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FFXIII

Posted by meronpan on April 10, 2010

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If you really enjoyed FFXIII, this is probably not a post that’ll sit well with you.  I pass no judgment if you thought it was great… in fact I’d be a little envious since I have been playing the series for so long and am sad that this installment failed to match up to my expectations.  If you’d like to commiserate on how FFXIII fell short of glory, well, let’s get started… (major spoilers!)

A little bit on where I’m coming from… My first Final Fantasy experience was with the english release on NES.  My uncle had it and until I was able to get my own copy, I poured over the Nintendo Power strategy guide, taking in every last detail of the adventures of BORS, TOTH, JED and LEE.

Since then I’ve partaken in as much Final Fantasy as I could get my hands on… FFIV (II) was amazing, FFVI (III) perhaps had too many characters for my liking, but a memorable and great experience.  For IIj, IIIj and V I tried out fan translations, then also played the official english releases when they came out.  I must’ve put in over 300 hours in VII, mindlessly conquering weapons or acquiring golden chocobos… on multiple occasions… ^^;;;

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VIII and IX had their own charm, X sat well with me.  X-2 reeked of fan service from the get go and fulfilled my expectations ^^;  I played XI for awhile before I became addicted to wow.  XII I’m not sure because I played the japanese release and the story was a bit complicated for my reading comprehension at the time. :P

So that brings us to XIII… I wanted to run down the list of Final Fantasies over the years because, well, XIII ranks in as my least favorite Final Fantasy of all time.  Where to begin…

Story/Characters

This can easily make or break any game I play, but for a final fantasy, it’s particularly important.  Why?  Because personally, JRPGs are nothing if not a story with some gameplay thrown on top.  Unlike western RPGs where you shape the character’s personality and actions, in JRPGs you’re generally being told a story – when you get control of a character you are simply seeing the narrative from that character’s point of view.  You’re not making any big decisions that shape the character’s motives or personality.

XIII was unable to engage me with its characters nor its plot.  Names didn’t help… Lightning?  Hope?  Snow?  Definitely got me off on the wrong foot.  Trying to ignore names I actually was initially able to interest myself in Lightning… stoic, ruthless, cares for her sister.  Not really original, but nothing is original nowadays so that was fine.  But then she starts getting all concerned for Hope.  I just couldn’t buy it.  Her whole change of heart and failure to make Hope confront his idiotic need for vengeance just seemed stupid.

from the official site

Gah, and Hope!  He’s such a little bitch.  He was being taken away to be exterminated by the government, his mom tries to fight to protect him, government ship blasts the shit out of her and snow, snow tries to save her but can’t.  Who does he get mad at?  Oh, snow of course!  Brilliant!  … … -_-  His dumb operation nora, his dumb feelings, his dumb weakness… yeah he’s a kid but that didn’t make him any less annoying.  I think I ended up cringing every time he opened his mouth to speak.

Didn’t think it could get worse, but the insanely cheesy use of his name with Lightning’s monologue… talking to Hope… about hope?  Seriously?  Not one translator raised their hand and said, “Are you insane, this sounds horrible!”?  I pray that at least in the Japanese release she said, 希望 (kibou == hope).

The conflicts the characters go through made sense… a whole world against you, your life ticking away, feelings of despair… but the whole thing with eidolons appearing every time you wavered?  I’m sorry, but it gets old pretty quick seeing each and every character go through the exact same emotional swing and have the exact same outcome.  Get sad, defeat a monster, OK, ready to go!

from the official site

To make things worse that whole theme repeats itself ad nauseam even outside the whole eidolon thing.  omg, what do we do?  I give up.  No wait, we have to keep going!  As long as we fight true to our hearts! … … over and over and over again.   -_-  Somehow they managed to make me completely jaded to the characters’ plights.  Eventually everyone just feels bipolar.  orz we’re doomed one minute and fight no matter the cost, save cocoon! the next.

So many nice plot hooks that I feel they just didn’t execute well.  They should’ve kept Hope’s mother in the party for a lot longer.  Like at least a quarter of the game or something – make the player care about her.  Maybe then Hope losing his mind and acting like an idiot would be more acceptable when she died (though while we’re at it, it would be a lot better to rewrite him to make sense :P).  But no, she dies minutes after we’re introduced to her… opportunity wasted.

Likewise with the whole Pulse excursion.  The party gets back to a world that Vanielle and Fang haven’t seen for hundreds of years, another home of Fal’cie… yet do you uncover anything interesting about the Fal’cie or lore in general?  No!  You arrive at a creepy city that’s been abandoned for who knows how many years simply to hop on a ship right back to cocoon.  No cool reveal or anything.  Old fal’cie man appears and tells you he’s gonna screw cocoon with your help or not, but what else is new?  orz

from the official site

Blegh and the ending.  You return to cocoon to stop the cavalry from killing orphan… but it turns out they were never gonna be able to do that anyway.  So instead the party pushes forward… and kills orphan themselves!  Oh wait, isn’t that what old fal’cie man wanted?  o.O  Basically the moral is… never think things through, and leave everything to fate.  Yay.  There was absolutely no prior plot development to indicate that Fang/Vanielle would have any control of themselves when they turned into Ragnarok.  Pretty damn lucky if you ask me.  …and Lightning and company didn’t even seem to have any idea that that was their plan… so what were *they* gonna do to save cocoon from falling to its doom?!  -_-

Top things off with everyone being released from crystal… except fang and vanielle?!  oh how convenient.  Now we can feel sad for our lost heroines.  Except I have no feelings for those characters.  So instead it’s just dumb.

Also, can anyone explain to me how cocoon was saved?  You’ve got a world that’s prejudiced against Pulse that is now without power/food/light (or at least, I thought that’s what we we learned about the cocoon fal’cie)… and their only alternative is to go down to Pulse.  Which is full of dreadful monsters.  And other fal’cie.  Sooooo… how is that good?  Ok, maybe better than the previous fal’cie rule, but… just say’in.

Oh, and can anyone explain Vanielle’s accent to me?  It seemed weirdly artificial because I couldn’t match it up to an accent I’ve heard before.

I think my dislike of the characters spawned disdain of the plot… which made me hate the characters more… spiraled out of control leaving me with a story based game with a lame story.  But surely the gameplay can save it right?!

Combat

…or perhaps it could be the worst combat system in the history of Final Fantasy.  Maybe I just suck at it so I’m frustrated?

from the official site

Well, as it stands, I just cannot fathom why they made it game over when the party leader dies.  Yeah yeah, you can retry from immediately before you get in the encounter, but the more important thing is that you’ve taken away an important tension builder/dimension of strategy from battle.

Though all battles become mind numbingly repetitious in all Final Fantasies, at least the previous iterations allowed for the epic comeback.  You’re fighting a crazy mob, hanging on by a sliver by reviving members left and right… nope, can’t have that anymore!  Leader dies, you have to try again.  You’re forced to keep the leader topped off.

Because of this bosses can’t do instakill attacks that would kill any party member… oh wait, except the last boss can.  ARGH!  Before I had my strategy worked out I was in a particularly long attempt when all of a sudden, *BAM* insta-death.  Game over.  Such a stupid gimmick.  Luckily I had cherub crown or whatever and was able to upgrade it enough for 50% death resistance.  But what if I didn’t?  I woulda had to go back and farm? *sigh*

Maybe the developers envisioned players breaking out of the traditional model and getting into a rapid trial and error cycle… well, ok… but unfortunately you lose the tension of that first battle against the unknown.  After the Nth time you’re fighting a boss, you know his weaknesses, you know the strategy, what items to equip… now it’s just mindless execution.  I dunno, but I place at least some value in trying to get through a fight on my first attempt.

Continuing down the line of thought that players should try different strategies in rapid succession…  if that was the case, why the hell doesn’t the game remember the paradigms you’ve set up for your battle team?!  It is extremely annoying to have to reconfigure all your paradigms every time you switch in a new member.  Are you not supposed to switch around your party members or something? -_-

from official site

XII went out on a limb with the gambit system but at least there you actually switch over and control your other party members.  XIII you’re out of luck, all AI.  Well, that seems pretty simplistic but let’s roll with it on the assumption that the developers want the players to focus on higher level tactics.  That’s how I tried to approach the system but I still get extremely frustrated because I can’t execute one of the most simplistic strategies out there:  DON’T STAND TOGETHER WHEN AN AOE IS COMING.  It is infuriating to have your party stand around like idiots while a king behemoth lands aoe after aoe.  Yes, I can just skip the battle if my characters are underpowered… but I could totally roll this mob if it was just 1 person soaking up damage instead of 3 -_-  Sure there are other ways to mitigate the threat in this situation, but the point is that I’ve been robbed of an obvious, logical strategy.

AI also started screwing me towards the end of the game when my healer kept pushing out esuna instead of healing my leader who was at half or lower health.  They’ve made a retarded system where leader death is game over… made it so that you can’t control your other party members… and your healer doesn’t keep the leader’s HP topped off?!?!?  I coulda sworn I didn’t have that problem earlier in the game, but in the end it was happening more and more often and I’d have to go to a wasteful dual-healer set up so I could personally heal myself.

It is also frustrating to be going from easy 20 second battles to 5 minute failures from one instant to the next.  For example it just seems odd that I can roll over an entire group of tough mobs with a preemptive strike, then die the next battle when a behemoth catches me with two thundagas.

Leveling

Can anyone explain to me why the interface is so horrible?  I constantly skip over nodes to more efficiently build up my characters so when I’m going back to fill in those skipped nodes… it is infuriating that pressing A takes me to the node at the very top of grid (or whatever you call it)!  Left at the top, I now have to use the extremely awkward controls to navigate back down to where I was filling in orbs.  Note to designers: 3D interfaces suck when you can’t accurately specify what direction you want to move in!

from official site

and… you can’t max out your characters until you beat the game?  Seriously?  Whose genius idea was that?  Pretty sure it was just a stupid marketing ploy to lure players into the mindless post game grind  (not that I have anything against mindless grinds.  Do ’em all the time :P).  Newsflash: Players who love your game will do all the extra stuff without any artificial barriers.  I wonder if the developers realized the game was bad and were looking for ways to get people to play more…

Equipment

It’s been awhile since Final Fantasy has featured characters that equip a full set of armor, but I think this is a new record in terms of (the lack of) complexity.  No defense stats?  Just bonuses from weapons and accessories?  I guess that’s not necessarily bad but it just feels too simplistic…

…And couple that with the insane equipment leveling…  Great, a laundry list of strangely named components with hidden multiplier stats?  Yay.  It is such a chore to level things up efficiently.  And why is there a separate menu for upgrading and shopping?!  Adding insult to injury, after you exit one, you can’t immediately open up the other one because there’s a weird delay before “Press A” pops up orz

Maps

You know, I was firmly against all the outcry of linearity before I started playing.  After all JRPG’s story telling ultimately makes them linear.  I had no problem with streamlining the maps to purify the experience.  But with all the other faults this ended up bothering me too.

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In the beginning of the game I was totally in love with it.  This was the ultimate JRPG – they wanted to tell you a story so you just walk down the path pressing A to win.  No needless distractions exploring every last corner of a dungeon, just a pure story telling experience.  Well, the problem with that is if the story is no good you’ve lost your suspension of disbelief and now the whole experience just feels terrible artificial and poorly crafted.

Music

Somehow none of the songs stuck with me.  I remember there being some vocal tracks but I honestly can’t even remember the melody right now.

And the final battle?  I think there was some generic orchestral piece but again, not memorable at all.  Did they even use the crystal room theme once?

Good Stuff

No, I didn’t hate everything ^^;  What I really loved from the beginning was the feeling of wonder and discovery.  The beautiful graphics and locales really take you away to another world.  All the weird terminology and lore really had me excited.  (now if only they did something with it all!  orz)

Paradigm system – though combat in general didn’t sit well with me, I did think the paradigm system worked alright.  Combined with the AI I think this may be the first time I’ve been able to use buffs/debuffs without the hassle of micromanagement.

Explicit end game – while I hated the artificial limit to leveling I did like that they were actually thinking about end game grinding and put in that final save.  Would have preferred new game+ though -_-

So what went wrong?

I wonder if it’s just me getting older and being more less inclined to suspend disbelief.  Or was the game really that much worse than previous Final Fantasies?  As an engineer I thrive on logic.  Things must make sense.  They must be consistent.  When you break away from these expectations, you better have some good reasons to do so.  Or provide something else for me to latch on to for amusement.  Things simply can’t be epic if they’re stupid.  Well, they can be epically stupid, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the goal.

At the end of the day, I just didn’t have fun.  Perhaps if I didn’t suck so bad at the combat I would’ve just had a mediocre experience and could’ve turned a blind eye to all the plot stuff that didn’t make sense or annoyed me…  Instead I had a rough time here and there and it was insult to injury.  Why’d I dump 48 hours into it?  Well, because it being Final Fantasy, I had an obligation to finish it ^^;

from official site

Squaresoft… what happened ;_;  Just… too cheesy, too much focus on the fluff.  Felt like they’ve totally forgotten what makes a great Final Fantasy/JRPG.  Not really sure why they’re so hesitant to make an FFVII remake.  It sure would’ve been a lot better than this -_-

bleh.  Bottom line… people have different tastes… as I mentioned at top, I’m actually envious of those of you that liked the game.  So really for all my ranting… I’m just sad I went in wanting to love this game so much… and ended up so disappointed.

以上!

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28 Responses to “FFXIII”

  1. Smithy said

    Haven’t played any of the FF games but have been reading poor player experiences about this latest one.

    The combat system can do a lot as if it is bad or you have to struggle against it, it takes a lot of fun out of the game. Which is the reason I gave up on e.g. “Xenosaga II”.

    Haven’t adored a JRPG since “Star Ocean 3 Till The End Of Time” (poured in 300 hours easy). Hope to find another one someday that’s just as fun.

    • meronpan said

      With the flash of today’s games I think it gets harder and harder to convince people of the greatness of older stuff with their dated graphics and game play… for what it’s worth, I can say that growing up, the experiences of FFI (nes), FFIV & FFVI (snes) were nothing short of amazing ^^;

      argh xenosaga… i was (am ^^;) totally in love with the characters & story of xenogears, which totally blew my expectations for xenosaga out of proportion. because of those misplaced expectations it was pure suffering through the 2nd game and i didn’t have the heart to pick up the third ^^;;

      never got around to the star ocean series… have some ps2’s laying around, perhaps I should pick up a copy ^^;

  2. Persocom said

    Well, I started my journey through Final Fantasy at my son’s age. Picked up the first Final Fantasy for the NES and loved it until recent years. I don’t feel like picking up a PS3 and this game is no exception, or Xbox, or whatever. I really got bored of Final Fantasy games after X-2 I think. I mean I bought XII and it’s still sitting here unfinished. I just lost the passion or something. It’s probably not just you being and older player, it really does feel like Final Fantasy has lost it’s flame over the years. I used to go crazy every time a new one released, but now I couldn’t care less. I guess I’ll just hug onto my good old magicite and wait for the return of Kefka. I can safely say that FFXIII sounds completely boring, frustrating and I’m glad I didn’t bother.

    • meronpan said

      yeah i was lucky my roommates and i chipped in for an xbox awhile ago so i didn’t have to buy a system just to play the game. would’ve been pretty disappointing if i bought one just to play this game ^^;

      mmm yes, i also remember the days when i would also be crazy over ff release dates… those were the days ^^ part of me feels like final fantasy hasn’t matured with its fan base. or perhaps it acquired a new fan base that i just don’t share tastes with…

  3. punynari said

    Yup, that pretty much what I’ve been hearing about FFXIII. General disappointment.

    Personally, I still haven’t “upgraded” to the ps3 because I’m still in love with how they made the old school PS1 and PS2 Japanese rpgs. As soon as I start seeing Final Fantasy games as good as Final Fantasy 8 and below, then maybe I’ll venture into the next generation of consoles. Till then, I’ll be happy with my Valkyrie Profile, Atelier Iris, Xenosaga (1 and 3), Star Ocean 1-3, Final Fantasy IV-VIII, and Suikoden 1, 2, and V.

    • meronpan said

      i don’t have a ps3 yet either, played it on the 360 ^^; but yeah, i have my trusty ps2’s handy as well. (one is the japanese console ^^;)

      i’m ashamed to say i haven’t played valkyrie profile, altelier iris, xenosaga 3, star ocean, nor suikoden ^^;; i should hit up the used game stores next time in akiba… would be some great japanese practice ^^

  4. omgwtf said

    Well…it’s not Squaresoft anymore it’s Square-Enix. That’s the answer to “what happened?”.
    As for me FF games (actually all the games from SE) aren’t really what they used to be since FFX. At least FFX had a nice theme song.

    • meronpan said

      but you’d think the merger of two of the large japanese rpg makers would result in even better games, right?! ^^; yeah… guess not, huh ^^;;

      i think i really liked ffx because i really liked yuna & lulu ^^; i think that’s probably where all my enthusiasm for that game came from. alas, that’s what i was really missing in ffxiii. i’m pretty sure i would’ve loved it if just could’ve gotten excited about any of the characters…

  5. drcow said

    As a fellow Final Fantasy fan, I agree on all your points. The battle system could had been one of the best if they didn’t implent that stupid leader dead = game over and giving you control on all 3 characters.

    • meronpan said

      yeah, they certainly made it look pretty and had a nice action feel to it (though personally i like turn based strategy ^^;;). the atb bars was an interesting concept and i was pretty surprised there was so much to do even controlling just one character. but yeah… despite those positives i just can’t remember being so frustrated with an ff combat system ^^;;

  6. At the moment, it seems that you are more likely to find a gamer who hates FFXIII than likes it. I’m a hater BTW and, while I don’t agree with all your points, you covered most of the points.

    I didn’t hate the characters but was pretty much indifferent (except for vanille, who made my ears bleed every time she opened her mouth) as opposed to FFX, where I hated the entire cast!
    I also loved the standard battle music for some reason…

    But the combat, I disliked for being disjointed and trying to get you more active but less involved in the commands. As for the leader death = game over thing, other RPGs have done it before, like Persona 3. But those were turn based affairs so you had time to think. No such luck with the ATB. I could also talk at length about the AI idiocy and how it’s a very bad idea to have AOE attacks and not a single way to move your characters or even defend (unless you’re a sentinel) or how any enemy group with a number of 4 is a possible instant death just because they decided to gang up on your leader…

    The overarching plot wasn’t too bad but it was really poorly paced and didn’t explain things properly unless you read the notes which were updated every now and then.
    But this and FFX are fighting it out for worst FF game for me. And XIII is “winning”

    • meronpan said

      Indeed, for what it’s worth, my unofficial poll is currently running at a 32% for ^_^

      ugh vanille… i think i hated her next most after hope ^^;

      yeah, now that you mention it i do remember persona 3 doing that… alas i obtained it during a heavy gaming period and never got around to finishing it ^^;; (plus i got the japanese version so it was hard for me to read fast enough ^^;;) But yeah the combo of leader death game over + real time was just a real killer. Turned based would’ve been nice or even if they had provided some plot device to explain why leader death was game over i would’ve accepted that… sigh

      i actually did read all the notes but it was more the characters’ actions not making sense that probably bothered me the most ^^;

      as i commented above i actually really liked ffx though that was in no small way due to my love of the characters. for whatever reason i latched onto them and i think that’s what allowed me to turn a blind eye to the game’s faults ^^;

  7. Sadly, FF has been mostly dead to me for most of the last 15 years… I enjoyed the original NES and SNES games more than all the ones during and after the PS-era. Not that they’re horrible, just that once they went 3D, they lost a lot of their magic to me.

    I have not purchased FFXIII and probably won’t until it’s dirt cheap. Hopefully with all the folks trying to get rid of it, that won’t be too long xD

    • meronpan said

      for me a big chunk of the magic was the eye candy of the ps ^^; but i would definitely still rank the snes games as the top tier final fantasies, ff1 next, then ps releases and the rest

      hopefully it won’t be too long until the prices drop like they did in japan ^^; in retrospect i should’ve waited myself (and that was actually my plan for awhile) but i was itching for some jrpg action…

  8. Fabrice said

    ^_^

    this looks really nice, but i kinda gave up on FF, mostly because i lost track on the games lol
    anyway my friend has it now so ill probably try it out for sure

    • meronpan said

      former or current ff fans i’d definitely recommend renting/borrowing/buying used rather than buying outright ^^; will let you know what you’re getting into ^^;

  9. Firearky said

    Lolz! When I started playing it I felt like you XDDD The first thing I missed was the Final Fantasy intro theme that has been there like forever =P the second one, the victory fanfare… was it asking too much? Looks like yes =P I decided to play it as if it wasn’t a FF, so now I’m not so unhappy XDDD

    After 20 hours of gameplay I ended up liking the battle system… and I still keep asking were the hell did the towns and that stuff go XDDD

    To sum up, I think that if the game’s name were “Light’s quest” or “Happy Lu’cie friends” instead of FFXIII, nothing would change =P

    • meronpan said

      i get the feeling that final fantasy has been drifting away from its original charter for awhile now… indeed if they changed the title i wouldn’t have been the wiser.

      alas, the lack of traditional ff elements was not really a major gripe of mine… think they’d have the rewrite the characters before i could truly enjoy the game ^^;

  10. lovelyduckie said

    Sorry I only read up until the “major spoilers” part since I’m still playing. To give you an idea of where I’m at, I’m working towards level 3 in my Crystarium. I’m enjoying myself so far, I like the battle system a lot. I haven’t played all the older FF games yet, but I have played 5-12 and I’m currently working on 3. I like both the old and the new.

    I’ll finish reading this post once I’ve finished myself ;)

    • meronpan said

      i liked the battles okay enough until i started dying ^^;; then it got real frustrating real quick ^^;; hopefully you’ll be more successful than me

      indeed the old and new all have their charms but i am worried the newest ones are losing focus… we’ll see what squenix does for ffxv, if they decide to go thru with it :P

      • Although that said, my favorite ability system is actually from FF5. I loved that each character could be two classes at once, and had a lot of fun with the combinations. I was surprised I preferred that simple system over the others.

        • meronpan said

          i think i’d pick 5 for best ability system too. well, though perhaps i had more fun with fft (the original)… left that out of my list since it wasn’t a numbered game, but really enjoyed that one ^^

  11. Tier said

    I came to the Final Fantasy series late since I didn’t have a Super NES (was a big Sega fanboy as a kid), and FF8 was the first one I played. I liked it but I didn’t think it was that great. I played FF7 for the first time a few years ago and liked it, but I didn’t think it was that great either. I have a suspicion that a lot of the love for the later Final Fantasy games are due to their graphics and presentation, but those things don’t really stand up to the test of time; PS1 graphics obviously haven’t aged well, and I can’t believe that I used to like listening to “Eyes On Me” (which I now think is an abominably wretched song). I remember seeing previews for FF7 in Gamefan magazine and privately thinking that it looked great (although being a Sega fanboy still, I would’ve never acknowledged such a thing in public) and I remember downloading a clip of the early ball dance sequence from FF8 and being amazed at the quality of the game’s CG movies, but nowadays, exceptional graphics and storytelling presentation are par for the course. Even an unremarkable RPG like Magna Carta 2 has great graphics, and games like Halo and Ghost Recon have intricate stories whereas in the past, shooter developers wouldn’t have even bothered writing one let alone devoting resources to storytelling. The Final Fantasy games can’t rely solely on dazzling the senses to impress anymore, and it doesn’t seem like Square Enix understands that.

    • meronpan said

      8 had that weird magic system which i never really liked… but perhaps it was college/emo/youth or whatever that really got me into the story/characters ^^;

      i think you’re right about the later ones banking a lot on presentation. and because of the positive experiences i had at the time (due to graphics) i now look back at those games with nostalgically…

      i think all game designers should be forced to play x-com ufo defense. to this day i still fire it up and play it… probably my favorite pc game of all time. who cares about graphics if the game is fun!

  12. Shiddo said

    I SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO agree with you. Most of things you point up rly made me upset as well.

    Story – rollercoaster. Characters keep changing their believes and goals all the time. Most of side characters and “villains” you meet 2x per game then they die etc… so it’s rly hard to get any attachment or understand whats going in their mind. In the end you are just left with WTH was that about…

    Characters – aside from Lightning (cuz I am sucker for this type of female chars lol), I found rest uninteresting or annoying. Snow – start of game I just wished to mute all his “I am hero” stuff. Sahz – not rly funny. Hope – omg annoying kid. Vanille – while voice actors done good gob, I couldn’t stand her voice. Feng… weird -_-

    Terminology – Fal’cie, L’cie, Cocoon, Pulse Fal’Cie, Pulse L’Cie, Sanctum, Purge, Sentinel, Ravager, Commando, Saboteur, Synergist, Meidc, Eidolons, Lightning (using electrical summon), Snow (using ice/snow summon), Hope… creative… 2 creative… I was so damn lost in first hours hearing all that X’cie stuff several times in one sentence xD

    Battle system – SCREW THIS CRAP. Rly… worst system ever. Nearly no control over your actions. I had opposite problem… when my chars are on 80%+ HP, medics keep healing instead of use Esuna to remove debuffs > “vehicle/steed” at all. Anything… even fusuion with summoner would be better >B. Yeah… what game is not like this. But when you end up running in narrow corridors for most of the game, without chance to get lost or wander for a while… it’s sad. Some later levels get more creative but again! SE was so cheap that when they create a circle floors, they do them all the same xD You have path blocked on same spot on each floor and you jump down on same spot. Even stupid side reversal! No. Only exception to this is Gran Pulse. Somehow… felt like in recycled “Calm Lands” from FFX.
    On top… map sux hard… it keeps turning to the direction you are facing with your leader… so it’s rly hard to get idea of your location all the time ><

    Enemies – recycled, recycled, recycled. Kinda typical for FF but it's getting worse with each title. While you end up with many in your list at the end of the game… most of them are just variations. Each type of enemy has like 4-5 variations including bosses. Some of them are used later as common monsters -_- So you keep fighting almost same models all the time.

    Good things:

    World + Graphics – Awesome. Everything from animations, cutscenes, ingame, fights, enemies, world is perfect. Thru I would prefer less sci-fi touch, I rly liked it. Also seems that Square took liking in those glowing parts of soldier suits ^^;;;

    Music – Also very nice. Was surprised there is some number of songs with Lyrics in game ^^ My fav. is "Dust to Dust" from Oreba village. Reminds me of Air/Kanon/Clannad songs ^^

    Voice acting – US/EU ver. While I would still prefer option to switch to Japanese audio with English subtitles (wonder if SE will ever do games like that – thru they found excuse for this one =P lip-synch), I was surprised bout quality of English track. Except Vanille ^^; Unfortunately… voice acting suffers a bit cuz of poor script.

    Even thru I hated so many things, I still finished the game! While it's still crappy, the game gets way better and more fun in later chapters or after you finish it. Since you get access to more spells and abilities so battles are more fun to watch then in first painfull ours of the game ^^

    While missions are nice add and grinding is addictive fun ^^; I never rly understood this in games like Final Fantasy, that are story based. Whats the point grinding when main boss was beaten? ^^ How can it be a main boss who wants to take over the world or destroy it when there are even more powerful creatures out there ? ^^

    Ah well… closing it up. When I first saw Lightning kicking soldiers on board of train in some trailer, I though this might be a rly good title. But this was mainly disappointing experience for me.
    I turn my hopes now to FF13 Versus – that seems to have way darker and more interesting feel – wont be JRPG proly
    and might as well check FF14 (online).

    What bout you going for any of those? ^^

    • meronpan said

      yeah, one of the things i didn’t talk about was the villains… as you say you get really low exposure to them and so it’s hard to build up the usual resentment towards the end boss… like that chick who i don’t even remember the name of… she seemed like a good candidate to focus your contempt on… nope! barthandelus kills her as an afterthought before you get a chance to get more involved with her -_-

      i guess it’s the weakness of jrpgs… in a well executed western rpg there’s no chance for a pc to annoy you – because you control his/her actions and dispositions. character acts annoying, well, in games like dragon age, you just kill them! problem solved, they’re no longer in your party. ffxiii, no such luck… when it was that lightning/hope party i purposely didn’t level up hope and always let him get as close to death as possible. if it was lightning as the leader i always let him die ^^;;;

      i also thought the voice acting was pretty good, but yeah, the script just dragged it down terribly. and i saw what they were doing with vanille… with a good japanese voice actress the whole cutesy personality would’ve been par for the course… rendered with an english voice it just didn’t cross cultural boundaries very well…

      for now i’ve left the post game stuff alone… feels kinda pointless when the main game left me so unsatisfied. i guess it’s the mindless call of achievements and completion that still summons me…

      ffxiv i’m pretty sure i won’t even try. after devoting so much time to wow… i think i’m done with mmorpgs. too much of a time sink, too life changing. ffxiii versus… i’m still curious and would like to try it out… guess i’ll worry about that when it’s actually released though :P

  13. Q said

    Wow, that’s quite a post there. I did hear that FFXII did get mixed reviews from various gamers, so I am kinda on the fence on whether to get it or not as me and my sister are planning to get a PS3 later this year (and she wanted to play FFXIII after completing FFXII, ack that reminds me that I really gotta finish that too in the summer…).

    I agree that JPRGs and especially FF’s main strength is on the characters and storyline, but from what you just said, that came short of your expectation, and that can hamper the experience quite a bit. From what I have heard so far, the battle system sure sounds very different. Will have to play it myself to see whether it’s the kind of thing for me or not.

    Hm… I’ll wait for the localised Chinese version to come out in May and see how that goes. Games sure have changed these days – and I think what people think as a good game as changed as well, just like how people have tastes on the recent anime compared to the past decades.

    • meronpan said

      not sure what it is lately… when something starts to bother me i’ve been more and more prone to go into rant mode ^^;;;

      alas for the story. although really if only i could’ve liked more of the characters i would be more than willing to overlook any technicalities or lameness in the plot. combat perhaps i was a little over the top in stating it was the worst in ff history ^^; ignoring the leader death game over thing i think it’s at the very least interesting when you’re getting into it.

      i wonder how i would’ve liked this game if it was my first next gen game ever. and if the difference between the last gen and current gen was as big as 16bit to the ps era… i’m sure half of my fondness of ffvii was simply the eye candy and awe at what the system was capable of. as you say, tastes change, and i would submit, in no small part due to what you’ve tasted :P

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