7 Years Later and I Finally Finished Final Fantasy XIII

Lightning and crew about to drop the hottest album of 2017
Lightning and crew about to drop the hottest album of 2017

My experience with Final Fantasy XIII has been an interesting one. Until tonight, this game may be the single most time I spent with a game to never beat. My first attempt at this crazy ass game was on the Xbox 360. At the time, the novelty of playing a Final Fantasy game on an Xbox was a crazy thought in of itself. Of course Final Fantasy had switched teams before XIII jumping from Nintendo to PlayStation. At the time, Final Fantasy felt so synonyms with PlayStation but glancing back retroactively the Finalist of Fantiest series had simply become too big to be held down by one platform. There is also no mistaking how insanely slow XIII starts out. Arguably, there is no mistaking how slow the first 90% of XIII starts out...But if there is one single redeeming quality to Final Fantasy XIII, it is undoubtedly the combat system. The time sequence battle system is definitely what had me coming back to this game so, so many times.

I uhhh...what?
I uhhh...what?

My first play through of XIII ended abruptly about 20ish hours in. While playing Gears of War at a friends house with my Xbox 360, a heavy metal tape measure came crashing down from an above shelf and landed directly on the the hard drive for my Xbox. I shit you not. There was no rhyme or reason for this to happen but it just did. Even though it was just the hard drive that broke, I still had a replacement plan with Best Buy and they gave me a whole new Xbox that same night. It never dawned to me until the next morning that all saves (including Final Fantasy XII) were long gone. I had no backups and this was years before cloud saves. So I put XIII on the shelf, "I'll come back for you, someday" I said to myself. Given how slow and honestly extremely confusing XIII can be it wouldn't be for a few years before I delivered on that promise. My 2nd attempt with XIII on the 360 did not go much better. I have no divine intervention or crashed hard drives to use as an excuse for not finishing my second play through. Instead, I got to almost the same exact spot as my first play through and just fizzled out from ever playing it again. It would go on to be a sore subject in my video game library history. Eventually my 360 would red ring like so many of them did, I didn't have a replacement plan, all my 360 games were given away to my cousins (unbeknownst to me until a few years later) by mom after I went off to college, and Final Fantasy XIII would always be a game I spent 40 hours with and never finished....

At least XIII still does look very good given its extreme hardware demands
At least XIII still does look very good given its extreme hardware demands

That was until 3 years ago when Final Fantasy XIII was released on steam coming as a huge surprise to me and most of the gaming world. A console exclusive game from 2010 was being released on Steam 4 years after its release? Why? I wasn't going to get it, I told myself. The sluggish and ridiculous hand holding nature would be too much to play through thrice let alone one more time, I told myself. But remember how fun that combat gets after the first 10 hours? About an hour after the steam release, XIII was in my cart and waiting to be downloaded. If you guys think the beginning of this game is slow, just imagine having to play through it 3 TIMES. But alas, my brutal and self inflicting time with XIII would not wrap up as soon as I thought it would. This time I promised myself I wasn't going to fizzle out from the game. I'm gonna brute force my way through it and get to the good parts that everyone talks about. However, my PC specs did not agree with my self. You would think a PC port of a 4 year old game would run better but a lot of things about Final Fantasy XIII never made sense. On my old as dirt i5 processor and even older GTX 570. This game was not happening for me. The frame rate performance would hit into the low teens at times. This would not do, I knew I would update my PC eventually and XIII (like the crazy intense love interest you can't quite get away from) would be waiting for my return.

Otherwise, shoot THIS motha fucka...
Otherwise, shoot THIS motha fucka...

Thank god for cloud saves. If not, I really don't think I could play through the begging of XIII a fourth time. I'm not THAT crazy. A few years later I did upgrade my gaming PC and was ready to run a 7 year old game that had ridiculous high hardware requirements. But EVEN STILL this was not a straight shot to the end. I would install the game to get a nostalgia fix for that sweet combat. Newer games would come out and I would need to uninstall XIII to clear up hard drive space. Rinse and repeat this practice for almost another year. Eventually after plugging away at this ridiculous game time after time, I reached the penultimate chapter of XIII. THIS IS IT FOR REAL THIS TIME. I didn't tell myself, I demanded it of myself. So for the past week I have been digging away at getting through this game and today I played through the last bit of chapter 12 and all of the last chapter. It's really hard for me to admit if I really enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy XIII. The combat is an excellent way to modernize turn based role playing games. I wish the Final Fantasy VII Remake would use more of a similar system instead of the more action oriented system from XV. The story is definitely a grand experience one comes to expect with Final Fantasy even if it is extremely convoluted while taking its sweet time to make any of kind of sense. Also, besides my man Sazh, I think I hate every character in Final Fantasy XIII? In the end, I finally beat the game and it was a thing...I guess.

There was definitely a time where I really thought I would never see the end of Final Fantasy XIII. It seemed as if there was almost some kind of unknown entity that truly didn't want me to see the games conclusion. Maybe I should've listened to it, but I didn't. Also, while I do own XIII-2 and Lightning Returns in my steam library (steam sales be crazy) I think I may be done with the grand tale of The Fabula Nova Crystallis. I also find it slightly humerus and extremely coincidental that I finally finished this game on the eve of the PS4's Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age's release. I never picked that one up one for its original PS2 release and I've only lightly touched the game via a PC emulator. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow morning and look for a steel book edition of XII so I can have a whole new Final Fantasy to questionably finish or not within the next 7 years...

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