By Sam Coles:
If you told me to go out and buy a Final Fantasy game four years ago I would have told where the door is and given you a swift boot up the arse to help you on your way. I was never into J-RPG’s I kept on trying them but I just couldn’t get on with them, but as I’ve gotten older and matured I’ve warmed up to them because I’ve learnt patience. A good friend of mine who I talk to everyday helped me get into them. I was in town one day and I saw Final Fantasy XIII for £3. Despite people disagreeing with me buying this game I gave them the middle finger and bought anyway and honestly I don’t understand the hate and I ended up loving it.
The game takes place on the planet Cocoon in the town of Bodhum where the residents are being evicted or purged because they have been contact with a pulse which is linked with a Fal'Cie which happens to be the main character Lightning’s sister Serah. It turns out that Lightning has been branded as a Fal’Cie as well and has now been branded as a criminal although she was a soldier in Cocoon’s military. You’ll meet a vast array of colourful and interesting characters with deep and interesting back stories of loss which helps you sympathise with them.
The gameplay is still turn based in this game although the animations during the battles do keep you engaged because they’re action packed so it feels less static compared to earlier games. You can build what you’re going to use in your cycle during battles or you can use the auto battle system which assess the situation for you. You have Paradigm Shifts which adjust your stance during battle whether it be defensive, offensive or a balanced shifts which changes up the battle and makes you take into consideration of what the situation is, so it keeps you on your toes.
After battles you’ll get a start rating out of five depending how quickly you’ve defeated enemies or how much damage you have inflicted per second in the battle. You get experience points which you can invest into the Crystarium where you can sink points into various roles which can give you new abilities, added strength and HP etc.
The presentation with graphics and music is superb and considering this game came out six years ago it still holds up. There aren’t many games that I can say have aged well in terms with visuals from 2010. The character models are extremely detailed with excellent voice acting, lip syncing and animation. The environments are beautiful with bright and vibrant colours and are just a joy to look at and this is during the time when drab and grey colours were the norm in triple A gaming so it’s nice to see a bright and colourful game from this time.
The music oh god what can I possibly say about the music that hasn’t already been said? It’s amazing, even the music at the main menu is beautiful and I will sit there and listen to it before I do anything every time. The battle music in this game has to be one of my favourite battle themes from any Final Fantasy game, where it starts off slow and subtle then speeds up as the battle intensifies. The music fits all situations and scenes and hits it out of the park.
Final Fantasy XIII is a good game, yes it’s linear but that doesn’t stop it from being a good game because linearity isn’t necessarily bad sometimes it works. I just don’t understand the hate and I want to thank a close friend of mine for getting me into it because I’m very grateful.