Five Things We Hate About Final Fantasy XIII
Despite the hype surrounding Square Enix's new magnum opus, it isn't all kittens and rainbows in Final Fantasy XIII. Even the most ardent fanboy must admit that the game has some annoying flaws that keep it from being perfect. If you aren't quite ready to accept that the game is less than a masterpiece, perhaps you should check out the extensive list of things we loved about FFXIII. For those of you with cynical hearts and critical eyes, here is our run down of the things that we totally hated in this sorry excuse for an entry in the Final Fantasy series.
In its review of the game, IGN put it delicately by stating that "Vanille's overly perky voice might sound odd to gamers not familiar with that type of character." Of course this is a huge understatement as no matter how big of an anime lolita fetishist you might be, Vanille still grates on the ears after her first appearance. This is a JRPG, which means that it automatically gets a pass when it comes to the annoying dialog of its characters. We just wish for a day when Japanese story writers didn't lean so heavily on established clichés when fleshing out the characters in games. Maybe they feel the same about the space marines that keep cropping up in Western action games - somebody should try to negotiate an agreement between the two camps.
Welcome to Annoying Character Design 101, this class will start with a review.
We hated the bread crumb trail in Fable II and we also hate the fact that the first half of this game is essentially an RPG on rails. It's very difficult to get lost or miss important items, something that the designers undoubtedly thought would appeal to mentally challenged gamers. But RPGs are supposed to be about the adventure and exploring every crevice of an interesting new world. Turning off the minimap is a good idea for gamers who want to retain some of that sense of exploration, but it doesn't entirely remove the overriding sensation that there is only one clear path through the game.
Lack of 'Towns'
Ye olde towne has always played an important role in traditional RPG games. This is where your characters find shelter from the relentless barrage of random encounters, gather information about where to go next, interact with NPCs in often humorous ways and stock up on supplies. Sadly, in FFXIII the venerable town is reduced to a shop that can be accessed at any save point. This is such a bummer considering that a few well-populated towns along the way could have provided more opportunities to break the linearity a bit and offer the player some side quests to accept or refuse. We contend that you can't make a good RPG while neglecting towns and we think this is one place that Square Enix messed up.
Automatic HP restore
Unlike in other games, a character's HP is automatically restored after every battle, and therefore restorative items can only be used when players are in combat. This gameplay decision removes a key element of challenge from the experience, as each battle becomes a standalone experience, bereft of consequence for the management of the party. We miss the thrill we've gotten from more difficult sections in other RPGs, where an unlucky string of random enemy encounters could reduce our party to desperate straits. Scrounging for potions and other restorative items has always been a big part of RPGs, for better or worse. We appreciate why Square Enix wanted to move things forward, but it would be nice if they found a way to maintain the sense of continuity and danger from one fight to the next.
Inferiority of the Xbox 360 Version
We are really disappointed with this game's performance on the Xbox 360. Not only does it require three disks, but the game has been downgraded in terms of textures and framerate as well. The quality of cinematic cutscenes is simply not as high on the Xbox 360, detracting from their beauty. Since this marks the first multiplatform release of a major Final Fantasy installment, it would have been nice for Square Enix to actually follow through and deliver a quality experience on all available platforms. Get this one for the Playstation 3 if you can.
Do you have your own love/hate relationship with Final Fantasy XIII? Let us know your true feelings in the comments below or continue on to read a different perspective on the game.
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