A savaging of FFXIII

In honor of Heavensward’s release today, I’ve dug up this old review of FFXIV’s predecessor, written by a friend of mine back in 2010. Even five years later, the sheer pithy rantiness of it still brings a smile to my face.

Reposting with his consent, and almost verbatim. Enjoy.

Despite a friend’s advice I went ahead and bought FFXIII after finally giving in to all the hype across the interweb. I figured how could I possibly go wrong with the first FF title for next gen consoles? Furthermore, I somewhat enjoyed FFXII, despite being the only person I know that even played the game.

13 hours into the game, I have officially given up on playing it. Yes, you heard me right. I have GIVEN UP on playing an FF game. How could Square Enix fuck it up so bad this time? Here’s how.

The Good

Okay, you have to give some props to the graphics department at Square Enix. FF is a pretty game. Character modelling especially is second to none and for the first time, they’ve actually managed to render individual strands of moving hair using the in-game engine. Lightning (the female lead) is also quite possibly one of the sexiest female characters in video gaming history, making Tifa look like a character from the cast of Doremon. Cutscenes as usual are pretty, especially now that they are in glorious HD, but as usual the Japanese artwork is slightly over the top.

The Bad

How do I even begin? Let’s first start with just how ridiculously linear the game is. Granted, Japanese ‘RPGs’ are never known for being open-ended, but FFXIII just takes the cake for the most linear game I have ever played that claims to be an RPG. There is literally NO other paths or options you can choose for yourself. They’ve removed the world map, towns and shops, so all you do is basically trudge through and endless sea of boring levels ala Contra style. There’s not even a way to get yourself lost here, and the only routes that deviate off the main quest path bring you to a familiar treasure box. Every once in a while you’ll be thrust into a cutscene or flashback where the characters will start yapping about each other. Very very predictable.

The music is also nothing to write home about. Nobuo Uematsu is gone and what you get is some Japanese dude trying to act smart by incorporating various musical styles like jazz and pop badly into the soundtrack. None of the tracks stick out, not even the title theme, which might be a huge disappointment for FF music fans.

On to the battle system, which has been praised by quite a reviews out there. I personally think it is no big deal. I personally feel that Square got the battling system nailed down with FFXII’s auto-combat style but now they’ve reverted back to the ‘separate battle mode’ system in FFXIII. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that this is quite possibly the most complicating battle system ever devised for a video game? Worst of all, you only unlock all the options on the battle system about 10 hours into the game, making it the longest game tutorial ever!

Then comes the items. You basically get loot from all the monsters you defeat in the game as well as the many treasure boxes littered around. Square even boasts that it has over 100 unique items. Wow! 100 unique items! But what do these items do you might ask? With the exception of the typical potions like ethers and phoenix downs, the rest of the items are solely for the upgrading of your weapons. Sadly, if you refer to a weapon upgrade guide (trust me, you’ll have to in a game like this), you’ll realise that most of them count for jack shit.

The Ugly

Pulse L’cie, Pulse Fal’cie, C’ieth, Bodhum, Cacoon, sometimes you have to wonder what kind of crack the translation team was on when they worked on the english version. It’s like they just discovered how to use the apostrophe key on the keyboard and decided to go on a rampage.

We now move on to the characters, which honestly are a pain to listen to (with the exception of Lightning). It’s not that their voiceover actors did a bad job, but because their dialogues are so poorly written. You are forced to sit through cutscene after cutscene of redundant blabbering that makes zero contribution to the actual plot progression. While I did mention earlier about how awesome Lightning is, Square has also managed to create quite possibly the most irritating character in videogaming history, Vanille. Don’t let the looks deceive you, just mute the volume everytime this bitch comes on. Full of incessant yapping, she is the voiceover to many parts of the game. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Bottom Line

Let’s put it plainly, Square has taken everything that is great about Final Fantasy and threw it out in favour of a flashy battle system and higher budget cutscenes. FFXIII is basically a 40 hour grinding session littered about with a predictable story. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by the influx of great english titles during the holiday season, or maybe I’ve finally had enough of Square Enix. To call this game an ‘RPG’ would be a travesty against gaming. Don’t let the hype and grinding idiots fool you, just stay well clear from this game.

P.S. if you want a proper Japanese action title, pick up Bayonetta instead, it’s over the top as hell and has a far more rewarding battle style.

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