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Replay Hell: Final Fantasy XIII (Yes, I'm going there)

On 04/02/2013 at 03:33 PM by GamerGirlBritt

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Yeah. I'm going there. Final Fantasy XIII.

As many of you know, my PS3 screwed me over. We won't tell that story again. So naturally I'm replaying as many games as I can stand. And I figured, why not start at the bottom? But soon into playing, the answer to that question became very apparent. Because this game is fucking irritating. Not that it's so bad. I actually don't think it's as bad as everyone says. But man is it irritating.

Why you ask?....Oh. You didn't? Well I'm gonna tell you anyway. Deal. I give you:

5 Reasons to Hate Final Fantasy XIII

1) These freaking tutorials.

5 hours into the game, you're still having tutorials. You can skip the actual tutorials, so that's not really the problem. The problem comes in when each tutorial focuses on a certain aspect of gameplay, and the game won't, no excuse me, REFUSES to introduce any new gameplay mechanics until it makes you run around for about an hour, making positively sure that you've perfected the gameplay mechanic in question. Then, and only then, can you move on.

THIS right here, is why your characters just flat out, do not progress until chapter 3. Yeah, you read that right. The characters do not gain any type of experience from any battles that you fight in chapters one and two. And there's 30 some random battles, and a few boss fights leading up to chapter 3. All for nothing basically. But once you get to that point, the system you're "rewarded" with isn't so much better....

2) The Crystarium

Sure, it's pretty. And all those lines and flashing lights give the illusion of choice, but it's still just as linear as the game itself. I don't mind the linearity of the world. But when it comes to character development, I'd like to have some manner of choice. Especially early on. I mean, I'm not asking for fucking Skyrim, I just wanna choose my own party. You can't even do that until chapter nine...out of thirteen. 

And not only that, but progression through the Crystarium is capped. Meaning, your characters can only grow so much in a given span of time, because you have to advance past a certain point in the story before the Crystarium will be "expanded". Yup, no grinding levels for you. I've never been much of a level grinder anyway. I mean, I don't feel the need to be at ungodly levels over all of my opponents, but call me crazy, I would like to proceed comfortably.

That one crystal costs 4000 crystogen points. And that's not even the worse it gets.

Later on in the story, the price to level up your characters becomes RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. They start you off slow. In the beginning, there's normally always enough enemies between your point A and your destination to max out the Crystarium, without the need to grind. But somewhere between chapters 7 and 8, the price to level up doubles. And in chapters 9 and 10 triples. And in chapter 11....fuck. 

Heavily stereotyped he is, but he's also the best character in the game. Hands down.

3) The characters....Oh the characters

There was a time when the only games I played were JRPGs. I was brought up on melodrama, teenage angst, vacant anime eyes, and hair of colors so impossible they would make an Easter egg jealous. I became desensitized to the impossibility of it all. Fast forward a few years. There wasn't a steady flow of quality JRPGs coming out to keep me from venturing into new genres. My love for JRPGs never went away, but it's...faltered a few times. I still find enjoyment in melodramatic sometimes cheesy plots, but I'm less willing to overlook them, and more sensitive to taking notice. Final Fantasy XIII has a pretty good story, when it's not getting bogged down in it's own mythology and characters aren't grating on my nerves.


Lightning is a cold bitch. No way around it. But she didn't get this way overnight (apparently). She feeds you this bullshit about her parents dying, taking care of her sister, forgetting who she was, blah blah blah. She gets no sympathy from me. Especially after she LEFT HOPE, A 14 YEAR OLD BOY, IN A DANK DARK MECHANICAL SETTLEMENT ALONE. Why? Because he was just going to "slow her down". Ruthless.


Meet Snow, your self proclaimed hero. Every JRPGs got one. But none have ever been more irritating. I guess his romance with Serah is kinda cute, despite the fact that she looks 12 years old and he wears a trenchcoat, which effectively makes their relationship a little suspect. And he's always trying to play the leader. Sure he's got leadership qualities, but what good are your leadership qualities if you've got all the common sense of a candlestick?

Fang and Vanille

Might as well do these two together, since they're barely recognized as their own separate entities. In the early going they both display their own personalites. Vanille's the upbeat, annoying as hell, optimistic one. And Fang's the badass, spear wielding, arrogant one. Fang's the more likeable of the two. I would probably like Vanille more if she didn't almost single handedly ruin the best character's life.

You suspect there might be a relationship of some sort between these two before they even cross paths in game. And once they do, oh boy. It just gets weirder and weirder. They're obviously lesbians. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I applaud diversity. But if we're gonna be all "cutting edge" including homosexuality in games, we might as well be all out with it instead of all subliminal Square Enix.


Say what you want about Hope being whiny, a brat, a nuisance, but hey I like him. Marginally. I mean, at least he's somewhat believable. What I don't like about Hope is the massive grudge he's holding over Snow for (accidentally) killing his mother. It's not like Snow took a gun and shot her. It was an accident. It could've happened to anyone. And it did happen to everyone else in the vicinity, But the real kicker is that Hope has numerous opportunities to voice his feelings to Snow....but just doesn't. In a poor attempt to get more use out of the already weak plot line, Hope drags this shit out for HOURS, before finally confronting Snow. 


The saving grace of all saving graces. Sazh is hands down the most likeable of the cast. Who doesn't love a heart wrenching story about father and son? I do. But more importantly, out of all the characters Sazh has been through the most, he's lost the most, but somehow he still keeps smiling. He's not whiny or abrasive, nor overly optimistic. He knows when to perservere, but he also knows when it's best to just give up the fight. Not to mention, the guy adds some MUCH needed comic relief to this depressing ass game. His story arc is the most compelling, and I'm not ashamed to admit it made me tear up a little. Oh Sazh, I love you.

And Serah...

Not even worth a glimmer of a mention.

4) The Enemies. Oh god the enemies.

One of many behemoths. But this is the blue one....duh, didn't you know?

Never has the offense of palette swapping been so.....offensive. There may be 6 generic enemy types in Final Fantasy XIII. However, you will run into these same enemy types throughout the entirety of the game, owing to palette swaping. You run into this one enemy at the very beginning of the game named a Pantheron. It looks kinda cool, with it's mechanical glowing red body and such. Then chapter 3 rolls along and you're in the Vile Peaks. You round a corner and immediately run into a Thexteron. It looks kinda cool, with it's mechanical glowing green body and such. Eventually chapter 12 rolls along and you're in Eden. You round a corner and immediately run into a Adamantheron. It looks kinda cool, with it's mechanical glowing blue body and such. And now you're thinking, "wait, have I been here before?" And the answer is, no you asshat. You have not. You've been played.

5) Zero Exploration....Yes, really.

No this isn't going to be a rant about how linear the game is. (Here's a pro tip: if you turn the mini map off, it's slightly better...but only slightly). Rather, how linear the story is. It makes sense, in the context of the plot. But you know what, this game really would've benefitted from a world map. As ancient as it sounds, the complaints of the linearity would've been a lot less abundant if this was the case. Just hear me out.

In chapter 4, the whole party (minus Snow) ends up in this weird place called the Vile Peaks. Through this one section the party gets split up numerous times until eventually Hope and Lightning go their own way and Sazh and Vanille go theirs. This works nicely for dynamic storytelling, because you switch between the two pairs consistently with the story. But it really just ends up sucking when you realize your characters are transported to random locations after implied "time skips". After you play as Sazh and Vanille for a while, the control goes back to Hope and Lightning with no insight as to how they got to this completely unrelated environment, the Gapra Whitewood.

We went from here....

To here...

...In all of 10 minutes. What even?

This happens many, many times throughout the story. Which just leaves you feeling very disconnected from the world, because you have no relative idea of where ANYTHING is, you just know your characters got shoehorned into this one place to progress the plot. You're essentially going from one unrelated environment to another unrelated environment, and beautiful as these places are, there's just no way you can feel any type of connection to them.

If that sounds like a lot of negativity, don't worry. There's plenty of things to love about Final Fantasy XIII. 



Chris Yarger Community Manager

04/02/2013 at 04:14 PM

I was going for all the achievements in this game, and I lost my checklist of all of the items I had gathered, ugh!

So naturally instead of saying fuck it, I did the logical thing and started over...

I'm an idiot..

So basically I threw away 120 hours of work for one achievement. However, I'm on chapter 10 in a little over eleven hours thanks to the ability to skip cutscenes (This was kind of the whole point of my comment, I just got side tracked). So if you want to hurry things along, just skip the cut-scenes and you'll fly through the game in no time!


04/02/2013 at 04:54 PM

Aw man that sucks. No way in hell I'm ever going to platinum this game. Wayyy too much work.

For some strange reason, I was born with the cursed inability of skipping cutscenes. No matter how bad, I feel that I must suffer through, even after already having played the game. I don't know why, skipping just feels....wrong to me. It truly is a curse.


04/02/2013 at 06:48 PM

Lol, yeah. I grew up on the original Kingdom Hearts so every single cutscene had to be watched, which sucked because I was horrible at the game and I died about 50 times each boss battle and had to watch the intro to all of them SO MANY TIMES. It got up to the point where I could recite scenes from memory. And yeah, I also have that complex where I HAVE to watch every single cutscene, just in case I missed something important.


04/02/2013 at 06:55 PM

I can't wait for the HD 1.5 whatever the hell they're calling it. I love Kingdom Hearts. The original was a little....difficult. Very much so for a supposed "kids game". Can't wait to play it again.

True Gamer At Heart

04/02/2013 at 04:18 PM

Good luck lol.. i tried to give this game a chance..Gave it about 7 boring. I was dragging thru so that maybe it would show me maybe that this game is good..Nope could not stand it and got rid of it.

Nice blog love all the points you have about the game!!


04/02/2013 at 05:12 PM

Thanks! In the end it's a solid game, it just takes a while a to get there. Which isn't exactly an excuse, but still. After all, if someone tells you "hey you should read this book, it's gets good at about page 348." Are you gonna read that book? Probably not.


04/02/2013 at 04:49 PM

I really liked Final Fantasy XIII, and I think the whole arguement of linearity is completely bogus.

Look at 4, 6, 7, 8! You get virtually zero freedom in those games! They are linear as hell! Sure, they dress it up by providing an over-world screen with some deserts and forests; but it is still point A to point B with very little freedom until post game (which 13 provides in spades). They only difference between 6 and 13 is that in 13 you literally walk down corridors from place to place, and in 6 you walk across continents from place to place. The illusion of freedom is still not freedom.

And as far the long opening, how long is it in 7 before your get your (illusion of) freedom? a dozen hours? more? What about 12? 16 hours? I think that 13 does have some problems, but the battle system is the best in ther series since the ATB gauge was introduced and the game was pretty difficult towards the final chapters (for a change). I think most people pick on 13 because its chic to do so, and they pick on the game without making any real critical analysis. You can't just say a game is 'stoopid cuz you don't like it'... you have to use critical thought and subjective reasoning to do so, and until you are able to do that hating on a game for the sake of hating on it is a pointless endevour.  


04/02/2013 at 05:08 PM

I honestly do like this game so I completely see where you're coming from. But if it makes you feel better, I was originally gonna do 10 reasons to hate Final Fantasy XIII, but I couldn't think of that many.

I really don't mind the linearity. That's never been an issue for me, because an open world has never been what Final Fantasy was about. That's why I play these games. I don't actually enjoy complete freedom that some games give you. One thing I do disagree with you about though is the citing of other Final Fantasy games in order to make a case for this one. I didn't do that in this blog for a reason. Every Final Fantasy game is a standalone experience, and I look at every one of them as a standalone experience for that reason. 

I think you're right about the battle system being really good, which is why I didn't pick on it at all. If you even noticed that. I feel like people beat up on this game for mostly no reason. Like seriously, when it first came out, I don't actually remember a whole lot of backlash. But once people started voicing their hatred for it, everyone decided to jump on the bandwagon of hatred. Most reviews were generally positive. But I noticed as soon as XIII-2 came out, all the publications that originally cited XIII as a great game, completely reversed in the opening statements of their XIII-2 reviews by hurling insults at XIII. Which was in my opinion, completely unfair.

And you are right, hating on a game for the sake of hating on it is indeed a pointless endevour. But defending a game for the sake of defending it is just as pointless. Nothing to gain on either side, but you make your case because you WANT TO, not out of any ambition to change what's already happened.


04/02/2013 at 05:58 PM

I agree with all your points. In fact, there were a lot of things about FF X that made it into XIII which I hated. I did replay 13 a year ago and enjoyed it better, mainly because I just plowed through the game and then just maxxed out my party for several hours on the Archellyte Steepe instead of trying to enjoy the game as a whole. And I think that's where it fails. When most of the game is lacking except for one area, the whole game is substandard and doesn't let me enjoy the journey. 13-2 did a lot better by me in the way of storytelling and freedom.


04/02/2013 at 06:11 PM

I agree. XIII was alright, but XIII-2 really did it for me. Gameplay wise anyway. The story was admittedly a little janky, but it wasn't horrible. They worked with what they had, which wasn't much to begin with. XIII-2's actually one of my favorites in the series now. Go figure.


04/02/2013 at 06:21 PM

Ha! Me too. It's the game that got me interested in FF again. After 13 came out, I gave up on the series as a lost cause. It's the only reason I'm looking forward to Lightening Returns at all.


04/02/2013 at 06:44 PM

I only have mild interest in Lightning Returns for some reason. Yet, as a fan stricken with Final Fantasy disease, I'm doomed to forever purchase any game that comes out for the rest time. It's quite sad.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

04/02/2013 at 06:06 PM

I don't have much to say other than FFXIII is a damn debacle.  What was Square thinking?  It's the only Final Fantasy game I haven't played more than once.  


04/02/2013 at 06:12 PM

It's definitely not for everyone. It'll probably take me a while to get through this, for the simple fact that I have no ambition this time around.


04/02/2013 at 06:24 PM

I thought about rebuying XIII and playing through it again a couple days ago.  If the price ever drops under $10, I'll pick it up again.  

I agree with pretty much everything you didn't like about it.  


04/02/2013 at 06:45 PM

$10? Wow I'd be surpised if that happens. Anytime soon at least.


04/02/2013 at 08:09 PM

Last time I was in Gamestop, it was going for $9 used. FF XIII-2 was $12. 


04/02/2013 at 08:32 PM

Hmmm time for me to take a trip to Gamestop then. I remember when I worked there for two months. Not pretty.


04/02/2013 at 08:59 PM

A couple days ago, I saw it for about $12 and FFXIII2 was $17.99 or something like that.  The price on XIII and XIII2 go up & down.  At one time, 2 was less than 1.  A few months back XIII2 was less than $15.  If I wasn't such a cheap bastard, I'd have them already.  

Cary Woodham

04/02/2013 at 06:46 PM

My big problem with today's modern JRPGs is that they are too long and meandering.  Bring back the SNES days!


04/02/2013 at 06:53 PM

I feel that. I'll play these things for hours and feel like I didn't get much accomplished, but I look around and it's dark outside. And then I'm forced to evaluate what I actually did with my life that's depressing really.


04/02/2013 at 06:47 PM

I was going to wait until Lightning Returns to replay all the games. I think I prefer XIII-2 really with all the monsters you can add and such. Have fun.


04/02/2013 at 06:51 PM

Aw dammit that would've been a good idea. Maybe I'll wait until it gets around Lightning Returns time to replay XIII-2. I do love that game.


04/02/2013 at 07:54 PM

Saying its linear is really an understatement. Not only the lead you by the nose "exploration" and crystarium, but you couldn't even improve your weapons or gear till your almost half way through the game. Actually more like modestly improve one weapon for one character. I'm a gear head when it come to rpg's, its one of the main reasons I like them . I like to tweek and modify my equipment. I would often grind for money to by the best gear, not so much for actual levels. I also like my overworld maps. I like the option to poke around between point A and point B. All the things I really liked about Final Fantasy are missing from XIII. Admittedly I ended up enjoying this game despite it flaws although I'm not exactly sure why. But  not enough to play through it twice or more. That privilege is reserved for 5,6,7, and 9.


04/02/2013 at 08:03 PM

That's another thing I hate about the game but didn't really touch on. You can start upgrading your weapons halfway through chapter 4, but it's not really explained what's the best way to go about upgrading these weapons. You need a walkthrough or some type of strategy guide to get the most out of the system. All the player really knows is that they can win various components from battle, and that they can essentially pour these components into a weapon at random in order to get the weapon to "level up." That's it. So really, if you don't know every intricacy there is to know about this convoluted system, you'll just wind up pouring any number of any component you can find into a weapon to get it to level up, and that's not exactly the way to go about it. There are rules, and systems, and strategies that you just won't know unless you go the extra mile and read up on it. (Much like everything else in the game).


04/02/2013 at 08:48 PM

I have the strat guide and I had to read through the section on the best way to upgrade gear probaly 4 times before I really understood how works. And even then your gonna spend a shit load of time grinding for components, or stuff that you can sell to buy components. And it easier to get money in the real world than it is to get money in this game, especially in the first three chapters.


04/02/2013 at 09:08 PM

Yeah someone gave me a strategy guide for it and it breaks it down, but once you actually know what to do, it basically just tells you to farm for certain components, which takes forever. Then to get gil you've gotta sell a certain kind of component, some type of incentive chip or whatever it's called. It's pretty stupid, and the upgraded weapons don't really add that much to your combat experience.


04/02/2013 at 08:11 PM

Now I wwant to play FF XIII just to see what the fuss is all about.


04/02/2013 at 08:31 PM

Doooooooo it.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

04/02/2013 at 11:33 PM

I really liked XIII.  I'm no FF super-fan like yourself, but I pretty much agree with everything you nicked the game for.  Everyone lauds when it finally "opens up" and lets you explore, but to me that was the most boring part of all.  I was charging through a  perfectly balanced "story," enjoying the battle system with enough challenges along the way and then I had to stop and grind for hours and hours.  Exploring a large open field is not interesting to me.  Since I liked the battle system so much, grinding wasn't awful, but I definitely didn't find that "open" portion of the game to be "when it finally got good."  

Very curious to see if you can make it all the way through again.  There's no way I'd replay this game, even though I really enjoyed it.


04/03/2013 at 12:53 PM

I hate when people say that the game gets better once it opens up. First of all, that's not a good thing. That's not even close to a good point for defense when you really think about it, because honestly, why can't it be good when you first start it? Plus, it's not good when it opens up anyway. I get no enjoyment out of running around the Archlyte Steppe, especially early on because you have to walk for about 5 minutes just to get anywhere. And everything's overpowered so you can really only fight flans and wolves comfortably. Not my idea of fun, that's for sure.


04/03/2013 at 06:29 PM

You could not pay me enough to attempt this game a 4th time. I've tried and failed 3 times, that's quite enough. I've never gone past chapter 5.


04/03/2013 at 08:56 PM

Haha strong opinion. I'm right around chapter 6 now, and I have to admit everything leading up to this point was a little dull. The story kinda picks up in chapter 6 though. And the whole Palumpolum arc in chapter 7 is the best part of the game in my opinion.


04/03/2013 at 09:26 PM

You stop that right now ! You will not talk me into going back there. Lol 


04/03/2013 at 09:39 PM

You know you want tooooo haha

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