Review by blazerramhard

"A 'Purge' of the old ways"

I have enjoyed every FF game I have played. The only ones I have not played were FFXI (not big on MMORPG) and FFXII. I have owned FFVII-FFX/II and have played the others on ZSNES...shhhh don't tell the government. Currently, I am 8 hours into the game, and those 8 hours were nonstop. This is not a sum-it-all-up review, but rather a review covering what I think about it thusfar.

As with all games, the first thing that sticks out is the graphical presentation: 10/10
The only complaint I have found with the graphics is not Square Enix (SE) fault, but more a matter of resolution. I have a Vizio 42'' 1080p HD tv and on some of the cutscenes it looks like the characters have floating dandruff around their head. Not really so much a complaint as it is an observation. Aside from that, the opening scene is, in a word, epic. From the environment to the opening owning of PSICOM by Lightning on to 8 hours in the game, the graphics are awe-inspiring. The in-game graphics are not far-removed from the CG scenes and really serve to lend to the presentation.

The second thing most people notice is the sound: 8/10
One glaring omission is that of the nostalgic sounds. So far everything in this game is brandnew, yes, even the fanfare after a battle. The voice acting is great and while the SE CG team doesn't portray emotion as well as Avatar did, the mix of sound and facial expressions serves to pull you in further. Aside from the two kids, the voice acting on the main characters is top notch. Unfortunately, the kids will wear on your last nerve. Vanille is entirely too happy and while her character is 15 or so, she sounds like a little 8 year old who just drank 18 Red Bulls. can I put many of you can not stand when someone just hitting puberty or pre-puberty thinks he has a right to talk on Xbox Live? This kid talks ALOT, and every word grates on your soul. Not only is his voice annoying, but he is a little poon and you only wish he fell off a bridge at the beginning. All he does is whine, whine, and whine some more. Don't believe me? You will see.

Now, after you see the graphics and hear the dialog and sound, what's left??? Gameplay: 9/10
Many have griped "boo hoo I can only control one person" and I have one thing to say to them, SHUT UP HOPE! The new battle system is very streamlined, very strategic, very immersive, and very fast paced. I cannot see this working if you could control your entire party. Hell, its hard enough just controlling the one. A new system is introduced about 2 hours into the game called the Paradigm Shift. With this, you can switch your party of tanks to a party of medics and any combination between with a push of the left bumper. This makes those boss fights very strategic as you normally have to use 2-4 paradigms to stand a chance of winning. It works out perfectly with the combat and I really think anyone, even Hope, could pick it up and find it very fun.

As with any RPG and especially the SE stories, we expect a whopper: 8/10
Only two gripes here: first, Hope. Just kill him off already!!! Second, the linearity could be bad or no. This is a very linear story, I mean very. For diehard fans, this may be a major let down. Then again, I consider myself a diehard fan and I am surprisingly ok with it. For this story it really works and keeps you wanting to play (I played 8 hours straight, which is alot for me). Will you like the story? That is totally subjective. If you are a conservative, you will find familiarity with the characters...a ragtag motley crew of individuals stepping up against an out of control socialistic governement that puts down any who stand against it. If you are a liberal, you are probably too dumb to figure out what's going on anyway. Anyway: small group with powers against big government with powers equals out to 20 hours of figuring out how to even the odds. In that time, the characters are majorly fleshed out, Hope gets more and more annoying, and you find out as much about the world as you do about the characters.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/18/10

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

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