Final Fantasy XIII Review – FFXIII Is A Beautiful JRPG

  • 10/10/10
    Graphics - 10/10/10
  • 10/10/10
    Story - 10/10/10
  • 10/10/10
    Playability - 10/10/10
  • 5/10/10
    Replayability - 5/10/10
  • 10/10/10
    Originality - 10/10/10

It’s been since 2006 since the last Final Fantasy released. And nearly a decade since the last good one. Is Final Fantasy XIII worth the wait? The best way that I can possibly describe Final Fantasy XIII is like this: it’s that ridiculously gorgeous girl that you start dating, and right away you know you’re in love. You go on more than enough dates, dedicate endless hours, and yet at the end of the day you still know nothing about her nor has she put out. You begin to lose your interest, and it’s at this point most men would simply give up. However, If you’re patient, this beautiful girl will eventually open up to you, and you will truly be in love. It takes close to 20 hours to fully get involved in the story, and even more to feel truly free. I can tell you this right now though, be patient. Final Fantasy XIII appreciates the time you put into it and rewards you greatly.

The main characters in this epic journey are Lightning, Snow, Hope, Sazh, Vanille, and Fang. What I find to be incredibly entertaining is how the game sets these characters up. The Story bounces around so much that the game requires you to eventually play as each one of them. What this does is create an overall sense of togetherness. Unlike the rest of the franchise where main characters were easily cast aside, FF 13 will simply not allow it. Don’t like to play as Hope, too bad. Think Snow is an arrogant asshole? Too bad! One of those weirdos that only play as the male characters??? Grow up, says Square-Enix, it’s not junior high anymore. The characters develop so well due to this that you will find it hard to NOT like every single one. I can’t think of a game in this franchise with a full cast of characters I like. Pay attention to their back stories and their interactions with the world, and you will undoubtedly fall head over heels for this cast.

As for the story, it’s a very hit and miss thing for me. I had to put in nearly 20 hours for it to unlock. Honestly, if I weren’t a huge Final Fantasy fan, I would have turned this off at hour 8 when I hadn’t even rounded first base. Luckily for me, I stood my ground and played until my fingers bled. What I got in return was one of the greatest stories I have been a part of. Fal’cie, l’cie, Pulse, Cocoon, The Sanctum, and the Purge all create an epic journey that will keep your mind occupied. Sorry Arby’s, but you aren’t the only thing on my mind anymore. While I wouldn’t say it as epic as Final Fantasy X, it’s a very close second. Totally worth your patience, and while it may seem confusing for the first few hours it clears itself up nicely. Patience is a virtue! She will open up and tell her story, I promise.

The gameplay is what truly roped me in. Sure this girl is gorgeous, and she has a beautifully intriguing story to tell, but it’s the way she moves that is breathtaking. The battle system is absolutely perfect. It’s a combination of real-time and turn-based with a class system unlike anything out there. The basic description is as follows: each character has a set of classes to choose from (examples are Commando, Ravager, and Medic). During battle, you use what the game calls “Paradigms” to control how your party acts. The goal is to send your opponent over their percent threshold, staggering them, and ultimately delivering the final blow. So if you have Commando, Ravager, and Medic, one character will hit for high points, one will keep the combo gauge up, and the other will heal. These can be switched around pre-battle, tailored to your needs, and then on the fly changed during battle. Once you get a hold of this, you will be completely unstoppable. As for the linearity, it is until Chapter 11 (around 20-25 hours). This is a Final Fantasy game, and a JRPG so it’s to be somewhat expected. If you want open world, go play Mass Effect or Dragon Age. This game isn’t for you.

So now the final word on the newest game in this epic franchise. How do I sum this up?… If you are looking for a serious relationship, Final Fantasy XIII is the one for you. By the time you are at hour 20, it will have grabbed you by your heart and twisted the love out of it… In a good way. It’s a beautiful story of love lost and gained, government control and media bias, and a world torn apart by the masses. If you are a fan of the franchise, this is a must buy. If you don like JRPG’s, I would recommend staying away. I don’t want to hear you bitching about the linearity and lack of story after only 5 hours of gameplay.

Graphics: As good as it gets. Gameplay and cut scenes are seamless. They also did a ridiculously good job of keeping the Final Fantasy look while making the graphics look realistic.

Story: Unbelievably good. Give it time. And by the time I mean 20+ hours. I guarantee you won’t regret it. When you finish this game and have a better appreciation of life, you’ll thank me.

Playability: battle system is absolutely perfect. I can’t find a single flaw in it. The linearity allows the game to focus on the story and delivers at just the right moments. Pay attention to the tutorials, or you will get lost.

Replayability: here’s where the game fails. Due to its linearity, there’s no real reason to play it again. There are plenty of side missions later, but for the first 3/4th’s of the game, it’s very straight-laced. I’ll play it 47 times because I love it, but that’s not a real reason to play it again.

Originality: nothing like it out there. Somehow this franchise has managed to make 13 (not including the off system installments) games and make them all original. I’ll remember this game as one of the greats.

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