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So I just completed FFXIIIFollow

#1 Jul 31 2011 at 4:06 AM Rating: Excellent
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This game is amazing.

The last boss wasn't too difficult, but I didn't mind that because I was just happy playing through the story. And the story was brilliant.

The ending was unexpected, too. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't played it.

It makes me wonder why people, myself included, were so unhappy with it when it came out. A year later and I've played it again, and I think it does actually rank in my top 3 FF games behind 7 and 9.

I'm genuinely excited about the sequel... it's already pre-ordered :)

Anyone else looking forward to it? I don't really know much about the content, but if it's in the same vein I will be very, very happy.
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#2 Jul 31 2011 at 8:47 AM Rating: Good
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Overall, I tell people that I liked FFXIII. The battle system is unique and even after fully maxing out, you still need to plan and play attention for all of the tougher enemies. The large open world you eventually reach was a lot of fun to explore, hopefully this type of environment is abused in future games.

Of course, there are many problems with this game:
The first half is a ******* tutorial. I'm a veteran of RPGs, I don't need my hand held.
Characters were mediocre, only Sazh and Hope stood out. Why Hope? Because I had to listen to that ******* ***** ***** about his mom for 60 hours.
The final boss cheats by casting Death. This would not be a problem except if the leader dies, instead of changing to a different party member, it's Game Over.

Overall, it seemed to me that SE took criticism about FFXII just a few degrees too far in making FFXIII. I am looking forward to FFXIII-2 though simply because only the world needs to be recycled, not the gameplay. Hopefully, they'll learn, make adjustments, and end up somewhere in the middle of FFXII and FFXIII.
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#3 Jul 31 2011 at 10:32 AM Rating: Decent
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I'll just copy and paste what I posted last time about this, since it's still applicable:

I wrote:
I got to the last dungeon, started to backtrack to finish the mark missions...and then just stopped playing the game. I guess that does enough to describe how much I care about the plot. I still haven't finished it. Might just watch the ending on youtube.

Man, it had some gorgeous environments, though. Some areas in that game made me just stop dead and pan the camera around and around....

I just wish it had more to it in every other aspect of the game.


Still haven't beaten it, and I doubt I ever will.
#4 Jul 31 2011 at 10:41 AM Rating: Good
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The final boss cheats by casting Death. This would not be a problem except if the leader dies, instead of changing to a different party member, it's Game Over.


It's no different than Yunalesca in FFX, who could kill your whole party before you even got another turn to try and set things right. The solution is the same as it was then--use proper equipment.

Seraph Crowns reduce the chance of instant death by 60%. Putting two of those on your leader means they have a 96% chance of resisting death. If that's not enough for you, you can use another crown (or it's non-upgraded version).

If death immunity wasn't a literal option (for all your characters, if you want), I'd agree with you. This isn't exactly new in FF games--we've had bosses with Hit-all Death abilities in previous incarnations. It's not really any different.
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#5 Jul 31 2011 at 4:03 PM Rating: Good
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Eske Esquire wrote:
I'll just copy and paste what I posted last time about this, since it's still applicable:

I wrote:
I got to the last dungeon, started to backtrack to finish the mark missions...and then just stopped playing the game. I guess that does enough to describe how much I care about the plot. I still haven't finished it. Might just watch the ending on youtube.

Man, it had some gorgeous environments, though. Some areas in that game made me just stop dead and pan the camera around and around....

I just wish it had more to it in every other aspect of the game.


Still haven't beaten it, and I doubt I ever will.


The story's really good, if you take the time to read and absorb all the background in the data log.

It's rather in-depth in places, but I think the reasoning there is that they knew they'd be making (at least) 3 games in the Pulse/Cocoon setting, so it needed fleshing out more than "Midgar is a big city with evil people. We will kill the evil people. Then the other evil man who lives in a cave somewhere, we'll kill him too. Oh, and there's a few other random towns as well."

The first time round, I hated the plot. I hated the characters. It made no sense, and they annoyed me. But the second time round, I don't know. Maybe I was burnt out from Dragon Age/Mass Effect's (admittedly fun) more interactive gameplay, and I just wanted a STORY. So I followed it to the absolute last letter.

And it's fantastic. It really is.

And I've read up a little bit on what to expect in XIII-2... it sounds very interesting, and not at all like X-2... word on the streets is that it's much, much darker (XIII was dark in places, with its suicide attempts and so on).

Roll on September 9!
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#6 Jul 31 2011 at 5:51 PM Rating: Decent
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Roll on September 9!


?

Last time I checked, it's coming out in January 2012 for NA and December 2011 in Japan.
#7 Jul 31 2011 at 5:59 PM Rating: Good
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Best part of FFXIII-



Edited, Jul 31st 2011 7:56pm by xypin
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#8 Jul 31 2011 at 6:53 PM Rating: Good
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Likibiki wrote:
The story's really good, if you take the time to read and absorb all the background in the data log.

It's rather in-depth in places, but I think the reasoning there is that they knew they'd be making (at least) 3 games in the Pulse/Cocoon setting, so it needed fleshing out more than "Midgar is a big city with evil people. We will kill the evil people. Then the other evil man who lives in a cave somewhere, we'll kill him too. Oh, and there's a few other random towns as well."

The first time round, I hated the plot. I hated the characters. It made no sense, and they annoyed me. But the second time round, I don't know. Maybe I was burnt out from Dragon Age/Mass Effect's (admittedly fun) more interactive gameplay, and I just wanted a STORY. So I followed it to the absolute last letter.

And it's fantastic. It really is.


It has its moments, but they're poorly conveyed, and few and far between. A game who's plot seems weak until you read the compendium of text information in its logs is just a game with a weak plot and an interesting accompanying novel, as far as I'm concerned.

Not that I found any of the log information to be very interesting, either.

I mean, yeah, I think there was interesting stuff there to work with. A story about two worlds that irrationally hate and fear each other, complete with purges and such? Sure, that's interesting. But they fumbled the ball right off the get go. You read these logs about the holocaust-esque genocide that's going down in the Cocoon. Then you watch these ridiculous, cliched anime characters posture and preen their way through the middle of the whole thing. It sure killed any emotional effect that the plot was intended to have.

The game lost me right off the get, and it never did anything to gain me back.

Edited, Jul 31st 2011 8:54pm by Eske
#9 Jul 31 2011 at 9:30 PM Rating: Default
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This game is amazing.


What drugs have you been taking, and where can I get some?
#10 Aug 01 2011 at 11:13 AM Rating: Good
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feelz wrote:
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Roll on September 9!


?

Last time I checked, it's coming out in January 2012 for NA and December 2011 in Japan.


Yeah, people have told me this too. But Amazon UK says otherwise:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Final-Fantasy-XIII-2-Xbox-360/dp/B004K1ERU4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1312218405&sr=8-2

And since when have SE *not* used stereotypes for their characters?

Just off the top of my head:
Barret - Mr T
Kimahri - angry wolf guy
Wakka - Feel da riddim, feel da ride, git on up it's blitzball time
Squall - Emo kid
Steiner - Dumb but loyal knight

If I thought about it I could come up with more, but it's not like we haven't seen it before.

And by the end, you found out the stereotypes were, in part, your own fault. First impressions and all that.

Personally, I hated Fang at the start. But by the end she was my favourite character. I think the only person I never actually warmed to was Hope, and that was solely because I hated his name...
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#11 Aug 01 2011 at 11:22 AM Rating: Good
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Sazh was the best part of 13.

The game was okay. Maybe just below the average median for story as far as quality is concerned, but certainly wasn't the worst story I've sat through.
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#12 Aug 01 2011 at 12:06 PM Rating: Good
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I watched my husband play. It was a gorgeous game, but it seemed like he spent more than half the time watching cutscenes.
#13 Aug 01 2011 at 12:24 PM Rating: Good
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Likibiki wrote:
And since when have SE *not* used stereotypes for their characters?

Just off the top of my head:
Barret - Mr T
Kimahri - angry wolf guy
Wakka - Feel da riddim, feel da ride, git on up it's blitzball time
Squall - Emo kid
Steiner - Dumb but loyal knight

If I thought about it I could come up with more, but it's not like we haven't seen it before.

And by the end, you found out the stereotypes were, in part, your own fault. First impressions and all that.

Personally, I hated Fang at the start. But by the end she was my favourite character. I think the only person I never actually warmed to was Hope, and that was solely because I hated his name...


Is this a response to me?

Right, SE isn't very good at characterization. There are a lot of examples. That doesn't absolve the awful characterizations in FFXIII, does it?

I should add that I do think this brings up a good point. I did find FFXIII's characters to be more grating than those other examples, and I think that has something to do with context. I think that as graphics improve, and the characters become fully voiced, they become more "real". Then, when their characterization is done so unrealistically, the contrast harms the effect.

Take Steiner, for example. His dialogue is all expressed via text. He's also, aesthetically, a cartoon character. It seems more natural for him to behave like one. It also fits the game's more cutesy, childlike style. FFXIII tried to deal with some very serious, dark themes. But it did so with the completely wrong approach.

This all ties in to the way that the standards are changing. We're expecting more from video games, and more specifically, characterizations, than we did back when FF7 came out. Your Heavy Rains, Uncharteds, and Mass Effects are doing it better; they're the cutting edge on those fronts. Final Fantasy? It's looking a bit like a relic.

Edited, Aug 1st 2011 2:25pm by Eske
#14 Aug 01 2011 at 12:26 PM Rating: Decent
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Yeah, people have told me this too. But Amazon UK says otherwise:

That's weird. Even SE official site says early 2012.
#15 Aug 01 2011 at 12:46 PM Rating: Good
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feelz wrote:
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Yeah, people have told me this too. But Amazon UK says otherwise:

That's weird. Even SE official site says early 2012.


I think Amazon screwed up, then. Or, I'll be getting a very early Xmas present...

In response to Eske, thinking about it, you're right. With more realistic graphics and voices, stereotypes don't work so well. Especially when the characters are meant to be more in-depth. Suspension of disbelief is difficult when the equivalent of the Village People are on screen trying to save the world, I guess.

I find it odd that people don't like the character's accents or voices in XIII, though. I actually thought the voice acting was quite good, and there's nothing wrong with the accents. Yes, Vanille was a little over the top at first, but it takes all of 10 minutes to realise she's putting on an act.

And yes, a lot of it's cutscenes. But I liked it. Nothing wrong with an interactive movie, which kept me more than entertained for a month :)

I haven't played Heavy Rain, but I've heard good things about it. But I don't want a PS3 just for 1-2 games. Is it really THAT good?
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#16 Aug 01 2011 at 12:52 PM Rating: Decent
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I haven't played Heavy Rain, but I've heard good things about it. But I don't want a PS3 just for 1-2 games. Is it really THAT good?


It's really good but I'm not sure I would buy a PS3 just for that. There's more than 1-2 games that are worth it on the PS3 though.
#17 Aug 01 2011 at 12:58 PM Rating: Good
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Likibiki wrote:
In response to Eske, thinking about it, you're right. With more realistic graphics and voices, stereotypes don't work so well. Especially when the characters are meant to be more in-depth. Suspension of disbelief is difficult when the equivalent of the Village People are on screen trying to save the world, I guess.

I find it odd that people don't like the character's accents or voices in XIII, though. I actually thought the voice acting was quite good, and there's nothing wrong with the accents. Yes, Vanille was a little over the top at first, but it takes all of 10 minutes to realise she's putting on an act.

And yes, a lot of it's cutscenes. But I liked it. Nothing wrong with an interactive movie, which kept me more than entertained for a month :)

I haven't played Heavy Rain, but I've heard good things about it. But I don't want a PS3 just for 1-2 games. Is it really THAT good?


I don't think I had an issue with any of the voices save Vanille's, IIRC. I don't remember what her "putting on an act" had to do with it...wasn't that just the way that her voice was?

Ditto for the cutscenes. For the most part, they didn't bother me unless they got too complicated and showy (that racetrack *********** comes to mind).

Truth be told, I haven't played Heavy Rain either, though I suspect I'd enjoy it (if I wasn't put off by The Longest Journey, then I doubt Heavy Rain's gameplay would bother me). I've heard nothing but good things, and the videos of it that I've watched looked solid. Nothing that I'd buy a system specifically for, but worth nabbing at half price, perhaps.

#18 Aug 01 2011 at 1:24 PM Rating: Good
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Sorry, to clarify, I meant that a lot of other people have commented on how irritating they find both Vanille's accent and personality. And by seeing through it, I meant for plotline reasons. The bright bubbly always happy "Rikku" type girl didn't really exist... or not anywhere near the degree she's portrayed as at the start of the game, anyway.

And yes, the racetrack section was just "hey look what we can do". Totally pointless.

Honestly, the only thing that XIII lacked for me was a big sprawling city to explore. They should have done more with Oerba than crystallize it and add a little quest to rebuild a robot (seriously, wtf was that about?)

On a semi-related note, almost 2 years after last playing it, I've just put Star Ocean: The Last Hope in again.

Now, THIS game has some dodgy voice acting in it ('kay), but I love it to bits. And I've totally forgotten how to play the **** thing, which is amusing since I had >100 hours clocked on my last save...
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#19 Aug 01 2011 at 1:34 PM Rating: Decent
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Anonymous Final Fantasy fans have the itchiest rate-down fingers on the whole forum. Smiley: grin


Why not post something, if you disagree with what I have to say about the game? I'm happy to debate, and I'd like to think I'm fairly polite about my opinion. I'm serious: I'm eager to hear opposing viewpoints.
#20 Aug 02 2011 at 8:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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Two thoughts:

1. I played 12 hours of FFXIII last May. Over the course of a weekend I ran until I could run no more; I literally avoided every battle I could, just to get through the story. My friend (I was playing his game on his 360) said I got about 1/3 through it.

It was boring.

Two screens with nothing interesting on them (oh, but beautiful!), then a cutscene. Repeat, ad nauseum. The story never captured my interest; I couldn't tell if it wanted to be a movie or a game. If it wanted to be a game, it failed at being interesting; if it wanted to be a movie, I don't need two screens of dodging enemies to get to the next storyline. I also saw the ending, as my friend had a completed file. I honestly didn't feel like I missed much.

It wasn't a BAD game, but from what I played it was nothing more than mediocre except for graphics.

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On a semi-related note, almost 2 years after last playing it, I've just put Star Ocean: The Last Hope in again.

Now, THIS game has some dodgy voice acting in it ('kay), but I love it to bits. And I've totally forgotten how to play the **** thing, which is amusing since I had >100 hours clocked on my last save...

On a related note, Star Ocean: Til the Ends of Time is the only PS2 game I own that I haven't beaten. I enjoyed what I played of it, but my interest always lagged and then disappeared. One day I'll go back and beat it, but until I do, I don't feel like trying any of the other Star Ocean series.

(Although the Star Ocean Ex anime was decent, it totally cut out over half the game. I did play Second Story to the end).
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#21 Aug 02 2011 at 8:23 AM Rating: Good
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Likibiki wrote:
On a semi-related note, almost 2 years after last playing it, I've just put Star Ocean: The Last Hope in again.

Now, THIS game has some dodgy voice acting in it ('kay), but I love it to bits. And I've totally forgotten how to play the **** thing, which is amusing since I had >100 hours clocked on my last save...
I love Star Ocean: The Last Hope. My most recent file has nearly 200 hours, but you know what drives me insane about that game?
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Edited, Aug 2nd 2011 9:24am by xypin
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#22 Aug 02 2011 at 3:48 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, the achievements in Star Ocean are ridiculous. But... I guess, for the ultimate completionist... I bet there's someone out there who's managed to get them all (I got something like 100 hours playtime and I have maybe 30% of the Battle Trophies).

'kay?

(Grinds my gears something chronic. But Myuria was hot.)

As for XIII (again), I agree with Locke. Sometimes it's a game, sometimes it's a movie. But, for some reason, on my second playthrough, I really, really liked it.

However, over the past 12 months, as work's got busier, and my life outside of work has got busier, my gaming schedule has become more casual... maybe this is a contributing factor. With XIII, you don't have to think much, outside of which Paradigm you're going to use at which time.

Sit down, kick ***, then relax and watch the pretties.

And personally, I don't see too much wrong with that :)
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#23 Aug 02 2011 at 7:44 PM Rating: Good
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I felt like the XIII characters were actually some of the most realistic in the series. Their acting was largely great, which helps. The game was really about them, when it comes down to it, more than the larger story of the world.

The characters might not have been incredibly interesting, with crazy back-stories and unique personalities, but they were easily the most complex I've seen in any game.

[EDIT]

I was enjoying SO3 until I got to the plot twist. It went from being an okay game to an awful one.

Edited, Aug 2nd 2011 9:47pm by idiggory
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#24 Aug 02 2011 at 8:24 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I felt like the XIII characters were actually some of the most realistic in the series. Their acting was largely great, which helps. The game was really about them, when it comes down to it, more than the larger story of the world.

The characters might not have been incredibly interesting, with crazy back-stories and unique personalities, but they were easily the most complex I've seen in any game.

[EDIT]

I was enjoying SO3 until I got to the plot twist. It went from being an okay game to an awful one.

Edited, Aug 2nd 2011 9:47pm by idiggory


Great acting? Unique personalities? Complex?!

I think we played two different games. Smiley: confused
#25 Aug 02 2011 at 8:46 PM Rating: Good
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Your inability to read isn't my problem. :P

And yes, the voice acting in that game was largely excellent. And the characters were extremely complex. In EVERY other FF game, characters are largely centered around their individual goals (which rarely actually change), and their reactions to the game always feel more like plot devices than actual emotional responses.

They were reacting to a huge number of emotional stimuli, and their reactions are appropriately dynamic. It's fine if you don't like the characters (I still can't stand Hope), but they were all easily the most realistic characters I've seen in a game.

Hope, since I hate him, is a perfect example. Is he an interesting character with an interesting backstory? **** no. He's a rich, spoiled brat with daddy issues who clearly didn't play enough with other kids growing up.

But his reactions to the situations he was put in? They were definitely appropriate and way more than I would have expected from a video game character. The Purge, the loss of his mother, the alienation from the group and the rest of Coccoon, his attachment to Lightning, villifying Snow, etc. all combined to create many, many emotions. In every other game I've ever played, his character would have been reduced to him getting really ****** off at Coccoon (and MAYBE Snow) and vowing revenge. Instead, Hope slowly deals with all of these issues. And his responses to them are always perfectly understandable in the context he is living in.

It's EXTREMELY good character development. And they manage to do this for every main character, with them all having sufficiently different back stories so that their responses to the world are always unique to them, even if they arrive at a place of agreement with each other.

At the end of the day, they chose normal people to be the characters for a reason. In every previous game, the backstories were always very interesting, but set up an unrealistic characters with a personalities that could only be developed in one direction. XIII's characters weren't nearly as linearly written.
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#26 Aug 02 2011 at 9:09 PM Rating: Good
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Wow. I don't know what to tell you. If the FFXIII characters are realistic to you, then I have to wonder what your life is like.

The character development is ham-fisted. It lacks any realistic subtlety. Their personalities are all drawn from traditional anime cliches. They practically announce their character flaws with every sentence ("I HAVE TO BE THE HERO!!"). They start at such a low place, that all the game's work that's done to show them evolving only brings them back to near-neutral. They grapple with their personality flaws with all the tact of young high-schoolers (perhaps that's fine for Hope, but it sure isn't for anyone else), and the majority of the game is spent watching the clock, wondering when they'll have the revelatory moment that most people of reasonable intelligence would have reached much, much earlier. For most of the game, they are whiny, abrasive, or arbitrarily mean-spirited. It's painfully forced and unrealistic.

I really think that your standards are too low. I believe that video game characterization should be held to the same standard of film. Games like Mass Effect may succeed when compared to other games, but in truth, there's a lot of work still to be done. At the very least, we should have a realistic understanding of where the industry needs to develop (with the level of a good film being the goal). I look at a movie like, say, Doubt, and think that the industry has a long way to go before I consider anything to be a truly great characterization. But FFXIII doesn't just fall short compared to film, it falls short compared to the gaming industry.

Edited, Aug 2nd 2011 11:13pm by Eske
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