Final Impressions: Final Fantasy XIII

Ugh.  Man.  Final Fantasy XIII had so much potential when I started playing it.  What went wrong?  I really don't know where to start.  Oh, yes I do.

Don't buy this game if you aren't a Final Fantasy diehard.  You won't like it.

Ok, that's a good start.  There is no way I would have finished this game if the Final Fantasy name wasn't attached.  I've beaten Final Fantasy 7 through 12 with a handful of others thrown in for good measure.  So, I finished 13, but won't be picking it up again ever.  I come to this conclusion after investing 44 hours of my time in the game.

Besides little annoyances, the things that I hated the most about this game were the characters, situations, and battles.  They all had potential, but it wasn't realized.

Let's start with the characters.  They are one dimensional.  Where are the character flaws?  Where are the little things that make them feel human?  Where is the character growth and development?  Not in this game, look elsewhere.  I've been reading a lot of good books lately and if FFXIII were novelized no one would want to read it.

The characters rarely do anything in cutscenes.  Most of the time they stand around complaining about life or confessing about horrible things in their past.  There are a lot of boring monologues that drag on far too long.  I was surprised how much pointless yelling the characters do too.  If I hear someone scream, "SERAH!!" again, my head might explode.  Stop whining characters.  Stop being annoying.  Grow up and get some human attributes before you attempt to entertain me.

Not only are the characters themselves boring but 90% of the game they have no idea what their goal is.  They are being chased and they are pissed about it.  Boring.  Give me something compelling.  They sit around debating what to do but end up doing nothing.  Yeah, they run around different places, but it is never their decision.  Someone else is pulling the strings from start to finish.

And the battles.  My god.  There is a really interesting combat system buried in this game, but it isn't used.  The first half of the game I used the "Relentless Assault" set-up.  The second half I used "Bully."  There was strategy in coming up with these two Paradigms (the party set-ups) but once I figured out which ones were good I could essentially mash the A button and win every battle.  The boss battles weren't any more difficult than normal fights, they were just longer.  That isn't a good thing.  As the player, I shouldn't feel bored in every single boss battle in the game.

I'm not lying when I say I would walk out of the room with the controller while mashing A, go do something else in my apartment for a few minutes, come back and have won the battle.  That isn't difficult.  It isn't gripping or engaging either.  It is a bad battle system.  I really wish there would have been more unique challenges that required me to use my mind to come up with new Paradigms and battle solutions.

I've hit all my main complaints.  Let me get to the little annoyances.  The camera is slow and unresponsive and even though I thought I would adjust to it, 44 hours in it still drove me crazy.  The game is extremely linear and feels extremely linear.  That is, except for the one spot - 30 hours in - where the game threw me into an open area and basically said, "grind on monsters for 4 hours or else you can't continue the story."  The weapon upgrading is tedious and it is hard to tell what components to use for best effect.  Throughout the entire game the menu constantly had flashing little exclamation marks denoting new items to look at.  These were super annoying.  I'm sure there were other annoyances as well, but I'm already suppressing my memories of all the time I wasted playing this game.

Feel free to compare this to my initial impressions, but in all honesty you should use the 44 hours you would have spent playing this game to go read a good book or two.


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