TWO HOURS IN – initial impressions of Final Fantasy XIII

March 10, 2010 - 1:32 pm No Comments

1. At first, I really didn’t like the battle system; I thought it had too many frills that it didn’t need and was going the way of FFXII: “Wait… I have to what? But… aren’t YOU the game? Isn’t this YOUR job?” But the minute I saw the “Items are a free action” tutorial, my whole view of it changed. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been like, “Hey, I’ve got two to three people SITTIN’ ON THEIR HANDS RIGHT NOW, THROW ME A FUCKING PHOENIX DOWN, WOULD YOU?” and now they will, but it’s more than that. It really simplifies the whole system and takes it about as far away from FFXII as it seems to want to get. And the chain attack feature is pretty nifty too: “What’s that? I can hit more than one dude because I have two guns? Wait – I have two guns? I’M IN.”

Battle system: ****

2. I really don’t need to say this, do I? It’s shiny. It’s full of bloom. It’s lush. People’s hands look like they’re actually holding onto things. Eyes don’t look flat. It’s a goddamned work of art.

Graphics: *****

3. You know, it’s a Final Fantasy game. In two hours, you know about as much of the plot as you do for the first two season of Lost. I’m hesitant to even grade this, but because it really is original and kind of strange, I think I could get into it.

Plot: ****

And then it goes to hell.

4. YOU WOULD THINK FOR A FRANCHISE THAT HAS MORE MONEY THAN A SMALL NATION THEY COULD AT LEAST HIRE HALF-DECENT VOICE ACTORS. It really takes away from the character development and some of them border on plain irritating. I don’t expect MUCH character development in two hours, but there was really none. At all. It might be because you had to switch from person to person so many times that you could never really get attached but that’s another beef I’ll get to in a moment.

Voice acting/character development: **

5. The. Music. Sucks. There might as well be no goddamned music. In fact, I would PREFER there to be no music over this boring, half-hearted Phantasy Star Online lobby fish bowl attempt at ambient soundscapes. There is absolutely nothing compelling about the soundtrack at all. The opening sequence was the opposite of gripping. And in a Final Fantasy game, I hate to say it, but (at least to me) that’s the death rattle.

Music:

That’s right. No fucking stars. None.

6. Between the switching, the boring characters, the boring music, and the fact that the whole game rests on a plot which I still haven’t gleaned so I can’t even really consider it, the presentation of the game is… really quite average. Lost Odyssey, the Final Fantasy that wasn’t, had a better overall opening experience than this. The use of jumping from this guy to that guy to this guy again to keep the plot moving and eventually get all of your characters together is fanfiction-y at best. It smacks of, “And then – and then! …AND THEN!,” and is a plot device I can’t get behind. Other than holding out for a hope, I’m really finding it hard to get into this game, maybe even harder than pausing to make graphs to assemble my move set in FFXII each time I acquired a new character made it.

Overall initial presentation: ***

Will I keep playing? Yes. With baited breath? Ennnhhh…

On a scale of VII to X2, I give it Kingdom Hearts 2: I’ll keep playing because I’m familiar with it, not because it’s really any good.

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