[REVIEW] Final Fantasy XIII – 20 Hours Elapsed.

Gooooooooooooooood Morning Monday.

I was up last night till about 1am-ish playing Final Fantasy XIII (FF13). Some of you may wonder why, since I know a general comment is that it doesn’t quite immerse you into its world as well as the older titles.

However, reading around on the Interwebs it looks like a lot of these opinions are from the views of the hardcore FF gamer/follower.

I’d just like to give a quick throw of thoughts down for the first 20 hours I’ve spent on this game from a casual-FF point of view.

FF13 Logo

Before I start my ramble, I’d like to give a quick fill-in for my FF credentials so that everyone will know how little I know about FF in general =P. (P.s. I have a Xbox360, not ps3).

# FF Titles Completed: 1 (FF3 – DS remake)
# FF Titles Played (a fair bit): 5 (FF7, FF10, FF13, FF3 – DS remake, FF8)
Favourite: FF7 (Loved the story, despite playing a dodgy ripped PC version with no sound/cutscenes) but never got to finish it.. :(.
# FF Figurines: Zero
# FF Merchandise: 1
(FFX-2 poser; Thanks Rachel!)

Alright so.. as you’ve probably read, FF13 is quite a linear game. Yes, it’s taken on quite the Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) angle, which some FF fans are hating and grueling through. Click TL;DR if you don’t want to read it all.

Personally, I don’t mind it. What I do mind is that if Square-Enix wanted to take this JRPG angle, they should have kept the Japanese audio and just given English subs >=|. That’s a different rant all together.

English voices for Japanese games are CORNY. They’re STUPID. Even simple words like “Sis..” sound so corny versus “Onee-chan”. “Operation Nora stage one complete” LOL!

Look, Square-Enix is quite notorious for bad English voice actors/actresses.. but this is probably the worst; I don’t remember cringing as much as FFX[10]. I remember buying my first JRPG for my Xbox360, I was tossing up between Namco Bandai’s Tales of Vesperia or Square-Enix’s Star Ocean: The Last Hope. It was a hard choice, until I had a look at Star Ocean’s English voice acting……….

So anyway, JRPG’s are quite well known for their linear gameplay, character development, long hours, and immersive (sometimes) plot. Let’s keep that in mind.

First 5 hours:

In the first ~5 hours, we’re introduced to almost all the characters. Let me say this, first impressions last; the poor English audio translation doesn’t help this either. The setting and plot is still confusing at the moment – I have to say that FF13 has the most confusing start compared to all the other titles I’ve played.

First impression on characters:

  • Lightning – Good, good for a main character; reminds me of Cloud from FF7.
  • Snow – OK, people have been labeling him as Captain Douchebag; but from a JRPG/anime-point of view, this kind of behaviour is quite normal lol; I’m just immune.
  • Sazh – Good, not much to say about him, oh looks, the black guy gets guns as his weapon hmmm.. Haha nah, he’s cool.
  • Hope – Stupid ass kid, ARGHHHHHH.
  • Vanille – WTF is wrong with her voice??

5~10 Hours:

I think around this time we’re introduced a more in-depth battle system, and of course, advancing in the plot. Despite the linear dungeons so far and non-existent shops/towns, it’s been OK.

As I’ve recently completed Heavy Rain, I like how it jumps from character(s) to character(s) because it makes you wonder what happened, but you can only find out until you finish the current section of the story, etc etc..

Character impressions have pretty much been around the same, more hate for Vanille and Hope. I just don’t get it, I looked at who did the voice acting for Vanille and the projects she’s been on, I just can’t imagine her using this voice for those projects. Ughh!

10~20 Hours:

Yeah, I won’t lie.. I’m not sure what happened exactly within these 10 hours, so I’ll just chuck it all here.

Things are getting better. Story makes more sense, characters are starting to develop, their backgrounds/stories are starting to link (I like it when many characters have some sort of connection, like when it’s revealed it’s always pretty good), battling is more complex and fun, still linear :P, and overall harder to put down the controller (hence the 1am).

My character impressions are getting better.. Hope is getting better, at least he’s growing up, damn punk ass kid. Liking Lightning better, at least she’s making the effort! Sazh or Lightning are probably going to be my favourite characters at this rate, really liking Sazh’s background – want to know more.

Current Chapter: 9.

Why is this important? Because at chapter 9 you get to change the characters in your team, YAYZORS!

TL;DR

I don’t have many complaints with the gameplay/story/graphics (that’s a given), just the voice acting and a few characters, which I am confident will get better..

The battle system is fairly true to a JRPG battle system, so that’s fine.

Final Words

Gruel through the initial hours, it’ll be worth it I reckon, checking some forums out, seems like Chapter 11 is the key chapter; when it becomes a bit less linear and more open.

However, it has taken a JRPG angle, yes, different to what FF usually does – perhaps it was just an experiment, maybe it’ll be the only JRPG-type. Either way, no complaints here from a casual FF-gamer.

At least I’ll probably finish this one.

P.s. yes, the graphics are amazing, even on Xbox360.

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