Final Fantasy XIII User Review
When I started playing FFXIII, I was hesitant. I had heard much negative feedback about the game. At first, something did bother me, there was no clear indication that my characters were advancing in stats, so once I thought that I marched on through. But later the 'Crystarium' system appeared and I was happy. The Crystarium system is essentially advancement on the FFX sphere grid, but in my opinion better because you do not have constant gaps, which you have to fill in later. As you progress each chapter the crystarium grid expands, m only problem with this is that it means there is a limit you can train till for every chapter, in previous FF games I liked to go in boss battles over powered.
As for the battle system, I quite enjoyed it this time, it’s called ‘paradigm’, which is essentially a class your character can be. At the start of the game, they are limited to 3 for each character, but later on you have a maximum of 6 to choose from and there are plenty of combinations you can make. it’s very similar to the dressphere system from FFX-2, but it's more polished. In FFX-2 I rarely changed the dress spheres in battle. in FFXIII I did it constantly. The key most battles in FFXIII is raising the stagger limit, you basically have a percentage that builds with each offensive attack. Mages make the percentage go up quicker, once I hit the certain percentage I switch to attack. thanks to the Paradigm system I found myself using a far wide range of spells than previously especially buffs (Protect, Haste, Shell)& debuffs (Deprotect, Poison, Curse) which if used effectively really can make the difference in a battle.
One thing that does irritate me about the battle system in FFXIII is that when the leader of the party is dead its game over, even when one you your team mates knows how to use revive, I suppose they had their reasons, but when you’re on a boss battle and your character is the only one dying it can be frustrating.
FFXIII is a game that really keeps you on your toes, in previous FF games, for accessories it was really about keeping the one with the highest set of abilities. In FFXIII, you have to keep changing them throughout the game. so it’s not like FFX where you can have that master accessory with the 4 best abilities, you have to change them frequently to which opponent you will be facing.
One thing that does bug me about FFXIII is the Weapon/Accessory upgrading system. While it is laid out well, you just do not have enough money to progress at a steady pace, I admit I really upgraded items until much later in the game due to this.
Now I have heard many say that the game is linear, in some ways it can be, like the Cystarium limit. However, I never really had an issue with the maps being linear, I can see how they may be one way set but I look at many great games even the MGS series and they are also. I approve to why they made the first half of the game like that. In FFXII, I remember just running through landscapes and temples, bored. There was very rarely progression in the story, which was horrible. FFXIII's story is far better structured, so well I never felt bored. They would even occasionally have cut-scenes that weren't vital to the story progression, but we just get to see the characters talk to one another and support one another, which I think the game benefited from hugely.
As for the story itself, I don’t want to go into detail on this due to possible spoilers, so I will just say I thought it was well done, but not as effective as previous FF games such as VI-X. However, the playable characters themselves are great. They are all very charismatic in their own way which is a huge contrast to XII where Balthier was the only one keeping me awake. One thing that did bug me was there was no big antagonist, which is a shame.
The score for the game is very different but enjoyable Serah's Theme was very harmonic, I got shivers every time I heard it. It had a very board range from spiritual gospel to techno; it is one of my favourite soundtracks of the series.
I found FFXIII to be a wonderful experience, it brought my faith back into the series, which an engaging story, interesting characters and scenario's and it was fun to play. I am on 96 hours currently and I feel like I still have a lot to, which is more than I can say more most games this generation (FALLOUT 3 is probably the closest I have played to that scale.). For me personally as a FF fan it was worth the wait. If you are a fan of the series, especially FFX I recommend you not be put off by the negative press and pick it up. As it is in my opinion one of the strongest in the series.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.