As an Action Adventure, It's a great game. As an RPG..well it's not an RPG.
Cut-scenes aren't as bad as some make out, I think 3 minutes is about the longest we have come across, but this is where the PS3 is definitely better.
It depends whether that's important to you, because during actual gameplay you'd be hard pressed to spot the differences between the two version. They are both very well presented indeed.
I've seen websites where they dissect a "still frame" to show the subtle changes. Man, what a waste of time, get a life. Once moving, the slight extra jaggedness on the 360 is all but lost. The screen you play it on will have a far greater impact on the picture quality than the console type.
The game is linear. Very linear. For 20 odd hours you make no real gameplay choices other than during the battles.
You can't decide where to go, you can't decide who is in your party and you have very little scope for changing the characters away from the predefined roles.
That's fine, many traditional RPG's do this for a bit, but 25 hours!!
That's 3 days of 8 hours+ a day before the game opens up. Hmmm.
The combat system is great, and the game (all the way through) is defined pretty much solely by the combat and how you (when you are finally allowed) adapt to it.
Action adventure it is, and a very fine one at that.
RPG it most definitely isn't - Square Enix? - Don't kid yourself.
Phrases like "refined" and "pure" and "trimmed" are synonyms for "removed" "nerfed" and "not included".
You can only cut so much away from the mechanics of a genre and still lay claim to being part of it.
If you think about the words "Role Playing Game", even if you had never seen one before, then the phrases "customization", "exploration" and "personalization" would be the terms that would sum up most peoples expectations.
FFXIII has none of them. Not one. Not even a sniff.
RPG is a loosely defined genre I'll admit, but not this flippin loose. And yet....
It's still worth a 9..... Easily maybe more.
In fact if it would just own up to being an Action adventure and NOT an RPG I would perhaps consider it worth 9.5. But that deceit cost them half a point from me.
The plot is "meh", Sorry, maybe when writing a review I should have noted it, but can't be bothered.
I really have no interest in plots, I have played most FF games since FFVII, including III and IV on the DS, and couldn't tell you the plot to any of them.
It's the usual impending disaster. You are "the only hope" ( "Luke you're my only hope", yes it feels like that sometimes) .
Ok, it's "Lightning" then - not Luke blah blah who cares. It's a generic FF plot.
But the gameplay, and the new combat system are fantastic. The combat alone makes the game. The subtleties you can use in combat are mind boggling. It's a cliche but no two battles need be the same after the first couple of hours.
A great game. This and Uncharted 2 are the only reasons I have a PS3 (so developers, start making decent games - preferably not hundreds and hundreds of first person shooters. PC always wins hands down with those anyway)
FF XIII, maybe not the earth mover it could have been, but a very fine game, well polished and with a main combat mechanic that is simply superb - the most rewarding and satisfying combat in terms of both reward for your thought, and the nice visceral effects and sweet sweet GFX.
Now if it could just admit it wasn't an RPG it would really rock :-)