Review by greywolf00

"What happened to square?"

Remember the days when RPGs used to have a story that pulled you in and you couldn't wait to see what happened next? By far and large most RPGs released on the new gen systems have been a huge let down and FF XIII doesn't seem to be much different.

Graphics: 9/10
Graphics are nice and the game moves in and out of cutscenes pretty quick.

Sound: 7/10
Music is definitely not on par with previous editions of the game. Remember when music was used to set the scene and draw you into the story? Not so much here, its more of a lazy lay around on the couch with soothing music score.

Battle System: 6/10
Every review I read about this game raved about how Square revamped the battle system to create strategic battles. If pressing a button to change roles of your party mid fight is your idea of strategy then by all means they succeeded with flying colors. For anyone that was expecting to have to apply some degree of thought to battles you will be let down. Its easy to pick up and if you pay a bit of attention hardly any of the fights pose any degree of challenge. You can honestly use Auto Battle almost exclusively and rarely come across any difficulty.

Leveling/Upgrading 8/10
You get 1 Weapon and eventually 2 Accessory slots per character. That's it. The only upside is you can upgrade the items levels making them better but I don't find it as good as systems they used in previous editions.

Character leveling is still down via a crystal & dot game board. You earn points and spend them in the various tree of "job classes" in order to get spells, attributes, and attacks. It allows you to tweak characters to whatever role you want them to fill.

Story: 4/10
This to me is the most important aspect of any RPG. From the beginning the game utterly failed to draw me in. The start of the game is just pretty cinematics with no substance. You have to read the story from the menu at the start to get an idea of what's going on and it is poorly presented. There's just never anything that makes you excited for whatever might come next. I honestly felt like I was chewing on nails most of my time through the game. I honestly feel like Rome: Total War does a better job of drawing you into the game. The characters aren't exciting and the nonstop interaction between them is rather dull. The only characters that I didn't wish I could strangle were Lightning and Sazh.

One of my least favorite changes to this edition is the dramatic reduction in freedom to explore the world. Count on spending several none stop hours bouncing around from one group to the next with no ability to do anything but continue the story. Unlike previous editions you're very limited on what you can do from early on till you've spent a fair amount of time trudging through the game.

Plan on being limited on what you can do with your characters for the first several hours. There's a lot of things that get unlocked via tutorials over the first 2-3 hours of the game.

Final Score: 6/10
If you were hoping for a game you just can't walk away from you'll probably be disappointed. Better then some RPGs that have been put out on the new gen consoles but no where near as good as many other games in the genre from the ps1 & 2 days.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/12/10

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

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