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Posted by warpedzappa

After so many epic Western RPG releases over the last decade,  I could never bring myself to playing a JRPG again.  They just seem so primitive.

Posted by lordofultima

A good review, my sentiments exactly.

Posted by Shaanyboi

I fucking hate this game.  I'm not going to wait 15 hours for it to finally make me give a shit about its terrible story, or to give me an ounce of fun.  My game time is precious enough, I'm not going to waste it on a meaningless piece of pretentious, self-righteous tripe like this.  Glad you found something good out of it Brad, but I don't have the time to wait for the fucking thing to get its act together.  Worst-paced game I've ever played.

Online
Posted by axman36

Good review,
 
rented, was pretty mediocre.

Posted by aurahack

I think reading the comments here made my day a little better. Some people just won't allow folks to have an opinion.

Edited by mooncake

Hey Brad, not sure if you know (your text can be interpreted a bit ambiguously) but Nobuo Uematsu didn't compose the soundtrack for this game. It's Masashi Hamauzu. Whether that supports your argument even more, well, you can decide.

Posted by lilman1101
@Classic_Gs said:
" Brad does not appreciate great games. "
your right, god forbid him to have an opinion
Posted by Classic_Gs

Brad does not appreciate great games.

Posted by Wes899
@MAN_FLANNEL: Holy shit, I never realized the truth behind that statement.
Posted by lilman1101

Brad, you can borrow my flame shield if you want.
 
 
also i was kinda expecting a video review but still, giant bomb has the best reviewers so this is (obviously) a great and honest review with no bias (looks at billions of other sites)

Posted by Teran

The level scheme is too complicated?  It took me all of ten seconds to figure it out... hold down X and make things light up, when at a "fork" in the tree choose the direction you want to go and hit x some more... I do agree that ability descriptions weren't always very descriptive but if I was able to figure it out without reading the manual or using google anyone should be able to figure it out because I'm the dumbest person I know.
 
I like what they did with their focused content.  Having a world map to explore is nice but often tedious.  Feeling obligated to search every last dark corner in a town for a hidden chest or item is not something I miss.  Instead of focusing on artificially increasing the length of the story with large open world areas they chose to increase the length of the game by having more content.
 
I don't understand how anyone could seriously miss a largely dead ghost town of an open world and explorable cities.

Posted by CashBailey

The only FF13 review that matters is finally here!!
 
I totally understand Brad's frustration at the almost brutally linear path that so many modern JRPGs take. One thing I think we all loved about the majority of the other FF games (especially FF8) was that you could take a few days grind, do some side-quests and level up.
 
Feeling like your being dragged along like a bull with a ring in its nose is not fun for an RPG. And neither is waiting for 20 hours before you can go out and actually have some fun.

Posted by Jedted

Great review Brad!  I was thinking of checking this out just because it's now multiplatform and i own a 360 i'm not a FF fan so i was unsure if i'd be into the story.  I geuss only fans of JRPGs will have the mental stamina to stick with this game. 
 
Come to think of it, from your brief description of the story it sounds a lot like ME2 to me only more long winded.  Paticularly the part about "humans are subject to the whims of a race of enigmatic god-machines"
Edited by Theresonlyone

Brad is right about the game it does take a long long time to ramp up.
 
Bad things. 

  1. Long ass start up time. I found the game quite boring and repetitive until i got to the part with Sazh and Vanille where you're warned about the armoured lizards, for me this is where the battle got interested.
  2. The weapon upgrading is more opaque than a librarians tights (the old lady kind not the bayonetta type). i had to get online to learn about how to upgrade the weapons past T1
  3. Fuck off Leona Lewis we don't want you in Final Fantasy.
  4. And finally Vanille's and Snow's script writer and Voice actors should be shot. After some thought I realise why they used australian voice actors because any other strong english accent sounds too jokey just imagine fang and Vanille using an indian or irish accent.
 
Good things. 
  1. The Battle System is almost perfect. Once you get all the jobs and characters the feeling you get after you completely waste an enemy is almost indescribable. But I don't like how you can only control one summon at a time and are limited to one every few battles they look awesome and i used less than 10 the entire way through the game. Even worse was i had to control Hope to use Alexander.
  2. The graphics are insanely good. This game is very, very pretty and the cutscenes are equal to what Pixar puts out, The cutscene between chapters 11 and 12 is absolutely mind blowing if you have the 360 version find a friend with the PS3 version and watch it.
  3. I thought the story was brilliant it has a long introduction but then it really gets good  SPOILER WARNING: Click here to reveal hidden content.
One thing everyone has to realise about this game is it's fan service to people who liked FF7 square have commented several times how they took a lot of inspiration from it. From lightnings androgyny, to the train sequence at the beginning hell I think even the weapons work in a way that descended from materia.  In their haste to create another blockbuster like 7 and 8 you can tell occasionally that they were lazy and were content with copying too much.
Posted by gunslingerNZ
@ISmoochyI said:
" I'm glad you finally got the review out bro...hope there is a video review. I have FFXIII...but i'm still hesitant to play it. The review was really helpful. Cheers mate "
Wow that's a unique situation there. So you've bought the game but are just now using the review to decide whether or not you play it....
Edited by bybeach

Good review, and the fact you value the quality of the game over achievments tells me  you are the one to listen to. 
 
Too bad I just do not click with these games. Oh well.
Posted by ReFracture
@Scooper said:
" I don't wish to be rude but what good is a review of this game this long after it's released. Who does this review serve? "
Because it's a long game and a man reviewing a game he has spent weeks playing is better than a man who marathons it for 3 days and spits out a review asap?
Edited by Jackel2072

the battle system scares the hell out of me. but fuck it. im going to give it shot!
 
 
P.S.
Brad, if you could please give us a quick look of the game in action in the later parts where is really ramps up. That would be awesome and i love you long time =)

Posted by Turambar
@xionpunk said:
" FFXIII is pretty great, the only thing that bothers  me is the fact that the Paradigm animations can take WAY too long (while you're still getting hit) . The story and battle system are awesome imo. "
It is kind of odd actually.  The first time you switch paradigms, each character will take a second and pose.  The second time you switch, and so on, the entire party will switch at the same time.  It made me get into the habit of switching paradigms first thing in the fight so that 5 seconds of downtime doesn't screw over my stagger meter later on.
Posted by Fjordson

 Great review, Brad. I want to play this game but it seems my reservations about the lackluster pacing and linearity have been confirmed. Maybe I'll pick this up for cheap(ish) sometime in the future.

Posted by troyx
@Jiggah said:
" Excellent review.  The score is exactly the what it should be.  The game is good, just not great.  It's a competent JRPG, but that's really about it. "
this is what i call a perfect reply . i agree 100% with you and brad
Posted by hamchan
@nail1080 said:
" @hamchan said:
" @Peanut said:

but achievements = trophies.
haha no one cares about trophies "
If people want to buy a shittier version of the game just because of achievements then i pity them.
Online
Posted by Milkman

The elusive Final Fantasy XIII review, finally. Take a break, Shoemaker. You've earned it.

Posted by ISmoochyI

I'm glad you finally got the review out bro...hope there is a video review. I have FFXIII...but i'm still hesitant to play it. The review was really helpful. Cheers mate

Posted by ZenaxPure
@wh4tshisface said:
" @Zenaxzd said:

" @CL60 said:

" I still don't see why everybody is complaining about it being linear...it's just as linear as every other Final Fantasy. It just doesn't throw an illusion that it's not in our face. "

Indeed, it is structured very much like X which no one had a problem with then. It just became overblown on the internet, it really isn't that different and hell the story justifies it and the game opens up when the story goes in that direction where you would expect it to open up, course that is completely overlooked by most people, this review too. "
Did you not read the first two paragraphs? He talks about the point where you are finally able veer right or left.  "
Funny, since I wasn't talking about that. I am referring to the reason you are always moving forward being justified by the story (like I said in my post). The characters are running from people that want them dead, do you logically think if you were running from the military you would stop in every town and explore every household? Especially if said police had martial law in effect and there was tons of military check points around every turn. Now when the main characters escape from all this onto Pulse where Cocoon's government has no hold over them the game opens up and allows you to run around and explore, there is no threat in the plot that wants the characters dead and thus no reason for them to be constantly moving forward. 
 
I'm not saying I like this style the story is told in personally, but it makes sense. Something that most people seem to overlook when they say wahh wahh the game makes you keep moving forward and it doesn't give a reason... Well... It does give a reason but people overlook it.
Posted by misplacedcircus

The west meets east, metaphorically and literally. I guess microsoft lost if this were a race. I shall now fap to my own existance (intentanal mispelling).See what I did just then?

Posted by The_Aus_Hulk

Great review brad. Unalike most sites you actually put in the hard hours and went through it all.

Posted by nail1080
@hamchan said:
" @Peanut said:

but achievements = trophies.
haha no one cares about trophies
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Peanut said:
" Brad's obsession with the fucking resolution of the cut-scenes really puts me off. I've got both consoles, but achievements > shitty cut-scenes.  "
I'm pretty sure of all the Giant Bomb staff, Brad is the main graphics whore. You may hear Jeff or Ryan complain about dated gameplay more vocally (both justified and unjustified), but I assure you that neither would start a game over again after 10 hours just so they could watch prettier cutscenes.
 
This review kind of confirms what I already know: I don't need to play Final Fantasy XIII.
Posted by Lautaro

Final Fantasy has always been linear, better this than some crappy overworld with crappy random battles I say.

Posted by LiquidS
@Scooper:
I was under the impression GB always tried to finish games before giving reviews which sometimes means late reviews. If that policy is correct then I'm all for late reviews as this game seems to be a good example how a long game can be a rollercoaster of quality. 
 
Well written review. 
Anyways I rented this today because of Brad on podcasts talking about it and the video store clerk talking it up. I'm 5 hours in & confused as hell on the story line (Never played a FF game before)  but will continue onwards over the weekend.
Edited by ColinWright
@Zenaxzd said:

" @CL60 said:

" I still don't see why everybody is complaining about it being linear...it's just as linear as every other Final Fantasy. It just doesn't throw an illusion that it's not in our face. "

Indeed, it is structured very much like X which no one had a problem with then. It just became overblown on the internet, it really isn't that different and hell the story justifies it and the game opens up when the story goes in that direction where you would expect it to open up, course that is completely overlooked by most people, this review too. "
Did you not read the first two paragraphs? He talks about the point where you are finally able veer right or left. 
Posted by Sticky_Pennies

I completely agree with this review. 
This is also a mildly pointless comment, I guess. :O

Posted by onan
@Styl3s said:
" Great review even though you are about a month late to the party :) "
That's cool, FF13 was about 30 hours late too by all accounts.
Posted by HydraHam

Great review even though you are about a month late to the party :)

Edited by onan
@Scooper:  It serves me fine, there's been way too much stuff released recently for anyone with a day job to keep up with at a reasonable rate and still maintain a life. I've managed to plow through Mass Effect 2 (and ME1, full disclosure), Dragon Age: Origins, Heavy Rain, I'm currently working on Dragon Age Awakening even though I had to put down Bayonetta, Modern Warfare 2, and Borderlands in between all that, and there's still Bad Company 2, God of War III, and Just Cause 2 sitting on the sidelines. There are simply not enough hours in the day.
 
Brad is exactly coming from where I'm coming from as a former JRPG aficionado turned on to western RPGs, and even though early press warned against it, this cements it for me. I'll be picking up one of the many used copies as people finish or become fed up by this most linear of titles. The review isn't exactly late, we've been getting updates on it on the podcast which have been pointing us in the final direction, so the final review should come as no major surprise.
Edited by Legend

I did not expect this at all. How dare you have an opinion, Brad Shoemaker??!!
 
:P

Posted by TerraDelu
@SpiritOf: hahahah, hasn't he been through enough?
Posted by xionpunk

FFXIII is pretty great, the only thing that bothers  me is the fact that the Paradigm animations can take WAY too long (while you're still getting hit) . The story and battle system are awesome imo.

Posted by floodiastus

I think the combat is quite horrible myself, they should have ditched the real-time stuff it really detracts from strategy as you have about 1 second to think about what to do next instead of careful planning and consideration. Controlling only 1 character in combat is also abit boring, sure paradigms are cool but they should have been optional for those easy-to-defeat mobs.  
 
Quite dissapointed in this game actually, it could have been much more. 
 
And whats up with vanilles dialect, can she make up her mind? :)

Posted by Curufinwe
@Lambert said:
" Sad to see the Final Fantasy series die out like this. It was all Square's fault for not trying to adapt to the changing marketplace of better games and game design. At one point, this series was the best of the best, and now it is just average POS like 90% of the games out there.  No one will even remember this game by the end of the year.  Good riddance I say. And can we get rid of the whole JRPG classification? They should be rated and reviewed at the same high standard that all other, superior RPGs are rated on.  
Maybe you should wait for the March NPDs to be released before you talk about the FF series dying out.
Posted by Darlan

Seems a little high for a game that takes that long to get fun at all.

Posted by 88Fingers

After reading Brad's review, I feel a little better about passing on this game.
I'll probably pick this up in the bargain bin in a few months.
 
I'm glad I chose Resonance of Fate.

Posted by hamchan
@Peanut said:
" Brad's obsession with the fucking resolution of the cut-scenes really puts me off. I've got both consoles, but achievements > shitty cut-scenes.  "
but achievements = trophies. 
 Therefore PS3 version = 360 version but without the shitty cut-scenes. 
Therefore PS3 version > 360 version.
Online
Posted by hamchan
@Lambert said:
" Sad to see the Final Fantasy series die out like this. It was all Square's fault for not trying to adapt to the changing marketplace of better games and game design. At one point, this series was the best of the best, and now it is just average POS like 90% of the games out there.  No one will even remember this game by the end of the year.  Good riddance I say. And can we get rid of the whole JRPG classification? They should be rated and reviewed at the same high standard that all other, superior RPGs are rated on.   Good review, although it seemed like you gave the game mercy points (stars?). "
Die out? The game sold a crapload. 
 Why should we get rid of the JRPG classification? We classify games into genres for a reason. When JRPGs play the same as WRPGs then i'd agree with you.  
 
Also mercy stars? If you read the review Brad liked a lot about the game, it just takes too damn long to get there. I agree with him about this. Once you reach chapter 11 the game becomes amazing.
Online
Posted by TheHT

you could feel the honesty in this review lol. bummer, now i'm having doubts about picking it up, determining if i really care that much to trug through the beginning.

Posted by Brackynews
@SpiritOf said:
" I think it only right that Brad go back to the 360 version and finish his play thru.  For the integrity of the review process. "
He can do it on my profile.  I certainly do love achievement points.  It may take a (hella)  while but I can see myself getting a double S rank.
Posted by Peanut

Brad's obsession with the fucking resolution of the cut-scenes really puts me off. I've got both consoles, but achievements > shitty cut-scenes. 

Posted by ZenaxPure
@CL60 said:
" I still don't see why everybody is complaining about it being linear...it's just as linear as every other Final Fantasy. It just doesn't throw an illusion that it's not in our face. "
Indeed, it is structured very much like X which no one had a problem with then. It just became overblown on the internet, it really isn't that different and hell the story justifies it and the game opens up when the story goes in that direction where you would expect it to open up, course that is completely overlooked by most people, this review too.
Posted by Fei

Brad should've addressed the plot more. For one the narrative is poor. Plot points are eluded to and obscured leaving you in the dark until someone wants to monologue every last little detail in the most melodramatic way. And not just plot points or bad guys, the main characters do this everytime. They announce what they're feeling, what they thought, and how they were wrong to do so in the same kind of over revealing, melodramatic way. If this was a book it would be committing literary brain hemorrhaging. There are like a thousand ways to develop characters, reveal mysteries, hint at plot points, and expand story without the same dumb use of in your face monologuing.

I mean, seriously, think about it. It happens like 3 times a chapter and it does not provoke anything. The characters are so easy to read as well, so when they spill their guts and melodrama out like some teenage girl its like literary vomit. There is also problems with a clear badguy. Every great save the world story has a great villain. Darth Vader, Sephiroth, Kefka, whoever. 
 
The gameplay is good, the graphics beautiful. The game is a slow burn, has serious pacing issues, and didn't captivate nor capture me in anyway. 

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