Final Fantasy XIII (2010) Review

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Console Games, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,
Rating:
EU Release Date: Mar 9, 2010 (for Xbox 360)
Total play time: 48:14:05 (story mode)

FFXIII Cover ArtI’m fairly certain that everyone knows my views on this game. I did once say that I wasn’t going to play it, but after a fairly boring week, I changed my mind.

I do, however, stick by my other comments on the game. The gameplay is very dull. Most of the battles are either easy or rely on you levelling further. There is no problem solving and the free roam element is lacklustre. The fact that I like the story doesn’t outweigh these downsides. It’s a brilliant Final Fantasy movie, but a poor Final Fantasy game.

The story follows Lightning and the inhabitants of a world called Cocoon, terrified by forces from a world they call Pulse. The worlds are run by gods called Fal’cie, who use the humans to serve their tasks. These chosen humans are known as L’Cie. When a Pulse Fal’cie appears in Cocoon, the people demand that anyone who has been in contact with it are sent to Pulse.

Lightning, a former soldier, is among them, along with a man named Sazh and two kids, Hope and Vanille. Lightning busts out of the detention train, freeing all of the deportees. Sazh stays with Lightning to fight the other soldiers while another man, named Snow takes care of the kids. Although they take different routes and for different reasons, they all end up confronting the Pulse Fal’cie – united by Lightning’s sister and Snow’s fiancée, Serah. The Fal’cie then turns them into L’cie – setting them on a journey that makes them re-evaluate everything they’ve even known.


Although there are lot of pretty maps in this game, nearly all of them are just straight lines where there is just one route. All off-shoots are dead-ends – making it really easy to work out where all the treasure is hidden. What makes it even more disappointing is that once you’re done in an area in Cocoon, you never see it again.

Onto the game’s battle system. XIII uses a system called Active Time Battle (ATB). You see an enemy on the field and to engage, you go up and touch it. If you do before they see you, you get an advantage. That’s the nice part of ATB. The negatives? Time-consuming battle intro/results transition screens. Battles you can win with your eyes closed. You only really need to focus on the boss battles, unless you’re underpowered for an area. Even then, most can be completed without too much hassle.

Paradigms

The Paradigm Deck: Customise the roles for each team member.

You can level up your characters in a screen called the Cyrstarium. At the end of each battle, you gain CP – points which can be spent in the Crystarium to improve your stats and learn new abilities. It’s a little tedious, since you earn so little CP in most battles that you need to grind to make quick progress.

However, to balance this, there is also the option to upgrade weapons and accessories which is a little less time consuming but does rely on collecting gil and components from battles. The finer details of upgrading weapons become vastly complicated when you take into account the sheer number of different component material that are available in the game. Working out which are the best to use is not the easiest thing in the world.

Like most Final Fantasy games, the music is great. The soundtrack is mostly orchestral pieces, but interspersed with a few electronic instruments – a particular favourite of mine is Snow’s Theme. Unlike other Final Fantasy games, there are a large number of vocal pieces in this soundtrack, some of which vary between the Japanese and International release, including the game’s title track (Leona Lewis’s ‘My Hands’ in the international release, but Sayuri Sagawara’s ‘Kimi ga iru kara‘ in the Japanese).

In conclusion, while the game is quite fun and a great way to kill a long weekend, it isn’t a particularly inspiring one. Parts of the story and game play are overcomplicated while other important parts seem to have been neglected. Personally, I think the XIII series is one to miss, but if you do manage to drag yourself through this game, the next two are worth your time.

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