Calye’s Corner: Final Fantasy XIII Review

Hey, everyone! I just *FINALLY* finished Final Fantasy XIII after a ridiculous amount of time. Be easy on me, because I do not spend much time playing. So, it takes me a long time to complete games. On that note, I actually liked this game more than I thought I would. However, I have heard a lot of mixed reviews.

Title:  Final Fantasy XIII
Developer: 
Square Enix 1st Production Department
Release Date: 
March 9, 2010 (Xbox 360)
Publisher:  Square Enix
Genre: 
RPG
Platform: 
Xbox 360/PS 3/Microsoft Windows/Android/iOS
Length: 
3 discs
Series:  Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis 

Sum It Up (from Square Enix)

Players will follow Lightning, Snow, and the other heroes who are dealt a hand of fate by the god-like fal’Cie. Cursed and regarded as enemies of society, they have the world against them and nobody to rely on but each other. Will they find the strength within themselves to break free of their curse and determine their own fates, or will they succumb to this higher power? With a story that is sure to connect with players’ hearts, diverse new characters from world-renowned creator and character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and exciting new gameplay features centered around an evolved Active Time Battle system, FINAL FANTASY® XIII will be the pinnacle in gaming experiences.

Let’s Review, Shall We?

Final Fantasy XIII has been praised significantly for its graphics and storyline. The game play and cut-scenes are stunning, and I found that I enjoyed watching the story line unfold through them. The landscapes were amazing, especially in Gran Pulse. The imagination of the creators truly was projected into the game. However, the cut-scenes were so frequent that I felt like I watched almost as much of the game as I played.

The storyline follows our heroine, Lightning Farron as she searches for a way to save her sister, Serah, after she is taken by a fal’Cie (an entity that provides for and sustains the humans of Cocoon and Pulse. Consequentially, the Pulse and Cocoon fal’Cie are enemies and not above warring against one another) and turned into a l’Cie (a servant bound to a certain fal’Cie to do their will and complete their focus, entitling them to an eternal life as a crystal figure. Failing to complete the focus leads the l’Cie to condemnation of living a half-life as a cieth, an undead ghoulish being). In her endeavors, Lightning and her group of companions are turned to l’Cie and cursed with a focus to destroy Cocoon, their home. The story is about their struggle against their fates and desires, trying to outrun the clock on turning to l’Cie or completing their horrible focus.

The game was criticized for diverting from the traditional Final Fantasy series which is a massive line of RPG games with gripping story lines, multiple discs, and state-of-the-art graphics (for their time periods. With FFXIII I started it several years after its release). The series often has enticing free-roam components in which the player can explore vast areas and take on random missions and gain experience points in the way they choose. FFXIII deviates from this norm, restricting the player to a narrow, one-way map in which there is no choice to follow it, often unable to return to the area from which you have come.

The only exception to this in FFXIII is near the end in which the players arrive on Gran Pulse. (This is not a spoiler. It’s common sense :p I mean, come on. It is featured in the opening of the game. As soon as I started it, I knew I would eventually go to Gran Pulse either way.) Moving on.

Side mission galore! There are multiple (64. 64!) missions to complete in this vast area, leading to the most freedom the player has experienced in the game thus far. However, the player cannot access them all at once. Some certain missions have to be completed in order to unlock others. It is not entirely chronological, but I tried to stick to the chronology to the best of my ability. Some of these were ridiculously difficult. Yikes. I spent more time in Gran Pulse than I did on the entirety of the game. If not, it was pretty dang close. I blew past the final boss in order to unlock the highest abilities for my characters before finishing up the Gran Pulse missions which would have been pretty near impossible to complete without them. I enjoyed these missions at first, then I began to get bogged down by the vast number of them. I found myself growing frustrated. Every time I submerged into the game, I emerged more frustrated than I began. I almost quit several times. But, no! I prevailed.

I have to say that when I completed the final mission, a spontaneous dance party ensued. Linus (the German shepherd) watched with confusion and concern at my behavior. But I was so excited to finally beat the most challenging aspects of the game, I felt a true sense of accomplishment at besting the monsters. Game over for them. Boom. Xbox 360 controller drop!

Overall:  4 out of 5 stars

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The first Final Fantasy game I played was VII, and nothing has come close to it in my opinion. I do not know if it is simply from nostalgia or what, but I will keep on keeping on until I find another videogame that comes close. (Between grad school, writing, and reading that is. And cooking. I do love cooking [as you will learn in later Calye’s Corner posts]). I have started Final Fantasy XIII-2, and look forward to keeping you updated on my progress!

You can purchase Final Fantasy XIII through Square Enix, Amazon, or many other major vendors.

Other Reviews:

  • IGN always delivers honest and extremely thorough reviews and tips for gamers. You can check out their review here.

 

 

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