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3.4 out of 5 stars207
3.4 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
Final Fantasy XIII

After buying Final Fantasy X last year I was left square eyed with a silly smirk over how much fun and enjoyment I got out of it. The game play is fantastic and the story with intriguing protagonists is the epitome of game playing, and so now wanting more of the same I bought Final Fantasy XIII and I was left even squarer eyed than before!

Here there are many reviewers showing dislike and praise in equal measure and I suppose this depends on how you look at this game.

It is almost completely different from FFX. The game play is vastly different. FFX contained problem solving, turn taking, character side quests which were impossible and boss levels that were even more so.

FFXIII is more story exploration, like a film. The story begins playing as Lightning and Sazh who are looking into the political warfare on Cocoon and the way the opening scenes work is how the game plays out. There are story segments then you are exploring and engaging in battles. This story with its political agendas lost me at the first hurdle, the business about being a pulse fal'cie and where the genesis of the world is completely lost me, which was a shame because FFX had a story that was better than many films and was so easy to follow and engage with the characters.

FFXIII has a good array of characters however, each with their own personality and agendas. Hope is a standout being the youngest but the most emotionally scarred and easy to identify with.

And the battle sequences are completely different from other Final Fantasy games.
There is no turn taking this time as you select attacks, sorcery, summons and use items at will. I remember first playing this and wondered what on earth I was doing, quickly selecting "auto battle" where the system chooses a pre arranged sequence of attacking and hoping for the best!

However as the game carries on I grew to love this system, known as paradigms shifting. The characters are assigned roles such as "commando" "saboteur" and "medic" and each role has certain abilities. These are best utilised late in the game during the more difficult battles but choosing the right combinations as such is something I personally enjoyed. All previous status ailments such as "poison" are still there and this version of the franchise in synergist mode includes buffing characters with boosts such as "haste" and "vigilance" which is a good role to utilise.

What is infuriating about this game is the length it takes to upgrade weapons and max out a character's crystarium (a system to expand health, magic power etc) and in certain battles always needing to have the right accessory equipped is a bit annoying, especially on Gran Pulse where you can go from fighting a small werewolf to fighting an ortise, a creature with millions of HP, meaning different paradigms are needed and different accessories equipped in the space of 4 footsteps.

Gran Pulse is where all the battles take place where you tackle ceith stone missions, little (or big) side quests where you battle a monster and earn more valuable spoils. Annoyingly getting gil in this game is very limited meaning you must be careful what you buy and sell, something which is improved in this game's sequel FFXIII-2
The sequel contains some of the characters here and uses a similar battle system and is equally enjoyable, if not better in many aspects.

Whilst there are many elements of FFXIII which can be infuriating, this is still a great piece of gaming. The battle system is great, the challenge of the more complex battles and the story and characters are worth checking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2012
FF13 is probably the most disappointing for me in terms of many factors out of all of the FF games produced so far (excluding 11 as I didn't play it).

The game has beautifully rendered landscapes, cities, monsters, weapons, spells, etc., however the main thing missing from this game is gameplay satisfaction... In my opinion the story starts off far too confusing, and doesn't make sense a lot of the time... it's almost as if the creators got bored and said, "Meh, let's skip the boring bits and just get to the action-packed parts", and instead made numerous Journal Entries for you to read within the game, to find out more about the lore behind everything. Not as involving, very bland, almost seems lazy... Through all, it seems like it MAY be cool if you just keep playing... you know, you might just get to a point in the story where things start getting really fun and actually start to make sense, but sadly that doesn't really happen (at least not for me anyway).

The game starts to pick up a bit when leaving the main city; you encounter numerous quests and have lots of objectives and it does keep your attention going for a long time... However, there comes a point when the grinding in this game becomes ridiculous, and the leveling system is so bad that you may find yourself wondering why you're even bothering to level in the first place. The only thing I can tihnk of comparing this to is FF10; it was a grind, but for some reason it felt like there was a bigger purpose, like there was more to do, like you had more options. And if you got bored of leveling or grinding weapon upgrade items, you had Blitzball and other fun side quests to do. In FF13 all you can do is quest, grind, upgrade and the only benefit besides the awful leveling system is the weapon upgrades, which soon became my main focus when I realised leveling wasn't rewarding in itself.

Overall I'd say that it's mindless grinding fun, with some incentive on objectives, and can pass the time away if you're bored. But if you want to get in depth with the story/game you may find yourself swearing and complaining more than actually having fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2011
FFXIII is a brilliant game if you can look past minor flaws. The story, if you pay attention, is deep and vast, with beautiful graphics and incredibly colourful environments. The battle-gameplay is fast-paced and fun with lots of options for experimentation. The paradigm system really opens op for versatile battles. These are really the good points, however the flaws of this game are for some people enough to discard it completely (which is a shame, in my opinion).
The game has a slow introduction to the game, which some people find off-putting, and it really first unfolds when you're almost at the end of the game (story-wise). This is a shame, as it stains the otherwise brilliant game. It was necessary, however, due to the story being told the way it is, and it really doesn't bother me that much, but I can see how it would bother others.
The thing I dislike most about the game, though, is the characters. Out of the entire cast I only liked about two characters (Fang and Lightning). The rest of them are either annoying or inconsistent. Snow in particular, with his "Hero"-deal. This really detracts from the overall immersiveness of the game, since you're stuck with a character you dislike a lot of the time.
But apart from the linear-story telling and sligthly annoying characters, the enjoyment it offers in return far overshadows its flaws. Final Fantasy has a tradition of reinventing themselves each time, and I think they did a wonderful job. It is not their best game, but I'm glad they tried out new gameplay mechanics. I, for one, wouldn't like to play the same type of game over and over again, with only the FF title changing. I think it's interesting to adapt to new mechanics each time, as long as they work. And they do. It just takes a while to unlock the full potential. My advice is: stick around, for it will reward you in the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2010
After reading some of these reviews I suggest you might want to go find some pro accumulative review websites.

I have four favourite RPGs:
Final Fantasy VII and VIII (Nostalgia as well as being good in their own right)
Final Fantasy X (Incredible really, literally couldn't stop playing it for days!)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (An awesome JRPG that I completely love)

Final Fantasy XIII is none of these games. It is its own game. Why on earth people expect a progressive company like Square Enix to remake old Final Fantasy games is beyond me. No you can't explore the place on either the Highwind or the Ragnorak. But then, this also isn't the 1990s and a rehash of VII or VIII, so, yeh, go figure.

After investing so much time in an RPG many people (myself included) like the freedom to make discoveries, but that isn't what this game is exactly about although the 'missions' do provide some of this, so I can only conclude that these critics bought the game thinking they would be playing a game that this isn't. Given XIII sold faster and hotter than any other game from Square Enix it's not suprising that there a lot of dissapointed customers. However I really don't feel that this is justification for slating a game so much. People should have read the reviews first.

I've only got a PS3 but pro critics have made the point that this game is far better on the PS3, yet both consoles receive the same score? Reviews are getting less and less subjective I feel. I urge you to do greater research and if you like what you hear, take a chance - I really liked this game. I didn't love it like I did X, VIII or VII but bear in mind I was a teen when the above were released and not now so hopefully you can use that to read between these lines.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2010
I have played every final fantasy since number 7 and I am a massive FF fan! I have literally just completed the game after about 75 hours. But, I dont like this game *that much*. To FF fans, I'd say you should get this game simply because you like final fantasy. But if you're new to the final fantasy series I would say don't bother. Here's what I like and dislike about it:

- The graphics are absolutely amazing. The level of detail on some levels is brilliant.
- There's a lot of battles, which is good if you like that.
- Battles are faster than the other final fantasies
- Some areas take hours to clear and they have more depth than in other final fantasies
- There's some of the usual final fantasy names and creatures

- The only sidequests seem to involve battles. Which gets very dull at times
- The game is incredibly linear (i.e. the maps are just straight lines basically with no freedom), way more so than any other final fantasy series. One of the beauties of previous series was that you could travel around the world and this is lost in this game.
- After about 35 hours you have to spend hours just fighting endless battles to increase your characters powers to be able to win battles in the next stage of the game
- You only get to control the exact actions of 1 character in battle
- The storyline is confusing and not very clear. Having searched google, there are a lot of people asking questions to try and understand what's happening.
- At the same time as the storyline being confusing, the characters are pretty superficial and some of the characters are incredibly cheesy. Previous final fantasy characters have been deeper and more interesting. It's a real let down besides maybe Lightning and Hope, and I hope final fantasy correct this for future installments because it's embarassing.
- The music is not as good as previous final fantasies
- There are some odd moments. E.g. at one stage a local village get killed and the music is upbeat and most of the onlookers don't seem particularly distraught! Similarly, there are some parts of the game that have amazing or weird sceneries but none of the characters comment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2011
Am a final fantasy fan, an have been for quite sometime. First i would start off with the story within this game is good i was more than happy with it, but preffered some storyline before this one. but still really good. The gfx on this game am sure no one can complain are absolutely amazing expecially the cut video scene, jaw dropping on some parts. Battle system, well me personally i love this new battle system but what you will notice is majority of people will go down the route of just using auto attack which is ashame kind of takes the fun out and makes it repetitive. downside i would have said if they could have made it more of an open world. because theres only one bit in the game which is open apart from that everything else is routed for you.Overall happy with the purchase and loved it the story and video but as always room for improvements
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2010
This 13th episode delivers, right from the start, incredible production values in the form of costume, weapon and vehicle design, well orchestrated musics, and graphically polished cinematics and menus. Simple tutorials introduce the new combat system to the player step by step, making the game easy to learn for the least experienced gamers, and without being an annoyance to the most experienced.

The innovative combat system makes battles much more dynamic and interesting in general : even though it's still turn based, it feels like real time because there is nearly always something going on and characters change formations by themselves during combat. An interesting mechanic called "Paradigms" allow you to change your character's role during a combat, which you will find yourself doing a lot for more efficiency. This, coupled with the new "chain" system, which encourages you to focus on one enemy at a time with the right types of attacks, makes battles that are fun to figure out, play and watch. You can also customize each character by upgrading any of their 6 available roles (healer, guardian, physical attacker, magical attacker, enhancer, crippler).

Good, but what about the story, the narration, the feel and atmosphere of the game, which is the most important element of a role playing / adventure game that Final Fantasy games are ?
Unfortunately, this game is a real failure in this department. Right from the start, cut scenes feel like they're out from a bad action/drama movie, using and reusing the most ridiculous clichés. Most of the characters lack an interesting personality, background and motive for their actions. The English voice acting is insufficient, and the dialogs dumb. Even the musics, that Final Fantasy fans have come to expect a lot from, fail to create fascinating atmospheres like some of the previous games did.

What doesn't help is that outside of combat, the game has little to offer in terms of gameplay. Here is what you will do and keep doing when playing Final Fantasy XIII : you will walk down a linear, repetitive path blocked by enemies. From time to time, you will find a bonus item in a futurist-looking chest hidden on the side. Every few fights is followed by a cutscene. And that's it. Once you've reached the end of the path, you'll just find a different path with new looks and some new enemies, but it will always be as linear, with the same chests, the same repetitiveness and inability to do anything but fight your way to the destination. Where are the previous games adventure moments, where you could explore a city to find something out, or even just interactive story telling moments where you would hang out with other characters somewhere and choose who you want to talk to ? Where are the beautifully crafted environments that were so much more than a repetitive path to a destination ?

I found myself keep playing anyway because I still enjoyed the battles and the general presentation quality, even though that one gets worse and worse as you progress through the game. But eventually, it becomes obvious Square Enix made it so you have to play a lot of battles, and made them as long as possible, to give the game a longer play time and hide it's shallowness. After you realize even the story barely develops at all through the whole game, you're left wondering why they would possibly make this much, much worse game than Final Fantasy VII or VI despite all the modern technological assets to make a game look and feel great.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2011
I really don't understand how people can dismiss this game as `total rubbish'. Sure, it has its faults, but which Final Fantasy game doesn't? It's all subjective.

In my opinion though, the game is great. Yes, it IS very linear for the first ten hours, at least - people who describe it as `follow a straight path, random battles on way, cutscene, boss fight, cutscene, follow a straight path, etc.' aren't wrong there. But the best thing in my opinion about this Final Fantasy is the storyline - because it's so fantastic, you find yourself wanting to find out what happens next in the story anyway. The storyline might seem confusing at first, as despite the linear nature of the game the revealing of the events leading up to the story certainly is not, but the in-game menu includes a self-updating log of the story and the characters, so if you're struggling (with the story or indeed, any aspect of the game really) the information is readily available.

It's only when you sit back and contemplate it that you realise how well thought out the story truly is. It's both highly complex, and yet simplistic in some aspects. The universe presented is so believable, and the characters are so realistic to me - they are all shown to have their complexities, their positives, and their flaws. It's only as the story progresses that you come to understand how deeply interwoven the fates of these characters are, even though they're initially strangers to each other. It's a really stunning story, and in my opinion more interesting and, surprisingly, even more believable than some other Final Fantasy plot lines.

In terms of gameplay, the combat system is quite enjoyable. As others have said, it's like a blend of an active-time battle system and real time combat. The `Paradigm' system - where you can change job roles (e.g., from attacker to mage to medic) - in addition to this ATB/Real-time blend means that combat quickly becomes a combination of quick thinking and strategy. While there is an option for `Auto-Battle' on the combat menu, which automatically decides on what actions to take, it is not necessary to use it - people who are complaining about how the battles are basically pressing X over and over again until you win should remember that they can decide not to use it if they don't want to.

The graphics and the music for this game are amazing. I was stunned when I saw the graphics for the first time, and the music used is perfect. Some of it is melodious, some of it is chilling. Whatever music is playing at any point, it always fits with what is happening event-wise. The majority of the voice acting is quite good, although some isn't (Vanille, anyone?) and some of the dialogue seems slightly out of place, or oddly worded at times. Nevertheless, it's still engaging.

My only real problem with this game comes back to the linear nature of it - I mean, in some aspects, it's like Final Fantasy X: really linear for the most part, but the story and characters so engaging that the player always wanted to progress quickly anyway. But in others, it's so different. While the storyline doesn't really allow for casual exploration of towns and landscapes - you're on the run for the majority of the game - the complete removal of inns, shops, interactions with regular town-people and side quests not related to treasure hunting, monster hunting, grinding or updating weapons and equipment serve to take away a lot of what made other Final Fantasys, such as FFIX, fun. While it's still a fantastic game, it seems to make the mistake of Final Fantasy XII, and put too much emphasis on combat and hunting over interaction with the created world, like in VII, VIII, IX and X.

While I could never call Final Fantasy XIII a bad game, as an RPG it excels in some aspects (brilliant storyline and realistic, engaging characters) it doesn't do so well with regards to others (the lack of the ability to explore until at least 10 hours in... and even then only grinding and hunting are the main side-quests). Have to say though, if you can get into the game's story, characters, and combat, you probably won't miss the things it's lacking compared to other Final Fantasys. Despite its faults, it's still worthy of the Final Fantasy title, and is definitely worth having a look at - I'd recommend it for sure.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2010
Graphics: 90/100 - Full HD - 1080p
Sound/Music: 85/100
Gameplay: 60/100

Let's keep it short. As a friend of the FF series I am rather disappointed. I recently bought a PS3 and thought it a good idea to take FF XIII along without reading any (customer) reviews as I kept former FF games in good memory.

Final Fantasy XIII had some drastic gameplay changes in regard to the former series. The focus now is on gorgeous graphics, constant battles and story-telling. The graphic design still feels like Final Fantasy XIII while the game itself does not. Gone are the days of tactical battles and vast open areas. The number of characters you actually control in battle has been reduced to one. The rest of your group behave according to the tactical role setup of the group, e.g. defense-breaker/damage dealer/tank/healer etc. The level design has been reduced consequently to long paths with only a few and very short dead ends - impossible to get lost ;)

The Good
Well, the graphics and sound are very nice. It's simply the most beautiful Final Fantasy game ever in which the ingame graphics come close to former cutscenes' quality. Every few minutes the story is told in nice in-game cutscenes. Every chapter or so you'll see prerendered cutscences - pure eye-candy.

The Bad - Pressing the X
The one thing you'll hear and read most about the game is sad but true. Pressing only the X button will get you fast through most battles... By pressing X twice you select the auto-attack and the target. As I'm a friend of the series but not a fanatic I won't defend the dull battle system which defines the game more or less. And NO, the second game half on Pulse won't change things dramatically.

Only the fights against bosses or bigger groups take a (slightly) different approach. Since you actually get endangered in these fights you need to change the group's tactical layout from time to time, in other words switch from offense to defense and back once you're healed/buffed up again while. Meanwhile you build up a chain attack gauge. Once this gauge is full the mob becomes especially vulnerable for a length of time.

The Challenge
The "real" challenge are the equipment mods. At checkpoints you can save, buy and sell or you can modify your items. You raise your gear's level by salvaging monster drops. While some drops will give low points towards level-up they'll give you a multiplier for the gained experience. That multiplier you will try to max out before using the other monster drops which give much exp per item but reduce the multiplier bonus. Either use try & and error or use a FAQ to find out the best cost efficiency of each monster loot.

Conclusion - A shining gem
Final Fantasy XIII is a setback. Propelling graphics and story to new heights is never a bad idea. But minimizing the gameplay to a very linear and simple monster-bashing was a wrong decision. If you're a fan you will buy the game anyway. All others: test it before.

I'd stopped playing after 1 hour only if not for the story and the great graphics and the fact that I had spent money on this game already...
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on 2 July 2012
Here we.are with Final Fantasy XIII and i have to say that after playing the demo of it long ago and even playing it a year ago, whilst asking other people about it and having them complain about its linearity i left the game and only started playing it recently.

The game its self or rather the plot revolves around a group of mismatched people who are embroiled in a government lead 'purge'. The purge is initiated after a citizen of the world of Cocoon comes into contact with a being, or Fal'cie from the world of Pulse, the scary world below Cocoon.

The character's fates are revealed in backstory anecdotes as the story progresses since they are all, in some way, connected to the initiation of the purge. Because of their connections to this purge and because of their eventual contact with this Fal'cie the characters become branded l'cie and are given a focus to complete which they do not understand whilst at the same time being hunted by the Sanctum government

Whilst the story is incredibly engrossing and the character development high class with little fault i didnt really understand the politics of their plight in terms of becoming branded as l'cie and the machinations of the government to try and hunt them down or why people are afraid of Pulse. That asside i thought the game was very good in terms of its cinematic cutscene direction which is astounding and very high quality.

Now what put me off initially and i read about this on various websites before i actually sat down and played the game what the linearity issue. Yes the game is linear with little chance of straying from the directed path but this is justifiable since the plot of game demands it to be played in this way. Maybe it could have been a bit more exploratory but maybe Square Enix took a risk and shred the exploratory part of the game in favour of a strong story. In fact the missions you get later in the game are much better completed after you completed the story because you get the final Cystarium expansion allowing your characters to fully develop in all roles, which brings me to the combat system.

In FFXIII the combat system is based on the idea of a Paradigm or simply put a mode of attack. In this paradigm or mode of attack each party member, depending on what roles you have created or generated for them, attacks the enemy accoring to confines of that particular role. For instance a ravager, which is primarly magic based, will use magic spells to destory enemies whilst a commando uses their equipped weapon to atrack the enemy. The combination of the different roles and their various actions within your party constitutes a paradigm and these can be changed and customised according to how you see fit.

The idea of the paradigm is to make it easier for you as a strategy to stagger your enemy. Each enemy will have two health bars, one for normal and one for its stagger. In many but not all battlesnl your main aim and the in game tutorial will tell you this as well is to stagger the enemy with different paradigms. Once the enemy has been staggered its time for you too kick its arse because its damage in taken is multiplied making it easier to defeat.

Overall the game is very good in terms of the gameplay, the paradigm idea once you become accustomed to it and the story.
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