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22nd Mar 2010 | 1,617 views
I want to preface this review with a few comments. Firstly, I would like to point out that I have high standards for RPG's. I am an ardent fan of pen and paper RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons, where all aspects of the game are limited only by imagination. Secondly, please don't just look at the score I gave the game, I put many many times more thought into the text than the score.
With that out of the way, lets delve right in to what Final Fantasy XIII did right
Innovation - Whether you like all the changes or not, Final Fantasy is no carbon copy. For those who haven't played the game a summary of some changes, you now only control a single character, with the AI controlling the rest. You can give vague orders to the ai, which I'll go into more detail about later. The advantage of this system is that you have a very fast paced combat system, whilst still retaining a decent amount of control over the battle.
In most ways though, it is very much in the tradition of final fantasy games since 7 onwards - character names and general appearance and personality types. If you liked those games, good chance you will like this one.
Graphics - Exceptional for the most part, both technically and in terms of artistic direction, with two issues.
1) Screen tearing - I don't know if others have experienced this but it occurs every now and again for me in the cutscenes. Not a huge deal but oh well
2) non HD tv support. Or more accurately the lack of it. I'm playing an a decent size CRT tv and the text is often hard to read. I know this is common nowadays, but something to keep in mind if you are still using a CRT
Audio (music) about normal for a FF game, by which I mean incredible.
Audio (voices) Very disapointing.
*Some of the lines characters say when they start a combat, win a combat or use a move get VERY repetitive.
The accents are attrocious. Any Australians who've played the game will back me up here - Vanille is extremely annoying.
Story - lots of effort has been put into it, and there're no plot holes or anything. That said it's not Pulitzer prize material and can in some ways feel a bit generic.
Now onto the most important two aspects, gameplay (including combat) and leveling.
Firstly, I would like to say that navigating the worlds is a thorougly linear affair. You will run down many long corridors, encountering such annoyances as invisible walls until you must finally ask, why is the 'running around' section even included. Unless you're actually going to put effort into making walking around useful, or fun then you might as well get rid of it. They would be much better off taking the route that Fire Emblem takes in which you go straight from battle to cutscene to battle without any interim period in which your character runs a half marathon to get to the next event.
Now on to combat. I will touch on the one gameplay effect of the running around sections. Instead of random encounters, you now have enemies visible whilst moving around. If you can touch them before they see you, the enemies start very close to the 'staggered' condition that I shall mention below.
One thing that disapoints me greatly, is that it is impossible to use terrain to your advantage at all. I saw a large group of people ahead of me and lured them into attacking me in a narrow corridor. Surely now that it is possible to do this, the developers will have included advantages such as only allowing a certain amount of enemies to get at my characters? Unfortunately, I was magically teleported to the centre of the room at the start of combat.
Now on to what happens when you're actually in combat. As stated above, you now only directly control 1 person. Who it is changes a lot throughout the game, which is nice. orders can be given to the AI through paradigm shifts, and these have the added bonus of giving you bonuses to certain abilities. Whilst some people will (do) enjoy this, I do not. I prefer turn based to real time because you can plan out your moves better. FFXIII is structured like a turn based game, but with a time limit - take longer than that and you are wasting time. This, coupled with only controlling a single character means you don't have anywhere near as much control as in other RPGs.
The above paragraph will either send tingles of excitement through your spine (if you generally get bored by JRPGS) or raise bile in your throat, if you are a SRPG 'purist' Judge for yourself.
One more complaint to make is about the AI of your teammates (isn't that the case with all games with a friendly AI?) They heal when they shouldn't, dont when they should, go through potions like they expire tomorrow (unless it's a useful time to use them) and even after you examine you enemies to find weaknesses and strengths, I have seen them continue to use water attacks on an monster healed by water. There is an autoattack function, which presumably uses the same AI and wastes your time using area of effect attacks when they can only hit one enemy.
The only thing left to mention is the leveling system, which is decent but not spectacular. Many people have praised it for being non-linear, but i am unsure if they are playing the same game as me. The leveling up system essentially means that for each character, you choose one or more paths to advance down, each with different strengths and weaknesses. So it is not completely linear, but the choice that you have is miniscule compared to a good role playing game.
In summary, it seems like with Final Fantasy, Square Enix noted the series's declining popularity and decided to target it at a broader audience, making it easier for non RPG gamers to get into the game. If you are wanting to get into the genre, FFXIII is a nice way to do it. If you are a veteran of the genre, you may not like it as much.
COKTOE posted 09/09/2017, 01:18
A fantastic entry in the series, with it's main flaw being that it takes a very long time for the combat to reveal it's greatness. Makes FF VII look like a pile of oily rags. Set that shit on fire and give FF XIII a try. Before long, you'll be glad Aeris is dead.
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Dadrik posted 05/12/2016, 12:39
Combat was pretty aight, graphics were great, musics were godlike, game was pretty long, but the thing is that the game takes pretty much 25 hours to actually take off and feel like an actual FF game. And it still has meh characters and an average story.
The game isn't THAT awful, but it's certainly painful to play at times, since we know it might end up be great, but we have to stick through hours of ultralinear gameplay before it finally gets interesting.
FF X was very linear too at the beginning, but it at least made up for it with a great story and a shorter "intro", imo.
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