Fighting Final Fantasy XIII - Episode 2: Yo Square, How Do You Make A JRPG Without ANY Good Characters?

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

7944

Forum Posts

94559

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 16

Edited By ZombiePie  Staff

Author's Note: Fighting Final Fantasy XIII - Episode 1: This Game Has The Worst Introduction In Video Game History!

Part 11: Where The Fuck Are We?

To everyone who made fun of me for liking the relationship in Final Fantasy VIII, I dare you to defend Snow and Serah's.
To everyone who made fun of me for liking the relationship in Final Fantasy VIII, I dare you to defend Snow and Serah's.

Everyone is a l'Cie thanks to an unnamed fal'Cie. Try saying that sentence five times fast. A series of flashbacks follow the conclusion of chapter two, and I hate Final Fantasy XIII's flashbacks. They represent an attempt at world-building but are contextless from top to bottom. These moments are our only opportunity to see the character's before the events of the main story. Unfortunately, the present day rarely builds upon these scenes. Likewise, what we witness doesn't feel paramount to the underlying narrative.

Let's use the flashback involving Snow and Sarah as a case study. We watch Snow profess his undying love for Serah, and ask for her hand in marriage. It's undeniably a beautiful scene. There's a sense of whimsy as Snow guides Sarah through the fireworks show. However, I have to ask what's gained from including this cinematic. We already know Snow loves Sarah. Why not introduce the origins of their relationship? We only see the pay-off of their romance and none of the preamble. It's a romance angle best suited for a daytime soap opera.

GAWD! If this game were entirely a dream, that would be the best!
GAWD! If this game were entirely a dream, that would be the best!

Moreover, the flashbacks are told thematically instead of chronologically. Following Snow and Serah's moment, the next cutscene depicts Lightning boarding a train with Sazh. The cinematic afterward involves Hope spending time with his mother. Chapters come and go before the stunning conclusion to Snow's marriage proposal. In fact, IT'S A FIVE HOUR LONG GAP! AND FOR WHAT? All we learn is Lightning did not approve of Snow marrying her sister! This development has nothing to do with the main story!

The most damning part is the story's inability to use its flashbacks to its advantage. Stop and think about everything we learn about Snow's connection to Lightning. Through the flashbacks, we learn about their acrimonious relationship. Does the main story take the time to have the two settle their differences? NO! Does Lightning surface her regrets about Serah? NOPE! Do Snow and Lightning get a scene to address their pent-up drama? Absolutely not, but at least there's a scene where Lightning punches Snow in the face!

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! WHAT DO THE WORDS COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH EVEN MEAN?! SOMEONE SEND HELP!
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! WHAT DO THE WORDS COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH EVEN MEAN?! SOMEONE SEND HELP!

The last thing I will say about the flashbacks is they do a terrible job of creating a sense of place. This problem plagues the entire game, but these cutscenes cast a spotlight on the issue. Final Fantasy XIII feels like an assemblage of parts instead of a livable world. Many of the flashbacks take place in the seaside city of Bodhum, but we don't know where that is in comparison to the rest of the world. To add insult to injury, we see the cast interact with one-off characters that are never properly introduced.

Let's stop and look at the framing for chapter two. After the branding of our party, the cast stands on a frozen lake. A title card informs us it's "Lake Bresha." It's a beautiful vista shot, but that's it. Where is this location in comparison to the train tracks from earlier? How did we get here? What happened to Anima? The game never answers these questions, and our ability to role-play is limited. Lake Bresha exists in isolation to everything else, and the same sentiment applies to every level. The game expects YOU to do the legwork in knowing where you are after plopping you into a new environment.

Part 12: Final Fantasy XIII Waits Until Chapter Three To Become A Game

WHY IS EVERYTHING BLUE IN THIS GAME?! DID SQUARE FORGET THERE ARE MORE THAN FOUR COLORS?!
WHY IS EVERYTHING BLUE IN THIS GAME?! DID SQUARE FORGET THERE ARE MORE THAN FOUR COLORS?!

Once chapter three begins, Final Fantasy XIII finally opens up its gameplay. It starts by introducing its class system. Each character starts with two classes that suit their individual strengths. For example, Lightning kicks off with the "Commando" and "Ravager" classes. It's a decent start, but we're stuck repeating the same gameplay rigmarole we're all too familiar with at this point. Regardless if Lightning is a Commando or Ravager, you're better off selecting "Auto-Battle."

Then, there's the "Crystarium." After playing the game for HOURS, it rewards you with experience points. Characters have an individualized skill tree for each of the game's classes. I know I've used the term "skill tree" when referring to the Crystarium, but that gives it more credit than it deserves. If anything, it's a poor man's Sphere Grid. Each Crystarium, much like the rest of Final Fantasy XIII, is linear. There are no choices to make and the end goals are static. It also requires a gargantuan amount of patience before getting interesting.

Anyone who says the Crystarium is
Anyone who says the Crystarium is "good" is lying to you, and wants you to regret your life choices.

I will admit I enjoy the Paradigm system. Being able to seamlessly switch classes is liberating. All the same, the system has its fair share of issues. The problem is the game doesn't open up its mechanics soon enough. The first three levels of the Crystarium are as dull as bath-water with the supporting classes feeling especially ho-hum. The Synergist and Saboteur feel limited outside of boss battles. Finally, the entire system doesn't feel balanced. Some characters have more points to use on their Crystarium than others.

These nitpicks are all ignoring a pressing issue with Final Fantasy XIII's class system. Filling out a list of paradigms is a colossal waste of time. Maybe it's just me, but I hated having to run through every permutation of my possible Paradigms and parring them down to the most potent. Why the game doesn't automatically fill out a list of Paradigms, is beyond my comprehension. For fuck's sake, I would have taken a "Save Paradigms" feature! It's also a bum deal when the game throws you into a boss battle with a new set of characters, and you only have four pre-selected Paradigms available.

Aw shit, will you look at that! The game plays EXACTLY THE SAME even with the Crystarium! What a wonderful game.
Aw shit, will you look at that! The game plays EXACTLY THE SAME even with the Crystarium! What a wonderful game.

Furthermore, I'm not a fan of the Crystarium. Navigating the system isn't intuitive, and it's too linear for its own good. Skill trees should provide thoughtful choices that impact how I use my characters, and that's not the case in Final Fantasy XIII. There's also too much overlap between the game's classes. I get there's a difference between Ravagers and Commandos, but I don't understand why those two jobs aren't combined. Other jobs require tremendous amounts of patience and due diligence. Characters like Hope and Vanille don't bear fruit until the game's penultimate chapter.

We are dancing around what I think is the most substantial problem with Final Fantasy XIII. Whoever thought character levels should be attached to your story progress, and NOT how much you play the game, is a moron. There's no other way to put it. It's fucking asinine your characters are stuck in arbitrary level caps until you complete chapters in the story. How does that encourage players to explore the mechanics? Even worse, you don't get access to the final level of the Crystarium until AFTER you beat the game! FUCK THAT NOISE!

Part 13: Playing This Game Sucks!

I take back everything I said last episode about Snow, Sazh has the worst script in the game.
I take back everything I said last episode about Snow, Sazh has the worst script in the game.

I found chapters three through five to be a bore. The forced character pairings are the root cause of my apathy. During chapter three you are graced with a party consisting of Lightning, Vanille, and Sazh. Sadly, you only control Lightning. During what is ostensibly the game's "tutorial level," it STILL throttles your gameplay choices. By my third or fourth battle, I felt proficient using the Commando and Ravager classes. However, the game doesn't allow you to swap party leaders and try the other characters.

Everything feels like an endless cycle of repetition! Each environment replicates the same template. You have a starting point, ten or twelve trash mobs, a boss, and an endpoint. Walkable paths snake around the environment to stretch the game's length. While the skyboxes are beautiful, they are stunningly superficial. There's a shocking lack of interaction between the player and environment due to the absence of genuine exploration. The levels also lack a framework.

To the two of you who told me to start reading the codex, what part of this is worth my time?
To the two of you who told me to start reading the codex, what part of this is worth my time?

Around the Anima boss battle, I grew fed up with the companion artificial intelligence. For those that do not know, battles feature parties of three, but you only control one character. The supporting party members are computer-administered avatars. This arrangement is the origin of many headaches in Final Fantasy XIII. The AI is dumb. There's no nice way to put it. Not only does the artificial intelligence prefer casting multiple uses of low-tier spells, but they are suspiciously afraid of using items. The latter of these issues is especially problematic when status ailments come into play.

The lack of direct control over the supporting characters causes the paradigm and crystarium systems to lose their value. Even if you unlock powerful abilities, there's no guarantee your companions will apply them. For example, the game struggles to play as a Medic. I cannot begin to count the times a computer-controlled medic healed one character to full health while leaving another at low health. It never knows when it should split the difference. Another example of the AI's shortcomings is its refusal to use area-of-effect spells. 90% of the time, the computer prefers to cast several uses of basic magic instead of AOE versions of the same spell.

I just love looking at the mindless bullshit I am bound to grind away at for ten minutes.
I just love looking at the mindless bullshit I am bound to grind away at for ten minutes.

The computer never utilizes critical gameplay mechanics. The game incentives you to time your attacks during boss battles. However, you can only do that with your character. There was nothing more frustrating than watching my computer-controlled partners run headfirst into an enemy, get walloped, and I'm the one who popped a Phoenix Down. The worst part is your supporting characters refuse to spread their attacks. When pitted against groups, the artificial intelligence zeroes-in on the enemies you're attacking. Too often, the early battles devolve into fighting monsters one at a time.

But the worst is yet to come. For some reason, if the player controlled character dies, the game ends. This happens regardless if your companions are alive or not. Even if you have a fully leveled "Medic" as one of your supporting characters, they are not allowed to resurrect the player. This rule is TOTAL BULLSHIT! During the early portions of the game, I felt like I played far more conservatively than necessary. Instead of taking advantage of staggered enemies, I used several turns on healing.

Part 14: The Forced Moments Of Sentimentality Are Terrible

Why is anyone listening to Snow? Seriously, why do the characters just run with what he says?
Why is anyone listening to Snow? Seriously, why do the characters just run with what he says?

After a bit of faffing about, our party finds itself branded as l'Cie. As they were cursed by a Pulse fal'Cie, Sanctum's military is in hot pursuit. While making their way through Lake Bresha, they collectively discuss their focus. Conveniently, everyone experienced the same premonition. No one knows what this dream means, but Snow surmises they are destined to protect Cocoon.

Eventually, Snow locates a crystallized Serah. All we understand is Serah achieved her focus. We don't understand what her focus is or how it relates to our party. In an odd way, I enjoyed Snow during this scene. Snow is one of the few characters you can empathize with in the story. He is driven entirely by his love for Serah and wants to believe he can save her. He cannot fathom his focus not being interconnected with Serah's. I guess that's why I accept Snow's illogical grandstanding. He's a meathead, but his actions are in service of the story.

This is a great question the game drops like a ton of bricks in the next scene.
This is a great question the game drops like a ton of bricks in the next scene.

What commences next is a whole lot of NOTHING! There's a quick aside where the characters lament the totality of PSICOM's purges, but they don't investigate the matter further. In the next twenty minutes, we experience dozens of trash mobs and two additional tutorials. There are major lulls in-between the story sequences, and I felt like I was tolerating the combat in order to see the cutscenes. Regrettably, the cutscenes don't improve things. Our characters don't receive proper introductions, and the environments are not scaffolded. The game also uses Sazh to inject groan-inducing levity.

Herein lies my issue with Lake Bresha. In general, Lake Bresha feels like a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive environment. Outside of teaching the player several mechanics, it brings nothing to the table. For example, Hope constantly frets about turning into a Cieth. Instead of conclusively resolving the issue, everyone agrees and moves on to a different topic. Speaking of Hope, he mentions once he'll never see his father, but he doesn't revisit this fact until chapter nine. The game is too harried in its introduction of plot elements. We are told Pulse l'Cie are bad, but none of the characters extrapolate why. Instead, you have to flip through the codex and read the entries on "Pulse l'Cie" and "Sanctum l'Cie."

THE TEMPLE IS ON FIRE?! WHAT IS THERE TO SEE IN A TEMPLE ON FIRE?!
THE TEMPLE IS ON FIRE?! WHAT IS THERE TO SEE IN A TEMPLE ON FIRE?!

The best example of this problem is the temple after Lake Bresha. While there, we fight trash mobs, defeat a dragon, and find a spaceship. There is no forward progress in understanding the world or characters. This sequence takes twenty minutes, and NOTHING HAPPENS! Considering how far into the game we are, you'd at least expect one scene where the characters introduce themselves, but this scene NEVER COMES!

The game cuts back to Snow after Sazh pilots everyone out of Lake Bresha. Snow is predictably surrounded by an army of soldiers. After a brief fight, two metallic monsters erupt from Snow's arm. These monsters are called "Eidolons." While the Eidolons are visually brilliant, fighting them is a crummy experience. The main conceit of these battles is each Eidolon wants the player to take advantage of a specific class. In this case, the Shiva Sisters want to see Snow's Sentinel abilities. Consequently, these fights are often battles of attrition. Eidolon confrontations devolve into performing the same move several times until a meter fills up.

The Eidolon battles are zero fun, and I dare anyone to defend their inclusion.
The Eidolon battles are zero fun, and I dare anyone to defend their inclusion.

It doesn't help these battles are timed. At the start of each confrontation, the boss casts "Doom." Additionally, there's a ton of trial and error. Eidolons perform a variety of party leveling abilities if you are not prepared. And it's never clear which abilities fill out an Eidolon's "Gestalt Meter." Finally, what are the Eidolons? Are they fal'Cie? Why do they erupt from your body? Who put them inside your characters? Why is any of this nonsense happening?

Part 15: And Now I'm Watching A Thirty Minute Cutscene!

Lightning, Sazh, Hope, and Vanille attempt a quick getaway using their newly acquired airship. For once, the game uses its cinematics to clue us into the world. We watch a news broadcast detailing PSICOM's recent purge. It's about as banal as it sounds. There are early hints of the story's eventual antagonist, but his introduction comprises of a few spoken lines. Likewise, it's hard to sympathize with the characters when we do not know what a "purge" does to its victims.

Also, I forgot to mention the Eidolons are Transformers. That's a thing.
Also, I forgot to mention the Eidolons are Transformers. That's a thing.

Characters repeatedly remind us Sanctum is up to no good. We watch them decry Sanctum's purges and authoritarian leadership. Nonetheless, we never see Sanctum commit a war crime. Instead, every NPC from chapter one disappears without a trace. Maybe they were purged, or maybe not. Where's Shinra when you need it? Remember when Shinra committed several acts of genocide in the name of capitalism? There's no early attempt to frame Sanctum as the game's antagonist. Sanctum's leaders are villains because the game says it.

Then there's Galenth Dysley. No one will argue Dysley is a nuanced villain. He runs a corrupt authoritarian government because he's evil. As a frame of reference, think back to Yevon from Final Fantasy X. The leaders of Yevon were evil, but their actions were in the name of something. They believed they were preserving humanity. Dysley's actions never introduce a complex metanarrative. Dysley is evil for the sake of being evil. Plus, his master plan is a bunch of convoluted nonsense.

Oh boy, I can't wait to see how this
Oh boy, I can't wait to see how this "well-intentioned extremist" becomes a typical Square-Enix villain.

At the start of chapter four, we are graced with three flashbacks. The first features Lightning talking to her former commanding officer. I want to preface you only know the name of this one-off character after consulting the codex. The next flashback shows Lightning volunteering to be "purged." The final flashback shows Hope spending time with his mother. Why is this game such a juxtapositional nightmare?

Does this game think I am stupid? Why does it use a cutscene to remind me Hope loved his mother? I FUCKING KNOW!HOPE'S BEEN GRINDING IT INTO MY EYES FOR HOURS! I don't need a cutscene to remind me! The scene involving Lightning and Sazh isn't any better. We don't know what convinced Sazh to follow Lightning. Moreover, we don't understand why Lightning allows Sazh to trail her. These characters are guided by a red thread of fate and nothing else. You have no idea what their thought process is, and there's no sense these characters have inter-personal relationships outside the story.

This game was developed during the early 2000s, and HOT DAMN does the story remind you of this fact!
This game was developed during the early 2000s, and HOT DAMN does the story remind you of this fact!

The most damning thing I can say is how un-Final Fantasy everything feels. Despite my histrionics, I love the franchise's value in creating organic worlds. Sure, the series is guilty of using trope-laden characters, but they serve a purpose. Even the fish out of water moments in Final Fantasy X had a function. They exist to establish an alien world, one, unlike any we had seen before. Final Fantasy XIII has several high-poly characters pantomime emotions within beautiful skyboxes. The character's backgrounds are left up in the air, and it's impossible to care about them! The same goes for the world Final Fantasy XIII inhabits! Everything is easy on the eyes, but I don't understand how Cocoon functions as a society.

Part 16: Every Fucking Level Is The Same Fucking Shit!

Wait, we're honestly done with this character? He's seriously never coming up again?
Wait, we're honestly done with this character? He's seriously never coming up again?

Sazh crashes the ship after a brief encounter with a fal'Cie. After regaining consciousness, the party finds itself at the "Vile Peaks." This location is ostensibly a technological garbage heap. Despite its distinctive look, it plays exactly like the first level. I am four fucking chapters deep and every environment plays the same! What the fuck were Square thinking? The game has beautiful art assets dripping with potential, but all it does is sequence them into a series of corridors.

Chapter four kicks off a considerable lull. Until chapter ten, the game focuses on pre-selected parties of two. The previous three chapters introduced the basics of the combat using pre-determined groups of three. The first of these combinations is Lightning and Hope. It is a balanced pairing, but you end up commanding Lightning once again. Other pairings aren't so equitable. While Sazh and Vanille's set pieces are among the narrative's strongest, neither are effective damage dealers. Then there's a Vanille and Hope tandem.

I want everyone to know killing these owls added a
I want everyone to know killing these owls added a "lot" to the story.

I want to say Vanille and Hope are only together for about twenty minutes. Nonetheless, they are NOT complimentary in combat. Hope is a Medic/Synergist and Vanille is a Medic/Saboteur. It takes forever to kill anything with the two of them. Even worse, some of the early groups lack a commando, and these pairs cannot take advantage of the staggering mechanic. These issues underscore the sloppy nature of Final Fantasy XIII's class system. Sooner or later, the characters gain access to a third class, but the game just gives it to you after completing a chapter in the story.

Think back to Final Fantasy IX. There are two summoners in that game, and there is a reason for that limitation. Both summoners are the last remnants of an extinct race. The ability to summon creatures isn't something anyone can learn. Steiner and Zidane don't become summoners when they reach level fifty. Final Fantasy IX uses its gameplay to inform you about the characters. The only value to Sazh being a Synergist is he can apply buffs. The only value to Lightning being a Commando is she can maintain an enemy's stagger meter. And the list goes on and on.

I take back every shitty comment I made about the Final Fantasy VII minigames.
I take back every shitty comment I made about the Final Fantasy VII minigames.

It's not all doom and gloom in the Vile Peaks. At some point, Hope locates a lumbering robot and pilots it through waves of enemies. I enjoyed this scene more than I am willing to admit. During this minigame, our interactions don't devolve into grinding away at streams of monsters. Speaking of which, the scene is short and allows you to make progress in record time. That's what I call a "win-win!"

Something I was not especially happy with was Lightning's Eidolon battle. The lead up to the confrontation is just as rancid as the battle itself. After piloting the robot, Hope appears winded. Lightning, having undergone a massive character transformation, declares Hope "weak" and attempts to abandon him. After calling him "a hopeless child," Odin bursts from Lightning's chest. Upon defeating Odin, Lightning learns the importance of friendship and plans to toughen up Hope. I don't know where to start with this scene.

There are also weird times when the game reminds you Snow exists. These scenes stick out like a sore thumb.
There are also weird times when the game reminds you Snow exists. These scenes stick out like a sore thumb.

I want to highlight the herky-jerky nature of Lightning's characterization. The Eidolon battle begins after she attempts to cast away Hope. This declaration occurs after Hope single-handedly defeated dozens of enemies while piloting a Tyrant. Lightning's dismissive comments somehow summon a giant Transformer. After the battle, Lightning seemingly wants to raise Hope like her son. In less than twenty minutes, Lightning changes her outlook on Hope TWICE! These character transformations occur solely for the sake of the script. Everything happens because the story demands it.

Part 17: The Gapra Whitewood's Drained My Lifeforce

I have come to a startling revelation. Final Fantasy XIII is what a Michael Bay directed video game would look like. Final Fantasy XIII is pleasing to the eyes but mostly without substance. Its story is downright incoherent and relies too heavily on melodrama. Furthermore, both exploit the male gaze and cannot resist using a person of color as comic relief. The similarities are uncanny!

I would like to nominate Hope for
I would like to nominate Hope for "Most Punchable Face" in video game history.

I forgot to mention the game's justification for breaking up the main party. After messing around with some trash, a tidal wave of debris falls to the ground. The debris creates a wall that splits everyone up. Lightning can jump miles into the air and float in suspended animation! Somehow, this wall of garbage is impossible to climb. The contrived nonsense doesn't stop there! When Lightning acquires Odin, her first reaction isn't to chase after Sazh and Vanille. Instead, there's a mountain of trash and each group goes its own way.

Lightning and Hope make their way to the Gapra Whitewood, and this level is downright painful. It features three astonishingly long corridors, repeats the same three enemy designs, and culminates with a bullshit boss battle. It takes an hour to complete, and at no point adds anything new to the story. If forced to say something positive, I'd say the Behemoth encounters allow you to play around with the juggling mechanic. I understand controlling Hope is intended to be empowering, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Also, I'm going to skip a brief set piece involving Sazh and Vanille because nothing of consequence happens.
Also, I'm going to skip a brief set piece involving Sazh and Vanille because nothing of consequence happens.

Around this point, I grew tired of the game's enemy designs. I admit the designs are distinct and fit with the narrative, but that doesn't change the fact they are LAZY! Each environment has four or five possible monster types. Some of the enemies are palette-swapped versions of previously encountered baddies. Everything looks like shit pulled from Square's design playbook. The soldiers look like Deepground from Dirge of Cerberus. The robotic dogs look like the wolves from Final Fantasy X. Behemoths look like high-resolution versions of the Iron Giants from Final Fantasy VII.

Finally, I want to talk about the art design of the Gapra Whitewood. The level is the same blue crystalized nonsense we saw in chapter two! Why is everything blue in this game? Does Square not know tertiary colors exist? Every level features an overbearing color filter. Worse, the corridors all look the same. It's as if Square created one level's worth of art assets and copied those assets ten times over.

Part 18: Hope Is the Worst. THE. WORST.

Are you fucking kidding me? Is this game seriously using the sleep talking your recent traumas trope? What the fuck?
Are you fucking kidding me? Is this game seriously using the sleep talking your recent traumas trope? What the fuck?

A story summation of the Gapra Whitewood is rather easy. Hope says he wants revenge on Snow. Lightning tells Hope to grow up. Lightning gives Hope a knife. Hope broods about Snow in a corner, and Lightning tries to figure out where they need to go. That's all that happens for AN HOUR, and Hope is insufferable the entire time. He does not let up with his pissant antics. Hope's character arc is by far the most trope-laden godawful nonsense Square has ever written.

In a desperate quest to build sympathy, the game employs every cheap storytelling device imaginable. In an earlier scene, the game plays one of the oldest tricks in the book. After Lightning acquires Odin, she and Hope rest before continuing their journey. Hope falls asleep and starts crying out for his mother. Trust me, it doesn't get any better. Interspersed between Hope and Lightning's conversations, are vignetted flashbacks to Hope's mother. I cannot emphasize enough, Hope's story arc is trash. It's crap. It's shit. It's poop from the butt.

You sure are HOPELESS! Heh... okay I'll let myself out.
You sure are HOPELESS! Heh... okay I'll let myself out.

When the game attempts to manifest Hope's trauma it does so without grace or tact. I'd go a step further and say the use of Hope's anxiety is exploitative and offensive. Additionally, Lightning's responses to Hope are equally reprehensible. When Hope shares vulnerabilities, Lightning posits life is better without friends. When Hope falls down, she commands him to get stronger. When Hope shows signs of mental instability, SHE GIVES HIM A FUCKING KNIFE! When Hope fixates on the knife, she brushes it aside as no big deal.

I get Lightning's mantra is she's a cold and collective loner, but that doesn't excuse her conduct. Lightning lectures how grief should be confronted with violence and Hope eats these speeches up like candy. The game treats trauma and anxiety as simple maladies best remedied by personal willpower alone. I'm not sorry for calling that out as an irresponsible and harmful message. If JRPGs have taught me something, it's emotionally compromised teenage boys on quests for vengeance shouldn't be given weapons!Isn't that right Atlus?

I present the
I present the "Trash Boy Hall of Fame" class of 2018!

Even if we were to remove the game's exploitative use of trauma, I don't "buy" Hope's perspective. We've spent a decent amount of time with Snow to know he's not a murderer. This issue wouldn't have been a problem if we understood Hope's psyche. The game fails to surface what convinces Hope to think Snow is at fault. All he does is loudly exclaim "Snow's gonna pay!" Consistently, Hope fails to progress as a character. His only emotional states are silent brooding or loud wailing. And no one fucking talks in this game! Lightning doesn't take the time to have a level-headed conversation why murdering one of our party members isn't a good idea. In fact, the concept she is a positive maternalistic role model for Hope is laughable at best.

Part 19: The Bosses Fucking Suck

At this point, I can safely say I hate this game. The characters suck. The world is shit. The story is incoherent. The combat is stale. Top to bottom, Final Fantasy XIII is a complete bore. These issues might explain why I think the boss battles are cruel and unusual punishment. Not since the likes of Final Fantasy X have I felt a game's "cheapness."

Including bosses when the player is limited to two characters is questionable. While only a few are challenging, they feel like another padding technique. As mentioned earlier, some party groupings struggle to take advantage of the staggering mechanic. This problem is worsened when several of the bosses only take damage when stunned. Equally frustrating, employing common sense strategies isn't an intuitive process. Very often, the character you control doesn't get to make the decision about healing or buffing. You are instead at the mercy of the game's artificial intelligence.

I hate the bosses in this game. I hate them so much.
I hate the bosses in this game. I hate them so much.

Part of why I dislike Final Fantasy XIII is it feels like a simulation. The gameplay obfuscates any sense of emersion. As @thatpinguino put it, "playing Final Fantasy XIII is like spinning plates." You spend more time looking at bars and meters than the action on the screen. More often than not, I had my eyes on my character's health meter and planned accordingly. The action set pieces are busy work. Each battle is unrelenting and lacks opportunities to breathe and absorb your surroundings.

Back to why I think the bosses are cruel. Bosses with immunities have always been a pain, but they are especially heinous in Final Fantasy XIII. During the early phases of the game, your characters only have four or five moves. If a boss has a single immunity, that represents the loss of a quarter of your options. During one such encounter, I threw a fit when I noticed a monster immune to Fang's Saboteur abilities. It was immune to ALL OF THEM! I spent HOURS getting her new moves on her Crystarium and it was all for naught.

I want to mention there's a glitch in the PC port of FF13 where scanning Eidolons reveals nothing and you have to guess which attacks fill their meter.
I want to mention there's a glitch in the PC port of FF13 where scanning Eidolons reveals nothing and you have to guess which attacks fill their meter.

Bosses are the most frustrating part of Final Fantasy XIII. This statement includes the Eidolons. With large swaths of the game outside of your control, it feels like they value luck more than skill. Sometimes there are highly specific windows of opportunity when attacking a boss, but the AI always charges head-first. It doesn't help there are several bosses who can instantly reverse status effects. The process of getting the buffs you want is already an arduous process. Seeing an enemy erase up to ten minutes of hard work, is demoralizing. And don't get me started about the bosses who can ignore entire character classes! Do not worry my children, we will talk about Barthandelus in the next episode.

Part 20: I Guess Snow Is A Character?

I want to start off by saying I think Fang is one of the best characters in the game. She's a no-nonsense go-getter and isn't afraid to share her thoughts about a problem. Her interactions with Snow add levity without any smarmy baggage. Why her introduction is mostly non-interactive, is beyond my comprehension. In fact, the Lindblum feels like a wasted opportunity. Here the game has one of its most awe-inspiring locals, and it does nothing with it. The same could be said of the Lindblum's officers.

Gee, look at all this beautiful artwork I couldn't be fucked to care about!
Gee, look at all this beautiful artwork I couldn't be fucked to care about!

It baffles my mind how little the game gets out its art assets. We're on an airship the size of a city and it only has three scenes. It's commanding officer, Cid Raines, is a paper-thin stock character. Like everything else in the game, his introduction is tucked away in a codex entry. Even then, our time with him is so limited its hard to feel invested in his evolution. Every character that isn't part of the primary cast has an introduction and conclusion. That's all they have! At best, they pantomime emotions and add momentary splashes of narrative flair. However, it's impossible to call any of these characters "memorable."

I can tell you my favorite merchant in Final Fantasy X. It's O'aka by a mile. I can recite the names of merchants and soldiers from Final Fantasy IX, and I haven't played that game in two years! Do you want to know why that's the case? Because they felt like "REAL" characters! They were charming and memorable in their own right. Why the FUCK do I care about "Rygdea" from the "Calvary?" Honestly, I had such a hard time remembering Rygdea's name I ended up calling him "SPACE COWBOY."

Goddammit! I still have to talk about two more of these GOD AWFUL flashbacks!
Goddammit! I still have to talk about two more of these GOD AWFUL flashbacks!

God, Snow's breakup flashback is fucking horrible! It's HORRIBLE I tell you! What does it add to the story? Players run around as Snow searching for Serah on a beach! Serah explains she's breaking up with Snow because she's cursed. It seems like she doesn't want to drag Snow into her l'Cie nonsense, but OF COURSE, Snow professes he'll find a way to "make things right." Snow's been repeating this soundbite since chapter one! I AM FUCKING SICK OF IT! PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP! I just want Snow to say something different. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, please give Snow more than three lines to repeat the next four chapters! IT'S DRIVING ME INSANE!

Then there's Lightning's flashback during the Gapra Whitewoods. During this cutscene, Lightning disapproves of Serah's marriage to Snow. It's strongly implied Lightning regrets how she last treated her sister. It adds some depth to Lightning, but it's not without its limits. Like the rest of the game, Lightning's turmoil functions at a surface level of metacognition. If Serah means that much to Lightning why doesn't she mention her outside of the cutscenes? The game is happy to present a grimace on Lightning's face but doesn't take the time to internalize why she feels those emotions. It's "Writing 101" in its rawest form. Speaking of the writing, WHO THE FUCK WROTE THIS TRASH?

WHY IS THERE A COMIC BOOK GUY REFERENCE IN A FINAL FANTASY GAME?! WHY?!
WHY IS THERE A COMIC BOOK GUY REFERENCE IN A FINAL FANTASY GAME?! WHY?!

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

6265

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Actually just realizing through these that I kinda wanna play this game again.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16221

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

It sounds like you need a hug, Zombiepie.

Also you have convinced me to never attempt to play this game again. Way too many other RPG's to play. I doubt I'd hate it with the fury that you do, seeing as I didn't hate it at all the only time I sat down to play it, but I don't think I'd take it as well these days.

Avatar image for soimadeanaccount
soimadeanaccount

684

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#3  Edited By soimadeanaccount

You have to accept that FF13 is a linear game. The progression of character and story will happen, and like most FF it will happen at its own pace, but this time around it happens in a linear path, all the player has to do is to move forward though the linear corridor gameplay section. You can question if a linear game at this day and age (or when it was released) is/was good design, but in the case of 13 it pretty much relies and the game works in conjunction with that. There's a certain layer of competency when the game knows exactly what it is and work with that.

The Crystarium is just a learn X skill and Y stat at Z level behind a coat of paint, it is a very old school method of character level progression hidden behind a fancy interface, which isn't offensive, but nothing remarkable. Early on the grind really isn't too bad, you can pretty much max each level just by going through the fights normally until the end of the dungeon.

The game is not going to be telling everything and resolving conflicts at the moment they show up. If you really want to have a FF that simply present you with a problem and then show you the resolution the next very minute, give FFIV a try...I dislike it for that exact reason. It feels like the conflict has zero stake. 13 employs a "show and tell" method of world building and characterization. Most of the "critics" these day seem to be obsess with the concept of "show don't tell." It could work nicely, but it relies on both the developers skill as story tellers, and the player's eye of details and interpretation which adds multiple layers of uncertainties in getting some of the points across. 13 will usually bring up something through the codex or character's dialog then expand on it with cut scenes, the flash back cut scenes are that, they also serve to piece the time line together about the events that happen. That's just its story telling method rather than being completely chronological and being explicit with its character up front. Personally I have always been a sucker for a more mysterious story that unravels along the way.

The world and places you end up at are also part of it. Pay attention to the function of locations you are in. Very early on the game mention that the fal'cies are integral to the world. Vile Peaks is the construction ground of Cocoon where fal'cie gather material in order to build Cocoon itself. Gapra Whitewood shows control over "nature" of Cocoon and what Sanctum are doing. Both of these locations are not very "pretty", but Gapra Whitewood is probably a step up from the junkyard of Vile Peaks, and that pattern continues on to the next area, there's something going on there.

The fact that the party split up seem to get gloss over, but I think it is an interesting moment. The conversation they have regarding their focus and essentially what to do next serve as the bases of the conflict the game is presenting, differences of ideals. The group doesn't get along, you know that much, which is fairly unique on its own. The conflict of Lightning and Snow regarding Sarah is just a part of it, as is Hope and Snow. Sarah is a good enough character for who she is, but part of it is also to satisfy Snow's heroic quota as the generic RPG hero character, a love interest and a damsel in distress. Everything Snow says and does pretty much follow the most generic hero archetype, his "I am a hero" spiel is laughable, but that's exactly the role he is meant to play compare to the others. Lighting and Hope follow the path of vengeance, and Sazh and Vanille follow an avoidance if not guilty path.

There's a certain line from Sazh pretty much commenting that they are now enemies of Cocoon, for him who lives in the world he knows what being a Pulse l'Cie means in their society. Whereas Snow, being the hero, of course believes that he can protect everyone. While Lightning and Hope are looking for revenge against the fal'cie, Cocoon, and Snow. Even they said it themselves, the next time they meet they could be enemies. I find this section of the game very interesting, the differences of ideals pretty much set the tone of the conflict for rest of the game along with the world. The world building doesn't start with NPCs; it starts with the main characters, in particular the 4 Cocoon locals. These characters aren't just characters, they stand for point of views, and these are conflicting point of views. In another game perhaps the player would have been given a choice at this moment to pick which path to follow, but not here, FF13 will show you all of them, and the follies and shortcomings of all of them.

Avatar image for pistolpackinpoet
PistolPackinPoet

319

Forum Posts

62

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 17

man I thought I had a rough time playing this game.

Avatar image for drm2thej
DrM2theJ

309

Forum Posts

11

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Hahaha, this whole post is awesome.

It does kind of make me want to play Final Fantasy XIII, which I have the platinum trophy for, again. ;)

Avatar image for onemanarmyy
Onemanarmyy

5720

Forum Posts

431

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

#7  Edited By Onemanarmyy

You see, people listen to Snow because he talks about fate, focus & destiny a lot and waves his arms around & clenches his fist in front of his face! He also keeps telling you how he's the man to make things better.

While i love the stagger mechanics & being able to juggle enemies in the air, the story of 13 is terrible.

Avatar image for chaser324
chaser324

9074

Forum Posts

14895

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 13

#8  Edited By chaser324  Moderator

Uh oh. If you thought setting up paradigms could get tedious, just wait until you get to the gambit system in FFXII.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for xanadu
xanadu

2147

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@chaser324: at least with 12 if you have a good setup, you can just push the analog stick forward and not worry about combat ever.

Avatar image for mezza
MezZa

3218

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

#10  Edited By MezZa

@chaser324: To be fair you can interact with gambits as little as you want since you can manually control your entire party. If you dive deep you can automate combat, sure, or you can just set some automatic heal thresholds, set everybody to "attack my target" and do the rest yourself.

Avatar image for undeadpool
Undeadpool

7808

Forum Posts

10761

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 16

Every time I've tried to go back to Persona 3, I have to climb the wall that is every time Ken Amada opens his stupid maw and lets moronic crap spill out of it. He's not JUST an awful example of "kid-talks-like-adult" trope, but he's boring on top of it.

Avatar image for harbinlights
HarbinLights

194

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The characters and story are probably the only interesting thing about XIII for me.

I couldn't stand the gameplay, and it felt like a chore.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
ArbitraryWater

15950

Forum Posts

5508

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 58

#13  Edited By ArbitraryWater

Hey now ZP, based on my recent experiences, you're definitely missing a very important member of the Trash Boy Hall of Fame. Or is Emil disqualified because he's in a game literally no one likes?

Avatar image for harbinlights
HarbinLights

194

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Hey now ZP, based on my recent experiences, you're definitely missing a very important member of the Trash Boy Hall of Fame. Or is Emil disqualified because he's in a game literally no one likes?

Excuse me, but I'll have you know that courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality.

Hmph!

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
ArbitraryWater

15950

Forum Posts

5508

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 58

@harbinlights: Oh, I'm well aware that courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality. But if you're seriously going to advocate that Emil is anything but a garbage-tier JRPG protagonist, I'm afraid we're going to have to disagree.

Avatar image for zombiepie
ZombiePie

7944

Forum Posts

94559

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 16

#16 ZombiePie  Staff

@efesell said:

Actually just realizing through these that I kinda wanna play this game again.

Look, if you plan on re-playing this game, despite my repeated warnings to the contrary, replay the first two chapters and make a judgement call from there. If the characters and story are not grabbing you by the game's fifth hour... it doesn't get any better. The characters actually get worse. The story gets even more incomprehensible. And the levels are EXACTLY THE SAME THING! LOOK AT THIS CRAP!THIS IS A SCREENCAP FROM THE LAST LEVEL IN THE GAME!

OH COME ON!
OH COME ON!

IT'S THE LAST LEVEL IN THE GAME AND IT PLAYS EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST! WHO IN THERE RIGHT MIND DOES THIS?! So, yeah, if you "like" the first two chapters, then you should play the rest of the game, because it's exactly the same template. Otherwise, I have failed you.

It sounds like you need a hug, Zombiepie.

Also you have convinced me to never attempt to play this game again. Way too many other RPG's to play. I doubt I'd hate it with the fury that you do, seeing as I didn't hate it at all the only time I sat down to play it, but I don't think I'd take it as well these days.

I really hate this game. And there are good games that came out while I was playing this hot nonsense. Everyone's talking about Octopath Traveler, and I want to see what the hubbub is all about. Though, I will say, everyone who is claiming Octopath Traveler is a sign Square will "return to their roots," is out of their mind. People said the same thing when Bravely Default released, and Square didn't understand why that game was a success. Hell, they showed that was the case when they tried to make a sequel.

@drm2thej said:

Hahaha, this whole post is awesome.

It does kind of make me want to play Final Fantasy XIII, which I have the platinum trophy for, again. ;)

You are the second person who has come forward to tell me they platinumed this game, and I'm just in awe. Seriously, how the Hell did you manage to complete the Gran Pulse missions and continue to maintain your sanity? I do not know what that is possible, especially when the Titan Trials distill Final Fantasy XIII's bullshitery to its most potent levels.

And I just want to say this now... Gran Pulse is terrible. Walking miles to reach a Cieth Stone, only to be told to walk back the way you came to kill a monster is the worst. THE. WORST.

You see, people listen to Snow because he talks about fate, focus & destiny a lot and waves his arms around & clenches his fist in front of his face! He also keeps telling you how he's the man to make things better.

While i love the stagger mechanics & being able to juggle enemies in the air, the story of 13 is terrible.

I "like" Snow, but seriously he should have more than three cutscene animations. I would pay someone to compile every time Snow clenches his fist in front of the screen during a cutscene. That would be hilarious, but more importantly, THE STORY IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE! I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT BARTHANDELUS' MASTER PLAN IS ALL ABOUT?! Seriously, what is his deal? I think he wants to blow up the world as a blood sacrifice to the god of all creation, but there are ten better ways of doing that than what he ends up doing in Final Fantasy XIII.

man I thought I had a rough time playing this game.

One more thing before I call it a day. To the three or four of you who repeated the same soundbite every review said when this game released that "Oh, don't worry the game opens up in chapter 11!" Either that or some faceless apologism like "Yeah, I get you, but at least Gran Pulse is fun." I just want to say this:

You lied to me.

Gran Pulse is TERRIBLE

I mean... it's nice to look at, but even the Monster Hunter games that were releasing on the PSP around this time had better mission structure than Gran Pulse. And at least Monster Hunter has a rewarding loot-grind circle. Gran Pulse is just the most horrible open world with the same mission repeated seventy times. It's the worst thing Square has designed outside of The Bouncer.

Oh man... I should do a blog series on The Bouncer. HEY @thatpinguino! WE SHOULD RECORD A PODCAST ABOUT THE BOUNCER! THAT'S HOW WE ARE GOING TO HIT THE PAY DIRT!

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16221

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

@zombiepie:

People said the same thing when Bravely Default released, and Square didn't understand why that game was a success. Hell, they showed that was the case when they tried to make a sequel.

My understanding is that some of the key people who worked on Bravely Default worked on Octopath Traveler. Someone at Square Enix clearly understands how to make a memorable JRPG because they've made two of them that have been very well-received.

But then, history has proven that Square Enix makes one or two good things and then tries to take everything in the absolute worst direction possible, so we'll see if whatever comes out of Acquire next is any good or if it crashes and burns.

As someone who has been playing Octopath Traveler... yeah, it's pretty great. Its writing has its ups and downs, but its downs aren't really that down, just extremely predictable, and its ups have actually been pretty high. Gameplay's great. World's great. Looks great. Go play it, if you want to know what happens when Square Enix gets their collective shit together and releases something worthwhile.

Avatar image for sod
sod

49

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#18  Edited By sod

Fang is amazing . :|

Avatar image for pistolpackinpoet
PistolPackinPoet

319

Forum Posts

62

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 17

@justin258:

not to go off on a tangent but I wondered if Octopath Traveler was developed by those key people. And this is coming from a person who enjoys the game. It seems like a step in a wrong direction. I do see Bravely Default's influence on the break gameplay system but it's painfully slow. I get they are trying to make a call back from the older JRPGs, like the first Bravely Default, but they at least modernized the traditional JRPG genre with Bravely Default by omitting the grind with giving the player the option to change the battle speed and random encounters.

Going back on topic, telling someone to power through near the end of the game for it to get good means that the game sucks.

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16221

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

#20  Edited By Justin258

@pistolpackinpoet said:

@justin258:

not to go off on a tangent but I wondered if Octopath Traveler was developed by those key people. And this is coming from a person who enjoys the game. It seems like a step in a wrong direction. I do see Bravely Default's influence on the break gameplay system but it's painfully slow. I get they are trying to make a call back from the older JRPGs, like the first Bravely Default, but they at least modernized the traditional JRPG genre with Bravely Default by omitting the grind with giving the player the option to change the battle speed and random encounters.

Going back on topic, telling someone to power through near the end of the game for it to get good means that the game sucks.

Are you calling Octopath or Bravely Default slow? Because one of my primary complaints with Bravely Default was that its battle system was painfully slow unless you turned on the fast forward feature - and that just looked painfully silly (and it was still kinda slow). Much of the game consisted of me saving up BP and then attacking four times for 250 damage apiece instead of once for 1000 damage. Perhaps I simply lack creativity, but I rarely found a good reason to cash all of those turns in for anything except lots of damage.

Meanwhile, I'm finding that most battles in Octopath Traveler will go much faster if you focus on exploiting weaknesses. The game has perhaps too much of an emphasis on AOE attacks, which makes the Thief class less useful for random encounters because he has no AOE attack for cleaning up trash mobs. Still, if you make sure that your classes cover all or almost all of the damage types, then you can wipe out most encounters pretty fast. It usually only takes me two or three turns.

I'm not going to say that I didn't enjoy Bravely Default, because there were certainly things about that game that I really liked. And for many of the same reasons that I liked Octopath Traveler - its mechanics were interesting, its combat was pretty fun despite my complaints about it being slow, and it looked gorgeous. But I've played Octopath Traveler for close to forty hours at this point and I don't really feel like stopping, whereas I don't think I even made it thirty hours into Bravely Default before finding myself bored by the story, uninterested in the characters, and tired of the combat.

Regardless of my opinion on either game, the vast majority of people interested in JRPG's seem to regard both Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler rather highly, especially when compared to other JRPG offerings out these days.

Before we get in trouble for derailing zombiepie's thread, I want to note that he's the one who brought up these two games!

Avatar image for soimadeanaccount
soimadeanaccount

684

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I thought Bravely Default and Octopath is Square's attempt to capture the older games vibes which is fine if that's the style and era of games you are into with that particular split of gameplay vs narrative. The current JRPG landscape is pretty much a split up of an already niche genre which is quite impossible to develop for as a large budget title. The fact that Final Fantasy as a series still exist with the money backing it is an unique exception, but doesn't make the problem any easier.

Might as well dive into Barthandelus (let's call him Bart for short). Bart's role in the story is trying to sacrifice Cocoon in order to awaken the Maker, essentially the god in the FFXIII world. The logic behind it is that if/when the world/life is essentially gone the Maker will have to wake up and return to re-create another world. The fal'cie also essentially seek death as a release or to try to meet their maker again. The actual lore really isn't as important IMO; the story and conflict of FFXIII really isn't all about the sci-fi mumbo jumbo bullshit. A big theme of FFXIII is, figuratively and literally, about keeping civilization/society afloat, and how everyone have different ideals regarding that, and the clash of ideologies lead to various conflicts...you know, kind of like real life.

Bart and by extension the fal'cie represent a certain collection of ideas and roles. They are essentially the rulers and caretaker of humanity. Bart believes that humanity is weak, cowardly, and has to rely on the fal'cie for pretty much everything (we see it represented in the game), but at the same time the fal'cie are stuck with the task of being humanity's caretaker. They represent those who have given up on the world and believe the solution is the end it all and create another; in particular they view the world as such from a ruling class perspective. At the same time they also harbor a certain envy to (the inferior) humanity; humanity lives in blissful ignorance under the fal'cie power, yet the fal'cie themselves are Orphaned by their maker. Furthermore there's also a layer of they have been around for a long time and is currently longing for the release of death (which is one of the theme of Lightning Returns)

Also Snow plays the role of a dumb idealist. His fist clenching, silly heroic dialog are all part of his intended characterization. He represents those who wants to play hero, can't see the naivety of their ways, and harbors a delusion that they can save everyone. Throughout the game he keeps getting shut down by raw logic and blemishes on his heroic deeds. Cid Raines is another who believes he can makes things better also, but ends up getting consumed by the "system" despite having more manpower and actual political pull.

Avatar image for tobbrobb
TobbRobb

6616

Forum Posts

49

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

#23  Edited By TobbRobb

@pistolpackinpoet: I will kind of echo what Justin said but also my own take. It seems like Bravely Default added those features to make up for the failure of it's own design. Random encounters were obnoxious because of the huge amount of slow walking you did, and there were no breaks between dungeon and overworld to pace it out so you kind of needed the ability to turn them off for backtracking and stuff.

And in the same way the speed up in combat was neccessary because the combat in Bravely Default is soooooo slow. Even with the speed up I felt it could be a slog sometimes.

In my opinion Octopath has neither of these issues. I actually think it's the most finely tuned and well paced Jrpg I have played in years and years. You get just the right amount of combat in between towns that it doesn't drag and the combat is really responsive and fast with a satisfying loop to it even when you are just crushing enemies.

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
monkeyking1969

8348

Forum Posts

1241

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 17

#25  Edited By monkeyking1969

It makes me sad that Square's artist can make such beautiful characters, worlds, and monsters that pulse with life but are given nonsense to do and say. That the artists imbue people, buildings, streets, or clothing with so many detail covered with what amounts to "fashion greeblies" ; yet nobody get to say or do anything worthy.

The narrative and dialogue writers could not care less if what the story or what these interesting looking characters says makes a lick of sense. I don't even thinks this a translation issue, I suspect these games are STILL nonsense in Japanese. Its as if the story writers want everything said and done to be dramatic nonsense sense.

I think the funniest thing in the world would be these games doing what they do... except that there is additional character of Larry David playing himself. Larry is there to just react to everything said and call them on it.


Avatar image for turambar
Turambar

8281

Forum Posts

114

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

#26  Edited By Turambar

Wait, is this going to be a playthrough of the entire trilogy? I'm actually kind of interested in how ZP will react to Lightning Returns.

Avatar image for hermes
hermes

2885

Forum Posts

77

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 7

#27  Edited By hermes

God... this post reminds me how f***ing horrible every character in that game is. Lightning is sold as stoic but comes out as a expressionless sociopath, Snow tries too hard (and fails) to be "the cool guy" (think Gurren Lagarn without the nuance), Vanille bubbly personality for 80% of the game was just obnoxious, and I loathed every single moment I spent with Hope. I think at the end, the only ones I liked where Sazh (despite his earlier attempts at comic relief), because he is the closest we got to an adult and his relationship with his son felt more sincere than any of the side stories of the main characters with their supporting cast, and Fang, because she is the character we interact less with (and that is saying something), and by the time she is introduced she is the only one that is not a handful of quirks.

For example:

No Caption Provided

That image you posted here is the reason why I can't take Snow and Serah's relationship seriously, despite being a narrative focus for several of the main characters. She looks like she is 14, while he is clearly in his 20s. He has a 5 o'clock shadow and is 2 heads higher and twice her width. In terms of age and "maturity" (big quotes here) he is closer to her elder sister than to Serah... It looks bordering on pedophilia. I don't know if this is a cultural thing or the design team had a really hard time making a character that was both Lightning's little sister and Snow's soon-to-be wife, and that is the best they could come up with, but the difference in model design between those characters really took me out of their motivation.

Avatar image for fezrock
Fezrock

747

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I don't know what obsession drove me to complete XIII, but I did it a few years ago. I hated almost every moment of it, except for when I was marveling at how pretty some of the cutscenes were. Also, I will say I kinda liked Sazh.

And Gran Pulse was far and away the worst part of the game for me. By that point I just wanted to get to the end of the game and all of Gran Pulse felt like endless padding that added nothing.

Avatar image for berfunkle
berfunkle

220

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: -1

If they had given me 3 games with the same battle system as 13-1 albeit with a few tweaks here and there, I would have eaten them all up. Also, the story in 13-1 wasn't that bad. They could have expanded on the original premise in 13-2 and 13-3 and I would have been happy, but unfortunately, they got cock-eyed and changed everything.

Avatar image for pistolpackinpoet
PistolPackinPoet

319

Forum Posts

62

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 17

@tobbrobb: @justin258:

You guys provided me with a fair perspective on needing those options to actually get through the Bravely Default. I'll have to return to it and progress through Octopath Traveler to give those games a fair comparison.

To get back on track with this thread: I gotta say, the boss fights in FFXIII really was not enjoyable. Like there were supposed to be twists in the story that I didn't get unless I read through the crappy codex. One of my biggest gripe was that Cid really sucks in this game.

The set pieces and the music were the only good thing about the game but then again, I felt like they shoehorned Lightning's theme all over the place. None really gave scenes any feel like in FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX, and FFX.

Avatar image for jeffrud
jeffrud

741

Forum Posts

9721

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 18

User Lists: 39

I would like to state publicly that if @thatpinguino and @zombiepie play The Bouncer without me, I will cry forever in a cave and also be alone.