A Case for Final Fantasy XIII, Or: Why It's One of the Better Final Fantasies

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#101 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@slag:

Eh, I'd say it falls on the better side of Final Fantasy's history. I mean, it certainly isn't XII. It's one better. That's just math.

#102 Edited by C2C (855 posts) -

Big wall of text is hidden under a spoiler to make navigating this thread a bit more manageable. Surprisingly I don't actually spoil anything too big storywise. The tl;dr version: I really liked FF13, but it's an aright game, the battle system has pros and cons.

@tamriilin: A couple of comments on the blog itself before I actually discuss it with you. I am a little confused as to why you split the article into three different blogs. While I can see trying to focus on one topic at a time, people tend to want to discuss the entirety of FF13 about whether it is bad or not. The title is also misleading, you didn't actually compare FF13 with any other FF. Other than that, the writing itself was pretty good.

Now I am coming as a person who really enjoyed the game, but I would say that FF13 is an aright game. Not bad, not good, but aright (if I were to place an arbitrary rating it would be a 6/10). Again I really liked it, but would not consider it a good game.

Now you omitted something really big in the blog, and that is auto-battle. We can talk all day about the actions each character can take, but as a player I don't need to actually need to care when the auto battle does that for me. There is the counter argument that auto battle does not provide the optimal actions sometimes. True, but auto-battle consistently delivers pretty good results most of the time, and I found the choices it made were going to be the choices I was going to make. So when auto-pilot gives me pretty good results, I am incentivized to just mash auto and focus on paradigm shifts. I personally didn't mind this (since I liked to optimize), but I can definitely see the argument that the auto battle command pushes towards play that is tedious and dull.

I have not heard of any serious criticisms about the chain gauge, so I think both you and me can agree that it is well implemented system in the game. I however disagree that the roles in FF13 are analogous to normal FF classes. Sure we can equate Medic to a White Mage, but that ignores that White mages can typically also cast stuff like shell, barrier, and holy. There was bit of give and take between the classic FF mages which made it more than, "you want buffs, get the buff class!" There was an opportunity to implement the normal FF classes in FF13 to make the teams more customizable and the strategy in choosng roles more nuanced. Class changing on the fly isn't even a new idea for the series, FF X-2 did it pretty successfully. I personally still enjoyed my time with the system since it was very fast, but I would trade that speed for a more nuanced class system any day.

Another thing the blog doesn't mention is that you are limited to two party members throughout the majority of the story. For a game that has dynamic role switching as a selling point, I felt very restricted for a good bulk of the story. While I can understand easing you into the system for a bit, I felt that went on for a bit too long and kinda added to FF13's other pacing problems. I might be remembering incorrectly, but I think Brad mentioned on a podcast that the game was still in tutorial mode like 20 hours into a game, which I fully agree with. As it relates to the battle section (this is more of a problem with character progression), I felt restricted in what I could do for too long for the sake of story and the sake modern game tutorial design.

You mention the "par time" battle rankings in the game. The problem with the ranking system is that the game didn't go far enough with rewarding to the player. Getting five stars is fairly meaningless aside from the rewards it gets you. Sure I get bummed out if I get like one star, but it doesn't matter in the end. Getting five stars gets me items and weapons. Cool! Except the items and weapons in FF13 are in some pretty obtuse systems, and generally are not needed to beat the main story. I would go into more detail, but I'll save that for the character progression blog. The point is that getting a higher ranking doesn't really mean much in FF13. I personally didn't care for rankings after a while.

Looking over this now it sounds like I am oddly critical for a person who likes the game. Again, I really liked the speed of the battle system, and I went out of my way to optimize the actions each character took. But this battle system is not for everyone. This battle system isn't Square on their A-game. I had my fun with the battle-system, but I can't recommend it to people without qualifying it to them.

#103 Edited by gokaired (534 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@gokaired: More than enough detail to understand, really. And what about the plot's internal logic was problematic?

Spoilers DUDES

Well in the first fight how does Lightning know she can take out a giant mech? Heck how do we know? The thing can lift up a train she stands in the line of fire yet still wins (okay with help but really, two pistols?).

Save points. They act as shops and other menu tasks, if they are shops are they readily available to everyone? If you can buy a weapon on a save point what stops everyone from buying guns over them? How do you craft your weapon? over the internet? Delivery is instantaneous and it must be accessible to everyone around the world due to it's physical existence If all currency is electronic/digital (i mean it must be the case), why would the people looking for them not track them down faster. Why are these shops where they are where there's no civilisation or vacant area's .

You put the L'cie in robs but not chains till you put them in vehicles or placing 1 guard with the key to unlock them to check on the potentially dangerous L'cie who really have nothing to lose.

Why do many of the Mechs created buy the military roar or are animalistic serving no real strategical purpose, think once they said that they turn animal into weapons but the method or process isn't explained or answered why.

In a world where people can shot from a distance what good are fist? Or swords (L's Gunblade is a good weapon though), If your enemies with Guns could fly why do they not attack out of reach? (okay that's partially a gameplay flaw).

If there a superpowered trench coat, why would you need something like that, this must have been in some kind of military development of sorts yet something that enhances strength to the point of surviving 100ft falls isn't used for every soldier fitting Cie or other monsters. how do the patches work? Magic is a decent answer but Tech there's no real explanation to what ever pseudo-science to explain it. If you could buy all these in shops who else is buying them? If what he has IS the only one in existence why haven't the Sanctum just found him every time he bought patches? How the hell if it powered? Body heat? And many more.

Lightning and crew are mercilessly mowing down soldiers who at least Keep all the L'cie alive, it's exile and imprisonment in a secluded place to die yeah but that protects everyone because their focus are needlessly vague and they haven't really attack anyone who didn't attack first or murdered anyone that wasn't L'cie and yet they're all fine ending them?

If The Fal'cie are almost godlike and hard for human comprehension explain how one could talk?

Magical terms for certain things (like potions) don't mech sense aesthetically because of the futuristic setting. We know what they do, we all do but it doesn't match the world.

The robes are stupidly designed, no identifying the L'cie doesn't work because the hood serve no practical function, it's not like prison garb which is the bare minimal, and some are designed differently to others which have now meaning. Plus if they where smart and bound their legs as well as their hands Lightning may not have got out and destroyed the switch thing at the beginning of the game, in fact the cuff thing and robe aren't even separate, that sounds convenient but if there was a malfunction it's time wasting getting new robes.

Why is a L'cie;s trance-formation is inconsistent? How would the Fal'Cie know Sazh would be a L'cie to turn his son into one with the correct Focus to fund him in the first place before the fact. And is there any reason why the l'Cie have marks where they do? it's all random and senseless if they want to remain secret.

a Chocobo park with no racing. And that stupid Bird in his head who real name can end the world? why wouldn't the Fal'Cie not try to kill such a thing? They have some kind of cosmic or Psychic power not noticing such a threat to their on existence is just weird.

The obvious lack of outward injury to all characters, i don't expect guts to spill out but when you shoot through someone I expect to see red on them.

Why do you get items in floating spheres when, multiple times you see practical crates or chests?

Some of these have an Require your suspension of disbelief like the that underwater helmet thing from FF6 that 3 people can use at once but it just keeps piling it on. It's like there's no rules.

#104 Posted by Hailinel (24842 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@soldierg654342: If they told the l'Cie what the focus was flat out, it would be simple enough to sabotage. By enshrouding it in a vague vision, you hold the l'Cie's life at stake. They don't know what you want, but they also don't know what you don't want. All they know are their own personal consequences of success and failure. Old Barty was counting on the party's desire to not become monsters drive them to his goal. He was so sure his plan woulx work that when Lightning and company reached the cradle and refused, he was legitimately shocked that they'd come all that way to say no.

Sure, it would make them easier to stop, but only because there would be something to stop. If I held a gun to your head and told you "Pickles, chop, chop," it would be harder for someone to interfere with my master plan because only I know what it is, but it also means that my plan has virtually a 0% chance of successes because you'll just be desperately doing anything and everything you can think of with pickles with no idea if you are on the right trail or not.

Besides, isn't the whole point of giving them magic powers and summons is so that they can't be stopped? Wouldn't it be more fruitful to have them focus (har har) their time, energies, and incestuous robo-scissor-cycles on an explicit goal then have them spitting in the wind hoping for the best. And if they fail? So what! Try again with some new poor bastards.

A l'Cie is given the tools to complete their job, but it's their responsibility to figure out what the job is. Barthandelus doesn't sit idly by waiting for shit to happen, either. He takes several proactive steps to ensure that certain barriers are not in the party's way. There's also the fact that he's a Cocoon fal'Cie. Because the party was made l'Cie by a Pulse fal'Cie, it's normally his prerogative to stop whatever they're doing. If anyone else on Cocoon, including other Cocoon fal'Cie, knew what he was doing, he'd have far more trouble on his hands than a few l'Cie being troublesome in his attempts to guide them to his want.

The key point being, Barthandelus didn't create these l'Cie. He was taking advantage of the act of a Pulse fal'Cie that actively had it in for Cocoon.

Online
#105 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1766 posts) -

@hailinel: I'm not harping on Barthandelus and his actions specifically, just the fact that he demonstrated that the fal'Cie are capable of speech. Unless the fal'Cie are just playing a super elaborate version of that Resistance game Drew was talking about, I still don't see how explicit communication is a negative. It's not like both sides don't already know what the other wants already anyway.

And the logisical side of things aside, having one of them talk ruined the concept of them being Lovecraftian beings beyond human comprehension.

@gokaired: You could have saved your self some time and just posted Spoony's "reviews."

#106 Posted by TheBlue (371 posts) -

There are two types of people in the world, people that love FFXIII and people that think FFXIII is the worst thing ever done to any video game franchise ever. There is little hope of convincing someone on one side to come to the other.

The arguments against it are sound. The long hallways kinda suck, the plot is vague at best and expects you to read the datalog (once you do, you definitely get more out of the game), and the character development can be real spotty.

I just finished playing this game a few days ago, and god damn if I don't love it.

#107 Edited by gokaired (534 posts) -

@gokaired: You could have saved your self some time and just posted Spoony's "reviews."

I actually watched that a month ago and i just finished Lightnings Returns in the summertime (what a waste) The one I didn't notice was the robes, but the more I thought about it the dumber it got. Everything falls apart when you apply it to common sense.

Personally because of the restricted hallway nature of the game i never really "got" how the the natural world worked in context to everything. This is just a personal complaint because i never felt connect/immersed in the world.

Oh a positive about the combat. The Eidolons are cool, senseless but cool. Shiva is my favourite, for obvious reasons ;)

#108 Posted by Hailinel (24842 posts) -

@gokaired said:

@soldierg654342 said:

@gokaired: You could have saved your self some time and just posted Spoony's "reviews."

I actually watched that a month ago and i just finished Lightnings Returns in the summertime (what a waste) The one I didn't notice was the robes, but the more I thought about it the dumber it got. Everything falls apart when you apply it to common sense.

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

@hailinel: I'm not harping on Barthandelus and his actions specifically, just the fact that he demonstrated that the fal'Cie are capable of speech. Unless the fal'Cie are just playing a super elaborate version of that Resistance game Drew was talking about, I still don't see how explicit communication is a negative. It's not like both sides don't already know what the other wants already anyway.

And the logisical side of things aside, having one of them talk ruined the concept of them being Lovecraftian beings beyond human comprehension.

This response got accidentally wiped the first time I typed it out, but I'll see if I can summarize it again:

There's nothing in the game that specifically states that all fal'Cie are or aren't capable of human speech, or even disguising themselves as humans. It could be that only a select few are capable of such. Barthandelus might be the only one for all we know. Certainly, Lightning and the others had no idea that he was a fal'Cie until he shed his Galenth Dysley disguise.

And again, Barthandelus is alone in his plot. He needs a l'Cie, specifically one created by a Pulse fal'Cie, to make it to Orphan's Cradle and become Ragnarok. He wants to destroy Cocoon, which is an act that he is incapable of himself, and which the other Cocoon fal'Cie would never agree to. He is a nihilist acting on his own taking advantage of pawns that happened to fall into his lap thanks to Lightning and the others becoming l'Cie when they tried to rescue Serah. He needs the l'Cie to grow strong enough to accomplish the task he needs, which is why he puts them through ordeals and never tells them the full story. He needs them to feel the stress and despair necessary to be confronted by one's own Eidolon. These aren't things that would necessarily happen if the party knew the fully story. He requires them to experience adversity in order to become strong enough as Ragnarok to accomplish his wish. All he wants is for Cocoon to be destroyed, and he's molding the party into potential vessels for Ragnarok. If they failed to make it to the cradle, then they just weren't strong enough for his needs.

Online
#109 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@hailinel said:

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

I think he's from Australia or something.

#110 Posted by Hailinel (24842 posts) -

@hailinel said:

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

I think he's from Australia or something.

It's not summer in the southern hemisphere, either.

Online
#111 Edited by Dasacant2 (233 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@video_game_king said:

@hailinel said:

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

I think he's from Australia or something.

It's not summer in the southern hemisphere, either.

It is summer in Australia and New Zealand From December-February.

#112 Posted by Hailinel (24842 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@video_game_king said:

@hailinel said:

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

I think he's from Australia or something.

It's not summer in the southern hemisphere, either.

It is summer in Australia and New Zealand From December-February.

Winter doesn't start in the northern hemisphere until Saturday. What are you guys doing down there starting summer early?

Online
#113 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@hailinel said:

Winter doesn't start in the northern hemisphere until Saturday. What are you guys doing down there starting summer early?

Things right.

#114 Edited by Dasacant2 (233 posts) -

@hailinel said:

Winter doesn't start in the northern hemisphere until Saturday. What are you guys doing down there starting summer early?

Well I'm not there now, but we basically used a simplified seasons calender where they always start on the first of the month.

#115 Posted by wchigo (551 posts) -

@arbitrarywater said:

You all realize that with every thread that is related to Final Fantasy XIII I get closer and closer to actually playing that damn game?

I can live with that, lol.

#116 Edited by Flappy (2257 posts) -

Wanna know the best part about all of this? None of it really matters because XIII-2 chucks most of the plot out of the window and focuses on different characters and plot threads.

L'Cie? Fal'Cie?

:shaq:

Mulligan, bitches. Who likes Time Travel!?

#117 Posted by BIGJEFFREY (5064 posts) -

@flappy: Let's have 2 Hopes cause fuck it!!!

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#118 Edited by crithon (3266 posts) -

well, FF13 just became this whole "that will be the definition of this generation" or "the death of japanese development." But somehow from just probably a development cycle that probably lasted about 8 years and then 2 games after they that kinda recouped their losses. I know there isn't a book about this, but I'd love to know the whole drama of how this game got made. That would probably make Duke Nukem 4 look modest. At some point it was suppose to be a PS2 game, and it shows. It might be an uplifting story, "japanese game development isn't dead, but they had to go through traumatic changes."

#119 Posted by Flappy (2257 posts) -

@bigjeffrey: Gotta give the people what they want!

MEMORABLE MUSIC!

SERAH "Totally not a love-interest" FARRON!

SION!SORA?NOEL KREISS!

ATTRACTIVE ANTAGONIST (WITH A LARGE SWORD)!

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2!*

*XIII-2 was one of my favorite games in 2012, and I only poke fun at it because I love it. Please don't let Lightning Returns suck!

I'm looking forward to the next blog post.

#120 Posted by EuanDewar (4938 posts) -

I played something like the first 8-10 hours and didnt really enjoy it all. I'm well aware the general consensus is that it gets better after that but just personally i don't wanna play more of that when there's other stuff out there I could be playing.

#121 Posted by gokaired (534 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@gokaired said:

@soldierg654342 said:

@gokaired: You could have saved your self some time and just posted Spoony's "reviews."

I actually watched that a month ago and i just finished Lightnings Returns in the summertime (what a waste) The one I didn't notice was the robes, but the more I thought about it the dumber it got. Everything falls apart when you apply it to common sense.

Lightning Returns has only been out for a few weeks. At no point was it out during the "summer."

Sorry man, got my wires crossed I meant 13-2. I can't say if that game improved or made the game worse i'll need to borrow it again.

I know I friend who's planing on getting 13-3, I borrowed 13 and 13-2 off of him. I chastise the hell out of him XD

#123 Edited by tamriilin (94 posts) -
@crithon said:

interesting blog, but I think you spend too much describing the combat silly names that you only spend less then two sentences as to why you enjoyed it. Your falling into a trap of what is a terrible waste of time in most beginner video game reviews. But really what you get out of it far more rewarding then the arbitrary naming design the marketing team came up with. Even if you feel it's important to list these aspects of the game please put more opinions because then your just selling a product like a car or a microwave.

And yes, the combat is fun, like more of a puzzle/rhythm game then really an conventional JRPG design. I honestly feel the naming is pretty silly.

It isn't a review, though. It's me attempting to explain why the combat is more interesting than a lot of people think it is.

I have a few actual reviews on my profile. If you want to see how differently I wrote those than this, feel free.

@flappy Hey thanks!

@c2c "Now you omitted something really big in the blog, and that is auto-battle. We can talk all day about the actions each character can take, but as a player I don't need to actually need to care when the auto battle does that for me."

I didn't really mention auto-ability because that's not really the crux of the game's combat by any stretch. It's sort of like a car: the engine (paradigm shift) is the most important part. You need the wheels (auto-ability), but they're kind of a solitary aspect, while the engine is really what drives every other system at play forward.

Damn that was a bad analogy. I think you understand what I mean, though.

Wowee, guys. 120 comments. I realize this isn't a huge amount but it's pretty significant for me.

Thanks a bunch for reading, even if a lot of you do really strongly disagree with me.

I LOVE YOU ALL.

#124 Posted by Atwa (620 posts) -

I hated the combat, it wasn't fun. I didn't get any sense of it being "action" it just felt like a turn based system sped up. Auto battle will resolve most battles, the hard battles are just extreme repetition in switching to the right paradigm shifts at the right time then using the most obviously fitting attack for the situation. Games like Tales do real time much much better and older Final Fantasy does turn based better.

#125 Posted by crithon (3266 posts) -

@tamriilin: may I give you some advice, try to write like your writing about a song you love and it connects with you.

#126 Edited by NoctisLucisCaelum (94 posts) -

I'm glad you like Final Fantasy XIII, but in all honesty it's NOT one of the better Final Fantasy games.

Sure the combat is interesting, and the graphics are breath taking, but everything else about it (Story, Characters, Exploration) turned me off completely. FFXIII did not live up to the incredibly high expectations that come with being a numbered mainline Final Fantasy game.

It's just a decent JRPG with a cool combat system that failed to live up to the greatness associated with the previous entries.

#127 Posted by Flappy (2257 posts) -

@noctisluciscaelum: If we're being 100% honest, that 'greatness' started to wane once we made the jump to the PS2.

FFX - I think it's safe to say that most people consider this one to be a solid entry (weird VA aside).

FFXI - It's an MMO. Whatever.

FFXII - This is the one where shit falls apart and people either love it or hate it. You don't have to look hard to find someone poopooing on this game.

If anything, XIII tried to experiment (just like XII) and it got a mixed reception from the fans. Realistically speaking, there's a decent chance that XV turns out the same way. We may not want the first next-gen FF to fall on its face, but it's a risk that comes with trying something new.

#128 Edited by NoctisLucisCaelum (94 posts) -

@flappy:

The FF series was still great on the PS2.

-I feel like FFX was, and still is, an amazing Final Fantasy mainline entry. The VA was fine, I don't get why people think it's wierd.

-FFXI while an online mainline numbered entry, it's still a rock solid MMO that lived up to the franchise's expectations.That job system was addictive.

-I agree with you on FFXII, it really was the point where people started to question the direction Final Fantasy games were heading. Still, FFXII was pretty good (way better than XIII). For all the people who either adore it or loath it, it's still a fantastic game. A game I feel still has some of that Final Fantasy "greatness." It was more or less a successful experiment.

XIII was a failed experiment, the only thing you can praise that game for is it's amazing graphics and interesting combat. It's unflinching linearity, whatever... story, and meh... cast, really hurt it. I wanted to love FFXIII. Maybe I'll go back to finish it, but skip all the cut-scenes so I can just play, and enjoy, the combat. If it wasn't a mainline entry it probably wouldn't have been as scrutinized.

I also agree with you that FFXV is a bit of a risk since it's trying something new. When it was Versus XIII, you can shrug it off as an action spin-off to the Fabula Nova Crystallis project. Now that it's a mainline game, who knows how fans will react. To me it looks like Kingdom Hearts in a Final Fantasy setting, so I'm on board.

#129 Edited by tamriilin (94 posts) -

@crithon: I'm not going to take writing advice from somebody who gets "you're" and "your" mixed up. Sorry!

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