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Published on May 3rd, 2010 | by Daniel David

Final Fantasy XIII Review

Release Date: March 9, 2010
Developer: Square-Enix
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed] and Xbox 360

I’m sure the Final Fantasy series needs no introduction. Final Fantasy XIII is Square-Enix latest in this popular franchise and currently this game has me hooked. In a somewhat different approach to the series you take the control of six heroes who are battling against an unjust fate.

To verify before hand it took me over 80 hours to beat the game. I did some of the side quest which are marks you can hunt and defeat but some of the marks are so hard you can’t possibly beat them until post-game where you can fully level up your characters.

Back to the review, the game starts out with you taking control of Lightning and Sazh who are aboard a train when Lightning decides to hijack the train and make things worse. This is where the game first drops you into what is easily the best aspect of the game, the battle system but the game introduces each part of the battle system slowly across the chapters of the game.

I can see why they did that, at first glance the combat could seem a little intimidating with all the different paradigms you can create, different roles, techniques and what not. Some may become impatient with this but I really do think they made the right choice of spreading it out and letting you get the hang of each aspect first before dropping the whole thing in your lap.

One thing I love about this game is the difficulty, since after each battle you regain all of your health back this allowed them to make a much tougher game. Don’t be ashamed of dying its probably going to happen a lot.

In combat this time you only control one person which is a good thing, the speed of battle would make it to much to actually control all the characters on screen. Don’t worry the A.I is more then capable enough to follow your lead and besides their actions depend on what paradigms you have set up for the party so in a sense you have full control of whats going on.

While in battle you can do what is called a paradigm shift, which is different set of roles you have created before battle. The battle system is quite intricate and I could spend this whole review but trust me paradigm shifting is the key in surviving in this game.

The leveling up system is much like Final Fantasy X sphere grid although in this one its called the Crystarium. You gain points after each battle which you can spend to increase your health, strength, learn new abilities, etc. You can’t unlock certain abilities and upgrades until you unlock the next level in the Crystarium which you do by progressing further in the game.

I want to comment on the linearity of this game which I’m sure you all have heard about already. The design of the game is just like Final Fantasy X. Yes you are pretty much moving in a straight line with some side areas to explore and just like Final Fantasy X the game doesn’t open until you get the airship, Final Fantasy XIII opens up at Chapter 11. You’re giving plenty to explore and things to fight and Chapter 11 is where the majority of the side missions are.

Even though the game is linear I do miss the lack of any real town to stop and explore. Shopping is all done at save points which are there are plenty off but the problem is until later in the game every item in the shop you can find while going through the different chapters. Not once did I buy a weapon or accessory in the earlier chapters. You better off saving your money for upgrading weapons and accessory which you are going to need to do if you want to beat some of the hard opponents. Also Upgrading is the only way to get each characters final weapons which gives you access to the much beloved six ATB slot.

The story in my opinion while not the best of the series is still pretty good with a likeable cast characters. I especially found Sazh’s story to be the most touching of all. While the villain isn’t on Kefka’s or Sephiroth’s level when I beat the game I was quite satisfied with how the story ended. Even after you beat the game there is still plenty more to do since you can’t unlock the last stage of the Crystarium until you beat the game.

I’m still going strong playing this game which is way this review came out later then I intended.  I’ve put in over 130 and as of writing this review I’ve beat all the marks and have upgraded my characters fully. While it is linear it has the best battle system the series has seen so far, its very challenging, has a good story, good music and looks really good with the cut scenes still the best in the business.

If you didn’t know Final Fantast XIII is available for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and if you were wondering which version to get I would say get it for the PS3 if you have the choice. Its crisper overall and the cutscenes are not compressed like they are in the Xbox 360 version. Another then the graphical differences both run fine with the edge going to the PS3.  Get it for your system of choice but I would recommend the PS3 version if you were on the fence between the two.

Final Fantasy XIII is a really good game. Aside the from the linearity which some may not like the longer you play the better it gets. I would recommend this to all rpg fans and even those looking to break in the genre. Its not the best in the series but that the game still rocks and is a blast to play.

[xrr label=”Rating: 9/10″ rating=9/10]

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