Final Fantasy… I have had a loving relationship with the franchise since the original Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I was always caught up between that, Battle of Olympus, Dragon Warrior, Rygar, and Zelda II. Those were my favorites. I have even played Final Fantasy II for the NES (Japan only at the time). I may not work for Square, but I have been around since the early days, therefore I feel I can honestly judge what they produce based on playing each one extensively.
So what are my thoughts on Final Fantasy XIII?
So many people had mixed feelings and complaints, which I can see where they are coming from. The complaints are about the linear approach and the story, etc. First and foremost, the graphics were amazing. Square’s CG is the very top in gaming. I would even stretch and say they are the best of all media, including film animation. Their cut scenes are BEAUTIFUL. I can’t wait to see what they do with their luminous engine. If you don’t know about the luminous engine, here’s the YouTube:
Now, I didn’t have a problem with Final Fantasy XIII. It reminded me of Mystic Quest. Mystic Quest (SNES) was very linear, but it was a great introduction into the series. XIII seemed that way to me. It felt like an introduction for new players AND a way for them to test the current generations system capabilities. I suspect XIII-2 and Versus will be far superior. As we have learned, the XBOX360 had a very hard time supporting this game at multiple disks and visual losses. As I’m sure XBOX fanboys will disagree, it is the truth.
The story wasn’t that bad at all. It was a little emotional, but so what? The pathways were linear, but so what? There are games that are even worse. For example, God of War was very linear, plus there is no control of the camera. It is fixed. I don’t think the linear style bugged me that much because the game was beautiful. Some of the bosses were tricky, but all in all, not bad at all. I really enjoyed it.
The battle system was simple, but difficult at the same time. You could figure out what to do, but paradigm timing was crucial for many battles. Maximizing attributes and weapons was a very, very long and tedious effort (similar to FFX sphere, but much more in-depth). It took well beyond one hundred hours to get full capacity for the missions beyond the end of the story. The best place to farm experience points is right before the final boss battles with Barthandelus and Orphan. Stake out there for 3-4 hours or until “level 4 max” is filled to have a great edge.
I will say that the story is somewhat forgettable. It is not as vivid as Final Fantasy VII or Tactics (for those who actually played through it), but it is not poorly written at all. It will be interesting to see how XIII-2 ties into it. Apparently, there is time travel and it is less linear. Square-Enix must have listened to the consumers and it has sold very, VERY well in Japan.
Lasting Appeal: B-