mercz's Final Fantasy XIII (PlayStation 3) review

Good game

There are highs and lows to this game. Graphically, it is wonderful and presented well. The soundtrack is very nice too.  These two components helped to present a nice story.
 
I enjoyed the new gameplay system though I think it could have used some improvements or changes, particularly in the way the AI reacted to certain situations- this is important seeing as you only had direct control over the party leader and what "class" your party was in. It would have been convenient if  the player was able to space our party out during battles against enemies with large radius attacks. However I found it easier to adjust to than XII's system in the long run, and preferred the Crystarium system to the job system of XII, since it was similar to the sphere system of X. The game over if the party leader got KO'd however was very annoying and frustrating, though I suppose this was to compensate for the insta-heal after every battle.   Some boss fights were very challenging and required a number of retries, at times requiring me to look up strategies.
 
The story and characters are well done, though some parts of the plot can get confusing or odd at times. I found myself appreciating all the characters and feeling they all had some role in the story, as opposed to getting relegated to the background as the game progressed, which I have seen in other installments and other games. The exception to this was around Hope, who seemed to become less important in the later chapters. 
 
My main gripe with this game is it should have had more exploration. I can understand the developers' issue with presenting the story and how early chapters were pretty much involving the characters on the run, but it really just felt like corridors in those parts and caused me to lose interest sometimes. Only by the time the player reached Gran Pulse was there an element of exploration and freedom, which I enjoy in these kinds of games.   
 
Overall I think it is worth playing and a good game, though it could have used some improvements in the way player input and a better exploration mechanic. 

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