This game has some great feature new to the series, it's ashame a lot of people don't give it more of a chance.
damned_if_u_do wrote this review on .
Now onto plot, as much as I enjoy XIII the plot is indeed somewhat lacking as you spend the first half of the game simply running away from Cocoon's army without any form of objective. I can see what Square were trying, as each FF is unique they've tried something different, and it simply hasn't worked for me. They introduce the characters, get them all together and split them up after them having quite a disagreement, Lightning's sister Serah has been turned to crystal and she blames Serah's fiancee Snow, who is also getting the blame for killing Hope's mother. While Vanille has accidentally cursed a young boy, who happens to be Sazh's son. So the party split up, Lightning and Hope leave one way as Sazh and Vanille leave the other way. Two recipes for disaster. So square has made it so the characters drive themselves throught their inner conflicts, something the player knows or cares very little about. About 15 hours into the game we finally have an antagonist, who actually can't destroy the world so he tries to manipulate our hero's into doing it. They decide to save Cocoon by protecting it's 'battery' and, get this, they change their minds and kill it. But good guys can't lose so somehow the world is saved....
What the plot lacks in the gameplay makes up for, so if you don't enoy the new combat system, get your money back.
And instead of NPC's to tell us about the background of the worlds we have the datalog, pretty much a giant encyclopedia, but if you visit Rome, you don't read an encyclopedia for information, you ask so you can IMMERSE yourself. In XIII it is impossible to IMMERSE yourself. Get that Square, IMMERSE, too subtle?
XIII also lacks in the music department, some of the music is pretty good (if it's got Latin in it you know it's good) but most of it is a flop. But when square lost Uematsu they lost the best in the business.
Graphics are amazing in this game, very impressive, and Square bothered to re-animate the lip syncing for the english version. The voice acting was very good, you could hear the emotion in the voice, even Vanille's to a certain extent, and other than an Australian accent that changed throughout the game it was great work.
If your going to buy XIII, try and get it pre-owned, I know it means no money goes to Square and that means they'll have a smaller budget for the next game but I wouldn't have bought it at full price had I known what the plot was like. The reason that kept me going was the combat and the challenge, going into a fight without a proper strategy and the AI will punish you, and if you don't learn from your mistake it will punish you even more. it's ashame some of the paradigms aren't too great to start off with, or even later in the game. Some battles will definitely require a sentinel and most boos fights will require synergist to get some buffs on you but even then most of the time you won't need them and buffs will last long enough that you'll only need to buff up once.
To sum up, XIII is great fun but the plot isn't up to the standard we've come to expect being an FF player since VII.