Finally completed Final Fantasy XIII’s main story line on 16th September 2010 after more than 100 hours of game play – most of the time was spent looking for materials and grinding (leveling up). I really enjoyed the overall experience and think Square Enix did a great job in making the whole game a tutorial without the player actually realising it (until it’s too late! HAHAHA)!
Looking back at the game now, it feels as if the whole game was prep’ing you up for the C’ieth stone missions in the game which I appreciate because it made the game less repetitive and more interesting. Some of the opponents you face in these missions can’t be defeated just by mashing the “A” button and putting everything on auto pilot. You need a strategy to defeat these tough opponents (you can cheat by looking it up on the internet of course).
I absolutely love the paradigm system introduced in this game. Each character will have a “role” in the party (which may be the same as another member) and that role will dictate what that member does and what abilities they have. Instead of confusing you with all 6 roles right of the bat, the game cleverly creates several small parties so that you have a smaller combination of these roles and for you to familiarise yourself with these roles. Once you think you’ve gotten the hang of the current options and combinations, something new will be given to you so you can experiment further!
FFXIII looks amazing. From the character designs to the different maps you visit everything just looks so beautiful. The levels you visit are actually huge! It takes quite a while for you to get from the start of the map until the end of the map where you face the boss of that level. I love the animation sequence and effects of special attacks like when you summon your Eidolon but I especially admire the effects of the special attacks you acquire after completing the game (e.g. Lightning’s “Army of One”).
I liked how FFXIII was a little different to the traditional JRPG in that the maps were “linear” and you didn’t have to explore towns. A lot of amateur reviews have complained about this saying that it didn’t feel like a Final Fantasy game which I thought was a rubbish argument. I thought this actually helped with the story line’s pace and let’s be honest if you was a fugitive, you wouldn’t spend an hour inspecting every pebble in the streets to look for items you can sell or upgrade your weapon with, would you? Also, it’s something new
But there were elements about FFXIII which I disliked. The pace of the story was ok, but the cut scenes do start to get annoying after a few hours of them. I don’t know if it’s the typical Japanese anime lines that I was hearing or the fact that they became quite repetitive after a while (about how they control their own destiny, etc…).
Another thing I didn’t like is that the Eidolons didn’t have much function in the game. I liked how they acted as a mini boss and the beautiful cg sequence when you summon them, etc… but there wasn’t really a need to summon them. I do it for fun from time to time but there was only one battle where I felt I need to summon them. They are amazing and creative designs but Square Enix failed to give us a reason to see them from time to time!
And Lastly, I think they stretched the last stage a bit too much. I was, unknown to me, nearing the final boss but I thought to myself, “is this even going to end?!”.
Overall, I thought FFXIII is a really good game which tried to do something different and because of it’s long running franchise, upset a few people. I felt that they could probably have cut a few of the cut scenes but the whole universe is very well thought out and I think the game designer(s) wanted all the players to see his work.