Final Fantasy XIII Review
The latest and probably one of the final Final Fantasies can be found on both the PlayStation 3 and the XBOX 360. I decided since the majority of my collection resides on the Sony platform that I would continue to follow that trend, and on the plus side it gave me something other than Blu-Rays to play on that system. Anyways you will be playing the part of multiple different characters at different parts of the game. The overall story going along the lines of two societies going at each other, claiming that each other are a plague to humanity.
Graphically this game is stunning. There's nothing else to really say about it. From the level design to the cut scenes this is a game that can only be the work of Square Enix. Yes for the enemies you're still going to see some palette swapping, but that's a deal-able concern. With the game being much more linear you're going to see that Square Enix was able to polish a lot more of the game than usual (which I know is almost too hard to believe).
As is the trend of all Square Enix games you're going to be grabbed by the music. Yes there are definitely those tunes that you really wish would stop playing, but that's to be expected from a long RPG. There's also some pieces of music that are remixes of cornerstone songs to the Final Fantasy franchise. The voice acting is a bit weird for me. Apparently if you're from Pulse you are Australian most of the time, but there are certain times where the accent all together disappears.
The controls in this game are really straight forward, so the learning curve is almost non-existent. To be honest the only thing you're going to have to struggle with for a bit is controlling the camera, but once you have a firm grasp on that you're going to find that the game will flow.
As stated before you're going to play the part of many different characters. Throughout the game you're going to find a different character taking the lead, and for a good chunk of the game you're not going to be able to switch from that character. This creates an interesting issue. One of the issues is the fact that for a good chunk early on you're going to find the characters in divided groups so you're not going to have the chance to switch characters in and out. The other thing is because of the way the battle system is structured. The battles are real-time so you're not going to be able to map out exactly what you want to do, but at the same time you're not going to be able to precisely choose all your characters' actions. You'll have control over the main character, the rest will do abilities according to their current set. The sets range from Commando (which is all out attack), Medic (healing), Ravager (spell caster), and a couple of others. The name of the game in battle is switching between the sets, if you can do that fluidly you can takedown almost any enemy.
Now for the way that the game flows. As I stated earlier it is linear, and what I mean by that is that there's no overworld map, you're not going to be going back to different sections in the game, its almost always a one and done type of thing. That being said each map has a start and an end to it. Before going to the end always make sure to check every odd corner of the current area, there's lots of goodies hidden.
There's also no towns in the game. You'll find that the save points also serve as shops. To be honest I think I actually bought something from a store once. The reason for that is that you can upgrade your weapons. Now word of advice, collect all the materials that enemies drop and wait about 3 or 4 weapon pick ups before leveling them up. If you try to to level up your first or second weapon you'll find you have a stronger weapon than your third or fourth, but will not have all the extra bonuses associated with that weapon type.
As for leveling up, there's really no such thing either. You'll be leveling up your particular skill set. You'll be gaining points through battle which you can use towards gaining the next thing in the system that they have setup. This is where you can really customize where your other characters' powers lie, do it right and you're going to have some setups that will destroy enemies.
I'm sure some of you are wondering about summonings, and for that all I can say is that characters will have a summon that they can use, but you're going to have to beat them into submission before you can summon them, and when you do they become a computer controlled character to help the summoner out until their power runs out.
Now without giving away the story, which to be honest is a bit confusing, this is a game that is going to take you a very good amount of time to beat. If you are willing to stick it out you might find that this game is indeed something worthy of your time. Now that might not be true for everyone, as I'm sure some will get bored with just doing what the game wants you to do to advance the story, and not having any side missions to break the game up, but with the length of this game, I for one am willing to forgive the game for that lack of a change.
Final Fantasy XIII might be it for Square Enix as they want to show the world they can do other things, so this, in my mind, can be a strong end to the series. Yes I know that there are going to be other games within this universe, but XIII is going to probably be it. Now I know that there's a XVI, but that's the MMO. So lets get to the scoring for this game. As much as I want to be a fanboy of this series, I'm going to have to drop my grade a good bit simply because I learned to loath the lack of precise control in battles, sure after 10 hours I got good at how they wanted it done, but that in my mind is just too long. There's also some story issues, but I'll let you find those on your own, if you decide to pick up the game. So this game sadly gets a 7.3 out of 10.