The Amazon Curve: Final Fantasy XIII

By Laura . March 10, 2010 . 4:02pm

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Welcome to the Amazon Curve. We’ve all seen reviews from professional critics. In this feature, we focus, instead, on the "word off the street,” so to speak — specifically, the opinions of everyday Japanese gamers. We’ll be looking at reviews from Amazon.jp and giving you a rough idea what common users who purchased games with their own money have to say about them in the initial “Overview.” For readers that like a little more depth, we’ll translate select reviews that stood out. Hopefully, our readers will find the cultural differences interesting.

 

Finally, the long-awaited Final Fantasy XIII is upon us, and Western reviewers have pounced on it as eagerly as their Japanese counterparts did earlier three months ago. Famitsu awarded the game a nearly-perfect 10/9/10/10, although reviewers elsewhere were more of a mixed bag.

 

Almost everything Final Fantasy XIII does seems to appeal to some and disgust others. The exceptionally slow introduction to your full capabilities in the game takes 20 hours (and that is out of approximately 60 hours total completion time), where you can finally escape the extremely linear “battle, movie, battle, movie, rinse, wash, and repeat” structure, and enter Pulse, the “overworld,” which at least appears to be non-linear, as well as unlock the option to form your own party manually. However, some felt this long introduction was necessary because, while the game takes you forward with baby steps, you most definitely will trip and fall if you try to go any faster. One other thing people liked is the scoring at the end of the battles because it provided a motivation to doing better.

 

The characters and story seem to depend on people’s taste. There are many who like it, and there are many who don’t, stating that it’s too contrived or just isn’t interesting. The characters, too, can be seen as completely stereotypical or not.

 

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Amazon.jp reviews give the game a weighted average of 3.0, with approximately an equal number of reviews for every star. The points made were fairly similar to those made in the Western articles, although there was more of an emphasis in comparing with previous Final Fantasy games. For instance, there were more complaints about the repetitiveness of the mission sidequests (affectionately called “Turtle-Hunting”). But overall, the majority of the comments were directed at the linearity, the story and characters, or the battle system. Whether the comments were positive or negative, however, is another story.

 

Since all of these reviews are from the Japanese version of the game, they only cover the PS3 version and not the Xbox 360 version of the game.

 

Reviews

 

I Urge You to Play Through Slowly From Year-End to New Year’s! (5 stars)

 

There has never been a more in-depth battle system waiting for players who can fight battles while thinking things through thoroughly.

 

The flow of the battle was fixed in FFXII with the Gambit system, but this time, you can also change the flow of the battle by combining the characters’ unique characteristics even more smoothly than with the Dressphere system in FFX-2.

 

On top of that, to focus more on the cooperation of your allies, it is now possible to choose to fight in real-time on top of using the Gambit + Dressphere systems.

 

Also, if you can get the Surprise Attack in the Symbolic Encounters right, you can surround the enemies at the beginning of battle and finish the fight with one blow. This also allows you to efficiently gather lots of points needed to raise characters (CP), which is something to consider. In the beginning, while the system is still simple, you continue on while practicing what you’ve learned, and around the time when you’re just getting good at it, a new aspect of the system is unlocked. And because it also takes time to get used to grasp how to use the unique aspects of every character strategically, you can’t customize your party until halfway through, which was good in my opinion.

 

Thinking about it from another point of view, for those who are bad at battles, with the game being a balance between alternating barrages of battles and Paradigm Shifting for recovery, the battles may become a chore and they may get tired of them quickly. In other words, I think those who don’t play games usually will find it fun, but they’ll get tired in a week, although I feel that’s good enough for people who don’t usually play games… Those people will end up getting thrown out if they’re not interested in the story, I suppose.

 

All in all, I think it’s up to the person to have fun or not if you give him a soccer ball.

 

As for the scenario, you can collect articles about the background of the game that wasn’t talked about in the movies, and if you understand them, then it’ll be easier to feel empathy for the characters as you move through the game. Also, in the early-game, people say it’s a straight route through, but if you slow down and return to where you came from, you can see already prepared sub-scenes, so searching for those was also fun, I felt.

 

If you rush on forward, you’ll only meet trouble, but if you slowly understand the scenario and experiment with the various aspects of the battle system, you should know then that there has never been a game of higher quality.

 

This is a game I urge you to play from year-end to year-start, nice and slowly.

 

It’s Getting Really Criticized, but… (5 stars)

 

This game really was interesting. Seriously. People giving the game ☆1 to ☆5 reviews all compliment the graphics, so they’re probably all right. I think so too. It’s good to the level that you feel like you’re buying movie-quality work.

 

Next, the battles. This is what I want to look at the most. Changing it this much required a lot of courage, but I think they did a great job. The difficulty level is spot-on perfect. The battles after 7 were too easy, but this time it’s good that they make you use your head every time you fight. I myself have gotten fairly used to it, so for the most part I enter in commands to fight, but beginners can set the commands to “auto” as well.

 

On the other hand, what happens if people who are used to the system use that too and all they do is bash the ○ button? It’s one thing to worry about. For those who can, I recommend you to set it in the configuration so that you input the initial position of the cursor by command.

 

I have nothing to say about the music. It’s just what you’d expect from an FF game.

 

Next is the highly criticized story; however, I liked it. At first, I was like, “What?” but as I played, I grew to enjoy it more and more. It grows on you. It’s great that there’s a summary of what’s happened up to the point in which you’ve played. Well, in other games (like in the Tales series) this has been around for quite a while…

 

The final topic I want to talk about is the linearity but, well, by the time X came around, it was mostly like that already, and the feeling of being tossed around is far stronger in XII, so I’m already used to FF games like this.

 

Those like me will enjoy the game greatly. Those returning to the FF series after a long time and still hold the past close to their hearts may have a hard time, I admit. Well, the author here started playing at IV, though. (laughs)

 

Even though X ended beautifully, they added X-2 for no reason at all, and then XI was an online game, and then XII, in my opinion, sucked so badly that I gave it to a friend right after I beat it, so if this game didn’t do well, I figured I would pretty much be at my limit. But, I can go on without turning my back to the series now.

 

Was it Because of Motomu Toriyama -san? (3 stars)

 

The movies, graphics, and music were wonderful.

 

The loading time wasn’t stressful either, and it’s only too bad that the movies aren’t compatible with the theater. The movie at the beginning of chapter 12 is a must-see. It’s that good. It’s only too bad that every boss battle music other than the Baldanders one was only so-so.

 

The menu is the very definition of comfortable. The character movies that flow for a moment when you enter the status screen are wonderful.

 

About the map: Until chapter 11, the game is linear, so you don’t really use it. It’s very convenient that you can just open it with a press of the □ button. It was bad that the markings on the map were similar in shapes and color, so it was hard to understand what was going on at first glance. The minimap on the top right of the screen shows hidden routes and the enemies’ positions so that it’s easy to understand, which is convenient. However it’s a pain to watch it while moving at the same time, so it may be better to use the SELECT button to close it.

 

About the missions: Moving around really is annoying. Even if you confirm the mission’s contents, you still have to go all the way to the Cie’th Stones to accept the mission, and it’s stupid that you have to run around because there aren’t many teleportation Cie’th Stones. There was a game like Oblivion that came out in 2007, so I wish it could’ve been like that.

 

About the battles: It’s not surprising if people like the game only because the first thing you get is Odin. In the last half of the game, the enemies’ HP are incredibly high, so if you go in simply with Rush Assault and Phoenix, you’ll become corpses. What’ll save you there is support magic. In this game, Haste, and of course Brave, Faith, Weak and Dull, are all extremely helpful, and if you use them freely, you can even completely crush enemies in the final dungeon.

 

It’s fun that you have to use your head so much, but on the other hand it’s also tiresome. It’s even more tiresome because you can’t let your guard down even with the small-fries. There are times when there’s just this one enemy that really annoys me and I’ve even just saved the game and quit because I saw a sign of it.

 

About the story, although I wanted to do this first…: First, the characters. Most of them are as you’d expect based off their appearances, except when Lightning breaks character and stupidly charges headlong forward (when the summoning beast appears); it makes me sad.

 

There’s a lot of scenes about Rosche and Cid and everyone trying hard to do something about Cocoon, but we see little of the daily lives and work of the people who live in the Cocoon, as well as the blessings of fal’Cie and the other important parts, and there aren’t people in the cities, so you can’t talk to them casually, so you just head for the ending without much empathy. There’s myths and whatnot and a lot of detailed set ups, but none of it is made interesting. I hope the person in charge of the scenario never works on FF again.

 

Lastly, if a movie is boring, whose fault do you think it is? Most of the time, it’s the director that’s in charge of the script. I think it’s same for games. The director and scenario writer for this game is, hmm…

 

Maybe I was Over-Anxious About This (2 stars)

 

I finished the game a while ago.

 

I waited and waited for this game, anticipating it, and whenever the slightest news was released, I’d buy the magazines in a flash, and in just the same way, I bought the game.

 

The battle has evolved since the trial version, and personally I like the story. However, as I continued to play the game, the common enemies would have over 100k HP, and before I realized it the battles became something I dreaded… (explode!) After the battle was finished, points would be shown, but it’s not like they’re recorded anywhere, and it’s not like you get any bonuses, so in the end it was a bore because you got nothing beyond self-satisfaction.

 

When I reached Pulse, I was moved by the sight of the wide plains and the monsters running around, and I thought, “This’ll be interesting!” However, you won’t get much money at all from the basic missions this time, so in order to earn money efficiently to modify your weapons, most of the missions you play will be turtle-hunting, where the small-fry enemies almost all have over 5 million HP (at this point, they’re not small-fries anymore, are they?) (laughs)

 

If you fight them as you usually would, you’d die instantly, and it takes quite a while to raise your characters, so in the end you rely on Vanille’s Death to beat them. Barrage with Death => Doesn’t die => Restart => Barrage with Death => Obtain the item drop => Sell => Go on another hunt and repeat many times.

 

Other things I didn’t like was that after clearing the game once, I know usually there are many places where you can’t go anymore usually, but what’s the point of locking up 80% of the places? I was satisfied for 1 week, but I couldn’t bring myself to play for the second week when everything was the same.

 

Thoughts After Playing While Keeping the Existing Image of an RPG in Mind (2 stars)

 

In FFX, the main character was one arrived in an unknown world, so he asks things that the player, who has no idea about what’s going on, would need to understand, and it clears up a lot about the world and the language.

 

In XIII, the characters all understand their world and only say things that you, as the player, don’t know, advancing the story and leaving you behind. As you move forward, it’s gradually explained, but this is the first time I’ve felt neutral as the mysteries were cleared up. The system is interesting, the story is interesting, and I like the characters, so I figured that the game would somehow improve as I went along, but in the end I abandoned the game when I couldn’t get into it no matter how I tried.

 

I want to go to a new town and check my equipment (and if I’m out of money, go grind some), check my HP and MP before a big boss fight, and keep watch over my allies now.

 

The skill system, too, there was a time when I had made a huge mistake and set someone to focus on magic, so I was pumped up to avoid it this time. It was all a waste of anxiety, though, since there isn’t much freedom in the way you raise your character this time. On that topic, you can’t wander around the city and I know it’d be difficult to talk to the inhabitants then, but I kept on wondering if there was a way to have conversations like that somehow and implement it to move the plot forward. The movies were exceptionally beautiful.

 

Off-topic, I feel like I wanted the people to tell the players what they’re feeling through their actions rather than through their words. I was a bit embarrassed that the words seemed a little superficial. Also, I honestly didn’t enjoy that I had to watch a movie before I could understand something. I feel that guiding a player naturally forward is important in a game.

 

I’m sorry for saying such harsh things. It really is very beautiful and I feel horrible for it, but if you ask me whether I enjoyed the game after spending time on it, I can’t say I did. The battle system was novel, but there are games where there’s more teamwork and your allies help each other in realtime, and I’m not a fan that the tension is continually expressed through the high speed.

 

It’s much more nerve-wracking to travel back to a town in a state of near-death, wondering whether you’re going to meet a random encounter or not. This game makes me wonder if the world has changed now.

 

Looking Past the Cinematic Beauty, There’s Nothing Else (1 star)

 

Many other people have already written about it, so we’ll just leave the issue of linearity alone and just write about where the scenario failed.

  • In each dungeon, there was no point to the boss.

It was fine in chapter 1, but after chapter 2, it was just scenarios about “Run!” without any particular destination in mind. I’d think you could come up with many deeper scenarios if you make the pursuers someone with a face, though. Nothing changes when the faceless, silent soldiers come chasing, and in the middle of escape, a random faceless powerful monster appears as a boss. In 60 hours of long scenarios, there are only … 3? …people who talk.

  • The objective of the protagonist is unclear.

I couldn’t figure out whether she wanted to protect her little sister or the world, and I couldn’t understand her actions towards the end at all. “Ehh, isn’t it a BAD thing to defeat that person?” And while I’m feeling that, she defeats him, and she doesn’t think about what to do after she beats him. It’s so random and haphazard, so the same lines are repeated over and over again, making the whole thing seem shallow.

  • It doesn’t feel like you’re moving forward at all.

It has to do with not having a clear goal, but I didn’t know what they wanted to do, so I couldn’t figure out how much further I had to go until I reach the goal. If felt that way aaaaall through chapters 2-11, and I could only sluggishly move forward.

 

The things I find interesting in an RPG: · Battle System · Scenario · Characters

 

…are the main things. The beauty of the graphics are waaaaaaaay down on the bottom of that list, Square Enix-san.


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  • http://meikiyou.deviantart.com meikiyou

    whaaaaaaaaaaaaat how it gets more 5 than 3?

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      I believe you have the Final Fantasy franchise title to thank for that =) This game seems very “you either like it or you don’t,” hence the lack of 3 stars.

      Also, keep in mind that this was taken directly from Amazon, so you’ll get people who are going “FF is the best!!1!!1″ and then people who are like “Stop reviewing the game before it comes out!” and leaving them under 5 stars. But those are definitely a minority =P

  • http://twitter.com/T1A60 T1A60

    how who gives 1 star to this game >_>” ppl are trying to balance the 5′s with the 1′s so it gives 3 stars average??? … ah…

    • Ereek

      2ch flooded Amazon.jp with One-Star reviews slightly after release. They do that sometimes. This is one of those times that you really should be careful when trusting Amazon.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/ArcadeInfinity scott

        ..and also one of those times with you question the legitimacy of Famitsu review scores.

  • Aoshi00

    I agreed w/ the last 1-star review regarding the story, the characters’ goals weren’t really defined hence their weak presence, its like “what do we do, should we do this, should we do that, we shouldn’t do this because, we should do that because, f-it just do it even though it makes no sense because we have no other choice but to move forward, etc”, the story was quite irritating for me actually.. that’s why I’ve been saying the characters and story are not fleshed out as well as they are supposed to, if you read the prologue novel, you really would gain a much better understanding of the characters, where they stand, what their relationship are, where their motivation come from, and how the events fit together. I think the scrip is quite a total mess, my personal opinion, Toriyama needs to be off the main team. It’s funny I was watching the GDC panel w/ western developers, and they were gushing over FF7 w/ Toriyama sitting there. Yes, FF7 was good, but not FF13.

    Anyway, guess we can only get our turn based battles from Sakaguchi, really anxious to see what he’s cooking up w/ the Last Story…

    I’m not expecting anything of Versus from FFXIII anymore.

    Yep, the hunts are not that fun actually, they’re all pretty much carbon copies.. but I still want to kill that damn turtle. So the LE guide would come in handy :)

    • ElTopo

      I just want to know what the hell it is, and if we need to care.

    • speedstersonic

      Not all good stories have or need a direction for the main character. Have you ever read Through the Looking Glass. That is the best example, and it is regarded as one of the greatest classics.

      • Aoshi00

        I’m not talking about the main character Lightning, I’m talking about all 6 of the main cast, if I could care about just 3 of them I would have an easier time moving the game forward, but they were very shallow and all over the place. Mind you I’m not one of those picky gamers who picked apart JRPGs or have problem w/ their cliche anime themes, I don’t, I love those things, I expect those things from a JRPG, that’s why I play them.

        Just play it, watch the ending and tell me if you don’t go WTF. Nothing was fleshed out in the game. Destructoid compared Dsyley to Kefka, is that guy on crack? Maybe they would come out w/ a FFXIII-2 lol.. Oh Toriyama…

        Also, it’s not correct to say the main character doesn’t need a direction, the theme of FFXIII is all about the 6 people’s destiny. If not about them, what is this game about? Like I said, I don’t completely hate them, I read the prologue novel and thought “hm.. I guess they’re okay”, but why aren’t these contents in the game? Why wasn’t Team Nora more fleshed out to let us see the bond of them and why they want to protect the people. The dialogue in the game were just so badly written.. this is where Lost Odyssey shined by cheating, the main story is actually not as deep as I would like, but those novellas penned by a award-winning novelist that explore the immortals’ 1000 yrs of feelings, touching and memorable, brought the game to a whole new level.

        • speedstersonic

          Well, certain things I could see them explaining in the compilation games to XIII, they have planned a few. I will have to get to the ending to find out, but Kefka like bad guy is awesome news to me. The ones who are insane or doing things just cause they can are the best. Sometimes evil doesn’t need motivation, just because the options are there, sometimes curiosity of what unknown could occur is the greatest evil.

          • Aoshi00

            Nah, he’s no Kefka, on a scale of 1-10, Kefka remains 10 to this day, and Dysley maybe 1.5 and that’s being kind of generous. Design-wise, he’s a Last Remnant reject and possibly one of the silliest and most uninteresting villains in video game history that I almost want to cry.. So how many hours have you played, I thought you meant you finished it when you said you loved the game.. I’m sry I’m being so negative on this, but S-E is just testing my patience w/ the new FFs… (FFXI Online XII pseudo-online, XIII this, and XIV Online 2).. and we have two more XIIIs coming up, don’t even know if it makes sense anymore..

            Again, I don’t hate the chars per se, from the game itself I just wasn’t feeling anything and didn’t care for them, but after I read the novel, where things were explored more (for example how Serah feels about Lightning and how Lightning feels about her), I liked them more, which I felt was a pity because I don’t think we should depend on supplementary materials to complete our experience, When you play Heavy Rain, you feel their emotion right to the bone (I know they’re different types of games), but past FFs have made me feel that too. The first chapter was made into a drama CD that comes w/ the LE soundtrack, I loved that, I thought that should be in the game. As it is, I just felt that the concept was weakly fleshed out and the ending was not very satisfactory (at all).

          • speedstersonic

            I am currently halfway through.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/ArcadeInfinity scott

            as far as villains go, i like generally like Kefka, but i think he’s the classic generic crazy villain, like The Joker from Batman. i would prefer my antagonists with conflicted stories so the player can somewhat reason with his way of thinking FF12′s Cid and Gabranth.

          • Aoshi00

            Me too, Kefka was bad to the bone and has humor, that’s why I liked Lost Odyssey’s Gongora, he was just bad. There are different types of villains, the evil ones or ones w/ reasons to be bad. And Dysley in FFXIII belongs to neither camp, he’s just boring and shallow.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      I think the question isn’t that you want to kill the turtle, but WHICH turtle =P

      • Aoshi00

        The small ones I can handle (the first time it was formidable though), it was the giant one that give an instant death stump lol..

  • Jirin

    FFXIII seems like style over substance so far to me. The characters don’t seem as obnoxiously angsty as FFX, but that’s not hard. It may be the case that once the whole combat system opens up, the combat is fun, but I shouldn’t have to wait twenty hours to do that. (Does Square think we’re all ten year olds?)

    One thing I hate is the rating system. Just like I hate the Grade system in Tales. I don’t like the game deciding for me what constitutes a ‘good fight’ or a ‘bad fight’. Fights where you almost die and really have to dig deep are more fun than fights where you dominate easily, and I don’t want to have a fun, tense fight only to have the game tell me I sucked. And what if I want to do a challenge run? I should lose out on rare item drops for being intentionally under-powered?

    The game tried too hard to reduce the amount the player has to do for himself. Some people may like that, but it’s not for retro gamers.

    • speedstersonic

      Wouldn’t it make it more challenging if you had to try more for rare drops? I didn’t even think it affected drop rates. Just the amount of TP returned.

      • Jirin

        Yes, it would make it more challenging. But I want to be the one in control of fine tuning the difficulty. I did a Final Fantasy Tactics game with five Squires, no abilities outside the Squire class, and Ramza gamesharked into a generic squire. (A ‘Truesquire’ SCC.) It was hard enough on it’s own, and I’m glad the game didn’t make it harder by penalizing my combat rewards.

  • speedstersonic

    I like how most of the lower rating posts complain that it’s not the stereotypical RPG game, with towns, random encounters, and such. So, developers can never push the threshold, the game is still an RPG.

    Personally, I love FFXIII to death. I am liking the story immensely. I don’t see how the characters are stereotyped. They’re different then most any I’ve read about or played on a game, and to the people who say any character is cliched, name me one that isn’t. Seriously, that is an something people say to be derogatory about a work when they can’t think of anything else. Every character archetype has been done. Everything is cliched now, GET OVER IT.

    The battle system in this game is one of the best the FF series has had, not that I didn’t love the others(except XII). It makes you think almost constantly, which is something I love in RPGs or Strategy games. And it is very fast paced, which is great to keep your brain in constant motion to decide what paradigm should be switched to next, especially if you are going for 5 star ratings.

    In my opinion this game is the peak of Final Fantasy. Some may not like the story, and that is their opinion, but fact remains, the characters are fresh compared to the last couple years, and the battle system is also pushing the amount of strategy involved in RPGs of late.

    • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

      Haha, well, the game is definitely stretching the definitions of RPG. And every time anything (not just in games) changes, there’ll always be people who like the changes and those who will be against it. It’s a matter of personal taste (I think I’m quoting a 5 star review here…)

      On another note, yeah, the character archetype thing is something I’ve been noticing a while now; but even if that were true, there’s … degrees? of cliched-ness? For example, it’s not so obvious that Travis Touchdown is an amalgamation of past traits already completely explored by other series, whereas the charas in FF13 (from what I can gather, considering I haven’t played the game yet) are much more obvious. I think it’s partly a way the character is handled and expressed and partly a way they’re designed…

      • Ereek

        the game is definitely stretching the definitions of RPG

        I couldn’t disagree more. I assume you think Fallout 3 is stretching the definition as well? I’d consider Fallout 3 just as much, or more, of an ARPG than Kingdom Hearts. Stretching the definition is Borderlands, and possibly Overlord, not Final Fantasy XIII.

        No one ever complained about Wizardry not being an RPG. No one complained about The Dark Spire not being an RPG. Both of these games are technically very linear, with very few NPCs, and the only town being one to buy items in.

        • http://terracannon876.livejournal.com Laura

          Hmm, I meant it more in a stretching the limits for fans used to the FF franchise. Sorry =P

    • Guest

      All cliches are not created equal. Pointing out the fact that nothing is perfectly original doesn’t stop FF13′s characters from being exceptionally bland.

      This game’s only pluses are the graphics and (only a half plus at best) is the battle system. The rest of the gameplay, the story, and the characters (except maybe Sazh) are terrible.

  • garven

    I got the 360 version today, have not played it yet, but for me the formula sounds like a needed break from FFXII. I hated XII, it was so boring and tedious and it just dragged, I didn’t care about the characters, the story was crappy, etc.

    Still, I just wish JRPGs would stop having 20-somethings speak like preteens. Adults do not use the kind of language stock Japanese media characters do.

    • BarnabyJones4evar

      Based on your comments…get ready to be disappointed.

      • garven

        No, I’m fully aware that the characters will sound like typical JRPG characters who do not have the mental capacity for speech that real people their age do. I know that Japan has no ability whatsoever to write characters who operate on a level of mental aptitude above middle school in RPGs. So it’s an irritant, but I’ll live.

        I just watch some really good TV dramas certain seasons and comparing RPG writing to them is just painful.

  • kupomogli

    “Famitsu awarded the game a nearly-perfect 10/9/10/10″

    It’s Famitsu reviewing a high profile game. Would you honestly believe they’d give anything less than a platinum award? Of course not. That’s cutting into their wallets.

  • alastor3

    I won’t read these review, im gonna play it and we will see

  • BarnabyJones4evar

    All I have to say is…”Moms are tough.”

    I’m through playing FF for a story. Battle system’s all right, though it’s more twitch-strategy than anything that needs real dissection. I’m on about chapter seven, so maybe it gets better.

    • garven

      I imagine it would. Even games with slow starts get really good eventually. A lot of SNES RPGs had slow starts, too.

      I never played the Japanese version. I have zero knowledge of Japanese, so that really wouldn’t work in my favor. But that being said, having waited for the US version, it’s better than the reviews made it out to be. The battle system is far better than the joke that was XII’s, the storyline has better pacing and direction…and for those whining about 360′s compression, it isn’t that bad. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable, trust me, in the PS1 days movie compression made things far uglier than they would on 360. And if the Sony fanboys want to get on the game for the 3 discs thing, so what? It’s not so big a deal.

      It’s also cool to have a female lead character after years of male leads. Progress! The last time this happened was FFVI, one of my favorites, so maybe this will turn out to be one of my favorites, too.

  • ahardrevenge

    wonderful! Can you do GameFAQs reviews next?

    • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

      *COOL GUY ALERT*

    • garven

      Do you really wanna go there? The GF losers cried some moar about the 8.5 from GameSpot. I will not read reviews from weeaboos going through adolescence.

  • Ereek

    **** the haters. I for one am enjoying this game (even though I already played a bit in Japanese).

    All of these FFXIII articles seem to bring out all of the negative posters on Siliconera, though. These and the PS3/360 articles. I’m tempted to ignore them completely because there are so few rational posters in them. It’s all hatehatehate.

    • Aoshi00

      I actually avoided reading any reviews until I finished the Jpn ver on my own. I always go to reviews after I finish the game so I wouldn’t be influenced by others’ opinions (story was stupid to me so it took me playing 3 months on and off, I finished FFX in 7 days back when I was in college), like I go to watch movies first before reading critics’ reviews. Famitsu’s 10/10/10/9 meant nothing to me since it’s bought (it’s an FF title the wouldn’t dare to rate it low), Amazon’s reviews from both US and Jpn have quite a few fair reviews, I don’t think they are haters’ talk. I myself found it strange that they are people who didn’t like FFX either after the fact, it was a very emotional game to me, I think XIII tried to imitate that and failed.

      I say just play the game on your own and judge for yourself. FFXIII, to me personally, is a disappointment that failed to evoke any sort of emotion like the past FF games. Recent games like Mass Effect 1/2, Bioshock 1/2 (also quite linear you could say), Assassin’s Creed 2, Heavy Rain all made me hang on to the edge of my seat while playing, even Lost Odyssey made me shed tears and care about the characters, easily spent over 100 hrs on it even before its US release.

      Well, I’m sure there are people who like a weak story or don’t care if there isn’t one, to each his own. Why does one who doesn’t like this game automatically have to be a 2ch commenters? Honestly this is what FFXIII to me, good graphics, good music, decent battle system (that might not be up to everyone’s taste), bad story, weak and shallow characters, 10x linear than FFX, no towns/NPCs to speak of, bad ending, stupid villain, boring monster hunt and no other sidequests. So I weighed in all those elements and the bad outweighed the good. Am I a hater? Years after playing 6,7,8,9,10, I still remember fondly its cast, S-E did not make me care about Snow or Vanille, Sazh is the only remotely good character in the entire game. I was expecting 13 to have all the good things from 7,8,& 10, & X-2 (battle system, class changing), alas it was not to be. Later on I read reviews on US Amazon, one reviewer said “think of this as an action game, but not an RPG”. And I agree, I guess in that sense, I might’ve liked it more, if I were to adjust my mindset playing this like CoD4 MW.

      You think it has a good story, a good ending, the cast endearing? I cared about Kaim, Seth, Jensen, Cooke/Mack, Sera, Ming, they are rich chars who have diverse personalities. As I’ve stressed, the XIII characters “could be” interesting, but they’re not showing it in game, I read it in the novel, but not on the blu-ray disc.

      • Ereek

        If you give reasons for it, you are not a hater. I wasn’t specifically talking this article – though there is some here. If you go and read the article asking for questions for the FFXIII director, there is quite a bit of irrational, absolutely silly negative comments about FFXIII and SE.

        And I disagree with you in many points about FFXIII, but that’s why it is important for everyone to experience any game on their own. I suppose I can say I understand your feelings, but mine are about X (I hated X but love XIII). X was a huge letdown to me.

        However, I would like to point out one thing that does both me. In most every Final Fantasy XIII article you talk down about the game. Every one for the last few months. As someone who reads this site daily, I must ask, what’s the point of that?

        Edit: I have to say, I wouldn’t like the characters in XIII as much as I did without having read Episode Zero. Episode Zero is why I love Lightning and Sazh. Otherwise, I’d just like Vanille and Fang. It’s a bt sad to me that they chose to make it a mini-novel rather than an actual prologue in-game.

        • Aoshi00

          Well, I guess I was very frustrated by this game, or have been for a while by S-E w/ FFs, and expected a game that would blow me away.

          I’ve been talking straight (if I loved it I would’ve showered it w/ praises for 3 months, remember I was feverantly defending it up until the game’s release, every Siliconera update of FFXIII got me excited while others were dismissing its vehicle eidolons, which I like) since I was actually in the middle of playing it for the last 3 months, I didn’t finish it until the end of Feb since I lost interest at many points. I thought I wanted to share because some asked me for a review, or w/ those who were also currently playing the import to see what they think. I was very impatient w/ the slow start, I messaged a friend on the PSN list when the game would open up and let me change leaders, etc.

          Episode Zero made me even more resent the game’s story so to speak, because I didn’t care about the characters until my soundtrack came in the mail and I listened to the CD drama, then I discovered “hey, Snow, Serah, and Lightning are actually likable, why wasn’t these dialogue in the game?” I thought it was a squandered opportunity. The characters need to be presented better in order for players to relate to them (some might say that’s typical Jpn anime teenage melodrama), instead they are expressed in short paragraphs of synopsis that felt stale. Thing is I didn’t even read them in my first playthru, I didn’t realize I was supposed to. And later I heard the director’s interview w/ them throwing the towns/hubs out the window, like Team Nora’s base, that could’ve been yet another outlet for us to get familiar w/ those chars, as it is they all felt underdeveloped, including the antagonists featured so prominently in the trailers. I felt tricked by them, the previews feel epic but the game was anything but.

          You’re right, if I don’t have good things to say I shouldn’t keep bashing it since people didn’t have a chance to play it yet, I refrained from doing that, but my frustration and disappointment w/ this after waiting for so many years got the better of me.

          But that’s just my personal opinion, I’m not so conceited to think everyone needs to think like me, but that’s my honest opinion for those who would like to know.

          Now I’m still waiting for the Episode Zero book in the mail, I’ve only listened to the first chapter on CD and didn’t feel like reading it on S-E Jpn website.

          Snow and Hope are annoying as heck though. Vanille and Fang should’ve been more interesting, I can’t wait to play it in Eng. to hear their aussie accent. Even though I like to see Lightning’s more gentle side, I just love it when she smacks people in the game because they so deserve it :)

          • http://pt-pt.facebook.com/people/Lyh-Scully/613703032 Lyh Scully

            I got my english version yesterday , its like playing a diferent game lol , dialogue speaking that is ^^ , The collectors edition is preety sweet , except the box of the game … its very empty compared to the japanese one , and dosent have inner awsome cover with odin , also it dosent shine «« …I like silver shiny covers!Like Kingdom hearts ones were! that waas my disapointment XD … anyway … ill beat it again after i finish Heavy rain or Wkc ……. but i admit «« …… im feeling a need o play cause i missed a couple treasures and i wanan complete the missions ….. oh yes and i ordered the collectors edition of the Guide XD !

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Lyh, I’ve never been happier to see your smiley-laden comments. You’re like a bright little ray of sunshine in this gloomy, post-apocalyptic feeling surrounding anything related to FFXIII.

          • Aoshi00

            Good for you! Hopefully I would get mine from Amazon tonight. I hear you, that’s why I always play RPGs twice whenever possible, once in Jpn and then in Eng or vice versa, they alawys feel like different experience for me. You have the prologue novel right? I envy you. You should read that first as it gives so much background for the characters and the personailties shine thru, which I felt was missing from the game. I love shiny covers for KH too, even Archaic Sealed Heat on the DS (most people don’t like that game, I loved it). So the European cover also has Lightning but not shiny? No WKC for me, but I’m playing Heavy Rain every night after work this week, it’s UNBELIEVABLE, much better than Farenheit/Indigo Prophecy, I felt so tense during some certain scenes! Once I’m done w/ that I would need to play thru the scenarios differently, so much to do since they are so many routes you can go. I have the Jpn ver, so I can switch to Jpn for my replay when I feel like it, you can play it in Portugese or something right?

            I haven’t done too much weapon upgrades in the Jpn ver., so I’m looking forward to doing that in the Eng. ver w/ the help of the LE guide, and maybe I could take down the stupid turtle, get the platinum trophy and the Serah theme eventually.. Lightning-sis is my girl though :) On one hand, I like how she treats Hope, but deep down I want her to smack him like a strict mother, Vanille spoils him too much lol (Maaya was so good right). I have a feeling I would like the Eng. Hope more.

          • http://pt-pt.facebook.com/people/Lyh-Scully/613703032 Lyh Scully

            XD since it dosent let me reply to your posts ill reply to my post lol !

            Thanks Ishaan ^__^

            Yes Aoshi HR is awsome and i can play it on sereval languages including portuguese XD wich is very wierd but gives good laughs , its the first game where i’ve heard portuguese swearing XD ill try every language cause its fun ^^ , but for now im playing it in english O_O and im scared of clowns «« ………

            As for FF13 , theres been alot of bitching but everyone on my PSN list was playing it yersterday except me XD ………………..
            Im happy i got both versions .

          • garven

            What really pisses me off that Squeenix and a few other companies do is that, to get the full story, you need to go to sources outside the game like the guide books or drama CDs, etc. That’s not really fair to people who want to enjoy the main meat of the project without feeling something was incomplete or unexplained. I know it’s for money, but it makes things very frustrating.

            If you can actually understand Japanese like you seem to be able to, that’s great — but the rest of us who only speak one language have to resort to online FAQs for that stuff, and if it’s a vital story detail, why leave it out of the main game? It’s a real dick move.

          • Aoshi00

            I totally agree. Too bad only Europe is getting their LE w/ the translated Episode Zero novel. I would like that for my collection actually. I actually bought the Lost Odyssey novel collection even though they were all in the game, because I liked the stories so much.

  • http://otoboku.se manga

    The auto battle system makes the game a bit more fun than the demo was.

    But I have a hard time just understanding exactly what is going on with all the jumping. But from sources everything will get better soon I think :p

    So I´m in the middle. I like some parts and I dislike some parts.

  • thebanditking

    Now having played this game in English I can say it is easily in my top 5 for the series. The pacing while fast is refreshing from the normal grind and considering the enemies respawn I can grind to my hearts content. The lack of a true overworld with towns and dungeons to revisit at my liesure is at times disappointing but only because the world is so beautifully rendered that I would want to revisit them. The battle system is by far my favorite one since FF7 as it does not require as much strict party switching (like FFX) and the ability to plan out two and more moves in the same turn is nice.

    I really like the characters (except Hope but I always hate the kid characters) and I also appreciate that you can go as deep into the story as you want, if you want to know all of the lore and term definitions you have all the texts but you get a good understanding from just watching the story unfold. I also like that walking up to characters triggers a conversation, to further explain in other RPGs you see the NPC’s and you would normally walk up to them and press a button to begin a conversation but in 13 you can simply pass by them and they begin speaking.

    Im glad I did not let the bad press stear me away, because while very different Im not finding that to be a bad thing.

    • Slashlen

      I’m liking it as well. I feel the same way about the cast(also hate Hope). The battle system makes me want to grind. It’s unique, it’s fast yet strategic. I can understand why some don’t like it, but I’m really getting into it.

    • Aoshi00

      Glad you enjoyed the game (was I playing Devil’s Advocate? guess I just thought the story was underwhelming, expected more from the trailers..). I quite liked XIII’s battle system too once it starts to get going (I thought it took way too long to finally become fun), it’s obvious they put a lot of thought into it. Personally I liked it more than gambit which I felt it was too MMO-like. One minor complaint is they should’ve gone easier on the numbers, there are so many digits it’s like crazy like Disgaea, I felt they are clogging the screen and made it too confusing to see how much damage I’m dishing out to the enemies. Sounds like you finished Heavy Rain just in time to focus on FFXIII lol. I have Heavy Rain (just cut my finger, crazy..) and Yakuza 3 on my plate, but I would fit FFXIII in btwn somehow. Yeah, you don’t see a true whiner/moper until you see Hope (even though his hot mom is barely cold..), I guess as annoying as Snow going hero this hero that, you got to hand it to him for being loyal and optimistic. I just felt the game could’ve done a better job fleshing out the characters..Also even though the game is so beautiful, there are so many places I wish I could go to, did you watch the cutscene w/ the train station in the rain yet, I thought that would be a cool location to run around instead of just watching in the movie.

      EDIT: Ah! forgot to mention, I rec’d the Lightning faceplate tonight, all 5 o fthem, it looks quite good I think, the picture looks okay and the feel is matte like the Jpn ones, I was afraid it would have a smooth surface. I’m going to snap it on right now and surround myself w/ “sis” :)

      • http://pt-pt.facebook.com/people/Lyh-Scully/613703032 Lyh Scully

        XD I also think i like this versions Hope better ^^ !
        Bah i want the plates tooo XD !

        • Aoshi00

          At least Mama’s boy sounds more like a man :) I didn’t know you have a 360. There are many floating around ebay now, if you want I could sell you one at cost + shipping. It looks pretty nice, though I wish it was a Nomura illustration.. I have so many good faceplates, recently I bought the Espgaluda II one on ebay for $50, most money I’ve spent on one yet (the others SO4, Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery, & Magna Carta 2 cost me ~$30-40 ea), I like to dress up my system but don’t like adhesive skins.

          • http://pt-pt.facebook.com/people/Lyh-Scully/613703032 Lyh Scully

            in order to be able to experience this generation of games i belive having all 3 platforms is important ( lets not got for handhelds yeah i have psp and Ds ) ….. i dont have a 360 right now , im wating for more new bundles ^^ ……but yes id love to have onee chan’s plate … part of my collector bug XD …. thanks for the offer , when i get my 360 ill let you know XD cause ill want a preety one :P , sony kinda rules here in portugal so decent 360 stuff is rare ou very expensive XD and i dont like to order consoles from the internet so im wating paciently for a good deal ^^ ! already got 3 games wating XD …. lets see how those natal bundles show up ….. if they do XD

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