Final Fantasy XIII

03/17/2010 at 8:20 PM | Posted in PlayStation 3 | Leave a comment
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Final Fantasy XIII Review

4 years in the making and finally, no pun intended, I have Final Fantasy XIII in my hands. This game is, single-handedly, the longest I have ever waited for a video game release. But enough dwelling on the past. I have it, I’ve played it, time to review it.

Final Fantasy XIII is an RPG for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, however I am only reviewing my experiences with the PS3 version. It was developed and published by Square Enix and it was released on March 9th, 2010

Story

Final Fantasy XIII takes place on Cocoon, a city-world floating above a wild planet named Pulse. The residents of Cocoon fear Pulse and anything from it. When a Pulse fal’Cie, a god-like being from Pulse, is discovered to be on Cocoon, a massive panic starts which triggers Cocoons government to immediately order the Purge: the removal of the fal’Cie and anyone in close proximity to it, which includes an entire town. Lightning, a soldier, is searching for her sister Serah, who has been turned into a l’Cie by the Pulse fal’Cie. A l’Cie is given superhuman abilities to complete a task given to them by the fal’Cie. They are feared almost as much as the fal’Cie themselves if not more. Through extraordinary coincidences, this search brings all of the main characters together and, like Serah, they are turned into l’Cie by the Pulse fal’Cie as well. Here is where the story really begins.

Score – 9

Gameplay

In Final Fantasy XIII you’ll explore the worlds of Cocoon and Pulse. If you engage in battle with enemies on the map you will be transported to a separate screen where an active turn based battle will commence. Battles are normally a group of three characters against a set of enemies with you controlling one of those characters as the party “Leader”. The other characters are controlled by AI.

As you wait for your Active Time Battle or “ATB” gauges to fill you will choose actions and execute them on an enemy of your choice once the gauges fill up completely. You can also execute some actions early by pressing the Triangle button. You can’t actively move your characters around the battle field but they will move automatically. This means there can be some skill involved when it comes to the timing and executions of your actions. In FFXIII every action is determined by the ATB gauge meaning MP is not a feature in this game.

FFXIII also introduces what’s called Paradigm Shift. It allows you to assign certain roles and abilities for different characters that you can actively change in the heat of battle. For example, you could have the 3 members of your party in the “Commando” or attacking role. Once your HP gets to a certain level you could use paradigm shift to change their roles, maybe changing one, or even two party members into the “Medics” or healing role. Learning how to properly use Paradigm Shift is the only way to be truly successful in this game.

For an extra bit of help, you can also summon Eidolons, powerful beings that are assigned to each of the l’Cie. Most Final Fantasy games features summons, but the way FFXIII incorporates them into the story is quite interesting.

Score – 9

Graphics

Once again, Square Enix wows on a platform with truly stunning graphics. Pre-rendered scenes are, of course, top notch, but in-game graphics are some of video games greatest to date. I’ve been following this game forever and I was always impressed with how it looked, Square really did next-gen Final Fantasy well. In a first for the Final Fantasy series the game was apparently lip synced to the English language versions. However there are times where it looks as if they thought they didn’t need to change some of the lip movements because they were “close enough”. Also I have a thought that the Japanese lip syncing is a lot better than English. However, as a die-hard fan, I am nit-picking. Overall everything is done really well. The game occasionally drops a few frames but this rarely happens. If it does happen though, I find it is mostly in cutscenes.

Score – 10

Final Note

Final Fantasy XIII was everything I could have hoped it to be. Once again, go figure, I’m really impressed with Square Enix. I think it’s worth mentioning that, the game looks as good as it does, yet load times, with the exception of loading the game up, are nearly non-existent, with no install needed. Battles could be a lot more fun because they could be harder as, 1, you no longer have MP, and 2, you are fully healed after each battle. At first I didn’t like that, but now I realize every battle can be truly exciting and challenging because of it. I have a few, VERY minor issues with FFXIII but they didn’t affect my playing of the game that much. This game really had a lot to offer, whether you’re deciding what Paradigms to use, upgrading your Crystarium (think an improved Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid), upgrading your weapons or taking part in a bunch of optional missions, you’ll spend a pretty fair amount of time on it. Naturally, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII and I think I will be enjoying it for some time.

Overall Rating

FullFullFullFullHalf

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