Review by redbuck
"I got this at a midnight release... and I have no regrets."
If you're reading this, then you probably want to know if you should get it or not, right? Well, I'll assume that's the reason. The combat system is different? Maybe. What are the graphics like? How about the music? I guess we'll just have to find out, now won't we?
I'll be starting this review off with...
Personally, I feel like there's no point in going over sound effects simply because of the technology we have nowadays, but I will anyway. When a sword slices through someone or something, it definitely sounds like a sword slicing through someone or something. Guns fire and you might jump and hide under your bed if you have the volume up too high, and if you forget you're playing a game, you'll really think you're running through some grass... well, except for the fact that you won't be tired and sweaty. NOW! The music - as some of you may know, Nobuo Uematsu did not do the music for Final Fantasy XIII. I'll admit that I was a little worried about it, because I've played every mainstream Final Fantasy game (except for IX) since the first one. Here's a stress-reliever: the music. is. great! Sure, it's not *quite* the same, but pretty close to it. It's absolutely beautiful in lush green areas, and fast-paced and invigorating in battle. Not convinced? Maybe something else will help...
Remember back in the day when PlayStations first came out and everyone thought Final Fantasy VII's FMVs were simply amazing? Well, that's the same thing here, except ALL THE TIME. You better hold onto the controller the entire way through, because a few times, I got too comfortable thinking I was still watching a FMV while I was actually just standing there like an idiot in-game. Of course it's not always just as good, but extremely close to it. Sure, you can tell right off the bat when you know there's going to be a cut-scene, but otherwise, you'd have to pay REALLY close attention. I love the graphics and actually expect a lot now because of this, but I won't be too disappointed if XIV doesn't live up to the same graphical name.
Are you still reading this? Wow, you're a pretty tough to convince person. Ok, it's getting late, so how about I tell you a...
Yes, the story. It's arguably... well just a good story, but I love it personally. You start off with a few people and get more later on, just like in every other Final Fantasy (except maybe the first five). The main protagonists are Lightning, Snow, Hope (yes, he's a boy), Vanille, Sazh, and later on, Fang. Don't judge them because of how they are at the beginning of the game, because they're really annoying at the start. I liked them all except Hope, because I thought he was really whiny but never did anything to make himself feel better until about halfway through the game. He eventually grows up a bit, and is actually a really good character, but that was my warning not to judge them at the start. Anyway, they all become l'Cie, meaning they were cursed by the fal'cie, in which they're branded and need to figure out and complete a goal, whatever it may be, called their focus. What is a fal'cie? The fal'cie are very powerful mechanical creatures of FF XIII lore. You'll gain knowledge of the game's lore periodically, along with the past thirteen days before the game actually started. Anyway, if they don't complete their focus in time, they'll turn into monsters called Cie'th. If they do find out, then they'll instead live forever, but also be turned to crystal. It may be confusing the first time through, but if you're really paying attention, then it'll be a lot easier on the mind.
In my opinion, this is where it all really shines. A lot of people will call it linear, but what's wrong with linear? When you think about it, the only difference between this being linear and other games being linear is that there's a map in the upper left corner of the screen. The paths may branch off for you to find some treasure, so it's not like you just hold the analog stick up and you run for 35+ hours until you get to the end. Remember the combat system in FF12? Before you assume it sucks, let me explain that the good parts were taken from 12 and the bad parts were left behind. The gambit system is somewhat there, but let me explain the roles first. A commando is a physical attacker, ravagers use offensive magic and also fill the enemy's stagger meter which drastically lowers their defense, medics are obviously healers, synergists add good status effects to your own characters, sabateurs cast status ailments on enemies, and sentinels draw the enemy's attention and use defensive moves. So you're wondering how the gambit system fits in? Well it's not called the gambit system, but you can make one character a Medic, one a Commando, and the other a Ravager. You'll be one of these as you see fit, and your other party members will be the other two, with AI controlling them. Think the game plays itself? Well stop thinking. You can set these up multiple different ways and it's very important that you switch roles during battle. Another thing from FF12 is that you can see your enemies, so the battles aren't random. I like random battles, but this works for me too. If you don't feel like fighting a certain enemy, you can simply zip past them, although I don't recommend skipping the xp. Remember FFX's level-up system? It's back! Oh, but it doesn't have those annoying key things that you have to get so you can get better abilities. You just go along upgrading Strength, Hit Points, and Magic. Yep, those are the only attributes, but it's all good. I could go on forever about the gameplay, but the last thing I'll mention is that you go to a different screen instead of fighting like in 12, so it's somewhat of the old style FF system, however, you can chain different commands together to make them more effective in different situations. -sigh- that was an ordeal. There's sooo much in this game to type out. o.O
Well, all I can say now is that you either want the game or not. If you feel iffy about it, rent it or borrow it from a friend; maybe look up some gameplay videos on youtube, or just play it at your friend's house instead of borrowing it. Remember, if you don't like it at first, play it a second, third, or maybe even a fourth time to get the hang of it, then decide on whether or not you wish to buy it. A friend of mine played it for fifteen minutes and dismissed it as an awful game and that really irritates me, so please, at least give it a good two or three hours. Have a good day, and happy gaming!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/02/10, Updated 08/16/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII (US, 03/09/10)
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