12 April, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII

I guess it's about that time again to make a review for Final Fantasy XIII. I have tried to write this review four times now, but I always forget I'm writing it & then shut down the computer without saving. I suppose that is actually how I have summed up the latest installation of this wonderfully epic storyline. I'm well aware of everything else people have said about the game & I don't really care about that. I enjoyed the game to the end & for a bit of post-game as well, but after that... I just couldn't bring myself to pick it back up for the mission grind or the Crystarium grind... it just held ZERO interest for me. I had absolutely no desire to do those things. I'll get to that, though. For now, we'll start at the beginning. Graphically, this game is the best in the Final Fantasy game series, hands down. I played the 360 version, of course, & it was phenomenal. One day I hope that the entirety of all game-play in a game will look like Advent Children through 100% of the game, but until that mythical day happens, FF13 has come pretty damn close. It was very obvious, still, the differences between the full FMV's & the actual game-play (even on the PS3, the graphics really weren't all that different). Movement was incredible, but seriously, the footsteps? I'm all for realism, but I can't even hear my OWN footsteps when I'm walking (granted if I'm out walking I have my headphones on so I don't actually hear my footsteps...).

I really don't want to spend 80+ hours listening to my character running around, but alas, that is how it turned out. But this is for graphics! Audio will come next! The spells were breath-taking &, ladies & gentlemen, the Espers (Eidolon's! Ugh) were the stuff of legends. I really can't rave about the graphics more, just to say that at times I put the controller down, peering over landscaping forests, steep cliff-sides edging out into an expanse of ocean... it made me very sad that I couldn't be there & at times I felt that I was there. It was a fairy tale world & so lovely. Now we can get into audio. The sound was nice, yea nothing really amazing, I'm sorry to say. Actually, though, the soundtrack was awesome... away from the game. During the game I listened to the music for about 2 hours, then turned it off & just turned on the actual soundtrack on iTunes. Gorgeous composition for which I give it the highest recommendation, but while inside the game..? No, it got very irritating. I don't really have a lot of experience with audio in a game apart from the music, so I'll just leave it with my comments about the music & afore mentioned aggravating footsteps. Of course, we come to what everyone else bitched about relentlessly. The game-play OK, yea it is so very, very linear at the beginning... & for about 24 hours of game-play you have no choice in what you do & your actions are heavily controlled. This annoyed me at first until I just
stopped caring & enjoyed the beauty of the game. Combat in the game was... well it's hard to say. I tried to queue up my own spells & choose what I was doing, but 99.9% of the time, just spamming 'Auto' is really the best thing to do, unless you want to do one of your OMGabilities which are quite OMG to be honest (or an Esper ability or item). FF13 employs an event in combat which has NEVER been good in ANY game EVER MADE & for some reason games still fucking put this in! The character you control, if they die... it's game over. WHAT. This is never a good idea, developers. Why on earth can't your party members throw a rez down? It just boggles my mind endlessly whenever this crops up in a game. It's like in DMC4 when you first run into the Dice room? And you finish & think wow that was the most annoying experiment a game dev has put in a game, glad that's over, but then for the last 40 minutes of the game when you have to do five more Dice games & you're thinking WTF is this shit, did they actually think this was a good idea? Yea, well it's like that.

So after your initial stint in Cocoon you get ferried down, by Bahamut no less, to Pulse where the game expands in quite a Deer-In-Headlights way & you are thoroughly humbled by how lame your characters actually are. You're introduced to more mobs than you could take in an entire evening & the wonderment of Missions. Don't be blinded by this beautiful, forever-stretching landscape though, your game is still pretty linear. You can only do so many missions before you're scooted off to the next area & your exposure to the most difficult mobs you've had to encounter. Good luck levelling up for the next three hours. My biggest disappointment in this was that I really thought there would be more LIFE on Pulse, but it's almost like everyone is either a monster or Esper down here. No towns! I was so distraught by this! My favourite thing is running around towns & taking in the life of a game. Well after you're guided around Pulse for a little while & finish up some more missions (or not as they get way too hard to even contemplate) you're glided back up to cocoon in an owl-ship (I'm serious) for more linear-linear game-play instead of the semi-linear game-play on Pulse. I finished the game at 59 hours I believe & I didn't really have to spend time levelling except when I first got to Pulse. The last boss is not hard at all... it's just very long. It's a stamina battle, so make sure you have two cans of pop next to you instead of just the one. The ending sequence is almost 1 1/2 hours.

Post-game! Wooo...? I was very excited about post-game. I really love doing things around the world & taking my characters to trounce the evils I could not vanquish before, but unfortunately, nothing at really changed. My Crystarium was open to the max now & all my people could be... anything. It kind of lost it's beauty at that point, to be honest. Sure, some characters are better at one thing that the other, but they can do everything -_- What happened to being stuck with a Thief, White Mage, Black Mage, & Bard & having to really try to make it work? No. Now you can do anything with anyone & you won't really fail. Well I took my awesome characters of awesome back down to Pulse to work on Missions. Okay, it was cool finishing all the D level ones, the C ones mostly done, & a lot of B & A one's taken care of... this is getting really boring. What? Now I have to grind even more CP because everything takes 2839472394 to level? This is really boring. That sums up the post-game for me. Really, really boring. I have absolutely NO desire to play this game any more, unfortunately. Not to mention it has ZERO replay value at all! There is nothing you can do differently. Nothing at all, not one thing that you can change to do in another way. Everything, right to the end is determined & you are guided along that path. Don't get me wrong, the game was awesome to play through & I do not regret getting the CE of the game. I loved to go through it, but I will say, I probably won't play it again for a while & then when I do, it will be to get the achievements specifically, not because I want to play it again for fun & joy & love. This is a great installation in the Final Fantasy series, I really did have a good time. There are some glaring flaws in it, some of which crippled the game-play a bit, but being crippled myself ( har har ) I am used to setting those flaws aside & focusing on the better areas.

I recommend this for rental or buying it used most likely. Unless you're crazy obsessed with Final Fantasy, don't buy a CE or new issue of the game because you'll probably be disappointed when the game decides to play 80% of it by itself & just let you watch. Also, you have to switch discs twice, which isn't anything big at all & once you're on the 3rd disc, you never go back.

1 comment:

  1. For the most part I agree with your assessments. I've been taking breaks between grinding sessions because well...its just boring. Farming mobs for a 1 percent drop rate item so I can upgrade their weapons? Fucking lame. And omg yes, why can't your party members ress you? Just another way to jack up the difficulty.