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Thread: Replaying FFXIII

  1. #31
    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    I get the impression Sazh was more popular in the West than in Japan.
    The anti-Lightning, if you will.

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    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    I get the impression Sazh was more popular in the West than in Japan.
    The anti-Lightning, if you will.
    He is rather grounded.
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  3. #33
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Chapter 7 is complete, and certainly the high point of the plot so far, at least in regard to Snow, Lightning, and Hope. It starts off really awkward, though, and I still find the "we're pets" scene to be more unintentionally funny than thought-provoking. But at least it gets Lightning into a better place, where she can feel likeable. I always forget how much I like Fang though, she is definitely the most charismatic character in the cast, and her dynamics with Lightning and Snow make both of them feel more likable in association.

    I still see Snow as being a deconstruction of a character like Sabin. Another happy-go-lucky character holding trauma, and throwing caution to wind (along with punching it in the face) when confronted with adversity. I still feel that Hope/Snow is nowhere near as enthralling or gut-wrenching as the Ken/Shinji dynamic in Persona 3. Probably because there is a bit more trauma and twisted aspects to the P3 version, whereas XIII's sill has to play second fiddle to other plot elements like the l'Cie thing that is used as a blanket excuse to resolve the conflict.

    I also forget how much I like Hope's dad, and the intriguing plot directions he presents that I know will never go anywhere in this plot once Barthandelus hijacks the story. Rosch is an intriguing antagonist as well, who is more cutthroat than I remember him being. Of course this, and Chapter 12 are the only times he factors into the plot. I will say that the Calvary, and Cid, are still poorly explained or utilized in this plot. Yes, the Datalogs provide all the information I mean, but they largely feel like this intentional big good created to be a deus ex machina to get characters out of sticky situations the writers can't figure out how to get out of. So I am digging them less and less every time they show up. Especially since we've had maybe one scene to really introduce them, and it was ambiguous at best.

    In gameplay, this chapter brought back all the roles, which was nice. I hate that one Gatling gun aircraft unit, though. The best part was having enemies drop money items while also giving me better access to organic materials through the shops, so I could raise weapon levels. Snow, Fang, and Lightning are all still using starting weapons with low XP thresholds for levels, but Hope, Sazh, and Vanille are all using specialty weapons that have ridiculous XP level needs. I am annoyed there are not any good synthesis abilities available at this point of the game, but I shouldn't be surprised since there are barely twenty in the game overall, and half of them are sort of useless. The only two I've taken advantage of is Snow's High HP skill with his starting weapon, and Sazh has a fire elemental one he's using to help bolster his less than stellar Ravager role while also giving him better survivability against all the fire based enemies in his chapter.

    I am now off to Chapter 8, which I remember being the last real good chapter of this game before it really all goes to hell for me. So we'll see.

  4. #34
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Stalled a bit in Chapter 8 due to having a good grinding spot to get a decent XP Inorganic material and some decent CP gain. Not helped that Sazh and Vanille's XP cost just got ludicrous for no good reason. I do think the Eidolon parade creates more questions than answers.

  5. #35
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Chapter 8 and 9 are finished.

    Chapter 8 is overall a pretty decent chapter. Nautilus is definitely one of the locations with lots of potential that the devs didn't do justice to. The FF references were nice, but the place is short and back loaded. Sazh does prove to me here that he's honestly the best written character in all of this mess. I understand why all the characters act the way they do, but Sazh is the only one that has managed to garner any sympathy from me.

    Vanille on the other hand is just the worst, and I feel she gets off too easy in this story for the amount of trauma and nonsense she causes. The only other part I hate is the fake out suicide attempt at the end. Like seriously, SE, you think for a moment I would believe you would go through with that? It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Chapter 9 overstays it's welcome. Like the story beats work, but the dungeon is unnecessarily long. At least I finally got my items for Gil. The Dysley reveal also feels a bit flat, I mean the party already knows the fal'Cie are screwing everything up, so what does it matter that he's one as well? Honestly, it might have been more interesting if he had been an l'Cie, but he's also such a flat character that probably not. Again, though, I fall into one of the biggest problems with this game and its stakes, I don't really care about Cocoon. So the revelations about their Focus being what they said it was from the beginning has no real bearings for me. I'm like, "Yo! Just pick up Serah, Dajh and Bartholomew, then blow up Cocoon, and retire in Pulse with Fang and Vanille" easy-peasy. I mean, the game hasn't really done much to make me care about the place, and frankly most of the playable cast seem to either hate the place or have no real ties anymore to it, so what's the problem here?

    I'm going to wait until Chapter 12 to dive into all the holes in the fal'Cie's plan.

    Now, the biggest issue with the gameplay has to be the awful economy of it all. Like the last few chapters have been handing out new weapons and accessories left and right, but since materials are hard to come by, gil is even harder to come by, and the more interesting stuff gets released towards the end, there is no real reason to engage with the equipment system. Just level up their starting weapons until you get to Chapter 12 and can finally get money and materials easier, and even then why bother? Most of the neat equipment won't really have much value until the post game anyway, making the whole system largely pointless until then. Like, I got two superb weapons for Snow and Lightning in the last few chapters, but I don't want to bother with them because I've leveled up their starting weapons too much for the new gear to catch up quickly. Not helped that every weapon with a specialty ability cost 3x as much to level up, which just deters the player more from bothering with it. It's honestly a broken system that basically encourages you to ignore it until the end of the game, and by that point, why should the player bother to invest? Even FFX's stupid gear mechanics had a little more usefulness throughout the game.

    Now it's time to play my least favorite chapter in the game.

  6. #36
    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    Congrats on completing the tutorial!
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  7. #37
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Chapter 10 done.

    Such a pointless chapter. The Fifth Ark looks like a sewer level, with subway sections and metal pipes everywhere. Cid Raines, is easily one of the weakest Cid's for me. Guy barely shows up in the game, and then the game tries to get this emotional twist of his reveal of being in on the plan from the beginning, and I'm like, "So what? I figured you were in on the plan" then he does this odd "sacrifice" if we want to call it that, and I simply look at the screen with a blank stare thinking to myself, "Was I supposed to care?"

    Easily, the biggest writing mistake in FFXIII is how poorly utilized its supporting characters are. All of them are one
    dimensional cardboard cutouts designed to keep the plot moving on, but nothing about them is fascinating when everything is said and done. Granted, they all have potential to enrich the narrative, but so far no one has managed to really step up to that lofty goal.

    After getting through the resource rich Chapter 9, Chapter 10 is surprisingly skimpy on giving you anything good. Some enemies drop good things, but the previous chapter sort of proved that the most efficient way to build better gear is through cold hard gil. Something this chapter is lacking. The CP gains are also not much better than earlier chapters, and the current Crystarium upgrades are ludicrous in terms of cost. I am largely ignoring the secondary roles that unlocked because the cost to benefit ratio is not worth it. I could spend 6000CP to either give Vanille a +5 in Attack, or I could spend 4000CP to give her a +15 in magic. That's a no-brainer. I don't really understand why the secondary roles are so janky in execution, outside of railroading you into sticking with everyone's main three classes. I mean, at this point, they might as well have just let them unlock after you finish the main game once.

    Anyway, it's time to go to Gran Pulse, where I must face off with the true evil of FFXIII, The Grind.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 04-13-2023 at 06:13 PM.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
    Chapter 10 done.

    Such a pointless chapter. The Fifth Ark looks like a sewer level, with subway sections and metal pipes everywhere. Cid Raines, is easily one of the weakest Cid's for me. Guy barely shows up in the game, and then the game tries to get this emotional twist of his reveal of being in on the plan from the beginning, and I'm like, "So what? I figured you were in on the plan" then he does this odd "sacrifice" if we want to call it that, and I simply look at the screen with a blank stare thinking to myself, "Was I supposed to care?"

    Easily, the biggest writing mistake in FFXIII is how poorly utilized its supporting characters are. All of them are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts designed to keep the plot moving on, but nothing about them is fascinating about them when everything is said and done. Granted, they all have potential to enrich the narrative, but so far no one has managed to really step up to that lofty goal.
    yesyesyesyes
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  9. #39
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    • Former Cid's Knight

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    Minor update:

    Mostly grinding in Pulse. Unlocked the first Undying mission and farming him for Bomb Cores and his accessory drops. Pulse is a bit more underwhelming than I remember it. Probably not helped by me coming from FFXV. The one feature I miss from XV is the ability to switch my map marker to show me the direction to other things than the next plot point. It would make hunting down all these marks easier for sure.

    I will also say that the shops in this game are pointless. You really don't need to buy any weapons or accessories, since the game will supply most of them to you. And once again I need to rant about the game's awful economics. trout in this game is too expensive and the selling price of items are awful. Rhodochrosite is a low grade material used to evolve your accessories, mainly early stuff like Silver Bangles into Tungsten Bangles. Rhodochrosite costs 8000 Gil to purchase. The Tungsten Bangle I can evolve my Silver Bangle from using said catalyst costs 1500 Gil. Meaning I can buy five of the Bangles I can use this catalyst for the same price as purchasing it. Even if I sell the Rhodochrosite, I will only get 2000 Gil back for it. That's messed up, and a wonderful example of how broken the gameplay is. Hell, the rare and sought after Trapezohedron used to make ultimate weapons? Costs 2000000 Gil to buy, sells for 70000.

  10. #40
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Haven't gotten too far. Did a few missions, got to the point where Vanille earned her Eidolon. Mostly grinding and trying to level my gear. I'm annoyed that while Pulse is great for getting CP and some mid-tier XP items, it is seriously lacking in dependable cash options. It seems like the developers made sure you could never grind for either. More annoying since, as I've mentioned before, Gil is King in this game. So I've reached the level max for a few pieces of gear, but I don't have enough cash to purchase the evolution materials. Most of which are dropped by enemies in the last chapter. XIII seriously railroads your ability to play it.

    As for the few plot beats I've had, I almost miss Hope being mopey, because his new optimistic outlook is even more grating. I also really don't care for Vanille, and I still feel she gets off way too easily from all the carnage she causes or dumb reasons. "Oh no, I can't let Fang know she was the one who turned into Ragnarök and damaged Cocoon! It will hurt her feelings" meanwhile, Fang is the first one to suggest they just drop Cocoon like the rock it is and move on. If there was anyone in the party who couldn't care less about Cocoon, besides me of course, it's Fang. So this whole secret just feels like forced drama. I also think Hope should have unlocked Alexander earlier, and I feel Fang should have unlocked hers last.

  11. #41
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Finally, out of Gran Pulse. After dicking around for a while and trying to do as many Mark Hunts as I could, I finally pushed myself to follow the plot and leave this place. Gran Pulse is a bit disappointing. It's basically a super version of the Calm Lands without the mini-games, combined with a very uninspired version of FFXII's Mark Hunts.

    The Hunt dialogue boxes give some interesting insight into the setting, but really just reinforces how much the fal'Cie are jerks. The fights themselves are less engaging. I find the main reason why they work better in XII than in XIII and XV is because XII gives you enough gameplay options to give real variety to them. XIII's combat system largely follows a very set formula and won't alternate from it much, so even though some of these fights might have unique skins and weakness, you'll never notice them feeling any different from any other version of the enemy you fought before. In that regard, they're like even crappier versions of the Monster Arena fights from FFX.

    In fact, that's really the best way to describe FFXIII's overall design, it's really just a weaker and less thought out redo of FFX. The battle system trains you to fight based on a simple formula that feels tactical at first, but eventually just gets even more hum than the typical "Mash the Attack button to win" of other games. The Crystarium is just the Sphere Grid with all of its good ideas stripped away, and the overall dungeon design is a very linear path with a late game open area that has nothing fun to do in it. I'm going to laugh if I get to FFX and learn to appreciate it more after suffering through all this.

    Chapter 11 is also just another pointless story chapter, nothing fascinating happens in it except to set up the next two chapters with the bad guy explaining all the more interesting stuff that's been happening off-screen. Like, this game is terrible about telling you stuff instead of showing it to you. The most interesting parts of this chapter is just piecing together what has happened on Gran Pulse since the War of Transgression through the Analects. We also get our foreshadowing of Etro, but I find it annoying that no one in the plot acknowledges her. Like the Analects spell out the fact that Etro intervened, and yet the fal'Cie don't acknowledge this, and even though the party is allegedly collecting these Analects, none of them are asking who this person that interfered is. Would have made this whole chapter have more purpose if the writers decided to actually bring Etro into the plot early instead of downplaying her for the purpose of the Deus ex Machina at the end. Even Chrono Trigger actually acknowledges the idea that some higher power is helping the party screw with time. Even more interesting is that Yeul is the one recording the Analects, so we get our hint to the sequel.

    Thankfully, the next Chapter is fairly short and then it's just the final dungeon. I do have that one grind spot to abuse in Chapter 12, but I've also acquired Death, so I could always grind Adamantoise if I need to. At least I'm nearing the end.

  12. #42
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I spoke too soon. Ugh, I forgot Chapter 12 is, like all the other chapters, unnecessarily long. I still haven't even reached the final boss fight for this chapter, but dear god, I spent a whole evening just wasting time through this Xenosaga wannabe scenario. Once again, the other members of NORA reappeared, and once again, I had completely forgotten about them.

    I also discovered, to my horror, that unlocking the tertiary roles for characters is an absolutely smurfing bad idea. Whenever the game tries to build you paradigm sets, it always chooses the worst options. Like having Fang be a medic, Lightning a Synergist, and Hope a Sentinel. These are all their worst roles. I restarted the first fight in this chapter simply because it threw a weird party combo at me, and then proceeded to give me the trouttiest paradigm selection I could ask for.

    So this is turning into a much slower process than I would care for, and it's really starting to eat into my desire to bother with the sequels.

  13. #43
    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    But just think! The sequels were better, right? May as well play them while t's an uphill moment for you!

    I maintain that the biggest issue you're experiencing throughout this seems to be that you spent so much time trying to grind when you weren't even at the endgame. There's no need to grind beyond maxing out the Crystarium, really, unless you're wanting to 100% the game. It feels like you've deliberately extended the time you've spent playing a game you don't enjoy and that certainly strikes me as peculiar to say the least.

    Also, despite me enjoying FFXIII and you hating it, you've played it more often than I have. This amuses me xD I do want to play it again someday, but I can say that for so many games, I suppose.

    I hope you haste your way through to the end so it doesn't drain you much longer!
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  14. #44
    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loony BoB View Post
    But just think! The sequels were better, right? May as well play them while t's an uphill moment for you!

    I maintain that the biggest issue you're experiencing throughout this seems to be that you spent so much time trying to grind when you weren't even at the endgame. There's no need to grind beyond maxing out the Crystarium, really, unless you're wanting to 100% the game. It feels like you've deliberately extended the time you've spent playing a game you don't enjoy, and that certainly strikes me as peculiar to say the least.

    Also, despite me enjoying FFXIII and you hating it, you've played it more often than I have. This amuses me xD I do want to play it again someday, but I can say that for so many games, I suppose.

    I hope you haste your way through to the end, so it doesn't drain you much longer!
    The irony is that I haven't really grind as much as you think. My long absences are often me getting distracted by other games because this one couldn't hold my interest for long, so I tend to take breaks between chapters to play MGS or BoF. Hell, I just finished BoF1 between Chapter 11 and 12. I have hit the Crystarium limit a few times, but honestly, it doesn't take that much grinding to do so, and after that point, battles are wastes of time unless you are trying to get certain item drops.

    My longer time with the battle system was often to really explore all the options and discovering, to my dismay, that there really isn't much to the game mechanics. Like it sounds way more interesting on paper than in practice. As you point out yourself, too much of it is back loaded as well since the game really can't open up until you beat it, which I feel is an awful design choice. My biggest grind spot in the game was in Pulse, and it was just because I was frustrated that weapon growth was going so damn slow, so I farmed a specific Mark in order to farm Bomb Cores and the Teiatric Crowns it dropped, so I could get Sprint Shoes. Even then, I only farmed enough to get my main three the item. Funny enough, I have largely been ignoring the tertiary jobs, because smurf trying to max those out. It's not worth it until post game.

    But I am also someone who likes JRPG mechanics most of the time, and I'm trying to give this game a chance to impress me, and instead it's just disappointment. I mean, the plot stopped mattering three chapters ago as well, and I'm currently just stuck wondering why we're even doing this farce anymore?

  15. #45
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    I agree with you about a lot of what you say about the design choices about FFXIII, to be fair. Most things you say are spot on, especially about grinds and bad mechanics.

    The only things I really notably disagree with you on are that the battles are more brainless than other FF games (I disagree, I think other games are more brainless than FFXIII, excepting the MMOs) and general opinion of certain characters and the overall story. I enjoyed the story well enough, and my favoured characters are possibly the opposite of yours... although I think we both dislike Hope and like Sazh?
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

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