Reader Review: Final Fantasy XIII

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Rob does, as he does all his shopping at save points.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Rob Churchill. If you’ve played Final Fantasy XIII, or just want to ask Rob more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

Square Enix's latest journey into the Final Fantasy series, a Japanese role-playing game staring several characters whose individual stories are slowly intertwined together into an overall larger one.

Loved

Visuals: The game is an absolute treat for the eyes. The game shines even brighter on a tuned HDTV. This game alone justifies the effort!

Music: Square follows up the visual attack by queuing up an impressive audio assault. The ambient music seamlessly fits with on screen play. A tuned audio system further heightens the immersion.

Pace: This will be hit and miss. When I felt like I had enough running around and battling, a cutscene played to break it up. When I had enough of an area, along comes the next one, different from the previous, but still a feast for the eyes.

In video games, I've always wanted the option to spend more time in a particular place or setting. The developers spend a lot of time and effort making it, so it seems wasted if its just blitzed through and not fully appreciated.

Most games are not geared for the player who wants to spend time standing still. Final Fantasy 13 rewards the player wanting to become at some points simply a viewer of the world. It doesn't punish you for wanting to marvel at the world developers have poured their hearts and souls into.

Hated

Where are my friends going? Your team mates will often just start running off ahead of you for no apparent reason. They somehow don't trigger battles with monsters, even if they run in front of them. When you try though, bam, instant battle. They somehow just pop back at your side to fight. When you come out of battle, off they go again...

That dang fangled camera! Camera is very unfriendly. When you just want to look at the world, it works wonderfully. When it comes time to actually use it while running around, absolute nightmare. And don't bother trying to quickly flick it around; nothing happens quickly where the camera's concerned.

Voices: I can listen to anime in its native tongue, but I can’t stand the voice acting in this. It’s either the timing of the delivery, or the attempts to have the character say nothing at all (read: sighing), it just doesn’t come off right.

Linear: The game is very linear. It's strictly Point A to Point B. Cutscenes at the beginning and end of each section. And then some in the middle. The few alternate paths are really only to satisfy the curious explorer, providing only trinkets but nothing that is absolutely needed by the player. But is that a bad thing? It really depends on what playing video games means to you.

At the very least, you’re doing yourself a disservice by ruling it out because it’s 'just another RPG'. I’ve never played a Final Fantasy before this one, but I’m finding myself looking forward each time to the next time.

Reviewed by: Rob Churchill

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.


Comments

    I just started playing it today.

    When they first climbed out of the train wreck at the start of the game it looks terrible. Very low textures.

    Its getting better though and Im sure it will look better when there are more diverse areas to explore.

    I agree that the camera is HORRIBLE.

    The characters are very stereotypical but I guess this is to be expected, right?

    Overall I feel interested but it feels rather flat. Atleast the developers have done well to create a cool game world to play in.

    Isnt this game meant to have an install? I didnt ever notice it installing.

      No install on the PS3. Cannot comment on the Xbox version, although there is a disc swap later on.

    I thought the music was amog the very worst ever composed for a FF game. From rubbish 'twangy' guitar riffs in completely inappropriate places, to some hilarious harmonica tunes, I don't know WTF is going on!

    Vanille is hands down,the stupidest character to ever exist in a video game - my hatred of her knows no bounds. I honestly think that Square-Enix are taking the piss with her. They know she is god awful, and just decided to go along with her. The mute button has been overworked avoiding her >:/ Whenever she is in your party, expect the VA to sound like dodgy Aussie/Jap pr0n.

    It's dreadfully linear for about, oooh, 6 hours, and it continues to hold your hand for another dozen or so, not letting you make mistakes or try too many 'crazy' things.

    The storyline is all kinds of preposterous too.

    Aaaand despite all that, I am still really enjoying myself in the world of FFXIII!

      Worst character in a videogame? Surely you haven't played Star Ocean: The Last Hope then, right?
      I forget her name, but noone could top the little girl character, 'kay? :(

        Vanille has her covered, with about 99% of her repotoire of stupidness unused and spare.

          Actually, I would agree with CMRD, after playing both Star Ocean: Last Hope and FFXIII (and finishing them both) I would say that the little girl from Star Ocean is far more annoying... I'm trying to remember her name, but I'm pretty sure my brain is trying to block it out at the same time...

            Lymle or something wasn't it?

    hey bro was re-playing deus ex for the millionth time, though of you are your obsession and year off lol

    Great review, agreed on the positive side. It's interesting to see though that most people have a slightly different view on what they liked and didn't like.

    I disagree with the hated stuff (just my opinion). I quite liked how the characters would run off on their own, or talk to you or one another on the odd occasion, far better then them mimicking your every step behind you or not being on screen at all and then magically appearing when there is a fight like some rowdy friends.

    The voice acting I thought was great, might not compare with some anime, but this is a westernised version of the game, and also it's a game, not an anime. Far better than most voice acting I've seen/heard. Also the whole Vanille/Fang hailing from pulse/down-under with aussie accents was great.

    Lastly, the linear argument. I agree with the developer. It's linear till a certain point, and I feel most people would find the story and gameplay difficult to grasp if given full freedom from the beginning. Notice everyone says it's linear till about 20 hours in? That means everyone has experienced the same progression in the story in that time. Given freedom and those cutscenes/story would have been broken up by indefinite amounts of time making it not so easy to absorb the story.

    Once again though, nice review.

      Thank you Trent.

      The running off wasn't so much the problem, it was more that when they did they didn't trigger monsters in a superhuman fashion, something that was impossible for the player to replicate.
      If they ran ahead but were smart enough to stop before an encounter it would have added just that little more.

      Although if you are just busy soaking up the visuals (from Green, to Blue to Red) it means the NPCs won't be busy nagging you to hurry up and move along. Part of the Pacing I suppose.

      Cheers to Kotaku for putting my review up!

    Wow there is so much Vanille hate. I just don't get it. She may not have the most soothing voice but personally I have found many more characters that annoy me more... Yuffie for example.

    Overall X is still my favourite but this one is pretty close to it. Both very linear but the story has been strong enough to pull me forward and not mind the linearity.

    As for the review... good job. A very nice balanced view.

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