Game Review: Final Fantasy XIII

Initially, my roomate bought this game after I warned him about the negative reviews that this game got. Nevertheless, the game was bought and the blood has been drawn. At first I watch him playing and after a while I tagged along playing. I’m still on the beginning of the game but I have already meet all the character (I forgot which city I’m in right now).

Anyway, let’s start from the graphic aspect. From this aspect, it is mindblowing. Cutscenes are incredibly detailed and I enjoy watching it. Although some people complaining about this game being a cinematic movie rather than gameplay-oriented, I have no complain whatsoever. That’s one of the reason I bought a big ass flatscreen so I can watch an awesome movie.

Next is characters and personality. I got to say, I love Sazh since he is the only character with the most rational sense. Simple guy with much sense in him and always saying clever things is a charm for me. The character I hate the most would probably Snow since he always bitching about saving everyone (not a fan of those idealist characters). At first, I enjoy the grudge that each character display to other character such as Lightning and Hope disliking Snow. It adds the spice to the plot until I found out that the personal development changes too quickly. For example, Lightning was very sure she needed to destroy Fal’Cie to save Serah since it transform her to a crystal, but only by Hope’s single quote, she changes her mind and say to Hope to leave her since she was wrong to bring Hope along with her. I mean, hey, that was very fast to draw such a conclusion from such a random quote. Shouldn’t you investigate first to make sure?

Another point to make, I haven’t discovered a key villain up to this stage. There are some boss’ bad guys, but they don’t really have an impact to the storyline. Maybe it’s still early for me to say this, so I will not comment any further than I have no idea what I’m facing other than I’m being chased about for being a L’Cie.

Now for the gameplay. The dungeon or stage exploration is very linear like you are going through a tunnel and it can be very boring from time to time. You don’t have a chance to explore since you just have to go straight. Many people complain about this linearity and I guess I agree with them. For the battle system, you will get heal everytime you defeat an enemy. Many people said this spoils the excitement, but I’m okay with it since I don’t have to open up a menu to give potion everytime I finish a battle. Also, if you die during the fight, you can hit retry and you will start before you encounter that enemy. I like this concept and thank for their generousity so I don’t have to punch the wall everytime I have to start from the beginning of the save point just because I died from a trivial battle.

You only control one person in the battle and the others react according to the paradigm they are assigned to. I’ve played Persona 3 and Persona 4 before so I guess I have no problem whatsoever. There is no leveling system, instead you develop the skill from the paradigm level from the Crystogen point you get after each battle you win. Although I love the Materia system in Final Fantasy VII so much, I guess the Crysantium system is not so bad after all. I agree that the user wants freedom in controlling the characters and I would have been happier if they make the battlesystem a bit like Star Ocean where you can switch the one character you want to control, but I guess it’s not that bad.

So far, there is no town to explore as I’m always in a some sort of a dungeon and there is a lack of NPC to talk to. Again, I have no problem since I’m not that explorative in playing RPG. It makes the playing system very succinct and brief.

Although I know that the linearity of the game makes it a rather boring one, but I don’t get why many people complains so much. It’s a refreshing change and so far the disturbance I felt are the linearity of the game and Snow’s idealistic personality.

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57 responses to “Game Review: Final Fantasy XIII

  1. SOUZA! I’m in the same situation! My roommate brought his PS3 here and has this game. I’m so tempted to start it up, haha!

  2. i play this game too..i already got to chapter 11 and the only chapter where i’m allowed to explore is chapter 11.all the previous chapter is a linear plot

  3. I don’t know what people complained about. This game is a blockbuster for the series. It eliminated the constant need for towns (which was weird to me at first), but it all played out perfectly. In accordance with the story, there was no time to stay in one place – they were always on the run!!!!!!! Towns slow down games so much nowadays that it pisses me off. The old formula needed to change. Opening cutscene – town – intro battle – town – cutscene – town – dungeon – town – battle in town – more town….. This cycle needed to stop and FFXIII was the giant for the job.

    Having to talk to everyone, search every nook and cranny for secret items, and walk screen after screen of wasted disc space was never my idea of fun in the first place. FFXIII is a fluid, gorgeous (the best visuals on 360/PS3), lightening-fast, soul-inspiring experience that is worthy of the record books. Fan or no fan, I would love this game just the same.

  4. Well, to be fair, I kinda resent the obviousness that this game presents. Sometimes you need a twist in the story plot as well as the freedom to control your own path in exploring the field. It’s a dilemma really since those two opposite views made a dilemma for sony to choose what path they must take.

    Although, the limitation that this game presents, I think I’m okay with playing it. No big deal.

  5. Final Fantasy XIII is by far the most lucrative in the graphics department of all the Final Fantasies yet. Since I have a huge HDTV, I am able to fully experience the in depth coverage of the world, from every crevice to every peak.

    Also, I love how the mood is set by the music often times. A trumpet usually signals a confidence and bright uplifting idea, which compliments the storyline very well. As for the storyline, it is very cinematic at times, but it definitely gives a deeper meaning to this game than most other ones.

    Souza, you are right that the game is very linear, but do not fear! Once you reach Chapter 13 or so, you are able to explore a bit more and complete missions and other things like that. It broadens out that linearity a little bit.

    Great choice for a game though!

    ~Zakai

    • You are very welcome Souza!

      I figured that I should eventually contribute to the RT blog at some point after being subscribed to it so long, and you gave me a prime opportunity.

      Oh, and to hit up the graphics again, the game was one of the main releases for the PS3. Even now, the graphics are brilliantly stunning! It surprises me that games that are coming out currently aren’t graphically superior to FFXIII.

  6. To be precise it’s chapter 11.

    You’ll get there after 20-25 hours of linearity. THANK GOD.

    But once you hit chapter 13 you’ll be stuck in linearity again, until you beat the final boss.

    Currently on the last chapter, but don’t have the motivation to continue ATM.

  7. So far i haven’t beaten the game as I’m still Gil Farming at chapter 12 since Gil has such a little role in this it is really hard to get to Ultimate weapons. You can beat this game without the need to upgrade your weapons EVER.

  8. kinda sad how theres no ff victory theme song played after you win the battle like the rest of the other final fantasy game. they really should start remaking ff7 soon. i just hope ffvs is going to be good since it has kingdom hearts style play.

    • Actually there is although not as quirky as the previous FF series. And I like that kind of thing since FFXIII compensate its boring linearity with fast-paced battle system. Adding a quirky victory theme song will just make it annoying. I’m okay with just a brief victory quote from either character.

  9. I played all the previous versions of Final Fantasy, from the GBA to PSX to PS2. I did try FF XIII for the PS3. Sadly, Final Fantasy isn’t the way it used to be. Although they say all games need changes, but I think they changed too much. The usual FF battle style has changed from top to toe. That’s why there were a lot of complaints, like ‘this isn’t Final Fantasy anymore!!’. Although the graphics has greatly improved, and probably the SFX’s and OST’s. But i guess it doesn’t have much of the FF roots anymore, in my personal opinion though. You don’t get to actually (literally) control your other teammates, and work your strategy out to beat the bosses, you just see them react accordingly. I don’t get the usual ‘damned, I have to start all OVER!’ or ‘better heal quick before another monster attacks me’, they just give you retries from where you left or where you were pawned. And you don’t get that ‘most epic failure FF moments’ in forums anymore, coz you get to start off where you just died.

    I dunno, but maybe some people think that FF XIII is just really awesome, i mean heck ya, the graphics are breath-taking, you see each bit of a detail in it, unlike seeing Lego Cloud walking around kicking Lego Sephiroth’s butt. But to me, it kinda makes Final Fantasy, not ‘Final Fantasy’ anymore. It’s more like a new game with a new title. You just can’t match the previous versions of FF with this one. Unlike that you see after Squall punches Ultimecia with buddies walking around your back and being paid every hour of salary, then moving on to Zidane and gang with four people in a team pawning Kuja off the Iifa tree. I’ll sum it up and say, the roots are gone, it’s a whole new Final Fantasy. You’ll never get the old fantasy back anymore.

  10. I disagree, FFXIII gameplay is very dynamic and very swift. One second you made a decision error on the paradigm shift then it is over for you. There are many times you have to decide which strategy you have to employ, either defensive or offensive. I died multiple times on some enemies and I feel like “Damn, I died!”. I don’t want to go over to the main menu, open my save file, and restart my battle to last enemy I encounter. I just want to reevaluate my strategy that’s all. I think it’s a great move for Square Enix to remove the redundancy.

    And I also disagree about it loses the FF roots. I don’t even know that FF has a root, since the game keeps changing. From materia system to skill upgrade system. Even, Squall being paid for his rank is a new game system which no other previous FF has employed. From what I like about FF series are that they have summon, magic, and turn-based system. FFXIII keeps this and that’s why I have no complains whatsoever. I think your judgement of FFXIII for not being a Final Fantasy is a little bit too presumptious.

  11. What FF is to me is leveling up so to be able to pawn the bigger bosses, save the world and bag the ultimate weapons so you’ll look cooler with them when killing ultimate bosses. Sorry, but I somehow don’t get that feeling anymore when playing FFXIII, the best tactic to win is constantly attacking without applying much skills into it, you don’t need to own the best weapons in order to improve your stats, after all, you don’t have the urge to get more money during the game cuz you don’t need to buy any better weapons and probably not much items to buy because you get healed right after each battle(i prefer them to heal the characters fully when they level up, i mean… that makes more sense then healing them after each battle) And, my party is fixed, no changing is allowed :( (although the older versions of FF have fixed parties, but the newer versions added more people to the gang) No flees during battles as well (duh, you’re healed after each battle, why the flee?)

    probably FFXIII is for those who hate hitting the menu and mash the potion button or cure button to heal, or those who hate going all the way to a shop to buy needs or upgrade weapons. I missed the shops, it gives me KH feelings or SO nudges, the FF feel is kinda missing (for me) Although FFXIII feels a lot like FFX(the sphere grid system and the linear gameplay-branches and paths throughout the game)

    Maybe, maybe if they classified FFXIII as an action game, I’ll probably have more positive views towards the game. Btw, I practically choked a laugh when Odin turned into a Horse :D

  12. you constantly attack. after all, after deciding your respective paradigm, you control only one person and the others simply react on own.

  13. It depends on the strategy you employ, you can either attack or take charge for your friend or be a healer. Kinda like Persona 3 or Persona 4, which is a good gameplay by the way. And no, it is not enough to just attack and attack and attack.

  14. As I haven’t played this game that much I can’t really comment on much insight but I can say that it feels more like a movie than a game. Which made me quit playing it. So far all I’ve been doing is running straight forward untill I either get a cutscene (then I drop the control) or a fight and then I spam X. And as the characters are really annoying the only thing left for me was the graphics so I tried watching it as a movie, but the movie was constantly interrupted by spamming one button untill the fight was over and I got some gil which I couldn’t really use. I’m probably not giving this game much of a chance but it didn’t captivate me at all.

    And as for it being like FFX while it may be true I was caught in that game from the get-go and this just feels like a pain you have to suffer through.

  15. Too bad, because chapter 8 is very very surprising scene for Sazh. You are right, the personality of the characters are annoying at first, but since chapter 7 until now (chapter 9), they tone it down. I believe the sparkling moment was on chapter 8 for Sazh.

    So I guess, I want to keep playing this game since I’m very curious of how this gam will turn out to be.

  16. I gotta say, i havent had a chance to play it yet, but if it’s anything like FF XII, with the amount of humor in the cutscenes and the graphical orgasms they gave me, its so worth buying a PS3

  17. I am big fan of this Final Fantasy, although I can say that I did not start out as one. When I first started playing the game I was overly annoyed by how linear the game was and how some of the characters were. I came close to quitting the game until Sazh’s major scene, which kept me hanging on till a later chapter which ensured that I finished playing the game.

    Having been playing FF for a relatively short time (played 1-3, 7-10-2,12,13; finished 1-3, 10, 10-2, 12, 13 over the past 6 years) I wasn’t to overly critical of the game, but I did have some major qualms about gameplay other then the how linear it was and the characters. I liked the looks of the Crystarium, but I missed leveling, I mean it was awesome being able to go to the final boss with max level (and not having to beat 1 time already), go F’U, and completely destroy them in the amount of time that is more than half the time the guide book may say it will take to win (key ex: FF XII- Final boss barely got his invincibility shield before I beat him. Took maybe 10 minutes).

    Having nearly completed XII (currently half way through killing the hardest optional boss), I became a big fan of seeing and fighting your enemies in real time and not having to go to run up to them to them and stop so I could actually battle them. So when I first start XIII I was kinda disappointed with the battle system and having to pause to start a battle, which I got over as I went through the game.

    I missed the staple of getting gil from monsters. With the need of gil in the to get better weapons and accessories in the latter chapters and the lack of it, I found it slightly bothersome having to go around searching for items to sell to get the 2mil item to upgrade a weapon. I eventually found an easy solution for this with a late mission and chocobos.

    The characters themselves were what almost caused me to quit playing. Sazh and Fang were awesome, Vanille was an airhead, Hope to emo, and Lighting and Snow tied for most hated character (with Snow being the one who I wished would be taken out by a random bullet while he was talking…) at the start. After chapter 8 or 9 I started liking Lightning more and more until she became somewhat of my favorite character (still wish Snow would have died. Damn you Hope).

    Even though I started hating the game, I eventually started liking it and went from maybe complete it to near 100% completion (1 more achievement to go).

    • That’s exactly how I felt when I play this game. I hate Snow so much that I thought I won’t see him in a long time in chapter 2. The characters were just too unlikeable at the start, except for Sazh. But as the story progresses, the characters hold grudge against them and that makes it interesting.

      I say, I agree that this is not the best Final Fantasy ever made. But I disagree for not being an FF-ish or RPG-ish.

  18. Playing a game with the SAME battle system over and over will get boring fast, I personally like the changes for each game, it made each on unique, besides we complain bout the battle system being and others will complain bout the battle system being to old, WHEN will the complaints stop?

    Same with the story/gameplay, either it to linear and not enough sidestory/quest, or to many sidestory/quest and repetitive stuff and not linear enough?

  19. I somehow agree with the @skye and @dspawn. Imma huge fan of RPG and FinalFantasy and i was disappointed by FFXIII. I mean, yeah, no one likes the same thing over and over again, but don’t you think FFXIII changed a little TOO MUCH?
    Even Japan itself didn’t receive good responds to FFXIII itself, i guess Countries like US or Europe won’t do pretty much good. I love the graphics, and Sazh! This isn’t an RPG when you only get to control one character when the others move by fixed paradigms, can you still call this role playing? Well, this is more of an action based game. The only elements of FF left is the summon, the characters and the chocobo’s. This is entirely new. But SE done a good job with the graphics, but I hope to see better FF’s in the future, and not more clones of FFXIII(with elements of KH and StarOcean)

  20. Wow, then your RPG playing must be very narrow. Persona 3 and Persona 4 employ the same concept of only controlling one person. Then, you have Star Ocean which is a great game that also employ the same one person control.

    Yes, I do feel the change in Final Fantasy XIII is a little bit radical but it is still a role playing game and it still Final Fantasy-ish. It doesn’t make me disappointed at all since it doesn’t lose its touch.

  21. bt then don’t you feel that it changes a little too much? i mean, yes, SE can do some changes in the battle styles like probably adding some more elements in the command, or maybe needing 2 members to perform a specific attack( re FFIX Sword Magic-ViviXSteiner) but then changing the whole system? That’s asking too much. Now it seems more like Persona 3 and 4 and or StarOcean now then Final Fantasy. Yeah, persona 3 has the same concept, but it’s Persona, not final fantasy.

    Playing it won’t do any harm, it’s just that, it’s something new, which needs more time for people to get used to the new system. A good chinese saying : When you’re used to something, it comes to you naturally.

  22. that is why, i’m trying to say that, it doesn’t have the FF feel anymore, it’s more of Persona like what you said. the game is fine, bt the usual FF feel isn’t here anymore. I’m the one who doesn’t get your philosophy. You say that it’s final fantasy-ish, but you keep emphasizing that Persona has the same elements like FFXIII. I guess you’re the one happier if the title is Persona Fantasy. ><

  23. No, because unlike you I don’t categorize Final Fantasy either a full control or one person control battle system. Neither do I say that Materia system is more Final Fantasy-ish than the Crystarium system. As long as the game is good and has the basic element of an RPG system than I’m okay with it.

  24. Well, then it loses the thought of Final Fantasy RPG as it changes too much to more of a Persona type RPG or a StarOcean RPG. well, either way, everyone has different perspective of the game. I enjoy sharing my thoughts about FF with you anyway, brings back a lot of memories about the previous FF’s. The game is okay, no harm in caring about the reviews unless you really try it, everyone has a different liking to each game anyway. Thanks.

  25. I disagree. Each Final Fantasy series always changes its system. Materia system was brought to use which no other previous final fantasy has ever employed. The monster which levels up as the characters level up in FF8 also is a new system. Squall salary based on his rank is also a new system. FF9 then has that specific attack that your talking about. FF12 is the closest system in FF13 which you can also only control one person. Even worse, FF12 battle system is on the fly which makes is more an action game than an RPG. Are you saying that all of these game loses its Final Fantasy essence?

  26. no.those elements you stated are those which are the new elements which are added to the game to make it, well, new. it’ll be weird if every single FF uses the materia system,like someone before stated that it’ll be boring if one games is the same all oer from top to toe, bt they never changed the bigger picture like the battle style and the demolishing of towns. Each FF describes a new era and has a different way of expressing that particular era, FFVII for the materia and FFVIII for the salary and probably its summons like quetzacolt, FFIX for the Trance and not Limits. but they keep something in common. you can see the ties of FF in them. Bt FFXIII, it’s different. They don’t criticize the game for nothing if it’s having what it suppose to have. well you have a different way of seeing FF is like and I have my own.

  27. quote from axy18: “This isn’t an RPG when you only get to control one character when the others move by fixed paradigms, can you still call this role playing?” … “but then changing the whole system? That’s asking too much. Now it seems more like Persona 3 and 4 and or StarOcean now then Final Fantasy.”

    You were definitely badgering the battle system for being more Persona or Star Ocean like. Now you move on that this game doesn’t have towns? How desperate are you to attack this game? FFXIII has in fact towns and to give you an additional information, it has side quests, which is the same implementation as FFX-2.

  28. i wasn’t attacking the game, i was just sharing my agreements on why people don’t like this game. You said that it never loses the essence of FF, so that’s why i brought up the town thing. I had no intention of attacking the game, as I have said, everyone has different views of the game. But i stand firm on the battle system. That totally lost it.

  29. You say towns are the essence of FF? Then to top it off, how was Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Code for you? Final Fantasy Dissidia or Final Fantasy Dirge of Cerberus? Now that’s talking about radical change.

  30. ahhh, you missed a spot. those aren’t the installments for the ongoing FF series like FF1-X. If you are saying so, then Tactics would already spoil the FF essence 10 years ago, why argue now? The ff essence i was referring to are those which are the installments one after an another…I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

  31. Huh? Why would you want to differenciate that? It’s still got “Final Fantasy” name on it. Why argue now? Because I don’t think those game never lose its Final Fantasy essence eventhough it doesn’t have the same old battle system on the previous FF series.

  32. it’s different. They wouldn’t call it Final Fantasy Tactics if it was going to be the same. They would’ve named it FF(n). that’s why it was a new release, Dissidia, Derge of Ceberus, Crisis Core, Crystal Chronicles. All of them. I never say they lost Ff essence (the respective essence for each release,FF tactics and Crystal Chronicles have their own repsective elements, they don’t mix), so i don’t see why are you mixing Dirge of Cerberus and the other FF (n)’s together. Well, each new ff has a new battle element added to it, like Limit for FFVII, Trance and Dbl Blk Magic for IX, but one thing hasn’t change is clearly seen. But FFXIII was persona styled.
    *whew, this is really burning energy :D

  33. Ah okay, I just don’t like to differentiate things like that because then again I dislike redundancy. Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy no matter it’s on Numerical or has a subtitle on it.

  34. I see. well, we give names to pets so we can know which is which right? Example: all Retrievers are well… Retrievers, but to tell them apart, you give them names. And then retrievers are told apart from Labradors and Golden Retrievers. But one thing is common is that they are Retrievers, but they have something different to tell them apart.

    Yes, FF is still FF having (n)’s or not, but you can tell the series apart from what they have. Dissidia is far different from Tactics, but both of them are still FF’s. Agree? But what happens when the Cute Crystal Chronicles battle system changes to mashing combo’s to kill monsters? Are they still Crystal Chronicles? That’s what I’m trying to imply. Or when Dissidia’s battle system changes to teamwork and burn pots to open secret doors, or throw stones to freeze ponds, is this Dissidia or Crystal Chronicle now? That important element to tell them apart is well.. changed. For the better? I don’t know, it’s how the gamers imply. So, Souza, you said that it’s better, you have no whatsoever complaints since you have played Persona and Starocean, it’s basically the same. But those who have not might see a different picture. As for me, I played Starocean before, but then… this sudden change in FF to pieces of Starocean was disappointing.

    Redundancy makes people bored. Agree on that. But you see the changes in the elements added during the battle, yes? Like i stated before. But changing the big picture… was.. well, kinda too much.

  35. Hmm, not sure why you compare a game to a pet. But okay, for differentiating the game orientation is fine with me.

    Well, to be honest, I was also not ready for the changes in FFXIII since I’m an avid fan of FFVII. I agree it changes so much that is a near completely different breed of the old Final Fantasy series. But I woouldn’t go on saying it loses the FF-ish since this game has much to offer to the player. The story just become interesting as you progress further, so I think I will stick to playing it.

  36. LOL,i couldn’t think of another example, breeds came to my mind first. Well, FFVII is popular, maybe because it’s the FF who has more possibilities of having sequels, (but I never liked *emo-ish* Cloud)FFIX is my personal best :D Yes, It has a lot to offer to the gamer, just that……. well, I guess it’s pointless to start an argument all over again, you get the picture. Yeah, no harm in continuing. You’ll enjoy the breath-taking moments of how detailed is the cut scenes.

    I know we both hope for Final Fantasy and SE to become much better as I have high hopes for it too.

  37. Yeah, just as you said everyone is entitled to their preference of the game they are playing. Nice discussion and it definitely brought up important points to think about. I agree on your view that it’s need some improvement for the future FF series.

  38. Yeah, I enjoyed it as well. Some points you mentioned was definitely worth thinking about. Thanks a lot ^^

  39. Funny question:

    “Would the game be received better if it wasn’t called a “Final Fantasy” series?”

    and introduce us to a whole new RPG. Like a new set of series like Maybe “Fabula Nova chrnonicles”?

    Lol.

    • probably. that’s the whole point of fans getting angry about, for FFXIII going against the usual FF rule XP

  40. Oh yeah, one more thing I miss from the FF series, the ability to drive a Ragnarok. I mean why don’t the developer optimize that graphic with the ability to explore using a badass spaceship. Man, that would be sick.

  41. An update on my game milestone, I’m currently on chapter 11 and I died several times from fighting Adamantoise (which I know later on it was not meant to be killed in early stage), and also Juggernaut and Box Phlanx. Whoever said this game is too straightforward since you just have to repetitively press attack button is clearly misinformed. Damn it, this game turns out to be quite a challenge.

  42. Another update on this game milestone, I’ve beat the game and I have to conclude that this game offers the best character development story compared to all the previous FF series. Hope sure lives up to his name and I become fond of him.

    I thought Vanille was an airhead until she holds many mysteries around her. All in all, each and every character holds an important role and there is no overshadow. Loving this game and it was a worth buying this game.

    P.S: The ending is really a brilliant one.

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