Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Chris tells himself that each of his fantasies is final, yet this is his 13th one.
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This review was submitted by Chris McCulloch. If you’ve played FFXIII, or just want to ask Chris more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Final Fantasy seems to have become a series that is either titularly half-ironic or wholly ironic, depending on the volume. For every massive high (VII), there is a less than stellar counterpart (VIII). Despite this, the games all set like hot cakes in a fat camp, leaving it up to the individual to decide whether a purchase is necessary. So after three years of tinkering away, what kind of foul beast have Square Enix unleashed on the world?
Those Graphics: It happens every time you get a Final Fantasy home. In goes the disc, and out pop the eyeballs at Square's amazing ability to seem to push every single pixel to the limit. XIII is no exception, and is one of the first games where I've had to actively squint at the screen to see when it cuts from FMV to gameplay.
Play That Funky Music: I’m not gonna lie – I got all teary eyed when Nobuo Uematsu left the series. But Masashi Hamauzu is a worthy successor, and punctuates the game with some beautiful background music that always seems to add to the scene, but never distract. Tracks such as ‘Ragnarok’ catapult this over the shoulders of XII and X with leisurely ease.
The Active Time Battle Is Actually Active: One major gripe I’ve had with the series is the ATB has never seemed too… well… active really. I mean have you ever seen a real person simply bob up and down in a fight, waiting to unleash their fury? Luckily, XIII builds on XII’s somewhat ‘free range’ ATB and allows you to manage one character in a battle, while still telling your teammates what to do (heal, attack, assist). More pew = happy gamer.
Those Graphics (again): Seriously, damn. I mean just… damn.
The Linearity: I know there’s been a lot of debate on whether the extreme linearity imposed on the player is a good thing or a sign of the apocalypse. For what it’s worth, I think it’s not a bad thing per se, but eliminating villages, NPC interaction and forcing you along one path for so much of the game seems like a departure from the series for no real reason at all.
The Voice Actors: Seriously, can we find a male voiceover artist who doesn’t sound like Nolan North? I keep expecting Snow to pull someone off a cliff and make a comment about boobs. For some reason, there are also Australian accents. I don’t know why, and frankly, it frightens me.
Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is better than average. Far, far better than average actually. Sure there are some problems with it, but I defy you to find one Final Fantasy without it’s own issues (Wakka, anyone?). Perhaps a tad too linear, but the gorgeous visuals and brilliant music more than make up for it, and ensure it will be remembered for a long time to come yet.
Reviewed by: Chris McCulloch
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.