Review by QuantumChrono
Just because you have to walk a strait line, doesn't mean you have to do it like everyone else.
Final Fantasy XIII is yet another installment in the franchise that is trying to differ itself from its predecessors. Lucky for us it is usually done in an interesting and intelligent way, and this installment, for the most part, does not disappoint.
This seems to be the highlight of this game. Gameplay is extremely dynamic and complex. When you begin to learn Paradigms and Paradigm Shifts it opens up a whole new world of battle strategies. I found the ease of moving back and forth between roles and Paradigms quite enjoyable and kept many repetitive type battles fresh and new. Also, not one strategy works for all enemies, so the game forces you to play around with different sets of Paradigms, inadvertently helping you to better learn how the gameplay works and why they set it up like they did. Pretty ingenious. The only negative is how linear the game is, but is easy to look past considering how un-linear the battle system is.
The story can be the drawback at times, as during some cut scenes I found myself getting bored or annoyed. Many times the script feels like it could use work, and this makes some characters seem less intelligent and at times almost dumb. Character depth certainly goes in and out as far as keeping your interest. But, if you are able to look past the obvious flaws of the story and really dig deep into the full history the game presents, it can really be quite engrossing. Final Fantasy's always seem to do a good job at building a great history around the story, but sometimes, like this one, not vise-versa.
The graphics and sound both work well in this game. The frame rate is pretty good, but can get bogged down during massive onslaughts of high level spells, but other then that things looked good and images are crisp. Sound doesnt have any noticeable drawbacks, but it isnt going to wow you either. And as long as we are talking about sound, the music in this game is okay, but there is nothing memorable about it.
Play Time/Replayability: 5/10
Looking just at play time this game might get a 9/10, but then the other side of coin, being replayability, would at best get a 2/10. The game packed in a perfect amount of content into about a 20-30 hour gameplay for finishing the game, then when continuing on in post game play, you can get up to 50+ hours for the hardcore gamers looking for the complete beat. But once the complete beat is over there is no real reason to do it all over again, especially because at some points during the game you go through more cut scenes then battle sequences.
In conclusion, I give the game a 8/10. I realize that is a little bit higher then if you were to average all these out, but gameplay alone makes this game a worthwhile buy. It is very fun, invigorating, and, if you give the game time, interesting and engrossing.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Final Fantasy XIII (US, 03/09/10)
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