On a peaceful Saturday, with my sister playing Darksider next door sending over sounds of destruction and screams of rage, there is no better time to relax and write up something for this blog for once.
For some strange reason, I have this urge to play RPGs during winter/Christmas time. Fellow Ninja Dog Corp member Rey also suffer(?) the same problem. Sure there are many RPGs out there on various handheld console but I can’t bear the pain seeing my PS3 sitting there gathering dust (which it did during my run with Persona 3 Protable). So in comes Final Fantasy 13.
One thing Square Enix loves to do with FF is to give them an overly complex story and bombard the user with hundreds and thousands of names and terms. It seriously feels like I’m watching James Cameron’s little speech at E3 again. FF 13 definitely didn’t disappoint in this regard as I have no f’ing clue as to what is going on at first. The fact that they start you off in what’s practically a war zone with people throwing these terms around certainly doesn’t help. Thankfully there is an in game encyclopedia that gets updated as you progress. My advice for people planning on playing this game is read the damn encyclopedia.
As you get past the first story arc (where shit goes from bad to worst) things slows down and the focus shifts to the characters and the events leading up to the war zone at the beginning. This is where FF 13 really shines in my eyes. Unlike other RPGs where once you recruit a party member they become your eternal friend and tags along no matter what, your party in FF13 actually shows emotion and personality and splits up due to disagreement on ideals and goals. From that point on you’ll switch back and forth b/w characters and get to witness the drama that follows.
Fun fact: Around 10 hours into the game, I was sharing my thoughts of this game with my fellow ND Corp members. That’s when I realize I haven’t been to a single town yet. How can this be? RPG with no towns? Considering the story and the setting of the world I’d say it’s only reasonable to have no towns. Its definitely unconventional in RPG standard and I applaud Square Enix for pulling it off.
Character development is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed this game as much as I did. I honestly can’t remember when’s the last time where my most hated character (Hope in this case) eventually became one of my favorite in the game as he matures. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the villains. I find them very uninspiring and everything feels forced about them. Imagine a wrestler trying way too hard to get the crowd to boo him but instead gets no reaction at all. That’s the feeling I got from the villains in FF13. I know they like giving us crazy/strange looking last boss, but the last boss is just….well, lets just say it doesn’t look very threatening.
On to the battle system. To be honest I wasn’t expecting too much at first. Based on the trailer the battle system seems to be too complicated for its own good and stuff happens at a very fast pace. Thankfully that’s not the case. You only control one character at a time but you have a certain degree of control over other characters. The way it works is each character has different roles (attacker, healer, enhancer, etc…). You can preset 5 (or was it 6?) different combination of roles in the menu and you can switch them anytime during battle. Because each role has a rather limited number of skills the AI won’t go casting something stupid or unnecessary. With shit happening rather fast on the screen you really have to pay attention and switch roles accordingly or else you are good as dead. I’m guessing they (Square Enix) expects us to die quite a few times so they made it that when we die we start right before we engaged in battle rather then the last save point. I think I gameover’d at least 20 times in this game (which is very high for a rpg game). Overall I’m very pleased with the battle system. It’s not too complicated or too flashy but has just enough to keep you constantly thinking and occupied.
One thing I must mention is the game is super linear. All the maps are literally one straight line. I can guarantee you that you’ll never get lost in this game. For those who are used to the open world games these days might not find this very appealing, but I’m actually glad they made it this way. With the game being linear you don’t have to worry about the flow of the story being broken by some unnecessary side quest that requires you to travel to the opposite end on the world map while your princess is kidnapped and set to be executed in a few hours.
So, is this game worth the $90 (yes that’s how much I spent importing this)? I’d say yes definitely. It’s a game with a decent story, fun characters, good battle system, and of course amazing graphics. Though it would’ve been better if they gave us more interesting villains and boss battle.
I actually wanted to go more in depth with the story but 1. I don’t want to spoil anything and 2. It probably wouldn’t make any sense lol
Lastly, for those who are deciding whether to play this or White Knight Chronicles, please just stick with FF13. Having played both I can tell you how disappointed I am with WKC. Unless you REALLY enjoy grinding online getting equipments and trophies, I seriously can’t recommend WKC. The characters and story is total trash and the battle system gets boring real fast.