Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review - Final Fantasy XIII

Released - 3|9|10

Platform - Xbox 360, PS3


When branded by an enemies' god, six people will have to fight to survive and save the ones they love while shattering the illusions they believed to be the truth. It's a Final Fantasy game.


Let me say it now, I know that this is by far not the greatest FF games, but damn is it one of my favorites. I can't even give a really good reason why it is when it's alongside my other favorites (III, VI, and X), but gosh darn it I love it to pieces.

Now look, I understand why a lot of people dislike it, but I don't really understand the hate. For the sequels, maybe, but not this first entry. The gameplay is somewhat similar to what we've seen in previous entries with an ATB (active time battle) style combat bar with the edition of your three character party paradigm shifting to one of six classes to maintain an edge in battle. However, this is mostly true for the last half of the game only.

Instead of leveling, characters gain points to fill up their Crystarium, a more linear Sphere Grid styled skill tree. Characters begin with two classes unlocked, gaining a third soon into the story, and the other three about half way through. The story also has you switching between 1-3 character parties as different people join and separate paths until, again, about half way through the story.

There are two main gripes with the game that most people have - the linearity of the game and the battle style. Let's go with linearity first.

Now though I could argue that all FF games are pretty linear in nature, XIII is the extreme in nature. You can't revisit areas, aside from a few places end game, and the only really large area is where ALL the side quests are located. Also, you can't really grind in one place as enemies are not random encounters, though you can just walk in and out of rooms for them to respawn.

The biggest problem people seem to have with the battle system is that you can pretty much auto battle and you only physically control your party leader. For me, this wasn't really an issue. The AI, for me at least, seemed to always pick what I would have chosen regardless - healing who needed healing and dealing with enemy weaknesses - and the auto battle also chooses the best suited in most situations. For me it was more of a time saver, as it would have taken longer for me to find the same commands in the menu, and honestly if you really just wanna pick your own commands or use a full ATB skill you can easily pick them instead of the auto button. And I don't think auto battling takes away from the fun or strategy of battle because you still have to make your paradigm decks and switch accordingly. I personally love quickly switching back and forth from paradigms to quickly build the stagger gauge and get that ATB boost.

Now aside from that let me say I find this game beautiful. The characters are well designed and the environments are carefully crafted. I can't tell you how many times I would just stand around on Gran Pulse and stare at the ground and the backgrounds because they are so gorgeous. And the music! This is seriously one of my favorite gaming soundtracks ever. It has the most amazing beautiful relaxing entrancing ambient tracks that I have ever heard I literally have a playlist I listen to quite often made up of my favorites. Ugh! It's so good! Damn!

Final Thoughts

While the game has definite flaws and is far from perfect, I sincerely recommend giving it a chance.

Score - 7/10

~ Zephyr ♥

So if you are really just dead set against playing this, at least look up some of these tracks from the game that I absolutely adore - The Gapra Whitewood, Sullya Springs, Hope's Theme, Mysteries Abound, The Vestige, Snow's Theme, The Pulse l'Cie. And yes, Lightning is one of favorite video game characters. She was actually my main in Dissidia Duodecim (super rad game). Loved playing her in the Aya Third Birthday DLC costume. You just can't deny how good and badass she looks. Also, Cloud in KH costume just saying.

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