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Post by alexoblivion on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:14 pm

[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 Final-fantasy-13-cover-art

Since before the release of Final Fantasy 12, 13 has been on the rise with sneak peeks, gameplay, and trailers. However, more than anyone could have guessed, the entire future of the Final Fantasy franchise rides with the success, or failure of Final Fantasy 13. After all, 13 is the first Final Fantasy games on next-gen consoles, and the first Final Fantasy on Microsoft's Xbox360. Will it be remembered as a great example for the next games in the series, or will it fade into history as just another Square Enix game? Find out in this review of Final Fantasy 13.
The story follows a young soldier named Lightning who is searching for her sister and intends to find her by any means possible. Sazh, and old black man, who has a loveable mini-chocobo in his afro, is dragged along and soon has similar intents to find his missing son. Meanwhile, Snow, who leads a resistance group is also searching for Lightning's sister, who just so happens to be his fiancé and soon finds himself at odds with his soon to be stepsister. Although there is much more to tell of the other characters, that would spoil many of the touching moments that the game presents excellently.
The story never veers off course for too long before it's back on track. Some of these points where it does leave the main plot involve the appearance of summons, also called Eidolons. While these Eidolon encounters are mostly important, they tend to distract from the story, especially considering some of them are treated as if they never happened. While a minor flaw, it becomes notoriously noticeable for certain situations. However, in the end the story is fresh, somewhat relates to current events, and even has points that will tug at heart strings.

As with most Final Fantasy games, the characters start out simple and then grow in depth as the story progresses, except in 13, quite a few of them run out of substance. Lightning, as with most characters, starts with a strong motivation that at some point can be completed, but once her quest is finished her character dries up quickly. In particular, Hope, a character who starts off with one of the strongest stories resolves his issue and soon becomes the goody-goody Jar Jar Binks of FF13.
[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 Ffxiii_Hope_Estheim2
Although most of the characters will be forgotten until the end, there are two that hold strong until the end are Venille and Fang. Their character interaction and character development in general is touching, surpising, and above all, saddening. These characters are enjoyable, but really needed to be refined considering they become unimportant, and thus, uninteresting.

The characters probably will not catch player's attention instantly, but one thing that will is the graphics. All Final Fantasy games and their spinoffs try to push each respective system to its limits, and 13 is no different (at least with the 360). This game is a graphical masterpiece with its flawless transitions from cutscene to fight to exploration, and all of it looks equally great.
[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 Final-fantasy-xiii-20090304105957301_640w
Sure, there are a few poor textures hidden in the great vistas that populate the game, but the overall impact is well received and very welcoming. With the game's bright textures and scenes, there's no lack of color, or flare, leaving the gamer awestruck in its presentation. Particularly the first and middle scenes are the highlight of this work of art.

Unfortunately the sound is nothing special, and not that it isn't great, it just sounds no more great than say Mass Effect 2. The game, as with most, have all the explosive sounds, the engine rumbling, and sword against sword sounds, but there's nothing epic about them. It's still an enjoyable sound experience, but in the end it leaves something to be desired.

Alternatively, the music is, with the exception of a select few tracks, fairly average orchestral performances. Oddly enough, the best track in the game is the single most played track in the game. If you're curious the track is called "Blinded by Light".

A personal favorite was the new and zany Chocobo track. And although a few are really well done, the main problem with the game's soundtrack is that there are so many generic tracks which populate the overall world, and one, or two great tracks for the battles. The overall soundtrack is very unbalanced, but in the end, it works with the games sequences.

In an rpg, conversation is everything, and if it's not spot on it can single-handedly break a game. While Final Fantasy 13's dialogue is well done, it eventually falters, horribly in fact, at the end of the third act (of four major ones) where it just seems like the game runs out of interesting things for the characters to talk about. Obviously there is a corny steak in tense situations, but luckily this game wasn't made by Capcom.

Finally, to the most important quality of a game, seemingly as the player will be interacting with it for the majority of the game. Gameplay. At the base of the battle system is the turn based combat we knew and loved from previous Final Fantasy games, only the timing is not necessarily set. Each person in combat has their own time to wait after each attack. Another feature is the paradigm system, which overlays the combat with more freedom, and tactical challenge. The player can only have six sets of paradigms of multiple variations for the three characters being used.
So for example, the first set could be Lightning as a Commando (soldier), Venille as a Medic, and Sazh as a Ravager (mage). The second set then could be Medic, Ravager, and Commando.
[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 20091224_73193
[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 FFXIII_battle01_thumb
The system works well and keeps the player on their toes as throughout many battles, paradigm sets must be switched in order to take the advantage. The advantage comes in combos that the characters unleash upon the enemy which fills the stagger gauge, thus rendering the monster vulnerable to larger amounts of damage. The battles are flashy, epic, and fun and the paradigm system allows the player to create their own tactics for battle.
And the last piece of the gamplay puzzle is the leveling system, or lack thereof. In fact the only thing close to leveling is the Crystarium, which hails from Final Fantasy 10's leveling system.
[Review: Game] Final Fantasy 13 - Xbox360 Ff13_15_thumb
Nodes fill a spiral like system and each node requires a certain amount of xp to acquire and they lead the next level of the system. Just to make things even more complicated, each class/job (ie: Commando, Ravager, Sabatuer, .etc) has its own Crystarium to increase. Also, each character has a larger Crystarium for certain jobs than others. Needless to say, the system will last well beyond the end of the game.
Unfortunately, the major complaint of the overall gameplay is the fact that if the main character dies, the battle is lost. The Sentinel class seems to be made specifically for this, given that it is made to distract enemies, and have that character take the brunt of the damage. In the end it will still be a major problem for some towards the end, especially with the final bosses.

Overall, the game is a Final Fantasy game at heart and strives to be even more, but at too many points do small problems clog the game and its excellence. The game is above average, but is a great addition to the Final Fantasy Franchise. Only time will tell if Square Enix will see the game as a success, or decide if they should move on to something else. Still, if nothing else it will soak up sixty or more hours of your life.

It's awsome.

Last edited by alexoblivion on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:25 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Post by Wolf named Koga on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:14 pm


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Post by Zabi on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:14 pm

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