Review by LadyKy007

Reviewed: 08/13/10

What do you get when you mix epic music, epic characters, epic environments, one hell of a plot and a chocobo? Final Fantasy XIII, that's what!

Final Fantasy XIII is similar, yet different to the other Final Fantasy games-it's adopted certain music and gameplay styles from other games but steers away from the very linear battle system in other games of the Final Fantasy franchise. I ended up getting this game a bit late, but at least I actually I have this game-I'd be missing out on a LOT otherwise-3 days of playing this game has proven that much to me, and I'm not planning to stop playing this game anytime soon!

The gameplay in Final Fantasy XIII may at first seem complicated, but in truth, it's easy to get a grasp on it. When out of battle, you can upgrade your character's equipment, chose paradgims to suit your team's needs, activate shrouds and wander around the area until you get into a fight or the end of the chapter (in some cases!). The battle system isn't so simple to understand! Like the other games, it's kind of turn-based as in you have to wait for your ''ATB Gauge'' to charge up before you can attack your foes. But you also have the option of changing paradgims which can ultimately decide if you win or lose your fights. The tutorials in the first 3 chapters of the game help you to understand how the gameplay works and because of that reason, it's easy to grasp.

Graphics-they can make or break a game. Final Fantasy XIII gives you nothing short of perfection graphics-wise. The environments are absolutely beautiful (including, and I'm naming favourites here-Oerba, Hanging Edge, and Bodhum during the fireworks scenes!), the characters look stunning and every single tiny detail has been made to just look absolutely perfect-from the 'dust' coming off Cocoon that you can see when in Oerba, to the way the L'Cie look when turned into crystal/cie'th, and from the cocoon letters on Fang's sari to the tiny hairs in Sazh's afro.
Graphics-10/10, easily!

Sound-Some games become a real nightmare to play without sound, and other games can cope without sound-Final Fantasy XIII is in the latter of the two, but having said that, you miss out on a lot if you play the game mute! Let's start by talking about voice acting. Generally, the voice acting's ranged in how good it is. The majority of the characters have good voice acting, then there's characters like Fang who has absolutely amazing voice acting, a perfect Australian accent (which helps to prove that she's from Gran Pulse!) and the best lines ever (''I'm great, you're great, everybody's great''-aside from Sazh's speech to the Gigantuar, that is the best line in a video game I've ever heard!)! Then you got characters on the other end of the scale-Vanille being prime example, she's supposed to be like Fang and have an Australian accent, but it's not a clear one, and sometimes her voice can get VERY annoying! The music is some of the best music I've ever heard if not THE best! Prime examples to prove this include Snow's theme, Serah's theme, Fang's theme, Fighting Fate and Dust To Dust-the latter of the 5 quite possibly being the best video game music ever created! I won't spoil why!
Sound-10/10, VERY easily!

Amusement Factor-In case you've never seen my reviews before on this site or any other sites I've done review for, the Amusement Factor is something I include in all my reviews-which judges the game based on if it's going to keep you interested or if it's boring, if it's long or if it's short and in general if you're going to enjoy playing the game! I had a hard time marking the game in this section-one moment I thought 10, then 7, then 5 then 8 then 9 then 6 and so on! In the end, I gave it a 9! It's not incredibly long-story wise, 13 chapters long (don't think you're halfway through the story halfway through chapter 6-it's roughly halfway at the end of Chapter 9/start of Chapter 10!), but once you get to Chapter 11/end of the story, the game opens up to a TON of sidequests designed to do nothing but challenge you! That easily adds on a good few hours of playtime to the final total. If you're anything like I am, you'll like most of the characters-Lightning can be firm but sometimes amusing to watch when she gets angry, Snow has a very enjoyable personality and his 'hero' attitude will no doubt make you laugh, Vanille can be a bit tearful but otherwise she's generally fun to watch, you'll not be able to take your eyes off Fang as she demands attention with her style, and like Snow, she has a very enjoyable personality, Sazh is the other comic relief besides Snow, with a very laid back attitude, a style we can all relate too and a lot of jokes up his sleeve! Hope lets the side down however, being for the most part of the game nothing but crybaby and tantrum-guy. Once you pick up the controls for this game, you won't be able to let it go!
Amusement Factor (AF)-9/10

A question I always ask on behalf of people considering this game at the end of the review-Rent or Buy? Buy, buy, buy!! If you rent it, you won't have enough time to truly see the amazing-ness Final Fantasy XIII has to offer, and even then you still won't want to return it! If you buy it, it's yours forever and it'll be money well worth spending-take my word for it!

Overall, you won't regret playing this game! It's very interesting, well worth the time/money and in general it's just nothing but beautiful! Sure, it has it's flaws and a few things let the side down, but it's still a must-buy!

To sum-up:

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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