28 April 2010 | silversurfer1288
Excellent Game, but . . .
The Game opens with a bang – a bang that lasts for 20-25 hours. The characters are some of the most believable, likable, fun, and personally identifiable to date. At this point in the game, I thought for sure that this was going to dethrone Final Fantasy X as my favorite Final Fantasy ever. Unfortunately, the game sort of became lost in itself and failed to hold its high standard to the end.
The Positives: True to form, Final Fantasy XIII boasts fantastic graphics, cinematics, and cutscenses. In fact, they are likely the best visuals to date for any video game period. In addition, FFXIII comes with some wonderful orchestral pieces and all around excellent soundtrack. The six protagonists are for the most part lovable, real people and Final Fantasy XIII makes you feel their joy, pain, and anger. This is only increased by the high quality of voice acting.
The Negatives: There is little that I would classify as purely negative, however, there are a number of facets to the game which leave something to be desired. I will refer to these as the In-Betweens. (The only true negative that I found highly frustrating was that player control of the camera was frustratingly slow and uncontrollable while running.)
The In-Betweens: The story starts out really strong. Unfortunately, the plot becomes highly convoluted later on to the point where I wasn't even sure what was happening. The game does include a play-by-play journal that documents plot events. This helps when confused, but a person shouldn't have to keep reading these entries to find out what just happened. Probably the largest controversial aspect of this game is the super linear adventure. There are almost no areas to explore, no side-quests, and no way to even go the wrong way, because this game is more linear than any game of this scale by far. On one hand, this keeps the plot moving along at a nice clip, and I found that it made the first 20 hours or so a lot of fun and full of action, cutscenes, and awesome battles. However, at the same time, the lack of freedom feels unnecessarily constraining and strays from the Final Fantasy norm. The battle system is certainly different and interesting. It is fun, especially when first learning its intricacies and then learning to master it. Items are few and far-between. Unlike all of the previous final fantasy entries, there are only a very limited number of items. MP is gone. There is no cost for using magic. This sort of makes sense in the scope of the game, but it feels strange playing a Final Fantasy game without MP, ethers, and the like. The leveling system is similar to the sphere grid of Final Fantasy X, although this grid is artificially limited by plot events, which puts a reasonable cap on leveling ahead of where you are in the game.
Conclusion: Unmatched visuals, lovable characters, a reasonable difficulty level, and a challenging battle system give the game a good feel and plenty to really enjoy. Unfortunately, a few aspects prevent this very good game from being legendary.