* Prices may differ from that shown
Genre : Role playing
Final Fantasy 13 is the first outing on a next gen console for creators Square Enix. Square Enix have always been one for trying to wow with visual effects from the very beginning so this was a chance for them to create something truly visually stunning. For the first time there is little distinguishable difference between movie sequences and gameplay as it all flows seamlessly into one. A role playing adventure, Final Fantasy gives players a chance to step into a universe bigger than ever before. Move from the safety of Cocoon to the wild plains of Pulse in an adventure where destiny is against you.
The people of Cocoon rely on the power of Gods for their every need. However, the appearance of Falcie gods who 'brand' the people of Cocoon as L'cie shakes things up. Anyone branded must either complete their focus and turn to crystal or fail and be transformed into a monster. Former soldier Lightening finds herself fighting to save her sister Serah who has been branded along with Serah's boyfriend, the rebellious Snow. These are the characters we are first introduced to who are soon joined by father Sazh, the childish Vanille, Hope and later Fang. In the search for Serah they all find themselves branded as L'cie. But is it there focus to destroy Cocoon or to save it? In thirteen days the stories of each character intertwines and they are thrust into battle. What will become of the Falcie's chosen?
Cocoon - A sheltered world, the appearance of one pulse Falcie causes panic amongst its citizens, the Sanctum, rulers of Cocoon brand Lcie as monsters who must be hunted and destroyed for the good of Cocoon. Are there hidden motives behind their actions? A landscape of technology and hi tech cities, the gameplay here is pretty linear travelling from one location to the next to complete story line.
Pulse - A wild, rough landscape infested with monsters. You must battle your way through to find the truth behind the Falcie and what they want. A beautiful but cruel setting. An open world adventure where you run across fields, caves and abandoned towns to reach your goal.
Each of the characters are playable within the game however at some points the characters who you can have as part of your team are fixed. Unfortunately if you have your favourites, you won't be able to play as them throughout the whole game. Each character enters the story with their own backstory, their own strengths and weaknesses, it's your job to battle and build them up in a way that suits you. A lot of the time the game centres on the emotions of the characters and how they deal with the problems they face.
Similar to the sphere grid development style of Final Fantasy 10, players need to collect experience points to level up their character within a certain role to unlock more abilities. Players also have the option of role switching during battle via the use of paradigm shift which is customisable from the menu screen. It's your job to figure out what role is best to defeat the monsters you face, some roles will be entirely ineffective against certain monsters and bosses which is where the challenge lies in choosing the best course of action. As usual eidolons are also on hand to help, beasts summoned in battle. However, in this version they are specific to certain characters and must first be beaten to be won. In honesty they don't really help that much in battle and I tended to forget about them but the summoning sequences are pretty darn cool. Moves are stacked in battle or you can automatically ask your character to do what they think would be best.
Final Fantasy 13 has a really great story which really stands out from some of the others in the franchise. From the very beginning there is no sense of knowing in which direction the story is going to go. Though it is set over such a short period of time there is plenty of action packed in to make gameplay interesting. The battle system is a refreshing change for the franchise with the traditional turn based gameplay replaced with fast paced active time gaming. The graphics in this game are absolutely stunning and some of the best on the PS3 at the moment.
As beautiful as the graphics are, the amount of time spent playing this game and watching movie sequences are worlds apart. Unfortunately the movie sequences are far too long and often and I often found myself sitting and sipping a cup of tea while the controller sat unused on the sofa waiting for the characters to stop blabbering on about one thing or another. To add insult to injury, the game is certainly much shorter than any other Final Fantasy game I have played and I have a feeling if the movie sequences were removed it would probably only have enough gameplay to last a couple of days at most. Lastly, though the new battle system is innovative, the option to let the characters act for themselves feels a little like cheating and takes away the challenge from the game. I would recommend if you want to make the game last, try winning the battles for yourself without letting the game decide what to do for you.
Final Fantasy 13 as enjoyed much success and is one of the highest rated Final Fantasy games out there along with the likes of 10 and 7. Thankfully, Square Enix are releasing a sequel to the story in 2012 to follow on from where the characters left off, something I feel was necessary as there wasn't quite enough gaming on offer in 13. Despite its flaws it is a game that was enjoyable to play and that I have played again since finishing it. I only hope that 13 part 2 picks up on the flaws of its predecessor to create a truly brilliant game.
Final Fantasy 13 is the latest in a long line of games, and with the technology today could have been one of the best. But unfortunately it falls short of what it could have been. I have played nearly every game in the series and still to this day feel that Final Fantasy 7 is the pinnacle of RPG's. FF13 however makes me wonder what happened. Don't get me wrong it's still a decent game and worth a play but it just doesn't feel like a Final Fantasy game.
The main issue I have with this game is the fact that unlike most of the others in the series it has very little free roaming during game play. All the other games have had detailed story lines of varying success but this did not conflict with the ability to roam around the world and discover new missions or quests or secret items. It is very linear and this just doesn't feel right for a franchise that has built a reputation as being one of the best RPG series' of all time. The storyline itself is also, at times, so strange that you're not positive if you really know what's going on. For some people this may be a plus, but I'm not talking about knowing all the twists I mean knowing what is actually just happening at any time in the game. Another issue I had with the game was the fact that the first half of the game is almost just purely FMV's or in game movies. This does tend to get on your nerves when you run in a straight line, almost, for five minutes just to have another 20 min video.
FF13 does have a number of good points however; it is for starters a visually stunning game. It is beautifully crafted and looks fantastic. The detail that they have put into this game is amazing. The characters look great and the environments are stunning. The battle system is innovative and brings a new element to the genre. It is a mix between the old style of turn based and the style used in FF12 and FF10-2. The customisation for your weapons and other items has been jazzed up to give you more control over what type of weapon you want. You basically build them as you progress throughout the game, a very nice touch I thought. Also the game is quite challenging from the start it doesn't let up and keeps you on your toes the whole way through. The levelling up system also makes the idea of just running around fighting anything and everything you can pointless. It is quite similar to that of FF10 and does involve some thought.
All in all this game is not your run of the mill Final Fantasy game; it is more of a glammed up Final Fantasy for beginner's game. I would say that hardcore fans of the series should stay away from this game but if you are new to the genre or to RPG's then this game would be for you. But just not for me.
I'm on chapter 9 of the game, and so far it has been a blast to play. The game is clearly tweaked for new generation of players and heavily emphasized on ease and fast pace narrative and action. Not so much of exploration and wandering aimlessly in the world, and not a sandbox type of game either where you rack up quests to complete. The game is designed like a very long action movie, it branches out to different character's story and switch up your party members accordingly. It still feels like an rpg to a degree, but not like your old typical traditional japanese RPG formula. Overall the changes are great, the game is designed with the general public in mind, not so much for the hardcore rpg enthusiasts. I have to say I love all the changes, it makes the game very easy to get into, and you focus more on the storyline and the characters instead of wandering aimlessly trying to find what to do next".
Graphic: one of the best so far, great visual, and SE did an amazing job in spacing the cutscene, it is never too much or too little.
Gameplay: it is easy enough to pick up, and quite hard to master. The good thing is that if you know what set up to use, it makes "random battle" pretty fast. I love that they cap your levels according the storyline, no more level grinding. The AI is pretty good at working together and doing what they are suppose to do. You can still do some customization but not having to micromanage everything which is great change.
Storyline: it's good but not amazing, the game has story summarization so you can read it at your own leisure. Overall it is fast paced. The dialogue and voice acting is somewhat uneven, good with some characters and corny for others. Yes it is somewhat linear, but you don't really feel it, it gives you more clear focus on what to do and where to go and keep you in the right track. The linearity never bothers me at all, actually it is a blessing. This game is designed for adults who want to play the game and enjoy the story and not wandering aimlessly trying to solve puzzles or quests or "exploring". It keeps everything in tight rein and just take you along for the amazing ride. At times it does feel like you are watching a summer blockbuster movies.
Final Fantasy finally made its debut on the PlayStation 3 this year, with the controversial success of Final Fantasy 13. UK fans were drawn in at such a rate for it to become the fastest selling game of 2010. Square-Enix predicted 13 to be their greatest game in the series causing a lot of stir among die hard fans of specific titles whom believe their favourite to be the most fantastic. However, it failed at significantly reducing the population of fans for its predecessors with its tunnel-like gameplay. It may not be their greatest, but it is definitely close enough to be considered an incredible experience.
Final Fantasy 13 is beautifully polished in every aspect. The stunning visuals complemented with a butterfly inducing battle theme and a slick interface make fighting in this Role Playing Game an absolute joy. Most notably on huge expanses of a wilderness - known as Gran Pulse - is the level of detail admirable. Residents of the land and sky pass the player with the sounds of tranquillity pulsing through the footsteps of tusked tortoises 4 stories high above packs of roaming beasts. The ground is flat with only the occasional patch free standing flowers which doesn't come to much of a surprise considering there are far nicer things to look at. From running water and deep forests, to junk yards and ice caverns, there is plenty to see in Final Fantasy XIII. The environment feels alive enough to forgive the ridiculously long treks for at least the first couple of full length journeys in the absence of a Chocobo on the plains of Gran Pulse. The camera tracks behind the player in a third person perspective off to an interesting angle, putting the character to the side of the screen with a restrictive frontward field of vision slightly upwards to gaze at the upper world known as Cocoon. The camera pans from left to right about the player who is never out of view making it impossible to view some of the high up scenery above the character's head that is probably lovely too.
Despite the awkwardly slow story telling through individual character's own dilemmas; the attempt at multiple main characters is just about there. After the initial grasp of what is actually going on and what the words Fal'Cie and L'Cie correspond to, the story does develop into an interesting tale with a twist that deserves at least a small slot in your memory. Power is a big role in Final Fantasy XIII. Ruled by the Sanctum, Cocoon is the world in the sky of the deemed inferior and dangerous Pulse. Inhabitants of Cocoon live in constant terror of anything Pulse related. This fear led to the purging of innocent citizens of Cocoon who may have come in contact with a recently discovered Pulse Fal'Cie on Cocoon - entities of divine power responsible for keeping their respective worlds in tact with the help of their created L'Cie whom must complete a task known as a focus to prevent themselves degrading into a zombie-like C'ieth. Turned into Pulse L'Cie and made enemies to their own world, Lightning and the rest of the 'happy' gang (who love each other to bits) embark upon a struggle against Cocoon to fulfil their focus.
Character development is a great focus for Final Fantasy XIII. Each character has more to them than first perceived. These initial perceptions lead to internal strife within the group as they break off into couples. Although this is a bit of a hassle fighting without a full party for a large section of the game, it can be pardoned for this is where the majority of the characters' resolves are formed as we see a different side to each of them. The characters themselves are fairly different with a lot of depth despite some of their parallels with previous Final Fantasy games. To name a few. We have the gunblade wielding female protagonist: Lightning whom comes across as a cold individualist from very early on. The increasingly common Final Fantasy "all sunshine and rainbows" youth: Vanille, who takes this role to a level border-lining on lunatic with her crazy energetic shell of a personality. Her weapon of choice being a fusion of 5 fishing rods of course. Last but not least, we have Sazh - a stereotypical black father sporting an afro nest fit for a baby chocobo. Sazh brings humour to Final Fantasy 13, lifting the mood a little from the melancholy infused tale of lost hope whilst his hidden emotional feelings contribute.
The current RPG trend does away with random encounters, as does Final Fantasy XIII with monsters appearing on screen whom only initiate a battle on contact with a transition to a battle field. The battle system creates extremely fast paced play which can be ridiculously overwhelming to begin with. The player queues up attacks for their lead character to execute one after another in a combo whilst the uncontrollable - but thankfully intelligent - teammates attack on their own accord. The result is number after number without any time for your brain to register if their attacks were effective or not. Initially disliking the battle system, I eventually succumbed to its crazy style and found my footing a few hours into the game. From the point that 'Paradigms' (job roles that can be assigned to different party members) were introduced, the battle system became more of a joy as it quickly became a favourite of mine. Paradigms offer a lot of flexibility to the way you fight with up to 6 ( which sadly isn't enough ) party paradigm arrangements that can be saved (assuming no party swap ) to enable switching in battle. Enemies can be 'staggered' after filling a chain gauge which fills up depending on which attacks are used. A staggered enemy receives massive damage so part of the battle is keeping that chain gauge high. MP is non existent, instead actions require segments of a bar which determines how many attacks can be performed in one turn where as TP - (Technical Points) are consumed to use special techniques such as scanning an enemies stats, boosting the stagger gauge and Eidolons that can be summoned. The summons are Square-Enix' idea of Transformers. After summoning, an Eidolon helps the lead character attack with the option of initiating 'Gestalt' mode which transforms summons into the likes of horses and vehicles for the player to ride. Whilst this is an interesting concept, it is completely bizarre and only elongates battles. The lead character of the party is the only one capable of summoning their Eidolon which leaves many of them unused but thankfully they are more useful than they were in Final Fantasy XII. If the lead character dies, the battle is over but not the game. The player can select retry to appear just before the battle which I really hope becomes standard in RPGs from now on along with fully healed and status cured characters after battle.
The user interface is quick and clean making for a nice menu screen that is easy to navigate. Weapons and accessories are fluently equipped and removed displaying the characters attack and magic strengths. Whilst the lack of character statistics seems dumbed down, it lets you spend less time in the menu and more for playing the game. Battles are rewarded with Crystarium Points (CP) which can be spent on a more linear and restrictive sphere grid from Final Fantasy X. Points activate crystals which bestow skills or stat. increases for the character in a role of their choice. To me this does not let you develop your character's as you would like. Along with blocks on what skills can be accessed until you pass a certain point in story, it feels as if it is just a mould by the developers to shape the characters in their desired way eventually.
With the lack of exploring in Final Fantasy XIII, you'd think there would be some consistent mini-games in there. Nope, unless chocobo treasure hunting is considered such a thing. Treasure hunting occasionally marks a nearby item on the plains of Gran Pulse whilst riding a chocobo. The closer you get, the speed that an icon flashes increases until you find this item. Not exactly exciting. I'd prefer to spent my time vanquishing the hunting side-quests that Final Fantasy 13 has to offer.
Final Fantasy XIII is a solid game with a good set of characters, a nice story, some fantastic music (except the odd one or too), brilliant graphics and a superb battle system. It has its flaws, but it is a Final Fantasy for certain. I really enjoyed Final Fantasy XIIII and despite the linearity, it has a good 100 hours worth of play to fully complete. The wait was long, it perhaps wasn't what it claimed to be, but I'll play it again that's for sure.
Name: Final Fantasy XIII
Released: March 2010, PS3
Developed by: Square Enix
Average Professional Score: 9 out of 10
You may like Final Fantasy XIII if you liked:
Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Grandia II (PS2)
News of this fourteenth instalment of the main series was first introduced in 2006. Finally released on the Playstation 3 in early 2010 shows that Square Enix has been working on it for nearly five years. It's also been announced that it has become the fastest selling episode in the franchise. With raving reviews and sales galore, surely this game must be a hit? Well I've stripped this one apart and believe me there is plenty to say on that matter.
Humans live on a world called Cocoon, a shell like planet that inhabits itself within another planet. Pulse looms down below. God like beings known as fal'Cie let humanity flourish until a war broke out between the Pulse fal'Cie and the Cocoon fal'Cie. Since this War of Transgression, humans began to fear anything 'Pulse' related and after being fed a media plague of hatred about the world below supported the Purge, a mass exile to anyone who has come in to contact with Pulsian matter. It is during the Purge that we find our heroes introduced to on another.
With betrayal, lies and secrecy running the show, it is no surprise that all is now what it seems and Lightning, the main protagonist, suspects a corrupt government. After becoming into contact with a Pulse fal'Cie, all six of the main cast are cursed into being l'Cie puppets of the fal'Cie who cursed them. Now branded an enemy of Cocoon, they must trust each other in escaping the law, whilst not only bringing down the Sanctum (government of Cocoon) and completing their focus. All l'Cie are given a mission (focus), if they fail they will all turn into Cie'th, monsters who must linger the world forever trapped.
So before you even get stuck into this, you know that all of the characters have a secret and are in it because of their own agenda. It just obviously takes playing the game to unravel these truths. To start with, the player is introduced to very little and with so many things going on, this can be very confusing. Events just don't seem to make sense at all and as a result this halts the drive and addiction needed to getting into the story and grabbing on with both hands and teeth in unison. Terms are thrown at you in all directions. It's almost as if they were given a set of Scrabble letters and told to create as many words as they can. Cie'th, fal'Cie, l'Cie; this list just goes on. In all honesty, it isn't until you familiarise yourself with all of the names and divisions that you start to sit up and appreciate the complexity of the world Square Enix has created.
Despite of this complexity, the story just reveals itself too slowly. With the most successful RPG's they make you believe you are fighting for a cause or establish a connection between the main characters and the gamer. Whether this connection is emotional, respectful of admirable varies on the title. Sadly, Final Fantasy XIII does neither. The characters just seem too familiar. Lightning is obviously a female carbon copy of Cloud (FFVII), Vanille is Selphie (FFVIII) and antagonist Dysley is just too similar to Seymour (FFX).
With other Final Fantasy titles, the story has always been so definitively defined. I don't know what went wrong here. It's like it fused Transformers and Power Rangers into one. The infamous eidolons make a return here and unfortunately just seem to add to disappointment list that is evidently stacking up so quickly. Everything in the world is so mechanical, both physically and environmentally, which results in a manufactured sort of feel to it.
On a plus note (let's face it we need one) as expected, it is very pretty to look at with such clean lines and design. I would go as far as to say that it is arguably is the most realistic looking final fantasy. So much detail has been put into the faces of each character, so that we can even read the emotions they emit on so many different levels. Background scenery consists of a mixture of 3D and 2D structures to really give a fantastic illusion of being set in a very real world.
Cut scenes and FMV's are in one word; phenomenal. Clever camera work and luscious lighting creates a magnificent atmosphere, whether it is in the beautiful but lonely landscapes of Gran Pulse or the ambush scene in Palumpolum. Colour is vivid also and never falters in helping it difficult to notice transitional points between cut scenes into FMV. Despite my distaste to the futuristic mechanical theme it nonetheless looks brilliant, mixing levels of dark caves to ice covered lakes means it has a brilliant variety in level design.
Voice acting is overly familiar again, though this doesn't mean it is necessarily a bad thing. There is emotion and belief in Ali Hillis' voice (Must Love Dogs) who plays Lightning and Troy Baker (Resistance 2) doesn't do an awful job in bringing Snow to life. But I do have to mention the voices of Vanille and Fang. They have got to be the worst acted characters I have ever heard in a game this serious. Their ridiculously over exaggerated Australian accents left me rummaging around for the mute button. To a certain extent it leaves a part of the game a joke and anything serious they have to say; cringe worthy. Vanille is played by Georgia Van Cuylenburg and Fang is voiced by Rachel Robinson.
I suppose this up and down pattern is even more true to the entire sound department inside of Final Fantasy XIII. Whether it was the classic winning sound in FFVII, Liberali Fatali in FFVIII or Suteki Da Ne in FFX, there has always been a memorable and strong stand, but sadly this instalment misses out. There are some blood pumping themes in some very tense moments forcing an increase in pace. However on one level, a dark industrial themed level I may add has a funky jazz/blues melody screeching out of your TV. It was so out of place that it even urged a response from my other half. The most out of place award must however go to the main theme song. Imagine, you've just spent 25 + plus hours completing the game, you've just survived a lengthy boss battle and along with the final cut scene Leona Lewis starts whining in the background. What a mistake!
Ok, so in FFXII, developers Square Enix made some big changes to the battle system and this title some things have stayed and others radically changed again. Random battles haven't returned with visable enemies on screen, but the old style battle screen makes a welcomed return. It does use an active time battle system but allows you to create an attack combo from individual abilities learned from the Crystarium, which ultimately is a spiral world of abilities to learn and a place to spend accumulated experience points. Unlike the License Board in FFXII you do not need a license to wield a weapon.
Instead you create roles for your characters such as commando, medic, sentinel and ravanger. Each having a different purpose. Again you can only control one character in battle (which I find a shame) and therefore must set paradigms for your other two battle members. This is basically an AI command on which role to take and which attacks to use. Only certain members can use certain roles, which mean players will have a very strategic decision to make at each crucial point in the game as to who will make up their party of three. Brand new is the stagger state. Each enemy has a chain gauge and when this is raised and full it will become staggered, essentially weakening the enemy and becoming easier to defeat. Ravengers are magic users that help raise the chain gauge.
Though the stagger state is original and helps create a more tactical approach to the game, the rest is far from original. We've seen it all before in FF X- 2 with the costume systems haven't we? At times it makes the game more interesting, but in others it can make the game feel a little monotonous as you flick back and forth between roles. I certainly would have loved to see something more exciting and refreshing. The crystarium is also a weird and laborious way of levelling up your characters. I can remember spending an hour or two trekking the world map to level up my characters so they were fit and ready for more advanced enemies. Here however you can expose an enemy's weakness by simply switching to a different role. Where has some of that old school charm gone that made the PSOne adventures so addictive?
The game is split into chapters and for the first eight maybe nine at least the game is so straight forward and simple most RPG fanatics would have simply switched off. The game does become much more strategic and worthy of playing though after those chapters, but that's about twenty hours into the game. Is that really such a worthy sacrifice? At times after this it also becomes ridiculously difficult in patches, with enemies having enormously high health making battles sometimes last for more than fifteen minutes. You also get a star rating out of five at the battle end screen. The more stars obviously means better items you loot.
Any Final Fantasy fan will tell you that the side quests are some of the juiciest elements hidden away for their pleasure. It also pains me to say that yet again there aren't that many in here, never mind interesting ones. On Gran Pulse you are given the opportunity to complete missions from Cie'th stones. Basically completely the focus from the l'Cie that failed them. This involves killing a hoard of monsters that get stronger with each mission. Unless you are looking to prove yourself in killing strong enemies then I'm afraid that's really it. No bonus summons to find, no secret weapons (although there are ultimate ones), no extra bits of story to unlock. Oh, there is a Chocobo treasure hunt, but that is just lame. Running around on a Chocobo until a sign appears above its head telling you to dig is not an entertaining side quest. It was obviously really just put in to act as an Easter Egg. The addition of other memorable Easter Eggs is nice, for example an aircraft is called Lindblum which was a town in FFIX.
Square Enix tried hard to add something different into their first PS3 outing, but sadly misfired on so many levels. The battle system is far from perfect, although it does create some tactical battles, and its linear walkthrough makes the game overly simple at times feeling rather like a scrolling platformer than an RPG. The graphics are gorgeous but the storyline is confusing yet complicated to a laborious degree. It is pretty much a rollercoaster ride of ups (FMV) downs (Familiarity) and some total disasters (Voice Accents). If you are a hardcore FF fan them I recommend playing this through once, simply to get to the good parts in the later stages of the game. If you are simply an average RPG fan then stay away from this instalment as it most certainly doesn't illuminate any of the series' highlights. It really is the weakest FF game since X - 2.
© Danpentagram 2010
Been playing the final fantasy series for around 14 years so I'd say I'm pretty much a fan. Pre-ordered the collectors edition... yeah ;)... as soon as I could and couldn't wait till it came. Right lets dig in! I'll try and stay as impartial as possible, but be warned, final fantasy fans usually fight to death defending their game of choice so take that as you will and read on!
This game is truly amazing in some ways and truly lacking in amazingness in other ways. Lets start with the good:
Graphics are incredible! The first final fantasy (renound for their groundbreaking graphics) in HD has gotta be good right? Well they didn't disappoint! The cut scenes are simply stunning, especially in full HD but still nothing to be sniffed at if you're lacking the TV.
Game mechanics and fights are great! There is a lot of angry fans saying the games are slowly but surely straying away from their traditional turn based fights. But in all honesty, and from a huge fan of the series, I love the new system! It's in-depth with loads of features and it brings another level of strategy into the game with characters taking the 'traditional roles' of role playing games (tank, dps, mage etc). Although it must be said, the 'auto' button that simply selects the best moves for you to do really takes the fun out of battles, although it's good for grinding.
Now for the less fantastic elements:
The after credits game seems to be really repetitive, there is not a huge amount to do. Yes you can level to the top level but I have never found it more repetitive than in this game, I think it might be due to the fact that there is only one battle to face once you hit the top level, seems a bit pointless.
Also, which people may or may not agree with, is the poorly executed storyline. It just doesn't grip you the same way as the older games does. The story is good, the concept is there, but reading the story seems more entertaining than the game.
All in all the game is great, completed it 100% and love it, but wouldn't recommend it to someone looking to enter the world of final fantasy, maybe go for a previous game instead to start you off (7 or 10 are by far superior in my opinion, but then again they are very hard to beat).
My Housemate and I disagree on a few things and this game is one of them. I'd imagine there's lots of people out there with his view on this so I want to set the record straight.
You probably know what a Final Fantasy game entails by now, it's a Japanese Role Playing Game and one of the best of it's kind. You roam around a world, fighting monsters whilst unravelling a rich story line for which the series is famous for.
Graphics: The graphics are absolutely stunning, they are rich and vibrant with a familiar final fantasy art style. Comparisons with high end CGI films such as Advent Children are welcome. I'd say that the graphics don't get the praise they deserve. All you have to do is check out a trailer to see that they're not far behind Heavy Rain.
Story: The story is fantastic . You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll do it all over again. The character development is emotional and involving and you'll care for them. What the game does well is it immerses you in it's world. You'll feel angry when a character is betrayed and you'll feel happy when old friends are reunited. So many games fail to make you actually care but this one does it exceedingly well.
Sound: The music as always is amazing. They're so proud of it they even bundle it with certain special editions of the game.
So as you can see it has everything going for it. Why then are critics not giving it the 10 it deserves and why are people not buying as much as they should? I believe it's down to criticism that the story is linear whereas in other final fantasy games it was open world based. I do not buy into this at all and support Square Enix's choice to make a change to the formula.
New players are slowly eased into the way the game works from the start. This is done by limiting the options available to the player and slowly unveiling new features as the story progresses. This isn't a bad thing and it doesn't make the game slow or boring as people have said. The story is rich enough to encourage game play and the thirst for more powerful characters drives you on more.
As for the story being linear, I don't think it's anymore linear than previous games. The game have only ever given the illusion of being open, you still couldn't do anything new story wise unless you triggered a certain event in previous games. The only difference in that in this game you don't need to travel millions of miles back to a town to talk to the sage only to travel another million miles. The story progresses much faster in this way and it does away with unnecessary time fills. Even without the time fills, to complete the game will take the average gamer around 50 hours which is a ridiculous amount of time! Talk about value for money eh?
Don't listen to fanboy attacks on the game, it's solid and worth the money. My only wish is that the game was a Sony exclusive as the series had always been. I will mention the PS3 version is contained on just one blu-ray whereas the 360 version is compressed onto 3 discs. Actually my only OTHER wish (oops) is that the original Japanese voices were available because in JRPGs, American voice actors can ruin some characters such as the poor voice of Vanille (you'll see what I mean).
Buy it and you won't regret it.
I'll be honest, I love FF games. I only started playing from FFX and then fell in love. FFXII for me, was a complex story, but with some great new ideas, and graphically, was one of the most mind blowing games I've ever played on the PS2. However, FFXIII is on the next-gen console and mind blowing HD graphics are now expected by everyone. Nonetheless, FFXIII does really show you the capability of the next-gen consoles, in particular the PS3, to produce high-end graphics with cut scenes that make Assassins Creed 2 look ordinary. The gameplay is, in essence, different! The new leveling system is certainly new and innovative, and for me, its a winner. The battle system is again improved on FFXII and the separate battle areas make the enemies seem more surreal and fantastic, and great fun to battle. The paradigm system is good, but the tutorial is a pain, it takes 40 hours of gameplay to get through to the end of the tutorial. The gameplay, is linear so different from any other RPG I've played, the freedom is limited, with only on or two areas to explore freely and do side quests. However, as all FF lovers know its all about the story, and this really is great, and to be honest saves the game entirely and makes it great. The leveling system, combined with the story gives you a real drive to complete it, and the reward. is well, a trophy, as with all games nowadays. The game is easy to pick up, beautiful and well worth buying, even if FF is a brand new concept to you.
As a long time Final Fantasy fan i was eager to get my hands on this latest generation game. I was hesitant at first seeing mixed reviews but one thing was repeated over and over that had me worried, the game doesn't open up until 25 hours in. Now while that did prove to be true thats not to say that the first 25 hours are boring, far from it. The game and the story careers along at a steady pace so much so that when you finally sit back and take stock in what you've done you realise you're 10 hours in and still unlocking characters and gameplay options. It's been touted as the biggest tutorial in any modern game but it never feels like it. So when you do reach that all important open world mark and the enemy difficulty ramps itself up you can see the value in all that learning. I myself am only 32 hours into the game but still have tonnes to explore and am enjoying every minute of it. Aside from the gameplay mechanics the game itself looks gorgeous and well worth playing in hd, character animations are fluid and at times its hard to tell between in game cinematics and pre rendered cutscenes. This is a must own for any Final Fantasy but those who like their action games more actiony and their lead characters more monosyllabic then best stay clear
Right, stop whatever you are doing and prepare for FF13 to take over your life! Ok maybe not quite so dramatic as taking over your life but after seeing the opening sequence you will realise why this game took so long to produce.
This game will probably be a bit like Marmite for gamers, you will either love it or you will wonder what all the fuss was about, but one thing no one will be able to deny is just how beautiful this game is, the in game graphics and the cut scenes are better than some Hollywood produced films!
Final fantasy has always been quite linear, its main focus has been the story-lines, the characters, and the visual beauty of the game itself. In these departments the game passes with flying colours. Sure for the first 20 hours or so you are literally just running from one point to the next, but damn it looks good on the way, also you now it is building up to something.
The something is when you get to the world of Pulse...now when you get to Pulse you have a whole lot more freedom, by this point you will have gained more abilities through tutorials as you go through the game and now you will have grown enough to be able to handle the volatile world of Pulse and all the amazing creatures and landscapes it presents to you.
The battle system is both familiar and different from previous series, on the whole it is a lot smarter and the introduction of paradigms is very cool, but will be familiar to old FF fans, they have had similar systems in previous games. I have to admit it is very frustrating that you only get to control one of the characters, but you soon get use to it and don't mind so much...at least I didn't.
A lot of the familiar characteristics of the previous FF games have gone, and some have been slightly changed but are still familiar, i.e. the music when you win a battle is not the same, Chocobos don't really make much of a feature in the game either, but I guess the game has to move on at some point...I do miss the old sounds though.
Overall I love the game and with fast load times and a visual feast at every corner I highly recommend this game to those who love RPGs.
Having played Final Fantasy since FF6 and loved every single one...ok maybe not Final Fantasy 9...that was kinda pants I would really recommend this game, it is truly beautiful and will give you hours and hours ....and many more hours of fun.
Final Fantasy 13
This review are just my initial impressions of a game in which I have eagerly awaited years for. The game was release on the 9th March and seeing as though I have a 9-5 job, I have only played a couple of hours into the game and cannot give a comprehensive review of the story.
First off the graphics are amazing, the visuals are bright and intense with little difference between game play and cut scenes. After watching numerous trailers with Japanese voices, I thought the English translate would not match up but I was wrong, so far every character seems to have just the right voice cast. Although one of the character's voice Vanille seems a bit too posh for my liking.
Now straight to the combat, just like in FF12 enemies appear on the map and are in sight when moving through the levels. Approaching them head on will obviously lead to a fight but if you managed to sneak up on them while their back is turned, you gain a pre-emptive attack (very useful). FF13 combat is different in that you no magic bar, all your moves use up the ATB gauge. You start off with 2 bars and this fills up as you decide what to do, some moves need more bars than others, so for instance Attack command needs only one bar so after the ATB gauge is full, you will attack twice (as you have 2 bars). Other moves can use 2 bars altogether, you can interrupt the ATB gauge and just use which ever command is ready without waiting for the whole ATB gauge to fill before you unleash your combo. So by pressing triangle after 1 bar has filled will cause you to attack once or perform which ever move is ready, so you can quickly finish off enemy who are nearly dead and only need 1 attack. You can also cancel your move altogether in case you need to quickly heal. You will quickly learn about paradigms (maybe misspelt), you can shift you combat style combination during fights to best suit your situation which each character changing there style, so for example the Relentless Assault paradigm mean your party will attack who ever your attacking, but other combination can result in one member being a medic to heal you when you take so much damage whilst the other being a sentinel and drawing attacks. You can customise these paradigms for your own combination, but there are also pre sets which pretty much cover the lot.
Don't worry as all combat techniques are demonstrated through the tutorials during the first fights of the game and is definitely worth while to follow without the need to skip. You get scored on your battles out of 5 stars which is new addition, but it seems to judge you on speed of the battle in these early stages.
The levels themselves are very linear, just walk from point A to point B and fights during your journey, I assume there will be some places you can roam about (like calm lands in FF10) later in the game.
So far I have not been disappointed with the game with the changes making the game feel different from previous titles in respect to combat but still FF at its core. The main character is likeable with the rest of the group feeling similar to previous games. Small fights are quick, and boss fights do require some kind of tactic instead of just mashing attack. However I do miss roaming about big cities and plains but this means the story has flowed well.
For me, this was defiantly worth the wait and I look forward to wasting another 40 hours of my life!
This game is brililant. I loved it so far, however the attack system does sometimes seem a bit slow otherwise the game is really good. (Based on a demo playthrough of the first few hours of the game)
Firstly the in game graphics are brilliant totally worth the wait and the game looks and sounds awesome the voice actors have done a good job with giving the character's good voices and then the graphics are splendid. Everything from the backdrops, to the rubble around you on bridges and what not look so lush. This game is going to keep you captivated the whole way through, the attacks look good with some nice animations. The characters themselves are beautifully rendered too.
Now for the gameplay. In this new RPG installment you generally run around and fight enemies as in most other final fantasy games. The enimies are not randomly generated encounters but they appear on the map and you must either initiate or they initiate the battles. Once in battle you have the option of chosing between attacking defending etc. The game system is similar to that of FFX-2. You have a bar with 3 sections which fills up after you use a move, moves can use up 1, 2 or 3 parts of your bar. After the move is done you have to wait till it is full up enough to make your next attack. Some attacks also require you to use up your magic points as well as par tof the bar ie to shoot fire at an enemy.
The system works quite well and you get to run a round a little bit as well dodging the enemies moves while you attack them, so the game is not as static as the older final fantasys.
The game I thought was really good however I am a huge final fantasy so that is to be expected. I was slightly disappointed with the new system I thught it would be more fluid and synamic than it was but it still works with the game well.
This is a preview of the game FFXIII. I thought it would be helpful for those looking to research and make a decision.
Almost as long as I've been a gamer, Final Fantasy has captivated me. It was one of my first RPG loves, and will always hold a special place in my heart. To what end? I've got a moogle, circa Final Fantasy IX, tattooed on my left leg. Suffice it to say that when a new installment in the series is announced, I'm listening. Very soon, both myself and Final Fantasy fans everywhere can rejoice, as the next explosive entry in the series, Final Fantasy XIII, will be released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
More than just the latest iteration of a series that has captivated the minds and hearts of millions of gamers, Square Enix seeks to make Final Fantasy XIII a part of a series of titles that tell the story of a fully realized virtual world. The game will be a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis project, which means New Tale of the Crystal. You may be familiar with Final Fantasy XIII Versus, as well as the Final Fantasy Agito XIII title appearing on mobile phones, but the three games will not be linked. No, they will take place in the same universe, but none of them will directly correlate to the other. This is quite the interesting take that can be likened to the Final Fantasy VII project that spawned the release of Advent Children, as well as Crisis Core.
Floating up high looms Cocoon, a paradise created for a race living far and beyond humanity. A mainstay of the Final Fantasy world, a Crystal, is responsibile for keeping Cocoon afloat in the air, as well as providing transportation, technology, and beings for those privileged enough to reside on Cocoon to use. However, beneath Cocoon there stretches the menacing Pulse that inhabitants of Cocoon believe could lead to the destruction of their safe haven. Pulse could be thought of as the home of those who are not privileged enough to live on Cocoon, as well as many terrifying monsters and those with evil intentions. Those who venture there are thought to be "under the influence" and plan on invading Cocoon. As a countermeasure, the Government of Cocoon exiles those it believes to be corrupted by the influence of Pulse. As of yet, there are scant details currently about exactly what is taking place, but what has been revealed is that a young girl has been chosen by the Crystal as the enemy of all mankind.
For a striking change of pace, Final Fantasy XIII will feature a female protagonist known as Lightning, who has been seen in all of the trailers we've been gifted so far. Lightning knows very little about herself, not even her real name. Character designer Tetsuya Nomura confesses that Lightning herself is "not very feminine," and with her dirty blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, it's not hard to believe that she could bring forth the downfall of mankind. Dressed in quite the conservative outfit (much more than we're used to for female characters), she's all business. Equipped with weapons, utility pouches, and even a maroon cape, it's easy to see she's dressed to get things done rather than to titillate. Cloud Strife's influence on the character is quite apparent, especially the fact that Lightning is dressed in a turtleneck, and she appears to be donning a bit of armor around the shoulder area. Even her facial expressions mirror those of Cloud's. That's a treat for men with crushes on Cloud, if I do say so myself.
Director Motome Toriyama has divulged that Lightning had once been an official of quite the high rank at some point in an organization that is not yet known, but fell from grace to be chosen as the one who would lead the world to its destruction. Quite the leap, one would believe, but this explanation makes clear what is seen in the trailers that have been released. It appears Lightning has had to turn against what could have been possible allies before the Crystal assigned its task.
Very little is currently known about characters that may aid Lightning on her journey or hinder her accordingly, but from trailers available we have seen glimpses of a blonde man donning a bandana who speeds in on a motorcycle (interestingly enough, the summon Shiva in motorcycle form) and wields a big gun. It seems he's on Lightning's side, as he rushes in at just the right moment when Lightning is surrounded by enemies. He's quite the big fellow, reminding me just a bit of Final Fantasy VIII's Irvine Kinneas but with a more meaty build.
Other companions that may serve as allies or enemies include a pigtailed girl who seems to reside in Pulse and carries a highly technical bow. It has been revealed that she can utilize summons from some sort of disc in her possession. As more details surface closer to the time of Final Fantasy XIII's release, there will be more information that we can put to use to try and piece more of the story together.
Evidenced in trailers is what seems like a significant alteration in battle gameplay and the overall feel of this entry into the series. The desire to create battles similar to those found in the feature film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children spurned a battle system where fights take place within the surrounding environment, eliminating the call for the classic "dissolve" screens where you know a fight is about to take place. While this was also done away with in Final Fantasy XII in favor of a more MMO-styled combat approach, the change wasn't so welcome with some gamers, including myself.
Final Fantasy XIII aims to turn combat on its head with its new additions. The Active Time Battle (ATB) system is set to return, with each command issued in battle costing a certain amount of active time. This adds a strategic edge to combat, in that you can chain together certain actions to do more damage or make certain options more effective. Not only that, but since battles take place in the environment your party is journeying through, what's going on around you can be utilized in battle. Trailers have shown Lightning tossing poor soldiers into electric appliances, electrocuting them and doing mega damage. We could see some Bioshock-like effects, perhaps like freezing or burning enemies in conjunction with elements present in the area you're traversing.
The familiar limit break system of Final Fantasies of the past, or even Quickenings are rumored to be replaced with an Overclocking system. Overclocking has been shown to slow time down around your team, leaving openings for ultra-damaging combat decisions or tide-changing spells. It's unclear whether these will be the replacement for Limit Breaks or just an additional combat aspect.
Returning as well as the ATB gauge have looked to be the popular summons such as Carbuncle, Ifrit, and Shiva. Instead of being organic, mythical creatures summoned forth by way of magic, they seem to be half technological beings who can be called up in a "digital form," according to the producers of the game. Ice summon Shiva has been seen in trailers as a motorcycle with which the unknown blonde male rides in on to find Lightning.
Final Fantasy XIII looks to be an absolutely visually stunning game. Borrowing more than a few elements from the art style of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, it looks to bring a more fluid animation style to the series, perhaps integrating a cinematic flow to the RPG like never seen before. Rather than watching beautiful cutscenes and being relegated to less fluid and more tacky gameplay, perhaps this installment will weave the two together in a beautiful waltz of aesthetics and function. A technologically advanced society like Cocoon will offer some quite interesting environments to discover, and I'm quite sure that Pulse will be more than a small part of the gameplay experience. Given the limited amount of video access we've had so far, it can definitely be said that this Final Fantasy could be the most beautiful yet.
In the same vein as differences being made in the series, the thirteenth fantasy takes quite the departure that you would have never expected. In North America, you will be able to purchase this epic tale on the Xbox 360 in an exclusive English release. In Japan gamers will have to be satisfied with the PlayStation 3 edition. This interesting move of Square Enix means that there will be Xbox Live possibilities to consider that have never before been possible, not to mention this sprawling RPG will now be accessible to most current-gen gamers.
Unfortunately, there is no set release date for the much-anticipated story of Cocoon and its people. With a projected release sometime in 2009, Final Fantasy fans will have to be satisfied with the Blu-Ray demo that will come bundled with the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete release in March 2009 in Japan.
Could Final Fantasy XIII completely reinvent the series? Will it crash and burn or will it herald a new generation of newer, shinier, and greater titles? We'll have to see. I know I'll be first in line the day it hits North America.
Final Fantasy XIII is the premier product in the newly announced Final Fantasy XIII: Fabula Nova Crystallis universe, which includes XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII for the PlayStation 3, and Final Fantasy Agito XIII for mobile phones. The tagline for XIII is "A tale of souls from a futuristic civilization illuminated by the Light of the Cystal."