Final Fantasy XIII Review
- Posted March 10th, 2010 at 11:13 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 51 Comments
- PSU Review Score
- Avg. user review score:
You must be logged in to rate a game
Whether you enjoy it or not will depend on your expectations. Walk into it with a clear mind and you will get lost in this magical fantasy world.
- The enchanting sensory experience
- The satisfying battle system
- The character driven plot
- The lack of freedom to explore
- The amount of time it takes to really get going
With a glittering legacy that spans over 20 years it’s inevitable that a whole heap of expectation rides on the wings of every Final Fantasy game’s release. Living up to that sort of pressure and creating a game worthy of bearing the Final Fantasy name is an unenviable task, but Square Enix consistently delivers, creating worlds that demand to be explored. It’s clear that this developer loves its most precious franchise more than most. You only have to scratch the surface of the series to see the attention to detail to character building and the highly polished audio and visual experiences that have now become synonymous with its name. Delve even deeper and strip away its glossy exterior and you’ll find a world of creative story-telling, innovation and rich and rewarding gameplay. With all that in mind, Final Fantasy XIII is a disappointment.
Okay, so you’ve already seen the high score we’ve awarded it, right? Ah yes, well, before you jump on our backs and call us hypocrites, we want you to know that our disappointment is only slight, and it’s only because we had our own vision on what Square Enix would deliver on PS3. We hoped that our Blu-ray disc would come packed to the rafters with sprawling open-world locations littered with tons of quests to embark on and hundreds of NPCs to interact with -- a world where we could really let our imaginations run wild. In that respect, Final Fantasy XIII disappoints us ever so slightly so we won't be putting it on a pedestal and labeling it today as our favorite Final Fantasy game of all time. It is still, however, a brilliant, combat-heavy RPG that does deserve your attention.
From an audio and visual standpoint, FFXIII delivers a bedazzling display of creativity, artistry and sheer wizardry. The stunning opening cinematic sets the tone for the game perfectly and each and every cut-scene from that point forth blends seamlessly into the action, playing an important part in immersing you fully in the universe and its array of bewitching characters. Moving from the finely detailed and compact city of Cocoon to the larger area and lush green setting of Pulse has a profound visual impact, while the wandering piano solos and warm sounds of violins and cellos create an impressive audio backdrop that shifts and drops in tempo alongside the gameplay. During a fight sequence a fanfare of brass instruments will interrupt the tranquil sounds to work alongside the frantic action to create and build intensity. FFXIII is a feast for your senses and a predictably brilliant and engaging audio and visual Final Fantasy experience.
Recurring elements and themes from past games, including weapon and magic-based combat, party and upgrade systems, gives FFXIII that familiar feel, but in terms of gameplay it gets off to a slow and unfamiliar start. For the first 12-14 hours of gameplay you're taken by the hand and lead through the game world, moving from 'A' to 'B,' from one fight to another, before tackling a big boss. There's little chance to explore, or discover the hidden depths of the battle system -- that comes later. It's the storyline that drives you forward at this point, which alongside the impressive visuals and charming characters, just about manages to make up for the lack of gripping gameplay. Despite the frequent battles, this is a slow starter and a streamlined game with focus and direction and not the sprawling universe that some may have hoped for, although it's worth noting that it does open up far more as soon as you hit Pulse.
Chances are, if you're considering the notion or indeed have already bought FFXIII, you know that it isn't a short game; you're going to be in it for the long haul, right? Well clocking in at between 70-100 hours this first batch of fairly slow-paced, but still utterly engaging campaign, will soon be forgotten as you discover the real depths of the game, including the character development and the interweaving storyline that is driven superbly by the characters and personalities of the six party members that you'll meet. It's after a dozen hours or so that you'll also start to enjoy even more the strategic depths and technical brilliance of the battle system ... (continued on next page)
- 6:14am EST - March 10th, 2010
Good review for a good game!
- 6:16am EST - March 10th, 2010
but not for me
im gettin jc2 and go3
- 6:22am EST - March 10th, 2010
I was expecting this game to suck. But wow it's the complete opposite. Absolutely love it and am blown away. Everyone on neogaf has been full of praise as well.
Dave-The-Rave | Dave-The-Rave
- 6:22am EST - March 10th, 2010
Good review...this is definitely GOTY for me.
- 6:33am EST - March 10th, 2010
Good score, but the first 20+ so hours treat you like a baby.
- 7:05am EST - March 10th, 2010
i for one absolutely love it! i got it at a midnight launch at my local gamestop and been playing it ever since =D
it might be very linear with little to no exploration but the rest of the game more than makes up for it. and best of all i have a 73inch TV (3D ready i might add =P) with a 5.1 surround sound system to take FULL advantage and enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed =D
- 7:29am EST - March 10th, 2010
i think that we're being bitten slightly by Square-Enix's Global expansion, and the feeling that pandering to 'dumber' 'action-heavy' western gamers might benefit them. As a taster (and i'm sure we will have more games on the PS3 (excluding versus which we know about) this game is excellent, if a tiny weeny bit flawed in it's pacing and babysitting.
What we'll see is very rapid development and changes in direction which will give us a better next game, which with the bar set by this one, will be an excellent proposition.
Nicest review i've read so far...
- 7:50am EST - March 10th, 2010
ill wait till gets platinium if it gets that is.
dont have the cash right now :(
- 7:56am EST - March 10th, 2010
Amazing game. Loving it so far.
- 9:53am EST - March 10th, 2010
ok. i got the first one in dislike but ths "the amount of time it takes to really get going".. amm absolutely no idea -__-
- 10:56am EST - March 10th, 2010
This game is awesome why is the user rating 8.3?!?!?!
- 11:03am EST - March 10th, 2010
ill get it when it is around 30 bulks or less
- 11:12am EST - March 10th, 2010
Great review. I'm getting the game tomorrow
- 11:20am EST - March 10th, 2010
i love it too i bought it saturday and i can\\\'t stop playing... i got 27 hours in ...i upgraded Gladius to max and the power wristband... the battles with lightinng are really easy and fun now... it\\\'s a great game a solid 9... i\\\'ll keep playing till Kratos comes and takes Snow\\\'s Head and gives it to Hope.... :D so that Hope knows how to take revenge properly...
- 11:36am EST - March 10th, 2010
In all my years of gaming I can honestly say that this is the first RPG that litereally put me to sleep 1 hour into the game.
- 11:42am EST - March 10th, 2010
i hope a demo comes out on store so i can try it out, only just tryed gow3 demo, its awesome
- 12:10pm EST - March 10th, 2010
I can see the game (aka the fighting since that's all you do) really shaping up to be exciting but OH MY GOODNESS the first few hours are BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING. I've been nodding off the entire time. It feels like it plays itself and the player just has to hit X every few seconds.
- 12:48pm EST - March 10th, 2010
looks good i may get it after my gow3 hype dies down........if it dies down lol
- 1:03pm EST - March 10th, 2010
was expecting to be devistate with this but i'm very happy and lovin it more and more as it's progressing, great review PSU and for me you hit the score perfectly
- 1:19pm EST - March 10th, 2010
The 70 to 100 hours bit has me thinking about getting it instead of Just Cause 2 but Im still gonna wait till some reviews for JC2 come out before i make my decision. If its at least 20-30 hours worth of game then wont be getting this right now.
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!