eirikr's Final Fantasy XIII (PlayStation 3) review

Final Fantasy XIII in 500 words.

Looking at the game objectively, there’s no other way around it: Final Fantasy XIII is a great piece of entertainment. It oozes with high production values, from the texture of every flawlessly rendered environment to the robustness and variety of the orchestrated score. The battle system is complex and expertly-designed, and has enough challenge to keep it interesting but sufficient concessions to keep it from frustrating. But it’s a Final Fantasy game, so there’s always more to it than that. 

 Yup, he's the best character.

Yes, it’s (roughly and broadly) about a ragtag band of misfits out to save the world. Each character has their own reasons for embarking on the journey, and most are fleshed out well and easy to empathize with. There might be a character or two you may be apathetic towards or worse, but as is usual with Final Fantasy, there is an array of personalities to choose from so you’ll naturally comprise a team of more level-headed favorites.

The battle system is absolutely the best part of the game. Its sheer speed requires a slight learning curve but its core is strategic, requiring the right mix of character roles to be able to break foes’ defenses and go all-out on them. Every single battle seems to have been designed and optimized around particular tactics, enabling fast-paced, satisfying victories; however, since the game’s enemies are brutally offense-oriented, that might not always happen. But if you get a game over, no big deal – you can simply try again with no progress lost. The growth system, the Crystarium, seems linear at first but you’ll quickly be prioritizing development of the character roles that best fit your play style, as no two characters share the same role setups. 

 *GASP* I don't see any towns anywhere in this linear corridor!

If you’re looking to have your senses dazzled, this is the game to choose. Sure, there’s the flashy, shallow stuff like summons, but the real graphical prowess is displayed in the gorgeous, living detail of each and every area in the game. At numerous points I found myself needing to stop for minutes at a time to take in the scenery; it really does a convincing job of making the vast scope of Pulse, the game’s world, believable. Even more impressive is the game’s music. Featuring numerous choral tracks, blues, rock, and everything in between, this is one score you’ll want to listen to outside of the game. Yeah, there’s that Leona Lewis thing, but the scene where it’s heard is so insignificant you’ll forget about it an hour later. 

But the game’s linearity and lack of towns hurt the game, right? Not really. It’s certain to irk some, but it shouldn’t shock that these omissions have no bearing on the game’s quality at all, as it wasn’t designed around those concepts. Between the beautiful graphics and sound, fast-paced and challenging battles, and broad scope of the world of Pulse, Final Fantasy XIII is a game that will please those series fans and curious onlookers that know Final Fantasy’s true face is one that’s ever changing.

5 Comments
Posted by Cross_Marian

YEAH! Finally a good honest review. Thank you for writing this review.  

Posted by JeanLuc

Oh thank god, somebody that can actually write! 
 
Seriously though, I liked your review.

Posted by Grep

I'm glad you mentioned the music in this game. If anything Final Fantasy XIII would be a great movie for those unwilling to invest the 60 hours it takes to play through the game. As a video game it is understandable to dislike the game, but as a piece of art it is fabulous. Everything from the art direction to the themes represented in the writing fills this world with a sense of a "story" which many video games today lack. The separation between Western open world RPGs and Eastern linear plot-driven RPGs is this sense of story telling which I feel the developers at Square aided the production of FFXIII with an extremely slow learning curve and a linear path for the heroes. A linear path which only intensifies the dramatic irony concerning the fate of the characters which has a linear path, when we, the audience, know the futility in it all.

Posted by natetodamax

You're wrong. Vanille is the best character in any game ever.

Posted by Eirikr
@natetodamax:  Yes, but does she have a son who is also Webster?  

Other reviews for Final Fantasy XIII (PlayStation 3)

    Directed Enjoyment 0

     Final Fantasy XIII doesn’t hide its linearity. The game is heavily directed. The choices you make from character development to story progression are controlled. You’ll walk down straight paths, not branching dungeons. You won’t find towns, or even people to talk to.  You won’t explore – well, not for the first twenty hours, anyway. Everything is fine tuned down to the amount of levels you can gain (the game caps you at certain points until you progress farther in the story.) On paper, these so...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Final Fantasy XIII Review 0

    The long awaited next gen Final Fantasy installment is finally here… But does it meet the lofty expectations set for such a high profile title? I’ll get this out of the way first: this really isn’t like your typical Final Fantasy game, as it changes much of the expected formula. You won’t run through towns and enjoy the odd mini game diversion. You will be placed on a path and will follow it almost completely unabated till well over half way into the game’s story. Whether or not you will enjoy ...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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.