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View Full Version : Some (reasonably) early thoughts on FFXIII



Heath
01-13-2013, 11:48 AM
As I'm on the cutting edge of gaming, I've finally got around to playing FFXIII. I'm about 12 hours in having just gone through the Palumporom sequence, and am just with Sazh and Vanille in Nautilius Park. I've found the game to be quite a difficult one to have an opinion on so far. Not because I find it dull necessarily, but I've found that different aspects have both frustrated and pleased me at various points.

The battle system is one that I actually have to praise. I initially thought this was a bit of a step back from the more seamless approach of FFXII, but this has grown on me. It's been a long time since I've found myself having to really think so tactically and strategically about what I do in a Final Fantasy battle - what paradigms I use, whether I choose to execute just one command in a turn to eke out a Cure spell to keep a character alive. I was initially frustrated only being able to control one character, and getting Game Over if that one character happened to perish, but I find that that all adds to a more intense game.

The Crystarium I think I could probably take or leave. I think it serves a purpose, but it just feels like a rehash of the Sphere Grid from FFX. It does a job, but I wouldn't say I'm particularly impressed.

The locations is something I've been less enraptured by. One of the criticisms I heard of this game before I played was that it could essentially be summed up in the sentence 'you run a long a corridor, have some fights, fight a boss, watch an FMV, run along another corridor, have some fights, etc, etc.' I don't know if it's because I heard that criticism that my experience of the game has felt framed by that, but slightly feel this is a bit of a stepback from XII. One of the elements of that game I really enjoyed was the exploration aspect - something I've found almost wholly absent in XIII. I can understand if this was a deliberate choice to keep the game fast-paced, but I have found it slightly repetitive. It just feels a pity as some of the locations are wonderfully vivid and visually impressive and I feel like I'd get to get more out of them.

Characters and story is something I'm prevaricating on. Initially I wasn't hugely sold on the story, which seemed to go out of its way to be confusing from the off (l'Cie, fal'Cie, etc, etc) but I've found that I've got more into that as I go along. Likewise with the characters - some that I didn't particularly like initially (e.g. Hope) I've found that they've started to grow on me. I've also particularly liked the fact that each character really is pursuing their own agenda and has their own motivation, aside from the obvious 'let's stop the baddies.' The flashback sequences have been quite good too.

Oh and that battle music was incredibly annoying at first but now I rather like it


Overall, I've found it to be a real mixed bag. The battle system I initially wasn't that sold out, but I'm definitely a convert to that. I think I need a little bit more convincing on the characters and the story as of yet. It has grown on me as a game. I must admit that if it weren't for the fact I had been told the game got better (and that I'm a fan of the series more generally), I might have been less motivated to continue.

Did anybody find they felt the same about FFXIII? If you could keep things reasonably spoiler free for now, that'd be much appreciated.

Formalhaut
01-13-2013, 04:39 PM
All I can say is wait until you get to Chapter 11. Exploration really opens up then. ;)

JaymeNoel
01-15-2013, 05:14 PM
Agreed with Formalhaut. Exploration on Chapter 11 is fantastic but even before then I didn't mind the "linearness" of Final Fantasy XIII. If you don't enjoy that, I would highly recommend Final Fantasy XIII-2 when you're finished with XIII. I've been playing it for a little over three weeks and while I've beat the game there's so much to do it's a little difficult to work on the bestiary and obtaining all monsters.

Surprised to not see you mention the graphics of XIII. I remember my first playthrough I was amazed at some of it. Lip synching was much more evolved then the PS2 titles.

NeoCracker
01-16-2013, 12:08 PM
I am here to temper your expectations.

This chapter 11 exploration is nothing but a series of 'go here and kill this' repeated over and over.

:p

Edit: I'll avoid more detail to not spoil anything.

Formalhaut
01-18-2013, 06:23 PM
I am here to temper your expectations.

This chapter 11 exploration is nothing but a series of 'go here and kill this' repeated over and over.

:p

Edit: I'll avoid more detail to not spoil anything.

Yeah, the game's sole sidequest is very, very boring after a while. Still, progress! And at least it looks all pretty.

Roogle
01-19-2013, 01:54 AM
Characters and story is something I'm prevaricating on. Initially I wasn't hugely sold on the story, which seemed to go out of its way to be confusing from the off (l'Cie, fal'Cie, etc, etc) but I've found that I've got more into that as I go along. Likewise with the characters - some that I didn't particularly like initially (e.g. Hope) I've found that they've started to grow on me. I've also particularly liked the fact that each character really is pursuing their own agenda and has their own motivation, aside from the obvious 'let's stop the baddies.' The flashback sequences have been quite good too.

This is one of the reasons that I felt the story was poorly executed in some ways. The player is never treated to a sufficient explanation of what these terms actually mean to the characters. In older games, this was avoided because there would be an inexperienced character, such as Vaan or Tidus, that would allow the characters to explain simple concepts to the denizens of the world to a lesser experienced person, and, by extension, to the player. There were some parts where there was a little explanation, but too little, too late, you know?

Mirage
01-19-2013, 02:36 AM
Waiting until chapter 11 to get anything that feels like exploration is a bit too little too late, in my opinion.

Elly
01-19-2013, 10:54 AM
i dont get how people keep saying the game was intentionaly confusing, i figured out really quickly that L'Cie were some kind of magic user and Fal'Cie were some sort of demi-gods to the people of Cocoon, and lo when i looked at the Datalog i was right, it wasnt as hard as everyone overexagerates it to be, to figure out through context and common sense...
what, was everyone expecting all the "13 Days" cutscenes to be given before the game began? honestly, i liked how it threw you into the middle of the Train Escape, then went back and explained the 13 Days leading up to it as the story progressed...
i think what it really comes down to is Americans are adverse toward French sounding words, causing a kneejerk reaction of distaste and distrust, as we are subliminaly raised through our media to dislike the French, often using referances to France as an insult...

Mirage
01-19-2013, 12:46 PM
I'm not american and I thought the terms were poorly explained too.

Elly
01-19-2013, 01:06 PM
regardless of country of origin, the rest of my theory still stands, as it was not difficult at all to figure out through context and common sense... if its not an aversion to a French sounding word then its just general nit-picking...
maybe it would have gone over smoother with some people if "13 Days" was shown as a sort of opening movie before the game begins, but considering the general opinion of Xenosagas cutscenes i doubt many would actually sit through a 45 minute cutscene explaining everything before being allowed to pick up the controller... i certainly would but from what ive seen, most wont...

Formalhaut
01-21-2013, 02:33 AM
Am I the only one who got the whole L'Cie, Fal'Cie business? I thought it was explained adequately enough, then again, I am one of those people who read all of the datalogs, so you know :p

Raistlin
01-21-2013, 03:38 AM
The start of chapter 11 did have some fun exploration as you ran around the new big area, but, as NeoCracker said, there isn't a whole lot to do except missions/hunts. And then the rest of chapter 11 continuing into the endgame reverts back to the linear path.

Mirage
01-21-2013, 06:35 AM
Yeah, it's understandable enough if you read the datalogs. However, relying on datalogs instead of "in context" explanation of things that are happening in a game is kind of idiotic. Imagine if you were watching a movie and needed to have a pamphlet in your hand and constantly read on that to understand what was going on on the screen.

It doesn't exactly invite me to immerse myself in the game, that's for sure. I want my game characters to comment on what they see when they run into something that looks fancy, not get a "datalog updated" notification at the top of my screen.

Elly
01-21-2013, 11:04 AM
i often wonder that myself Formalhaut, as it seemed pretty straightforward to me and i didnt need the datalog to tell me what they were, it only enforced that i was right in my assumption that L'Cie were magic users and Fal'Cie were demi-gods of some kind... it wasn't hard to figure out from the context it was used in game, yet people act like theyre forced to have the Datalog to figure this stuff out when you don't really, when reading comprehension and common sense tells you whats what...
when i say reading comprehension i don't mean reading the Datalog either i mean understanding a story's points through context and how the words are used, if i were a Literature teacher id be crying over how much a failure the education system is since the average persons reading comprehension seems to be under the 40% mark nowdays...
anyways just because they didnt put it all up in your face doesn't mean its not there, its just subtle, did ppl want Sazh to stop helping people escape the train to explain what a L'Cie or Fal'Cie is to the people being purged for coming in contact with one, things the people of that world already knew... i know i'd be a bit miffed if my rescuer stopped to tell me what Al'Qaeda was... "dont worry, im not Al'Qaeda... well let me explain to you what Al'Qaeda is before i save your life..." would not go over well...

Mirage
01-21-2013, 01:10 PM
That's why you add a token newcomer who doesn't know anything and actually requires someone to tell it to him in character.

Elly
01-21-2013, 02:08 PM
once again that would break the flow, if Sazh or Lightning were to stop everything and explain it all to said newcomer, in i'd guess a 15 minute cutscene would be enough, the game would grind to a halt before it began... SE took the best course of explaining things to you as you went along and if players payed attention almost everything in the datalog is told directly or indirectly to the players through the story parts...

ive been wracking my brain trying to figure out why so many people are adverse to this type of storytelling and i think i got it...
Culture Shock (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture%20shock)...
they generaly dislike being dropped in the middle of the action in a foreign location with foreign ways and ideals without being prepared for it ahead of time, without proper preparation they feel even more alienated...
a proper game manual with the general terms listed with general character descriptions used to prevent this in most cases, now they put all that and more in a Codex or Datalog instead, and no one seems to wanna look there...

Mirage
01-21-2013, 02:14 PM
You wouldn't have to do it right in the middle of the action. But then again, the action never actually let up in 13 because it wasn't too well paced.

Elly
01-21-2013, 03:28 PM
thats what im getting at... the action doesnt really let up untill Chapter 11, with only a few extremely short breaks before then, the only logical option was to tell it to you in the 13 Days flashbacks, and sporadicly in short pieces of dialog along the way...

the pace is something i liked about XIII, it forced me to keep going... far too often in previous titles have i stopped in one place and power level for hours, days, weeks at a time and never leave that spot because i could, XIII didn't allow that as i was lvl capped by chapter and had to keep moving if i wanted to advance levels and stats... thats the point of the "hallway" you're being herded to your next destination by Barthandalous, hes not allowing the party to go anywhere else, he even says so in-game, just with different words...