A Tale of Two Games
This is a tale of two games. One game is almost simulated bliss. With tons of action and variety, the first game is an awesome ride from near beginning to end, with you running into problems rarely. The other game is pure pain. An elongated torture on your soul, the game slowly breaks you until you can no longer take it anymore, forcing you to either continue taking its’ punishment while you slowly level up to not get killed in a single attack. What are these two games you ask? Why, they’re one and the same. I’m of course talking about Final Fantasy XIII, a Japanese RPG that has an interesting story that will delight many players, but infuriate them if they intend going any further.
The main draw of any Final Fantasy game, at least since Final Fantasy VII has been the graphics, both in-game and in cutscenes. Final Fantasy XIII is no different in that they are trying to blur the lines between the two. While Final Fantasy XII did an excellent job of this, XIII does take a solid step back in this department, but the FMV cutscenes in the game are amazing to look at, and definitely the cleanest visuals in a video game. The in-game graphics are very pretty to look at, but the difference is quite noticeable, especially in the character models, notably their hair. While it’s definitely not a bad thing, it can become a growing problem while you look at the back of your character while playing.
Most of Final Fantasy XIII is you controlling a character, moving on a linear path from fight to fight. You will learn most of the game’s combat through the first 10 hours, which is a slow and dull process, and the story doesn’t make it any easier with its’ pacing either; however the combat system will probably keep you interested in the game through this time period until you decide to keep playing or never continue. Changing paradigms is a very clever way to juggle multiple strategies for enemies at once. While you can only control a single character in battle, controlling your team’s Paradigm is very satisfying and the game’s combat is the second main draw of the game and the main reason to continue playing the game at this point. It’s a mix turn-between Final Fantasy X and XII’s combat, but flashier and between the two in terms of complexity.
After an extensive among of playing, you will finally be able to choose your own party. The game truly opens up at that point, putting you in an open world that will become the main part of your post-game play, taking part in side quests. Enemies you need to face at this stage are very strong and even when you max out your characters, can still kill your entire party in two to three hits post-game. There are very few challenges along the main path of the game, while it will take most 45-60 hours to beat it, a good strategy can allow you to beat it quicker. When it ends, if you want to play more of it, your options are limited: You can either start a new game or continue playing until you’ve done everything.
Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is a very good game, and while the story mode is very good, and the part most people will enjoy about the game, the post-game is meant for Final Fantasy experts, and will force plenty of people to change their tune about the game if they try.