I’ve been in the middle of writing term papers and grading undergrad papers. Sadly, I’ve not been able to play STO in the past week. But that’s not what I’m talking about today.
I got the sense from the comments that some my readers had never played a Final Fantasy game, so I thought I’d start from the beginning.
XIII is, well, the thirteenth game in the Final Fantasy series. Sort of. It’s really complicated – the number is all skewed from the Japanese release, there have been several sequels (X-2, Revnant Wing), and some games that were labelled “Final Fantasy” but not numbered (Tactics, Crystal Chronicles).
To the uninitiated, what you need to know is that the FFXIII is the most recent in a series of Japanese games that all share similar styles and conceits. It’s a RPG where you’re suppose to save the world. There’s magic and there’s sword fighting.
Outside that, it’s sort of hard to generalize. Each game has had a different fighting system, a completely different setting, and a whole new plot. So, we might as well start talking about…
So, uh, well… it’s lots of fun?
Final Fantasy games are very story driver, and then is no different. You begin the game as Lightning (the cutie in the above picture), a rogue soldier who is fighting her way through a state-sanctioned pogrom/cleaning operation to save someone she cares about. Sazh – the black dude – decides to help her, cause you know, he doesn’t want to stick around and be executed.
As the game progresses, you meet new characters who join your party and reveal more of the plot. (Man, it’s surprisingly hard to describe a game from the ground up! So let’s get to the part that I’m going at…)
This game is alot of fun. The graphics are really, really great – it’s hard to tell when a cut scene starts and ends. The fighting is surprisingly intense; they’ve done away with “classes” in favor of “paradigms,” something that is like a class but that can be switched in battle. Your party can have three characters in it, but you only control the main; the actions of the other two are determined by the paradigm you’ve chosen for them.
The game has been accused of being very linear… and, well, the first 20 or so hours are (I’ve only gotten to 12-15 hours). If you want a free-roaming world, this may not be your game. If you want really awesome graphics, an engaging story, and an interesting combat system, this might be for you. It’s a very cinematic experience – so while it’s not, say, Mass Effect, it has a certain charm and style all its own.