Review by Tokyo630
"After 4 years of production, Final Fantasy XIII was worth the wait"
Finally! After 4 years of waiting after FFXII, the newest installment of the classic series has arrived! Does it live up to the hype it was surrounded with? A bit of a precursor, I have played almost all the FF games, with the exception of 5 and 6. I have loved them all, but I am open to critique a game when it is called for.
While not extremely original, the story of FFXIII puts new twists on stories we have already heard. The way the story is told is emotional, gripping, and frankly a slender to listen to. The general plot revolves around 6 characters who become allies and must fight against a corrupt governing power. Without giving too much away, there are surprises around every corner, and some people who are trusted allies turn out to be enemies all along! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll keep it that general.
Not much to say here! The game looks spectacular, easily the best looking game on the market to date. The cutscenes are slightly better looking that FFVII: Advent Children, and the in-game gameplay is almost on-par with that film as well, a huge step in the right direction for visuals.
Musical Score: 9.75/10
Again, not much to say here. The scores for all the Final Fantasy games are fantastic. The orchestra that puts these tracks together really has outdone itself this time, with over 80 tracks in the game.
Battle System: 9.75/10
A large amount of people are very disappointed with the new "Paradigm" system implemented by FFXIII. Where most of the series have used a turn-based battle system (excluding FFXII), this game is more Active time with a turn style attack system. Rather than lumping all characteristics of the different job classes into singular characters, they have allowed for each character to access each job, unlocking each at different points throughout the story. Don't fret though, there are advantages to some characters using each class over others, and some of the group won't learn abilities for a class that another member could. Additionally, rather than being able to access every ability during battle, your group must do a "Paradigm Shift" to swap to another preset Paradigm of classes. For example, your group could contain a Commando, Ravager(Mage), and a Medic, and then swap completely to a Sentinel(Blocker), Synergist(Buffer), and Saboteur(Debuffer). To me this allows for a more personal gameplay experience to play how you want, and makes for a more strategic experience.
While this game isn't particularly hard, there are some points that are challenging. The new form of Summons in this game, called Eidolons, are particularly challenging to obtain. Rather than fighting them and "capturing" their abilities, you must prove yourself worthy when fighting them, using a specific form of battle against them to gain their approval (however, this form of battle is unknown). To make it more challenging, you are timed, with no more than 4 minutes in some cases to obtain them. Aside from those battles, the game is fairly linear, however it isn't a bad thing. To compensate for the linear style of the game for the first 10 chapters, in Chapter 11 you have the option to take part of 64 individual Hunt missions, similar to the ones in FFXII. In each you must track down and kill a specific monster (or hunt), and reap the spoils of battle! This not only allows for a more diverse set of sub-missions, but allows for some great experience bonuses. Overall, I think the gameplay of this installment to the FF series is great.
Achievement/Trophy Relevance To Game:10/10
Simply put, most of the unlocked achievement/trophies are from the main story. The others are various feats, such as mastering each job class and getting your whole party maxed out. Additionally, the aforementioned hunts also give you achievements as you complete each set.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.75/10
I love this game, I think it is a fantastic and hype-worthy installment to the series. If you are looking for a good and long game to play and are a fan of JRPG games, this title is definitely what you'll want to be playing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/15/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII (US, 03/09/10)
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