Final Fantasy XIII Mar 30, 2016 17:47:57 GMT -5
Post by Bytor on Mar 30, 2016 17:47:57 GMT -5
I often write that a game is a case of the haves and the have not's. Here is an example of the haves, lol....and it certainly shows zero have not's, lol!
This is certainly....wait for it...NOT a case of the haves and the have not's. Instead, this is a case of the haves and the haves some more, lol. Seriously, there is very, very few things to complain about in the graphical presentation. The fluidity and movements of all the characters are unreal good. The look and feel of the game is simply second to none. The battles scenes are seamless, the backgrounds are at to say the least simply overwhelming, actually sometimes there actually seems to be too much to look at! If I had any complaints, and I do, albeit small ones, it would be that sometimes there is simply too much on the screen to absorb in a quick fashion, and this game, most especially in battles requires extremely quick reflexes, thought processes and actions!
The fluidity of the game is what impressed me the most. The load screens and changes between cut scenes, live action and exploration are integrated incredibly. I dare you to notice glaring glitches. The only issue I had other than being visually overwhelmed was the fact that the linearity of the game forced some of the camera angles to make things slightly less smooth than they could be. At times the angles made the game look slightly less real. Having said that an hour into the game I seriously seldom noticed anymore. Yep, the game simply looks that good.
Sweeping...majestic....soft and emotional....it certainly gets as good as then but musically it doesn't get much better. A perfect blend of melodies which highlight and compliment exactly what is going on in the game perfectly. The only complaint I have seen pretty much ALL over the internet, lol, is Vanille. And to be honest I don't get it. Georgia van Cuylenburg nailed the voice perfectly! Vanille is complex, she hides her emotions and feelings and what better way than to have a voice which is bubbly and vivacious? Snow is perfect as is Lightning, and I found Sazh to be hilarious, especially as I recognized Reno Wilson rather quickly. If anyone was annoying it would have to be Hope, lol, but honestly, that is EXACTLY how he is portrayed in the beginning of the game, whiny, immature and petulant! Once again, over all a few small complaints but certainly nothing major.
Two things come to mind when I think gameplay...linearity and paradigms. Let's address the first aspect, the linearity. Yep, it's very, very linear. There are no towns, no villages, no inns, no shops, no anything, with the exception of Gran Pulse (which I'll get to in a minute). The game is a straight line. There are basically no puzzles, no way to get lost, the basic issue is to get from point A to point B. And that can sometimes, thus admitted be a struggle. the game does not require any grinding, however, having said that unless you do so it will make the game a serious challenge. OK....now that we have the fact that the game IS linear as hell let's get onto the basics! OK...there are several classes/roles...Medic, Saboteur, Synergist, Ravager, Commando and Sentinel. Each of these have different powers, strengths and weaknesses. Medic is pretty self-explanatory, medics, heal. Saboteur's use magic to debuff an enemy while Synergist buff up you and your allies. Ravager and Commando are your attackers, Ravager uses magic, Commando uses Physical attacks. All of these classes should be familiar to anyone who has any experience with Final Fantasy. Sentinel is the wild card....and it's an important one! The Sentinel role is a defensive/offensive class. In this class you guard and take less damage but then with the proper skills you can unleash vicious attacks. Later in the game this role is of vital importance. What makes this Final Fantasy game different is that every person can learn each role....however, and here's the catch, some are much, much better at skills within these roles than others. For example, Fang and Snow can learn many skills as Sentinel's and Commando's that Sazh and Hope will simply never learn. Likewise Vanille and Lightning will learn many skills in the Medic and Ravager skills that others will never learn. These skills are learned through a pretty straightforward system. Defeat enemies and you will get Crystarium points. These points may then be spent on upgrading hit points, magic points, strength points, and skills. There's no real trick to these upgrades once you decide which role you want your character to take, it's pretty straight forward with a few dead end branches which make you choose magic or strength. Choosing which role for each character to take is truly the "secret" of the entire game. I'm not gonna spoil it by saying who I chose but I will say this, if someone has low strength DO NOT bother expanding their Commando role at all, likewise, if magic is low they will NEVER be a good Ravager. So. the gameplay is linear in that aspect, but it still requires some thought and planning. Now...onward to weapons and accessories. For all intensive purposes there is no armor, instead there are accessories which anyone can equip. These provide such bonuses as 10% off physical attacks, 15% increase in magic attacks auto shield from magic/physical attacks etc. Honestly, while useful these slight bonuses aren't anything that will make or break the game. the weapons, however, can make a difference. Not so much in strength of attack or power but in the passive attributes they possess. A weapon that staggers the enemy quickly (stagger is what happens when an enemy's defenses are destroyed, attacks are instantly way, way more powerful) or a weapon that prolongs stagger or adds strength or magic bonuses can, and often will mean the difference between success and the ever so fun "retry/quit" screen. Now, here's where the fun comes in, lol. Upgrading weapons is a bit of a chore. Various materials you gather add upgrade points to your weapon, biological items increase the points slowly but cause the multiplier meter to go up quickly while mechanical items increase the points exponentially. For instance sturdy bones can quickly raise the multiplier to 3X and then superconductors add thousands of points increasing the strength quickly. Each weapon can then be transformed using a catalyst to become an even stronger weapon. It takes some practice and time but it sure does make battles easier, lol. Ok, enough of the more linear aspects of the game, now on to the paradigms. Paradigms are the heart and soul of the battle system. Everyone learns skills within the previously mentioned roles. You then go into the settings and assign each of your group a specific role. For instance, you may assign Lightning to be a Ravager, Fang to be a Sentinel and Vanille to be a Medic, once battle starts the ones you are not controlling directly will execute skills within their roles as the AI deems fit, and honestly for the vast majority of time they will make the right decisions. Each member will have an ATB bar, which dictates how many attacks/buffs/debuffs etc they can execute at a turn. Once the bar is empty they must wait a set period until they can execute another turn. You can set five different paradigms to have each person do something different. For instance, in a need for healing you may set the paradigm as a Medic/Medic/Sentinel, for an all out physical attack you're gonna want Commando/Commando/Commando for a balanced attack perhaps Ravager/Commando/Medic and to build the stagger bar Com/Rav/Rav. The secret is to figure out which paradigms to use (I will say this, best one for big battle to start is Syn/Sab/Med)and to have the knowledge to switch easily, which is easily done via L1. The battles are fast, and I mean fast paced, major boss battles seldom last more that 6-9 minutes and be prepared to pay close attention...or be prepared to die. You WILL need to think on the go and switch between paradigms quickly! I loved playing with the paradigms, it was fun to see how fast, and you are rewarded for speed, I could win a fight. It thus admitted, takes a bit to get used to, but once you learn it it is fun. Now, just for fun, and that is really all it is if you upgrade your weapons skills each of your party has an Eidolon they can summon, and while they do some damn neat and powerful attacks I only found one boss battle where using one was beneficial, and that was a timed fight I needed to win quickly. So...battle system = a bit of a learning curve, upgrades = a slightly larger learning curve. exploration = non-existent except Gran Pulse (which is a free roam area) and yet I found the gameplay to be very fulfilling and challenging without being overwhelming.
OK....let's see....well....hmmmmm...lol. OK. Let's go! People live in two distinct sections, Pulse and Cocoon. Pulse is more a wilderness, often dangerous and an area in which only the strongest can and will survive.
Cocoon is metallic, scientific, modern and sterile while still extremely esthetic.
The enemies reflect the environments perfectly as do the look and feel of the battles. So...now that that is out of the way on to story! I don't suppose I could get by with linking to the story could I. lol? OK, I'll try and sum up a seriously complex and convoluted story, which unfolds over several hours and will only be understood by careful attention AND by careful reading of the info revealed. In a nutshell beings known as fal'Cie rule the lands. They rule but do not, for the most part interfere with the humans self rule. Over time the humans of Cocoon have developed an irrational and total fear of anyone who comes into contact with Pulse, especially anyone who may have come into contact with any of the Pulse l'Cie. This individuals are branded and given a focus, complete their focus and they turn crystalline and live forever (maybe, possibly). If they fail their focus they become a (somewhat) mindless monster called a Cie'th, and this possibility is what the citizens of Cocoon fear the most. You will spend the first part of the game playing as a two character combo and not only learning how to play the game (be ready for some tutorials, lol) but also learning the story. Full disclosure here...I started this game twice. The first time i quit...due in part to NOT paying attention to the tutorials and due in part to being so lost in the story I simply lost interest. The story is complex. The story is multi-faceted. the Story does require you to pay attention. The story does make sense. the story is a good story. The story is easy to understand. It simply requires paying attention. And personally, I think it's a damn good story.
A tough call. I often say the sum is greater or lesser than the parts. In this case it's just a tad lesser. The individual aspects of the game are superb to say the least. However, overall the game just misses on being the best, pretty damn close though, lol. I understand the critics, I really do, but I disagree with them. There was not one single time I raged against this game, there was not single time I was so lost I felt frustration, and yet having said that I felt the game was a nice challenge. And I guess that's why I'm giving it a lower score than my review would have led you to believe. The game was a challenge, but, it was somewhat of an easily doable challenge. I liked the game a lot...I never really, really loved it