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This review was submitted by Jenn Christodoulou. If you’ve played Final Fantasy XIII, or just want to ask Jenn more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
The Final Fantasy titles have given us a lot of memories over the years. They have made us laugh, they have made us cry, and they have taken us through encounters with meteors, evil sorceresses and Sin. From each Final Fantasy gamers have learnt something… and with Final Fantasy XIII, a lot of people have learnt the limits of their patience.
Graphics: Everybody knew that Final Fantasy XIII was going to set a benchmark for console graphics and it does not disappoint. Even playing the game on a standard definition television, Final Fantasy XIII looks crisp, clear and stunning.
Characters: Though you might not like them in the beginning, the characters will grow on you. Sazh will make you laugh, Vanille will make you smile and Lightning will elicit the same reaction every stoic Final Fantasy character did; for me, that's sitting there the whole time yelling “SMILE goddamn you!”
Another thing I liked was the inclusion of an Australian accent in the voice line-up. Vanille and Fang both have very recognisable Aussie accents, and though they seem sorely out of place at first, by the end of the game it sounds like home.
Battle System: It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s fun to watch your characters wail on huge enemies and win. Tutorials explaining the various aspects of battles inform you without overloading you, and are easy to understand without too much jargon (think of the junction tutorial from Final Fantasy VIII if you can do so without it hurting too much.) The battles flow much smoother than they have in any other game, and even though you only control the one character you never find yourself sitting idle with nothing to do.
The Beginning: The first 20 or so hours of the game is like driving down a one way street in a golf caddy; it’s new and different at first but pretty soon you just wanna get off. The game gets off to a very slow, linear start. The first hour or two is spent fighting enemies you don’t even gain experience for, and the other 18 you spend going where the game tells you and nowhere else.
Difficulty Wall: From Chapter 11 onwards players are given a little freedom as the game begins to open up, however the developers have decided that freedom comes at a price, and upped the difficulty of the game by about ten levels. And if you’re thinking your Eidolons will save you, think again. Eidolons are more or less useless, and relying on them to win your battle is a bad, bad, terrible idea… another let down. The only way to overcome the difficulty wall is to grind and grind and grind some more!
Patience is a virtue and Final Fantasy rewards the virtuous. Though the plot trundled along slowly, the hours that went by whilst playing moved quickly. Final Fantasy gets very good very slowly, but it’s worth it if you can stick it out.
Reviewed By: Jenn Christodoulou
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.