Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Final Fantasy XIII: First Impressions

What if I gave you the choice between being turned to crystal and living forever or being turned into a monster and living in eternal regret?  What if part of the choice to be turned into crystal involved possibly working to destroy your home?  This is the situation that was just presented to the characters in my play through of Final Fantasy XIII.  I have to say, the dilemma the characters are in has me hooked.  I plan on giving a brief review of some aspects of the game.

I guess you could call it "living" forever


The game starts out on the world of Cocoon.  It's close neighbor is the world of Pulse.  Many years ago, the denizens of Pulse attacked  Cocoon .  Presently, the people of  Cocoon consider Pulse to be a 'hell on earth' and a very bad place to be.  As part of their rebuilding process, Cocoon borrowed some buildings from Pulse.

Cocoon was originally created by the Fal'cie, a race of very powerful magical beings.  The Fal'cie that are on  Cocoon  work for the Sanctum, the government of  Cocoon.  The Sanctum Fal'cie are entirely benevolent.  Pulse Fal'cie are entirely different.  A human that gets too close to one can be dominated by a Pulse Fal'cie and turned into an unwilling slave.  These unlucky people are called l'Cie.  The l'Cie receive a brand on their body as well as the ability to use magic.  Each l'Cie is given a task to perform called their Focus.  If they succeed, they are turned to crystal to receive eternal life.  If they fail, they are turned into horrible monsters are live in torment for the rest of their days.

The fruits of failure

I find the setting of the game to be very interesting.  First off, none of the characters really know what is going on.  All they are able to operate on is what they can see and interpret of the world around them.  Also, they are forced to operate on vague myths and legends about the forces they come in contact with.  I find that aspect to be very interesting as it leaves a lot of questions as to the how, what, and why of the world.  There is a lot of mystery around Pulse and Cocoon.


The game plays like many Final Fantasy games at the start.  Combat is relatively simple and the enemies are easily defeated.  The game starts to get interesting when they call attention to the 'chain' meter.  As enemies take damage, their chain gauge begins to rise, allowing them to take more and more damage.  After a certain point, enemies become 'staggered' and the amount of damage they take doubles.  The amount of damage they take continues for a period of time as the characters continue to damage the enemy.

At the point of the game I am up, the characters have unlocked jobs and paradigms.  Each job allows a user to perform a different function in battle.  For instance, a Commando does physical attacks and prevents the chain gauge from decreasing as fast,  A Medic will heal their allies, etc.  As an added element of complexity, the set jobs of a character can be swapped in the middle of battle by select a different 'Paradigm'.  I've yet to play around too much with the system.

The leveling system is pretty interesting.  After combat, each character receives 'Crystal Points' which are then spent to access different crystals.  Each crystal gives a different upgrade.  Each character has one set of crystals for each job they can perform.

So far, the game play doesn't appear to be overly complicated, but I am sure there will be more things added as the game progresses.


The story of the game reminds me of a classic D&D campaign where the DM lures all the characters to one place.  In this case, the game weaves together the story of three different groups of people into one place.  Group A is trying to get to a place to save one of the character's sister.  The one character in Group B is also trying to rescue the sister because it's his fiancee.  The leader of Group C wants to confront the leader of Group B.  The interweaving of the character's action has started to become more and more complicated.  The first few hours of story seemed a bit uninteresting until the characters started to converge on the one location.  Recently, the story took a very interesting turn.  Each of the characters was present with the choice I presented at the start of this post.

One feature of the game I enjoy is the Datalog.  The Datalog is populated with information on events that take place in the story, allowing the player to go back and review things that have happened in the game.  It goes beyond that storing information about tactical stats of monsters, information about characters, beings, and the world.  It also includes tutorial information (in case the player wants to review them again).


The graphics of this game are beautiful.  Perhaps I haven't played too many Playstation 3 games, but I have to say this is one of the most beautiful games I have seen so far, even more so than Skyrim.  Cocoon is presented as  futuristic city with skyscrapers, glowing lights, high speed trains, and crazy looking aircraft.  Where I am out, the characters are in a lake that was turned to crystal.  It's very beautiful.

Part of Cocoon

The music of the game is equally beautiful.  I feel like they've done a very good job of influencing the mood of the game.  And the combat music isn't annoying!

The main battle theme

So far, I am pretty impressed with Final Fantasy XIII.  I sure do hope the game pulls out many more surprises to keep things interesting.  I recommend picking up this game to try it out!

1 comment:

  1. I'll save you the time of playing this game by telling you that first impressions are misleading. The story in this game is confusing, and makes absolutely no sense...especially towards the end of the game. The battle system, which is an atrocity by any games standard, only becomes more annoying with time. The graphics too, although good at first, become bland and mediocre as you progress through the game, which doesn't help the game any as by this point in the game you are wondering why you ever spent the $40 to purchase this game. Of course, at this point you simply force yourself to finish the game, as you have already invested 20-40 hrs of your life into the game. So my advice is if you are tempted to buy this game, for the simple reason of you being a squaresoft/rpg fan, dont! This game is a complete waste of time, which could be better spent on playing some old school classical RPG's which don't suck. Rpgs such as Lufia 1/2, Chrono Trigger, FF4, FF6, Star Ocean 1/2, or EarthBound, which will put any modern day RPG to shame.