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This review was submitted by Ben Carey. If you’ve played Final Fantasy XIII, or just want to ask Ben more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Ever since I finished Final Fantasy XII my mouth has been watering for the next instalment in the series. Three years later, it’s finally here. But, the million dollar question is: was it worth the wait?
Paradigm Shift: The paradigm shift system is freakin’ awesome because it adds another layer of strategy to combat. Although it’s a little irritating setting up paradigms in the first half of the game, where your teams keep switching, when you are finally able to pick your team and set them up the way you like them it’s a godsend.
Visuals: The graphics are amazing. Although that’s what we were saying about Final Fantasy VII wasn’t it? (‘Wow, it’s so lifelike.’) The cinematics are particularly breathtaking, especially when they deal with water-based events or fight scenes.
Longevity: This is the first game in a long time which took me longer than two days to finish. Although most won't clock the 100+ hours it was so easy to do in the previous games, it still has a solid 50-60 hours worth of gameplay, which is rare in this generation of games.
Dialogue: The dialogue is severely lacking, especially in comparison to Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2, which both have such impressive writing. Half of the dialogue is cheesy and makes you cringe and the other half you’ve heard a million times before.
Linearity: The game is painfully linear. The entire thirty-odd hours you spend on Cocoon are linear. The only free-roaming section is when you arrive on Pulse, and even then, your choices are limited: grind, take on a mission or follow the story. This linearity, to me, seems like a severe step backwards. Think back to VII and VIII where they allowed you to run, and fly, freely around the world map. In X this ability was restricted somewhat with the integration of universal scale, but then XII opened it back up again with its huge in-game world.
Lack Of Side Quests: One of the most infuriating things was the lack of side quests and mini-games. VII had The Golden Saucer (Chocobo racing, Battle square, that Motorbike game etc); VIII had Triple Triad, an immensely fun and universal card game; X had Blitzball (possibly the best mini-game of all time); and although XII didn’t have mini-games it had Marks, which were pretty fun.
The salt in the wound, however, is that they introduce you to the Nautilus Theme Park (Golden Saucer 3000) and go ‘Hey look at all this cool stuff’ and then chuck you into a battle and never let you explore the park. That is just plain cruel.
All in all, if you can overlook the bad dialogue and seriously sketchy storyline and focus on the visuals and the engaging new combat system then you will have fun with this game. If narrative and character development are dear to you, then this is not the game for you.
Reviewed by: Ben Carey
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.