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Review from a former Final Fantasy Fan

  • Mar 9, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+3
I just picked up Final Fantasy 13. I was a former final fantasy fan. This is to say I have played and beaten 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10 , and 10-2. Most of them twice. I am about 8 hours into the game, enough time to know the game is great and to advise people what I have learned, first impression.

When I heard that FF 11 was to be a multiplayer, my heart broke. I tried it, out of dedication to the series, but was disappointed as expected. I picked up 12, with hopes that they tried to return to their roots, but once again, a flop. Finally, they brought back the Final Fantasy and brought me a game I love again.

Graphics: Final Fantasy Graphics are great, you expect it. The FMV's are beautiful and the in game graphics are decent as well. The lip syncing is decent, however, you still face a couple awkward emotional sounds that don't seem to quite fit in. Previous FF had the same problem, where the graphics couldn't quite display the right emotions, so they use sounds that people say "huh, heh, ho, wow" ect.. and it doesn't always work. However, it does remind me of FFX and brings back good memories, so I say it is passible. The only graphical complaint I must say about the game is the use of invisible barriers. I was a little surprised at how many I faced, and how obvious they were. It would have been nice if they spent a little more time filling the game with more natural looking barriers.

Gameplay: Gameplay should probably be broken into several parts, but I figure I might as well start with combat. The random battle's that existed in the original FF games have been replaced with a chrono cross / chrono trigger type of gameplay. In other words, you see the enemies, and if you can avoid them, you can avoid combat. If you can get close to them without them noticing, you can get a preemptive strike. This means you can strategically choose how to approach an enemy to try to engineer a preemptive. You get control, I like that. Touching an enemy initiates combat. If you get close enough, the enemy might see you and start approaching you. The speed of approach and the ability to see you coming depend on the enemy. Once in combat, it is similar to the original ff games (I ignore 12). You get to choose actions, although it also offers you the choice of auto actions (it chooses the action for you). You no longer have control of your allies, which you will immediately think you hate, but I have quickly come to enjoy the strategy involved in the game. In battle, you no longer stand in one spot in a row facing your enemy. Rather, your character moves around the screen, and so do the enemies and allies. Certain enemy attacks can be interrupted if you time it right, and timing is everything in combat. You have the ability to move the camera 360 so you can see what is happening to your allies, but there is always the status bars to tell you what is what. The main "strategy" that replaces what used to be controlling your allies is now a system in which in mid combat you change how your allies fight. So, with the click of a button, an ally can go from attack mode, to healing mode, then defensive spell mode, then offensive spell mode, and so on. In some ways, a lot of people will hate this, I like it, it is new and refreshing.

Th next new strange thing with the game is that hp is instantly restored at the end of each battle. Every battle starts with full life. You may think this sucks the challenge out of the game, but you will find yourself struggling occasionally. Some mobs will simply wipe out half your health in a couple of seconds if you don't watch it. So the game is still challenging and enjoyable. The other catch, as you only control the "leader", there death means game over, no phoenix down for the leader.

I think they finally listened to a select group of people who kept saying "why does a game have to be tedious". It seems to me like they simplified, yet made it fun as well. You no longer have to worry about keeping you health up inbetween fights. Instead, every fight you go in full and go nuts, if you don't use strategy, you could fall hard and quick. I like it.

The last gameplay idea I will mention is leveling. They borrowed the concepts of FFX leveling up (the sphere grid). However, they amplified it, instead of experience earned, you earn CP. You cash CP in, which causes the line to move towards the next crystal(sphere). After x amount of cp (depending on value of thing you learn) you get the crystal and whatever boost it gives you. The added catch is that you now have multiple grids, each depending on what type of playing your character is doing. Remember those modes I mentioned earlier, different modes mean different advancements. So while in heal mode, you character has access to skills and abilities they don't in attack mode. This means switching modes in combat is mandatory, even for your main character, especially if you decide you want to cast a spell or protect magic yourself. Anyway, this basically means you could go into every characters menu after every fight and level up a little, or wait until you store up cp points and then move several at once. So you constantly earn experience points in every fight, and you have to decide how you want them spent, and when you want to blow time spending them.

Layout: Chests in this game take the form of technological balls (at least so far). Their positioning in this game is pretty simple, and unlike previous FF's, I never feel like I am forgetting something. They like to perform the trick of starting you in front of a chest, so if you just turned around and went back a few steps you would find one, but your desire to move forward prevents you from thinking of looking behind. Most other chest locations are rather easy to find if you look at the map, basically any deadend off path leads to a chest. Since there are no random battles, you don't have to be afraid to explore either, you know what is in front of you.

Story: SO far the story has me 100% hooked. To sum up the concept, you have two worlds, a technological world, and an "unknown savage world" Any exposure to the savage world is met with fear. There are these godlike creatures, some help the techno city stay techno, and some are from the savage world. One thing the savage demigods like to do is pick out people and make them do suicide missions (think avatar from halo 2). The citizens of technoworld treat these people as the equivalent of suicide bombers. They are considered cursed since, success means they become a crystal, failure means they become a mindless ghoul. However, the demigods temporarily endow the person with magical powers and increased strength, which gives you the reason why all of your players become so powerful, unlike previous FF games, that would explain why one of the characters becomes so powerful, and then leaves you wondering why all his teammates are just as strong (FF7 cough FF9). Anyway, some of the story is predictable, I expect some revelation about those demigods and their true nature, and the nature of both planets. I expect that the savage world is not so savage and that the government is in control in an unnatural way. You just expect those things with FF, but that does not mean I won't have fun uncovering them.

To Sum It Up: If you are a fan of the FF series the way it used to be, FFX and prior, then you should love this game. It is the first time in years that I am playing a game that feels and looks like FF. If you expected another FF12 with a new storyline and repacked ideas, go play WoW and leave my series alone. Thank you for returning to the roots, but also keeping it innovative and refreshing as always. I have yet to even touch the iceberg of this game. I am barely passed the prologue after 8 hours of play. This is going to be great, thank you Square enix.

Update: Last Impression. I figured I should update upon finishing the game, as if my review was not long enough, and add my thoughts on the game in the end. I will keep my 5 star review, mainly because I think too many people placed lower scores because of the ps3 trolling or jrpg trolling. However, I would say I feel it is a 4 star game, not 5, and this is for 3 reasons. Reason 1, there are no towns to explore, which is something I miss dearly, reason 2, there are virtually no npcs to speak of after the intro and a brief time in the carnival, and whether they gave you sidequests, told you where to go, or simply commented on the weather, I enjoyed their presence and it makes the world feel less immersed. Reason 3 is that you cannot return to the majority of the game. At the end, you can go to the city of eden, or pulse, you do not have access to anything else, for xbox 360 people, this means everything explored on disks 1 and 2 cannot be returned to, ever. I still enjoyed the game, it was challenging, innovative, and fun. The story kept me guessing until the end. However, those problems, and the invisible walls I mentioned before, dropped the score for me.

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Brian Stogsdill ()
Ranked #1387
I like writing reviews and hearing people's opinions. I am a biologist at a local college in Milwaukee. I have a wife. I have 1 son who is currently two and another son who recently passed away from … more
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From the creative minds behind FINAL FANTASY VII and FINAL FANTASY X comes the latest installment in the critically acclaimed series. As FINAL FANTASY VII was for PlayStation, and FINAL FANTASY X for PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, FINAL FANTASY XIII will be the first numbered FINAL FANTASY title for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360, and will look to once again reestablish the series as the RPG brand. Players will follow Lightning, Snow, and the other heroes who are dealt a hand of fate by the god-like fal'Cie. Cursed and regarded as enemies of society, they have the world against them and nobody to rely on but each other. Will they find the strength within themselves to break free of their curse and determine their own fates, or will they succumb to this higher power? With a story that is sure to connect with players' hearts, diverse new characters from world-renowned creator and character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and exciting new gameplay features centered around an evolved Active Time Battle system,FINAL FANTASY XIII will be the pinnacle in gaming experiences.


'FINAL FANTASY XIII' game logo FINAL FANTASY XIII
Developed for the PlayStation 3 system and Xbox 360, FINAL FANTASY XIII features the series’ most impressive graphical presentation.
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FINAL FANTASY XIII
Summons are stronger than ever before, now with the action-oriented Gestalt Mode.
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FINAL FANTASY XIII
The evolved Active Time Battle system presents players with countless methods of putting enemies away.
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Details

ESRB: T
Number of Players: Single-player
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square (Enix), Inc.
Console: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: RPG
Release Date: March 9, 2010
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