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TC dropping by here.. For game reviews, a game's score by "professional reviewers" and such on game sites like IGN, Gamespot, etc never influence my choice in getting a game. I also personally don't really understand how people think it's credible, and are turned off by low scores. Probably those who only want the best of the best games and don't know how to do research for what's good, so they just grab the highest rated game and ignore the rest.
A good example, after seeing Monster Hunter Freedom games get repeatedly 5-6~/10 on gamespot and games like tony hawk for PS1/GBC get 9.5/10, it's obvious the ratings are all bull. To me anyways, they aren't credible at all anymore. Even if you don't like Monster Hunter there's no reason it gets that low of a score. It's the most popular series in Japan next to Final Fantasy, and the PSP's bread winning game series.
And yes I know, the reviewers aren't Japanese and it's not a very famous title in the west but that's also why the reviews just aren't credible. The best reviewer for a game is yourself, I don't listen to anyone else.
I very much dislike the concept of a Lightning-only game and her being promoted to humanity's "liberator" out of nowhere.
But I like what I see of the environments so far. I just hope that they're truly fleshed out and have things to do. I don't want a bunch of pretty screenshots, only to actually find that there's really nothing to do there. Or that the area is so small that the screenshots are essentially the whole area.
Her costumes, so far, look pretty bad. These are NOT the first costumes you show people to get them interested in your product. I don't know who to blame, the marketing team or the art direction. She'll probably have better some better looking outfits, but I'm not holding my breath.
And then there's the time element. What I've always loved about FF is taking my sweet time talking to every NPC and getting immersed in the world. I really won't be able to "soak in" the experience with my eye always on the clock. Even if we can get time set back by completing certain quests, it still doesn't change the fact that we're being timed. I won't be able to admire the scenery nor enjoy the music as much with the "OMG! Gotta get this, this, and this done before tomorrow morning hits!" thoughts guiding my playthrough.
I think this was the wrong game for SE to make such a huge departure with. I feel like this should have been either a new IP or a game outside of the main series like Crystal Chronicles.
I think, judging by how much FFXIII brand has been damaged over the years (FFXIII-2's messy story-telling, overstaying its welcome according to fans, etc.), this game will have a lot to prove, that for the first time in FF history, it will sell more on word of mouth than it will on brand power (provided the end result has a satisfying final ending and is a *complete* experience despite it being a limited one)
As for how I feel so far after the latest screenshots... LR > FFXIII > FFXIII-2.