Time's Up

March 19, 2010

So I beat Final Fantasy XIII yesterday, and without giving anything away, everyone dies. I kid, I kid. You do, however, finally see what the thing in Amano's Logo for the game actually is ... ... ... then everybody dies.

So now that it's over, did I like it? Yes, yes I did. Was it worth the hype? No, not really, but truthfully every major console release in the main series will be hyped, nothing we can do about that. Did it live up to the Final Fantasy name? Well, yes and no. I'm gonna be more long winded on this topic, see you on the next paragraph.

I will say this game really took a long time to actually feel like a Final Fantasy game, and really that has more to do with a new generation of developers at Square-Enix. Back in 1987, Hironobu Sakaguchi, a down on his luck programmer, Nobuo Uematsu, a music composer, and Yoshitaka Amano, an up and coming artist, made up the core team of developers that made the first Final Fantasy. Since then, these three were integral for future releases. Sakaguchi as a writter, director and producer, Uematsu as the head music composer, and Amano drawing concept art for nearly everything that went into the game.

This was pretty much the case up until Final Fantasy VII. At this point Amano was no longer the primary character designer, that mantle had been passed to Tetsuya Nomura. After Final Fantasy X was released, Uematsu reported plans to leave Square-Enix, though he continued to be a music consultant up until XII. As for Sakaguchi, his role has gotten smaller and smaller with each new game. Bottom line, Final Fantasy XIII is the first game in the series that was made with no input from the three men responsible for making the series so great to begin with. Though like I said earlier, Amano still made the art used in the logo, at least that tradition is still going.

One thing that was different about this game was the fact that it is EXTREMELY linear. For the first two-thirds of the game you are more or less traveling in a straight line, literally. The maps in this game are more reminicent of a sine wave than a dungeon. That and the fact that towns are more or less non-existent. That isn't to say there aren't towns, there's like three I think. Thing is, you never go to a town to get vital information from NPCs or even buy weapons and armor. All purchases are made via the save points that litter that game, and when it took about 30 hours of game play before I reached something reminicent of a town, the game felt more like a dungeon crawler than a traditional RPG.

One thing that was also surely missing was the familiar music that I thought just went hand and hand with Final Fantasy. Uematsu may have stopped being the main composer starting with X, but the central pieces of music he made way back in 1987 were still being used. Those being, the Main Theme, The Prelude, the Victory Fanfare and the Chocobo theme. The first three song are completely missing from the game and up until the final quarter of the game I thought all four were gone. I know this seems like an awful lot of nitpicking, but come one peoples, there'd be riots in the streets if a new Star Wars movie came out and it didn't use the familiar theme.

So in conclusion, yes I did like this game, I was just a little disappointed that it didn't have the same feeling the games of the past have.