Final Fantasy XIII: A Retrospective
It doesn't seem possible that Final Fantasy XIII has been out for nearly two months in North America - time flies - but it might be interesting to explore the after-effects of playing and completing the game.
For me, I think it's important to address two things: firstly, I stand by my review, as I expected I would. Secondly, there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that FFXIII proved to be a bit of a letdown to long-time fans; it's like people are quick to throw out the "suck" label at every turn. They feel a little betrayed and so suddenly, a great game suddenly becomes a piece of trash. Now, while I'm the first to call out that combat system - which I still believe to be a mistake - I am also quick to point out the pluses- FFXIII still featured sky-high production values the whole way 'round, and I especially liked how the game really opened up at Gran Pulse. Granted, it shouldn't take 20 hours to make me feel like I'm really playing a deep, engaging RPG, but it still helped, and the storyline was decent. I also liked many of the characters; Fang turned out to be my favorite and the ending was quite satisfying. Vanille finally became tolerable.
The bottom line is that FFXIII is well worth playing, almost regardless of who you are or what your personal gaming preferences may be. The CGI alone is worth seeing; it's just plain gorgeous, as it always is for any true FF installment. But that being said, and I know I'm going to risk those unwarranted, "yeah, I know, the game sucks!" comments, I'm ultimately disappointed in the gameplay. That feeling never changed, regardless of how good everything else was, and I really wish I could say otherwise. There is some micromanagement going on outside of battle, but not much and in the end, I really do feel as if it was "RPG Lite," and that it felt stripped-down for the sake of novice role-players. They made too many decisions for me, plain and simple, and I firmly believe that they could've added more depth and strategy with a simple pause command (ala Dragon Age). If we could've simply stopped combat and issued new commands and stuff like that, it would've been a hundred times better.
And so, I'm left in the weird position of saying that FFXIII is one of the better games you can play...while at the same time, it's my least favorite FF of all time (with the possible exception of FFV). This is what happens when one comes to expect nothing but singular wonder and awe with each and every entry in a series, and I've talked before about how this can be a detriment. The game is great but for the first time in more than a few eras, a Final Fantasy title won't be listed among my favorites of the generation.
Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII
5/3/2010 9:25:28 PM Ben Dutka