In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

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I can't agree with the premise of the article, I just can't. FFXIII wasn't "innovative", at least not in any direction that we should be encouraging. It took the fairly standard linear cinematic experience that has come to define the JRPG genre, and amped it up to 11, at the cost of every other part of the game. 20 hours of pushing a character forward on a set linear path with zero choice involved in how you build your character, your party, your looks, or even which enemies you fight is NOT "innovation", it's just stripping out what makes JRPGs fun and not replacing it with anything worthwhile.

Oh, the combat system was innovative, particularly for a FF game. Needless to say, the combat system is the part of the game that I liked the most, because it was clear that they were trying to iterate on the tired FF formula to get something new and better. Every other aspect of the game, though, doesn't show signs of innovation; it shows that Square-Enix just wanted us to sit down and watch its goddamn terrible movie without having much, if anything, to say in the matter. _That_ is why it's hated; not because it's not a FF game, but because it's just not fun to have close to zero involvement in your character or the story, particularly when that story is completely nonsensical anyway.

Jeff Dunn:
The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what's preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

No, not at all.

Here's the two cents I posted a while back:

DjinnFor:
Here's my two cents:

I just lost interest at about, I think, Chapter 12. If I recall. Whichever chapter gives you access to the fairly open, non-linear map where you can start doing missions.

Here's my problem: I was pretty bored overall with the game until I hit that point. At least the linearity of the game focused me enough on a clear goal that I could pave forward despite my boredom. As soon as I realized that the game was about to give me twenty different goals to complete (in the form of 19 missions to 5-star and 1 path to progress forward) I sort of just said "Screw it". I knew I'd have to grind up myself some levels and I couldn't face the prospect of doing so given my current opinion of it.

Basically, I recognized that the combat system was fairly shallow and it wasn't going to get much better, and the story itself just wasn't interesting me.

You see, I didn't want to sit there facing jellies and penguin-bird-things all day, so I figured I'd take on some Wolves or Greater Beast(-y thingies). Of course, the game has absolutely no penalty for failing over and over, so I figured I'd master taking on extremely tough enemies until I could 5-star them. Of course, its more luck than not, but it's doable given the right timing if you can just stagger the right enemies at the right time. Chain-launch the Greater Beasts and you can take them out before they stand and heal themselves.

On one hand the battle system creates an illusion of complexity, but on the other its just a glorified "Simon Says" game. Simon says, switch to MED/MED/SEN. Simon says, switch to SAB/SYN/SEN. Simon says, switch to COM/RAV/RAV. Simon says, switch to RAV/RAV/RAV. Simon says, switch to COM/RAV/SEN. To make sure of the job, of course, be sure to switch paradigms every ten seconds so your ATB bar gets a free refill, and auto-battle by default since no human can input commands as fast as the computer can, unless it's just to spam a single move (blitz-blitz-blitz). Even if you know the enemy is weak to lightning but don't have it scanned, you're wasting valuable time where your ATB bar doesn't fill while you sit there dilly-dallying.

You know exactly how to win every battle at the outset, and given a particularly tough battle, victory is a combination of luck (the enemy doesn't hit you anything particularly dangerous) and timing. 5-staring battles underleveled is basically a "sprint for the finish, all or nothing, no healer or buffs" dash where you retry the moment anything goes wrong. 5-starring battles overleveled is a combination of (ab)using particular equipment that doesn't increase the maximum time... and a "sprint for the finish, all or nothing, no healer or buffs" dash.

Was there a sweet spot I missed? Perhaps. Sometimes buffs are important: your default position is usually "buffs on", but most battles are 5-starred without them once your timing is down.

Overall, the story itself has its ups and downs. Vanille is everyones least favorite 21-year-old voice actor trying to play a 14-year-old sounding girl (that's really 19 years old according to the manual). The other characters do develop somewhat: Snow warms to the player with his badass "fall fifty feet then carry someone on his back five miles moment", Hope goes through an uplifting transition but only really because that's the only direction he could have gone (it's not like you could have made him more whiny and annoying), Sazh has a mini-struggle beneath his calm and positive demeanor... but the female cast is lacking. Vanille is pure eye-candy with a backstory added for the sake of completeness, Fang has no real role (so far), and Lightning just sort of stays aloof except for one moment when she cries to Hope about her feelings.

The story is still a definite improvement over 12, which just gave each character an intro and a little motivation for joining the group, and then went off in some long-winded plot tangent that was completely irrelevant as far as most of the characters were concerned or bothered to express. I suppose I'm used to traditional Final Fantasy where the hero gets their spotlight throughout the story, and secondary characters get a bit of an introduction as they are introduced and some development along the way in the form of dialogue and commentary, with some extras and optionals thrown in to flesh them out. That was a fair way to do things: from what I see, 13 gives the characters some more introduction and some meaningful development along the way, but its sandwiched in the beginning and middle. The old FFs were episodic in a sense: they created their main interaction between characters by introducing some sort of small challenge or goal in the context of a larger goal, and having the characters talk about it and share their opinions as they overcome it. This allowed them to actually develop as characters.

This one splits up the characters and has them do some really exciting things right away, but I find myself missing the moments like the Black Mage village of FF9 or being trapped in the Casino in FF7: a change in scenery, pace, and mechanics. More memorable are the moments where you return to an area you previously visited and do things even more exciting, like in FF7: going back into that portside town where you originally took the boat ride and being captured/trying to escape, or returning to Midgar and fighting the Weapon.

FF13 does away with the "overall, fairly clear goal" and "episodic challenges" that you see in FF7 and FF9 and goes for a more "changing or unknown villain" and "fairly linear path" method of FF8 and FF12. The overall motivation is fairly unclear, and even the protagonists are slightly confused as to what to do, so the game has to give you a straight line from A to B to walk along in order to keep you motivated. Where FF7 was well-paced, with the episodic challenges varying in importance and climaxing at about every half disc, FF13 is almost a roller-coaster ride that always falls down: by the end of it you're bored. It just rises and rises in impact and significance and almost never slows down for a moment: you really have to give the player a reference to compare to, a moment in the story where things are slow and lackadaisical, or funny and joyous, for those action-packed or tragic moments to hit hard.

FF13 just struggles at basic storytelling conventions where its predecessors excelled or at least functioned (depending on who you talk to), and when the gameplay isn't much it's hard to appreciate it.

In any case, I'm bored of FF13, and I probably won't get back to it for a while.

Jeff Dunn, I like the way you think. Good article even though there are 3 pages of hate (for the most part).

Atmos Duality:

There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.

What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

EDIT:

Final Fantasy XIII gave fans something new. And it was vehemently hated as a result.

Actually, the whole time I was playing FF13 (brief as it was), I could not stop thinking of another game that had similar problems: Xenosaga Episode 2.

It had very similar gameplay related problems and an overwrought story.

I struggle to see how FF13 gave us anything new.

A game that was mostly cutscenes? Been done. The difference is that usually cut scene heavy games are still games. FF13 would happily never let you touch a button.

The combat system? They mashed together "action rpg" combat and "Turn based/Active Time" combat with an audible clunk to give us twitch-based menu navigation.. which isn't new either.. FF11 was essentially the same system just with only 1 action at a time being picked. 12 could be played in a nearly identical fashion to 13 if you were mad enough to not use gambits. The whole Paradigm system exists to mask them being too lazy or inept to create an AI that can competently use a wide variety of skills or give the characters any real concrete characterization to match their skill set. That's not new, that's failure.

The Characters? Worse than the "Staff girl, Sword guy, etc" tropes because while they don't fit those profiles, they still fall into the "tough guy/tough girl, kookie girl, emo git" just without any of the secondary characteristics like a set of abilities that actually match what they do or their personalities. Let us not forget that most of the characters have an "ultimate ability" which tells you they do have a "class" it's just so vaguely defined to be inscrutable.

The story? Big Bad Evil Guy wants to bring down civilization for kicks. Though making the BBEG a transforming mecha-pope is kinda new I guess.

If anything, FFXIII is a regression rather than an innovation. The players control over the game is minimized. Where limiting player action used to be the result of tech limits, now it's just for the heck of it.

I finished FF13-2 not all that long ago and found it to be superior in every way; they built upon the ultra-restricted system and improved it. It still isn't that good and probably never will be cause it has so many inherent flaws, but it shows they were at least thinking. It also had, what I feel, was superior story structure. FF13 had no driving force beyond an unseen ticking clock where as 13-2 had an antagonist who was a legitimate threat in person, but also the idea that the whole of creation was starting to unravel around you and if you didn't move your ass everything was going to come crashing down (literally and figuratively). Not to mention the game actually let you play it from the word go, no 15-20hr long tutorial section.

Lastly, I really find the idea of blaming the legacy holding the series back preposterous. FF13 isn't so widely loathed by fans of the series because it's different, it's loathed because they think it is a bad/boring/unenjoyable/flawed game. Innovation and refinement are fine, but here's the issue, those changes need to be provide something superior than the old way. Failure to do that is still failure and that failure is only magnified when there's a history of exceptional product.

I also find the idea of saying "it didn't intend to be an RPG" a total cop out defense. I've often called the justifications/defenses of FF13 to be desperate, but that takes the cake. Like someone above me said, it's like Timmy Wisaeu saying "The Room" was supposed to be funny after everyone started laughing at it. I guarantee that if FF13 didn't have "Final Fantasy" in the title, no one would be defending it. It would get laughed off the stage and buried in obscurity ,but it has that legacy that the article is so quick to criticize to use as a crutch.

Maybe I'm weird, but I don't feel like FFXIII tried something 'new' or 'different', has much as it just finally reached a 'critical mass' of Final Fantasy-ness and imploded on itself.

Pretty much every iteration of FF has had plots that got more and more complicated and non-sensical. People's hair has gotten more and more spiky. The characters become more and more annoying. Gameplay has gotten less and less involving. The world has shrunk. The game becomes more linear.

So FFXIII isn't so much new... has the conclusion of that trend.

If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!

There are many reasons I despise FFXIII. And no, it being "different" isn't one of them.

FFXIII had the worst combat system in FF history. I beat every battle for the first 15 hours pressing auto-action. THAT IS NOT A GOOD COMBAT SYSTEM. It wanted players to interact as little as possible.

Vanille and Hope were completely unlikable. When an explosion takes place 12 hours in, and you know a party member is there in danger, Vanille tells Sazh "Let's just go the other way". REALLY? FUCKING REALLY? No choice? Just flee for no better reason? Really?

Party leader dying means Game Over? BULL SHIT. I stopped playing when one boss 17 hours in would attack my party leader with everything first turn and kill her, ending the game. I would normally grind to get around something like that but...

YOU CAN'T GRIND. The arbitrary limits on how strong you can make your characters scream "We want to tell a movie, not a game"

No sidequests for at least 20 hours. EVERY OTHER GAME HAD SOMETHING TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF THE TEDIUM. Blitzball, Triple Triad, Mini-Games in VII. XII had it best, if you didn't feel like going after the story, you could hunt some mobs and have fun that way. XIII? NOTHING FOR AT LEAST 20 HOURS. THE FUCK?

THAT'S WHY I HATE FFXIII.

When I first played FFXIII so long ago on launch I was so so disappointed. Weeks before FFXII-2 came out I decided to sit down to play FFXIII all over again, from start to finish. I realized I was a lot harder on the game then I should have been, it's not that it was a bad game but it was so different in linear that I hated everything it ever stand for. Playing it my second time through was much relaxing and satisfying. I started to appreciate the story that was told and the characters that were telling it.

The combat system was never about choosing "Fira" from a menu, it was about switching to paradigms at the right time and knowing how to endure the battles that would come. Each character played an important role in your party to survive, which many FFs could say otherwise.

If you asked me what was my favorite FF, well you'd be surprised to know it wasn't FFVII of FFVI or FFV, no it was FFXII. So many fans hated FFXII for what it achieved, personally I thought it achieved greatness. The battle system was something to behold, the world was elegant in its own way, and the characters felt alive.

13-2 improved on the 13 system, the battle system is tweaked to really make the battles more fast pace and intense. The creature catching, chocobo racing, slot machine fenzy, fragment collecting, notorious monster, multiple ending, time traveling game was a worthy stand in the FF line up. It was what the fans were asking for, something more than just the story. I don't see how any fan wouldn't be happy with 13-2 and maybe just maybe they will appreciate FF13 more after playing it, I know I have.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Vanille and Hope were completely unlikable.

So the only characters with any development or depth were unlikable? Okay. Have fun with that.

A little side-note: Dark Souls has some huge differences from Demon's Souls. They have the same combat system, but where Demon's Souls uses a mission hub and fairly straightforward levels, Dark Souls is almost completely open-world. You could argue that each "zone" is the same thing as a level, but when they're all stitched together then it's still a major difference, not an incremental change. If a game like Uncharted had all its zones be interconnected and allowed the player to travel in them as they please, it would completely transform the game.

But yeah, I agree with some of the points made here. I've been thinking about how they could've salvaged Final Fantasy XIII, and I've come up with one thing that would've magically changed it from a mediocre game to the game of the year, and here it is.

The voice actresses/actors should've been drunk and added a ton of ad-libbed lines. There. Now it's a satire. Motomu Toriyama's hack writing is so bad that if it got that extra little push into the uncanny, it would become brilliant. Lines like "BECUZ IM A HERO LOLZ" and "MOMS ARE TOUGH LOLZ" would've immediately become parodies of the dialogue, and it would have all that post-structuralism stuff you hipsters love so much.

Another option would've been to employ someone who isn't a horrible writer.

Nice article, but I didnt think FFXIII needed defending.

Some people liked it, some didnt.

ElPatron:

medv4380:
snip

Didn't they also say that you can't tell a compelling story on an open world game?

Perhaps he never heard of Grand Theft Auto... or previous FF games...

I don't remember that prior to launch, but it may have been put forward as an argument to justify some of the complaints. I do remember them saying that it was originally designed for the PS2, and that could actually explain some of the design choices. For the PS2 to do that level of graphics many things have to be cut out. This would explain the lovely but small linear hallways all over the place.

I completely disagree with the articles argument that FFXIII was innovative in any way shape or form. I don't think they were going for innovation ether. Thinking back on those original interviews prior to launch this is always what they were building up to. They always wanted in interactive movie, and that's not to surprising given where these companies originally started with way back. It's also not my fault or the users fault for not believing them as Jeff Dunn implied. The entertainment industry is notorious for over hyping anything it produces, and, for the most part, the audience has accepted that a long line of buzz words is not actually reflective of the real product.

FFXIII and -2 have already proven that they've killed the franchise and square must know that they have to do something to fix it. 13 never come close to the sales of 10 which is a bad sign. per vgchartz
7 = 9.72 million
10 = 8.05 million
10-2 = 5.29 million
13 = 4.77 PS3 + 1.84 XBox 360 = 6.61
13-2 = 1.69 PS3 + 0.39 XBox 360 = 2.08

10 is at least a couple of million to 7 which is good since 7 has had a longer sales period and works on 3 generations of consoles where 10 only works on 1. I'd expect both of the -2 to do less then the first release but 10-2 did 65% of what 10 did and even though 13-2 hasn't been out as long the initials sales don't look good since 90% of what is going to sell should be about out the door. This looks even worse when you look at the Japan figures only (which have a longer time on the market), and that's the primary market for JRPGs.

13-3 can expect even less performance if it is even done. Honestly with the damage 13 did to the franchise, as shown by 13-2s performance, I'd be looking to escape out of the money-pit I put myself into.

They should probably reorganize, and put some effort into some of their old and dusty properties. Then move back and make a decent FF title.

GloatingSwine:

The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.

I would like to add that is they had of changed the UI for combat. Three columns rather than 2 and had things separated by spell type as in 1 row for Fire one for Blizzard it would be the best combat system. The UI is what ultimately killed the combat for me. There are a couple of tweaks I would do the combat myself but it is far from the worst.

OT: While I do agree with many of the points put across or the general reason why this article was written(as in FF fans don't like change as all games have wildly different aspects and mechanics) I do agree with the sentiment that game was not entirely bad. Especially, since you seem to like to alienate readers on their decision and opinion as you go to refute another different opinion made the whole article a lot more hard to swallow.

I really have to disagree with this article. I think a lot of people, myself included, were kind of on board with the change in style which we were sort of looking forward too since the Kingdom Hearts series did a good job of innovating the JRPG template. FF XIII, deserves to be hated on it's own merits, not just because it is part of a very respected franchise or because it took risks (which I doubt it did take).

The game isn't fun to play, it's hardly a game at all. End of the subject. I also think the story is sort of sucky, the characters uncharismatic, etc but that just feels like beating a dead horse. The game was too cinematic and linear. I's not that much to ask of a game. Be interactive, give the player some freedom, etc.

Even with the innovations they added on the game, FFXIII still blows monkey balls.

My issues with the game:

1. The storyline is terribad. With about 7 hour gameplay, you barely their character's ambitions, what their universe is about and what the villains are up to. Being that this is also an interactive medium, it fails on its storytelling with little to no exposition. Datalogs? This is about as bad as watching a movie "Clash of the Titans" and read cliffnotes about Greek history. At least what FFX did the exposition right by having Tidus the main character not knowing what world is he in.

2. Characters are about as a cookie cutter from their predecessors notably from 7 - 10. Hope happens to pull a boomerang out of nowhere. Inconsistency much?

3. The combat system is about the same as the old except the active time battle, removing magic points and put inside two characters on auto attack and your main character getting knocked out means you start over.

4. Badly interfaced upgrading system. Why would I even bother giving Hope or Vanille the Commando class when they are fine as Ravenger or Medic. I guess if people are curious on playing all Commandos. That's considered non linear gameplay. Speaking of which...

5. Linearity is about as a straight rod. Half Life 2 was also strict but give little freedom to roam around at least.

The only praise I give to this game is how gorgeous it is both cutscenes and game.

All in all, Final Fantasy XIII might as well be a rail RPG. Or a damn movie to make up their awful CGI movie The Spirits Within.

Despite all this, the game sold well. And Squenix is in trouble, especially Versus XIII and XIV.

There's a reason the phrase isn't "build a different mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Change that exists solely for change's sake is one of the forces in the universe uniquely suited to shooting itself in the foot, and "the designers were getting bored" is an out-and-out stupid reason to monkey with a successful franchise without serious consideration of how players would react to those changes.

Now, full disclosure: I haven't played FFXIII, in fact, my most significant exposure to the series has was the demo for FFVII. But I object to this notion that all criticism of a "new direction" is hypocrisy, even if the critics might have felt some elements of a series were starting to stagnate. Considered change with a particular end in mind can be a great thing indeed. But by many accounts, FFXIII was the new mousetrap that, incidentally, also killed all your household pets, is that a problem?

The people didn't want Final Fantasy XIII, the game, the attempted reinvention of streamlining a decades-old formula. They wanted "Final Fantasy," the template, the familiar modus operandi, the standard, comforting type of game that, even in the eyes of its own creators, was frankly starting to get old.

NO! we do not want that! We do not want the tamplate only!

There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.

That is not a bad idea for an RPG title? It should never been supported or try and defend it either.

Linear, cities, minigames that is not the only things that made the funbase divided, not what defines a good RPG.

The limited leveling system. "once you get to Pulse the game expands etc" that is why only after you finish the game you unlock the final sphere lvl?

For the final weapons you get (farm) the material from the "hardest" enemies. So where you supposed to use them then?

Data logs? Another bad idea to use for your naration. Whatever is not presented on screen should be optional and not mandatory!

You cannot have 6 main protagonists in a game. It doesn't deliver well. Lightning was presented as the main hero but she wasn't. At the very end Fang was.

A combat system that was playing by its own. (here a big congrats to the programers that had such a good AI at least)

FFXIII was a game of bad ideas and bad implemented ideas.

In FF-XII you had the gambit system that it was bad for reasons i will not explain here, but another company actualy took that system and used it right. Bioware with Dragon Age:Origins had tactics, the exact same system. Where it worked for the best?

Just because something is new doesn't mean it is good as well. Same goes for the old things as well. We look at those things and we try to expand them not ignore them.

Jeff Dunn, this is adressed to you, how did FF13 innovate? I know what the commenters think but in the forums and the even the article you said the game was different and innovative, but how? A change of setting doesn't equal innovation (Black ops anyone?)I'm just curious because you said the game was innovative and different but you didn't give any reasons how it was. Just something that bothered me.

kurupt87:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.

Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim:

Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.

Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!

This might have been forgivable if the majority of characters had been ones we liked or grew to like but they didn't do that. Most of them started off as insufferable and became tolerable. Story can go a long way to keeping players interested, because as GloatingSwing says:

GloatingSwine:

The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.

The problem with it is repetition, because there are quite a low number of potential encounter groups in each area the player will find themself fighting the same encounter repeatedly, and because the nature of the encounters is that they are now almost a puzzle, when you have solved the puzzle there is no need to modify your approach.

Exactly. Once you know the pattern, there's no need to change.

Contrast that with, say, Enchanted Arms, an otherwise pretty terrible game which had a similar restoration of characters between battles, but which rationed the restoration of HP and MP (used by all attacks) by the reduction of another resource, so there was always an incentive to improve your solution to the same encounters so that you could keep fighting further towards the next save point.

Had FFXIII had either a system like that to push the player to continue thinking even in repeated encounters to refine their approach to them, or altered the encounter design to provide a steadily staged and increasing challenge curve through each area (a tricky task), it would have fully succeeded in what it attempted to do.

But what this post is boiling down to is: Once we (as players) figured out the game system, there was no further challenge to us and with 20+ hours left to go in the game, why should we continue playing if there is no challenge and the story is filled with people we are apathetic about?

It isn't about the changes to a 'series' or 'genre' it's about the changes that don't work.

AbstractStream:
Jeff Dunn, I like the way you think. Good article even though there are 3 pages of hate (for the most part).

Aw man. I don't hate anybody...We're just all of different opinions, that's all.

Glademaster:

GloatingSwine:

The battle system, however, is one of the best in any JRPG, and certainly the best in a Final Fantasy. It makes the most of the fact that there is no attrition to make almost every combat a meaningful challenge, usually with a solution based not on luck or brute force of levels but on understanding and manipulating the system provided to you, using the right mix of classes at the right time, and changing them in response to the flow of the battle. You might not be clicking on "attack" every round yourself, but you'll be making far more decisions than you would in any other FF game.

I would like to add that is they had of changed the UI for combat. Three columns rather than 2 and had things separated by spell type as in 1 row for Fire one for Blizzard it would be the best combat system. The UI is what ultimately killed the combat for me. There are a couple of tweaks I would do the combat myself but it is far from the worst.

OT: While I do agree with many of the points put across or the general reason why this article was written(as in FF fans don't like change as all games have wildly different aspects and mechanics) I do agree with the sentiment that game was not entirely bad. Especially, since you seem to like to alienate readers on their decision and opinion as you go to refute another different opinion made the whole article a lot more hard to swallow.

Didn't want to "alienate" anybody, Glade. To buy into my argument, people kind of have to be of the mind that FF13 wasn't that bad of a game. Lots of people don't think it was on its own merits, I knew this going into the article. Whatever, that's cool. You have your opinions, I have mine.

But when I researched fan feedback to the game, much of what I read basically hated on the title because of how it wasn't like 7/8/9/10/what have you. I thought this was a startling way of going about things. Gamers like new things, typically. But here was a case where people distinctly wanted the old ways. I'm not trying to lump all detractors of FF13 into one pot, I know some people genuinely felt that the changes were "just bad," but I don't feel that way. One thing I am trying to say is that the game should be appreciated for risking its livelihood and risking commercial failure for presenting a different product. I think there's something noble in that, even if it doesn't make everybody happy. And, as we've seen, interest in the series as a whole is FAR from the days of FF7.

Again, though, this is just my informed opinion. I felt this was an important issue to make note of. If the article made people think, and sparked healthy debate (which it has here, something I'm very proud of), then I can't complain.

Smokescreen:

kurupt87:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.

Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim:

Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.

Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!

Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.

....Oops, I meant to edit another post, and hit the wrong button. Well, this is awkward...

Jeff Dunn:

Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.

Well OK: I didn't catch your opinion correctly but you did spend half your article complaining about the game/understanding why the complaints. I apologize for misrepresenting you, though.

A series can innovate, I'd agree. But this game failed to implement the gameplay or story that would've made it worth it and I think that's why it failed, as opposed to RE4, which is STILL looked at as a classic.

Jeff Dunn:
snip

That is fair enough and just because parts of it alienated me as reader doesn't mean it was like that for everyone. You gave your opinion and that is fine personally I think there are much more different reasons as to why FF XIII can be considered a bad game in some respects.

All of what you said is complete and utter bull considering the game was not enjoyable, I understand the fact that so many people are holding things back, but you can't treat the internet as 1 entity, you say we are hypocritical, but I say there are two groups here, both voicing their opinions directly at the Publisher.

For me, the gameplay was not fun compared to that of FF12, and I didn't know exactly what was going on in the story so it was hard for me to give a shit.

I just got fed up with it, and to me that game failed.

I loved Final Fantasy 13.
It had its issues, my god the first 20-30 hours still haunt me every time I feel like playing the game. The lack of towns didn't bother me too much, specially considering the last time you went into town you had the entire army committing mass-genocide just to reach you. And sure combat was serviceable with just "Auto", but I'll tell you something. The game doesn't take into account nearby enemies when you do so, specially when they are staggered. It forces the AI to focus-fire on that one, and when there is multiple staggered foes it ignores them. I used Auto for the most part because the AI was smart enough to apply buffs and debuffs or hit with the enemies weakness, but I'd also frequently entered commands manually in order to take advantage of circumstances like multiple enemies being staggered. Why focus on one, when you can blitz/ruinga them all at once?

I also loved Final Fantasy 13-2.
I didn't see it as some attempt at getting back to the basic formula, instead it was fixing the issues inherent with 13. Linearity/non-linearity was never an issue, but I appreciate the various branching paths the game lets you take. They still kept pretty much the same shop system, and while there was "towns", it served moreso as peace zones to relax a little, along with some annoying difficult trivia question mechanics in one of them.
And my god... NO 20 HOUR DRAG! It throws you right into the action with a brief yet good tutorial. And the live event triggers? They pop up literally like... 5-6 times throughout the 40-50hr span of my game time. They aren't that bad.

Instead, now my biggest gripe is DLC. I loved that 13 was the full package right from the start. Yet 13-2 reeks of cut content and wasted space just to sell DLC. I mean god, the coliseum is hyped up as an area to fight strong monsters in game, but Square Enix didn't even bother to put a few fights in there for free. And costumes? Its right there in the main menu, and they couldn't even be bothered to give you any free costumes to unlock? It all smacked of bullcrap to me.
And of course, the ending... While a 13-3 would be interesting to see how it handles that, I'm expecting it to just be patched in with the game's "true ending" with more paid DLC.

FF13 did not give me anything new. It gave me a game with great animations, horribly written characters, a confusing and poorly presented story, unengaging and repetitive combat, and extremely linear environments. It might have been trying something different from other Final Fantasy games, but that doesn't excuse it from being a thoroughly bad game, and a waste of $60. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, then whatever it was trying to be was crap.

Frylock72:

AC10:
All I know is I literally fell asleep while playing FF 13. I've never done that with any other game. It was the dullest experience of my life. I'd rather sit through my cousins piano rehersal. If it wasn't trying to be an RPG, that's cool; but whatever it WAS trying to be it did that really poorly.

I thought I was the only one. I rented it from GameFly, then about an hour in on the bridge that falls apart at the beginning I just got so bored I turned off the XBox and went to sleep.

Also, Zell was a fine character. I'm not sure I'm interested in you as a person, author.

Friendy of mine fell asleep while playing 13.

A day or two later he wrote on facebook "FINALLY I beat this game..."

Finally? really?

Is that what we've come to. People being relieved they don't need to think about a game anymore :P.

Jeff Dunn:

Smokescreen:

kurupt87:
You don't do major innovation within an established and popular franchise, ever. It never works.

Have you played Resident Evil 4, sir?

Suicidejim:

Was it still a bad game anyway? Well, yes.

Now we're getting somewhere. The article even says so!

Nope. Said that it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't bad, IMO.

But, your RE4 comment sort of hints at what I was getting at. Anyways, thanks Smoke.

The difference with RE4 though is that it isn't that it just "did something new because" it did something better.

That's the difference. Change for the shit of it is not what people want and anytime a franchise just changes things for no reason they say "Look people hate it!? This is why we churn out the same games normally."

A great example is Sim City Societies. Damn near nothing in that game was the same as Sim City and almost everything new was bad. If it had been called "City Town" or something else it STILL would have been bad because the ideas in it were bad.

Change for the sake of change is not a good thing.

But I don't necessarily think that was your point. But yeah, RE4 is not a good example to defend FF13. Because Re4 actually improved the formula, instead of just changing it.

No.

See I understand where you're coming from and I'd be inclined to agree if you didn't trip up. The reason we want the same stuff from Final Fantasy, or the reason I do is because they are producing things which are similar but different. FF7, FF9, FF10, X-2 (yes even X-2) and XII are all individually enjoyable games. I like all of them for their own reasons and many of them cross over. 7 and 12 had a fascinating story, 9 was a throwback to the childish style backed with a brilliant story and A-grade characters. X-2 had a really interesting approach to 'jobs' and the fighting which I thoroughly enjoyed. X was in my view a jack of all and master of none, with some fascinating story parts, several really cool characters (with their own arcs) and some nifty parts to the gameplay (man do I love aeons).

I haven't played 8 for more than ten minutes (I lack my PS3 here at uni) and though I have 1-3(6) I've only played 6 and have yet to finish it so no comments there.

Point is they're similar but different, each installment WORKS for me.

If CoD put out a GOOD game, you know what? I wouldn't care. I wouldn't care that it was using the same mechanics (give a tweak here and there) or a similar style or character archetypes. If MW2 had made me care as much as CoD4 had then I would not utter a complaint. It didn't though, CoD is complained about because it's akin to those sports games EA loves to churn out. It's not that they're similar, it's that they're exactly the same.

BabuNu:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!

Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.

Jeff Dunn:

Hulyen:

Jeff Dunn:

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'

Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

I would say that this has some truth in this, at least for me. Despite reviews painting the game as mediocre to poor, I never had much to say about Dirge of Cerberus. I just didn't buy it. FFXIII, on the other hand, was the Batman and Robin of video games. I bought the game after the reviews and player outrage because it couldn't be that bad, could it? And yet it was. It was a linear(at least as far as I could stomach the game) tube filled with uninteresting dialogue, unlikeable characters and boring fights.

Final Fantasy XIII marked the end of my trust in Squeenix's ability to develop a quality product, because if this is all they can do with one of their flagship titles, the company has clearly lost its touch altogether. I wouldn't feel any differently about the game if they had called it Final Fantasy Gaiden or something, but I might have a better opinion on the company that developed it.

I almost take offense with FFXIII being called a "unique step forward". It was a Final Fantasy that gutted absolutely everything good about Final Fantasy. When you take something out, you have to replace it with something better, FFXIII absolutely did not do that.

I would argue that Final Fantasy has never truly been about the overall narrative, but the world it takes place in. Every time you bought a Final Fantasy, you weren't just getting a game, you were being given a whole new world to explore. FFXIII.. did not have a world. I never once got a sense of time or place in the entire time I played that game. Therefore it had to rely entirely on the narrative, rather than the world to tell it's story, and we all know how that turned out.

I say this as someone who's replaying FF9 as we speak, and my god is that such a great world. So much stuff to interact with, so much beautiful, hand-painted scenery to explore, so many things to actually do. You can actually trace the paths and locations of every character and how they traverse and interact with the world itself. It's really understated to how invaluable that was to the atmosphere of a Final Fantasy.

Without that, FF is just another JRPG, which is what FFXIII was. FFXIII didn't bring anything new, it only took things out.

OK, I'm going to claim that I'm unbiased because I had an open mind going into FFXIII and it was my first time playing an FF game. I heard all of the reviews were good and so I decided to check it out. I had absolutely no expectations other than it was a good game.

FFXIII, RPG or not, will always be one of the worst games I ever played. From the terribly written characters and story, to the padded out world, to the dull game-play. No matter if you look at it as an RPG or any other genre, all of FFXIII's aspects make it a terrible game.

Susan Arendt:

BabuNu:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!

Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.

Thank you kindly Susan. And yes, this. Look at Nier. Decent to mostly positive critical praise, brought a relatively different experience to the market, didn't exactly have blockbuster sales.

Susan Arendt:

BabuNu:
If they tried so hard to break from the Final Fantasy M.O. why did they bother putting "Final Fantasy" in the name. If they wanted to make a different game, MAKE A DIFFERENT GAME! Don't try to increase sales by slapping "Final Fantasy" on the title. Almost everything that defines a Final Fantasy game has been cut from this, either bring back the world map or give it a new title!

Because name recognition counts for a lot. It helps with marketing, it helps with built-in audience...take two games that are otherwise equal, from a quality perspective. The one with a well-known name attached to it will, typically, sell better than the one that's a brand new IP, because people like to stick with what they know. They feel more comfortable buying something that they recognize in some way, even if it's just a name.

You could argue that it's false advertising though as they are basically lying to the consumer to sell their product.

It's like advertising your produce as oranges when in fact they are kumquats.

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