Review by runeasgar

"Good, but not great. XIV will refine it, hopefully."

General Impressions

This game is enjoyable to play, but is not captivating. The stories you have heard about its linearity are very true. You are always on the way from point A to point B, and the only detours are for dead-ends or loop arounds, usually with treasure chests.

The Battle System

The battle system is visually impressive, and engaging up to a point; that point being when you realize that the "auto" battle options make better, faster decisions that you can 95% of the time. FFXII was already bad for being a "hands off" battle system, but FFXIII takes that even a step further. The only engaging elements are paradigm shifts, and to a lesser extent, gestalt.

Character Advancement

This is actually one area where FFXIII does fairly well. The crystalarium is a good concept, although the game seems too generous with points -- you'll find yourself maxing out the crystalarium regularly. The weapon upgrade functionality, though simple, is refreshing.

Storyline

So far so good. A bit over-dramatic and silly, primarily due to poor writing and voiceovers. The actual plot is enjoyable, pulling from several excellent sources: politics, myth, social fear, technology, theology. The datalog is a great side-read with the actual storyline, and is a refreshing interaction with a game, much like having a book to read along with it.

Graphics

Gorgeous, in every way. This game goes above and beyond the graphics I have seen for any other console game. The in-game engine looks better than PS2-era pre-rendered cut scenes.

Music

Less memorable than some of the older Final Fantasies, but good none-the-less. Very ambient.

Voiceovers

They could have taken another run at the english version, and probably the translation, as well. Or, perhaps, the dialogue could have been more well written in spots, as well as making some characters (like Vanille) more believable.

All in all

It's in the top half of the Final Fantasy series, but doesn't come close to touching the best of the series. Hopefully the next game in this particular series will refine and hone the good qualities of this game, while weeding out the poor ones. There's a lot of potential in the combat system, if it can be made less automated. There's a lot of development room for the story, as well. I think what this game needs most is a break from the linearity, followed by adjustment of the mathematics of various components such as: the AI's attack selection, CP rewards / costs, gil and store stocks.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/12/10

Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII (US, 03/09/10)


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