Version played: 360
Final Fantasy XIII can pretty much be summed up as, pretty characters walk down pretty hallways listening to pretty music, with occasional breaks for pretty cutscenes containing story, fights may occur but don’t require a great deal of input from the player, the fights are also pretty. That being said it’s not a bad game, and I think that if it hadn’t been released as a main Final Fantasy game it would have been much better received. The story is interesting, it’s clear and easy to understand, despite what some people try to claim, and the characters are fun and quite well developed. My only real complaint about the game, aside from it being linearity done wrong, is that it takes a very long time to get started, the first 20 hours or so felt a lot like an extended tutorial. The battle system was also a bit disappointing, it’s very different from the rest of the games in the series, but once I got used to it I was able to have a reasonable amount of fun. Overall, I would say that so long as you don’t go into this game expecting a Final Fantasy, you will have a good time with it, it’s very well presented and the story makes up for the flaws in the gameplay, if you haven’t played it already, I would recommend giving it a chance, also because it’s really cheap now.
This game is definitely my favourite of the XIII trilogy, it fixed a lot of XIII’s problems, taking away the extreme linearity, providing areas to explore, side-quests, alternate endings, and overall a slight sense of freedom. The story is interesting, though a bit silly at times, and for the most part the characters, both returning and new were well handled, the only character’s treatment I particularly disliked was Snow’s, aside from the terrible haircut, his part in the story and his characterisation just seemed completely off. The gameplay is pretty fun, combat is pretty much identical to XIII’s, except with monsters instead of the third party member, which I’ll admit I’m not fond of, aside from the that the game’s world is much more open, and there are puzzles, which I really liked. Graphically, like it’s predecessor, it’s very pretty and well presented, the soundtrack is great, with some returning pieces from XIII as well as a good range of excellent new ones. I would definitely suggest picking it up, even if you haven’t played XIII.
Time limits, I hate time limits in games, a game has to be pretty fantastic to make me want to play it when the whole thing is one giant time limit, Lightning Returns however is to put it nicely average at best. There is just nothing about this game that compels me to keep playing it. The writing in this game is quite awful, the story so far has been painfully predictable, it just seems like they wrote themselves into a corner at the end of XIII-2 and had no idea how to fix it. As well as that somehow they’ve managed to take a cast of fun and interesting characters and make them all incredibly dull. The gameplay is pretty decent though, combat is fun, very different from the other two games, a little bit too easy though, I liked the range of costumes available, though I seriously wonder who decided that Lightning’s default one was a great idea. Outside of battle, there are lots of areas to explore and an extensive range of side quests, which would be great fun without the time limit. Graphically this game seems a step down from the previous two, it’s still pretty, just not the same level of pretty, I also noticed a lot more instances of slow down. The soundtrack is again good, it borrows from the previous games and adds some new tracks, kind of hard to go wrong there. Overall, this game disappoints me, it’s not a bad game but it doesn’t meet the standard set by the previous games, and from the feel of it I’d go as far as to say that the people making it seemed disinterested.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it, next week I have no idea what I’m going to post about, but I’ll have my spiffy collectors edition of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, and that’s exciting!