Not long ago, I published a “Top Ten Final Fantasy” article that listed, in my humble opinion, which of the “Final Fantasy” titles (based on the ones that I have played) were best. One of the more recent entries, “Final Fantasy XIII” landed a solid 9 on my top ten, which some might call terrible, but it’s entirely justified when you analyze this beast of a game.
Unfortunately, “Final Fantasy XIII” was released a few years before the foundation of Pixcelation Entertainment, so under normal circumstances, we normally wouldn’t be justified in reviewing it, unless we really wanted to. But with the release of the PlayStation 4 on November 15, we decided to compile some of the best and worst games of this past generation and rip them apart. Fairly, of course.
Well, either way let’s jump right into “Final Fantasy XIII.” This is gonna be a fun one.
Skip back to Christmas 2010. For Christmas, my grandparents decided to give me $400 to buy whatever I wanted as a present. This was not a normal circumstance, so I decided to take that $400 and buy a PlayStation 3. I felt a surge of emotion as I abandoned the previous generation (which at that time was the PlayStation 2) and progressed to the future. My initial lineup was “Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction,” “Tomb Raider: Underworld,” and “Final Fantasy XIII.” I was so hyped. I had seen the commercials for the newest in the “Final Fantasy” series,’ and I was anxious to check it out.
I bet this is the part where you expect me to hate it. No, on the contrary. I LOVED IT.
I know, it’s linear as crap, and I never actually beat it because the final boss is like Sephiroth if Sephiroth could transform into what Megatron would look like if he doubled as the Pope, but it was charming. The story was believable, the characters had their moments, but for the most part were developed appropriately, and the graphics left me in awe.
I think the biggest problem people have with “Final Fantasy XIII” is its linearity, and to that I must remind everyone that, through and through, video games are linear. They’re stories told by other people. They’re GOING to have some semblance of linearity to them unless they’re open-world sandbox games. But “Final Fantasy” has never been an open-world sandbox game, so it concerns me when people get upset at how “Final Fantasy XIII” was linear. What did they expect? A “Final Fantasy” with no story elements whatsoever?
I took “Final Fantasy XIII” as it was, and I played it until I just couldn’t play it any longer, even going so far as to replay my story to take another stab at getting the stats right. I loved it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see its flaws. It’s a deeply flawed game. But what game isn’t?
First up, I will mention that the linearity DID get slightly overwhelming at some points. I know, I just finished defending it for being linear, so let me explain. Yes, it was linear. Was this a bad thing? Not really. It was classic “Final Fantasy” style. HOWEVER, I was a bit put out by the one thing that made this version of linearity separate from the other games in the series. There wasn’t really a way to backtrack without literally BACKTRACKING. In past games, there’s a central hub, usually an airship or some other such device that allows you to fast travel to locations that you have gone to in the past. Not in this one. Nope, in this one, one of, if not the only, semblances of fast travel come from the VERY END when you are about to fight the final boss, and it allows you to return to the overworld that you literally spent about 30 minutes grinding at. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind this too much, if they had just gave us a warning that said “WARNING. GRIND LEVELS HERE. YOU’LL NEED THEM. KTHXBAI.”
Secondly, some of the characters are ridiculously whiny, and some of the character’s accents can get to be a little overbearing. Not to say that accents are BAD, but I kept wondering what Vanille’s accent was affiliated with that I just got aggravated when I couldn’t figure it out. Hope is one of the most annoyingly depressing characters in a “Final Fantasy” game besides Cloud Strife, but he’s charming because his depression/revenge situation is warranted due to a lack of miscommunication on behalf of Snow Villiers.
Third, and the last thing that I’m going to pick on, is the overall difficulty of the boss battles. It goes without saying that boss battles are meant to be difficult, sometimes unbelievably so. However, I feel like the whole point of boss battles are for players to feel accomplished when they beat them, but understandably so, to the point where they don’t develop a Narcissus Complex for beating said boss. They should be at least possible, and in a game like “Final Fantasy XIII,” if you make one mistake while leveling up your characters, you won’t be able to beat some of the bosses without jumping through even more hoops. My only problem is that they made it such a chore to fight bosses. I once quit playing for several months because I couldn’t beat a boss, then went back and beat it no problem. This is also why I have yet to actually beat this game. So there’s that.
Either way, I loved “Final Fantasy XIII,” though it was not without its own flaws and problems, and that’s just okay. What matters is that they did their best to correct some of these problems in its 2012 sequel, “Final Fantasy XIII-2.” But regardless, I will give “Final Fantasy XIII” a 6/10 for all of the above notes. Too bad I’m about 3 years late. OH WELL, we can review “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” when it comes out in 2014. Until then, stick to Pixcelation Entertainment for more reviews of last gen titles!