Final Fantasy XIII, A Chink in the Fantasy Chain

Oerba Yun Fang. Her dark looks and sexy Australian accent is the only thing that prevents me from failing this game.

Ever since I played Final Fantasy IV, on the SNES, back in the early 90’s, I’ve become enamored of Final Fantasy games. Since that time, I tried to play every part of the franchise. I downloaded the ROMs of earlier FF games to play on my NES/SNES emulators, and also bought some of those earlier games that were re-released on the DS. I even bought myself a PS3 just so I could play Final Fantasy XIII, the latest part of the franchise. Unfortunately, I missed parts X, XI and XI-2, and purposely skipped XII. But all of the Final Fantasy games that I was able to play were epic. Sadly, Final Fantasy XIII is an exception.

The story is perhaps one of the reasons I wanted to play a Final Fantasy game. That’s why I was disappointed after I finished playing FF XIII. The game has an interesting story, alright. But it was presented rather poorly. Most of it were told through gorgeous cinematics, but it can get too muddy that I have to dig for the text in my datalog to make any sense of it. So I often found myself finding a corner and reading the logs for info about the story, people and places in FF XIII. But while it sounds like a chore, reading your datalog is actually one of the few respites from battles.

One of the worst things about FF XIII is definitely its gameplay. There’s nothing in here. No exploration, just combat after combat. While, I admit, the fights can be fun sometimes, especially when you’re against a new enemy. But it gets old quickly. For the most part of the game, you’ll just follow a straight map and fight all the creatures that are blocking your way to get to point B. The map does, however, opens up into a sandbox world on a chapter later in the game. But there’s nothing of note to explore in here. The sandbox map will also allow you to take side quests. Unfortunately, these side quests will only lead you to more combat.

The only thing I can commend about Final Fantasy XIII is its graphics. I’ve never seen a game as beautiful and as vibrant as FF XIII. Most of the locations in the game looked pretty awesome. I especially love The Hanging Edge area in Cocoon, with its ominous green surroundings. Too bad, however, that you can’t explore every inch of these areas. Ironically, the only area that can be thoroughly explored have a lackluster design. The characters were well thought out too. They all looked beautiful (though they’re whiny and melodramatic). Fang, especially, whom I now consider as the loveliest woman in fiction and in real life.

Final Fantasy XIII was a let down. While I did enjoy it at some level, playing it felt like a task for the most part. The poor presentation of the story, the linearity of the game and the strings of combat –these were all an ordeal to go through. In fact, unlocking Fang’s PS3 theme was the only thing that kept me playing the game (I didn’t get it). If it only had more exploration (and rewards for doing it), and also used character interaction to spruce up the setting and story, or they could’ve just stuck with the formula that made all the past FF games a success, the game would’ve been much better.

Score: C (Only because of Fang. Otherwise, I’d fail it)

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2 Responses to Final Fantasy XIII, A Chink in the Fantasy Chain

  1. gillboard says:

    this was the game i was looking forward to when i bought my ps3. but this is the only game i never really got into. have you played Uncharted 2? that one’s brilliant!!

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