26 August 2010

The Legendary Franchise Returns (but is it a welcomed return?)

Final Fantasy 13 - PS3 & XBox 360

Released way back in March is probably one of the biggest gaming franchises latest number and it now being August, it has taken me that long to come round to playing it and gain a few hours into the game to give a warranted review of the game. The game in question pushes the boundaries of gameplay, flourishes with style and elegance that many games can only wish for and seem to divide many people about. Yes, I’m talking about the one, the only, Final Fantasy, with the latest instalment being the unlucky 13, well some people say it’s lucky because of the success compared to the past games. But Final Fantasy 13 has graced the next-gen consoles, showcasing the true power of video games by providing some of the best looking sequences seen on either console. It really is one of the best looking games ever made. True, the cut scenes do look straight out of an anime film, but that’s what FF is known for. Cut scenes that are beautiful and complicated, similar to Metal Gear Solid but with less talking. Produced by a prominent gaming company in the world, Square Enix, this role-playing game has a steep, steep history, with roughly around 30 games including spin-offs from the main series and becoming a massive media empire, producing a TV show, merchandise, movies and books, it seems that it will never stop, with number 14 currently in production, every gamer has had an experience with the legacy, and each person has a particularly favourite. Mine being the glorious number 10; i remember it being yesterday when i played that game, and to date, the only Final Fantasy game I’ve completed. It took nearly a year of my life, but i did it, and the pay-off was spectacular. And of course, i also played number 7, which was the first time i noticed the series and first noticed its grace and charm, something different to what I’ve played before. Now as time as gone on, the games have evolved from being epic to being infinite, which i don’t think is physically possible. The games now can last up to around 200 hours, if you count the side quests, the main storylines, all of the cut scenes and the secrets thrown in too, and for a modern game, that’s impressive. Most games pack a good 50/60 hours which keeps the gamer happy, even the last game i reviewed God of War only had 20 hours of gameplay which is nothing compared to the longevity of FF13.

Let’s start with the wonderful company behind the game, Square Enix, one of the best makers of video games for all audiences and especially in the genre of RPG’s where they have an esteemed long line of gems that you’ll probably have played like Final Fantasy 7, Dragon Guest, and have published a majority of great games recently like Batman Arkham Asylum and the upcoming Call of Duty Black Op. The company also made one of the best film series I’ve ever played, Kingdom Hearts. And I’m looking forward to the next instalment hopefully coming soon on the PS3. But back to Final Fantasy 13.

I’m not going to try to explain the plot to the game because it’s fairly complicated but I’ll talk about the game so far, because i haven’t reached half way yet. It’s a beautiful looking game, with excellent sound, sure the voice over’s can get annoying, but overall, the “show” of the game works brilliantly. The gameplay is very repetitive and you will see yourself just button bashing the x button whilst playing. But with a storyline that pulls you in and action that happens very quickly, after the hump of the linear gameplay you’ll find yourself in an open world which becomes a better game. It’s a decent buy with a long life in playing but you may get bored of it quite quickly.

VISUALS: One of the best looking games to have ever been released, most of the time it’s like watching a movie 19%

SOUND: Sure the voice actors can be annoying but the sound throughout the levels is astounding, even during the cut scenes 19%

GAMEPLAY: Repetitive in places but changes the familiar ways we’ve had before for a more commercial audience 17%

LASTING APPEAL: 200 hours of gameplay, need i say more? 20%

SPECIAL FEATURES: Not much extra stuff for you to grab it, sure there are trophies/achievements to get but other than not, just the everlasting side quests 14%


Simon Childs

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