Reader Review: Final Fantasy XIII

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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.


    haha, patience is indeed a prerequisite for this game.

    It is nice to see some aussie accents (or hear, as it were) but damn Vanille's voice gets on my nerves

    I disagree with the summon criticism. If underlevelled, the only way to beat the adamantoise is to use summons.

    Also, they look awesome and insta-heal after gestalt mode is a neat way to get back on the horse without using renew and wasting TP.

    Gotta love this game.
    My patience did wear thin in this game but was well worth it for when i reached chapter 11 when the game opened up.
    It just redeemed the 15 hours of "corridor with enemies" gameplay.

    How do we submit reviews??

    P.S: Vanille is up there with Amy Rose ...

      Please refer to the instructions at the foot of the post.

    We had an Aussie accent in ME2, playing one of the physically sexiest charaters in the game.

    I'm at Chapter 11 and honestly, after 25 hours of being in a corridor, the freedom scared me. Kind of like an animal raised in captivity and being released in the wild, unable to fend for itself.

    It's fantastic to hear Aussie accents in games of this calibre, its just a pity the voice talent for Vanille hit below the mark. Fang however is excellent.

    Vanille's entire character doesn't translate particularly well from the Japanese mindset to the western unfortunately.

    Ross - Funny how they gave the Aussie accents again to the two hottest chicks...

    Also funny: Vanille and Fang being from Gran Pulse - The wasteland filled with dangerous creatures - having Australian accents. Most people would see Austrlia as being the 'Gran Pulse' of Earth. Especialy those wimpy poms.

    I loved it when the game opened up in Chapter 11, but I wasn't disappointed with the way the game started. I think what we saw was exactly the same as any previous FF has offered, they have just all done it differently. One way or another FF always limits your freedom at first, then slowly it gives you the tools to get more freedom.

    Like Gordon said, Patience is a requirement for any FF. Except number 1, that takes about 15mins to finish.

      Australia is not a wasteland filled with dangerous creatures have you even been there ? I guess not
      Only 15% of the whole country lives on farm land the other 85% live in the city or the suburbs, do your home work before you say some thing stupid you americans should stop putting down other country’s because at the end the jokes on you at least we don’t have alcoholics, criminals and fat people every where
      if you want to play that card

    I agree with the Summons. Totally pointless, and incredibly irritating to gain. I hated the fact that you HAD to fight the eidolons with characters that the game dictated - especially Vanille's. That battle was the most frustrating battle I think I've ever come accross in an FF - The fact that even though you're walking the area with the entire group, you MUST use Fang and Vanille... where the hell is the rest of the group?

    I seriously felt that the eidolon fights were put in just to try the players patience, and a way for the devs to say: "You must fight using these techniques, even if that's not the role you have your characters playing".

    And on top of that, the three times I've used an eidolon in battle, they've done sweet F-all, so I never even use them.

    Where Im at in the game the only way to crack 100 thousand boppos is with Alexander. It's funny how although each new iteration has drastic changes some things always stay the same. I couldn't recommend the game to everyone myself but theres absolutely nothing I could think of that tops skipping down that beautiful one way road.

    I agree that Vanille's accent isn't quite as polished as Fang's. Admittedly for the first part of the game I couldn't decide whether her accent had a New Zealand type twang, or whether it was indeed Australian.

    Summons still frustrate me, given that in MY game, they're still kinda useless. I do however like that they do act as an instant heal for your party. That aspect I really did like, especially since most of the enemies kick your ass.

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