One of the most hated Final Fantasy games in quite a long time also happens to be my favorite one. Recently I was thinking about Final Fantasy games and which one I would say that I liked the most, and I kept coming back to Final Fantasy XIII for some reason. Keep in mind I have only ever played the original, II and VII through XIII, but still, in my experience, Final Fantasy XIII is my favorite. I wanted to take this chance to really dig into the aspects that make me enjoy the game so much.
The Battle System
The Battle System is an issue for a lot of people, because it elects to pretty much eliminate micro-management from the battles. It instead adds the Paradigm system where you set up class combinations that you can switch between mid-battle. A majority of the game comes in choosing who to attack when and being able to switch between paradigms well. As a person who plays a lot of JRPGs, I found it to be a refreshing take on the genre. Rather than worrying about potions and how much mana I have left I can just work on figuring out the puzzle style battles.
Another complaint I saw a lot was how confusing the story was, which I have to agree the structure of the main plot makes it difficult to follow the details of the world building. I had to read the data log entries about that stuff to fully understand what the Fal’cie and L’cie were. Once I did, I really thought the structure was interesting. The story was still full of a lot of the melodrama that comes with all Final Fantasy games, but I really liked that some the characters changed throughout the plot, such as Hope, Lightning, and Sahz.
I love the idea of gods being very real and physical beings in the world. Very directly the sun of cocoon is a Fal’Cie that emits light and warmth to allow them to live. The different Fal’Cie provides them with power, food, and other essentials of life. The Fal’Cie factions of Pulse and Cocoon are constantly at war and are using the humans, that they allow to live, to protect themselves and fight their wars for them. If you are made an L’Cie by a Fal’Cie, you are given no choice but to do their nebulous bidding and complete your focus or fail and become a constantly wandering Cie’th. If you manage to complete your focus, you are turned into crystal and given “Eternal Life”.
Overall, I think that Final Fantasy XIII offers something new and interesting on all three of these fronts. A different style of battle that feels much different from previous entries and the other JRPGs that are coming out now even. The story was structured interestingly using flash backs throughout a constant adventure to tell the story and while not explicitly explained the world is very cool.