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Final Fantasy XIII Preview

Banished to the dangerous Gran Pulse, Lightning and Snow find themselves caught in a quest to bring down the beloved paradise known as Cocoon.

The latest installment of the popular Square Enix RPG series, Final Fantasy, will bring about many new alterations and seems to have the potential to be one of the best titles in the series.

One of the newest attributes developers have implemented into FFXIII is the ability to modify weapons. Weapons can be modified and enhanced by combining materials that enemies leave behind and from objects found in treasure boxes. Each material added will have a different effect such as increasing experience of the weapon or increasing its strength. Once the weapon has gained enough experience, it will advance to the next level and morph into a new weapon. Leveling up will increase the weapons’ capabilities and give it new special abilities.

Although leveling up is ultimately a beneficial decision, the developers have decided to make it a strategic decision players can control. When you transform your weapon, it actually ends up being weaker than the maxed out predecessor. So if you were about to fight a boss battle, leveling up would actually hinder your progress and make your battle tougher. On the other hand, the newer form of the weapon has the ability to become much stronger than it could at the previous level.

Unlike previous games in the series, and most other traditional RPGs, FFXIII will not use the concept of character levels to power up your characters. Rather, as you defeat enemies, you will receive Crystal Points (CP) which can be used to purchase new abilities and skills. The skills available to you will be shown on your Crystalium management screen. Learning new skills will unlock new and additional skill paths for your character to follow.

Similar to each Final Fantasy installment since Final Fantasy III, FFXIII will incorporate summons into gameplay, but will be making some alterations to the way they function. In this title, each of the six playable characters will be paired with their own personal summon. During battle, fighting with your summon raises a meter called the Gestalt meter. Pressing the square button (PS3) launches your summon into Gestalt mode. In this mode, your summon morphs into a vehicle in which your character has the ability to ride and beat up enemies in (For example, Hope’s summon is Alexander. In Gestalt mode, Alexander turns into a giant fortress and attacks the enemies within his walls using cannons).

Lastly, developers have made some changes to the world environment. Like Final Fantasy XII, players will be able to see the monsters roaming about the world before they actually engage in battle with them. Monsters in the world environment will be of all shapes and sizes, resembling the size they appear in battle and adding a feel of realism. Not only will you see monsters that tower over your party members, but you’ll also see them interacting with each other and in some cases, fighting each other. Also in the world environment, you’ll be able to use Chocobos, which have been found in previous installments. Due to some slight changes, Chocobos play a bigger role in assisting you during your journey. Not only can they help you travel faster, and jump high to reach otherwise unreachable heights, they will also have the ability to sense nearby treasure, alerting you when treasure is near. Given the necessity of treasure to increasing the strength of your weapons, it seems as though these chocobos will be of great assistance.

Despite these reformations, Final Fantasy XIII seems to still maintain the basic characteristics that have made it one of the longest running RPG series of all time.

Final Fantasy XIII will be released on March 9th, 2010 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360.



Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

12/22/2009 at 12:07 PM

Thanks for writing this up, Phil! I really hadn't had a chance to investigate the particulars of this game, but this wraps it up pretty well.

It seems a number of interesting choices have been made to change the formula up to make this one fell fresher. After reading these changes, my interest level for the title has really shot up. Typically, I'm not the world's biggest Final Fantasy fan, but this seems like the kind of game that could sway my opinion.

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