I bought Final Fantasy 13 on launch and I put in 30 hours into it. Everyone kept saying how the game got better when you got to Gran Pulse, so I did, and it didn't. I have not played it since. With FF13-2 coming out today, I decided to give 13 another chance. This is that story.
11 miserable hours of self-hate and frustration. This was my experience all day yesterday as I was playing FF13. I started with my old save since I didn't want to redo the entire beginning and lose the 30 hours I had already wasted. After a few trial-and-error battles things started coming back to me and I started remembering exactly why I stopped playing this game.
If any of you have reached Ch. 11, you'd know that it gets a whole lot harder at that point. This basically means that I was getting my ass kicked by even the lowliest enemy and one-shotted by the bigger ones. To make this even worse, the CP cost in the Crystarium (how you level up) is basically doubled which means you gotta kill a hell of a lot of shit if you want to level up. So, naturally, I did what you do in every JRPG when you hit a wall; I started grinding.
But, rather picking one spot and gaming the game, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and complete some side missions. I mean, that makes sense, right? I'll earn some XP while doing side content. Wrong! I'm really led to believe that his game was either designed by a team of sub-intelligent monkeys or a troll. The side mission structure is a perfect example of this. You need to find these floating stones and activate them, which then gives you a task to do (all the ones I did consisted of going to the other side of the fucking map to kill a specific monster). You find the first stone right as you enter the area and the second and third are close by each other. However after that is when things get messy. You see, the stones are all labeled 1-50, and since you do the first three in order, it's natural to assume that you have to do all of them in order. It doesn't help that you see a bunch of "dead" stones on the ground that you can't activate yet. Normally, this isn't a problem, but the game fails to mark any of this information on your map. So, basically you have a giant map you can run around full of overpowered monsters that can kill you in one shot, and you need to find these stones in the right order. Or so you think. In reality you only have to unlock a tier of stones in order to do any of them in any order. But does the game tell you this? Nope.
Oh, did I forget to mention that the monsters respawn when you walk 20 feet away from that spot? Cause they do. Always.
And did I mention that the map decides to change it's orientation on a whim? Cause remember how your quest marker said to go north. Well, now it says to go south. Or east. Or west. It really depends on what the map feels like doing at that point in time. It doesn't matter that you just looked at it 30 seconds ago. No sir. You will have to double back through the tunnel you just ran through. Naturally all the monsters have respawned as well.
So, I did this for about 4 hours. I ran around like an idiot, constantly getting lost because the fucking map wont make up it's mind or because I had no fucking idea where the next stone I could activate was. And then I looked at my menu and saw that I only had enough CP to level up one tree out of 5 halfway up rank 8 (my current rank). In short, it was a complete waste of time.
Oh and get this. Some of the stones that give you missions also act as quick travel hubs. But only some of them. Why some, you may ask and not all of them? Well, because that would make sense, I reply. And this game tries really, really hard to not make sense. It's kind of impressive actually. No, that's a lie.
Thankfully my brotold me of a good place to grind. It's where two of the bigger monsters are fighting each other, and if you sneak up on them you can catch them unaware, fill their crit gauge and kill them really fast. At one point I had it down to 22 seconds per fight. You also get 6600 CP per fight. So this is what I did: I ran up to them, killed them, ran just far enough away so they respawned then doubled back and killed them again. Rinse and repeat. For 3 hours.
I forgot to mention that, one of every 4 times when you'd fight them, one of the enemies would heal himself to full health. At full health, even if I'm maxed out, he's a pain and it takes a few mins to kill him. So every time this would happen, I would merely press pause then retry the battle in order to save myself some time. Incidentally the quit function is right under the retry function. I think you can guess what happened after 3 hours of grinding and no saving.
So 4 hours later after I had recouped my lost CP and added a decent amount on top of it, I decided that I was done with this bullshit and headed straight for the story point. So I ran. And ran. And ran.
"Oh hey, there's a big robot guy. Hmm, I bet he'll be a piece of cake. After all I maxed out all of my characters and leveled their weapons to the max. Yeah, let's kick some... wait, what the fuck, how the hell did he one-hit KO me?!?! ...6 tries later.... Haha, take that you son of a bitch! What, he's not a boss? And there's not even a reward for beating him (and only 4000 CP)? And I gotta fight 5 more of them? Fuck!"
And I'm not going to even begin to talk about the god-awful writing in the cutscenes, or the shitty, shitty characters. Lets just say that if I had a hammer and a large sack I would put Hope and Vanille inside it and beat it till no more sounds came out. And then beat it some more for good measure.
So here I am, 42 hours into this mess of a game. I just fought a dude on a broken tower and now I'm looking for parts to repair a shitty little robot. I really don't know how much left I have, but since there's 13 chapters and I'm (I'm assuming) near the end of 11 it can't be that far, right? You know what, I'm probably wrong. This game has kicked me in the balls at every opportunity, so I wouldn't be surprised if I had another 40 hours to go. But you know what? I will not let this game beat me! Maybe I'm losing my sanity, but so help me god I will finish this POS and once I do I'm burning the goddamn disk.