I Finished Final Fantasy XIII...’s story

I’ve finished the story in Final Fantasy XIII. Still a ton left to do, like collect all the trophies, get the super-ultimate weapons, and what-not. (Although I’m not entirely sure how much I’m actually going to do.)

Which, I think, gives me some credit to make some comments about Yahtzee’s Final Fantasy XIII review.

First off, if he only played five hours, that means he barely scratched the surface of the actual game play. (OK, so that comic exaggerates a bit — but nowhere near enough to really be acceptable, Square Enix.) After five hours, I think you might unlock the advancement system, which allows you to use the Paradigm system.

Apparently Square Enix didn’t learn their lesson from the three hours (or more) it takes to clear Kingdom Hearts II’s tutorial.

He also never got far enough into the game to discover the main theme of the game: personal choice.

Or, more specifically, the way the character’s personal choices make absolutely no difference to the outcome of the game. Throughout the game, an outside force is trying to manipulate their actions to its whims. Everything they do to escape their fate ends up playing right into his hands. Which makes an interesting commentary on how you, as the player, have absolutely no choice in the character’s actions – everything they do is predetermined.

Then there’s the way the game loves to give you something only to instantly take it away before you can use it. Unlock Snow’s Eidolon, Shiva, and Snow immediately leaves the party (for something like ten hours, I think). Get Lightning’s Eidolon, and all of a sudden, Hope is the party leader for the next couple of hours.

Then there’s the somewhat pointless advancement system. The choices you make there do matter, sort of, in that basically you can decide to get abilities for a certain Role before getting them for a different Role. But for the most part, since there are only three stats (Strength, Magic, and HP), it makes absolutely no difference how you advance - every branch will have the same bonuses.

That’s not strictly true - when you unlock the ability for every character to use all roles, the newly unlocked roles grant horribly small bonuses for vastly inflated CP costs. So you can choose to blow your CP - but no one is going to be that stupid, are they?

And that’s ignoring the annoying Equipment Upgrading bit. Why is it annoying? Well, because all characters gain CP, so you don’t have to worry about a character being under-leveled.

But weapons are tied to specific characters. So if you level-up a character’s weapon and then later get forced to use other characters, well - you’re screwed. You already blew the components on that character. Sure, you can upgrade accessories, and, assuming you’re aware ahead of time that you’re about to be forced into certain characters, you can remove the accessories and switch them.

Except that for the most part, you get the biggest “bang” for your buck by upgrading weapons. And weapons can’t be moved between characters.

So, basically, the game solves the under-leveled character problem, only to introduce another system that doesn’t solve it. Yay.

All of this is to say that, basically, I don’t expect Yahtzee to ever really like Final Fantasy XIII. But considering I played through to the end, I still enjoyed it, despite its faults.

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