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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.
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.
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.