Originally released in late 2009 for PS3 and Xbox 360, the thirteenth major installment in the Final Fantasy series was ported to PC 5 years later. And then we knew what was all the buzz about.
Final Fantasy XIII
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows (tested)
The port, however, was very repudiated by the community. The main reason was the locked 720p resolution without any graphic options. Unacceptable for any PC gamer in 2014. Luckily, Square Enix listened to the fans. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was announced shortly after and with it, promises of graphics options and resolutions for both titles.
What about the story? Final Fantasy XIII is presented with six main characters, most of them citizens Cocoon. Little they have in common, and that is used as a fuel for jokes and weird interactions in this linear story. Cocoon is a futuristic floating city where humans now inhabit. Below the city we find Paals, a wild world inhabited by monsters that have destroyed human life. Both worlds have their own security (Guardian Corps and PSICOM), which are responsible for completely different tasks that we will gradually discover, and are subject to the control of the fal’Cie, paranormal beings with great qualities and magical power. They mark specific individuals, making them “L’Cie”.
The story revolves around this group that are marked as “L’Cie”. This brand gives them special powers but if they do not complete a task -unknown to them- in a specific and limited time, they will be turned into “Cie’th”, monsters full of grief and misery that must be eliminated.
All six characters have their own story to be told over long scenes with incredible visual and sound effects, the main highlight of Final Fantasy XIII. Incredible scenery and landscapes, monsters, chocobos, ships and other types of vehicles are staged with a breath taking level of detail.
Each character also has their own fighting style, with their own type of weapons. As anyone can expect from a Final Fantasy title, the combat is rich, deep and complex. Winning battles will reward us with an specific amount of “Crystarium” based on our performance. We will use this type of currency to improve our characters stats and skills.
The skills are branched in six different trees. Each one acts as a role and we will need to carefully think about what we want our characters to do. Each character assumes a paradigm (one role) within a specific type of combat for the groups. This gives us enough flexibilite to fight all types of monsters in different ways. Weak enemies can be rushed with an all in layout while bosses will make us heal and protect our party members, sacrificing DPS.
In battles we have a chain gauge that enables us to perform a certain number of attacks. The more powerful the attack is, the more energy we will consume. Using this in conjunction with the paradigm system and the weaknesses of the enemies, we will increase their “Stagger” which is basically their break bar, where they become more vulnerable and stunned.
Unfortunately, in order to form our own group we will need to wait until pretty much the final segment of the game. The first 10 chapters are extremely linear and the game will make most of the decisions for us, which is why many gave this installment the infamous name of hallway simulator.
While gorgeous QTEs will try to make you overlook this fatal flaw, you won’t. The world is just a few small and tiny corridors with a few NPCs to interact with and some items scattered in the corners. To add salt to the injury, the key bindings are atrocious, making a controller pretty much a requirement. And after the first 20 hours long tutorial, when the game really opens up, the side quests are just bounties. Impressive looking and giant enemies, but just more of the same battles.
In short, Final Fantasy XIII had a number of issues, like a linear progress in a franchise that has been known for its open worlds, but the story, voice acting, level of detail and combat system will make us forget everything we can possible dislike.