$26.99 - $29.99
2 Stores162 Reviews
Pros: great story, good graphics, and the battle system can be fun
Cons: battle system can also be frustrating, too linear.
2 years ago when I got my Xbox 360 I got it knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play Final Fantasy but that didn’t bother me. Xbox at Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, and Tales of Vesperia so I didn’t need FF. However due to Sony massive screw ups when it comes to marketing there PS3 to Americans Square Enix decided to release the game multiplatform. I was overjoyed and of course pre-order the game so I got my copy of it the day it came out. So is FFXIII worth the 4 year wait, and is it the best ever. The truth is that it depends on what your looking for in an RPG, has FFXIII has a lot of hits and misses.
The story of FFXIII is a bit complicated and it will confuse you for the first couple of hours, fortunately the datalog comes in and helps fill you in on history, myths, people, and races. Basically there are two planets that orbit one another one called Pulse which is suppose to be a hellish waste land filled with evil doers, and male vent Fal’cie. And then there is also Cocoon a human paradise where the fal’cie help cater to the human populations every whim. In times of danger and war the Fal’cie can turn humans into L’cie and give them magical powers. But it comes at a price the brand they wear slowly evolves over time if they don’t complete there mission before the brand is complete they turn into C’ieth a zombie like creature doomed to wonder the world for centuries in till it’s rotting body breaks down. If they complete there mission an eternity of crystal slumber awaits (so on one end is zombie ville, the other is crystal imprisonment uh which option does the L’cie not get screwed)
When a Pulse Fal’Cie awakens near the Cocoon town of Bodum the Cocoon leaders decide to purge every individual in the area afraid they have all been made L’cie. However 5 people Lighting, Sazh, Snow, Hope, and Vannile not only manage to escape the purge but go to the Fal’Cie vestige to take it head on, all for there own variety of reasons. However before they are able to kill the Fal’Cie they all get branded and are given a dream like focus. Now they must decide what there focus is Snow beliefs it to protect Cocoons people but the others aren’t so sure. Has they travel to find a way to escape there fate conspiracy’s unravel about the Fal’Cie true nature and there real views towards humans and a choice between fulfilling there focus or saving the people of Cocoon.
All right after reading epinions resident Sony fan boy and crybaby (and he earns that title anybody who sends me nasty e-mails and revenge rates me gets that title) Chromekillers anti 360 rant about how the game got changed to meet the 360 requirements let me tell you exactly what SE did to the graphics and the game to port it to the 360. First off the in game graphics are beautiful the characters are realistic, and the colors and textures of each environments are lush, even though the game is linear (more on that later) you still get the idea your experiencing the beauty of Cocoon has you walk around. The in battle segments have some beautiful effects has your spells are rendered equally has beautiful.
So where do 360 owners inevitably get screwed, simple it’s in the cut scenes. The 360 version is not only over 3 discs but the larger cut scenes are no longer in engine, rather there compress FMV of in game engine cut scenes. The drop is notable even on my 19 inch 720P monitor when these scenes are done. Now is any of this going to make me go out and buy a PS3 for just this one game nope, but if you own both consoles then the PS3 version is obliviously the better choice.
The music in the game is pretty good and the unique battle theme can get stuck in your head. The main song that plays through many of the areas and at the end isn’t what I call great but it fit’s the mood of the areas that it plays. The voice acting goes from great (Sazh, Lighting) to average (Snow), too oh for the love of god please shut up (Vanille and Hope).
Now for a rant on something they added to the sound that annoyed me more then a 90 speech done by Vanille, they added lyrics, and rather ridiculous one to the chocobo theme. Making areas where you have to listen to the theme even more irritating.
For those of you who thought FFX was way to linear I should tell you FFXIII makes FFX look like a non linear completely open RPG in comparison. The game is so linear for the first 10 chapters it could easily be a 2d plat former. There is a map in each area but for most places you won’t be really needing to look at it, since straight forward is the order of the day. There are enemies in your path with just enough area to sneak around them if your sneaky enough to get past them. But if they touch you a battle begins. There are no towns in the game either so your always motoring, which is bad because villages in RPG’s give you a place to focus, cool down, and explore the story. The game does open up on chapter 11 in which you can explore the planet of Pulse, and this area is completely open. It’s about the size of the over world of Legend of Zelda twilight princess, not the biggest ever but plenty to keep you entertain for several hours.
The battle system has it’s strength and it’s flaws. You only control one character in your group the rest are always AI controlled. When ever you attack or cast a spell it costs segments on the ATB meter that flows on the screen, for example a fire spell is one unit while fira you have to wait for two units to fill. Another meter you have to watch for is a meter that appears on enemies has you hit them with large combos, when it gets filled the enemy is staggered and you can can do much more damage has well has knock them up in the air in effect paralyzing them. Magic spells fill the meter faster but the meter comes down really fast, while physical attacks fill the meter only a little the meter doesn’t come down has fast. The trick is hitting them with both physical and magical attacks to get the meter filled up has quickly has possible.
Addig to another bit of strategy is the paradimes, since the computer controls your AI paradimes allow you to pick what job each characters have. For example one paradime will have all 3 characters being ravager, another will allow for a medic, a commando, and a synergist (people who cast buff spells on party), and you can switch these roles on the fly in battle.
In the end the battles are really fast pace and all though you can’t control all your pieces you still can dictate there strategy in the middle of the battle by switching paradimes.
For the level grinding and level up there are CP points earned at the end of every battle for use in something called a crystarium. Each person special roles are split up into separate crystarium and you use points to move along these crystarium grids and activate orbs that power up your characters. It is for the most part a more evolved version of the FFX sphere system. Weapons can also be purchased or upgraded at save points along the way to toughen up your character even more.
Summons can also be gained and are gained for each character has the story continues. When your lead character gains a summon he has to give 3 bars off of there TP meter. This TP meter is filled by finishing full combos, and by stars earned at the end of the battle (it’s kind of like a ranking a high star ranking means you did well, a low one meant you marley survived). Needless to say it’s hard to fill up so you won’t be using them very often. When summon an edilon takes the place of your two CPU companions and ranks up the damage, the combos go on his Gesalt bar. When the time runs out for a edilons perception in battle you have the option press X and turn them into a vehicle (cars, motorcycles, and giant mechs) and then the higher the gesalt bar the more combos you can give to them after this transformation. And then of course the last one will be a huge blow that comes from summons in a FF games, like diamond dust for example.
So what’s the down side well the first thing that annoys me is that you have no control what so ever to control 2 of the characters in battle. Now let me explain what this means in a lot of other games like Tales of Vesperia I can stop the battle and issue orders to my mage to do a heal spell the next time she has an open slot, and customize which spells will be used before others. There is no such customization or able to tell a character who to heal next in the middle of battle. So while you might want a protect spell first thing in battle, you will have to wait in till your syrnagist who thinks haste and veil are more important buffs.
2nd thing and this one goes into the what the @#$# were they thinking category. If the character your controlling dies it’s game over. Since this is not an action game like Kingdom Hearts or Tales of Versperia your powerless to control your characters movement, heck there isn’t even a back row you can put your lead character in to cover the damage. Nor is there any special coverage where there the last ones to be attacked is your character. Nope the chances of your character getting damage is the same has the two CPU one. Annoying when dealing with bosses with high attack ratings. You might think your doing ok with all characters being in the green only to have a boss do a cheap combo on your lead character and kill them before your able to switch to a paradigm that allows healing. The other two are in the green but because your main character die it’s game over. Luckily the game never sets you back very far, in fact you go out right before you enter the battle, but it’s still annoying. Especially since some of the bosses can take up to a half an hour to kill (the game keeps a timer on each battle.)
I liked the story the characters were interesting has they all start out with reasons to hate each other and then finally form bonds in order to save the world from the last boss. The graphics were good and the battle system is fun. But the over all linearity of the game, and some of the WTF problems with the battle system keep me from giving it a perfect grade. It’s a fun enough game but there are better RPG’s available for the box, like Tales of Versperia.