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Final Fantasy XIII - Collector's Edition,
This review is from: Final Fantasy XIII - Collector's Edition (PS3) (Video Game)
It's strange to think that this game is finally here. After four and half years of waiting with baited breath, watching almost every video released, new updates coming with but a trickle of new information; you can understand why the hype level for this game has been set so high. Understandably so, the Final Fantasy faithful are looking towards XIII with vigorous eyes - a hope that this game will return their beloved series back towards the light after its somewhat dip in form with the past two releases. With producer Yoshinori Kitase back at the production helm for the first time since Final Fantasy X, it was the hope that his influence would spur the series topside again - or at least give this incarnation of the series a half decent story.
It would not be remiss to say that Final Fantasy XII was a flawed game. From the outset, the main character was designed to look far too female for a western audiences liking, not to mention the fact that his part in the story was so minor that it was hard to swallow for anyone who loved the character development that the Final Fantasy series has prided itself on. On the other hand, the game did deliver in the gameplay factor. It was a step in a completely new and daring direction for the series, which split the fans reception for it, but would consider itself a successful experiment.
Final Fantasy XIII, however, is somewhat of a step back. Not in quality, but mechanics. For as FFXII was set in real time, XIII heads back towards its turn based roots. That's not to say that it isn't fun, because it is, it really is, but this change may well be the tipping point that frightens the audience that Square Enix took so many risks in attracting with XII in the first place. That said, the battle system is genuinely good fun. Even during the first 5 hours or so of the game, which is but a basic template of the things to come later on, it is a design that works well. It's fast, action packed and full of promise - and it delivers on a whole new level once the skills and abilities earned throughout the game are learned and mastered.
But while the fighting is fast, the story certainly is not. Somewhere along the line Square decided to trickle the information much in the same way they did regarding the game during its development. And for the first 25 hours or so of the game you are taken along a clearly marked path that is exemplified by the mini map in the top corner with a small yellow arrow leading you onwards. There are small offshoots from the main path, but small they are, and it is always obvious that there will be an item waiting at the end of it. However, during all of this, the game keeps your attention. Cutscenes are introduced with regularity that keeps the story moving, and always teases the player to carry on. Not least of its long list of attributes are its graphics, which are simply stunning in every respect, and it's highly applaudable at how well the development team has managed to meld the CG graphics into in-game footage and still leave the player wondering whether it's still a cutscene. And the English voice acting this time around, is excellent on the whole, which has been so delicately produced into the game, that the team reanimated all of the characters so that speech went perfectly with the character mouth movements and emotions.
It's safe to say that Final Fantasy XIII is impressive. Its depth is unparalleled. The battle system is deep and rewarding, and only gets deeper as the game progresses. Around half way through the game the world opens up and allows for some time out from the heavily beaten story - though it has to be earned as it takes around 25 hours to get to this point. The development system is similar to that of Final Fantasy X's sphere grid system, taking place along a grid which allows the player to purchase skills and attribute enhancements with hard earned points from battle. And the story, although slow to begin with, is rich and thought-provoking which constantly throws the player with its twists and turns.
Final Fantasy XIII is an accomplished and polished game that sacrifices a small amount of the series hallmarks, such as town shopping and NPC dialogue, to make up a faster and more tactically engaging game overall. Although it was with some distain that the development team retreated from the system they began to build with XII at first, it is a healthy compromise for the cutting edge story-telling experience that FFXIII so lovingly weaves. It's another new beginning in the Final Fantasy chapter, for better or worse, and this is one aspect of the series that will never be changed, and what's left here, is a deeply accomplished game that delivers in almost every aspect, but most importantly, is a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2010 18:37:30 GMT
just a note: the reason Lightning looks girlish is, well put simply, she IS a girl...
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2010 18:46:43 GMT
He was talking about 12 and vaan. Very well written review, nice one. Is the collector's edition worth it?
In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2010 19:19:10 GMT
Mr. J. C. Hull says:
Yes, I was talking about Vaan from 12, notice the past tense? Sorry if it was not completely clear.
Well, the collector's Edition is very nice if you are a long term Final Fantasy fan. If you're not a huge fan of the series, then it's probably not worth £60. The box it comes in is easily damaged, and a bit flimsy. But the hard back art book is lovely. The soundtrack only consts of 10 tracks, and lasts just 20 minutes. And as for the art cards, they are all in the book anyway. So, in a sense it's not worth £60. I would happily pay £50 for it though.
Posted on 21 Mar 2010 12:56:31 GMT
Mark Longfield says:
How many pages does the art book contain?
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Mar 2010 20:51:08 GMT
Mr. J. C. Hull says:
There are exactly 60 pages, all in full colour, and it is a hard back book.
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