The latest entry is finally here with a impressive level of polish, but lacks that final touch to be a true classic.
Baralai47 wrote this review on .
Starting with the strengths of FF13, the first of which most fans will be happy to read is the story. The bread and butter of the FF games has always been the story driven adventure which you are swept along in, and thankfully, FF13 doesn't disappoint. While many people (myself included) were left somewhat detached and uninterested for the most part in FF12's story, FF13 is much more gripping, containing it's twists and turns, as well as a few surprises for good measure. While in comparison, some may still prefer the story from older instalments or indeed FF12's, FF13 delivers a solid story which at times draws on your emotional heartstrings, and has you gripped throughout.
As expected from the very first trailer released, FF13 is graphically and technically one of the best games out there on consoles. Featuring a variety of different settings throughout the game, there are several times where it was enjoyable just to look around to take in the fantastically crafted environments. Added to this, from my experience in game, the game engine is practically seamless with no real frame rate issues or screen tearing. While i have noticed the very rare bug in terms of AI, FF13 is excellent in it's playability.
Do you hear that? That is the music of a FF veteran composer who is not Nobuo Uematsu *grabs flame shield. I like Nobuo as much as anyone but there's not just him*. Masashi Hamauzu (SaGa series and FFX) Delivers a fantastically crafted Soundtrack which fits well with the game. While the replacement of the Fanfare theme will no doubt go down like a lead balloon, Hamauzu has created an emotional track which is extremely listenable and holds up to previous masterpieces from the FF franchise.
The new game play in terms of the battle system is also a welcome change to the series which is, while more fluent, holds true to its old school FF roots. It is fun and refreshing, as well as requiring you to use strategy to beat certain enemies, particularly bosses. However, this strategy or even involvement is removed by the "Auto-Battle" feature which lets your character select the best actions to carry out, which are actually, on the whole, the actions you want. This does somewhat remove your attention on the battle however. The use of the crystarium is a big plus to those who liked the Sphere Grid from FFX however, spending points from beating enemies on levelling up your character.
There are some criticisms of FF13, which are something of a paradox for the FF franchise. Those looking for the more traditional "open world" FF of old will not find it in FF13. While there is one area of land which you can explore around freely, FF13 is very linear. While this works in context of the story, If the environment and story alone is not enough to satisfy you, you may soon view the game as one long corridor crawler, which can feel tiring, especially after the first play through.
There is also no real form of side quests to tackle at your leisure. While there are missions akin to FF12's hunts to sink your teeth into, the story takes a no exceptions rule and gives you no opportunity to relax playing a mini game or something fun we'd all love to see come back like...breeding chocobo's....*sigh*. This lack of side quests is really compacted by the lack of.....TOWNS. Yes, you read right, towns. While your journey will take you through one or two throughout, you will never have the chance to talk to loads of people for back-story, or shop in stores, or just relax in a nice location. Regardless of the story, this details was really quite disappointing considering how good the rest of the game looks.
So then, FF13 overall? While it does have a couple of areas which for some die-hard fans will be a game breaker, i would urge you to give the game a chance before dismissing it. It is still the quintessential Final Fantasy that we know and love in terms of its story telling and musical pieces, but also is looking to reinvigorate the old trusty battle system, which i think has done so successfully. With further development, i think it could be fantastic. FF13 is definitely a solid game. Whether it becomes a classic FF is up to you, but it is definitely worth trying at least once.
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