View Full Version : [XIII] Article: My three cents on why FFXIII is a bad game

09-11-2015, 12:56 PM
So, I know this topic has been done to death over the last couple of years, but since I have quite recently just beat it for the first time, I was thinking it might be appropriate to start this topic again. Keep in mind I've only started XIII-2 now, and have yet to play LR, and I do believe those games will be better, but just bear with me for a while and try not to spoil too much ;)

So let me just start by saying I don't hate this game. I was excited to see FFXIII finally come out on Steam so that I could finally experience it, and despite a lot of people saying bad things about it, it was the next main entry in the series, and as the massive FF nerd that I am, I had been itching to play it for a while. Spoilers: I didn't like it, though mostly because it was a wasted opportunity in many respects, and it simply felt like a chore to me. While I'm at it, I'd like to address the quite toxic stance many people who liked this game have had towards those that didn't - just because I don't enjoy it or see it as a bad game does not mean I do not like fun or that I played the game just to hate it. As I mentioned earlier, I came into this game with the most open of minds, considering the circumstances, and I really find no joy in buying games just to mope about them on the Internet. I tend to analyze games as I play them because that is what makes it fun for me. If you like XIII - great! You can get enjoyment out of a game that I simply cannot, physically, on a neurological level, enjoy. Different strokes for different folks, and you should be happy that you just have that one more pleasure in life that I will never have. That said, I'm gonna mope just a bit in this thread :monster:

I kid, of course. Like I said, you have the full right to love this game despite everything I say - I am not any kind of authority. I just wanted to share my overall thoughts about it, and in general, why I think it's simply a bad game.

First of all, there are a couple things I really liked about it. Mainly, the music. I sincerely believe this is one of the best soundtracks in the main series, if not the best. Masashi Hamauzu simply operates on a different level of artistry, seriously breaking the mold in many parts. I often feel video game music is even too low for him - he could really make it in the artistic world as an actual artistic composer, IMO, and this soundtrack certainly delivers. From the dissonant tones of Ragnarok, to the lonely yet heartwarming tones of Dust to Dust, to the chills I get every time Blinded by Light plays, the soundtrack is nothing short of phenomenal. The grapihcs are also very pretty, but they'd be nothing if not the concepts of the world. The clashing worlds of Gran Pulse and Coccoon are a very interesting concept, with plenty of jaw-dropping designs and concepts. But while I love the world idea, well, the execution is where it all goes to the proverbial shit.

I'll try not to comment too much on the story, because I know this is subjective, and I know I have some ridiculous requirements when it comes to the story, but I just did not enjoy it. The character development is there, but it is forced, heavily realying on overdone anime cliches. The only refreshing characters, which are Fang and Sazh, get very little screentime, and even they aren't immune to the forced melodrama and terrible dialogue. The game tries to present its story as deep and meaningful, but it all falls apart by the end. "Let's defy our fate... by doing exactly what the big bad tells us to do! We're going to do what fate tells us, but we'll do it with a frowny face, so therefore we defy it! Freedom!" Yeah, no, that doesn't work that way. The game tries to tell us that the heroes are carving their own path, when really, they're just doing everything Barthandelus wants them to and they do end up killing Orphan. The world is saved only through a big-ass Deus Ex Machina, which isn't that bad in itself, IMO, but the moral ends up being, instead of "carve your own path", "just keep going and wrecking shit and maybe a miracle will happen." I could go on about how the relationships between many characters just don't make sense in the context, but that would be like opening a whole other can of worms, and really, that's not the gist of what makes the game bad, IMO. Because a game can have a crap story but still be a good game. Well, about that...

Yes, it does limit your freedom. There is no argument about that, sorry guys. No matter how you look at it, FFXIII is a cage. Not even a hallway - a motherfriggin cage. You are restricted in everything, and this is what killed FFXIII for me. People argue that XII or X restricted you just as much, as one "played itself" and one was a hallway as well, to which I'm going to say bull-fucking-shit.

FFX was linear in its progression, true, but there were towns, people around the way, secret passages leading to different extra dungeons, etc. Now, keep in mind, I dislike X much more than XIII, so I'm not saying this out of spite or anything. While limited compared to earlier FFs, there was still a degree of exploration to X. In XIII, the only way to move is forward. Occasionally, you'll take a small detour to a treasure chest, but you need to come back anyway, going ever forward, hoping the next cutscene starts before you go into a coma. There are always the same enemies along the way and you need to fight precisely that amount to progress. You can't even go around them most of the time. And it was mind-numbing. Granted, Gran Pulse is great, and the Archylte Steppe and Oerba are my two favorite moments in the game, but that only makes the game all the more painful. It's all too little, too late - it's practically end-game, and after a bullshit chapter that is canonically just there to let you grind - the characters say so themselves - I'm really to worn-out to enjoy myself. And still, you need to fulfil the hunts in the order the game tells you to. So the supposed freedom is, once again, a complete illusion. Not to mention it's dead. Again, no people, no interesting things, just monsters, chocobos, and those stupid floating rocks.

This bring me to the battle and character progression system. Oh boy. This is what killed it the most for me. The crystarium looks fancy only as long as you don't look close enough, as it's actually just another hallway. I really don't understand why they went through all the trouble of making it instead of leveling up. But that's not the worst part. I could deal with it if it weren't for the locks on the crystatium. Say what you want about FFXII, but at least I had the option of grinding silly in that game if I damn so please. VI is ridiculously easy when everyone masters quick, but I have the oprion of doing that. In X I can spend hundreds of hours in the arena to get every node on the sphere grid with everybody. And in this game, I can expand the crystarium to the extent that the game allows me to at the moment, which is just insulting. The funniest thing is, you don't even get access to it all by endgame - no, you have to beat the final boss to get the last layer. And what good is that? The hell? The roles are a neat idea, but why suddenly let me level everyone in every role at the end of the game? You should either have left everyone as just with their jobs as they were, or let me customize them freely from the beginning, because otherwise, what's the point? You think you're going to throw me a bone after all that imprisonment and hope that I forgicve you? Well, tough luck, game, cause I call BS on that!

I didn;t like the battles either. Yes, the paradigm system was interesting in theory, but the implementation was poor. People often, again, compare it to XII because you could set all allies to AI there and the game "played itself". Well, here we come back to options yet again. Final Fantasy XII was robust and you could play it any way you liked. You could give a character two gambits, or a full set, or no gambits and just control everyone manually. You could realistically set the game up to grind for you overnight - but that required tremendous effort and was immensely satisfying when you did manage to pull it off, what with character positioning and just the right gambits in the right slots. You could go as hands-on or hands-off as you wanted. Here, all you do in battle is manage your party on a macro scale, which wasn't that appealing to me. There isn't really much room for strategy besides "okay, now weaken him; okay, now stagger him; okay, now wail on him; okay, now heal". And yeah, you can enter commands manually, which I tried to do, but that led me to an existential crisis: what's the point if the game makes better choices than me, and it does it much faster?" No gambits here for you to determine the AI path - the game is just set for optimal, so that you can feel dumber than it, being the foolish fleshbag you are.

Alright, I'm done. I suppose some people will have a lot to say to me after this, and I know a lot of this isn't new, but I just needed to get this off my chest. Feel free to discuss the merits of FFXIII over here, if you're so inclined. Just please, don't try to convince me to like it. I really wanted to, but I only ended up exhausted after that. This is the only FF of which I can say for sure that I never want to replay again.

09-11-2015, 01:30 PM
I liked it, although it certainly is not the best Final Fantasy has to offer. I will share my personal opinions!

Okay, I think this story had excellent potential. I like that these people were going about their lives and are suddenly stuck with this horrible thing that A) makes people want them dead and they have to run for their lives and B) they then have to choose between finding out how to do some cryptic thing and get crystallized forever, or not doing the thing and becoming horrible monsters. (Okay, I guess I shouldn't say that I like that these things happened to them, because that makes me sound a bit sadistic, but you know what I mean). If I had heard that story, I would be pumped for it.

Sadly I think the actual execution of that fell short of what I was hoping and expecting it to be. But I guess I do like the story in theory, I just feel like they could have done it much better.

I do hate how linear it is, down to the ability system. The ability system was tediously boring, it really was. The battles overall for me were not my type of thing but unlike a lot of people, I really loved the paradigm system. I loved setting up different paradigms for different situations and switching them quickly and how a bad or good paradigm set up could make or break you in a fight. It kept it interesting for me and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I would have much preferred if it was like old school FF where each character gets a turn and you control them all but then you can ALSO switch paradigms and it's like you have a whole new set of characters almost!

I also don't like how long it takes before you can um select your own party and party leader and it's super crap that when your leader dies, it's game over.

Beautiful but my goodness I hated the hallwayness of it all. Like you said, X is also very linear, but it doesn't feel like it nearly as much as this one. There's no downtime, there's literally no exploring, there's practically no towns to stop and chill in. I was waiting for the first town and was pretty bumbed when what I was expecting never happened.

I like half of the cast and really don't like the other half. I actually really like Vanille unlike most people, and I very much like Fang and Sazh. I like Snow in theory but I don't end up liking him when he's there and I'm playing the game. I hate Lightning and I hate Hope.

So I like the game but it does have a lot of faults. However, at the end of the day I have fun playing it despite it's faults, so there you go :monster:

Not trying to convince anyone to like or dislike it, just my personal feelings ^.^

09-11-2015, 04:19 PM
There's nothing to discuss, Fynn. You're 100% correct.

09-13-2015, 01:06 AM
Well, since were on the subject I'll just drop my thoughts on it too.

I didn't hate it, and I didn't love it. Truly, it was not very enjoyable. I felt the story was dragging on from early in the game, to the point that towards the end, when the game starts to "open up" to let you freely explore between cacoon and gran pulse, I couldn't care less. I was bored and only wanted to finish the game and be done. And don't get me started in all the drama. Characterwise, I liked Fang, and that's about it. I couldn't stand either Hope or Vanille, but especially Hope. I didn't care at all about Sazh, and Lightning was a disappointment.

As you all already mentioned, the linearity was terrible. I like to think of areas in Gran Pulse as just a giant zoo...it's pretty large so you feel you walked a lot but in the end you're still surrounded by a fence.

Poor story execution, poor dungeon mechanics, unmemorable characters (save Fang).

On the other points of the game, I didn't find the music all that great either. It seems a lot of people really liked the soundtrack for this game, but it didn't capture my attention.

I liked the graphics. World looked pretty.

The combat is about the only other thing besides Fang I liked in the game. I agree the Crystarium was a drag. There were only a few abilities different between a given set of characters, and the only major difference between all of them was how some developed along certain lines faster than others (e.g., Hope and Vanielle being better magic users, Snow being a really good meat shield). However, I do feel like the Paradigm system was entertaining. It was fun trying to find the right combinations of characters to tackle different monsters/bosses and how to switch their roles. I liked it. I also really liked Lightning's Army of One technique.

And that's all for me.

09-14-2015, 02:07 AM
Funny how almost a full game is just a slighty twister mi'ihen highroad ( destroy thst place).
Sazh was funny.
Barthandelus is one of the coolest villain names ever.
Music is amazing especially Fighting Fate.
Stupid idea that you die they all die.
Hope is dumb and stupid till xiii-2
Random characters appear and dissapear. Like rygdea and Rosch
damn hecatoncheir
and other stuff

09-14-2015, 05:51 AM
What you said was bang on. For me a FF title should have exploration in it. I can handle the bad characters if I can explore a new and exciting world with them. That though mixed with terrible characters, and a sub par story killed this title for me. You said it very well.

09-20-2015, 01:37 PM
Well FF XIII is certainly my least favorite in the series, but I don't consider it a bad game. For the record I haven't played the game since it first came out so my memory on some bits are a little muddled.

I quite liked the gameplay of this game. And that alone was probably what saved the experience for me. You spend the first 10 chapters being introduced to more and more elements of it, and the star rating system encourages you to find and compare what works best, allowing you to work on your efficiency at a pretty constant rate. It was pretty neat that way.

Really, the AI in this game isn't particularly good, and you're almost always better off choosing abilities on your own. When Ravagers switch through all elements even after you can clearly see one of them doing more damage, or they switch between magic and strike abilities even though your Magic stat is way better than your Strength stat... just ugh, and that's not even going into the mess of Synergists and Saboteurs that you basically need to control yourself to get any sort of efficiency out of.

Once you do get access to all the classes, one thing that's easily overlooked is that each character still has their own unique variant of said class. Like how Lightning's Sentinel is based around evasion rather than soaking up damage, how Hope's Saboteur is all AoE and how Vanille and Fang get the stronger Synergist buffs. It still allows for a fair amount of distinction in this regard alone, and that's not even going into the unique weapon effects and base stat differences. The weapon system in itself is also pretty interesting, albeit hampered in a few ways.

These fine aspects of the combat system are things you need to explicitly engage in though, and if you don't do that on your own it all goes to waste, and you'll just end up trudging through boring fight after boring fight since the game is easy enough to allow repeat strategies. Would've been nice if the game had given some more incentive towards doing this, although then again that would've turned off a lot of players too. Eh, it's complicated. But it worked for me.

The plot was... there. I'm pretty apathetic towards it. I did find it neat in hindsight that you were being strung along by the big bad and the heroes were unintentionally playing to his tunes all along, but the deus ex machina at the end doesn't fit well with that either. It would've been more memorable if it didn't have that part, and it really had just been a story of people trying to shape their own fate oblivious to the fact that they've always been on a set path right up until the end as they unknowingly doom the world. But that would've been too dark for this game I suppose.

I had no problems with any of the characters in this game, though.

09-23-2015, 02:48 AM
I actually didn't dislike the battle system as much as many people, but the linearity and "story" were just downright awful. Chapter 10 was among the most painful experiences I can remember from an RPG, with plot points so forced it was gag-worthy, and Barthandelus and really the whole plot after chapter 9 seemed like a last-second add-on. The gil and weapons systems were also haphazardly forced into the game. I agree with you that the Steppe and Oerba were highlights in the game, but I also agree that they far from make up for all of the other negatives.

It boggles my mind that this is ever compared to FFXII, because XIII is the anti-XII to me. Everything I hated about XIII, XII did almost the exact opposite.

09-23-2015, 03:35 AM
i can't say i think FF12 has many similarities with 13 either.

09-26-2015, 07:25 AM
Started on 9/11.


Forsaken Lover
11-17-2015, 03:33 PM
Main story was ass.
Which is why the first half of the game - focused on the characters rather than the plot - was good.
Excellent but wasted concept with the fal'Cie.
Great music.
Snow and Hope were best characters with best subplot.
Lightning sucks.
Palamecia was good but dragged on too long and Color joke was bad.
Pulse is the worst.
Eden Under Siege is the best.
Orphan's Cradle was second worst.

Everything XII did right, XIII did wrong. However most things XII did wrong, XIII did right.

In conclusion


11-17-2015, 05:54 PM
Mediguard tbh.