ever in a Final Fantasy. There has always been one character in a game (Rikku, Edward) that I wanted to strangle. This game had three out of six characters (so half your party) that I hated from the get go. Lightning was such a boring bitch, who wanted to be around her? And she was the star of the game! Snow was just a fucking moron who needed to shut up and die. And Vanille. Dear god, Vanille. She gets introduced about fifteen minutes into the game and when I met her I knew it was going to be a LOOOOONG trip. Dear god was it ever. The WWE and Squaresoft are the only two companies in the world that can make hot girls unbearable. Hope probably would've been annoying but put up against those three he was just unnoticeable. There were so few characters in this game. No “strange old dude who gave you advice at random”
. No “joke character that shows up from time-to-time to break the seriousness of the mood”
. It was just your six characters walking, and the one bad guy blocking your path. There were other NPC’s but they were so insignificant that they may as well as not have been there. It’s a lonely game.
I often wonder that if this game had of been released under a different title (as in, not “Final Fantasy”) if people would’ve enjoyed it more. Then again, if it hadn’t been released as a Final Fantasy I probably would’ve never played it. I can’t say if this ranks in the top half or bottom half of Final Fantasy for me. I love it and I hate it all at the same time. I love listening to the music and playing the game but I hate the story and the cutscenes. The prelude (click on the box art) still sends shivers up my spine. But Snow riding an Esper/motorcycle screaming in his surfer voice about being the hero makes me sigh and wish for the days when I was reading text on a blue background. So that's why I have to give it a 2.5, right in the middle...indifferent.
I will admit that my second playthrough three years later was much better because I didn't have my hopes as high as at first. You gotta remember, this followed up my favorite game in the series EVER (XII, which was like five pages ago since I missed so many games in between). Had I reviewed this after my first play it would've probably gotten a 1.5 and a lot more venom.
Much like Final Fantasy X (which wasn’t that great but somehow garnered a sequel) this game has somehow managed to get two sequels.
Favorite Moment: Oerba is a beautiful place, and after such a long time you learn that while Vanille is a moron she does have a tragic past.
Best Song: so many to choose from, but when Dust to Dust
was playing (in Oerba) it was the first time in the game that I said ”wow”
Coolest Character: Rygdea was actually pretty cool (for the ten minutes he was in the game)
Lamest Character: Vanille
Average Completion Time: 65 hours
Gameplay Demo: the first stage of the game
Rating: 3 out of 5
Final Boss: Orphan