(PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Developed and Published by Square Enix
Release Date: Oct 9th, 2014 (PC), Mar 9th, 2010 (NA/EU), Dec 17th, 2009 (Japan)

You’re not reading the header wrong. I’m reviewing FINAL FANTASY XIII in 2014. Why? Because the 2009 JRPG was just released on PC for the first time and as I didn’t have a full review for the original release and also wanted to give some details on how the PC port was handled, I decided to run a full review of Square Enix’s thirteenth entry in the FINAL FANTASY series. I played this game on its initial console release and this wasn’t my first time replaying it for Boss Dungeon, but it’s my first time actually sitting down and collecting my thoughts on what might be the most polarizing entry in the series reception-wise.

This will be a long one.

FINAL FANTASY XIII is the first game in the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries of games. Which essentially means that it’s incorporating (and interpreting) new lore and ideas that’s not been in previous games. The concept for the game in general was to offer a FINAL FANTASY title that doesn’t try to dwell on the past and instead offers something new in order to bring the series to a new audience while also not making it all feel stale for older fans. Interestingly enough, this attempt at rejuvenating the series backfired quite badly.

The story puts us in the roles of six characters all caught in the middle of a government issued purge on the floating orb-like content of Cocoon. People believed to have been influenced in any way by the nearby planet of Gran Pulse are being sent on trains to be exiled to the planet. Both Cocoon and Gran Pulse have god-like entities known as the fal’Cie which control society in different ways. People serving the fal’Cie directly are known as l’Cie and posses the ability to use magic, but at a price. These servants must all work toward a personal goal given to them by the fal’Cie shrouded in mystery.

2708img1246Our main character, Lightning, is a former officer from the Guardian Crops, a branch of Cocoon’s private military. After her sister Serah became a servant to a Gran Pulse fal’Cie, she went rogue and began her fight to save her but ended up being branded a l’Cie herself. She joins up with Snow, her sister’s fiancée, Sazh, an older man with just as personal of a stake in the fight, Hope, a young boy caught in the midst of battle and lastly Vanille and Fang whose stories and past are unknown. As Gran Pulse l’Cie, they find themselves on the run from the government and try to figure out what their new purpose as servants are.

That’s a rough outline of the basic premise of FINAL FANTASY XIII and I’m sorry if it sounds confusing because I tried to type it out as coherent as I possibly could. It’s honestly not a very complex or even that unique of a story, but the way it’s presented and the way it just throws around words doesn’t help and it’s a pain to try and follow it in the way the game itself tells it. Every character already knows everything the player doesn’t know, so there’s never any logical way for the player to learn what things are since characters will never question anything going on. While I’m thankful there’s no obvious fish-out-of-water character to make for often obligatory awkward exposition, this approach is actually somewhat worse.

You feel like you’re watching an episode of a TV-series you missed the first half of the series of, and that becomes even more fitting because of the way the game handles the backstory of each character. While keeping away details on some characters, like Vanille and Fang who are meant to be a mystery, make sense. Doing what FINAL FANTASY XIII does and essentially locking away the introductory scenes of each characters to flashback sequences you’ll have the pleasure of watching as you finish chapters is clumsy and manages to actually ruin some of the game’s best writing and directing.

2704img1012Some of the flashbacks are genuinely great scenes and offer way more insight into the characters than the actual introductions do, but they always arrive at a time where the first impressions have already been ingrained so deeply into your perception of each character, that the flashback does nothing to help them. They also don’t really feel like they were meant to be flashbacks, they honestly feel like a prologue chapter that the game just decided to skip over so that players could jump immediately into what thy saw at E3 2006. It’s clunky, it’s messy and it hurts the story more than it helps.

There are thirteen chapters in the game, to match the number of the title. If you had any doubt that this wasn’t the reason as to why there are exactly thirteen chapters, you’ll soon notice that most of the chapters don’t actually tell any story but just work as filler to show off environments. About four or six of the chapters at most offer crucial development, which would be fine if the filler chapters were utilized for character development or world building, but it never is and instead just comes down to watching our characters walk through a new environment for an hour or two.

Later chapters try to be more innovative with its story and while a lot of it does fall flat, some things does work in its favour. Without going into details, chapter twelve is a few hours that both feel cool in presentation and show some interesting developments as it starts leading up to the end. It’s also when the characters feel like they’re starting to come into their own, which is something we’ll talk about more in a little bit. Unfortunately the actual conclusion to the story is both unsatisfying and poorly constructed, making the very last hours nothing but a big long painful groan as you push to reach the end.

2690img0572FINAL FANTASY XIII just has this issue where it wants everything to feel new and special, but it doesn’t actually do anything to warrant that. Instead it hides away information and make up new words to distract and confuse you and what results is not an interesting new world but rather one big uninviting mess. It seems the developers realized this however, so they tried to implement a feature to keep players informed and up to date on what the characters already know and think without actually doing storytelling. The Datalog.

The Datalog is accessible from the main menu and updates with new information any time you touch or do anything in the game. It’s essentially like reading a collection of wikipedia articles in the middle of your game. The game expects you to pause the game constantly and read these logs if you’re expected to follow the events going on and it’s one of the worst storytelling mechanics I’ve ever seen in any videogame ever. This isn’t a case of finding pieces of the story in the environment like Resident Evil, this is literally the game stopping you dead in your tracks to give you a dry history lesson.

And the Datalog feature isn’t even that complete, as certain events and details are still left out to where they’re not properly explained unless you look up information on tie-in novels or go on a scavenger hunt on the fan-made wikia. If you’re going to have this feature, bad of a use as it may be, at least make an effort in offering all the details and answers to the questions that every player is bound to have when playing the game. I have played through this game multiple times and there were still things I actually had to google before wrote up the story summary above, because the game is so keen on keeping information from you.

2687img0076This brings us to our characters, starting with our leading lady Lightning. Lightning isn’t all that bad of a character to be honest, the problem is the way she’s presented. She’s never seen as anything other than angry or emotionless (which was later sort-of made into a plotpoint in LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII) and as such she often comes off as an empty character. However, there are times in the flashbacks where we can see a glimpse of a more refined and thought out character, a character that could have been explored far better. This doesn’t excuse the game’s writing for her at all, but it suggests there was more of a thought to her than people may attribute to her.

In the end, FINAL FANTASY XIII clearly wanted to focus on Lightning being a cool action heroine, which is certainly not a bad thing, but it all feels a bit shallow in execution. At the same time, Lightning is strong and she is most certainly treated with quite a bit of respect in her first appearance. She’s never sexualized in any of the usual female videogame lead ways. Now, I realize that a lack of something bad is not the same as doing something good, but Lightning was a character that I never found degrading to play as and that should count for something in a hobby where that happens quite often. Unfortunately, I did feel quite bored. In the end, I think Lightning gets more crap than I personally think she deserves, she’s far from perfect no matter how much the game tries to pretend otherwise, but she’s honestly one of the lesser bad things in this game.

Which brings us to the other characters, which thankfully I have less to say on. Snow is presented as a standard brawn over brains male lead that is just as boring as Lightning, but comes with his own flavour of annoyance. Vanille is the worst stereotypical type of a cheerful side-character and just comes of as disingenuous in writing and presentation. Hope is a collection of the most overplayed and frustrating “child hero” tropes. Which leaves Fang and Sazh as the only redeeming characters of the bunch, with Fang being just as cool as Lightning is meant to be but with a far more fun personality and Sazh just being a genuinely well written father figure that manages to convey the only genuine emotional connection between character and player in this entire game.

2701img0921Allow me to expand on that. The game suffers from an extreme emotional disconnect between the characters in the game and the player, mostly because we’re never introduced to the characters in any normal or happy state. We’re introduced to them in the most depressing and angry of times and it quickly becomes the mood that the game sets for itself. What this causes is the inability for things to actually feel worse or sad. When the norm is already so negative, going worse just feels like it’s reinforcing the norm. Sazh is the only character that breaks this. Sazh has the happiest and the saddest moments, and they all work. This is because Sazh is both given a more well explained character arc as well as having full emotional range.

This takes us to the dialogue in the game, which is conveyed almost exclusively through cutscenes as interacting with NPCs is not really a thing in this title. It never feels like the characters are actually behaving rationally whenever they talk to each other. Throughout the entire game I can only think of one single non-flashback cutscene that I felt had a very natural flow to it, ironically that was also one of the few times the game did exposition quite well. It was a scene where Hope asked about the Primarch of Coccoon and was filled in on some crucial details by Sazh. Once again showing the potential the game has that is mostly wasted away on filler and confusing buzzwords.

Sometimes it feels like the writers didn’t know what the game was going to be about but just had to keep on writing while the rest of the team just kept working on their things with no communication happening. Everything about FINAL FANTASY XIII‘s writing feels disconnected and out of place. Which might be due to poor direction by Toriyama Motomu or perhaps due to some of the rumoured development problems that have surfaced since release, with content for the game being created without a clear contextual purpose and the writing having to painfully try and wrap itself around what was there. But whatever was the case, the story, in both presentation and writing, is one major flaw of FINAL FANTASY XIII.

2697img0816But let’s talk gameplay, starting with the games combat system as it’s what you’ll be experiencing the most of throughout the game. You take control of the leader of a party with up to three members. The AI takes controls of these partners, issuing commands for them as you focus on the leader. Only the leader may use items or certain abilities and if the leader dies the fight is loss and you’ll be loaded back to a checkpoint just before the fight in question, sometimes with the option to customize your characters if the fight was initiated by a cutscene, though there are exceptions to this.

The combat itself is very simple as every spell or attack uses the same type of points known as Active Time Battle (ATB) points. ATB points are charged up bit by bit throughout combat as long as you’re not currently acting out assigned commands. The amount of ATB points your characters can use at once increases as you progress the character further, but the core system of how they work remain the same throughout the entire game. Players can either assign skills to the ATB bar by themselves or let the AI handle it by using the Auto Attack function.

The Auto Attack function is a big portion of the combat system as you’ll eventually have so many different skills and so much ATB points to spend with so little time that setting them by yourself becomes pointless. Especially if there’s a set way to best attack already laid out for you, as it means that you’re just doing what Auto Attack would do but slower. Unfortunately this is working as intended, as the game wants you to use the Auto Attack function so much that almost every battle is designed for it. This makes most battles incredibly easy unless you force yourself to not play with a sound tactic, leaving you with either a tap-to-win scenario versus playing in a way the game doesn’t want you to.

2707img1227Job switching is in FINAL FANTASY XIII as well, called Paradigm Shift in this entry. In battle you can swap out your character roles by switching between different sets you’ll customize before battle. These roles lock skills to characters in order to bring a more strategic design into it all. For example, while the Commander role deals a lot of direct damage, only the Medic role will be able to heal members of your party. There are a total of six roles in general, all with a specific purpose. It’s a nice idea that was previously attempted with FINAL FANTASY X-2‘s job system, and actually works quite well.

The issue here comes with the fact that every character is not really suited for every role. Every character sort of have their one role they’re strong in and while you’ll eventually be able to progress them in other roles, it takes so much time and effort to get them good that you’ll soon find that it’s a total waste. There’s no reason to push Sazh to be a Medic for example, it’s just not his role. You can still do it, but the game doesn’t want you to and it’ll take you longer than clearing the main storyline to get him decent at it.

Another aspect of combat comes from Technical Points (TP) that are used for scanning enemies for information so that the AI will know what to do more easily, using specific skills like Earthquake and most importantly, summoning. The leader can summon their Eidolon if they’ve acquired it in the story mode and have sufficient TP. The Eidolon will take the role of your AI parnters, even reviving them and restoring their status and health when it leaves the battle, and fight alongside you as a powerful ally with a specific element and role. While fighting you’ll be building up a bar that will allow you to transform your Eidolon into a vehicle or mountable animal, riding them into battle as you unleash more powerful attacks.

2691img0630While this is an interesting take on the summon system of previous games, it never tends to do enough damage to be that useful in later battles. Instead it just becomes a quick way to help out your AI partners if they’ve fallen while slicing off a little HP of whatever enemy you were fighting at the time for good measure. As with most elements of FINAL FANTASY XIII‘s combat system, it’s a nice idea, but as fun as it is to see the cinematic Eidolon attacks it doesn’t make up for how tacked on and pointless it feels in the majority of the game. It’s also a bit annoying how we get to see our heroes ride their Eidolons in battle and in cutscenes, yet we can’t use them as mounts in the open sections. That could have been cool.

But one of the coolest things in combat is the Stagger system. Basically, every enemy has the abilitiy to be staggered, and as such be rendered far more vulnerable. This is accomplished by increasing an enemy’s stagger rate until it reaches the maximum percentage. But the percentage is always dropping, meaning you need to juggle it constantly. This is done by having some roles be focused on increasing stagger rate and some roles be focused on slowing down the pace it drops at. It’s a very fun addition to combat that’s there from the very start of the game and sticks around until the very end.

Another issue with the combat is that enemies will often have area of effect attacks, which wouldn’t be a problem if you could control your character. However, all movement is handled by the AI and it will often happen that your leader for some reason will just walk straight into an attack that could have easily been avoided. It’s weird too since most people tend to use the directional pad for the menu commands, so they had the left analogue stick free for manoeuvring. I suppose the random nature of the movement could be viewed as a way to balance out the chance of attacks missing, but since they can still technically miss-on-touch thanks to random variables coming into play for damage dealing, it just seems weird.

2688img0099Then there’s the lacklustre AI that will more often than not get you killed. If the AI is set to throw debuffs or buffs you’ll often find that they’ll do so at a slower pace than they’d normally be able to just because they may not have the specific skill they’d most likely want to combine a previous skill with. But that’s nothing on the AI meant to heal you which will always focus on healing the character with the lowest amount of health points. That might make sense on paper, but when the leader dying is the same as the entire party dying, that can’t be a priority. There are times where they’ll opt for healing everyone with a multi-target skill, but they tend to be weaker and result in demise for this very reason.

This all becomes a problem because of the inability to either customize the AI behaviour like in FINAL FANTASY XII or taking full control of your partners when needed to tell them to do something. In some ways, even a simple section of the combat menu devoted to simple leader commands like healing or focusing on a certain target would be of great help. But instead you’re placed in the palms of the automatic AI which is by far the hardest enemy to fight in the entire game. The forgiving checkpoints and save/shops are a blessing in this regard, since at least you’ll never lose much progress as the AI screws you over.

If the combat sound overwhelming, it’s really not. It’s very simple and it honestly could be quite good if it was just somewhat more focused on either making partners more useful or making the leader more capable. However, the game refuses to let you experiment with the system at all, instead opting to slowly introduce new elements of it bit by bit through tutorial segments. This is fine in theory, but not when you’re still getting tutorial windows popping up in the final chapter of the game. I am not joking about that either, that’s actually a thing that happens. Not exclusively regarding combat thankfully, but the tutorial windows never stop and there’s no setting to turn them off.

2694img0758But all this would be forgiven if the combat was actually fun. And it is, for a little while. It’s basically fun while you’re in a smaller party and don’t have to worry about too much and can just slice things without worrying about paradigms roles, Eidolons or stuff. But even though they keep adding things to make things more exciting, it just ends up being repetitive and formulaic to the point where the combat soon becomes tiresome. And you don’t want your main attraction gameplay-wise to become tiresome, because that’s when it all falls apart.

Like I mentioned before, the game is divided into chapters. Every chapter is essentially a linear level, with the exception of one but we’ll get there, that you run through collecting treasure chests and fighting enemies until you fight the last boss in the stretch to move onto the next level. This linearity has been a fairly big complaint, which I think is somewhat misplaced while also being very accurate. The game is indeed linear, but I don’t think that in itself is a bad thing. The problem is that FINAL FANTASY XIII doesn’t understand linear design and therefore doesn’t utilize it at all.

For example, the game will have treasure chests that are sometimes hidden or guarded by very strong enemies which the game will even advice against fighting. But these chests can include items that you can’t receive later on in the game through a store or other chests and there’s no way to backtrack to get them. That’s okay in theory, but then the game expects you to have opened every treasure chest ever and kept each item without selling it in order to fully be able to use mechanics introduced ten hours later. Now, if the game offered some sort of New Game+ mode or the ability to revisit chapters after finishing the game, this would be okay, but instead it comes down to replaying from the start with nothing carrying over if you dared to reach a checkpoint or clear a level with missing anything.

FINAL FANTASY XIII SERIES_screenshot_18-09-2014_01_1411052497The big exception to this is one specific chapter that opens up to a vast world that you can freely traverse. This chapter is filled with Cieth Stones, which are essentially missions where you’re asked to kill specific a specific enemy. You’ll then be ranked on your effort and you can receive bonus items and unlock more of the world by clearing these missions. This is actually quite cool side-content and you’re even allowed to access this after finishing the game with your level intact to keep on doing missions. What’s less impressive is that this the game presents this as a side-thing but expects you to put hours into it just to complete the main story.

Because from the moment the Cieth Stones are introduced, the story content jumps ahead in difficulty to make sure you’re not good enough to take on the next challenges. So you better be ready to complete a good number of missions if you want to continue. You might wonder how the game can do this with accuracy since you should technically just be able to level up your characters further, maybe even before reaching this point, so that they’re strong enough. But that’s where the Crystarium System comes in.

The Crystarium System is FINAL FANTASY XIII‘s replacement for the standard level up mechanics most RPG default too. Similliar to the Sphere Grid and the License Board of past titles, it gives you point to spend towards skills and stat bonuses in order to make your characters stronger. After each battle starting in the third chapter of the game you’ll be receiving Crystagen Points (CP) after clearing any battle. You then spend these points bit by bit on acquiring crystals containing these skills or stat bonuses in hooks on a web that unfolds based on each role your characters currently have access to.

Lightning's_gridOr at least that’s the concept. The web in question is really more of a very curvy road with some slight stops for one or two crystals here and there. It never feels like you’re making an active choice on what to spend your CP on aside from the role you pick. It’s boring and could easily have been replaced with a linear level progression without there being much difference. But the biggest problem comes in how the game will limit your progression. Each chapter sets a cap to how strong each character can grow, with their full potential not being reached until you’ve finished the game. This means that the game essentially doesn’t let you do anything with the characters at all apart from reaching a very easy Crystarium cap to be as strong as the game feels you should be before you move on. It’s boring and far too restrictive.

Equipment is largely found in treasure chests, though every save point serves as a store as well. More store-hubs open up inside the save points as your progress, offering you access to new items and equipments, though as mentioned before, there are items you won’t ever be able to buy. Buying things largely feels like a waste outside of item upgrading (more on that later) and it doesn’t help that you don’t get any money from enemy encounters to spend in the store. You’re basically forced to find it through treasure chests or by selling things, which as we established can be dangerous. One neat set of items however, are Sols.

Sols are items you exclusively use outside of battle. They come in various forms and basically alter how enemies will react to you. Some Sols will give you free buffs as you start a fight and then there’s Deceptisol which will hide you from enemies, letting you sneak up for a quick pre-emptive attack or just avoid enemies all together. It’s really neat, so it’s a shame they get quite rare as the game moves on. Other items are generally only used in combat since all your characters are automatically revived and back to full health whenever a battle ends, making things like potions, Phoenix Downs and antidotes pointless outside of battle.

2696img0801As you start getting close to the final third of the game, it introduces item upgrading. Equipment can be upgraded into higher level versions of themselves and sometimes transform into different equipment all together. This is also done at save points by spending specific items on the weapons. It’s a system that unfortunately feels a lot like an afterthought, both in its placement and the way it’s never clearly described in the game itself. You’ll have to experiment so much with various items that you’re likely to waste more time than leveling up good equipment, so I’d probably suggest looking up some sort of guide if you’re interested in it.

It’s worth talking about controls as well, as the game has quite a bit of issue with them. Movement feels very stiff and weird, making avoiding enemies if needed sometimes more of a hassle than it should be. The game will also toss these spots where characters will perform automatic jumps to other areas, which can get you stuck jumping back and forth a few times if you mess up the direction just slightly on the analogue stick. The camera is also a pain to deal with as it just doesn’t control well and can’t decide if it wants to be fixed and cinematic or fully manipulated by the player. It’s just sloppy and could have been handled much better.

FINAL FANTASY XIII‘s main story clocks in around forty hours on the first run, that’s taking into account around eight hours of cutscenes and maybe six hours spent on doing missions to get your characters strong enough to continue. While the game offers you the ability to continue doing missions and completing the Crystarium for each role on each character, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about it when the journey there was more painful than it was fun, especially if you missed a crucial item you may have wanted. If you do aim for completion however, you have at least a hundred hours to prepare for. A hundred repetitive and boring hours.

2699img0896The art-style in the game is quite pretty and the FMVs will show off some of the games most gorgeous moments. But the actual graphical quality in-game is a bit of a mixed bag. Most of it look quite nice and the environments are impressive. But there are odd things like terrible low-poly work on certain parts on the character models that sometimes end up in cutscene close-ups and just look out of place. There’s also a lot of low-resolution textures at play, especially in the more open-ended sections of the game. Thankfully art-style trumps graphical tech in this case and it’s a joy to look at most of the time.

The main character designs are quite nice as well, even though I personally don’t care for Vanille, Hope or Snow’s design. They all look unique and if nothing else memorable. The less can be said for the minor characters. Characters like Primarch Dysley or this game’s version of Cid are just dull and completely devoid of creativity. On the other hand, the fal’Cie all have very different and sometimes otherworldly looks to them that helps even that out. I’d also like to highlight chapter three as one especially beautiful chapter to look at. The Eidolons I do not care for at all however, I find their designs simply confusing.

FINAL FANTASY XIII‘s soundtrack was composed by Hamauzu Masashi and is another mixed bag. While there are some really good tracks on there such as the title theme, the main battle theme and some boss themes, most of the soundtrack just doesn’t stand out and it doesn’t feel like it has a collective theme to it all. None of it is bad, but most of it is just not that good. I’d say it’s an improvement on Masashi‘s previous FINAL FANTASY soundtracks, but that’s about it. It goes out of it’s way to not sound like other FINAL FANTASY games, which is commendable but I don’t think it worked out that well.

2703img0990The English voice acting in the console version is not bad, but it’s not that good either. It floats around the mediocrity line with Ali Hillis sometimes doing well and sometimes sleepwalking through her performance as Lightning. Vincent Martella as Hope seem to just be questioning every line he reads as if he doesn’t really understand it. On the other hand, Troy Baker as Snow does a good job, but it falls in the category of Troy Baker acting and sounding like Troy Baker, it’s not that interesting of a performance. I don’t know if the issues I have with the acting come down vocal direction or the acting itself to be honest, but it’s just very middle of the road.

The game has hiccups and minor performance issues on consoles, including framerate drops in and out of combat now and then. It’s never a big deal and it’s quite rare, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s there either way. There are a few minor differences between the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 version of the game. First of all, the PlayStation 3 ships on one disc where as the Xbox 360 version is three discs, forcing you to swap them out as you progress through the story, whether you have the game installed or not. The Xbox 360 version also runs at a lower native resolution than the PlayStation 3 version, though apart from that they look the same.

But let’s talk about the PC version that was just released. First of all, it’s 59.4GB in size, so be prepared for that if you’re getting the game. Why is it so large? Because it has 40GB worth of uncompressed FMV. If you think that sounds like it’d be too much for this game you’d be right. Half of it are the same cutscenes as the first half but with Japanese audio, doubling the space it’d normally take up. This version does offer the option to play with both English and Japanese audio, which is a first for the western release of the game. The cutscenes look crisper than they did on console, so there’s always that.

2686img0041The port is locked at a 1280×720 resolution with no options to change it or any other setting you might have wanted to customize. That’s right, the game actually runs at a lower resolution on PC in 2014 than it did on PlayStation 3 in 2009. The framerate is locked at 30 frames per second but will commonly drop frames here and there. Edit: Since launch Square Enix have patched the PC version to allow for higher resolutions and framerate. They’ve also added the Easy Mode that was previously exclusive to the Japanese Xbox 360 release of the game, which is a nice feature even if I personally find the idea of making the game easier a bit weird given how it’s quite easy as it is. The game is playable with both a mouse and keyboard combination or with a gamepad, thought the latter doesn’t offers any button configuration.

What could have been a improvement upon the original is instead another disappointment to an already far too disappointing game in the first place. When Square Enix is making Ubisoft’s PC port job look good in comparison, something is terribly wrong. This is easily the worst version of the game, even taking in the minor additions in comparison to the console version. The game is fairly cheap on Steam, but these days you can get the console version cheaper already, so it hardly matters. There’s just no excuse for the game running like this in 2014 on hardware that could support it far better and it leaves me worried for future PC ports by Square Enix.

In the end, FINAL FANTASY XIII is just not a very good game. It’s boring, repetitive, doesn’t understand how a linear design should work and feels like a 40 hour lecture in mechanics you could have mastered in an hour if the game would just let you. The writing is a joke more than half of the time and the story desperately wants to appear more complex than it actually is. It’s not an unplayable mess and it have a few good ideas here and there, but as a whole it’s just one big disappointment that’s not worth it. Not four years ago, not today.

PS3/360 Score: 3.5/10
PC Score: 2.5/10

Recommendation: I’m sure most of you decided years ago whether or not you wanted to play FINAL FANTASY XIII on consoles. But in case you’ve waited for the PC release, I’d recommend saving your money as this port is not worth the price.
Official Disclosure: Andrea reviewed FINAL FANTASY XIII with copies of the game she bought for herself for each system over the course of the last few years.

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