A "gamer" since way before the term was coined, I have been playing video games in one form or another since the 1980s.
An Honest Review of Final Fantasy XIII
Very few video games have garnered the popularity and notoriety that the Final Fantasy series has. With the 13th major installment in the series from Square Enix, Final Fantasy XIII continues with another epic story utilizing the original gameplay that the Final Fantasy series is so well known for. Released in early 2010, Final Fantasy XIII follows the tale of Lightning, a female protagonist seeking a way to save her sister and her homeland from the evil enemy Cocoon.
Final Fantasy XIII Summary
With Lightning's sister Serah trapped in a state of stasis by means of a crystal trap, she becomes an enemy of Cocoon due to her involvement with the creatures living on Pulse, a looming overhead planet. Having demonized the whole planet and all who live there, the citizens of Cocoon are bent on imprisoning anyone who comes into contact with any of the foreign creatures, regardless of their intent. When Lightning sets out on her journey to help Serah complete her goal and eventually be released from her crystalline prison, her adventure spirals out of control and eventually leads her straight to Pulse.
During her journey, she meets some powerful friends who help her set Serah free, but each of them has their own particular storylines that completely change the world and the course of history.
Comparing Linearity vs Sidequests
I miss the side quests that are so popular in Final Fantasy!
Unlike a lot of the other installments in the series, Final Fantasy XIII is a very straightforward game and gives little choice in objectives and side quests. While the storyline is creative and at times can be intriguing, one of the biggest complaints from many players (myself included) is the linearity of the storyline.
There are very few opportunities available for the player to set out to already visited areas, and not until the later stages of the game will the player get the opportunity to explore at his or her own pace. This leaves a sense of lack of choice and control, which is what players of the Final Fantasy series often look for in a good role-playing game.
Previous installments were intensely popular because of the number of side quests and miscellaneous stories that were optional but sometimes more enjoyable than the main storyline.
Paradigms Are the Key to the Games Redemption
The redeeming factor of Final Fantasy XIII is the fast-paced, exciting battle system. Using a new concept called Paradigms, the controller is able to set predefined battle tactics that can be quickly changed in combat.
The battle team is made up of three people at a time that can be swapped out for other characters, leading to a large selection of Paradigm groups. However, only one party leader can be controlled at a time while the other characters are controlled by the Artificial Intelligence of the game.
The secondary character AI of Final Fantasy XIII is highly functional, and the computer uses the selected Paradigms to control the characters as you want them to act. To realize the most success in battle, a player has to understand the Paradigm system and use the different Paradigms to make combat decisions based on the enemy and its actions. What results is an interactive battle system that flows beautifully and keeps the player consistently engaged.
Final Rating for FF XIII
I still love playing this game!
Final Fantasy XIII gets my rating of 7 out of 10.
While the linearity of the storyline is touted as uninspiring and sometimes boring, the battle system makes up for any downfalls.
The graphics are stunning at times and are state of the art for a video game released in early 2010, although work on the project actually began as early as 2004.
If you enjoy RPGs and the Final Fantasy series, this game is worth a try.
How Would You Rate Final Fantasy XIII?
© 2012 Hal Gall
Feedback and Comments
Hal Gall (author) from Bloomington, IN on October 27, 2012:
@TransplantedSoul: Yeppers. My kids and I have played the FF series since day 1. It has to rank up there as the all-time best classic RPG series. Oblivion fans might argue the point though...
TransplantedSoul on October 27, 2012:
There is a reason this series keeps going and going!