Final Fantasy XIII Demo Impressions - Summoning Shiva

Our first look at the highly anticipated role-playing game was short but sweet.

After unveiling some new footage this morning at the Sony press conference, we met up with Square Enix at its booth on the show floor to get a demo of Final Fantasy XIII. The game still isn't playable at this time, so we had to watch as director Motomu Toriyama walked us through a new area. The gameplay that we saw was incredibly brief--sadly--but we did get to see Snow, Vanille, Lightning, and--more specifically--Shiva, in action.

We weren't able to get too many details regarding the story, but the general overview is that Final Fantasy XIII is set in the futuristic city of Cocoon. There is also a place called Pulse, which is a world that was described to us as the "wilderness." Fal'Cie, a race that resides in Pulse and apparently has determined that the main character, Lightning, as well as several others, are the ones who will bring destruction to the world. Lightning's purpose throughout the game is to fight against this "destiny."

Our demo consisted of a single battle, fought in what appeared to be the courtyard leading up to ancient temple ruins. The area felt large and spacious, with grand--mostly deteriorated--architecture and palm trees in the distant background. Snow, a young man with a beanie who we've seen numerous times in trailers leads the pack. You can only control one character at any given time, similar to Final Fantasy XII's battle structure. From the Japanese demo, we know that you can also play as Lightning, which seems to depend on where you are in the story.

The battle system is an evolved version of previous games in which you have an active time bar, but it is split into segments. These segments indicate how many attacks you can make in a row because each action costs a certain amount of points. In this case, the active time bar had four sections, so we were able to chain up to four single attacks--or you can select a light attack and finish with a move that would cost three. We learned that characters do not always have three or four segments in their bar, which means that this bar increases as you level so that you can chain even more attacks. The input is similar to previous games except with a lot more options. The first option in the menu is assault, and when you confirm, it brings up a list of actions that you can pick and put in the queue. After you've decided, your character will unleash a flurry of customized attacks.

Today, Toriyama wanted to show off Shiva and the Gestault mode. We learned that each character is partnered with a particular summon. Snow and Shiva are partners, so when Shiva was summoned, the rest of the party members disappeared. Shiva appeared as twins who were holding a large wheel in their hands and which they wielded with deadly finesse. The Gestault mode is when Shiva transforms into something Snow can fight as and control with one brute force. Each summon has its own unique transformation, but in this case, the twins transformed into a motorcycle, allowing Snow to burn rubber and ride across the battle area. The controls were described as something more action oriented so that you will feel like you have direct control over the characters. We watched as Snow left a trail of deadly icicles in his path while he skidded and screeched around the screen. The battle ended rather quickly because this was obviously overkill, but it's interesting to see the cinematic action that takes place when a powerful summon comes out. We weren't able to confirm other summons, but because Odin was seen a recent trailer, we were told that fans should have an idea of what Odin's transformation would look like if they've seen him in action in previous games. In the meantime, we'll have to use our imaginations.

The voice acting was really good so far, and at this point, Square Enix hasn't confirmed that Japanese voices will be included. Producer Yoshinori Kitase explained that the files would be fairly large and that they would like to keep the game on a single blu-ray disc to minimize the number of discs they would need for the Xbox 360 version. The game also looked fantastic at this stage, running on the PlayStation 3, and it was a shame we couldn't see more.

We'll definitely provide updates with additional information in the coming months. The targeted release date for Final Fantasy XIII on the PS3 and Xbox 360 is spring 2010.

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Discussion

119 comments
ragnarok160
ragnarok160

hopfully itlll be just as good on xbox as it will on ps3 i have both so im not worried

CaptPerez
CaptPerez

Great game!! once time you see the review or play the demo. I hope buy this video game.

istokes91
istokes91

Game is going to be minted. looks the best so far. with an exception for ff7 lol

gamerz_12345
gamerz_12345

also I CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAME TO COME OUT IT LOOKS AWESOME!

gamerz_12345
gamerz_12345

umm lightning seems like a character from an anime series i watched called world destruction or something like that her attitude from the trailer even matches the attitude of the main character in the anime. also, the main character was a girl with pink hair who acted like she didn't care about other people. just wanted to give my 2 sense that's about it... also if you watched the anime it fits a bit doesn't it?

ozulaica
ozulaica

I think the whole argument on "XBOX360 is considered a next generation console?! and doesn't have blu-ray wtf that's so stupid! PS3 is better." is lame. For two simple facts: 360 was released before PS3, and Sony has the patent for the blu-ray discs (this means, no way in hell can any other company use that format until the patent term is over). Now, who knows which format will prevail in the end? There has to be some 'tacit collusion' between videogaming companies in order to establish a common format. There is no way a console is better because of the discs. The game in the end will always look the same. I have both consoles, and I don't consider any of them better.

gordo100
gordo100

I AM - OFFICIALLY - A "DIE HARD FAN OF FF - BUT THIS GAME COULD BE THE NAIL IN MY COFFIN! In my youth I was possibly the biggest FF fanboy in the world. I played FFVII 8 times; one game lasted 250 hrs. Sure FF8 was a disappointment; but I still played it twice. And FF9 may have been overly twee: I played that 3 times. FFX was a true joy - and really brought the FF genre back to life (despite the minute bestiary). But then came FFXII. Lets be honest - it's was one big, steaming pile of *****. Still - ever hopeful - I thought FFXIII might bring back the FF glory days. But then I saw this interview - read about the demo , and now - finally - I have to admit defeat. SQUARE I HATE YOU!!!!! WHY would they even think to create an FF game where you have no control over your party in battle. Since the dawn of FF time - the game has centred on the party. Building your team - levelling them up - before unleashing them on your foes in armed combat. So why Square? Why would you imagine I want my party - the team I've nurtured for hours, days, weeks and possibly months - why would I want to hand over control of my great warriors to some STUPID AI BOT that simply follows some algorithm devoid of all sense and humanity. Square - PLEASE - before you lose your greatest admirer - halt this game. Revise, redesign it. Get the game back to where it belongs: firmly in our control!

ZaKarn69
ZaKarn69

&&$%*%^!!!! Another game that could have been even better if they didnt have to "dumb it down" for the other systems. There needs to be more PS3 exclusive games that take full advantage of it's hardware. Look at MGS for PS3, it took home ALL the awards at the game shows. oh, and they really should be calling the recent Final Fantasys (since X) Final Sci-Fi.

bjm1995
bjm1995

It sucks that we need to wait another year but it'll be a better game

Sutton
Sutton

I'm pretty sure I didn't see shiva in that video.

1995_1996_1997
1995_1996_1997

alfaresalasmar what are you talking about, the graphics are awesome!!

ba5im
ba5im

Dont let us down on the storyline!

hellpolice
hellpolice

We been waiting years for this!!! and you know what? WE have to wait another year, that's a tad too much! Come on Square!

raza3
raza3

i wonder when ff xiii will avlible

taddia
taddia

this... just feels so... generic O_O

kazin_wrx_sti
kazin_wrx_sti

Am I the only one who wants this game to FAIL?!? For a game that is the 13th iteration in the series, it doesn't look like there's been a big jump in the presentation and fighting system since the 16bit days. I want this game to fail so that Square will realize that they can't keep rehashing the same game over and over, while stamping the FF name on it, and make money off us - it's insulting. This game would not sell as much if it had a different name, like Last Remnant 2, or any other name really. Why the hell is this even a FF game? I challenge anyone to answer me that question. What makes a FF game a FF game? And why is this called an RPG? Real RPGs should give you more freedom to play your role. Gygax would be rolling in his grave! This type of RPGs were ok for the 16-bit era consoles because of the system's limitations, but the only thing they have improved since then are the graphics, but deep down, they could have made this game for SNES! I think JRPG developers should take a note from their western counterparts, and ditch the turn-based system and the weird-looking anime stylings - seriously have the artists ever seen anyone hold a sword like that? It doesn't look bad-ass, it looks stupid - try it and videotape yourself, then watch it, you'd see how stupid you look. The FF games in my opinion, have turned from an A-list title during the 16- and 32-bit days to just another JRPG franchise, nothing extraordinary, but the graphics.

KidxGhst
KidxGhst

lol next time dont let a 15 year old dub over a corporate figure head.

alfaresalasmar
alfaresalasmar

i expected better graphics than this i mean cmon its FF the graphics should be a woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow?! i think the main reason is multiplatform HMM TO BAD THE PS3'S ULTIMATE POWER WONT BE USED IN THIS FF UNLIKE KZ2 AND MGS4

KrzyJoe
KrzyJoe

u control only one character, what the hell!?

Square007
Square007

"fans should have an idea of what Odin's transformation would look like if they've seen him in action in previous games. In the meantime, we'll have to use our imaginations." yea i think i got it,he transforms into a horse...just take a look at the shield says it all =D like Snow rides the Shiva motorcycle,Lightning will mount the Odin horse form =) thats what i think if im wrong well...i dont think i am lol =)

FLYEboi50
FLYEboi50

this final fantasy looks awesome. it looks more like ffX imo in terms of gameplay. for everything else, it looks like one of the ps1 final fantasies where you would walk around in an enviorment and one person would be multiple ppl in battle.

bin-hiding
bin-hiding

why dont we get a demo already, im sure they have more than enough content to throw a bone at us in the form of a short 1 to 1:30 hour demo, it would definitely help build more hype for the game and calm some of the nerves of not knowing how a game will feel once you play it, its not the same to watch a bunch of pics and short vids... some of the most garbage games out there have pretty cool trailers... not to say FFXIII will be one of those, im yet to be disappointed with a FF game ( XI excluded... lol ) but come on give something to the masses people...

henrymagic
henrymagic

ok ok this is simply going to be great!!

Wehrwolf27
Wehrwolf27

I hope there will be a demo available... I am really excited about this game.

Princess_Rectum
Princess_Rectum

It's taking them years to create a game that won't come close to matching the awesomeness of the older ones. And no, I'm not some nostalgia nut. The development team from back in the Sakaguchi days knew what they were doing, could tell a better story in a much better way than this new team, and never ceased to impress us. It's like writing an incredible piece of music with a small group of musicians, compared to a full orchestra playing a soulless, flashy piece of crap on their instruments.

MuddVader
MuddVader

lol i just noticed the baby chocobo thing lives in his hair XD

gmax
gmax

I still think that screen shot looks like something from Unreal.

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

Sweet!! Just for the next year though.

AyuSora
AyuSora

Can't wait. I will have to wait and see which system I will buy this for because I might have a PS3 by the time it comes out, but right now I'm thinking the 360, for achievements and stuff.

lucas81093
lucas81093

its a dude with a chicks voice lol :D PS3 Yay Geed AS.

OF-5
OF-5

I hate how all the PS3 fanboys are complaining how the Xbox360 is holding back the gaming industry because its on DVD. Even if it was a BluRay system third party games would still look more or less the same because it takes longer to make a game like say Metal Gear 4 (with amazing graphics) then it does to make a game like say Modern Warfare 2 (with pretty damn good graphics) and time is money after all...

metal_militia89
metal_militia89

Disc changing discussions are the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Come on ppl, worry about this being a good game, not about discs. It can have 20 discs, or only 1, and it can be a crappy game. So, let's keep our fingers crossed.

thomas6000
thomas6000

@ blueguykisame I do have a psp and I'm going to be banging ff7 on there tonight when it's hopefully released on the eu psn. Also got other turn based games on the psp. Just like ff13 or new ff to contain the option to allow people to play the game how they want. I can't really see it taking too much time to develop that really, I guess a lot of there time goes into making the massive environments. Didn't want to cause friction, just pointing out something that may make most people happy.

ag_04
ag_04

What a stupid discussion: *PS3 fanboy: "I don't have to swap disks so it's better lol" *360 fanboy: "While I swap disks I have a few seconds to masturbate so it's better lol" Get over it. The game is the same. If it's great, it will be for both versions. If it sucks, again, it will suck for both versions.

riou7
riou7 moderator moderator

awesome

MareInfinitus
MareInfinitus

I agree with many of you when you were talking about feeling accomplished in getting to the next disk. I used that to tell people how far I was in the game. "Oh, I'm halfway through, because I just got done with disk 2." It was never an inconvenience. If the PS3 version were only on 1 disk, that's fine too. Either way doesn't matter. As a PS3 owner, I'm not going to brag to a 360 owner and say "oooooh my version is only on one disk sucks to be you."

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

@thomas uhmmm.. you do know that what your looking for still comes out on the PSP right? Buy yourself a PSP if you want the good ol' turn based. You can even put originals like FF7 on it. @xrh yea the few fighting / rpg games that bring out that action are always great. KHII got close.. but definately not quite.. very few games seem to capture such fast paced action (especially in a rpg.)

Zyrden
Zyrden

Heh I remember the 7 disc version of Baldurs Gate 1. A disc for each area means a lot of swapping, but the game is still fantastic.

xrh
xrh

@thomas6000 People liked advent children and thought it would be cool if FF13 could possibly bring out fast-paced action in an rpg.

thomas6000
thomas6000

Hmm I don't see why they can't develop final fantasy so that you can choose what style you want the battles to be at the start of the game, like 1) original turn based, you control all characters, 2) mix between action and turn based (like this seems to be) or 3) total action based (possibly like devil may cry). It just seems that to enter more of a main stream market they feel they have to make it more action based, if I wanted that though I can play games like devil may cry. Plus only controlling one character and all these active time bar segments sounds a little much, although I'm sure I'll get used to it, and as long as its fun then its fine, just hope it's not monotomous like final fantasy 12.

Jochirin
Jochirin

@omnislash_13 "WHAAAAT?!?!? They aren't including voices for a language 99% of their regionalised playerbase can't speak?!? Well I am outraged, OUTRAGED!!! I mean if you speak Japanese and live in an English speaking country... surely you can speak English too, why are people getting uptight about this?" its because some of us like the sound of the japanese over the english. and also its nice to have another set of voice actors to chose frome, caus lets face it there are tons of games that suffer from bad voice acting.

megafitch
megafitch

Why complain about the disk changing, its been this way since disks were introduced, so whats the problem doing it now? I wouldn't worry about it, I would just look forward to one phenomenal game when it drops!!