Final Fantasy XIII (Part 2)

Posted by GrantHeaslip (1592 posts) -

Hope and Vanille have just arrived at the survivor camp after Hope’s mother dies. I can already see where this is going: Hope’s going to steal a hoverbike and chase Snow (to accuse him of something that plainly wasn’t his fault?), which is a terrible idea. Unless there’s a severe shift or I’m misreading them, Hope and Vanille seem like they’re going to be the plot’s soft, Japanese underbelly. I mean, seriously, what’s even happening here? I’ve got to assume I’ll eventually be given a plausible explanation for why Vanille seems to have the mannerisms of a 7-year-old.

Aside from Lightning and Sazh, I’m really having trouble swallowing the characters’ motivations thus far. Snow goes from aloof badass to self-doubting hero to acute PTSD sufferrer and straight back to aloof badass over the course of approximately 5 minutes. I guess I’m supposed to read this as a coping mechanism. Dozens of people he took responsibility for just died, and he’s obsessed with one lady and her son? In the midst of a warzone, he decides to drive straight into the eye of the storm to check on his girlfriend?

I’m liking both Lightning and Sazh as characters thus far. Sure, the quiet brooding badass with unclear motivations is one of the tropiest video game tropes, but she’s seems like a pretty cool character, and I’m sure there will be more to her. Sazh is a bit goofy, but in a likeable way. I know I’m playing a JRPG — I don’t expect to find deep, complex, consistent characters that I could picture having an everyday life outside of the game. That’s not what they’re going for, and it would be idiotic to expect a Final Fantasy game to play by the same narrative rules as Mass Effect or The Walking Dead. What I do expect, however, is for characters to not be cringe-worthy.

Premature story gripes aside, I should reiterate that this game is beautiful. It was severely delayed, came out over three years ago (in Japan), and still looks better than most new releases. While it’s possible to spot the difference between the FMV and in-game rendering, the difference is amazingly slight — I think that speaks volumes about what Square Enix achieved. I don’t think I would have expected anywhere near this level of progress 10 years ago. I’ve stopped a few times and just panned the camera around taking everything in, especially the character models.

Gameplay-wise, things are really light so far. Except for a couple of times I’ve used a Potion, battles have consisted of pressing X a bunch. I can see the makings of an interesting battle system — the stagger system reminds me of Xenoblade’s Break/Topple/Daze system except more straightforward and predictable, and I can see the monster strengths and weaknesses adding more depth once I’ve got elemental attacks.

I appreciate that the equipment system seems limited to just weapons and accessories. I’ve never enjoyed spending a bunch of time messing with gloves, boots, gem slots, etc. Even if things get more complicated, it looks like I can just take advantage of the auto-equip button and avoid having to sit in awkwardly-designed menus for half an hour at a time (I’m looking at you, Xenoblade). I’m getting the sense that a lot of the gameplay systems are similarly streamlined, which bodes well for my enjoyment of the game.

One last small gripe: the camera seems kind of bad. Maybe I’ll get used to it or I need to just give up trying to manually control it, but right off the bat, I felt like I was fighting it. It pans too slowly, moves unpredictably, and does weird stuff like panning up as you run up stairs then never coming back down.

#1 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1592 posts) -

Hope and Vanille have just arrived at the survivor camp after Hope’s mother dies. I can already see where this is going: Hope’s going to steal a hoverbike and chase Snow (to accuse him of something that plainly wasn’t his fault?), which is a terrible idea. Unless there’s a severe shift or I’m misreading them, Hope and Vanille seem like they’re going to be the plot’s soft, Japanese underbelly. I mean, seriously, what’s even happening here? I’ve got to assume I’ll eventually be given a plausible explanation for why Vanille seems to have the mannerisms of a 7-year-old.

Aside from Lightning and Sazh, I’m really having trouble swallowing the characters’ motivations thus far. Snow goes from aloof badass to self-doubting hero to acute PTSD sufferrer and straight back to aloof badass over the course of approximately 5 minutes. I guess I’m supposed to read this as a coping mechanism. Dozens of people he took responsibility for just died, and he’s obsessed with one lady and her son? In the midst of a warzone, he decides to drive straight into the eye of the storm to check on his girlfriend?

I’m liking both Lightning and Sazh as characters thus far. Sure, the quiet brooding badass with unclear motivations is one of the tropiest video game tropes, but she’s seems like a pretty cool character, and I’m sure there will be more to her. Sazh is a bit goofy, but in a likeable way. I know I’m playing a JRPG — I don’t expect to find deep, complex, consistent characters that I could picture having an everyday life outside of the game. That’s not what they’re going for, and it would be idiotic to expect a Final Fantasy game to play by the same narrative rules as Mass Effect or The Walking Dead. What I do expect, however, is for characters to not be cringe-worthy.

Premature story gripes aside, I should reiterate that this game is beautiful. It was severely delayed, came out over three years ago (in Japan), and still looks better than most new releases. While it’s possible to spot the difference between the FMV and in-game rendering, the difference is amazingly slight — I think that speaks volumes about what Square Enix achieved. I don’t think I would have expected anywhere near this level of progress 10 years ago. I’ve stopped a few times and just panned the camera around taking everything in, especially the character models.

Gameplay-wise, things are really light so far. Except for a couple of times I’ve used a Potion, battles have consisted of pressing X a bunch. I can see the makings of an interesting battle system — the stagger system reminds me of Xenoblade’s Break/Topple/Daze system except more straightforward and predictable, and I can see the monster strengths and weaknesses adding more depth once I’ve got elemental attacks.

I appreciate that the equipment system seems limited to just weapons and accessories. I’ve never enjoyed spending a bunch of time messing with gloves, boots, gem slots, etc. Even if things get more complicated, it looks like I can just take advantage of the auto-equip button and avoid having to sit in awkwardly-designed menus for half an hour at a time (I’m looking at you, Xenoblade). I’m getting the sense that a lot of the gameplay systems are similarly streamlined, which bodes well for my enjoyment of the game.

One last small gripe: the camera seems kind of bad. Maybe I’ll get used to it or I need to just give up trying to manually control it, but right off the bat, I felt like I was fighting it. It pans too slowly, moves unpredictably, and does weird stuff like panning up as you run up stairs then never coming back down.

#2 Edited by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

@GrantHeaslip said:

I’ve got to assume I’ll eventually be given a plausible explanation for why Vanille seems to have the mannerisms of a 7-year-old.

They don't need to give an explanation. It's a Japanese game.

As for the battle system, you will continue to just press X or do very little otherwise for most of the normal fights, but when it gets good and tough it is good.

#3 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1592 posts) -

@SuperWristBands said:

@GrantHeaslip said:

I’ve got to assume I’ll eventually be given a plausible explanation for why Vanille seems to have the mannerisms of a 7-year-old.

They don't need to give an explanation. It's a Japanese game.

Great.

As for the battle system, you will continue to just press X or do very little otherwise for most of the normal fights, but when it gets good and tough it is good.

That's basically what I expected — plowing through normal enemies was always going to be a bit of a chore, though to the game's credit, there's no loading times or unnecessarily long animations associated with encounters.

#4 Posted by Turambar (6782 posts) -

Sazh is definitely the best character in the game just in terms of motivations and characterizations.

#5 Posted by Hailinel (24711 posts) -

I can't say that I know too many seven-year-olds that act like Vanille.

#6 Posted by TobbRobb (4639 posts) -

Hey let me ruin the game for you. FOOTSTEP SOUNDS.

Also, Vanille's personality is never properly explained, although they kinda try? Hope and Snow are terrible characters, though Hope grew on me when he shut up a bit more and I gave him insanely broken equipment.

Also when we say that the combat is amazing, tactical and fun. We are talking 20h in. The famous tutorial curve. Prepare for mashing X for a while longer.

#7 Posted by StarvingGamer (8229 posts) -

It takes a while, but the battle system of FFXIII will eventually evolve into the best battle system of any Final Fantasy game. Just keep with it.

Also try not to think about the fact that anyone who hears Vanille's battle noises without actually seeing the game might think you're watching porn.

#8 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1592 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

I can't say that I know too many seven-year-olds that act like Vanille.

Again, maybe there's something I don't know yet or she gets better later on, but I audibly grunted in sheer exasperation at what was happening here. At least understand what they're going for in Hope, but Vanille seems like Xenoblade's Riki (i.e. super-positive, bubbly, and mostly ancillary) with all of the charm surgically removed.

#9 Posted by CaptainCharisma (339 posts) -

I actually liked Vanille while I was playing (probably because of the accent) but looking back at her now she's absolutely a pain to listen to when she's laughing, humming, or screaming.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.