Review: Final Fantasy XIII

It happens the same every time. A new Final Fantasy comes out and it’s available only on a new system that we of course haven’t yet bought. So, because of our love for the game, we not only have to shop around for deals for a game, but the gaming system to play it on as well.

Now, keep in mind that when I call the system “new” that means it’s been out for a few years but there just hadn’t been a good enough reason for us to spend $299 or more on it. That’s a lot of money that we just don’t have. And we aren’t heavy gamers. In the last ten years there have been a total of three games that we just had to have, and two of them were essentially the same game, Final Fantasy.

When Final Fantasy XII came out, we had only a PSP which actually belonged to our son. So we shopped around and found the game and the PlayStation 2 at reasonable enough prices that we could afford to spend the money on it. Then we went home, set up the system, and engrossed ourselves in the game from start to finish.

It was phenomenal. Good story line, fun world, a load of control over the characters and the camera during fights, and all the wandering or fleeing adventure you wanted to handle. Not to mention the shops and bazaars, side quests, Hunt Marks…. Final Fantasy XII was hands down the most for to play in the experience I have had with the series.

Needless to say, when we heard that XIII was released, we were excited and eager to crack it open and find out what sort of adventure we were in store for this time. So we bought an XBox 360 fora great price, got the game at a discounted rate, and went home to set it up and let the adventure begin.

This game should have been named Final Sci-fi. There is very little fantasy element to it at all. We have fought a lot of machines and been on a lot of space stations. Sure, all of the Final Fantasy games have had a bit of a steampunk feel to it, but this one has little of what fans have grown accustomed to.

Aside from all the sci-fi themed beasts and bosses in XIII, the actual game play is a lot like Final Fantasy X. You run down a path until you encounter a creature, then the game does auto-battle and all you have to do is hit the same button over and over again until you defeat them, then continue down the path. There is so little room for creativity and just running around and having fun like XII.

Then there is also the cut scenes. I haven’t seen so many cut scenes in a game since……. ever. It’s more like watching a movie than playing a game. Two nights ago we watched about seven different cut scenes in a row before we returned to the game. I enjoy the break every now and again, but really…. at the end of every hallway it seems like there’s another cut scene! Maybe part of the problem is that they have the characters split into so many groups for over half the game. That’s a lot of story to try and fill, I guess. But really. If I wanted to spend that much money on a movie I would just go to the theater and watch the movie and be done with it.

There are a few others things about this game that bother me outside of storyline and gameplay. Things that normally I would just brush off and say whatever to if someone else pointed it out to me. But in this case, it really bothered me.

Saze… Take a moment to look this over and tell me if you see anything wrong with this picture.

Can anyone say blacksploitation?

Let me make this perfectly clear before I continue. I am not a racist by any means. Myself, I am a part of a minority group and I have several colored friends. I adore them all.

Now… where to start? The stereotypical “black man” character right down to the afro and the hip 1970’s clothing? The fact that he has a small bird nesting in his hair? The style of his fighting, with two guns, jumping around like a monkey and twisting his body to fire? I find this character completely insulting on so many levels. Even the music they play around him has a 1970’s groove/funk style to it! Were these creators even thinking when they made him, or was he supposed to be a joke? I’m seriously hoping for the later, not that it makes the crime any more tolerable.

And Lightening… Can we say bitch? She is corse, rude, and selfish. Just what we want to teach our children when they play a game like this. Sure she looks badass, but in the end she is just a bad image for the game all around. For more information, see my review of From Paris With Love.

Snow: How much more jock can he possibly get? Every time he talks I expect to hear Thing from Fantastic 4 announce “It’s clobberin’ time!” I can’t watch him on the screen without laughing out loud. Especially when he pounds his fists together and proclaims that he’s ready to break some heads.

I could go on about the characters, but really it feels like a waste of writing to do so. I think you get the point by now. From jock (Snow) to dyke (Fang) to flirty little girls (Vanille), this game has hit a home run on insulting characters. Only one maintains an air of decency and innocence. The boy Hope.

All in all the game is just entertaining enough to finish. Partly so we can say we played it through. But when compared to Final Fantasys of old, it is a very big disappointment for us as amateur gamers.

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