Game Review: Final Fantasy 13

Shout it to the heavens, for the ads are everywhere—FINAL FANTASY XIII ARISES!

Coincidentally, that’s also why I’m a tidbit late in my posting. Got entranced. Killed some guys. Watched crazy Square Enix hair blowing in the wind. You know how it goes.

What can I say about the latest Final Fantasy incarnation? It’s so very, very pretty. Everything is pretty. The world is pretty and shiny. The people are pretty and smooth. The explosions are pretty and painful. The plot is…well, a little nutters.

If you feel a little confused when you step into the opening war zone, don’t feel bad, because everyone will be. From what you can deduce from all of the dying people and overly excitable rebels is that a lot of people seem to be getting exiled from a floating planet/city to another, lower, scarier floating planet/city, and somewhere along the line, the nice people being exiled didn’t really take to that idea, so they kicked some ass, took some names, cried Viva la Revolucion!, and proceeded to die in dramatic fashion. There are some naughty people in charge and some things named Fal’Cie that everyone seems terrified of—but which also seem to have built aforementioned Floating City-planet. Awkward.

The plot is as crazy as most Final Fantasy games go. As usual, it has no tie-ins to any of the previous incarnations of the series, but it will supposedly be a part of the same world as the upcoming Final Fantasy versus XIII, which in all honesty I desired more than this, but which I would also have to go out and buy a Ps3 to play on a regular basis. Alternative: bum off a friend’s system? I think so.

Most of the detailed bits of plot (I.E. deciphering what isn’t said and what lurks behind all the pretty images flooding through your mind) is provided via journal. Yes, yes, I know. History? In a game?! EGADS! Well, Square Enix says deal with it—so read you will, or confused you shall be. Yes, it would be nicer if they actually had you play through it, but they went the other way on that one.

Also, your main character is at first glance essentially the female version of Cloud, from the intensely popular (and all around incredible) Final Fantasy VII. She’s a former soldier. Fairly quiet. Kind of a dick. Troubled past—looking for answers. Yeah. But she does come into her own as the adventure moves along, and she is pretty badass. Other characters accompany her on her journey, of course—including a pair of children, an infuriatingly righteous rebel, and a fro-bearing black man with a baby Chocobo in his hair.

For those who don’t know: Chocobo= giant chicken.

Meet Lightning. She enjoys long walks on the beach, scowling, and kicking ass.

The combat system is engaging—a real time turn-based assault that plays out more like a series of quick time events than actual duels. Most of the game plays like that, however—like a movie, where you and your actions are but brief interludes in an otherwise lofty and unbroken narration. The story, once you can make heads-or-tails of it, is good, but it’s wacky, and if you don’t keep up on your reading you are going to be completely lost. Exploration—a normally touted aspect of the FF series—is unfortunately linear in its execution. You shall not be straying far from what you are supposed to do. On the bright side, this keeps the plot moving along nicely but it can definitely feel constricting.

What you do see of the world is original and well-developed. The voice acting is pretty good, though one or two voices will make you want to gouge out your ear drums (you’ll know who I mean if you hear it) and the scripting itself can be a bit tacky at times. Chiefly, whenever the heart-of-gold rebel opens his mouth or any of the lovey-dovey is swung into focus. Then again, the children don’t help much either…

Final Fantasy has a long history in the gaming world, and while I can’t say this latest addition was anywhere near to my favorite entry, it is an entertaining piece that will keep you engaged for many long hours. It has its flaws, but it will hook you and draw you back for more. And it’s pretty. Just saying.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

~ by Chris G. on March 15, 2010.

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