Square-Enix Addresses Lower Review Scores For FFXIII
Final Fantasy XIII hasn't enjoyed a smooth, glowing, hype-filled ride towards its North American launch next month. Surprisingly average and even mediocre feedback from some critics has created much in the way of concerned speculation, even from die-hard, hardcore fans.
But Square-Enix believes it's simply a matter of the distinct Western viewpoint with which these reviewers are analyzing FFXIII. In speaking to CVG's sister publication Xbox World 360, producer Yoshinori Kitase said they "try not to listen to critics too much," but the negative feedback comes because "the first half of the game is very linear." Kitase reminds us that they "have a story to tell, and it's important the player can engage with the characters and the world they inhabit before letting them loose..." That sounds like the standard FF adventure, doesn't it? In FFVII, commonly considered to be the greatest FF and possibly the greatest RPG of all time, you spend several hours in Midgar before you even get to the world map. Added director Toriyama:
"We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view. When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like... [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you're given that much freedom."
Well, I've been saying that for years; Western devs have routinely sacrificed story and character development for the sake of so-called "freedom." Of course a game needs to be linear in order to follow a coherant, well-designed storyline. So anyone who goes after FFXIII simply because of "linearity" isn't going to get much credit from me. However, don't we have to remember that Western critics have given most all FFs 9+ scores in the past...? Therefore, the explanation for the lower scores can't come entirely from the difference in region perspectives. Or can it? After all, traditional turn-based, linear RPGs are basically dead and everyone only seems to care about "freedom" these days.
Well, guess it's just another one of those infuriating "wait and see" situations.
Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII
2/16/2010 10:52:00 AM Ben Dutka