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It's Time to Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn't Actually That Bad

A series that was once the defining name in RPGs is now often the target of scorn. Why?

Article by Pete Davison, .

Final Fantasy XIII wasn't a bad game. Neither was Final Fantasy XIII-2. And neither is the conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns.

Don't just take my word for it, though; plenty of critics agree. In the copy of the sadly defunct GamePro magazine I have in front of me, my former colleague AJ Glasser gave FFXIII four stars out of five. Our own Jeremy Parish gave the game an A- over at 1up.com. Our sister site Eurogamer gave it 8/10. And, despite a couple of outliers, the overall consensus at the time of release was that XIII was a good game -- not a perfect one, by any means -- but a good one. The same was true for XIII-2, which scored slightly lower on average, and while I'll admit Lightning Returns reviews have been somewhat more mixed -- not everyone liked it as much as me and Jeremy -- there's still been a lot of comments about how interesting it is, despite its flaws.

Which is why it's so baffling that I find a lot of the online discourse surrounding this particular part of Final Fantasy's history so overwhelmingly negative. To hear some people talk, you'd think Final Fantasy XIII and its two sequels constituted a travesty of Custer's Revenge or Superman 64 proportions; in just the last day, I've seen critics whose opinions I normally respect and concur with refer to Lightning's saga as a "scourge" and something that "doesn't deserve to live," for example, which seems both hyperbolic and unreasonable. Okay, maybe the games didn't resonate with these people personally, but that still doesn't make them indisputably bad -- more something that's not to their taste. And that's fine, of course -- I'm not going to try and force anyone to like something they don't enjoy, and heaven knows as a fan of moe otaku RPGs I come up against this a whole lot -- but a personal dislike is not the same as the games in question being fundamentally broken or unplayable, as is often implied by statements like this.

In fact, there's a lot worth praising about Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, the main point being the same thing that the series as a whole can consistently be praised for throughout its long history: innovation and willingness to experiment -- and, importantly, the acceptance that experimentation sometimes brings failure as well as success. It's the latter part in particular that is worthy of note, especially in today's era of big-budget devleopers being somewhat risk-averse. Final Fantasy is many things, but "risk-averse" is not an accusation I'd ever level at the series, particularly in recent years.

It's easy to think of Final Fantasy as a series stuck in the mud simply due to its constant presence throughout almost the entirety of video game history, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. With every single installment, Final Fantasy has completely reinvented itself, toying with experimental gameplay systems and new mechanics, some of which worked, some of which didn't. Whether they worked or not isn't necessarily important, though; what is important, however, is that throughout the mainline, numbered Final Fantasy games and the few direct sequels along the way, each new game has consistently brought something new and interesting to the table.

Let's review, just to make sure, even though all this is probably common knowledge by now: Final Fantasy I introduced us to an early incarnation of what we now tend to refer to as the JRPG, blending Western influences (primarily from Dungeons & Dragons) with Japanese console game design. Final Fantasy II gave us a stronger story, predefined characters with personalities and one of the first examples of an Elder Scrolls-style "use it to improve it" advancement system. Final Fantasy III gave us the first version of the Job system. Final Fantasy IV gave us larger parties and introduced us to the Active Time Battle system. Final Fantasy V improved, expanded and refined the Job system. Final Fantasy VI experimented with learning abilities from equipped items -- in this case, Espers.

Still with me? Let's continue. Final Fantasy VII moved to 3D, incorporated higher production values and made abilities portable between characters through its Materia system. Final Fantasy VIII de-emphasized character growth and instead experimented with attaching magic to your stats, not to mention bringing us the addictive wonder that was Triple Triad and also establishing what we now know as Final Fantasy's modern, instantly recognizable aesthetic. Final Fantasy IX gave us a new twist on Triple Triad-style card games in Tetra Master, and also featured a new take on Final Fantasy VI's advancement by tying abilities to equipment, not Espers. Final Fantasy X ditched the world map and moved to a full 3D world, and also temporarily tossed Active Time Battle aside. Final Fantasy X-2 brought Active Time Battle back with the intriguing twist that time bars could be variable length according to the abilities you were using, and also made use of an interesting evolution of the Job system as well as the series' first truly non-linear structure.

These all sound pretty distinct from one another so far, don't they? And it continues: Final Fantasy XI was the first Final Fantasy MMO, still going strong today. Final Fantasy XII took some of the lessons learned from Final Fantasy XI and applied them to an open-world single-player game with quasi real-time combat. Final Fantasy XIII was a fundamental rethink of party-based combat, requiring you to adjust your overall big-picture strategy on the fly rather than micromanaging every ability. Final Fantasy XIV was a bold experiment in abandoning the traditional MMO structure. Final Fantasy XIII-2 shook up XIII's combat with trainable monsters, and improved its field gameplay with more exploration, a non-linear time travel-themed structure and some puzzles -- something the series had traditionally been light on. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn nuked everything to do with Final Fantasy XIV's original incarnation in favor of creating one of the most solid MMO experiences I've played in a long time, yet one that felt convincingly "Final Fantasy." And finally Lightning Returns… well, as Jeremy and I said in the review, it pretty much flings everything at the wall just to see what sticks.

What's not to like there? The fact the last few games all have Lightning in them? Well, she's barely in XIII-2, and in Lightning Returns she might as well be a completely different person to who she was in XIII. And, taking aside Motomu Toriyama's apparent obsession with his creation for a moment, she's not even a particularly badly realized character in her own right. From a design perspective, she's a realistically proportioned female character without a hint of moe about her (not that there's anything wrong with moe, but it does put a lot of people off from modern, more niche-interest JRPGs); from a narrative perspective, she's of critical importance to the unfolding narrative rather than being a token woman purely there as a love interest or fuel for male gaze; and while her somewhat stoic, seemingly cold personality and dry wit may not be to everyone's taste -- something that's taken even further in Lightning Returns, where having her personality removed is actually a plot point -- at least she is well-defined and consistent as a person.

So where's the "bad?" I'm still not seeing it, to be honest. Is it the fact that there have been so many games with Lightning in? Well, three games since Final Fantasy XIII's 2009 Japanese release -- one of which Lightning was barely in, and all of which, as we've said, are remarkably distinct from one another -- isn't really all that much when compared to how often Ubisoft churns out Assassin's Creed games, or Activision pumps out Call of Duty titles, or any number of other annualized franchises.

Is it the quality of the XIII series' stories, then? Perhaps, but they're really no more ridiculous than earlier Final Fantasies. We're talking about a series that has previously included people forgetting they grew up with one another, time getting compressed… sorry, "kompressed," a guy trying to blow up the world and actually succeeding, daddy issues being resolved in the most overblown manner possible, and a final boss you heard nothing about for the rest of the game who shows up in the last ten minutes, quotes Star Wars at you and then tries to kill you. Taken alongside all that… yeah, XIII, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns fit right in, to be honest. Even XIII's much-maligned linearity isn't anything unusual for the series -- XIII just made it a whole lot more obvious than the earlier games, which disguised early-game linearity with world maps and vehicles and all manner of other trickery to give the illusion of freedom while still limiting where you could go very rigidly.

So I think it's time to admit that maybe Final Fantasy XIII wasn't all that bad, really. If you didn't dig it personally, that's fair enough, but that doesn't mean you should write off either the Final Fantasy series as a whole, or even the XIII sub-series, for that matter -- even those who disliked XIII's direction may get something out of the very, very different Lightning Returns, for example.

Either way, Lightning Returns is the last you'll be seeing of Lightning, and thanks to A Realm Reborn and the upcoming Final Fantasy XV, the series is continually moving on to new and exciting places, while Bravely Default honors its past glories with a modern twist. Game culture is richer for Final Fantasy's constant reinvention and experimentation -- it may not always be successful in what it's trying to do, but by golly, it's always interesting to see whatever it does next.

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Comments 123

  • Avatar for cscaskie #1 cscaskie 3 years ago
    Thanks for writing this Pete. I've been mulling over many of these ideas myself for years now, and it's great to see them organized into a cohesive editorial. Those of us willing to defend XIII are rare indeed - but for some reason our arguments always seem to be alot more thought out and logically explained than the detractors - imagine that! I know we've discussed it before, but those who ignore the experimental nature of the FF franchise have absolutely no sense of the series' history, and they don't deserve to call themselves fans.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #2 Stealth20k 3 years ago
    I love FInal Fantasy 13. Always have. Defended it on twitter.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #3 retr0gamer 3 years ago
    One problem for me was the linearity, it really wasn't conductive to long play sessions. I would get pretty sick of the game after about 2 hours and have to take a break from it for the rest of the day until I got to pulse. I did enjoy the game but the story is nonsense. Fantastic battle system though.

    I wonder how FFX will hold up when it's rereleased considering it suffers from the same linearity problem as FFXIII as well as a pace crippling random encounter rate. I wonder if critics will not take kindly to it in retrospect like they did with Kingdom Hearts HD.
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  • Avatar for hester2 #4 hester2 3 years ago
    I'm pretty much in full agreement with this article. While I wasn't able to bring myself to finish XIII, I am more than willing to admit that it is a "good" game that simply didn't appeal to me. I really enjoyed the Paradigm system, which I thought actually had me thinking more tactically than if I were handling the minutia of choosing each individual action. Let's face it. When you're choosing each character's actions, you're going to be spamming the same choices until you need to buff, debuff, or heal.

    The main problem I had was just with the voice acting. Vanille, Hope (mostly in the early part before he toughened up), and Snow (it's been 2-3 years and I'm still sick of the word "hero") just grated on me too much to spend another 20 hours to cross the finish line.

    I bought XIII-2 during the recent PSN sale, though, and I am absolutely loving it so far.
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  • Avatar for jeffk #5 jeffk 3 years ago
    Yes to all of this, Pete. I personally really enjoyed the game and never understood the backlash. (Full disclosure, though: FFX was my introduction to the series, as I'd taken a break from gaming sometime shortly after, like, Grim Fandango.)
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  • Avatar for Macstorm #6 Macstorm 3 years ago
    FFXIII had some issues, but many of them could have been easily fixed simply be taking restrictions off the player before they did. FFXIII-2 fixed some of that, but still had its own issues.

    For me it's not Lightning specifically. It's the FFXIII world and the fact that until just recently that's all we've been getting on the big budget side of SE. For many people, FFXIII was their least favorite. If it wasn't yours, imagine SE taking your least favorite Final Fantasy game and making two more over 3-4 years with little else between.

    For me personally, FFXIII wasn't bad, but wasn't good either. The things I would have like to have seen improved across these two sequel haven't been, so it's just been more of a meh-fest to me.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #7 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    I disagree.

    Yes, a favorite Final Fantasy (or even ones that you tolerate) are a matter of personal preference, but even among many, many lousy RPGs that I've played in my life, XIII stands as not only a low point for the series, but RPGs in general.

    First, from a development side, the problem is largely with Square Enix. During XIII's development, it's widely understood that development spun out of control (Jeremy even brought up Ryan Winterhalter's anecdote about the three week rock) to the point where they made so many assets for the game, they had more than they knew what to do with. From there, after too many years and too much money spent, the game was duct taped together with a plot calked into it. You can't tell me with a straight face that a game this stiflingly linear counts as innovative or experimental.

    The linearity is also a major problem, and people rightly call it out for specific reasons. First, the plot is nonsensically bad, even for Square Enix standards. This wouldn't normally be a problem (if people cared so much about them, then there would be more adults in these games that actually acted like adults like in Final Fantasy XII), but since the game forces you on to a specific track so confined("constructed around a story whose main purpose to string cool-looking full-motion videos together" as Jeremy put it yesterday), its flaws are much clearer and present. While Final Fantasy X did largely the same thing, it solved this problem by being A- much more coherent, and B- had the linearity tied to its plot, which we can talk about further someplace else. In XIII, we were given barely defined anime archetypes that spat platitudes from beginning to end. You may as well have streamed something from Netflix.

    The other problem with the linearity that most people don't discuss is that it stunted character growth. The crystarium leveling system would cap your characters until plot points were cleared. I'm sure this was a way to sort of balance the game (which was absurd given the auto healing between battles and the opportunity to escape from everything), but the if the only option you had until the last 25% of the game was to run through a corridor and fight things, limiting how efficient you could do that seemed almost arbitrary given the circumstance.

    Now, taken both the problems with plot and character growth, it's fair to give the game credit in it's battle system, which absolutely sings with a full party. The problem, as most will attest, is that you don't get a full party of three until that last 25%. Again, dragged through an absurd plot with insipid characters while being taught a complex battle system that was hamstrung until much of the game is cleared isn't a "25 hour tutorial" as people put it, it's bad design. As proof, it' something quickly addressed in XIII-2.

    This was a game made in a Square think tank that assumed to tell the player how RPGs would be fun and playable going forward. Time and subsequent releases have informed them almost empirically that they were wrong. If anything, it stands as a cautionary tale for AAA Developer Hubris; there was no reason to fumble through development of a massive budget game, and on top of that, assume that the consumer populace would also enjoy the cart they put in front of the horse they called Fabula Nova Crystallis --which doesn't even exist anymore. Sorry, while there might be things to like about it, but Final Fantasy XIII is a bad game.Edited February 2014 by kidgorilla
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  • Avatar for arthurferreira #8 arthurferreira 3 years ago
    Great article!
    I am a big fan of FFXIII and loved what you have said.
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  • Avatar for arthurferreira #9 arthurferreira 3 years ago
    Deleted February 2014 by arthurferreira
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #10 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla Thanks for expressing this way more eloquently than I ever could.

    Being a Final Fantasy and RPG fan for a long time, I bought it when I got my PS3, alongside Bioshock. I think Pitchfork's words over Socksmakepeoplesexy.net sum it up way better than I could:

    "It's hard to resist comparing Final Fantasy XIII's locations to those of BioShock and Half-Life 2, a pair of games that, like XIII, are the result of tremendous graphics budgets and very concerned with conveying a stories. Remember how the RPG used to be considered the thinking man's video game and the FPS was merely crass gore porn for the hoi polloi? Man, how times have changed.

    BioShock's area graphics, like Final Fantasy XIII's, are intricate, stylish, and obviously took a great deal of time and resources to produce. But the difference is that Final Fantasy XIII has "backgrounds" while BioShock has "environments." Final Fantasy XIII's incredibly glossy, incredibly expensive backdrops only sit at the boundaries of The Tube and look nice. Nothing more. BioShock's environments are full of objects with which the player can interact, secrets he can uncover, items he can use, and so on. Even the non-interactive objects in BioShock's environments often serve a more important purpose than aesthetics: they help convey a story. Think of how much is revealed about the plot, setting, and one of the game's central characters just from stepping inside the lighthouse at the beginning of the game and examining what's around you. Or think about how much those small details -- the scattered picket signs on the floor, the stacks of Bibles in the smugglers' hideout, the WHO IS ATLAS? posters -- enrich the story and contributed to your understanding of Rapture and its history. And think of how much of Half-Life 2's story is revealed by actively exploring and paying attention to your surroundings rather than passively listening to Alyx and Dr. Kleiner flap their lips! Christ -- if Half-Life 2 had been designed by Kitase and Toriyama, it would take ten minutes of dialogue to establish that the Combine have been draining the Earth's oceans, and then an another eight minutes to tell you how terrible this is and how terrible you should feel about it. Kitase and Toriyama must be remarkably indifferent developers -- or they otherwise just have very little faith in your perspicacity as a player."
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  • Avatar for violethyena98 #11 violethyena98 3 years ago
    It has always been my opinion that a majority of the hate aimed at FFXIII and Lightning specifically is because she's a strong, non-sexualized, sometimes masculine, woman. She has no love intrest, and no male comes in saves her. Hell the only scene where I remember her being saved from a horrible situation in FFXIII was when Fang showed up and saved her.
    I kind of hope that SE makes a game where a bunch of the female characters get together to save the world. With a cast including people like Fang, Kaine (Nier), Lara Croft, and Aya Brea. Even if it was completely bonkers in design, I would play the shit out of it.
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  • Avatar for matthewyoung47 #12 matthewyoung47 3 years ago
    I picked up FFXIII when it first came out, and tried really hard to like it but after 10 hours gave up in frustration.

    The main part of it was the story was just out right incoherent. Leaving you out of the loop or not explaining anything in any detail. I understand there has to be some suspense of disbelief but this game over and over again, breaks the rules and context it set the world in.

    And personally I found none of the main characters in anyway likable. Personally I think it was because many of them seem to have zero character arc. Give me Rydia or a Steiner any day.

    Final Fantasy XII seemed like a good game wanting to get out, the world building was good but the game seemed to have gone thru development hell and lost alot along the way. Management wanting Vann/Pennlo to be added as the main characters and forcing the dev team to massively change the game in the process. It was a sign that the train called square had gone off the rails imo. And we got the wreckage called XIII.

    Personally the best Final Fantasy games were 3,4,5,6,7,9,12 with 7,12 being the least.

    Final Fantasy is at it's best when it is world building and filling that world with interesting characters. XIII did neither imo. It had a world but it was close to impossible to get into it, because of the presentation or lack thereof. Then you way to many annoying or nonsensical characters, with almost all seeming to have no character arc like said above.

    http://spoonyexperiment.com/game-reviews/final-fantasy-xiii-part-1/
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  • Avatar for Chocorodeo #13 Chocorodeo 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla You're saying development "problems" were "widely understood", yet you're the first person I've seen saying that there were problems with the development.

    You haven't said anything about the plot other than it's "nonsensically bad" and you don't make the slightest bit of effort to explain why it is bad. You say that FFX's linearity was tied to its plot – the same goes for FFXIII, and if you're not aware of that, I think it's safe to say that you haven't actually played the game enough to know anything about the story.

    You're complaining that character progression is limited, but all of the games in the series have limited character progression to some degree. You don't get Firaga right off the start in the overwhelming majority of FF games.

    And you complain about the game having parts where you don't have a full party, as if that's only a criticism when FFXIII does it and not when, oh, almost every other FF game at some point also has you without a full party.

    You're not making any actual criticisms. You're just throwing around a bunch of immature buzz-words and expecting everyone to think you're right about what you say just because you say it, and citing common RPG gameplay elements that are apparently only a problem when the FFXIII games do them.Edited February 2014 by Chocorodeo
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  • Avatar for Chocorodeo #14 Chocorodeo 3 years ago
    @matthewyoung47 Spoony's review of the game is hilariously bad. His entire modus operandi of "criticizing" the plot is to simply take events completely out of context in order to make everything look stupid. Including the events that explain other things he whines about.
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  • Avatar for pjedavison #15 pjedavison 3 years ago
    @violethyena98 Oh my goodness. That would be an amazing game.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #16 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @violethyena98 I'm sorry, I think that this is a fair opinion, I can't agree with it, either. Lightning was made to be Lady Cloud, and SE hasn't been shy about saying it. I do like your examples and appreciate why you like them, but she was basically built to be bland, and she's just become more so over time.

    But I'd play the shit out of that game, too
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  • Avatar for Chocorodeo #17 Chocorodeo 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla "basically built to be bland". Again, this is just another buzz-word insult. Anyone who's played the games and actually paid attention to the characterization would see the differences between Cloud and Lightning. Strangely, people think that screaming "Lady Cloud!" is an actual detraction when Cloud is one of the most popular male characters of the series. (Three guesses as to who has been chosen through polls as one of the most popular *female* characters.)
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #18 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @Chocorodeo Calm down.

    First, Gamasutra's Christian Nutt coins the name "Lady Cloud" in the last episode of 1UP's Active Time Babble. He also tells you vaguely where the name came from (you can find it here: http://www.1up.com/do/minisite?cId=3176689).

    This brings up what I was saying about development issues (more of which you can read about here http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/30640/Exclusive_Behind_The_Scenes_Of_Square_Enixs_Final_Fantasy_XIII.php) and developer hubris. Square assumed --probably rightly based on how much outcry there is a Final Fantasy VII remake-- that you want to play another game with Cloud. XIII is what you got.

    The plot problems are massive. Characters have paper thin motivations to get them from one destination to the next. Why does Hope tag along with Lightning? Without looking it up, can you honestly tell me other than "his mother died?" The difference between this and Final Fantasy X is that that there was always and endpoint in the plot. The party had to get to Zanarkand, and everything they were doing was to reach it. When we found out, say, Lulu's relationship with Waka's brother, it was a brief anecdotal moment along the way to the greater goal. In XIII, the player is dragged through a series of a subplots for multiple characters until stumbling in to their "destiny," which is a phrase used in so much dialog that it's hard to remember that nobody really knew that their "destiny" in the game was in overthrowing their theocratic government.

    While it's true that there are some ultimate limitations to your character growth in most of the games, none of them stop you from leveling so quickly as each section of crystarium. You could freely grind for hours in every Final Fantasy game and overpower your party even without late game spells and weapons. While doing so is a drag, at least it was a change of pace from game to game (and situation to situation). XIII takes that away from you.

    I'm now sorry that I got into this discussion, but my criticisms were (and are) pretty clear.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #19 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    This is why I come to this site! There is some common sense here and I enjoy the articles very much! Thank you for writing this and letting people know that XIII was actually a pretty good game at least in my eyes and I have been playing FF since II (IV) on the SNES! And i enjoy each iteration. Thanks again.
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  • Avatar for Chocorodeo #20 Chocorodeo 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla Why does Hope tag along with Lightning? Because Hope envies Lightning's determination in contrast to his own weakness in light of his desire to get revenge against Snow, who he views response for his mother's death.

    The characters have an idea of what they're meant to do once they set off. They soon find out that their Focus is what not what they thought but they refuse to follow through with it. Does this remind you of, say, FFX?

    I'm certain you haven't played the game because your knowledge of the plot is so glaring shallow.Edited 2 times. Last edited February 2014 by Chocorodeo
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  • Avatar for TheSL #21 TheSL 3 years ago
    FFXIII was one of the most boring games I (mostly) played through. The story made very little sense without reading through hours of data logs, the battle system was rote repetition for almost every encounter (attack to breaking point, swap to caster, repeat) and the character customization was almost nonexistent.

    Oh, and I'd be happy to never hear that battle theme ever again since its the one and only song you listen to for 80% of the game.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #22 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    Great article!! FFXIII is a wonderful example of how many gamers are hypocrites. Supposedly we all want AAA games to stop being so safe and iterating on the same thing over and over. XIII single handedly proves that many people hate change, hate experimentation, hate when developers take chances. It's no wonder developers think they need to play it safe.
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #23 hiptanaka 3 years ago
    It's hard to admit what you don't feel, though. My experience with the game was, and is still remembered as:
    - Uninteresting story
    - Uninteresting characters that felt designed by a fashionista
    - Long-winded combat with very little control required (change paradigm, wait, repeat)
    - Too linear levels
    - Too linear character progression
    - Little room for experimentation with the systems (other than paradigms, but combat was still boring)
    - Any experimentation and control felt ultimately non-consequential

    I just can't call it a good game. On the other hand, I don't call many games good.

    @violethyena98 You described the only good thing about the game, I guess. There's that, and nice graphics.Edited 2 times. Last edited February 2014 by hiptanaka
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #24 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @hiptanaka I really hope you're actually Hip Tanaka
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  • Avatar for Keresky #25 Keresky 3 years ago
    I'm a big defender of SQEX's "experimental games" (12 is the high point of the series for me, and I find 8 to be a brave and extremely underrated game), but it's very difficult for me to give 13 much love. To be fair, it gets a lot right: fantastic music and visuals, an extremely slick combat system, and a potentially interesting setting that really could have stood up to more exploration.

    But the stuff it got wrong... boy howdy. A lot of it suffers from coming right after FF12, so you're jumping from big, interconnected areas with lots of free-roaming and wonderfully fleshed-out towns to a series of linear corridors punctuated by the occasional save point. The story is a bit of a mess, but might have flown if it weren't for the clunky, tin-eared dialogue; again, 12 set the bar much higher. Then you've got the cast, which includes two of the most worthless, annoying characters in FF history (Vanille and Hope). Nobody feels terribly well fleshed-out, and the constant jumps from one pair of characters to the next in the early stages of the game don't help matters either.

    It's not a terrible game, but the wasted potential is writ large on it. If the team had done a couple of judicious rewrites, hired an English-language script doctor, and dropped the open-ended areas and towns from FFXIII-2 in a game earlier, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation now.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #26 Roto13 3 years ago
    I think a lot of people never made it to the point where the game opens up and the battle system gets interesting, and I can't really blame them. The fact that it takes a dozen hours to get good is actually a pretty big problem. People who act like it's a terrible game have never played a terrible game in their lives, though.
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #27 hiptanaka 3 years ago
    @kidgorilla I'm not. It just felt appropriate to have his name headline every post I make.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #28 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    @hiptanaka I can get behind that
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #29 hiptanaka 3 years ago
    @Roto13 It's probably not a terrible game, but with limited spare time, I only play really good games. 12 hours to reach the interesting bits (if that's true) is way too much, yes.
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  • Avatar for Mad_Angel #30 Mad_Angel 3 years ago
    To be honest, I think the article misses the real reason why so many people dislikes XIII and hates Lightning: 8 years of exhaustion. Or rather a full generation of getting served the same cold, insipid dish.

    Personally, I commend SE for trying different things with every new FF game but a whole generation of the same world/setting/monsters/spells/mythology/characters/... is a pretty big stretch of the word "innovation", even for hardcore fans of the franchise.

    To make matters worse, SE "cancels" FF type-0 in the west, delays vsXIII, ...

    But who cares about Lightning any more, she is finally dead and buried.Edited 2 times. Last edited February 2014 by Mad_Angel
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  • Avatar for TheSL #31 TheSL 3 years ago
    @hiptanaka It's more like at least mid-20 hrs to get to where you can actually customize* your characters.


    *Not customize, since so many options are missing from the Chrystarium for paradigms they don't want you pushing people into.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #32 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Keresky Admittedly FF13's story is a weak spot, but FF12's story is just as weak. Also both Vanille and Hope are good character. Vanille is very odd and likable, and her relationship with Fang helps the character a lot, and Hope gets his own development. The only character in 13 I found annoying and worthless is Snow.

    And it needs to be said over and over: the word "linear" it not a bad word. FF13 has some flaws, but it has nothing to do with linearity.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #33 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel "a whole generation of the same world/setting/monsters/spells/mythology/characters/... is a pretty big stretch of the word "innovation""

    I'm sorry, but you've really missed the boat. What kind of "innovation" were you expecting from those things? What other AAA developers are innovating in those areas? And why are you ignoring the fact that the FF13 games are easily the most innovative in terms of gameplay for any AAA developer in recent years? The battle system in 13 is very different, very unique, and works very well. It offers a totally new type of experience in a game like this. Sure it's not for everyone... but your complaints about a lack of innovation are so far off the mark it's ridiculous.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #34 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel I don't understand your 8 years of exhaustion quote. FF XIII in the US came out in 2010 that was only 4 years ago. 8 years ago was when the brilliant 12 came out.
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  • Avatar for Mad_Angel #35 Mad_Angel 3 years ago
    @cldmstrsn Well the game was announced in 2006, do the math.
    @brionfoulke91 When SE repeats the same world/setting/monsters/spells/mythology/characters/... three times in a row without outputting any new game in the mean time, I would say SE is not innovating. But that is just me.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #36 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel I did do the math, an announcement is not the same as having the game being released and you playing it.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #37 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel Also just to add its not exhaustion when you are actually excited for the games. XIII was not a disappointment to me like some people and neither are the sequels. I definitely can see how it would seem that way to someone who doesn't like the XIII games though.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #38 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel I don't understand where you're coming from. What kind of "innovations" are you expecting in world design? In setting? In monsters? In mythology? Give me an example of games which "innovate" in these categories, with "innovation" meaning to offer something new that hasn't been seen before and is influential. What other recent game series innovates in these categories?

    And why do you keep ignoring gameplay? FF13 innovates in it's battle system and mechanics, that's more than most AAA series do. Instead of damning it for a lack of innovation in areas that are seldom innovated on, you should be praising it for the innovation it actually has.
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  • Avatar for theresacatalano27 #39 theresacatalano27 3 years ago
    I think honestly it's just become hip to trash Final Fantasy, and a lot of people do it just because other people do it. You see the same thing starting to happen with Bioware games as well, with people writing off the whole Mass Effect series because of 3's bad ending. There's lots of good stuff in the 13 series, lots of really experimental stuff. It does not deserve to be written off, and I don't trust the judgment of anyone who does.
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  • Avatar for jjmahoney3 #40 jjmahoney3 3 years ago
    I was one of the few in my circle who really loved FFXIII. Part of that was where my life was at the time. My wife and I had just had our first child, so my gaming time was limited. And having a very linear experience (with an abundance of save points), made short, play sessions possible. Being able to play a big RPG for 20 minutes and make forward progress was huge for me.

    But I've made the same point to people about the linearity since XIII came out. Having played many of the older FF games, people seem to forget that while you had an overworld at the beginning, you could only go to the first town and the cave off in the distance at the start. That's it. Eventually you got a vehicle that opened up a (very small) portion of the map. The game controlled where you could go. Just because FFXIII didn't have an overworld doesn't make it any more linear that games that do but limit where you can go.

    But again, I was in the minority. The fact is, for every person who likes any one FF game, there are just as many people who don't. And the game that they love, is one that the first group probably hates. And that's what's great about this series. With 12 main games, multiple sequels and spin-offs, there's bound to be something for you to enjoy in there. How many series can say that?
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  • Avatar for Mad_Angel #41 Mad_Angel 3 years ago
    DISCLAIMER: I have no problem with those who like (even love) XIII. I was just commenting on the (to me) flawed argumentation Pete Davison built to justify why so many people dislike XIII. Please lets not drag this any further.
    @cldmstrsn Given that SE focused all their marketing on XIII for the past 8 years, to the point that type-0 or vsXIII went totally silent, I would say my math is correct.
    Nonetheless, if you were excited for the XIII saga good for you. I hope you enjoyed it. All I ask is for those who enjoyed SE's output this gen to understand those who didn't like XIII and had nothing else to play (FF-wise) for the past 8 years.
    @brionfoulke91 Well I'm an old time FF fan, have been since the original FF for the NES saw a western release. Maybe that helps you understand what I meant for "innovation" (aka, something new). You know, FF, in the past, was characterised by each game having a different setting, a different aesthetic, a different cast, ... Thus, when SE recycles a whole generation of assets/setting/cast/... by no definition of the word "innovation", you can call XIII sequels truly innovative. Hence the exhaustion.
    As for the battle system (bs), XIII's bs is new. I don't like it, but it's new. XIII-2 is just XIII's bs with some minor tweaks/improvements. LR's bs is totally different but is dragged down by an horrible UI, sluggish controls, bad camera angles, and an over-reliance on blocking.
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  • Avatar for Dreamcaster-X #42 Dreamcaster-X 3 years ago
    I've played every FF dating back to the NES and I totally despise FF XIII. I wanted to love it but it just took everything I loved about FF and threw most of it out the window. I actually really liked the combat system but everything else was just forced and it lacked a sense of exploration til over 20 hours into the game & if it sounds like I have alot of the complaints that the so called "haters" do it's for a reason, the game is a technological marvel but lacks any of the heart & soul that makes up a Final Fantasy game.
    I'm cautiously optimistic about 15, my hope is that Square has taken all of the feedback about the 13 series & are listening to the fans so that the new FF game get's its mojo back.
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  • Avatar for Dreamcaster-X #43 Dreamcaster-X 3 years ago
    @Keresky I totally agree with you. 12 & 8 were bloody brilliant & are my personal faves. Everything you said about 13 is pretty spot on with my issues with it as well. To me it also felt "rushed" & that's sad considering it was in development for 5 years.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #44 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel So you just don't like series of games that reuses the same characters/setting? Or is that only when you don't like the characters/setting?

    If you really care about games offering something "new," you have to give the FF13 series more credit. It's been a very experimental series, probably the most experimental FF has ever been. Some people may not like 13's battle system but it was not only completely different, it also worked brilliantly. People criticize 13 for having a 20 hour long tutorial, but considering that many people seem to not get the battle system at all, I think that was totally understandable... it really challenges you to think about battles in a new way. It takes awhile to learn the ins and outs, and by the time you get to the endgame it provides some very tough challenges for those who've stuck with it and learned the battle system.

    If you're all about the "new," you HAVE to give FF13 some praise.

    And each game in the series has tried something completely different. Now I haven't played Lightning Returns yet, but it's almost a completely different game than the original 13. Think about other series... Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed... do they reinvent themselves with every new iteration? No, totally the opposite.

    All of the 13 games are very experimental, and with any experiment it's not gonna work for some people. Maybe it's too different... judging from the reception of Bravely Default (which I also love), it seems like what most FF fans really wanted was more of the same. And there's nothing wrong with that, but FF13 deserves respect for the things it tried.
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  • Avatar for Shinta #45 Shinta 3 years ago
    Fantastic article. And it needs to be said a whole lot more often that the game is good.
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  • Avatar for Mad_Angel #46 Mad_Angel 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Well, I just don't usually classify games that recycle 90% of their content as "innovative". Just that.

    But, why was FFXIII the most experimental FF to date? I really don't see why. It has a structure similar to FFX, the bs is just a dumbed down version of XII's bs, the cast is different but full of anime stereotypes, ...
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #47 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel The battle system isn't all that much like 12's, only in a very superficial sense. 12's battle system is all about programming the AI of your companions. Strategy is decided pre-battle. The actual battles are very conventional, but it's the level of control you have over the A.I. that is the interesting part.

    Conversely, 13's battle system is all about switching strategies mid battle. You have less control over your companion's AI, but now the game is designed in such a way that the makeup of your party is critical to your success. You get 6 paradigms at any one time, and throughout the game you will constantly be adjusting them for the various situations. Then, once you are in battle, you have to manage your paradigms carefully to account for the changing flow of battle. So pre-battle planning is important, but managing your strategies in battle is just as important.

    From a game design perspective, 13 is actually pretty great. Many people complain about the opening "tutorial" phase, but considering how different the battle system is, I think that was a wise decision. It's definitely something players have to be eased into. In fact, the gradually rising difficulty curve of 13 is quite well balanced. There are some tough battles early on, and the game does a great job of ramping up nicely. As new paradigms are opened up, more and more responsibility is placed on the player to use them correctly. By the end of the game, the gloves are off, and you really have to have mastered the paradigm system in order to have any chance of handling the endgame battles.

    It's a great battle system. It's not only different and new, but the execution is great. Is FF13's story spotty? Sure, I'm not a huge fan myself. But the battle system deserves a massive amount of credit, and I lose respect for anyone who dismisses it.
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  • Avatar for Mad_Angel #48 Mad_Angel 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Sorry dude but you'll lose all respect you had left for me because I really don't consider XIII's battle system that special =P

    Honestly, I see it a coarse-grained implementation of XII's BS with the stagger twist. Personally, a 20 hours tutorial to teach you that you should: A) spam magic to stagger, B) attack once the enemy is staggered; and C) turtle up to heal and buff; a little too much. Moreover, I never died once (a first for me in FF games).

    But, glad you liked it. Many seem to like it as well and let's see what XV has in store for us. It has been a pleasure (publicly) chatting with you but I don't want to monopolize the discussion any further, so I'll go radio silent. See you around the site =)
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  • Avatar for sadpanda2342 #49 sadpanda2342 3 years ago
    You’re right, FF13 wasn’t “that bad”, it was abysmaly catastrophic. I finished it less than a month ago so I know what I’m talking about.
    - the camera’s behaviour is unbearable, it seems it was programmed by an intern and noone ever told him to fix it.
    - there are way too many cutscenes
    - the story is mostly impossible to understand (until the end at least)
    - Snow and Hope are annoying morons
    - it’s hopelessly linear…
    - …expect Chapter 13 that is hopelessly crappy with an incredible amount of backtracking and fighting the same monsters again and again.
    - the fight system is badly explained
    - the crystarium system is badly explained and nothing reminds you to use it
    - the objects improvement system is completely crappy and not explained at all…
    - fights are often too long and tedious. No, not challenging, just tedious.

    I think that’s about it. There is one single thing that is rather nice in this game, it’s the graphics and animations of the characters.

    Edit: I forgot the badly made characters movement and invisible walls everywhere, and the ridiculous monsters.Edited February 2014 by sadpanda2342
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #50 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Mad_Angel Huh, you never died once? That's wierd... I died a lot. Actually I died more than in any other FF, and from what I hear the same is true for others. You're way over-simplifying in your description of the battle system, it's not always as simple as just spamming magic to stagger. The enemies won't always let you do that, and you have to consider other elements like how to balance in buffs, debuffs, and healing. Not to mention whether you need a tank, and when to mix in commandos with your magic. But whatever...

    Don't take that comment from me about losing respect too seriously, that was just hyperbole on my part. The reaction of some people towards FF13 seriously pisses me off. But I automatically have respect for anyone who is respectful to me. If the game wasn't to your tastes, fair enough. But I do strongly believe the game deserves more credit, and that's why I really appreciate this article.
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  • Avatar for christopherhughes97 #51 christopherhughes97 3 years ago
    Great op-ed piece Pete. For myself, the crapping on FFXIII wouldn't have gotten so annoying if it wasn't part of the dismissal of everything "weird and japanese". Games culture has been becoming a refuge for the "bros" and the culturally conservative for a long time now, and if the discussion about FFXIII was about the game itself, rather than just another point along that trajectory, it wouldn't have been nearly so unbearable.Edited February 2014 by christopherhughes97
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #52 LunarFlame17 3 years ago
    Ugh, man, this article reminded me how great FFXIII was. Easily my favorite FF since VII, although I never played XII. Sadly, I sold my PS3 a couple years ago, so I can't play it again, nor have I had a chance to play FFXIII-2. Such a dumb decision, selling my PS3.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #53 cldmstrsn 3 years ago
    @LunarFlame17 wait, so you cant ever buy a PS3 again\? Do yluive in some communist country? If so how are you on the internet? anyways you make it sound like you could never possibly get a PS3 ever again which is a little weird. Do yourself a favor and go buy another one for a measly 150 and enjoy that game again. and don't ever sell it again!
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #54 Kuni-Nino 3 years ago
    FFXIII wasn't bad at all. It was good and a better RPG than Mass Effect 2. I dug it for being a spiritual sequel to FFX and trying to tell an interesting story. The game has its problems particularly the way the story becomes nonexistent after Chapter 12, but I can look past it. I had fun playing it. It was also way better than Resonance of Fate.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #55 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino Yeah, I agree. The gameplay in FFXIII series is certainly a hell of a lot more interesting than anything in the Mass Effect series. The writing and characters in both series have problems, but at least FFXIII tries some interesting things with it's gameplay, whereas Mass Effect's gameplay got safter and more conventional with every entry.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #56 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    'It's time' to stand by my original position. I didn't like the game. I didn't like the gameplay, 'the tube' effect, the absurd lore, the anime tropes, or anything about the entire affair. Why was it the target of scorn? Because it wasn't a bloody good game. It was barely a game at all.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #57 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @violethyena98 Or it could be that it just wasn't an enjoyable game. Sorry, but veiled misogyny isn't always to blame.
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  • Avatar for docexe #58 docexe 3 years ago
    I have played very little of FFXIII to emit proper judgment on how good or bad the game is. But the way I see it, what afflicts this game the most are the same problems that have afflicted other games in revered series with a devoted fanbase. Games like Metroid: Other M, DMC, Resident Evil 5 and 6, Mass Effect 3, etc., etc. might be flawed, but they are not genuinely bad games. Indeed, they can actually be quite enjoyable if you play them with a dispassionate mindset (for example, despite how much I criticize them, I have to admit I ultimately enjoyed playing RE5 and RE6 as cooperative shooters with my brother). The problems are then that:

    a) Those games failed to comply with the expectations the fans had for them (although admittedly, fans tend to be not only the harshest critics, but sometimes also the most irrational).

    b) In some cases they did things that undermined elements that were part of the core essence of the franchise. Going back to the RE example, Resident Evil was never meant to be a cooperative shooter, because such kind of design ultimately undermines the elements of tension, survival and horror that were at the core of the franchise. Sure, for a spin-off like the Chronicles subseries that kind of thing is fine, but not for a main entry in the series.

    In the case of FFXIII, I think the ridiculously long development time and hype generated before the game launched played a big part in the backlash against it. But on the other hand, from what little I have played of the game and what I have read in some analysis pieces about it, I think this issue that Pete highlights is a very big problem:

    “Even XIII's much-maligned linearity isn't anything unusual for the series -- XIII just made it a whole lot more obvious than the earlier games, which disguised early-game linearity with world maps and vehicles and all manner of other trickery to give the illusion of freedom while still limiting where you could go very rigidly.”

    The thing is that you can argue that for many games (particularly those that try to sell you on the idea that you are taking part in an epic adventure inside a massive and expansive world, like most RPG do), that illusion is actually the key part, and is probably more important than the actual level of freedom in the gameplay. Mostly because of the simple fact that games are always constrained by technology, so a massive and expansive world is always going to be a limited simulation, and the level of freedom you actually have inside that world is also always going to be constrained to a degree. So, that illusion is then necessary to keep the player immersed and invested in the simulation. If you do something that undermines the illusion, then the player can actually see the strings and the seams, and the suspension of disbelief is ultimately shattered.

    Yeah, almost every entry in the series is actually very linear in terms of progression until very late in the game (FFVI, widely considered by the old guard fans like me to be the best of the series, doesn’t open the world until the second half, FFVII and FFIV are hardly better in that respect). But I think that the illusion of freedom and all the trickery that comes with it (the over-world map, the vehicles and airships, the optional sidequests, the secret paths in the caves and dungeons, etc.) play a big part in selling you the feeling that you are in a big epic adventure to save the world. Without that illusion the game misses something.

    Now, I don’t know if lacking said illusion is enough to make the entire game fall apart (I have to play it from start to finish to tell for sure), but I do think it is a very big flaw.
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  • Avatar for Chocorodeo #59 Chocorodeo 3 years ago
    USgamer is not the place for that kind of language. Please keep the discussion civil and focused on the games, not each other.Edited February 2014 by MHWilliams
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #60 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @Chocorodeo Standard ten year old rant. Move along.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #61 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace "Why was it the target of scorn? Because it wasn't a bloody good game. It was barely a game at all."

    That's absurd. It may not be to your tastes, but it's actually a very well designed game. The battle system is executed amazingly well considering how different it is to everything else. It's challenging, it requires thought, planning and understanding of it's system.

    Sure, the game has flaws, and there's good reasons not to like it. It's not for everyone's tastes. But saying that it's "barely a game" is just plain WRONG.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #62 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Tastes are subjective. Twenty hours in, I still felt as though I were 'playing' an interactive anime film. A bad anime film. Dismiss my view, ridicule it, etc. Doesn't make them anymore wrong than it makes you right.
    I'm glad you and the reviewer here enjoyed it. I did not. And given the reputation it carries, many others did not as well. Go argue with someone else.
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #63 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    So, the end of the discussion was that some people don't mind the linearity and find the game enjoyable while others dislike the corridor-heavy gameplay and convoluted story and each group doesn't believe the other should exist?
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #64 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace Of course tastes are subjective. It's fine to not enjoy a game, but you're just inaccurate in calling it "barely a game," and I think you're seriously misinformed about the game.
    @renatocosta90 I still question the whole idea that it's all about linearity. I think that problem is overstated. As people have pointed out, other FF's are linear, but it's not just that... no one seems to mind the linearity in a game like Uncharted (which has just as terrible a story and weaker gameplay.) I think "linearity" is a bit of a scapegoat in this case... people need something to point to.
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #65 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 I guess you have a point. I posted at the begginning and just skimmed through the other posts. For me, that was a pretty deal-breaker.

    Someone mentioned the illusion of freedom, even on a linear game. Playing through Bravely Default right now, I couldn't agree more. It is a linear game in every sense of the word, pointing you to your next quest or side-quests with arrows on the map, but it is really open about strategies, team management, how you would tackle the difficulty settings and how you would want to approach each situation. It's pretty dang good, and I can't help to feel like XIII failed to appeal to me with its particular approach to gameplay.

    Also, about Uncharted, recently I got 1 and 2, and gave up on 1 because it was boring me to all hell. Does 2 play a bit better or should I just get the hell away from it?
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #66 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @renatocosta90 All the Uncharted are basically the same game, so I wouldn't bother. It's funny, because all of the complaints usually levied against FF13 apply perfectly to Uncharted. Linear as hell? Check. Aggressively bland and unlikable main character? Check. Poorly written story? Check. Repetitive gameplay? Check. But yet, Uncharted doesn't have nearly the scorn that FF13 has. I guess if a game is weird and Japanese, it's terrible, but if a game is a Micheal Bay simulator then it's fine.

    Yeah, the illusion of freedom thing is a good point. It's been pointed out before that one of FF13's big problems is simply the mini map. By showing the game's linearity as a visual, it really drives it home. I agree it's better to have the illusion of freedom from a game design perspective, but on the other hand I do think some people are much too fickle about it. I mean, cmon... we all know it's an illusion in most games. Does it really make that big of a difference? Or is that just a convenient scapegoat?

    It also needs to be pointed out that there are some genuinely good linear games.
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  • Avatar for LunarFlame17 #67 LunarFlame17 3 years ago
    @cldmstrsn Of course I can buy a PS3 again! And maybe I will someday. But I have too many games to play as it is, and adding a PS3 to the mix would just complicate my backlog further.Edited February 2014 by LunarFlame17
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #68 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Having read the Super Metroid article by@jeremy.parish today, I would guess that the illusion of an open ended area is extremely important, especially when it is done as masterfully as in that game.

    Another that pops in my mind as soon as I think about "linear games that feel open ended" is Virtue's Last Reward, of the Zero Escape saga. It is a Visual Novel, but can be tackled at pretty much the player's leisure thanks to the great flow tree system it implements, meaning you can explore a few different possibilities in different occasions, even though you need to explore every option, anyways.

    I had never put that much though about the illusion of freedom and seemingly minute choices about gameplay before, but I guess that is pretty important to me, because I can trace that problem in games I recently abandoned in my "Will not play again" list, such as the first Uncharted and Max Payne 3. Living and Learning, they say
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  • Avatar for christopherhughes97 #69 christopherhughes97 3 years ago
    Playing with that idea of "the illusion of freedom" is exactly why I think FFXIII was a worthwhile experiment. I really appreciated that, for once, a game wasn't going to try to pretend I was going on an exhausting "grand adventure" and was just going to be up front about its structure. Now, I don't necessarily think that is a direction that RPGs should evolve in, but it was certainly OK to try a time or two.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #70 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @renatocosta90 I agree it's better to have the illusion of freedom, as you say. But let's not overstate the importance of an illusion. At the end of the day, the openness of a game is not nearly as important as the actual gameplay contained within. Linear games can have great gameplay and open ended games can have terrible gameplay. FF13, for all it's faults, has well-designed gameplay. It's bold and it's different, and it's not to everyone's tastes, but it certainly is well-designed.
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  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #71 benjaminlu86 3 years ago
    Other initially much maligned games which have achieved sainted (or at least grudging acceptance) status years later on the internet: Majora's Mask, Wind Waker, Super Mario Sunshine, FFVIII, Killer7
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  • Avatar for renatocosta90 #72 renatocosta90 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91@christopherhughes97 Indeed! I wanted to love it, though it wasn't my cup of tea =/
    @benjaminlu86 - I was wrecking my brain trying to remember a linear game I really loved, and Killer7 is there. I feel so ashamed to have forgotten it!

    And well, I should stop procrastinating and start working again :D
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  • Avatar for docexe #73 docexe 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 The way I see it, linearity is not really a problem by itself, but I think it’s more appropriate in some genres than in others. Most action games (like Bayonetta) or 3rd person shooters (like Uncharted) are pretty linear with no tricks to hide that at all, but they are more focused on the action, combat and set pieces, and are trying to sell you the idea of being in a “cool fighting anime” or “big action movie”, so the linearity in such genres makes a lot of sense.

    In a RPG, where the point (most of the time) is that you are “roleplaying” a hero in a big expansive adventure, I think openness and freedom (or the illusion of freedom anyway) is probably more important. Is the lack of that level of freedom (or illusion of freedom) enough to make a game fall apart? Not necessarily, the other elements of the game also need to be taken into account. As you said, there are open games that are terrible and linear games that are excellent.

    I would really need to finish FFXIII to tell if everything gels in the end despite the linearity. Right now the only things I can say: The linearity seems like a genuine flaw, while the battle system is genuinely interesting. But whether or not the pros of the game surpass its flaws, I can’t tell.Edited February 2014 by docexe
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #74 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @docexe "In a RPG, where the point (most of the time) is that you are “roleplaying” a hero in a big expansive adventure"

    That's a loaded definition, with two flaws. First of all, you are roleplaying as hero in most games. In Mario Bros, you are also roleplaying as a hero on an adventure. Second, you embedded the word "expansive" in there where it doesn't necessarily belong. There's all sorts of adventures, including RPGs.

    "The linearity seems like a genuine flaw, while the battle system is genuinely interesting."

    You're right, but I think for the wrong reasons. It has nothing to do with FFXIII being an "RPG" (whatever that means.) Rather, linear games have a much heavier burden on that one path being well crafted. So flaws stand out more severely. In FFXIII's case, let's be honest... the story is weak. If the story were really strong, it wouldn't matter that the game was linear.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #75 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 "Misinformed" would imply I didn't purchase it at full price and play it through. Nossir, I am not misinformed, I simply happen to not share in the habit of making excuses for poor design and storytelling.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #76 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace It's not about making "excuses," it's about being able to explain your reasoning. I assumed you hadn't played very far through FF13 because your criticisms of it's gameplay didn't fit. It sounded like you hadn't played very far, based on the things you were saying. Forgive me for making that wrong assumption.

    I agree the story is weak, but the gameplay is certainly well designed. It's very hard to argue otherwise.
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  • Avatar for docexe #77 docexe 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Well, I suppose most videogames can probably be considered roleplaying because you are putting yourself in the shoes of another character. But as I see it, RPG’s are games that specifically try to resemble a simulation of a “Dungeons and Dragons” campaign or other table top role playing games, games with a heavy focus on story, world building, exploration, character customization and statistics applied in the combat systems. Most of these games tend to put you in the shoes of a character in a massive adventure in an expansive world, which I suppose is related to the idea of simulating the massive campaign build on multiple sessions of a typical tabletop game. That’s what I meant with “roleplaying” and why I put the word in quotations.

    It’s true that many genres share some of these elements, but they are downplayed in favor of some other specific core mechanics that sometimes have nothing to do with them, like “platforming” in the case of Mario.

    Now probably my definition is sketchy, not all encompassing, or I’m making too many generalizations, but that is the way I tend to perceive games like Final Fantasy, and why I believe linearity and lack of freedom (or rather, a certain illusion of freedom, given the limitations of a computer simulation) might be problematic in them.

    Granted, I think you make a fair point here:

    “Rather, linear games have a much heavier burden on that one path being well crafted. So flaws stand out more severely. In FFXIII's case, let's be honest... the story is weak. If the story were really strong, it wouldn't matter that the game was linear.”

    It’s possible that if the game had a stronger story (or some other stronger element), people wouldn’t mind the linearity at all. Of course, this might also mean that the game suffers or has flaws in other areas that are exacerbated because of the linearity. But I can’t tell for sure unless I play it to completition.Edited February 2014 by docexe
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #78 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @docexe Recently I've started to avoid using the term "RPG" because I think it's one of the muddiest terms in the video game world. Everyone has their own opinion of what an RPG is, and inevitably discussions like this will devolve into each person explaining what they mean by "RPG." Probably better if we just toss that word aside for now and not get into it.

    That aside, linearity can put a game's flaws into a starker relief. But then again, 12's story is just as linear, and just as flawed as 13's IMO. 12 may be a more open game, but my experience was very similar: in order to progress through the game, you have to go to point A, and then to point B, then to point C, etc... what we have to remember about the illusion of choice is that it is in the end just an illusion.

    The openness is not what saved FF12 for me. It was the well crafted gameplay, the presence of interesting ideas, and the solid execution of those ideas. The exact same thing is true of FF13. The battle system presents unique challenges that you haven't experienced in a game before, and it does a good job of ramping up those challenges as it assigns more and more responsibility to the player. Just on that basis, it's hard not to call FF13's gameplay a success.

    But it is very different, and it may have been too different for some people. I can accept that.
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  • Avatar for docexe #79 docexe 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 I’m time pressed to post another detailed answer, so I’m just going to say that for me that illusion of choice is important in certain games (including many entries of the Final Fantasy series), and can deeply enrich them. Of course, that’s my personal taste, so to each their own.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #80 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 It's really not. In fact, it's as simple as saying that the gameplay consisted of running forward, and engaging in a battle system where you rotated menus. Again, subjective tastes. You found it enjoyable. I found it tedious and repetitive. Moreso than even mundane turn-based systems.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #81 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @docexe I'll just say again for the record that I don't think the illusion of choice is worthless. I think it has value, it's just that I think that value is overstated. But we can agree to differ. I appreciated your responses, they were well written.

    @Wolfe-Wallace I think your oversimplification of the game is unfair. It's fine that you found it tedious and reptitive, clearly it wasn't to your tastes. And clearly your bias is preventing you from seeing the game's good points.Edited February 2014 by brionfoulke91
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  • Avatar for danecorle19 #82 danecorle19 3 years ago
    I don't care if people like FF13. If you have something in your life that brings you joy, good for you. But I cannot adequately measure how much crap I've gotten from fans over the past few weeks just for stating that it was the only game in the series I didn't like. I'm SORRY, people, but the reason why FF13 has garnered a reputation for not being very good is because most people who played it DIND'T THINK IT WAS VERY GOOD. Why is this so hard for so many people to just except!? You don't NEED my approval to like something! Yes, I played it! I beat it! I read the damn datalog entries, played the damn sequels and listened to the damned radio drama! I thought it was a sucky story with brain-dead charters and a poorly established setting that was often permeated my nonsensical writing with events and occurrences that often ignored or contradicted it's own poorly-established mythos! LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, DAMMIT!
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  • Avatar for RedSwirl #83 RedSwirl 3 years ago
    @pjedavison Nope. I still think Square Enix screwed up with this one.

    If I had to give one solid reason, it's that FFXIII feels like a very shallow RPG compared to its predecessors. On top of that, everything about what Square Enix has done over the last several years has been a trainwreck in production pipeline management.

    XIII had a pretty good battle system. That's about it. All you really did in that game was fight, walk down corridors, and watch cut scenes. FFX at least had towns, NPCs, the general sense of a world to interact with, and Blitzball. XIII in comparison felt very sterile. I just think that what was there wasn't enough to hold up 60 hours of gameplay.

    Oh and let's not forget the freaking 20+ hour tutorial. Possibly the most astonishing thing about XIII is that it spends about 30 hours -- roughly half its length, JUST GETTING STARTED. It takes roughly that long for the game to fully unlock the combat system.

    What little I played of FFXIII-2 (the demo basically) felt so different when I first started I was amazed to finally see an actual JRPG town running on the PS3. It felt like there was more to do in XIII-2 -- more to keep you busy.

    And despite how XIII gracefully dodges typical portrayals of women in video games (the four most important characters in the game, including the protagonist, are female, and the story is about two women risking everything to save two other women), its story still came off as badly-written and most of its characters as annoying. To be blunt, they didn't feel or act like real sensible people. Now you can definitely argue that this is par for the course for Final Fantasy or video games in general, but that's just more telling of the state of AAA games as well as JRPGs. The dude with the chocobo sticking out of his afro is widely agreed to be the least annoying character in the game. Plus, it spends the first 30 hours simply establishing the characters and events that took place before the beginning of the game. So much of that is pact into the codex that you have to read it thoroughly just to understand the story. That's just bad planning. Period.

    What makes XIII more damning is its development cycle, which based on Gamasutra's postmortem, was pretty troubled. That first video we saw in 2006 was a target render right? According to Gamasutra Square Enix didn't even have a clear vision of what the game was going to play like until they put together the demo which I think came out in early 2008. Add to that XIII's beginnings as a PS2 game and its 18-month conversion to PS3. Oh, and releasing in late 2008 (in Japan), XIII was Square Enix's first internally-developed PS3 game. It's the same problem other Japanese companies went through trying to get caught up with HD-level game development. Now look at what Versus/XV has gone though.

    The real problem was Square Enix's insistence on pushing the Fabula Nova Crystalis franchise thing. FFVII became a franchise unto itself AFTER it reached astronomical popularity. Square Enix kind of tried to replicate that with an unproven game and fell flat on its face, having to siphon manpower from other games to fix FFXIV which is probably what messed up Versus/XV. I think the very fact that they had to transform an in-development side game to the next numbered entry is bad in itself.

    But I digress, as that's getting into the general problems with Square Enix.Edited February 2014 by RedSwirl
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #84 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 My 'bias'? I didn't realize experiences based on individual interaction with a product qualified as a slanted view nowadays. Frankly, the only 'bias' in this little exchange is yours. You speak in absolutes, declaring any view that isn't your own wrong. Face it mate, people didn't like the game. -I- didn't like the game. And I loved XII, the other game that didn't do well with public favor. People aren't always going to enjoy what you do, or agree with what you think are great mechanics. Gotta come to terms with that, otherwise you're just going to frustrate yourself more and more.
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  • Avatar for ohkikaze36 #85 ohkikaze36 3 years ago
    The best artice i've read in quite a while, finally someone that has the guts to call out this bullshit that annoys the hell out of me since XIII's release.

    I am one of the people that liked XIII from the start, no matter how much feces the haters constatly piled on it.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #86 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace It's not about whether you like the game. I never said you shouldn't dislike it, feel how you want. But some of the things you said about FF13 don't match with reality, and make me question whether you've actually played it. Like saying "it's barely a game," which is ridiculous. And clearly there's more to the game than just running forward and spamming buttons, because if you do that you will die, FF13 actually demands that you understand it's systems.

    I have no way of knowing whether you're being honest or not when you say you've played the whole game, but you don't talk like someone who has. You've already posted plenty of vague criticisms like how the game is "tedious", and that's fine, but if you have any more to say perhaps you could make it more specific, and accurate.
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #87 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Hate to break it to ya buddy, but 'reality' doesn't equate to 'your opinion'. What's ridiculous is how invested you are in toppling my disdain for the time I wasted on it. As to the question of my authenticity? You've already decided my opinion is invalid. Going so far as to call me a liar to suit your stance seems in line with the general tone you've given off so far. But for what it's worth, I bought it new. I played it through. And the only redeeming quality for me personally was how pretty Gran Pulse was. I've nothing more to add.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #88 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace I'll keep saying it over and over until you get it: You are entitled to your opinion. You are welcome to feel how you want about the game. But when you say things that seem clearly wrong, it's only natural for me to point them out. It doesn't make me someone who has "decided your opinion is invalid."

    Supposed I described FF13 to you as an open world adventure? Is that just my "opinion"? Would it be wrong for you to correct me?
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #89 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 There you go tossing around 'wrong' again, as if you are the sole arbitrator of quality. Your 'open world' example doesn't hold up, by the way. Asking a question like 'is an open world game an open world game' is a lot like asking if a cat is a cat. There's very little room for question. What you're asking specifically is 'the battle system for XIII is solid gameplay, yes?'. To which the answer comes down to personal experience and taste. As I've already said, I disliked the flipping around the menus on the fly and prefer turn-based rather than gauges and flipping through styles.
    Now seriously man, get off my ass about it. It's just a bloody game.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #90 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace No, I was addressing some specific things you said, such as "FFXIII is barely a game" and "it's just a game where you walk forward and press buttons." Those are about as ridiculous as saying "FFXIII is an open world game."
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  • Avatar for Wolfe-Wallace #91 Wolfe-Wallace 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Depends on who you ask. Funny how 'subjective' keeps coming back around. When you walk in one direction for roughly 30 hours of a game, and your only interaction is a listless combat system you visit reluctantly over and over and over and over, punctuated by long, anime-trope-riddled cutscenes, you get something not unlike a very bad interactive movie. That's what it was for me, That's a comparison a lot of other people have also made. That's how it remains in my memory. Deal with it.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #92 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @Wolfe-Wallace You have your opinion and I have mine. I found some of your views ridiculous, I said so, you reacted the way you reacted, and at the end of the day we still have our opinions. And that's fine.
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  • Avatar for danecorle19 #93 danecorle19 3 years ago
    @brionfoulke91 Kay, maybe *you* can answer some of my questions. The reason why I don't like FF13 has nothing to do with the gameplay, and has EVERYTHING to do with the story and the writing. Every story in the series has had flaws. Hell, every story ever written has flaws, but FF13's story seems to me to be fundamentally broken. Despite previous narrative flaws in the series, no FF game except 13 ever left me with questions; I played through each and every single game in the series knowing *exactly* what it was that just happened. FF13's story has moments that are key to it's progression that don't make a lick of sense to me, and I don't know if it's because of a blatant misunderstanding on my part of just poor writing.

    First, some genuine criticisms I have. This is not me poking fun or trying to pick a fight, I just want you to know right off the bat where I stand.

    To start with, the story has no audience surrogate, something that is especially vital to a setting with such a dense and specific mythology as FF13. It's a universe packed with unique in-universe terminology, concepts and settings, and very little of it is explained to the audience. I managed to get the gist of it eventually, but it could've been so easily avoided earlier on, even WITHOUT an audience surrogate. Something as simple as an opening text-crawl explaining to us about the nature of Cocoon, Gran Pulse, Fal'Cie, l'Cie, Sanctum, PSICOM... just SOMETHING to introduce me to the setting. Data logs, codices, appendices and the like should serve as narrative flavor, not as a narrative crutch.

    Secondly, it seems like a game that was written backwards. Most of the areas in the game feel totally inconsequential to the immediate narrative, and seem to serve little purpose outside of being used as locations for characters to fight monsters and talk to each other. Usually, and this is especially true in RPG's, when you design an area or a setting, you design it a certain way for either gameplay or story purposes. Bare-bones-basic example; the town of Balamb in FF8 is a port town. It's a port town because A.) it's on an island and B.) it allows the characters at certain points in the story to get from one point to another. It also serves a story purpose later on when the Galbadian military starts occupying towns and cities where Ellone could've made port. And this is a very basic example. It's all part telling a story while taking advantage of your setting. FF13 feels like a series of random areas that were created long before the story was ever written. The fact that the Vile Peaks is a massive junkyard? Not relevant to anything. The fact that the Gapra Whitewoods is some kind of "proto-ecology belt" (whatever that is) never actually means anything. At very few times in the game does what these characters do or say have any relevance to where they are. And it feels like from how we reach these areas that none of them had any real connection from a development standpoints; always falling great distances without any injury, always crashing airships with no injury, always getting inexplicably teleported from one place to another, and so on and so on. It just feels plain lazy.

    Now here's me expressing some genuine confusion over some key elements of the story. If you can allay any of them, great.

    1. The Sanctum initiates the Purge in Bodhum because a Pulse Fal'Cie was found there (how they ever missed it, I have no idea. Thing's the size of a skycraper). So the apparent concern is that any of the people who were in Bodhum at the time could be Pulse l'Cie, but they don't know who, so they just deport everyone. But isn't it common knowledge that anyone who becomes a l'Cie gets Branded? If there's a clear-cut way to identify l'Cie why even bother with the Purge?

    2. Why don't the Fal'Cie ever just tell their l'Cie what their Focus is? Barthandelus is a clear indication that Fal'Cie can talk, and even if they couldn't, there's gotta be a more practical and direct way of communicating than a brief psychic flash that could be interpreted to be literally anything. Not only does it seem really counter-productive towards accomplishing their goals, but the ambiguity of one's Focus is also the impetus and focal point of the entire story and it doesn't seem to make a lick of sense. "The obliviousness and/or uncaring nature of deities is one of the primary themes of the 13 series" you might say. That just seems like a really weak and contrived explanation. If there's a task SO incredibly vital that they need accomplished that they require outside assistance to get it done, then they better make damn sure their l'Cie know what the hell it is that they're supposed to do. And if the Fa'Cie really care that little, why bother turning them into C'ieth as such a brutal consequence for failure?

    3. So Dysley and Raines tell our heroes that their Focus is to destroy Cocoon by killing Orphan, because Orphan's death will directly cause the destruction of Cocoon. Our heroes then say they refuse to fulfill their Focus, and then decide to save Cocoon by... killing Orphan? Did I miss something? And no, Etro, who is never mentioned, giving them a new Focus, that we never see, does not count as an explanation for their apparent willingness to doom all mankind while acting like they're doing it some kind of service. This is like Lord of the Rings ending with Frodo tying to save Middle-Earth by giving Sauron the One Ring right after emphasizing that Sauron must never have the One Ring. They kill Orphan and Cocoon starts to plummet into the face of Gran Pulse... um... hurray? Guess they were lucky that Fang and Vanille could apparently use their powers to crystalize Cocoon, otherwise the heroes would've been directly responsible for the annihilation of the entire human race?
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #94 brionfoulke91 3 years ago
    @danecorle19 You're asking the wrong guy. I think FF13's biggest weakness is it's story, and quite frankly I struggled to pay attention to some of it. I could care less about the lore.

    I will say this though... I don't know if an audience surrogate would have helped all that much. I don't think more exposition is the answer, and I don't mind being thrown into a story without understand everything. That can work if done right. The problem for me is that the situations seems forced, the characters and their relationships don't always pay off the way you want, and a lot of what you're doing in the game just doesn't have the drive behind it that it should.

    I do agree though that the story feels like it was written backwards. Good observation. Another huge flaw that rarely gets mentioned: FF13's villains are REALLY weak. Some of the lamest, least interesting villians in awhile. That definitely a huge flaw in this kind of narrative, and not enough people point that out.

    I feel pretty much about FF13 how I feel about FF12... both games have poor stories, but the gameplay is so interesting that it makes the experience worthwhile. I will defend the merits of FF13's gameplay all day, unfortunately I can't do the same for the story. Although I will say that I like most of the characters. I never quite understood why many people seem to dislike Vanille, I find her to be wonderfully weird.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #95 jeffcorry 3 years ago
    I'll just say that as much as I do enjoy Final Fantasy XIII, I found it suffocating after the masterpiece (in my opinion) that was XII. I can look at Ivalice and know where things are located. Cocoon? No. I have no idea where anything is located. I just seem to arrive after walking straight. I can't even picture Cocoon in my mind very reasonably. Was there even a map? ...and WHY couldn't I go back and backtrack if I wanted? ...Then again...it was all a straight line.
    Don't get me wrong, I actually like the game and even the characters...ish. It was just so suffocating to be in the world of Cocoon. Even Gran Pulse (though it had a large area...) still felt suffocating. Oerba could have offered so much for exploration.
    Oh well.
    I'll try Lightning Returns eventually. It would have been cool to see Snow and Serah's wedding...or something happy for these characters. They just got chucked around...and killed (well, and...crystalized...then brought back for more, eh?).Edited 4 times. Last edited February 2014 by jeffcorry
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  • I don't think its time to admit anything. Time hasn't changed XIII being a mediocre RPG and a bad Final Fantasy. XIII-2 traded in storyline for gameplay, with the game being more fun to play, but the story being a convulted mess. XIII-3, or Lightning Returns, is easily the worst of the bunch. A ton of decent ideas tossed together shoddily, ignoring any and all character development that came before it, and tossing in the mother of all terrible endings to top it off. It's a ridiculous mess. BUT that is MY opinion. How about you stop trying to push off your personal opinion as fact now, kay? Kay.
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  • Avatar for sashakishko22 #97 sashakishko22 3 years ago
    Videogame journalists shouldn't use scores given by other videogame journalists as evidence of quality - for the same reasons hookers shouldn't use the number of tricks they turned as evidence for the success of speed-dating.
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  • Avatar for ajmrowland #98 ajmrowland 3 years ago
    @danecorle19 I can answer those questions.

    1. Actually, the Vile Peaks is part of the shell that was cracked in the war. It's there with the purpose of protecting coccoon, among other mods and reparations.

    2. The Pulse Vestige was placed by Barthandelus. It was a part of his plan since he needed Pulse L'Cie.

    3. The reason nobody checked for brands is they were too scared. Their whole view of pulse, especially l'Cie, is that there's a danger of contamination. This only seems to apply to living things.

    4. The heroes were sort of forced into fighting Orphan at first, since Barthandelus lured them into it but ultimately it was so ething of a leap of faith. Fang and Vanille had previously become ragnarok and nearly destroyed coccoon 500 years before but they were saved. Even without XIII-2 saying it outright, it was hinted in an optional datalog entry to be Etro. They believed the same would happen here.

    5. One of the worst realised aspects, I think figuring out the focus is a test of intellectual strength to prove the right "tools" were chosen.

    Needless to say, I enjoyed XIII somewhat, despite really bad dialogue and character first impressions. But more as a cinematic experience than a game. Battle system was good though.
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  • Avatar for WitchOfTheWilds922 #99 WitchOfTheWilds922 3 years ago
    This article totally made my day. Finally someone defending a good game that has so much unnecessary scorn surrounding it. A game with a truly fantastical, complex world, and a story that I thought was engaging and intriguing without being too difficult to follow. Not to mention one of the strongest, most badass heroines in the history of Final Fantasy.

    Thank you, so much for writing this :)
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  • Avatar for genesis_f23 #100 genesis_f23 3 years ago
    Final Fantasy 13 was absolute garbage and should never have received the FF title. Square Enix is a sellout that looms over the grave of Squaresoft and can only push out titles that appeal to the common tool. An absolute disgrace to a company that forged a generation of great RPG's and set the groundwork for more to come. Fanboys need to eat $#!] and die and OP needs to crash and burn
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  • Avatar for jonwareham68 #101 jonwareham68 3 years ago
    This article is pretty far off base IMO. FFXIII gets so much backlash because it was very poorly executed. You can argue that there were good ideas behind the game all you want, but it doesn't matter if the ideas are implemented poorly.

    Its irrelevant to argue that other games in the series did weird things and reinvented the series. Most of the rest of the series did weird and innovative things in ways that were fun and were put together with love, passion, and care from their original creators.

    Worse yet, why is the author defending the continuation of the most widely disliked number in the series by comparing the XIII series to Assassins Creed and Call of Duty? The statement implies this: "the complaining Final Fantasy fans love the Assassins Creed and Call of Duty series and don't complain about them so why should they complain about XIII?"

    I think it's kind of insulting to tell long time fans of this series that their opinion to strongly dislike a game is wrong and that they should "Admit Final Fantasy XIII Wasn't Actually That Bad".

    That's ridiculous lol. I played through XIII beginning to end and yes, it was THAT bad. XIII-2 and Lightning returns seem to be quite a bit better fortunately. Still I find lightning to be a very dull, unrealistic, monotonous personality. What is so special about Serah anyways that would cause people to only care about saving her and nothing else?
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  • Avatar for fctwowillie49 #102 fctwowillie49 3 years ago
    yawn.
    It seems the FFXIII was so boring that you forgot why you didn't like it to begin with. So lets start there. it was boring. All FF games are slow but usually make up for it with great characters and a compelling coherent story.
    Shall we talk about the story the story...wait, its hard to complain about a story that essentially didnt exist. after about 10 hours into the story they stopped even trying to advance it. at that point it becomes play a few random unrelated sidequests until your strong enough to fight the last series of battles of which the hardest part is caring enough to bother.
    The characters. yes they all looked great and yay lightening wasn't just there to be a love interest, as if that's something worth mentioning like everyone always does with Disney...who cares. I couldn't care less if she is or isn't an independently minded woman...she was boring. she had less personality than Ben Steins character on Ferris Bueller. lets see what else do we got? the crybaby kid that I was really hoping would get eaten by fireants just so his endless whining would become mildly interesting. pretty sure the voice actor slit his own wrists after doing that job. Snow was more interesting when his name was Wakka. Sazh was pretty interesting...till something popped in his head and he became just another boring paper doll like the rest of them. the only one that remained somewhat interesting was Vanille if not just for her internal conflicts that go beyond my mommy died and the mean skater dude dint do enough to save her.
    So what does it have? great graphics and a decent battle system? you win there but a JRPG with boring characters and lame halfarsed story is like a porno with no nudity.
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  • Avatar for fctwowillie49 #103 fctwowillie49 3 years ago
    @violethyena98 and if you disagree with the president you're a racist right? yawn! what are you 15? no one cared that lightening was non sexualized and had no love interest. many final fantasy characters where like that. many final fanatsy fans ind the constant love triangle theme to be trite and intrusive. I dont recal Rydia being sexualized or involved in any love interest and many FF fans love her. drop your politics and join the real world where people have logical reasons for disliking boring characters with lack luster motivations of either gender or no gender at all...since im not sure what hope was except lame.
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  • Avatar for Tech_Skillz416 #104 Tech_Skillz416 3 years ago
    It's time to admit that Pete Davison was paid by Square Enix to write this idiotic blog. The numbers speak for themselves when talking about the FFXIII era. Only reason FXIII did so well was because it was a new FF game on a next Gen console at the time. FFXIII has horrible writing, characters, linear play and whoever thinks that battle system is fun is a moron. It basically does everything for you....
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  • Avatar for XingHua31 #105 XingHua31 3 years ago
    I think what irritates me the most about the original XIII outside of the insane linearity, is the 'if the single directly controllable character dies, it's game over' thing, which is so dumb. Hey, there's two other party members that could use a Phoenix Down on you to revive (just like you do to them when they fall), but no, let's make it game over, instead of just switching to another on-field character, or making them use a Phoenix Down. Horrible mechanic!Edited 2 times. Last edited June 2014 by XingHua31
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  • Avatar for naajiymcghee98 #106 naajiymcghee98 3 years ago
    Nope. Not a chance.
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  • Avatar for Animeteal #107 Animeteal 3 years ago
    @XingHua31 on the bright side it was something they fixed in FFXIII-2.
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  • Avatar for Animeteal #108 Animeteal 3 years ago
    This might be long and rambly but I'll try and make sense, also in this I hope to not offend anyone or their opinions. I think there were things that FFXIII did, that they did right and for some reasons. When people talk about how linear this game is but, as one person says, is okay in X because of the plot. You have to think about the right now when it comes to whats happening; the characters really couldn't go back or take the time to explore all that much. Like when they were in Palumpolum they were being targeted by the psicom and f they got caught they would be executed on the big screens. So when duing that time could they think,"Let me go back towards the group of people that want to kill me and do a sidequest for them." Yeah, that wouldn't happen at all, and if you were in such a situation you do it either.

    My point is that the linearity in 13 makes sense, all the times when there was a sense of go from point A to point B, I never disagreed, not because i'm blinded by the aesthetics or some other nonsense. But because I know it makes sense, you can't go back because people want to kill you. In 10 you go from one location to the other because you have to go on your pilgrimage, defeat sin. However you can go back as much as you want because they are not in the same boat as the 13 characters, as often, you know what event i'm refering to.

    The characters, I thought some of them were fine and some of them needed work. Snow was my only porblem, because whenever there was a dire crisis Snow would always pop into the scene and talk about being heroes, it was sweet but annoying. Lightning is cold and stoic because thats just who she is and I don't see a problem with it, she is a soldier, how much emotion should a soldier convey. Vanille and Fang were two women who dealt with the pain of their focuses and the guilt that came with it. Vanille is commendable in my eyes because I find her to possess a lot of guilt over the completion of her focus and cursing Dhaj, let's not forgtet, but still puts on a happy and bubbly personality. Regardless the characters are nice one should just try and understand from the characters point of view,and think about whats happening around them. We can't ecpect to understand and feel for the character immediately because they are going through some things that we are probably not going through,or ever will hopefully. Such as societal oppression, going on an adventure with strangers here and there.

    The gameplay was nice, and it provided a challenge to people,but if you read the directions and the library you had the resources to do well in battle, it just relied on you to mmaster it. All without being spoonfed the entire way,honestly it took me sometime to learn some of themechanincs but I feel more rewarded after I took the time to learn the skills I need to be ruthless and a tridistator on the battlefield.

    In conclusion,I think that the game was very good for what it was, is it perfect...no. But is it the worst thing ever made...no, I think it was a good step forward. It offered great world design,character design, battle gameplay that kept me constantly thinking, and the characters were nice too.
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  • Avatar for Grim_Beefer #109 Grim_Beefer 3 years ago
    Guess I'm kind of necroing an old old article, but oh well. This is pretty much a rant, so feel free to stop reading now, lol.

    Personally, I utterly hated FF XIII. I don't have the time to read all of these comments, so I'll assume I'm rehashing things already mentioned, sorry. My main problem is that I really don't like the whole direction that square has slowly gone since FFVII. I guess that means that a lot of my criticism of FF XIII is really just criticism of Square.

    I'm old enough that I played FFIV and VI when they were called II and III here in the US (lol), and knew nothing about Japanese culture outside of what we Americans got from video games. When VIII came out, I was immediately repulsed by the art direction. Why is everyone so porcelain and pretty? Why is their hair so immaculate? And so on... However, the gameplay and storyline were familiar enough, even if I didn't really care for the realistic setting and emphasis on wardrobe style as opposed to personality. These things got worse with every FF game (except for 9 of course). The blatant playboy bunny from XII was nearly a dealbreaker. Like, seriously, you're deep in some artic tundra and they're wearing skimpy lingerie and high heels. I find myself with no reason to care about this character becasue I feel as though they don't fit. It seems so obvious that were intentionally shoehorned into the game to satisfy outstanding debts to popular culture.

    I had a similar moment of petty outrage in FFXII when a side character pulls out a pair of...sunglasses, I guess because they're cool, lol. Increasingly, FF games want you to not only suspend your beliefs, in line with traditional fantasy tropes, that boats can fly or that crystals have powers or that people can shoot fire out of their hands, etc., but that that said fantasy civilization would be advanced enough to refine petroleum distillates, perfect plastic mold injection manufacturing techniques and so on, but still have people riding chickens around instead of utilizing combustion engines or an unrealistic lack of plastic being a pervasive part of your immediate in game environment, despite the obvious evidence of advanced levels of engineering and manufacturing. Magic and such can have an internal logic, and for all of it's impossibility you can rely on the cleverness of the author to sort those things out for you and not create glaring plot holes. However, when you introduce sunglasses or cellphones or other real world objects into some "fantasy" setting, the first question one might ask is why do they rely on so much primitive technology otherwise? This cheapens the story and makes things seem arbitrary, and hits particularly hard if it's a bunch of melodramatic nonsense, and not something lighthearted where one would be willing to overlook such malarkey with a smile. Again, my argument is not that the games contain impossible or unlikely elements, but they seem to have little concern for internal rationality.

    By the time FFXIII rolled around, I had just had enough. When exactly are these people doing their hair? Why is it so perfect and pretty? Why is everyone so perfect and pretty? Why is everyone so clean? Do they have some kind of hairdo spell that magically creates perfect hair molecule by molecule instantly? Where are the shots of your characters spending four hours carefully teasing and hair-spraying out this impossibly feathered hair that withstands combat heroically? Where are the shots of them carefully lintrolling every scrap of dirt off their completely unblemished, often white costumes, or their casting some high-level drycleaning spell? For me, they might as well be in giant fruit costumes with wiffleball bats or dressed up as Teletubbies for the ridiculousness of their getups and this premise in general of fashion model warriors. It could be funny if they meant it as a joke, but alas. There seems to be zero relationship between their "costumes" and any concept of combat or dangerous environments, despite the fact that all you do in this game is fight. Seriously, lol, why do they all look like 80lb ridiculous hipster schoolgirl androids - but are implausibly supposed to be an elite fighting force capable of saving...something? It's just ridiculous and has no internal logic, or tonal balance, in a storyline that is so "SERIOUS". Even previous FF games often had generals, warriors, soldiers and politicians, and otherwise somewhat believable characters, at the very least with a more diverse range in experience, age, and outward appearance - not your tenth grade theater dept that decided to go crazy at a Japanese fashion outlet mall before jumping into combat.

    Character diversity is important, and older FF games had this down pat. Some of your party members were elderly, some were children, some were monsters, etc. The characters felt a lot more real, the elderly would be forgetful and stubborn, children were headstrong and prone to mistakes, mysterious silent types often harbored a lot of guilt (and sought redemption), and so on. Characters that saw a lot of melee combat looked the part. People had families, and they had a place in the world. The more implausible elements of character development were often supplemented by humor in the storyline or art direction. Very few of them felt like they were tacked on because some fan would enjoy replicating their appearance in costume form. Without the crutch of detailed models and billion dollar prerendered cg, characters had to be detailed from one another by their personality, backstories, and relationships to parts of the game world, not the elite zippers they have on their fluffy vest. This made characters feel much more organic and believable in the rules set forth in these individual worlds.

    Modern FF characters seem to come in five types, whiny, funny, dumb, perky or quiet, sometimes with a combination of more than one. They all look like the have the same fashion designer and very little can be told about them by just looking at a roster, making a terrible example of character design. Personalities seem to be roulette wheeled onto the models. Nearly every bit of dialogue I could stomach in this game is either intentionally abstruse, annoying, stilted, or all of the above. Characters...are just so whiny, terrible, and utterly implausible for the world I'm supposed to inhabit. I know nothing about this land or these characters, and I don't really care about anything that's happening. They speak in code half the time without giving you any point of reference for what all this jargon means or why you should even care. FFXIII is the Disneyland ride version of the game we never got. Very pretty, but empty. Gameplay has been stripped to basically just combat, but combat ultimately is pointless. Combat leads to more combat with very little feeling of achievement or accomplishment besides the grating reward of more time listening to and putting up with the rest of the game. It's dull and lifeless and you feel as though your own sense of personality or interaction changes very little of the experience.

    You make no choices. You set no goals that you can optionally work towards. There is no metric that separates good players from bad players other than linear progress in the game. Also, a game in it's thirteenth installment pretends that you might some be kind of time-traveling caveman that has never played a video game before and teaches you how to press a button while paradoxically and simultaneously laying down a convoluted and nonsensical storyline. Perhaps most damningly, for all of the radical changes, it does very little new. It might be entertaining if I wanted to see a bunch of supermodels argue in jargon, but I don't! At some point, Square decided that FF games needed to start catering stylistically to Japanese popular culture and left behind their more gritty western RPG roots. I could stomach and actually enjoy the games when they had a decent mix of both influences, but they've gone so far overboard into battle hairdo territory I think I'm done with Square. Just my two cents.Edited 3 times. Last edited July 2014 by Grim_Beefer
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  • Avatar for Vinheimer #110 Vinheimer 2 years ago
    I'm replaying Final Fantasy XIII for the third time.

    A lot of the early criticism pointed to the new staff on the development team to argue that XIII was a major paradigm shift (haha :P) for the series. That XI Online inaugurated a trend of major change which was only exacerbated by its continuation in a single player entry, XII. XIII, it was argued, took the series further away from its roots than it had ever been.

    In reality, XIII comes from the same school of design as X. The Sphere Grid which abolished traditional levels has become the Crystarium. The world is equally restrictive, the plot development just as central to the experience. Instead of changing out characters mid-battle, characters change their roles and thus the team dynamic. One of the lead scenario writers and a co-director from X, Motomu Toriyama, is now director.

    XIII is neither the best nor the worst Final Fantasy--it's somewhere between the middle and the top. It's beautiful, flawlessly designed, and, occasionally, very engrossing. Its only real sin is that it took too long to get started. It ought to have handed the player the keys to party building at the beginning rather than ~10-20 odd hours into the game.
    @jeremy.parish You really liked this game when it came out, right? You gave it an A-. Has your opinion changed at all over the years? If so, why?Edited August 2014 by Vinheimer
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  • Avatar for mike-knew #111 mike-knew 2 years ago
    I think the one point you miss (at least in Final Fantasy XIII) is the hand-holding that does last far too long. That didn't bother me too much, but I still see it as the strongest argument against the game, more than linearity or anything else.

    I do think the hatred for the series was underscored by the fact that they made two more though. Even as a huge fan of XIII, I didn't quite understand why they made another two games, especially given that XIII-2 literally starts by undoing the ending to XIII. I still played and enjoyed both of the sequels, but I think many people saw this as delaying their next 'real' Final Fantasy, whether true or not.
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  • I couldn't find the FF XIII when it was released for the Xbox 360, so I have to wait, now that It was released for PC, I bought it.

    I'm enjoying it, not a lot, but the important is that I'm having fun. But for all the wrong reasons:

    - Being neglect by the RPG genre on my N64 ages ago, I stopped to play these games. When I managed to play FF VII, Chrono Cross, I noticed that the time without playing the genre shown me that it was not really my cup of tea anymore. As I become older, I loose the patience to play games that demand too much attention to details and to learn a lot of stuff.

    So, the long 40 hours straight corridor of FF XIII, the absence of cities to talk to dozen of NPC's to learn about the story, the recover of the energy between fights (and how easy is to avoid fighting), just feel right to my actual taste.

    I'm not liking the paradigm system and how fast the battles occur, and the need to switch the paradigms on the fly, which frequently makes me die because I'm not agile enough to be switching, makes me feel underwhelmed and annoyed. You have to pay attention to the energy, decide if you need just to use a potion or change the paradigm, pay attention to enemy life, the chain bar, select the right enemy, use the libra, paying attention to the ATB bar, TP points, everything at same time while characters are moving, battling, it become too much hard to follow everything and battle properly, it's impossible to follow who is dealing damage, and who is receiving the damage. It become clear why the game has the auto-battle option, with all this happening, it's simply impossible to waste time choosing yourself which is the best use of the ATB bar, until you decide it, the bar was fulfilled 30 seconds ago, your characters are almost dead and you have to change paradigm, and bye bye to the moves that you manually selected, because when you change the paradigm, the chosen moves are nullified, and you have to choose again. That it's called poor battle system. But because majority of the battles are easy and don't demand all this work, it's not thaaaaat annoying. It's just deceptive (at least, until the Lake Bretha, that I just finished right now. I have 5 hours of gameplay, and I hope that the battles don't become too much harder...).

    About the characters, I read lots of people complaining that the characters were annoying, shallow, the story confuse and no-sense, but until now, I disagree. The characters have motivations, different manners and traits, and even Hope it's not that annoying, as long as you try to understand his pain, a good reason for being so bitter. I'm loving the cheerfulness of Vanille, I like the serious tone of Lightning, etc... Until now, the story makes sense inside of the mythology of the game. Unless everything become senseless beyond the point were I'm playing. The world fears the pulse and the I'Cie, cocoon government was purging people that had contact or proximity with the Fal'Cie of Pulse, it happened that the main characters become I'Cie and now have to complete their Focus to not become C'ieth. A little too much "fantasy", but as I said, inside the game mythology, there's anything that hard to follow... unless, again, the story changes completely to something utterly non-sense beyond the point that I have reach, this or people today is dumber than I expected...

    I'm not anxious to reach the Pulse, because I know it's the point where the map opens and you have to explore, and I don't have so much patience for it.

    It's not the new Chrono Trigger (in terms of influence, importance and evolution), but for sure, I gave it a 7/10, which means "good" on my book.Edited 3 times. Last edited October 2014 by luisclaudiocarrascog
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  • Avatar for corysthokely #113 corysthokely 2 years ago
    FFXIII wasn't actually that bad?huh? FFXIII and the sequels are a disgrace for the franchise and the genre itself gameplay wise the first game is out of question it's better to forget it, the second game was supposed to be a redenption but it only presented some upgrades compared with its mediocre prequel,Lightning returns managed to be even worse with its antagonistic gameplay mechanics,storywise they all failed miserably as well they tried to make FFXIII-2 look interesting with the time travel but that only became a nonsense [a sequel of a nonsense is supposed to be a nonsense after all] and i could say the same about LR, FFXIII should have never existed and the worse thing is that it can serve as an example for future FF games.Edited November 2014 by corysthokely
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  • Avatar for corysthokely #114 corysthokely 2 years ago
    Your review doesn't make much sense...FFXIII saga is NOT actually that bad?why exactly?the first game itself says otherwise it's unbearable for a JRPG to force you to run straight and fight whitout providing anything else to make the game enjoyable and when you arrive at Pulse that reality becomes more clear for those who didn't want to see it before, grinding usually takes a lot of time but in this game it takes an eternity it's incredible, the second game was supposed to be a redemption but it only presented a small improvement in the gameplay in the end you still fight more than you do anything else but at least you have something to do...that was a GREAT improvement, storywise the second game is out of question they created the time travel to make this game interesting but they failed and the game became a pile of nonsenses that doesn't have anything to do with the first game, and lastly the third game this one managed to be even worse than the previous one especially because of the morbid countdown mechanic it only served to throw the gameplay against the player, even if you could stop it temporarily you can't help feeling ''rushed'' because of the mere existence of that mechanic, how JRPG gamers could accept that? they want to explore every nook and cranny and they want freedom to do whatever they want so it's safe to assume that was a major letdown that SE did...but then again the whole FFXIII ''saga'' was a disgrace for the franchise and the genre.
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  • Avatar for quistisstrife30 #115 quistisstrife30 2 years ago
    @violethyena98

    I don't know about all that stuff about her being a strong independent female character and all that other femanist crap you were spewing out in her defence i could care less about.

    I mostly hated lightning because she she was just cold and bitchy and people who just whine and bitch annoy me that and she seemed to be just mean to everyone for no apperent reason at all. and her character design just looks stupid to me her persanality just sucks Thats why i dont like her.

    I liked paine from X-2 and she was a strong independant female character but she didnt feel the need to be all bitchy.
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  • Avatar for wancempoelric12 #116 wancempoelric12 2 years ago
    The problem is with a lengthy storyline for just a simple purpose with confusing naming (f.cie, l.cie, Cie'th, Pulse, GrandPulse,) . Plus Final Fantasy story have emotional attachment to the Character (like FF7,8,9 and 10)but 13 and 12, i dont feel this emotional plus no romantic quest.

    The staggering system is boring. Trust me. Everybody agree on this.

    I believe if they change the naming system, makes lighting a man plus no staggering mode. This game would be awesome.
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  • Some of the complaints here I feel like I have about final fantasy 8 . I would hardly say that 13 is a rare thing in the series..They have had lulls over the course of their history. But some people love 8 anyway...

    I would probably say that 5, 8 , and 13 are the 'dip down' . Though I really didn't care that much for 7 either.

    7 is a a very confused story to me that leaves a lot of open holes, which I see complaints about with 13...Plus Sephiroth is kind of boring....and so is Cloud. That is your main villain and hero and if they are boring well....Now maybe I just don't like their peronalities, or how 'serious ' they are because I played FF9 first (and it's my favorite). I wll admit the character development is pretty good though it doesn't feel quite as fleshed out to me as 6 or 9. I think the point in time it came out- being the first 3D one held it back in that respect, but I have to take that into consideration.

    8 I wasn't able to play all the way through because it kept freezing ....but the pacing is bad. It gets exciting for small portions of the game and then it is plodding along the rest. To be fair I am probably only halfway through disk 2, but it has practically been half the game and things are finally starting to happen. I don't mind the magic system, even though a lot of people hate it....Doesn't this sound like complaints with 13 to you? Though to me at least Squall is interesting- the other characters aren't given as much development (yet) except Sypher and he's okay. I also like Zell.

    And 5 didn't have much story at all but it's probably the one I like the gameplay the most because it has a lot of puzzle elements. if you can figure out a side way to defeat the monster you can win. Plus I like the way the system works...The story is pretty paper thin though, lol

    So yeah Final Fantasy has definitley not been perfect. I think people have inflated in their heads what it is like it's this untouchable of a god of a game series..And it isn't. It has had faults...and there are clumsy aspects to pretty much each game.
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  • Avatar for kylefoerster92 #118 kylefoerster92 2 years ago
    I read this whole review and had simply to state. I am a scientist and a gamer. Your entire argument well... doesn't exist. You gave a very long winded breakdown of the final fantasy franchise and what the final fantasy 13 line brought in new. On top of that to any form of intellectual they can see every word use you have connected with final fantasy 13 includes things like "experiment" "failed" "throw things and see what sticks" you use almost zero actual positive word choice in reference to ff13.

    On top of that you give almost no actual points in reference to WHATS IN THE GAME. Judging it based solely on the fact it was an experiment sure it was a good experiment. Does that mean it was a good game? No, the logic does not follow. If you're going to attempt to support a game use better word choice AND ACTUALLY GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING IN THE GAME.
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  • Avatar for alexandernacht71 #119 alexandernacht71 2 years ago
    Actually it was even worse. Stop defending this terrible, terrible game. The more you defend their mistakes the more of them they'll make.
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  • Thank you! Prior to buying the game, I'd heard terrible reviews on it. However, after buying it and beating it; I didn't understand why the reviews were so bad on Final Fantasy XIII. Personally, I loved the game.
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  • Avatar for NitoAnimo #121 NitoAnimo A year ago
    One too many people say XIII's story is ridiculous but if you just simply looked into it or tried to understand it then maybe it wouldn't be so confusing and the same goes for many other final fantasy games. Final Fantasy XIII's story is based on the mythos they made up called Fabula Nova Crystallis which is Latin for "A story of a new crystal" and final fantasies type 0 and xv are under Fabula Nova Crsytallis which is why they were originally Final Fantasy Aito XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. It is basically the mythos story thing told in different ways and they all involve crystal which have symbolic meanings snd they were all suppose to be just final fantasy xiii just with different versions of itself
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  • Avatar for paulstufkosky11 #122 paulstufkosky11 A year ago
    no the game was awful, there is nothing to admit. The story was produced and presented poorly for the sake of "doing something new" and made it look like a poorly written fan fiction.
    the game play wad weak and exploration wad terrible as well.
    the characters were bland and I am starting to think the only reason the few like it is because it was their first final fantasy. I will never admit that this was a good game and Toriyama's waifu simulator needs to be put to rest.
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  • Avatar for IcOlOsI #123 IcOlOsI A year ago
    All right people, it's 2016 and Im still playing XIII. The hate for the game comes from three simple things: 1)It's not an open world to explore, 2) it doesn't have a complex twisted story (like VII, VIII, IX, and even VI) and 3) it breaks the idea of wathever previous final fantasy game yo played before:

    The worlds in XIII are linear because they need to be. In Cocoon the main characters try to find what to do with their lives and not to become monsters, then they decide to get to Eden and destroy the main force, but a plot twist (not as bizarre as being a clone in VII or IX) happens, it is revealed that they are being manipulated by some superior entity: the fal'Cie. So what to do? Oh right! Let's go and explore the Cocoon, while every simple human, fal'Cie and creature on it try to kill us. Yeah, that's why you dont explore Cocoon, you simply can't, ain't need for it. In others FF the world opened to give you the feeling of freedom, thing of VII, or VIII, even in XII. In Cocoon you can´t do that. But then there is Gran Pulse. In Pulse you are free to explore 3 huge areas, with minigames and missions, but then again, you do it by foot? By Chocobo? You wanted an airship like the Lindblum to explore the whole damn planet with a time bomb on your arm? (l'cie brand).

    And this is mixed with the story too: the fundamental thing that isn´t explained at the very begining of the game is the plot of the whole game, names like Orphan, Barthandelus, or even Etro, are not even mention until you are about half to finish the game. Think about the first time you hear about Jenova, about Terra the location in IX (You could'nt explore that place either right?) And what happens in between?: The story of the XIII days, the realization of each character to become something the where not: Sah'z fight till the end, Snow being aware he can't save everybody, Fang with the frustation of not save Vanylle, Hope the strenght of not being strong enough, and of course: Lightning transformation from a cold soldier to a brave warrior with a poropuse (she is not a clone, but come on: no parents, sister crystalized and about to become a monster and die). And in the end, like in all FF games, all the characters find their own strenght, in this case, they found it early on, and keep it until they destroy the main enemy. But is written for the player not to know what is going on since the begining.

    And that is the beauty of the game: It's not a traditional RPG, it's a story with beautiful scenarios, great animation, and a gameplay that is fun (once you get it, remember the junction system, the materia, the grid), the crystarium, the paradygm system, and the leveling of the weapons is a way to replace the character level (Did you notice your character doesn't gain experience, but Crystal points?) the job system (in XIII is used dynamicly to help each other, that is the main goal: Commando and ravager works to stagger an enemy, while the medic or synergist maintain them alive), and the weapons upgrade (replacing the necesity to find A LEGENDARY weapon, cause such thing exists in the weapon itself: imagine if trough a crystal or a metal you could turn the buster sword into the ultima weapon).

    XIII is an experience to enjoy and watch, it's not another big map, is a world that is destined to break, to be destroyed, as seen in the sequels. Is an exploration of the characters IN THE MOMENT, not before (just like VIII and the orphan ting, or VII with Cloud's past). The l'Cie are destined to lose in the moment, just in that exact moment of their lives. And that is something that others FF games haven't done, and we cannot accept the fact that this game doesn't have a background, other stories where no one ever have been since 500 before (Pulse) an illussion of time and the choice of some humans to defy gods (and I guess that resumes the ending of the game).
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  • Avatar for FreeRPGer #124 FreeRPGer A year ago
    Indeed, thanks for writing this -- 'tis a very good article.

    Back when FF XIII came out in 2010, I got it for the PS3.
    At first I hated it -- got rid of it.
    Then over 5 years later I bought it again -- now I like it lots.
    Let me explain:

    I started playing it after I got it, eager, but by the time I got about 15 hours into it I found that I hated it. I'm an avid video game collector, and I brought my PS3 version back to the used bin, which is something I usually never do, especially since I'm highly into JRPGs and classic FF games. I pretty much love every SquareSOFT Final Fantasy game, with FFX being the last one I really liked.

    Back when I got FF XIII, the battle system seemed too “auto pilot” to me, and the story didn't pop out at me enough; it seemed too vague, with a bunch of titles being thrown around in the dialogue that were never explained.

    Then, recently in 2016, I found the entire FF XIII trilogy together for dirt cheap, but for the Xbox 360, so I bought it again.
    Willing to give it a 2nd try with a fresh mind, I started playing the 1st one again. By 20 hours into it, the battle system grew on me because I set the battles' default to “commands” instead of “auto,” and I understood “staggering” better. Also, this time I followed the story much better, because I kept reading the story logs as I went through the game, keeping me more up to speed with the plot and lore.

    Tips that worked for me:
    Story-wise, my best tip is to read up on the story logs as you go, to get a better grip on what's going on with the tale.
    Battle system-wise, I went with reading the tutorials, and then I flowed with the fighting more, and went for the staggers. This battle system has its ups & downs, as it’s faster paced. I prefer turn based. Fighting Eidolons was the most frustrating thing about this battle system at first, but once I got the hang of it, beating them felt very rewarding.

    Yeah, FF XIII is linear, but it actually works with this game. It’s a different feel.

    The bottom line is I think that classic FF fans have certain expectations with the "Final Fantasy" name, and with something so different like this, it throws fans off. I do highly prefer the older games, but this is a new & different twist that keeps one on one’s toes.

    Summing this up, I can say that I really like Final Fantasy XIII now. And since I bought the whole trilogy, I can’t wait to play the 2nd and 3rd ones right after this.Edited 4 times. Last edited April 2016 by FreeRPGer
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