At first this was suppose to be something that I wrote at the 10 hour make of the game just to share my thoughts with you guys. Then it just go delayed and stuff so there. The game was out on March 9, 2010 in North America on the PS3 and the Xbox 360. At first I just amazing at the graphics of this game, there is no doubt about it, this is one of the greatest looking games on the next generation consoles TO DATE. But as you play more and more of the game you will start to reveals what it's amazing visuals are really distracting you from and there's quite a bit. Hit the jump for the review.
The story of this game is very very confusing and explaining it to other people only makes matters worse. Even if you've all played the game. Everyone seems to get something different out of it here is the gist of it.
The game takes place on a planet/world called PULSE. Around world are these mechanical beings with god-like powers called the fal'Cie which the humans and pretty much any living being on the planet the resources to survive. The fal'Cies all have crystal within them which holds all this power and they will choose humans to be choose as l'Cie. These people will be branded by a mark will have to carry out their Focus, which is a task they must perform by interpreting these visions they get from the fal'Cie. If the l'Cie fail to complete their task within the set amount of time given by the fal'Cie, then they will be transformed into Cie'th which are zombie like creatures. If they do complete their Focus, they will be permanently transformed into a crystal and for that being a l'Cie is seen as a curse to everyone.
The story revolves around 6 characters who were mainly from the country of Cocoon, who have been choose to be l'Cie and the game takes them all on a roller coaster of feelings and excitement. They all come from different backgrounds and as the plot twists and turns you will begin to learn more and more about their background and history and their reasons for fighting.
The pacing of the story is horrible and the cut scences, although they look great and all, lack a lot of content. Playig this after playing Uncharted 2 real shows how poorly SquareEnix has done in this department. Majority of the cutscenes last about 1 minute where all that is said is just minor chit chat that BARELY moves the story forward or reveals any sort of history about the characters. Most of that talking could of been implement into the game like what was done in Uncharted, on the fly conversations where players were still able to move around.
Firstly as I have mentioned above the pacing is terrible, all you do in this game is walk/run down a very linear and straight path to a point (which is marked on your map) watch a very short and almost pointly cutscene and then repeat. The battle system is toned down for casual players making it so that you can only controller one character at any given time and the crafting system to level your weapons is very slow and once you get an upgrade your previous weapon will almost be useless. The only thing I found that was done decently well was the leveling system of how you level your characters.
There also isn't any mini-games or side quests that are traditionally found in all of the other Final Fantasy titles. Which means that the game doesn't reall give much when it comes to replaying it. Not only that there are no towns to enter into and you can't really talk to anyone in them making it all just an illusion.
After every battle/encouter all characters (in your party or not) will gain Crystalium Points in a new Crystalium Leveling System. Each character has 3 roles that can level up as: Commando, Ravager, Sentinel, Synestist, Saboteur, Medic. Every class has various tiers to unlock various skills, extra equipment slots and so on. It is pretty similar to the system seen from Final Fantasy X with the spheres but this time is is more refined make people focus on leveling specific roles as apposed to leveling a little bit of everywhere and getting nowhere.
Final Fantasy XIII's combat system is based off of the Gambit system which was used in Final Fantasy X but slimmed down and dumbed down for casual players. At any time of the game players will only ever control one character. All party members are controlled by AI and will act accordingly based on the Paradigm you are in. You can shift your Paradigm on the go which will allow you to heal party members quickly should something happen. Sounds pretty interesting but again it is really easy to use because almost all the time all you will be doing is pressing the "X" button (Don't know what it is on Xbox "A" I'm guessing?) all the time because there is a auto-battle button where the AI will choose what the best line of attack is for you. I don't really understad why they didn't allow you to control all party members, even if it were to complicate things for the player they could of added a switch to turn on the AI or not.
Item crafting is simple, you pickup or buy parts and you upgrade a particular weapon you want to upgrade. What sucks is that if you spend all your money upgrading one weapon you will face quite the dilemma when you pick up a weapon with a better ability associated with it. Making all upgrading you've practially useless. Yes you can sell and dismantle the weapon but it feels like you spent all your time upgrading it for nothing and after a few times I just gave up upgrading my weapons until near the end of the game.
As usual for any game that SquareEnix makes the visuals are always amazing with more polygons in every model as well as beautiful environments. Sometimes it is hard to tell between what is rendered by the game engine and what was CG. Environments are very rich in colour and since there is almost no back tracking in the game you will always be surprised about how amazing the environments look. There really isn't much to say, its a Final Fantasy game you'd expect only awesome from SquareEnix in this category.
As cheesy as most of the lines are, the voice acting for the game are surprisingly good for a SquareEnix game. From minor characters to the most annoying characters in your party (Hope and Vannile), you can get a sense of emotion in the acting which is rare to see in Final Fantasy games that are dubbed into English.
With a very typical and boring storyline, mixed with bad delivery on the pacing and a battle system that is meant for five year olds, the game does really poorly for a Final Fantasy title. I don't even mind that the game is very linear but the fact that there isn't sort of mini-game section or side quests makes this game hardly a Final Fantasy game to begin with. Even though the presentation of the game is amazing you can't really buy a game based solely on that. For all those fanboys, it doesn't really matter what I say you are getting it anyways but for those who have never played Final Fantasy before this is a very slow pace game and the game will only keep you on the hook with its amazing visuals.