Skip to main content

Final Fantasy XIII - Early Impressions

Played quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIII recently. Here are my first impressions of the game:

There are times when I like the game, like when cutscenes play or when in a good boss fight. The cutscenes are really beautifully rendered and are quite enjoyable to watch. The voice acting is okay, generally speaking; it's within the level of most other video games (re: don't expect Oscar-award winning acting, but it's bearable).

There are times when I really hate the game, when it gives you these long dungeons with repeating enemies that seemingly have incredible amounts of HP; some regular enemies seem to take 30 minutes or more to take down.

I hate how the game overuses the theme song that was in the E3 trailer. The music is very repetitive and Square didn't bother to make music suited for each character or situation. Some boss fights use the exact same music as battles with regular enemies, which reduces the overall impact of some scenes.

There are also moments when the music absolutely doesn't fit the moment being shown on screen. One area had music that sounded like it belonged in Starbucks (yes, the coffee place; and no, coffee was not being served during that level of the game). Another area had really sad, tragic music, which completely didn't fit because your characters were fighting all these monsters, and it's not as if anyone had died yet.

The music does improve slightly when you get past the first 10 hours or so....but it doesn't give a good first impression that it took that long for the game to get 'better'.

I like how they developed the Active Time Battle system (ATB) and somehow made it even faster and more strategic. The game doesn't do a good job of demonstrating this until much later in the game; so the effect of this is that battles earlier on will really feel tedious. If you keep on playing, eventually there will be moments when the ATB system will really show its merits.

I do dislike it that you can't control the other characters in your party during combat. You're stuck with controlling whomever is designated as the 'LEADER'. Later on you can switch things around and choose your own 'LEADER' but there are times during combat that I wish I could micromanage what each character in the party is doing during a fight.

I like the designs and the artwork throughout the game; obviously a lot of thought and work went into it. Compared to other JRPGs (even Sakaguchi's Lost Odyssey), the art in FF13 is really unique and well crafted. FF13 really does feel like a proper 'Final Fantasy' game, not like the previous game, FF12, which took so many liberties with the franchise.

Overall, there's a big chunk of the game that could have been better, perhaps if Square-Enix had done more play-testing. The amount of HP in ordinary enemies is really a bit much (yes, I know you can stagger them to do a lot more damage, but still....it really feels like extensive grind just to get anywhere). I get the impression that the developers used this 'tactic' to artificially stretch the number of hours of gameplay in the game, to make the game feel like a 'LONG' game. I can't recall any other JRPG in this generation that took this much GRIND to play through.

FF13 really isn't perfect. I'm pretty much what you'd call a hardcore player; I can't imagine a less dedicated player having the endurance to go through some of the regular battles that repeat over and over in this game.

So, it's a game that is hard to recommend to someone who is not familiar with Final Fantasy already.....for hardcore players who 'know the drill', the game is very good. Just be prepared for a whole lot of grind, and remind yourself that the cutscenes at the end of each ordeal are worth watching.

Popular posts from this blog

Gamers based in the Philippines: How to get in Xbox Live

NOTE: This article has recently been updated (as of August 12, 2006). Singapore no longer lets you input '00000' as your zip code. Please see below for alternate zip codes.

So you're a Filipino living in the Philippines with a brand-spanking new Xbox 360. You've heard about all the wonderful stories on Xbox Live. You happen to have a pretty good broadband connection. One day, you try out the Xbox Live sign-up options on your 360, and you find out to your dismay that your country is NOT listed. What do you do?

Now, you can probably enjoy your 360 without live at all, but I have to tell you: YOU ARE MISSING OUT. As Peter Moore said in the recent MS Press Conference: "Having your 360 connected to Xbox Live is as vital as having your computer connected to the Internet".

He is so damned right.

I've been playing on Xbox Live for almost a year now (both on my original Xbox and the Xbox 360). Essentially I found out all of this with a little bit of research, a little…

Xbox One - System / Games general review

We picked up a [kinect-less] Xbox One a few weeks ago and have been putting it through its paces. Overall, right now I feel pretty good about this console. But I have to admit, the first experience of buying it is not very good. I'll go with the BAD news first. But do note that it isn't all bad news....

- The first time you bring it home, the console can't work without Internet. That's because it needs an absolutely-unoverrideable mandatory update. Basically, if you get this for your birthday and it's 7PM, expect to actually play games on it around a day or so later, depending on your internet speed.

- The first patch I got for it was around 800MB. This number might have changed by the time of this writing.

- All the launch games now have accumulated patches/updates over 16+ GB in size. Not just Dead Rising 3, which has been reported widely in the media. Even Forza 5.

- My internet at home is PLDT 3Mbps; managed to get all the updates pretty quickly....that's a…

E3 2015 Conferences from the Big Three - My thoughts

Microsoft:

- They get a lot of points from me for actually announcing games that will be out in 2015.
- The Backwards Compatibility update is a huge surprise that I absolutely did not expect. Having BC is difficult and expensive to do, but somehow MS managed to do it, which leads me to believe the solution they found is an inexpensive one if they've decided it's practical to do QA work for the Xbox 360s gigantic library of games and make them all work on the Xbox One. If it was too complicated or expensive they probably wouldn't have bothered. But since they did, I think we're going to see full BC some time soon for all games. It's only a matter of time.
- Halo 5 looked fantastic, but 343 has a lot of work to do to restore faith, after the horrific launch of the Halo Master Chief Collection. I think they can do it, and I'd imagine they're certainly motivated now. If they screw this one up....MS might reconsider forming a new team to handle the Halo franchis…