Final Fantasy XIII Review
Final Fantasy XIII is a role-playing game from Square Enix. The game was released on March 9, 2010 in the United States to great critical acclaim.
Final Fantasy XIII centers around Cocoon, a large self-contained floating structure over Pulse, which is claimed to be wild and untamed terrain. Magical gods called the fal’Cie control Pulse and Cocoon, among other things, and are responsible for its operation. At times, the fal’Cie will give individuals quests called a Focus. Individuals are required to complete their focus or risk becoming a monster. Individuals who have a Focus are the l’Cie. The only caveat is that the l’Cie are not explicitly told what their focus is. They must figure it out by interpreting visions.
The game is quite enthralling in its nature and would give out pokemon vibes every now and then as the levels are quite similar in many places where you need to buy pokemon go accounts to take on complicated missions.
Players control a small party that changes in size and its players throughout the game. The game starts out with a bang; Sanctum, the ruling power in Cocoon, forcibly exiles the citizens of a small town in Cocoon to Pulse. This event is called the “Purge” and is allegedly intended to prevent threats to Cocoon from l’Cie down on Pulse. This sets the game off to an exciting start as the initial player characters, Lightning and Sazh, battle to stop the Purge. As the game progresses, things slow down considerably. Players meet a slew of other characters, each of which has their own contributions to the story, and team up to discover what their focus is. The game helpfully offers an extensive plot summary for players who lose track of the characters, settings, or plot. Considering how often the players bounce into flashbacks in FFXIII, this is a welcome feature.
Gameplay is similar to Final Fantasy XII in that there are no random encounters; players see the enemies before they fight. Players fight in typical Final Fantasy fashion with enemies squaring off against the hero party and the player being greeted with a basic heads-up display allowing them to attack or use special abilities. Like previous games, players have a variety of commands to choose from, each of which will take up a different number of bars on the active time battle bar. Players can also “autobattle,” or automatically use a standard attack, against opponents. Players can also summon monsters to help win battles.
One significant difference between FFXIII and previous games is that players control only the main character. During fights, players can choose several play styles for their parties. Players can have the party members heal, focus on offense, guard, and so on. The enemy’s nature and the player’s stage in the fight will have a dramatic impact upon what the player chooses; for harder fights, it’s common to switch modes several times. Players must carefully manage the offensive and defensive nature of their team. When enemies take damage, they raise the “chain meter,” and when that maxes out, players will “stagger” the enemy. This makes the enemy much more vulnerable to damage. Staggering the enemy quickly is all but required to win harder fights, but players must keep team members healthy. Hence the balancing effect.
Final Fantasy often has odd leveling up systems, and this game is no exception. Leveling up has been changed from previous iterations of the Final Fantasy franchise. Players now have access to a level up screen with different tiers of unlockable abilities. Players can receive bonuses to the standard role-playing game stats, such as magic and strength as they navigate through the different tiers. Players will unlock different tiers with different stat bonuses as the game progresses. This prevents players from grinding lower level enemies to make certain segments of the game easier.
Final Fantasy XIII’s biggest problem is its linearity. Previous titles in the franchise had open environments and world maps with a plethora of towns.
Graphically, Final Fantasy XIII is drop-dead gorgeous. The environments are highly detailed, characters move smoothly and have realistic facial features, enemies are diverse, and the camera moves around it all to maintain a sense of scale. This helps the game environments feel more expansive than they actually are. The CGI cutscenes are some of the best in any game; textures are as detailed as anything else on a console, movements are very smooth, and there are no jagged pixels to be found. Some blockbuster movies do not have CGI of this caliber. Final Fantasy XIII may be the best-looking PlayStation 3 game available even to this day. If it is not, it is certainly one of the best.
Final Fantasy XIII’s sound is very good. Nobuo Uematsu, who composed music in every main title prior to FFXIII, was absent from this game. Even so, the music matches the scenes very well. As always, players can expect lots of wonderful orchestral music with more upbeat and aggressive music playing during battles. Sound effects are also standard Final Fantasy fare, with crisp and clear sound the order of the day. Firearms sound like firearms, swords sound like swords, and footsteps change depending upon the environment. Like its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII’s sounds tend to be somewhat overshadowed by the game’s excellent music, and that is just fine.
Voice acting is adequate, although at certain moments, the vocal inflections do not match the character’s visual cues. Additionally, the player will have the distinct impression that something was lost in the translation from Japanese to English during certain moments; some of the more dramatic moments do not seem to mesh well with the characters. This does not bog the game down or detract from its quality, but it is noticeable. It is somewhat excusable as the game can rapidly change between tones during certain segments.
Final Fantasy XIII has fair replayability. Like its predecessor, the game has a considerable number of side quests to occupy the player’s time should he or she choose to do them. However, the linear nature of the game means that there’s only so much to do at any given moment, and players who complete the main story after doing the various side quests will have little else to draw them back to the game.
Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is a very good addition to the franchise, and one that offers an exciting RPG experience. It may not quite meet the standard set by Final Fantasy XII, but it’s still an enjoyable romp and it brings enough new elements to the franchise to keep Final Fantasy veterans and newcomers entertained for a long while.