Thursday, July 22, 2010

Video Games: Final Fantasy 13

A month or so ago, I finally completed Final Fantasy 13 after about 45-50 hours of play time (across three or four months). Overall I enjoyed the game. I am well aware of the negative reviews, and while I can certainly agree with the complaints about the linear nature of the storyline, I had fun playing through the main quest anyways.

On the good side, I liked the paradigm battle system, and the incremental leveling system (lots of little improvements to your characters rather then major jumps). I also appreciated that all of the characters gained experience at the same rate regardless of whether they were in your party at any given time, even if that did mean that I mostly played with the same characters for the second half of the game. Most of the areas were interesting in terms of the visual style, and the story was at least somewhat interesting.

On the bad side, the game featured an upgrade system for weapons that was completely silly. It basically made collecting weapons after you started upgrading things pointless, which in turn largely marginalized treasure chests from that point on as they either contained weapons you didn't want, potions you likely wouldn't use, or components for upgrading weapons that needed to be collected in huge quantities to make any difference. Also some of the larger areas that had many, many enemies got very repetitive as you fought them over and over with the same party (because those were the only characters with upgraded weapons). Finally towards the very end of the game, the difficulty level ramped up such that any given enemy could wipe your party with just a couple unlucky combinations of attacks or debuffs. Most of that is par for a FF game, of course, but still annoyed me at times. Especially the broken weapon system.

I haven't played much of the end game since, in an interesting design decision, you have to beat the game to open up most of the high level content. That's apparently directly aimed at people like me who sometimes don't even finish the main game because we get side tracked trying to collect every super weapon (I'm looking at you FF6 and FF7).

Overall Final Fantasy 13 was an enjoyable diversion. I can understand the complaints about the game, but at the same time I didn't think it was that much worse then some of the other games in the series. I'll likely play some of the end game content, at least until my party is strong enough to take down the giant turtles.


Shawn said...

Based on this review, I think you'd like Tales of Vesperia. Interested? I got a buddy at work borrowing it right now, but if you want it when he's done, let me know.

Steve Eck said...

I'd definitely be interested in borrowing it, but just remember I don't play through games nearly as quickly as you. So for a long RPG, I could end up keeping it for quite a while. If you are thinking you might want to play it again, it might not work out for me to borrow it.

Thanks for offering!

Shawn said...

Meh, the game was fun but re-play value was questionable. Besides, I just got home with my fresh copy of SC2. :-)