Wednesday, December 15, 2010

final fantasy xiii, update 2

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

this game is still impressing me, despite most critics agreeing that this entry in the series is a disappointment. Normally, I'd agree with them, especially with the kinds of complaints they have. I don't really like the kind of battle system they've implemented normally. This game, however, does it well. Essentially, you as the player kind of function as a battle "coach". You only control the actions of one of the party. For example, you'll select the specific moves Lightning performs if you've chosen to lead with her, but everyone else will attack based on what "role" you've selected for them. At any time, you press L1 and are able to choose what is called a "Paradigm", so for instance if you currently are battleing using "Fighter + Black Mage + Red Mage", you can press L1 and select from several presets, one of which could be "Striker + Striker + White Mage" (to clarify for later, Fighters do heavy damage, Strikers focus on consecutive hits. In the game theyre called Commandos and Ravagers respectively, but I've given them generic names on purpose). You can switch back or to another once that preset is no longer useful. It's a battle system that has gotten more interesting as I've used it. There's really a lot of depth to it, because there's a lot to learn depending on which preset you use. At times, you are forced to use one paradigm or another, and the style of combat you must used varies greatly. For instance, if you have "Striker + Striker", you're not going to be able to do a lot of physical damage the way you would if you had a Fighter, so you've got to explore other ways go git'r'done. You have to switch to your secondary roles as augmenters, using magic to buff yourselves and nerf the enemies, then you can switch to Strikers.

The scenery is gorgeous too. It's a rare occurrence for me to enter a new level of the game and not be surprised at what a visual achievement it is. Specific and noteworthy levels include a flash-frozen ocean, a bioluminescent forest, and a ... regular forest. The visuals at large are stunning, exemplary even for this generation, with a lot of time obviously spent by some pretty talented artists and animators. Like FFX before it, I actually think the in-game graphics are better than what's pre-rendered. Weird but true.

That uses the graphics engine. It's not a pre-rendered video. I just thought that was noteworthy. I'm no graphics whore, but it's also kind of hard to impress me with game graphics. This game does.

As far as the story goes, I'm nice and comfy with the level of information the game has chosen to give me. As stated in the halo conclusion, the game reveals to you "what's going on" little by little. At this point I know what's happening, but the details of why haven't been fleshed out yet. I'm fine with that. Despite a lot of people complaining about this, I'm confident that I'm experiencing the story as it was written. They didn't spend this long on the game and story just so they could bomb the presentation. It's Final Fantasy. They know what they're doing. I really chalk this up to Japaneseness. The story for Metal Gear Solid 2 got a lot of flak from me and other Americans for the direction they chose to go. I liked the story as a youngster, but there were a few things that upset me, a certain spoiler included. Basically what got everyone's panties in a bunch was that the til-then star of the series, Solid Snake was swapped out for a new character, Raiden, early in the game. The player gets to play about 2 hours as Solid Snake, then the game jumps 2 years ahead and switches to Raiden. As I got a little bit older, I gained an appreciation for it. It really was a brilliant story, and it was conveyed with ... that spoiler ... that could not be done in a movie. In short, the story was about control in its many forms, how it relates to identity, and what reality "is". Control is taken from the player in this regard in several ways. The whole "mission" that Raiden goes on and allegedly completes himself is actually done as a setup just to prove Raiden could be manipulated, and when taken with the character swap makes the player just feel "powerless". For the time, the conclusion was a mind F, and it doesn't even stop where I stopped explaining it. It's really multilayered and worth playing.  Japanese audiences loved it out of the box, able to take the challenges to their reality that the story and changing play experience offered. Americans didnt. At least not as much. The "disjointed" story presentation made some players unable to "get their bearings" so to speak. So I think there's a little bit of culture difference in terms of story presentation that is affecting review scores for FFXIII. Famitsu, Japan's leading (and reputably hard-reviewing) games magazine gave it a 39/40 where the American average seems to be a "B-". It's strange to say this so close to my article about Americanization and my wish to have "universal media", but I guess I can't deny that East and West have different tastes. I mean, how many Japanese games star a bulky action hero?  

This is one of those games that has me excited to keep going. With school done at least for now I'll have some time to put into it, hopefully, so stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Can't find it?