Review by Dark222

"An experiment well done by Square Enix"

Graphics:

After waiting 3 years for this game and popping it in my console, I was truly amazed how the graphics were. No doubt this was the first time I have seen insane graphics for a JRPG. So much detail has been added to the environments and the surrounding areas. The characters are designed very nicely and a lot of detail has been added to them. The graphics were just so powerful in this game that after a cut-scene had been finished(1080p/720p) it was the same feeling in gameplay. There wasn't a big jump from a cut-scene to gameplay like there would be in older final fantasies. It was simply gorgeous, no need to explain any further.

Music/voice acting

The music is definitely a change from the older Final Fantasy series. There was a resemblance in FF7, FF8, and also FF9. But the music in this game wasn't even close to the older series. A thing that I really noticed was that the soundtrack for Final Fantasy XIII was not memorable. I did enjoy the battle and boss music though. For the voice acting, it was by far the best I have ever seen. For the first time the lips were actually moving according to what the characters were saying. There were times where a particular character known as “Vanille” was annoying, but overall she was ok.

Storyline:

Having beaten the entire game, I really have to say that it was interesting. There really wasn't a time that I didn't feel like playing this game no more. I was always motivated to play it. There was definitely times where I was confused on what was happening. Eventually it was cleared up. I have to say the story wasn't the strongest part in this game. Square Enix tried something new here, they made the game very linear. For all the people who say linearity in the Final Fantasy series is a bad thing, I totally think Square Enix did a good job. Linearity doesn't mean it doesn't cover the story as good a game non-linear would. It covered the story the same way linear or not.

Gameplay:

Again the game is linear and its simply a run or a walk to “point A to B”. Since the game is very linear, it doesn't have any towns or cities to explore. But there is a place similar to Final Fantasy 10 known as Gran Pulse. It's an “open world” feel just like in Final Fantasy X the place known as Calm lands. So that's something for the FF X lovers out there.

Ever have to shut your game off due to an incident or anything unexpected, and your really far to the save point? Well that's not an issue in this game. There's literally a save point every 10 minutes into the game. So there really shouldn't be a problem for saving.

Square Enix tried something very new with the battle system that hasn't been done yet in any other Final Fantasy. It's known as the “Paradigm shift”. It's hard to explain it in just words, but it is the best fighting style I have tried in a Final Fantasy game and also found it very addictive. You don't get the “Paradigm shift” right away, but you would have to go a few hours into the game. How you encounter a battle is similar to FF X and FF XII. If you touch the monster you go into battle. This can also be avoided simply by not going into there way. A little side note, If you get to the monster before this sign shows up (!) or any of your party members it would be a pre-emptive strike. How you level up is similar to Final Fantasy X. But know there is something called “Crystarium”. There are orbs and each orb has different abilities such as physical and magical attack points. How you move from one orb to another is aquiring “CP”. You earn it after every battle you have won. Another thing I wanted to add was a installment SE added called the “Datalog”. It has all the information you could probably think about the game. It covers on everything you have done so far. So if you ever were unclear about something, make use of the datalog. It is your best friend in this game. Overall I love the battle system, Square Enix did a fantastic job on it.

Positive comments:
-Graphics are insane same with the breathtaking CGI cut scenes
-Battle system was amazing and addictive
- Game was lenghty 40-60 hours
-Datalog was a good installment
-Great voice acting

Negative comments:
-Music wasn't memorable
-No towns
-No minigames

Overall:
The game is about 40-60 hours, but it honestly depends how you are going to play. Overall I have honestly got to say I have enjoyed this game. I have loved the HD graphics, also with the cut-scenes. Again this was my favorite type of battle system. Which just made me like the game even more. Yes, for sure this game is way different from the older Final fantasy series. By that I mean there were no towns, cities,minigames and the fact that it was linear, again not saying linearity is a bad thing. Another thing that would have made this game more interesting would have been minigames. It would have been a small break aside from the storyline, and would have been fun. I suggest you don't rent this game but buy it. It was definitely worth my time and I hope it was for you as well.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/10

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


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