Final Fantasy XIII Review
- Posted March 10th, 2010 at 11:13 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 51 Comments
- PSU Review Score
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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)
- 1:21pm EST - March 10th, 2010
I would get this game but I have a feeling id be so far behind story wise it would be a waste of my time considering I never played the others. As of right now I know 2 people that I work with are getting it but im not sure I will get it.
- 1:37pm EST - March 10th, 2010
How long is this game in terms of hours?
Ixion | MagicManGSC
- 1:46pm EST - March 10th, 2010
Every main Final Fantasy installment is a completely new game, with a new story and world.
- 1:51pm EST - March 10th, 2010
@21 there's no story connection between the entries in FF.
I'm currently enjoying the game and about 10-15 hours in, I deeply enjoyed most of the game so far. The first hours are awkward in more than one way, with the story slooowly picking up and the games systems just barely kicking in, but the further you get the more the game draws you in, the pace picks up and more options become available to you. Also, even now I find myself gazing at the screen constantly, as the game is just that beautiful.
I certainly hope the game doesn't have any bad surprises in store. So far I really think they corrected the mistake that was FFXII and gave the series a good point to continue from.
- 2:28pm EST - March 10th, 2010
I love how everyone says that it is boring in the beggining and gets exciting later... I am still in the beggining and already love it... I am quite surprised at how good it is after all the complaints
- 2:32pm EST - March 10th, 2010
Man you can't explore towns...
- 2:52pm EST - March 10th, 2010
hmm...just say that this is the best rpg of all time( i think when you look all serials) and graphics and animation are simply the best and for me only game serials equally stand with this is...................yeye you all know that god of freaking warrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! i definitely buy both and period!:)
- 2:59pm EST - March 10th, 2010
I'm not expecting much. At least I'm getting for free.
- 3:40pm EST - March 10th, 2010
they couldn't make it to big for the ps3 because the 360 wouldn't of been able to handle it plus it would of meant more disc
- 3:46pm EST - March 10th, 2010
- What PSU liked
- The ridiculous translations and voice acting that are keeping me from taking this story seriously. The battle system is the only reason (right now) that I'm playing this game. I was having more RPG-fun on White knight Chronicles.
- 4:29pm EST - March 10th, 2010
this game looks soooo awesome..can't wait to ge my hands on it...
- 5:51pm EST - March 10th, 2010
this games is good but its not good? ffx was better and ff12 ff13 this game is to ezy
- 5:57pm EST - March 10th, 2010
The dislikes is exactly what kept me from the series. Its never had good gameplay. Just good story apparently..
@2 jc2 for me as well
- 6:19pm EST - March 10th, 2010
I like every FF that has came out on a home console except X-2. Like others, I'll wait on this one for ahwile. The linear play being a factor, the biggest factor though is that stupid annoying song they put on the trailer. Nothing epic about a whining Christina Aguelera sound alike.
- 9:01pm EST - March 10th, 2010
wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! iv waited 5 and a 1/2 years for this and it\\\'s woth the long wait by far! i think it\\\'s even better than uncharted 2! but 9.0 out of 10? i would rate it as a 10 of even a 9.8!! alleast its a better review than ign, they are crap on a stick. i mean comon! 8.9/10.....
- 2:47am EST - March 11th, 2010
So Far about 20 hours in to it and i am loving every minute of it.
Darksec | Darksec
- 5:42am EST - March 11th, 2010
Its better than I expected, wasnt sure given some of the recent outings which i thought were average at best. Story good, gameplay good and Visually awesome
- 9:20am EST - March 11th, 2010
Good job I read reviews, I was almost tempted to ignore this as an over the hill franchise!
- 3:04am EST - March 12th, 2010
sweet a ss game and the chix r really bone-able! if u agree add a little B==D~ after your comment lets see if we can fill the page!!! HAHAHA!!
- 3:55pm EST - March 12th, 2010
BAH... Game was ruined with horrible ENGLISH DUBBING. They need to learn to add subtitles or at least have the option to switch. You lose so much of the game when you don't hear them speak Japanese....
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