Review by Ninjahawk88

"Epic, difficult, and enjoyable experience"

Introduction. The long awaited 13th edition of the Final Fantasy series is an epic, difficult, and enjoyable experience only damaged by not enough sidequests and character customization.

Gameplay. (9.0) The battle system for Final Fantasy 13 is a quick and refreshing giving the players and option of auto battling lesser foes and then micromanaging attacks for the more challenging encounters. The main component of the battle system in the paradigms shift in which you select roles for your characters and then depending on the circumstances of the battle you can change roles in mid battle to better counter the enemy attacks. This system is fun and exciting and most battle in the later part of the game require you to change roles constantly and if you do not have the proper roles set up for battle you may not be able to advance. The only problem with this is the each character is allowed three roles and the only way to get a balanced party with all paradigms options available to you is to have the party of Lightning, Snow and Fang. Only until the after the post game will you have enough experience point to allow each character to have all six roles.

Another new aspect to the battle system is the ability to break opponents and leave them in a defenseless state where you can accumulate damage. This is the only way the defeat most difficult opponents and where the strategy of the game comes into play. During difficult battles you must determine when the attack and build up the break game or when to defend or set up buff/debuffs. Depending on the enemy you may have to change you characters of paradigms to accommodate the battle.

Two key components of the gameplay which make a huge difference is the fact that when you die you can retry at the same battle which eliminates lost time due to not saving. Also if your main character dies the battle is over and you can not revive them. This is the only reason the game is hard in the later stages as some enemies can kill the main character in one hit. In addition to these points the game does not allow you to grind as your must defeat certain bosses in order to increase your character level. This makes the game difficult and forces you to use strategy to defeat bosses.

Story (6.0) The story covers six characters who become La Cie by god like creatures called Fal Cie. The characters have to complete their chosen focus (mission) or spend life as a monster however if they complete their focus they become crystals. As confusing as this sounds even after completing the game I still have no clue what happened. This is by far the weakest part of the game.

Graphics (10). No debate here are this is by far the looking game even made. The amount of care and detail into characters and the background is amazing. Also this game has numerous hours of cuts scenes which have to be seen to be believed.

Music (10.0) To me this is an important part of any RPG and why Final Fantasy 7 is my favorite game of all time. This game has incredible music especially in the battle themes which make the battle less of a chore. The main theme to Chapter 10 is one of my favorite as well as the last boss theme. Just incredible.

Replay (4.0) This is the only part of the game that may bother some people. After the main game you have the ability to play and complete some monster quests but that is about it. The main quest is fairly long as it will take the average player about 50-60 hours to complete.

Overall. (9.4) While it is too linear and does not allow you to customize your characters the fast paced battle system the epic music and graphics make this game a must own for any RPG fan.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/07/10

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

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