Review by aleary3432
"We waited 4 years for this?! Really?!!"
I realize that Square-Enix has set a standard for themselves for excellence and continually producing "Perfect" games is no easy task, but this game makes me question whether the developers even tried to put forth a little effort. Did SE pull all of the experienced, quality staff and replace them with rookies who need some experience, or did they scrap the ideas that they had and just pulled this one out of their butts within the last 6 months? In my opinion, this game doesn't even resemble a FF game, and here's why.
Storyline - 4/10: The story isn't bad, but it isn't good either. In previous titles that earned 10 out of 10 in all major video game magazines, the story started off with characters that engaged in battles that were not that big of a deal. They had an overall objective that paled in comparison to the main plot that had yet to be revealed, and began character introductions. That doesn't happen here. They pretty much tell you the entire plot and introduce all characters within 3-4 hours of game-play. In other games they threw in some plot twists and a shocker or two throughout the game, but again, that doesn't happen here. I felt like I was watching a stereotypical horror movie where you can guess what happens next and who is going to die because they are so predictable. What made the past titles so successful was the deep and rich story that had plenty of optional dungeons and tasks as well as mini games that could be played. Yet again, FFXIII is lacking in this area. The only two parts of this game that are optional are acquiring all trophies and playing the game. This is pathetic. I feel like I have sat down for Thanksgiving dinner with an anorexic turkey; all skin - no meat.
Characters - 2/10: These characters are pathetic re-creations of previous FF characters. Lightning is a Cloud-Lulu hybrid that seems more like a whining brat than a leader. The developers probably went with the whole "It worked before" theory when they created her, as well as the others. Snow is like a cross between Barret (FF7) and Dell (FF8), but only the worst aspects of their personalities. They went for the whole John Wayne approach, and fell flat on their faces. Snow is annoying, his arm gestures are annoying, and his adolescent attempt at a goatee is annoying. Hope is the biggest baby of the game and makes me angry just thinking about him. His weapon looks like a big boomerang that folds in half (to about 1/3 his total height) yet seems to completely disappear into his back pocket. The clothes he is wearing are much worse. They are so horrible I won't even describe them. Sazh is the only decent character but they ruin him with the stereotypical African-American profile: an afro & 70's theme music and clothes. It wouldn't surprise me if SE said their team developed the characters while on the toilet during a break.
Game-play - 3/10: SE definitely missed the mark here. There is really little interaction needed. With the right paradigm you can defeat a major boss simply by pressing the X button every few seconds while you do something else. This, however, will not guarantee victory. SE had to have developed a "Murphy's Law" scenario that plays out every 40-50 battles. What I mean by this is that your well developed characters can engage an average-above average enemy but get killed off quickly because the worst-case-scenario actually happens. To make matters worse, if the party leader is K.O.ed, it's game over. Your other party members could be at perfect health with "Raise" magic available to them, but I guess are too stupid to know that they need to revive your leader. This is the worst idea that they could have come up with.
Fun Factor - 0/10: Even though there are a few enjoyable parts of this game, the senseless game designs mentioned in the "Game-play" section above bring the fun factor back down to ground level. Had SE included a few mini-games and about a dozen optional dungeons/areas to explore, this game would be somewhat enjoyable. The weapon & accessory customization is the most enjoyable aspect of the game and even that gets boring after a few hours. I'm not going to beat a dead horse. Moving on.
Graphics & Audio - 9/10: Hey! They got one aspect of this game right! The graphics are stunning; especially when you get to Pulse. The landscape and wildlife are stunning. Maybe it's because I am playing it on a 1080P plasma HDTV with 2M:1 ratio, but the vibrant colors are a welcome change to the somewhat bland environment from the previous areas. SE didn't let me down here; except for the victory music. Where's the classic theme at? Bring back the traditional victory music for FFXIV or at least give us the ability to customize the music to out liking.
Replay Value - 0/10: There is absolutely no reason to play this game over and over again. You can acquire all of the trophies during your first play through. Replaying this game would be like watching a Vanilla Ice video to relive the 90's; it would be very painful, and begs us to ask the question "Why am I punishing myself like this?".
Overall Score - 3/10: I can't believe I actually spent $60 on this game. I thought "This is a FF game. It's guaranteed to be great. I still play the others and love them! FFXIII is a shoe-in!!". I have, however, learned a valuable lesson; never assume that big developers will always produce "perfect" games. I think I will rent FFXIV before buying it.
This, however, is just MY opinion. If you truly want to know if you should buy this game, rent or borrow it first. Play it for yourself and then decide if it's worth $60.
To the developers at Square-Enix.........I want my money back. Seriously.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Originally Posted: 04/06/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII (US, 03/09/10)
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