[Impressions] Final Fantasy XIII (PS3 Import)

FFXIII

Okay folks, here is my post-game impression of the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII.
This impression will be broken into two parts. The majority of the impression will focus on the game as an RPG and how it left me feeling by the end of it. The second segment will be a shorter description of the game in terms of the almost enigmatic concept of how it performs as a “Final Fantasy” game. No storyline spoilers will be in this review – but if you’re worried about being spoiled… just stop reading now. This will be broken down into the typical categories and each one is my personal opinion of them.
Graphics and Sound design:
I was at war with myself on which category to put first – but seeing as Square Enix is always praised for the graphic/audio fidelity of their Final Fantasy games, I figured it should be the starting point.
Final Fantasy XIII is hands-down the best looking RPG of this generation. Granted, big-budget console role-playing games have been miniscule so far in the current generations’ lifecycle, but Final Fantasy XIII has stepped up to the plate to deliver a standard so high other RPGs will have a very tough time matching it. The attention to detail in the environments will have even the most skeptical player forget that they are essentially running in a straight line. If anything, I was glad that the early chapters kept me moving, because if the path opened up any more, I’d never have made any progress from stopping and staring at something new and wonderful. Given the enormous scale of the areas you traverse, it is simply stunning how beautifully the environments operate on both an aesthetic and mechanical level. The game’s fantastical locations will give any game a run for its money.
On a smaller scale, in-game character models are getting so close to their CG counterparts now, it’s frightening. Mannerisms, body language and facial expressions are exaggerated, but realistic, and the lip-syncing is impeccable. I don’t think that the Japanese language has ever fallen quite so convincingly from any other gaming character’s lips. I’m worried this will change, though, as the early footage of the Western release doesn’t look quite as smooth, but time will tell. Monster design has taken another huge leap. Especially the boss fights. Some of the villains you come up against seem to have more details than the environment surrounding them. It’s a real testament to the team’s dedication to make every single aspect of the world look unique. And while Final Fantasy XIII falls into the time-honoured RPG tradition of changing a monster’s colour scheme as a signal of it being stronger than others you’ve fought previously, the variety of unique encounters you face throughout the course of the game is impressive.
The FMVs don’t need a large paragraph of hyperbole. They are far and away the best visual CG sequences of any game released. Take that as you will, but I believe it to be true.
The sound design is also very strong in Final Fantasy XIII. PS3 owners who have a keener audio sensibility than me will undoubtedly be eargasming for the 50-60 hours the game takes to complete. Voice acting for the Japanese release was of a good standard – but Mabuki Andou steals the show as Fang. Sadly, the English speaking release is not dual-audio so this part of my impression will be unimportant to most of you. I’ll just take away my own personal enjoyment of Japanese voice cast and keep it close to my heart.
Masashi Hamauzu’s score is quite brilliant. The ambiance of the music can be little too soft sometimes – these aren’t your typical, quirky tracks of previous Final Fantasy games. The essence of the soundtrack definitely has a “movie” feel, rather than a “game” one. For some, this will be an issue, but I rather enjoyed the lows and the highs that Hamauzu wove into the fabric of the different locations. I cannot give away the names of the track, as it contains spoilers, but the music towards the end of Chapter 11 will continue to haunt me for many years to come. I will say that the chocobo themes (yes, there are two — one of which has lyrics!) are a lot of fun and should make fans of the series smile. Some songs might not make others smile. There is definitely more J-POP insert songs in this one — at least more than you’d find in a Nobuo Uematsu or Hitoshi Sakimoto score. Some of these lyrical pieces are character themes, so there is no avoiding hearing them multiple times. I will say that Sazh, Serah and Fang’s themes are some of the best the series has seen. Personally, I didn’t mind the insert songs, but when they are paired with the Leona Lewis song in the Western release, I know the disjunction will be jarring for many. Thank the gods I didn’t have to endure Leona Lewis, though! You unlucky bastards get to deal with that mess of a song.
My only gripes with the audio presentation is that the characters were occasionally overacted, making them a little awkward, and that some of the sound effects are a little more prominent than I thought they should be. This probably has to do with the subtlety of music. That being said, all sound effects possess a clean, professional treatment that make the battles and cut-scenes very enjoyable.
Story and Characters:
As stated earlier, I won’t dwell on this section for fear of spoilers.
In my mind, the characters are the story. You definitely get the impression that the heroes and heroines are genuine folk — believing staunchly in the core principles that ultimately shape who they are. The interaction between all of the characters is well structured and believable. Snow, Fang and Lightning definitely stand at the apex of the group in terms of strength of personality, but Sazh is great as the character that adds amusing commentary. I’m really looking forward to see how the localisation team handles him. By the end of the game, Fang and Vanille stood far and away as my favourite characters, but I won’t reveal why. You’ll have to see for yourself in March.
I truly believe that the characters of Final Fantasy XIII will continue to be associated with the pantheon of those that preceded them. Can anyone say Final Fantasy: Dissidia 2? Oh no, wait… no, you can’t — you’d need to have villains for that. Unfortunately, there are no memorable villains in this game. Yaag is the most interesting of the bunch, but he is also gray in terms of allegiance. He serves the people — not his own evil agenda… which makes him passionate, but not necessarily a “bad guy”. None of the antagonists feel fleshed out, but it is mostly the fault of the game’s story.
The story, while interesting and engaging, is lacking in continuity and filled with incongruities. Gaping plot holes, the weakness of the story’s structure and the reliance of the “auto-clip” (an encyclopedia inside of the game) were thorns in the side of an otherwise good tale. More in-game background information would have made the world feel more in-tune with what the developers set out to create. Luckily, the world tells its own story. The visual presentation of locations are enough fill in blanks of the game’s history that the script simply does not cover.
Lastly, I felt like the script contained far too many motivation speeches and repetitive tropes. It was very reminiscent of Final Fantasy X, but without the down-to-earth Auron to make light of it. Also, if I could take a dollar off the retail price for every time Snows says “The hero has arrived,” “I’ll protect X without fail,” or “SERAH!” I’d only have to pay for shipping.
I was underwhelmed by the game’s limp story telling, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story that the characters told… even if the ending felt a little rushed. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend reading Episode Zero before starting the game. If you want to fully appreciate the characters, you’d do well to read this prior to playing the game. Naturally, there are spoilers, but the game leaves out large chunks of key character’s motives and history. Without reading this, it would have felt like riding a train made up solely of carriages with no engine. I’m really annoyed with Square’s decision to omit this from the game, but you don’t have to be. Go in knowing your characters and you’ll find the experience many times more enjoyable. You’ve been warned.
Gameplay:
I’ll get this point out first — Final Fantasy XIII has a fantastic battle system.
It feels rapid, energetic and engaging. You’ll be thinking three, four, five steps ahead of your current action in attempt to chain combos, interrupt enemy actions and ultimately reach the enemy’s “Break Gauge.” Once broken, you can unleash glorious, over-the-top ownage upon their unsuspecting being. By manipulating preemptive strikes and using your knowledge of the optima system, you can win battles in as little as one second… which feels great.
However, Final Fantasy XIII can be surprisingly challenging… even hard in places.
That is to say, if you care about getting the maximum rating for the battles you take part in, you’ll almost definitely have to wear your “thinking cap”. If you go into the game mashing the “Auto-battle” button without any consideration, you’ll find your party leader dead and the “Game Over” screen glaring at your face (a first for the Final Fantasy series, I believe… and one that’ll annoy some fans). Thankfully, every battle can be restarted, which is especially useful if you forget to set one your optima correctly.
Optima work by having your three-man team take on a certain role. An example might be that you have Lightning as an attacker, Sazh as a support character that buffs your party, and Vanille as a healer. While every character eventually has access to all six of the “roles”, each member of your team has three strengths that will be the most beneficial for you. Management of these roles is critical. You can easily err, and if you do, there will be hell to pay. Knowledge of how my optimas were set up, and the weaknesses and strengths of my enemies added a deep amount of strategy that really, really appealed to me. Sure, when the inevitable grind rears its ugly head, you’ll be hitting “Auto-Battle” a lot to save time, but the larger enemies you find at the ends of chapters and in the game’s special Missions will quickly remind you that you aren’t quite as tough as you think you are.
Sadly, like previous games in the series, Eidolons are utterly throw-away. They’re more useful as a character development tool, rather than a battle strategy. Sure, they are gorgeous to look at… but that’s about it. I don’t mind their presence, but, in a game were the battles are ranked in terms of how much time you spend fighting, having a long, drawn-out animation sequence makes no sense. You can skip the majority with a button, but not the time-consuming “Final Blow”. While irritating, it doesn’t break the game.
I like the so-called “Crystarium system”, but the high “Crystal Point” value of each level didn’t work well with the lack of places to grind in the game. At one point I found myself staring at the maxed-out 999999CP I had accumulated and realised…it still wasn’t enough. Another problem is the Weapon and Accessory system. The level of customization only effects Physical and Magical power, which, while restricting, isn’t a bad thing. What does suck mightily is that the whole system is entirely based on money…. and there is next to no money in the game. Even 85 hours into the game, I barely have enough money to upgrade three weapons to their maximum potential. When one of the rarest and most valuable drops in the game sells for 150k, and you need something around 12,000,000 gil to get every character’s ultimate weapon, it just becomes ridiculous. I won’t even get into disassembling items. I could write a book on that.
A word of warning, then. Desperate fans who want to make their weapons stronger by selling off accessories and other goods will find it coming back to haunt them if they intend on getting the Trophy/Achievement for possessing ALL weapons and accessories.
Even with all that in mind, it feels brilliant when you’re dealing 5x400k+ damage to enemies with millions-upon-millions of hit-points. So, for those with the patience and the fortitude, it becomes rewarding.
Oh. And there will be Trophies and Achievement to make even the biggest overachievers think twice. Completionists be warned: you’ve got a long fight coming your way.
Final Fantasy Aficionado Need-to-know:
If you are already an avid fan of the Final Fantasy series, these lighthearted bullet points should be sufficient:
Potential Negatives:
* Some J-Pop
* No limit breaks
* No backtracking
* No Gilgamesh, folks
* No Malboros…? (yay!)
* No traditional towns
* No traditional victory fanfare
* No Moogles, Male midriff or Money drops
* Cid = Gackt = Genesis = Crisis Core cameo…
* No Uematsu — so don’t expect his style of music
* Linearity of FFX — because that game was linear too, remember?
* Full control of party sacrificed in order to produce a faster, more fluid battle system.
Potential Postitives:
* Some J-Pop
* Not FFXII…..*
* Epic boss battles
* Immense boss music!
* Multi-million HP bosses
* Unparalleled hair physics
* Classic spells, items, and accessories
* Belts and zippers.. sometimes together!
* Cid = Gackt = Genesis = Crisis Core cameo!!!
* Probably the most likable Final Fantasy cast ever
* CG cutscenes the likes you’ve never imagined possible
* A lot of missions, hard to obtain accessories and break 99,999 damage
* Plenty of familiar faces: Cactuar, Bahamut, Tiamat, Tonberrys, Cid, etc
* A battle system that reaches a happy medium between FFXII and FFX-2
* Brilliant music that, while not what you are used to, FEELS like Final Fantasy
*I really enjoyed Final Fantasy XII, but I’m aware I’m in the minority.
Final Thoughts:
Despite my gripes with the game, I thoroughly enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII. Yes, the game is annoyingly linear up until the halfway point, but not terribly more so than Final Fantasy games of the past. If the game had no in-game map I don’t think I would have been so aware of the linear progression. The lack of towns is blindingly noticeable, though. For me, this is preferable, because I have no time for NPCs unless they’ve got something to give me that isn’t mild complaints or information of the town. Yet, I realise for many, towns are the cornerstone of an RPG… those people are going to be very disappointed. I do feel that towns would have been a better place to learn more of the lore of Cocoon and Pulse, so their omission is a shame. This first installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series misses out on the chance to really delve into this new universe’s rich, well realised lore. I’m hoping Final Fantasy XIII Versus rectifies this issue.
Fans of the series might be scared by the deluge of negativity that has seemingly flooded gaming messages boards — I understand where you are coming from. But, if you take the word of this Final Fantasy veteran, I can tell you that you worries will be washed away the second you start playing the game.
What Final Fantasy XIII does, then, is push the series in a new direction. It tries to break away from the traditional themes of Final Fantasy and place itself into a faster-paced, more action packed RPG. In spite of the fact that Square-Enix has shed its skin and seemingly left the older concepts of what a Final Fantasy game is, it still feels very much like a Final Fantasy. For those who are coming into it expecting to relive to the glory days, I feel like they will be underwhelmed. But, if the everyday RPG gamer or magnanimous Final Fantasy fan approaches XIII looking for a fantastic 50-60 hour RPG experience, you’ll love Final Fantasy XIII.
This impression was based on the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII. The reviewer’s opinions are based solely on the imported copy and does not reflect the Western release in any way.

Okay folks, here is my post-game impression of the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII.

This impression will be broken into two parts. The majority of the impression will focus on the game as an RPG and how it left me feeling by the end of it. The second segment will be a shorter description of the game in terms of the almost enigmatic concept of how it performs as a “Final Fantasy” game. No storyline spoilers will be in this review – but if you’re worried about being spoiled… just stop reading now. This will be broken down into the typical categories and each one is my personal opinion of them.

Graphics and Sound Design:

I was at war with myself on which category to put first – but seeing as Square Enix is always praised for the graphic/audio fidelity of their Final Fantasy games, I figured it should be the starting point.

Final Fantasy XIII is hands-down the best looking RPG of this generation. Granted, big-budget console role-playing games have been miniscule so far in the current generations’ lifecycle, but Final Fantasy XIII has stepped up to the plate to deliver a standard so high other RPGs will have a very tough time matching it. The attention to detail in the environments will have even the most skeptical player forget that they are essentially running in a straight line. If anything, I was glad that the early chapters kept me moving, because if the path opened up any more, I’d never have made any progress from stopping and staring at something new and wonderful. Given the enormous scale of the areas you traverse, it is simply stunning how beautifully the environments operate on both an aesthetic and mechanical level. The game’s fantastical locations will give any game a run for its money.

On a smaller scale, in-game character models are getting so close to their CG counterparts now, it’s frightening. Mannerisms, body language and facial expressions are exaggerated, but realistic, and the lip-syncing is impeccable. I don’t think that the Japanese language has ever fallen quite so convincingly from any other gaming character’s lips. I’m worried this will change, though, as the early footage of the Western release doesn’t look quite as smooth, but time will tell. Monster design has taken another huge leap. Especially the boss fights. Some of the villains you come up against seem to have more details than the environment surrounding them. It’s a real testament to the team’s dedication to make every single aspect of the world look unique. And while Final Fantasy XIII falls into the time-honoured RPG tradition of changing a monster’s colour scheme as a signal of it being stronger than others you’ve fought previously, the variety of unique encounters you face throughout the course of the game is impressive.

The FMVs don’t need a large paragraph of hyperbole. They are far and away the best visual CG sequences of any game released. Take that as you will, but I believe it to be true.

The sound design is also very strong in Final Fantasy XIII. PS3 owners who have a keener audio sensibility than me will undoubtedly be eargasming for the 50-60 hours the game takes to complete. Voice acting for the Japanese release was of a good standard – but Mabuki Andou steals the show as Fang. Sadly, the English speaking release is not dual-audio so this part of my impression will be unimportant to most of you. I’ll just take away my own personal enjoyment of Japanese voice cast and keep it close to my heart.

Masashi Hamauzu’s score is quite brilliant. The ambiance of the music can be little too soft sometimes – these aren’t your typical, quirky tracks of previous Final Fantasy games. The essence of the soundtrack definitely has a “movie” feel, rather than a “game” one. For some, this will be an issue, but I rather enjoyed the lows and the highs that Hamauzu wove into the fabric of the different locations. I cannot give away the names of the track, as it contains spoilers, but the music towards the end of Chapter 11 will continue to haunt me for many years to come. I will say that the chocobo themes (yes, there are two — one of which has lyrics!) are a lot of fun and should make fans of the series smile. Some songs might not make others smile. There is definitely more J-POP insert songs in this one — at least more than you’d find in a Nobuo Uematsu or Hitoshi Sakimoto score. Some of these lyrical pieces are character themes, so there is no avoiding hearing them multiple times. I will say that Sazh, Serah and Fang’s themes are some of the best the series has seen. Personally, I didn’t mind the insert songs, but when they are paired with the Leona Lewis song in the Western release, I know the disjunction will be jarring for many. Thank the gods I didn’t have to endure Leona Lewis, though! You unlucky bastards get to deal with that mess of a song.

My only gripes with the audio presentation is that the characters were occasionally overacted, making them a little awkward, and that some of the sound effects are a little more prominent than I thought they should be. This probably has to do with the subtlety of music. That being said, all sound effects possess a clean, professional treatment that make the battles and cut-scenes very enjoyable.

Story and Characters:

As stated earlier, I won’t dwell on this section for fear of spoilers.

In my mind, the characters are the story. You definitely get the impression that the heroes and heroines are genuine folk — believing staunchly in the core principles that ultimately shape who they are. The interaction between all of the characters is well structured and believable. Snow, Fang and Lightning definitely stand at the apex of the group in terms of strength of personality, but Sazh is great as the character that adds amusing commentary. I’m really looking forward to see how the localisation team handles him. By the end of the game, Fang and Vanille stood far and away as my favourite characters, but I won’t reveal why. You’ll have to see for yourself in March.

These two left a huge impression on me.. for various reasons.

These two left a huge impression on me.. for various reasons.

I truly believe that the characters of Final Fantasy XIII will continue to be associated with the pantheon of those that preceded them. Can anyone say Final Fantasy: Dissidia 2? Oh no, wait… no, you can’t — you’d need to have villains for that. Unfortunately, there are no memorable villains in this game. Yaag is the most interesting of the bunch, but he is also gray in terms of allegiance. He serves the people — not his own evil agenda… which makes him passionate, but not necessarily a “bad guy”. None of the antagonists feel fleshed out, but it is mostly the fault of the game’s story.

The story, while interesting and engaging, is lacking in continuity and filled with incongruities. Gaping plot holes, the weakness of the story’s structure and the reliance of the “auto-clip” (an encyclopedia inside of the game) were thorns in the side of an otherwise good tale. More in-game background information would have made the world feel more in-tune with what the developers set out to create. Luckily, the world tells its own story. The visual presentation of locations are enough fill in blanks of the game’s history that the script simply does not cover.

Lastly, I felt like the script contained far too many motivation speeches and repetitive tropes. It was very reminiscent of Final Fantasy X, but without the down-to-earth Auron to make light of it. Also, if I could take a dollar off the retail price for every time Snows says “The hero has arrived,” “I’ll protect X without fail,” or “SERAH!” I’d only have to pay for shipping.

I was underwhelmed by the game’s limp story telling, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story that the characters told… even if the ending felt a little rushed. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend reading Episode Zero before starting the game. If you want to fully appreciate the characters, you’d do well to read this prior to playing the game. Naturally, there are spoilers, but the game leaves out large chunks of key character’s motives and history. Without reading this, it would have felt like riding a train made up solely of carriages with no engine. I’m really annoyed with Square’s decision to omit this from the game, but you don’t have to be. Go in knowing your characters and you’ll find the experience many times more enjoyable. You’ve been warned.

Gameplay:

I’ll get this point out first — Final Fantasy XIII has a fantastic battle system.

It feels rapid, energetic and engaging. You’ll be thinking three, four, five steps ahead of your current action in attempt to chain combos, interrupt enemy actions and ultimately reach the enemy’s “Break Gauge.” Once broken, you can unleash glorious, over-the-top ownage upon their unsuspecting being. By manipulating preemptive strikes and using your knowledge of the optima system, you can win battles in as little as one second… which feels great.

However, Final Fantasy XIII can be surprisingly challenging… even hard in places.

That is to say, if you care about getting the maximum rating for the battles you take part in, you’ll almost definitely have to wear your “thinking cap”. If you go into the game mashing the “Auto-battle” button without any consideration, you’ll find your party leader dead and the “Game Over” screen glaring at your face (a first for the Final Fantasy series, I believe… and one that’ll annoy some fans). Thankfully, every battle can be restarted, which is especially useful if you forget to set one your optima correctly.

Optima work by having your three-man team take on a certain role. An example might be that you have Lightning as an attacker, Sazh as a support character that buffs your party, and Vanille as a healer. While every character eventually has access to all six of the “roles”, each member of your team has three strengths that will be the most beneficial for you. Management of these roles is critical. You can easily err, and if you do, there will be hell to pay. Knowledge of how my optimas were set up, and the weaknesses and strengths of my enemies added a deep amount of strategy that really, really appealed to me. Sure, when the inevitable grind rears its ugly head, you’ll be hitting “Auto-Battle” a lot to save time, but the larger enemies you find at the ends of chapters and in the game’s special Missions will quickly remind you that you aren’t quite as tough as you think you are.

You'll be constantly changes roles to adapt to the situation.

You'll be constantly changes roles to adapt to the situation.

Sadly, like previous games in the series, Eidolons are utterly throw-away. They’re more useful as a character development tool, rather than a battle strategy. Sure, they are gorgeous to look at… but that’s about it. I don’t mind their presence, but, in a game were the battles are ranked in terms of how much time you spend fighting, having a long, drawn-out animation sequence makes no sense. You can skip the majority with a button, but not the time-consuming “Final Blow”. While irritating, it doesn’t break the game.

I like the so-called “Crystarium system”, but the high “Crystal Point” value of each level didn’t work well with the lack of places to grind in the game. At one point I found myself staring at the maxed-out 999999CP I had accumulated and realised…it still wasn’t enough. Another problem is the Weapon and Accessory system. The level of customization only effects Physical and Magical power, which, while restricting, isn’t a bad thing. What does suck mightily is that the whole system is entirely based on money…. and there is next to no money in the game. Even 85 hours into the game, I barely have enough money to upgrade three weapons to their maximum potential. When one of the rarest and most valuable drops in the game sells for 150k, and you need something around 12,000,000 gil to get every character’s ultimate weapon, it just becomes ridiculous. I won’t even get into disassembling items. I could write a book on that.

A word of warning, then. Desperate fans who want to make their weapons stronger by selling off accessories and other goods will find it coming back to haunt them if they intend on getting the Trophy/Achievement for possessing ALL weapons and accessories.

Even with all that in mind, it feels brilliant when you’re dealing 5x400k+ damage to enemies with millions-upon-millions of hit-points. So, for those with the patience and the fortitude, it becomes rewarding.

Oh. And there will be Trophies and Achievement to make even the biggest overachievers think twice. Completionists be warned: you’ve got a long fight coming your way.

Final Fantasy Aficionado Need-to-know:

If you are already an avid fan of the Final Fantasy series, these lighthearted bullet points should be sufficient:

Potential Negatives:

  • Some J-Pop
  • No limit breaks
  • No backtracking
  • No Gilgamesh, folks
  • No Malboros…? (yay!)
  • No traditional towns
  • No traditional victory fanfare
  • No Moogles, Male midriff or Money drops
  • Cid = Gackt = Genesis = Crisis Core cameo…
  • No Uematsu — so don’t expect his style of music
  • Linearity of FFX — because that game was linear too, remember?
  • Full control of party sacrificed in order to produce a faster, more fluid battle system.

Potential Postitives:

  • Some J-Pop
  • Not FFXII…..*
  • Epic boss battles
  • Immense boss music!
  • Multi-million HP bosses
  • Unparalleled hair physics
  • Classic spells, items, and accessories
  • Belts and zippers.. sometimes together!
  • Cid = Gackt = Genesis = Crisis Core cameo!!!
  • Probably the most likable Final Fantasy cast ever
  • CG cutscenes the likes you’ve never imagined possible
  • A lot of missions, hard to obtain accessories and break 99,999 damage
  • Plenty of familiar faces: Cactuar, Bahamut, Tiamat, Tonberrys, Cid, etc
  • A battle system that reaches a happy medium between FFXII and FFX-2
  • Brilliant music that, while not what you are used to, FEELS like Final Fantasy

*I really enjoyed Final Fantasy XII, but I’m aware I’m in the minority.

Final Thoughts:

Despite my gripes with the game, I thoroughly enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII. Yes, the game is annoyingly linear up until the halfway point, but not terribly more so than Final Fantasy games of the past. If the game had no in-game map I don’t think I would have been so aware of the linear progression. The lack of towns is blindingly noticeable, though. For me, this is preferable, because I have no time for NPCs unless they’ve got something to give me that isn’t mild complaints or information of the town. Yet, I realise for many, towns are the cornerstone of an RPG… those people are going to be very disappointed. I do feel that towns would have been a better place to learn more of the lore of Cocoon and Pulse, so their omission is a shame. This first installment of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series misses out on the chance to really delve into this new universe’s rich, well realised lore. I’m hoping Final Fantasy XIII Versus rectifies this issue.

Fans of the series might be scared by the deluge of negativity that has seemingly flooded gaming messages boards — I understand where you are coming from. But, if you take the word of this Final Fantasy veteran, I can tell you that you worries will be washed away the second you start playing the game.

What Final Fantasy XIII does, then, is push the series in a new direction. It tries to break away from the traditional themes of Final Fantasy and place itself into a faster-paced, more action packed RPG. In spite of the fact that Square-Enix has shed its skin and seemingly left the older concepts of what a Final Fantasy game is, it still feels very much like a Final Fantasy. For those who are coming into it expecting to relive to the glory days, I feel like they will be underwhelmed. But, if the everyday RPG gamer or magnanimous Final Fantasy fan approaches XIII looking for a fantastic 50-60 hour RPG experience, you’ll love Final Fantasy XIII.

This impression was based on the Japanese version of Final Fantasy XIII. The reviewer’s opinions are based solely on the imported copy and does not reflect the Western release in any way.

Written by Matt Hodgkins (aka Bleak Harvest)

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Mark Senger

Glenn’s second co-host on the podcast , Mark graced the airwaves from late 2007 to early 2010.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook
  • Cool read, makes me eager to get this in March. One problem though, and it's kinda the same as last time. More complaints from a gal who takes journalism far too seriously, but 2770 words is much more than “impressions”.

    Oh well, it gives me something to do while the kids are sleeping.

  • Oh, the idiot's complaining about the words again.

    It pains me to read you've passed on your defective genetic information. Hopefully those bastards are adopted.

  • Awesome review! Great info without spoiling the story. Can't wait for the game to come out this March

  • madeup6

    Phew that was a lot of reading. Yeah there are so many good game coming out that I may not play this one. I have gotten to where I really don't want to play FF any more after playing FFX and FFXII. Square needs to go back to the days where they didn't over do the characters to the point that their costumes look ridiculous (Anybody remember FFVII?). I don't really want to play a game like this if it is going to be so linear. It's half the reason I didn't like FFX.

  • madeup6

    Phew that was a lot of reading. Yeah there are so many good game coming out that I may not play this one. I have gotten to where I really don't want to play FF any more after playing FFX and FFXII. Square needs to go back to the days where they didn't over do the characters to the point that their costumes look ridiculous (Anybody remember FFVII?). I don't really want to play a game like this if it is going to be so linear. It's half the reason I didn't like FFX.