Mar 15 2014

Late ‘Late’ Final Fantasy XIII Review

So whilst I play through Lightning Returns, that was released last month, I thought I would provide a rather later than normal review of the first game in the 13th series of the Final Fantasy franchise.

I know there is a lot of love and hate for this game, and that is understandable. The game can be a little queer at times with story and background explanation, plus a few annoying characters you have to bear with, otherwise everything else about this hits the spot. The music straight from the beginning is a lovely piano piece that sets the tone for the game, and is just a taster of what is to come. The opening cutscene, as always from Square Enix and VisualWorks are some of the best visual effects I’ve ever seen, highly detailed and packed full of action. With our first look at the monsters and technological setting of the game, it is impressive to an anticipating point when being able to take control from the cutscene, in which our first objective and piece of action is to defeat a giant mecha.

The battle style of the game is very simple to begin with, essentially just clicking on “Auto Attack” to hit enemies with a default attack. There is no way whilst in battle to move characters around the battlefield as was possible in FF12, but this can be forgiven later on in the game as you concentrate instead on building strategies for weaknesses and combos, which includes changing the fighting roles of your party within split second timing to switch between defensive, magic attacking, physical attacking, status afflicting, and combo boosting roles.

The story is pretty wild, and becomes wilder still throughout (let’s not get into FF13-2 or Lightning Returns just yet). If you can make any sense of the plot, or atleast have a grasp of what’s going on, then count yourself lucky; For everyone else, there are a number of jokes and kick-ass scenes to gander at whilst the story moves along. Our main heroine of the story, Lightning, is super badass and is a big +1 for female protagonists (again, not getting into Lightning Returns but she did deserve her own solo game plus her playable cameo in FF13-2).

The game is pretty linear for the first 20 hours. Dungeons consists mostly of one route, with a few detours to find helpful treasures. Halfway through the game, it does expand onto a massive open world plains that adds many extra hours in side quests and takes something like 10 minutes to run from one edge to the other. Monster clashes take a new twist here, in which you can jump in whilst they battle amongst themselves. Eidolons make a return again, in the form of the leader of the party summoning their counterpart eidolon to unleash a minute of constant barrages against the enemies, before then casting their departing spell, each spell and it’s effect changing depending on the eidolon used.

One of the downsides to the game I felt was that the technology seen used in cutscenes by soldiers and the party is never available to use during gameplay, which was a shame due to the lack of interaction with the environment. Also, you tire quickly of the character Hope, being such a little bitch all the time and his name is such a fucking cliché. Some boss battles can be difficult and may require an hour or two of grinding to ensure a good chance of success.

I really would like to stress how beautiful the graphics are in this game, probably some of the best yet considering how early this game came during the XBOX 360 and PS3 lifecycle. The game is now available via Steam on the PC, with a few graphic enhancement options, even though there had been an uproar at the 5 year late release on PC with an untouched buggy 720p port of the game. All issues have been fixed now, but even with extra resolution options etc, the game looks pretty much exactly the same as it did on the 7th gen consoles, which is to say just absolutely amazing.

This is definitely a game to be played by any fan of the final fantasy series, sitting somewhere above middle if all the final fantasy games where to be compared based on quality, story and gameplay. Even compared to PS4 and XBOX One graphics, this game still stands out and competes well. Will take along time for this game to age, and it did accomplish to create two sequels, which I have to say don’t really relate on a story level but keeps our much loved character Lightning, fighting on.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thelategamer.com/video-game-review/late-late-final-fantasy-xiii-review/

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