democritus's Final Fantasy XIII (PlayStation 3) review

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FFXIII the antiFF Game

For a bunch of gamers Final Fantasy is more that a franchise and the launch of a Final Fantasy game is a memorable event. Many people are looking forward for the next FF since we all discover this series with the awesome piece of art that was FFVII.   

 This is a Final Fantasy.
Since FFVII Square make great titles. FFVIII was a great game despite the critics, it had a great gameplay and an engaging and mature story. Even FFIX was a great game on their own. This 3 titles have the essential characteristics that defines a FF game: an engaging, intense and surprising story, memorable characters, a good battle system, character progression and equip upgrades, mini-games and finally a bunch of secrets to discover and exploration. 
 
The next game in the series was FFX. This game was the beginning of the change in the franchise. FFX is linear more linear than the 3 other titles. But at the end FFX was a great game thanks to the incredible story, the characters and the new summoning system. 
 
Then square make its first terrible mistake FFX-2. This game is a total mess. I remember feeling insulted by square. The game is not only a pure shi** but it also destroys  all the FFX story and characters. FFX-2 was a parody of FFX and is the first FF that I was unable to complete. In fact the game suddenly fly through my window. 
 
FFXII is not a total crap like FFX-2 but simply is not at level of the other ones. A reeeally boring game with a battle system that stinks.  But after all FXII was a final fantasy, it have story, exploration, progression, etc.  

FFXIII is the first non FF game. No one of the elements that defines a final fantasy game are present on this title.  
 Oh my God! What should I do? mmm press X?

The game is linear to extreme making that the player does not get involved in the story. I've finished Heavy Rain before begining to play FFXIII and HR is by far more interactive that FFXIII. The games feels like a succession of FMV scenes with little minigames that consist in pushing forward the stick and click X in the battles. 
 
Yes, the battles are horrible. You don't have real control of the characters and your options are very few. At the end as I said you end up pressing X and L1 occasionally. This completely destroys the tactical feeling that defines the role-playing game battles, and doing it also destroys the satisfaction of the victory.  
 
The development of characters is inexistent, a mere illusion. You, again, only have to maintain X and get upgrades. No tactical element at all. 

 Let me guess... Press X?
 
 
Some characters are frustrating and irritating. Many people think that Squall of FFVIII was a bat character, well, it is a nobel price in comparison with the stupidity of some of the FFXIII plot.  
 
Exploration? there is no such a thing in FFXIII. You can't even explore the scenario in which you are!!! because when you try you discover that is only a great and straight tube.   
 
Technically the game is good but this game is a perfect example that this aspect is nothing if the other ones stinks.
 
As a final insult to the spanish gamers (yes, i'm writing from Barcelona, spain) the subtitles are a total non-sense and in some moments they have nothing to do with the real speech!. I'm writing this from an university and there is and entire faculty here of translation and interpretation with more that 300 students. By the name of God hire someone competent!!!!!  
 
Resuming: no explarion, no character development, no tactical battle system, bad characters. What makes this game a final fantasy?? the answer is NOTHING.  
 
 This is a RPG!
 So, If you are looking for a final fantasy game stay away from this title, and by away I mean kilometers at least. On the other hand if you are 13 years old and never played a Final Fantasy or a RPG, you perhaps can enjoy this title.   

Stay away from FFXIII and play Dragon age if you are looking for a real RPG. For the final fantasy fans we only have the hope that square change its mind and fire Motomu Toriyama.  
 
UPDATE:  Here is an extract of an interview of Strategy informer to Daniel Erickson head of  scriptwritters of Bioware and working on SW:TOR now.  I'm not very wrong if experts of industry defend my point of view.
 
  

Strategy Informer: The main staple of The Old Republic has always been its story, but I'd argue that without good game play to support it, there is a lack of incentive to want to find out that story. I use Final Fantasy 13 as an example here: excellent story, but sometimes the grind or the linear game play made me struggle in wanting to see it through. What are your thoughts on that?

Daniel Erickson: Well, before I address the main point I just want to take a slightly more controversial route: You can put a 'J' in front of it, but it's not an RPG. You don't make any choices, you don't create a character, you don't live your character... I don't know what those are - adventure games maybe? But they're not RPG's.


Cheers!   
11 Comments
Edited by JeanLuc
Here is some criticism I have about your review...
  • You don't explain a lot of your statements. So the characters are frustrating, ok fine, but you didn't tell what about them you found so frustrating. 
  • The first half of the review has you explaining to me what you thought about previous Final Fantasy games; I don't care. I clicked on this review to hear what you thought about Final Fantasy XIII, not FFVII though FFXII. 
  • Your reason for hating the battle system confuses me. You said that its because you have no real control over the characters and all you do this press X, which "destroys the  tactical feeling that defines the role-playing game battles." But isn't that how all turn based combat works? You don't control the character, instead you just sort though the menu, find the attack you want, then press X.They're the same thing.
  • You don't understand the concept of paragraphs.
  • Your grammar sucks. (You don't have any idea how a comma works do you?)
 
Also, I'm a 17 year old boy that has played tons of RPGs but never a Final Fantasy before, and you know what... I'm having a fun time with FFXIII. 
Edited by Democritus
@wasteguru: First of all thank you very much for your comment! 
 
Well, I say that the characters are frustrating. I have not given more details because I don't want to spoil anything. This game is hardly a RPG and the only left is the story. 
 
Half of my review is directed to people like you that did not have the luck to play FFVII, FVIII and so on. This final fantasy is the 13th in the series and that means that there are 12 titles before this and to really understand what is a Final Fantasy you need to know about them. 
 
Again to understand why the battle system sucks I have to compare it with other titles not only Final Fantasy but more recent titles like Dragon Age. In final fantasy XIII you don't control your companions neither your main char (you at the end only tell the IA to auto attack and change paradigms from time to time). At FFVII even at the first combat you have to think carefully the actions of ALL your chars and if you don't stay focus you'll end up in the game over screen for sure. An RPG is not a hack and slash or an interactive story (like Heavy Rain). There are rules here!.   
 
YES, my grammar sucks COMPLETELY!!!. I write from spain you know. This is a good way to improve my English talking about my main hobby. On the other hand i'm an science guy. Sorry for my grammar.
Edited by JeanLuc
@Democritus: Thank You very much, I'm glad you can be civilized about this unlike some people. 
 
Truth is, we will probably never truly agree on this, because you hate FFXIII and I love it. But I'm happy that we were able to talk about our differences, instead of just yelling at each our with words. 
 
also, I'm sorry for being such a dick about your grammar. I can be an English snob sometimes.
Edited by Xanth93

I have to agree with wasteguru. I enjoy Final Fantasy XIII, even with its extreme linearity and the way it holds your hand in the beginning. I also clicked to hear about this game, not previous games in the franchise.
 
There are good things about the game. The graphics are incredible, and I find the plot rather interesting. The characters, with the exception of Vanille (ARGH!), are good.
 
This game is a good game, but maybe it's not much like previous games in the franchise.
 
P.S: If you're going to compare to other Final Fantasy games, I have to say that I am annoyed you did not mention the best Final Fantasy game ever made: Final Fantasy IV.

Posted by Lind_L_Taylor

Man, was this a Japanese to English translation?
 
Way to ramble there, co-cheese.  I'm not sure the whole history of the franchise had to be explained in order to state why FF13 sucked.

Posted by Democritus

My point is: I "hate" Final Fantasy XIII because I love the Final Fantasy games.

Edited by IanMattson

No sorry.
 
THIS is Final Fantasy
 

Posted by Jett

Difficult to take you seriously with all of the much higher reviews. Being a fan of FF, you should be the first to know that the developers have been trying out a million different things to change the series for better or for worse. The consensus is that this may not be a GREAT game (by FF standards), but it's definitely a good game and worth buying.
 
Take CoD4 and MW2 for example. Although they took CoD4 and basically slapped some fresh paint on it and added a few minor things, those few minor things completely change how you go about playing the game and all of that. It's completely different from CoD4 if you've ever played both games extensively, as I have. If all they did was slap a new storyline and some fresh paint on it, however, it would be absolute garbage and it'd be senseless to even go out and buy MW2. This is what you seem to want from FFXIII.
 
Yeah, it's the first real FF title for PS3, so you come to expect it to be a good-graphic version of FFVII, but that's simply not what the developers set out to do when making new FF games. Again, they want to be creative while still making a good game, and that's exactly what they did.

Posted by Democritus
@Jett: "@Jett said:
" Again, they want to be creative while still making a good game, and that's exactly what they did. "

I'm opinion they FAIL. They better hire Hironobu Sakaguchi and QUICK.
Posted by reflekshun

At the end of the day, I believe Final Fantasy is defined by its dare to change even with half of its fanbase being clingy to a particular kind of Final Fantasy. I personally applaud them for doing this, even if I don't like what they do sometimes. It allows the gamer to experience something different each time. So to argue about what is Final Fantasy is a bit futile! I personally don't mind a linear game when it is done well. Whereas someone else hates it because they feel no sense of choice or control over outcome or exploration.  
 
I think when I finally play this game I may be inclined to write a review lol! Good to hear controversy going strong with FF lol

Posted by RavenShade83

I can't recommend this review for one reason. You say you don't like Final Fantasy XIII because you love the FF series, yet you talk about the series as though it began with VII. Don't get me wrong, I loved VII, but I also loved all the others, including the ones that never came to the states. I respect your opinion on certain game play aspects, but to say you love an entire series because you enjoyed the last few games in a 13 game line doesn't do well to fortify your argument.

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