Sunday, September 19, 2010

final fantasy xiii, update 1

final fantasy xiii, update 3
final fantasy xiii, update 2
final fantasy xiii, update 1
final fantasy xiii, first impressions

I got this game for my birthday, and I just realized how close I am to having my next birthday. And I haven't finished it. I am genuinely ashamed of this because It's not for length (not yet) or badness (its great) but because of neglect. I've had other games on my plate (a lot, really) as well as work, and honestly a lot of my game time has been displaced by PC time. I'm going to write updates on this game, hopefully motivating myself to continue and eventually beat it.
When I last talked about FFXIII in my abruptly-ending first impressions article, the last thing I mentioned was people complaining about the story. What most people, including the great Spoony, complain about is how you as a viewer do not have any connection to the characters or story because you are essentially dropped into an epic story mid-plot and expected to roll with it. You have no idea who these characters are, what kind of world they're living in, or anything. Spoony even revisited a game he disliked, FF10, and said at least that game had Tidus, a fish out of water as much as you, as a proxy for going "what? explain" every time you come across something weird. FF13 doesn't do that, instead giving you an in-game dictionary of sorts that is updated when the game deems it necessary, in addition to flashbacks. What is immediately apparent is that the world is divided with a large-scale banishment program going on. Your characters are all on the receiving end of this, and so far the story has your characters deciding "F#&% tha po-lice" and fighting back. Honestly, the characters connect with me just fine, and even though I know very little about them, the gradual revelations that the game gives you about who they are make up for it. This slow discovery of their backstories are enough for me until I get all caught up and can move forward with the story entirely in present time. And when events happen between the characters, so far I've been caught up enough to understand and be engaged. There are parts of the story that are almost big enough to nullify the need for backstory. Like when a whole bunch of people experience something that is really important or dangerous, it's almost a kind of equalizer. The story, as-is, is big enough that it's the major....-est thing going on in all of their lives and kind of eliminates the need for me to know.
 I was really hoping that this game would be the bridge between FF7 and FF10. Where most Final Fantasies happen in entirely separate universes and times, 7 and 10 are in the same galaxy at least, and separated by about 1000 years. There are some things so far that suggest this might be true, but so far are unconfirmed in my play. If you know FF10, you will constantly be recognizing things in this game like "OOH! Is that a Fayth? It looks like a Fayth!" But the game doesn't really confirm or deny it. Honestly, this is the thing that I've got my fingers crossed for.
So far, I'm still in the phase of the game in which combat is largely preparatory. It keeps putting me in situations in which I only have "this" kind of fighter and "that" kind of fighter and must learn over the next hour or so of gameplay (through enemy combat) how to fight and not die using that combo. After I display enough aptitude to cross all of the baddies, my characters are recombined (not randomly, but according to story) and I must learn my next combo. It's probably doing this so that when I can choose the characters myself, I'll know how to use them. I'm fine with that. If the prep stage is this large, the game must be HUGE. A lot of stuff has already happened in the story, and that makes me excited about what's going to happen. I'll continue a spoiler-free update as I'm able to.

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