Won Final Fantasy XIII

Posted by JCGamer (671 posts) -

Wow, what a pain in the ass.  That last boss took me HOURS to beat.  I liked the game, but that last encounter really pissed me off.  Interestingly enough, FFXIII is really a game where you can "play it wrong".  For a game that holds your hand for 15+ hours, it really didn't make me learn the nuances to the battle system that would have made some of the bosses (like that last one) and harder enemies much, much easier.  The nuances I am speaking of are the slight differences between characters and their abilities and their proficiencies.  I knew that some people seemed to be a bit better at healing, but didn't realize till the end battle how much better the healers could be.  I used a combo of Hope/Lightening for healing during boss battles, but Vanille is much much better at healing than Lightening.  So instead of having the Lightening/Fang/Hope combo and using Lightening and Hope together when my heath was low, I switched to Fang/Vanille/Hope and used Vanille and Hope as healers.  Wow, what a difference--in a matter of 1 cycle, I could have my entire party healed instead of 2-3 with the Lightening/Hope combo.  Made keeping up my energy much easier.  Also, had no idea until the last battle that the Saboteur abilities contribute to the combo meter.  While I was struggling getting the combo meter with a commando/ravager/ravager, I switched over to the saboteur/ravager/ravager combo and build that combo mete really, really fast.  Anyway, enjoyed the game for the most part, but I had it in my mind that I would burn through to the end and the game kept going, and going and going.  Anyway some thoughts... 
 
For anyone that has played this game, FFXIII hold your hand for a very, very long time.  It introduces a component of the battle system every hour or so for the first 10+ hours.  Hell, you can't even level up your party to the max until AFTER you beat the game.  While some people might have been turned off this slow burn, I really enjoyed that aspect of the game.  It gave the game a sense of progression for the entire beginning--always some new mechanic around the corner.  
 
Speaking of the battle system, man this system is awesome.  It is the most involved I have been with any FF combat system.  Basically each one of your characters has several classes/roles they can be (like a healer or fighter or magic user).  The thing is that when a character is a healer, that all they'll do.  They won't attack/defend etc...  So the whole idea is to arrange your party in way so all your party members compliment each other for a particular battle situation.  Then on the fly, you can change "Paradigms" to adjust to another battle situation.  This class shift takes seconds and in a really heated battle, you could be switching from one of six paradigms that you create every other second or so.  The whole base of the combat system it to hit your opponent with various attacks that will raise a combo meter and once that meter is filled, the enemy is "staggered" and you take off way more damage, your characters can do special attacks, and perhaps the enemy will be disabled for the duration of the stagger.  So you need to find the right combo of actions that will raise the meter, and then finish them off once they are staggered.   
 
The most enjoyable part of the battle system is how fast it moves.  While you can select specifically what attack you want the lead character to do (you only control one character directly), the combat moves so fast that you will rarely be able to keep up with the computer.  Instead, there is a "auto" button that will select the most efficient action based on the situation.  When people first heard of this, they were a bit turned off.  It appeared that all you did was press "X" to win.  And in fact, the very beginning of the game had you running in a line, and pressing X, and repeat for several hours.  But as the game advances, and the combat system opens up-the fun is changing the paradigms and killing the enemies as fast as possible--in fact you are graded after every enemy encounter with a 5-star system. 
 
While I found this battle system to be the most engaging, it is not without its faults.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is the type of game where you can play the game "wrong".  You can't go around with your favorite characters all the time doing the same strategies.  In fact when you die, you are prompted to "retry" or "quit".  Retrying placing right before the prior battle and allows you to alter your battle party, change equipment, etc...  I appreciate that there really is no penalty for dying, except for the fact that some of the boss battles can take a long, long time.  And if you die at the end, you'll be doing this long ass battle over and over until you figure out what the best strategy is.  One that "right" strategy is discovered, then the battles can actually be very very quick.  This happened to me several time where I would spend an over an hour trying to beat the same dude over and over, only to find the right combo of dudes and paradigms and BOOM-fight over in 2 minutes.  Like I said, I might have been playing those battles "wrong" but it was truly frustration to play the same boss over and over again for an hour. 
 
So, the graphics in this game are amazing.  I would say one of the best (if not the best) looking game I've played yet (only God or War III, or Uncharted II can compare).  Also, I really liked the character models.  Now I've been a old school FF fanboy since FFI on the NES and never really loved the Tetsuya Nomura art style.  I'm one of those guys that wonders if we'll ever go back to a "fantasy" looking game for Final Fantasy and is a bit disappointed when the new game in the series looks more and more sci-fi.  That being said, these characters are beautiful to LOOK at (except Hope--nothing can save that dude.  He blows as a character.)  The environments are gorgeous and while I didn't like some/most of the enemy designs--they did look impressive. 
 
Now for the negative.  First of all except for the battle theme (which is very very catchy), the music was forgetful and at worse really annoying/bad.  I loved the old Uematsu scores from FFI, IV, VI, VII--and the music has always been a big thing for me.  This game, not too much.  Speaking of sound, the voice acting.  I thought most of the cast was pretty good.  I liked Lightening, Snow, Fang, and Sazh--but Vanille has this awful high-pitched squeaky Japanese  girl with an Australian accent thing going on and was really grating.  It didn't help that she also acting like a 10-year old.  I realize that this is a Japanese archetype but does not really make it any more palatable for me (or I am guessing most western gamers).  Every time Vanille spoke, it killed the game a little bit.  Of course that doesn't even come close to the hate I have for Hope.  This is a young boy that lost his mother early in the game and WHINES the entire game.  He was one of the most annoying characters in ANY FF game.  It didn't help that I totally did not understand is motivation in the first half of the game.  Yea, I know, you lost your mother.  But really, is it Snow's fault?  Is it.  Any your plan?  Follow someone around until you somehow learn some fighting skills to eventually kill him?  Man, the entire operation NORA storyline was useless and horrible. 
 
That brings me to the most disappointing part about FFXIII--the story.  For me, the FF games was about 25% combat, 15% exploration, 10% music, and 50% story.  The FF stories have always been epic in scope and masterful in story telling.  Unfortunately the story just never resonated with me.  It didn't help that the story didn't make a lick of sense for the longest time (fal'cie, l'cie...really?).  The problem for me was that the motivations for the characters seemed to ring false.  I mean how can a bunch of people who want to save to world do it for such lame reasons?   And I found it interesting that the only real way I knew what the hell happened was the datalog story entires.  I would see a cut scene and then open the datalog to read the synopsis and think "ooooohhhhh.  That's what happened!  Why couldn't they explain that better in that 10 minute cut scene I just sat through?" 
 
Anyway, enjoyed all but the last 10 hours of the game for the most part.  Loved the combat system, dealt with the story, hated a few of the characters.

#1 Posted by JCGamer (671 posts) -

Wow, what a pain in the ass.  That last boss took me HOURS to beat.  I liked the game, but that last encounter really pissed me off.  Interestingly enough, FFXIII is really a game where you can "play it wrong".  For a game that holds your hand for 15+ hours, it really didn't make me learn the nuances to the battle system that would have made some of the bosses (like that last one) and harder enemies much, much easier.  The nuances I am speaking of are the slight differences between characters and their abilities and their proficiencies.  I knew that some people seemed to be a bit better at healing, but didn't realize till the end battle how much better the healers could be.  I used a combo of Hope/Lightening for healing during boss battles, but Vanille is much much better at healing than Lightening.  So instead of having the Lightening/Fang/Hope combo and using Lightening and Hope together when my heath was low, I switched to Fang/Vanille/Hope and used Vanille and Hope as healers.  Wow, what a difference--in a matter of 1 cycle, I could have my entire party healed instead of 2-3 with the Lightening/Hope combo.  Made keeping up my energy much easier.  Also, had no idea until the last battle that the Saboteur abilities contribute to the combo meter.  While I was struggling getting the combo meter with a commando/ravager/ravager, I switched over to the saboteur/ravager/ravager combo and build that combo mete really, really fast.  Anyway, enjoyed the game for the most part, but I had it in my mind that I would burn through to the end and the game kept going, and going and going.  Anyway some thoughts... 
 
For anyone that has played this game, FFXIII hold your hand for a very, very long time.  It introduces a component of the battle system every hour or so for the first 10+ hours.  Hell, you can't even level up your party to the max until AFTER you beat the game.  While some people might have been turned off this slow burn, I really enjoyed that aspect of the game.  It gave the game a sense of progression for the entire beginning--always some new mechanic around the corner.  
 
Speaking of the battle system, man this system is awesome.  It is the most involved I have been with any FF combat system.  Basically each one of your characters has several classes/roles they can be (like a healer or fighter or magic user).  The thing is that when a character is a healer, that all they'll do.  They won't attack/defend etc...  So the whole idea is to arrange your party in way so all your party members compliment each other for a particular battle situation.  Then on the fly, you can change "Paradigms" to adjust to another battle situation.  This class shift takes seconds and in a really heated battle, you could be switching from one of six paradigms that you create every other second or so.  The whole base of the combat system it to hit your opponent with various attacks that will raise a combo meter and once that meter is filled, the enemy is "staggered" and you take off way more damage, your characters can do special attacks, and perhaps the enemy will be disabled for the duration of the stagger.  So you need to find the right combo of actions that will raise the meter, and then finish them off once they are staggered.   
 
The most enjoyable part of the battle system is how fast it moves.  While you can select specifically what attack you want the lead character to do (you only control one character directly), the combat moves so fast that you will rarely be able to keep up with the computer.  Instead, there is a "auto" button that will select the most efficient action based on the situation.  When people first heard of this, they were a bit turned off.  It appeared that all you did was press "X" to win.  And in fact, the very beginning of the game had you running in a line, and pressing X, and repeat for several hours.  But as the game advances, and the combat system opens up-the fun is changing the paradigms and killing the enemies as fast as possible--in fact you are graded after every enemy encounter with a 5-star system. 
 
While I found this battle system to be the most engaging, it is not without its faults.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is the type of game where you can play the game "wrong".  You can't go around with your favorite characters all the time doing the same strategies.  In fact when you die, you are prompted to "retry" or "quit".  Retrying placing right before the prior battle and allows you to alter your battle party, change equipment, etc...  I appreciate that there really is no penalty for dying, except for the fact that some of the boss battles can take a long, long time.  And if you die at the end, you'll be doing this long ass battle over and over until you figure out what the best strategy is.  One that "right" strategy is discovered, then the battles can actually be very very quick.  This happened to me several time where I would spend an over an hour trying to beat the same dude over and over, only to find the right combo of dudes and paradigms and BOOM-fight over in 2 minutes.  Like I said, I might have been playing those battles "wrong" but it was truly frustration to play the same boss over and over again for an hour. 
 
So, the graphics in this game are amazing.  I would say one of the best (if not the best) looking game I've played yet (only God or War III, or Uncharted II can compare).  Also, I really liked the character models.  Now I've been a old school FF fanboy since FFI on the NES and never really loved the Tetsuya Nomura art style.  I'm one of those guys that wonders if we'll ever go back to a "fantasy" looking game for Final Fantasy and is a bit disappointed when the new game in the series looks more and more sci-fi.  That being said, these characters are beautiful to LOOK at (except Hope--nothing can save that dude.  He blows as a character.)  The environments are gorgeous and while I didn't like some/most of the enemy designs--they did look impressive. 
 
Now for the negative.  First of all except for the battle theme (which is very very catchy), the music was forgetful and at worse really annoying/bad.  I loved the old Uematsu scores from FFI, IV, VI, VII--and the music has always been a big thing for me.  This game, not too much.  Speaking of sound, the voice acting.  I thought most of the cast was pretty good.  I liked Lightening, Snow, Fang, and Sazh--but Vanille has this awful high-pitched squeaky Japanese  girl with an Australian accent thing going on and was really grating.  It didn't help that she also acting like a 10-year old.  I realize that this is a Japanese archetype but does not really make it any more palatable for me (or I am guessing most western gamers).  Every time Vanille spoke, it killed the game a little bit.  Of course that doesn't even come close to the hate I have for Hope.  This is a young boy that lost his mother early in the game and WHINES the entire game.  He was one of the most annoying characters in ANY FF game.  It didn't help that I totally did not understand is motivation in the first half of the game.  Yea, I know, you lost your mother.  But really, is it Snow's fault?  Is it.  Any your plan?  Follow someone around until you somehow learn some fighting skills to eventually kill him?  Man, the entire operation NORA storyline was useless and horrible. 
 
That brings me to the most disappointing part about FFXIII--the story.  For me, the FF games was about 25% combat, 15% exploration, 10% music, and 50% story.  The FF stories have always been epic in scope and masterful in story telling.  Unfortunately the story just never resonated with me.  It didn't help that the story didn't make a lick of sense for the longest time (fal'cie, l'cie...really?).  The problem for me was that the motivations for the characters seemed to ring false.  I mean how can a bunch of people who want to save to world do it for such lame reasons?   And I found it interesting that the only real way I knew what the hell happened was the datalog story entires.  I would see a cut scene and then open the datalog to read the synopsis and think "ooooohhhhh.  That's what happened!  Why couldn't they explain that better in that 10 minute cut scene I just sat through?" 
 
Anyway, enjoyed all but the last 10 hours of the game for the most part.  Loved the combat system, dealt with the story, hated a few of the characters.

#2 Posted by OwnlyUzinWonHan (1484 posts) -

This sounds like it should be a review, and "Winning" is the weirdest phrase I've heard for beating a game in a while.

#3 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4985 posts) -

Yeah I thought you meant as in you 'Won' the game from a contest lol.

#4 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -
@OwnlyUzinWonHan said:
" This sounds like it should be a review, and "Winning" is the weirdest phrase I've heard for beating a game in a while. "
Yeah it sounds like a contest prize or the lottery.
#5 Edited by Daouzin (119 posts) -

Haha yeah, I was confused too. I didn't find the last boss particularly difficult I four starred it my first try.  
 
I actually just edited my user review on it. 
 
P.S. I think the soundtrack was pretty awesome. Overused a number of tracks, but solid over all. Just not astounding.

#6 Edited by xyzygy (10077 posts) -

I found the last boss extremely hard as well, I had to resort to cheap poison tactics with Vanille. I can beat him now, but that's only because all my characters have their lv. 100 best weapons and are totally maxed out.

#7 Posted by JCGamer (671 posts) -
@OwnlyUzinWonHan said:
" This sounds like it should be a review, and "Winning" is the weirdest phrase I've heard for beating a game in a while. "
That's what my friends and I have always said.  We also use "beat" or "finished" but "win" is probably the most common.  I've actually gotten a bunch of responses over the months for using this term, but I'm sticking with it-if only for internal consistency :)

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