The Final Fantasy franchise is beloved by many gamers. They have fallen in love with the characters, the music, and the worlds of this popular series. When Final Fantasy XIII came out, many were expecting something wonderful. Instead, fans got the worst game of the series and possibly one of the worst AAA titles of the generation. Here is what went wrong with FF XII:
Final Fantasy XIII was released on December 17, 2009 in Japan and in 2010 worldwide as a straight-forward RPG. It was developed and published by Square Enix for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (the game was eventually released for PC as well). It was widely criticized because of the game’s linear game play and storyline, while most western RPGs had gone toward open world. However, there were other issues with the game as well.
The story itself was extremely hard to follow. I actually still don’t quite understand it. From what I gathered, a world called Cocoon and it’s government, Sanctum, is basically committing genocide of people who have come in contact with the world below Cocoon called Pulse. The main character, Lightning, has a moral epiphany and decides to fight back with a bunch of others. There really wasn’t anything to love about the story or even really like. It was completely bland, and many times confusing.
Unfortunately, the characters were even worse than the story. They were extremely cheesy, and the dialogue was cringe-worthy. Here are some actual quotes from the game:
“Heroes don’t run from fights.”
“Mom’s are tough.”
“Hang on, baby. Your hero’s on the way.”
Even the talents of Troy Baker were wasted on the character of Snow because everything that the character said was dumb (you know I think it’s a bad game when I tell you that Troy Baker couldn’t even salvage anything good in the game).
The battle system is outdated in style and resembled more of a ’90s RPG where characters take turns fighting each other. It was a system that actually made my jaw drop when I got into the first battle. Though the game is a bit older, that sort of style has died off for AAA titles. For a “modern” RPG, it felt like a blast from the past, and not in a good way. When a player meets an enemy, he or she is entered into a “battle system” with change in music and everything. Each character takes turns attacking the baddie, and if they aren’t attacking, then they sit and dance around in place. It was very similar to many ’90s retro RPGS. Though those old games were so much fun, it is quite bizarre for a game in the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation.
Also, the battle system is way too simplistic. You don’t even have to pay attention while playing the game. Just hit “X” (playing on PS3). You’ll kill almost anything that way. I could train my cats to play this game. In fact, for the most part, I really wasn’t even playing it. I was on Twitter, milling around. The only part of me that was playing the game was my hand, which kept hitting X, X, X, X. What’s the point of even playing if the game is that easy? I didn’t really even seem like a true leveling system.
Unlike most modern RPGs, I was limited basically going in a straight line throughout the maps. The whole thing felt claustrophobic. And it never got any better! I kept on thinking: Well maybe if I go along a little farther, the map will open up a bit, and I can actually do some exploring. Nope! It never happened. For a game that came out to PS3 in late 2009, this is actually embarrassing. I’ve played Call of Duty campaign modes that were more open than this game. I can’t believe that Square Enix thought that this would be okay, considering FFXII (for the freaking PS2) gave you more freedom. In fact, every Final Fantasy game I have every played gave you more freedom. Heck, freaking Pac Man gives you more freedom (at least you don’t have to continuously go straight).
Another annoying aspect of the game was the sheer amount of cutscenes in the game. You could barely go five minutes without a cut-scene interrupting. It was quite obnoxious. Sure, the cut scenes were pretty, but most of them didn’t feel like they moved the plot. I’m still scratching my head at what was going on in the game. In fact, most of them felt like they were just thrown in there to show off the graphics. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good cut-scene, but I expect the cut-scenes that I watch to have a point and move the plot. It shouldn’t just be a graphics show-off.
Sadly, I think that Square Enix is losing touch with what many gamers are demanding from their games now. At this point, I think that they are focusing on an audience that wants a true JRPG experience. If that’s the case, go for it. However, don’t expect any glowing reviews from me. That’s just not my cup of tea anymore.