Review by merkhava

"The Culmination of powerful gaming technology and a Legendary Brand is a Total Disaster?"

Final Fantasy has always been known for its quality production values, rich worlds, memorable music, engaging characters, and immersive gameplay. Most of us who grew up playing Final Fantasy games were no doubt enthralled at the prospects of what a Final Fantasy game could be like on an advance gaming platform such as the PS3.

Technically the game lives up to the production values we've come to expect from Square-Enix and the Final Fantasy series. The graphics are among the best ever seen up until this time, the menus are easy to navigate, the controls are immersive, and the gameplay is smooth and fluid. The Music on the other hand, while good is utterly forgettable and generic.

Everything else is a total disaster!

The gameplay consist of going from one point to the next, fighting enemies along the way, and ending with a boss fight. There is very little to explore, very few side-quests, and you feel pretty closed in until the very end of the game.

Shopping and upgrading your equipment is done through menus and require quite a bit of a learning curve. Essentially you use items obtained through your quests such as from opening chests or winning them from battles to upgrade your equipment. Upgrading will increase the experience level on your weapons and improve their power and abilities. The problem is that items that have any real effect on leveling up are rare and very expensive. Money is also excruciatingly difficult to come by. Furthermore there is no indication of the degree of affect the item could have on a weapon. This means that there is a lot of trial and error, and re-loading your save. This can be an extremely tedious and unnecessarily complicated process. So when you find a new item or weapon you're not excited to try it (as you should), instead you'll think, Oh crap! Here's another one to figure out through trial and error.

The story is actually very simplistic, yet presented in an awkward, sometimes non-sensical, often exaggerated, and almost always in an unnecessarily complicated way. Some of the character interactions are so awkward and embarrassing that it's not even laughable, it's just really pathetic. The characters themselves are uninteresting for the most part, immature in their outlook, and they freaking “feel” too much! Every dialogue is an emotional melodrama! Since everything is presented in such an emotionally heavy-handed way the parts that are supposed to be emotionally involving don't stand out as they should. Don't even get me started on the voices. Only two of the characters are actually interesting (and have the appropriate voice acting to complement them), the others range from uninteresting to so annoying that you'll want to rip out your ears so you don't have to hear them anymore!

Other than the main quest, which is very linear there is only one sidequest. Or rather, I should say, one sidequest “set”. It pretty much involves locating and fighting special foes.

While it's true that the game opens up near the end and there's a beautiful world to explore, you quickly realize the need to level up and empower your characters. What does this mean? It means that you spend the first half of the game going from point A to point B, and the second half trying to fight giant turtles. That's Final Fantasy 13.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Originally Posted: 08/26/11

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

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