YAB Review: Final Fantasy XIII
- April 27th, 2010
- 2 Comments
Today’s Ypulse Youth Advisory Board review comes from our resident gamer Julia Tanenbaum on the latest update of Final Fantasy, a role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for Xbox 360. you can communicate directly with any member of the Ypulse Youth Advisory Board by emailing them at youthadvisoryboard at ypulse.com… or just leave a comment below.
YAB Review: Final Fantasy XIII
I have been a huge fan of the series for some time now. Even if the reviews weren’t perfect, I would still have purchased the game just because it is a new Final Fantasy. I love the series enough that I bought my Xbox 360 just to play this game. I adore JRPGs in general, but Final Fantasy games have always been some of my favorites. The stories, characters and engrossing worlds, as well as the well-designed battle systems of previous games in the series, were enough to draw me to the newest one in the series.
How’d you get the game?
Although I regret not being able to preorder it, I had no trouble getting it at my local GameSpot. I bought it a little later than I intended to because of financial constraints.
What’d you expect going in? How much did you know beforehand?
I generally look into games before I spend my money, but Final Fantasy’s fan community, including myself, knew more than the average teenager about the game before it was released in the U.S. I saw the Japanese previews far before the U.S release and I watched a guy play the Japanese demo online. I also knew the entire plotline of the game, because I had seen the cut scenes before it came out here. Fans are inpatient so we watch fansubbed versions on the internet. I knew about the battle system, and most of the details about the characters before the Japanese release. I knew it had been given the title of best game of all time by readers of Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. After that, it was a little anti-climatic, and the buzz died down. Most everyone was either waiting for their U.S version or had imported and played the Japanese one. I knew Americans had been harder on it than the Japanese. The game was criticized for being too linear because in an age of games like Dragon Age Origins, Fable 2, and Oblivion, most westerners are used to an open world.
Describe the set up
The Story: Story has always been a crucial element of Final Fantasy games, and the newest installment is no exception. The game takes place in a universe consisting of two worlds; Cocoon, and Pulse. Pulse is the jungle-like world below Cocoon, which is feared but not understood by the citizens of Cocoon. A war was fought between the two worlds and Cocoon prevailed. However, Cocoon’s populace still lives in fear of invasion and retaliation. Those who venture there and anyone who has come in contact with anything from Pulse are “purged” or sent back to Pulse by the military branch of a theocratic government named The Sanctum. Although this set up might seem very complicated, it is well explained in the game, and as the characters learn about their world, the player does as well.
Battle and exploration - Like in most JRPGs, the gameplay revolves around battle. Your party explores, but the game is very linear for the first 25-30 hours (depending on how fast you play). Generally stages are a winding path, and they are so stunning, it is a shame you can’t explore them. There are also no towns because shopping is done through saving points. I found this disappointing, but it made sense in the game’s context when they said that on the run, l’Cie couldn’t really stop in towns.
What it lacks as an open world, FFXIII makes up with its battle system. The game was apparently meant to be a combination of a real-time battle system as seen in Final Fantasy 12 and a turn-based one, like those in Final Fantasy 7, and 10. Also, the battles were modeled to resemble those in the Final Fantasy VII Advent Children movie. Final Fantasy 13’s system achieved both of these goals and the result is a fluid, fast, and very entertaining battle system.
How’d it look? Any advertising?
The game looks stunning. Everything from the minutiae of the environments to the character’s subtle changes in facial expressions is perfected like few other titles out there. Every blade of grass on Pulse, and the high tech machinery of Cocoon are crafted with exquisite detail. At many points I could not tell if the cut scene I was watching was in CG or not. Back when FFVII and FFX came out, critics praised the graphics as extraordinary, and revolutionary, and this is the next generation of Square’s innovation. I cannot stress enough how gorgeous this game looks. Some critics complain about differences in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, but my Xbox version looks fantastic, and this YouTube video illustrates how the differences are really unnoticeable. There is no advertising.
What’d you think?
Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is a great addition to the series, and although it has some shortcomings in the way of exploration, the graphics, characters, story and battle make up for it. Even though the story can be melodramatic, and some characters can be annoying, fans have come to expect that. Although it didn’t really have as much emotional tension as some previous games, it was well done, and lives up to the legacy of the series. The battles keep it very entertaining, and the cunning bosses and slick designs more than make up for exploration issues. The stunning graphics and character design make it fun just to look at. It might not be as great as FFX, and Famitsu readers might have overreacted, but Final Fantasy XIII is a fantastic game, and one I would recommend to all RPG fans.
Julia is a freshman in high school in Claremont California. A self proclaimed Otaku (anime obsessive person) she strives to complete her immersion into the world of Japanese pop culture. In between school and homework she watches the latest Japanese anime on the internet, reads manga, plays video games, and practices Japanese. Though she is not a fabulous writer by nature, Julia does enjoy writing fan fiction related to said interests and occasionally immersing herself in online role-play sessions. In addition, she loves mashing up anime and game clips into anime music videos which she posts on YouTube, participating in her school’s debate team in novice LD, and of course reading. Julia is incredibly excited to be on the Youth Advisory Board, and able to express her opinions, which she has plenty of.