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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Final Fantasy XIII’ a technical ode to fans

    The long-awaited “”Final Fantasy XIII”” has finally been released, and even though it is a masterpiece in terms of graphical achievement and sound design, it bucks many series conventions that keep it from being as legendary as its predecessors.

    The story of “”Final Fantasy XIII”” is placed within a sci-fi universe this time around, where a massive corporation monopolizes everything, and there is an interesting interplay between the game’s version of gods and humans. Sound interesting? It is, but not initially. First, you are going to have to slog your way through 30 hours of linear gameplay, which is not for everyone.

    “”Final Fantasy XIII”” breaks away from Japanese role playing game convention and does away with nearly everything typically associated with the genre. The linearity is still there, but there are no side quests until much later. There aren’t any towns to sell or trade your items, there are no famed minigames and the combat system is so fast you’d be inclined to label it a choice-based action game as opposed to a turn-based role playing game.

    In short, you’d better know what you’re in for if you’re going to pick this up.

    Although a massive portion of the game has you literally running along a path and fighting visible enemies along it, the combat system is fun and really begins to show its depth about five or six hours in. A kind of new mechanic called “”Paradigm Shift”” is the true heart of the game’s combat system. It allows you to change your party’s class type on the fly, making instant combat strategy changes both possible and necessary. Paradigm Shifts are often essential to surviving encounters, and a rating system at the end of each battle will tell you how well you utilized them.

    The story has always been the strong point of a “”Final Fantasy”” entry, and developer Square Enix hasn’t dropped the ball here. The presentation is strong and features a plot that quickly bounces back and forth between six unique characters. A few of them are definitely stereotypes, but fortunately the presentation distracts from any minor gripes.

    At its core, “”Final Fantasy XIII”” is more a refinement of the formula established by its predecessor. Square Enix has done its best to keep the series relevant during the days of a shooter-dominated market and has, for the most, part succeeded. Long time fans will be disappointed at some of the neglected features from the past, but ultimately “”Final Fantasy XIII”” succeeds at streamlining the experience for everyone. It’s not perfect, but it’s good in its own right and deserves recommendation.

    Score: 8/10

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