Submitted by Finalfantasykid 906d ago | opinion piece

Have We Been Too Harsh on Final Fantasy XIII?

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that a video game developer can have is keeping its fan-base happy; gamers are a skeptical bunch that don’t tend to react well to change. It is this mentality that makes the task of developing for a long-running, fanatically loved franchise one of the most difficult in the industry. As developers try to find ways to keep the franchise new and exciting they are effectively walking a tight-rope; all it takes is just one wrong step and the series’ reputation is damaged inexorably. Square Enix has had to learn this lesson the hard way after the thirteenth major installment in its long-running and critically-acclaimed Final Fantasy series left many of the series’ fans feeling disenchanted with the franchise. Despite receiving decent critical reception, there is simply no denying that some of the series’ fervor has been dampened in the wake of Final Fantasy XIII, so much so that its direct sequel is one of the worst-selling Final Fantasy titles... (Final Fantasy XIII, PS3, Xbox 360)

booni3  +   907d ago
Great piece, I read it in full. The vitriol surrounding the game is alarming, but I bought FFXIII launch day. Personally, it was/is one of the best looking games available, the combat is fun and the soundtrack was stellar.

In spite of all that production value, I hated the linearity and the whole constrained feeling the game had. I personally didn't like any of the characters and there was very little to do compared to my favorite FF games. It's good for what it was but not on the level of my faves. I just bought XIII-2 last week as it apparently corrects a lot of my gripes with the first one, but I haven't played it yet.

Furthermore, seeing Lightning get three games while Versus XIII is pretty much nonexistent would leave a sour taste in anyone's mouth.
Blackdeath_663  +   907d ago
i just lost interest, 60th hour of game play felt exactly like the 3rd hour of game play just a change of scenery and monsters. i can't even remember what the story was. sure the game was beautiful but i didn't feel the game was going to get any better and it didn't.
ILive  +   906d ago
It is one of the best looking games this gen, and I enjoyed it a lot. Its one of those games you have to be patient with. I thought it was amazing, and will stand as one of the best looking games ever made. Many have definitely been too harsh on it.
deep_fried_bum_cake  +   906d ago
Definitely too harsh. As you say there was things about it which were bad like the linearity (I can't say it bothered me but I understand why people hated it) and some of the characters like Snow, Hope and Vanille who were eye clawingly annoying, but there was also a lot about it that was good.

Visually it was one of the best looking games of the time, the soundtrack was not something you could get sick of listening to (though some people were very vocal about their hate for it) and the story was good.

I know people (a lot) will disagree with me in saying that the story was good but it was. Not as good as some previous FFs but still good. What really annoyed me was that people continually used the argument that they had to use the codex to understand what was going on. That is nonsense, they either don't think coherently or didn't pay attention to (or finish) the story. One thing that the game did really well was explain everything in the story as it went on.

The combat I can't comment on as although I liked it I understand that people didn't like the limitations that constant combat brought.
user5575708  +   906d ago
i think people were too easy on FFXIII. true the graphics and soundtrack were great but beyond that there wasnt much.

the first 20 hours of the game was basically a tutorial. autobattle ruined the battle system by picking the best commands for you. the game just catered to the noob generation of casual gamers that developers seem to try and appeal to these days,which is something that difficulty settings could have fixed

honestly i didnt read up on the story...because a good game will tell the story through its scenes and not through a bunch of text in the menus that most people aren't going to take the time to read. it just comes off as lazy

Lazy is really the word here. you have an established AAA title developer and they give us a game with no depth. they hand us the most shallow battle system, the easiest final fantasy i have ever played, a complete lack of side quests and horrible character development.

I think the real reason people are mad is because we all know squarenix is capable of much better and if they keep shoving mediocre games down our throats then people are going to move towards all the other AAA titles that other companies make. Its time for them to step it up and make something great.
cleft5  +   906d ago
I like FF13 and I liked the different direction FF13-2 went in. The complaints of the game being to linear still boggles me. At it's core most jrpg are linear. Yes you can certainly do a ton of side quest at the start for some of them, but ultimately the story itself is linear.
-Gespenst-  +   907d ago
The visuals, the art direction and the soundtrack are probably the best I've seen this gen- or at least, they're my favourite.

But I understand the problems people had with it's story, characters, and gameplay. Nevertheless, I don't think it's nearly as bad as people say.

Consumers are getting a little bit too entitled if you ask me.
porkChop  +   906d ago
I don't think consumers are "too" entitled as part of it is justified. Companies are competing for our dollar. We tell them what we want, they compete against each other trying to provide the products that we want. Then we buy whatever product we feel is better suited for us as consumers. That's the nature of business, that's how it works.

The market doesn't want RPGs where you literally spend 6 hours walking in a straight line. That just isn't exciting. It also doesn't want boring, poorly designed gameplay and combat. You either do full turn based, or you do full real-time. Mixing them together never works well and it's time that Square Enix realized that.

Older FF games were great. They were grand adventures, with lots of diverse characters, interesting plots and twists, interesting locations, smart gameplay, and huge overworlds that we could explore. That's what the majority of FF fans want. Square Enix is refusing to even TRY giving that to us.

They just keep giving excuses like they say it would take too long, cost too much, and they've even said it's impossible. Lost Odyssey, Tales of Vesperia, and Ni no Kuni all prove them wrong.
#2.1 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Lord_Sloth  +   907d ago
I don't hate FFXIII. I hate how much Square's trying to force it, parading it about as the face of FF even to the point of neglecting VersusXIII by taking Nomura's budget to appease Toriyama.
#3 (Edited 907d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
no_more_heroes  +   907d ago
This piece is exactly my opinion of this game. TBH I was more pissed about how impossible it was to get gil than anything else. I especially loved fighting through/preparing for the Faultwarrens and reaching and beating Attacus.

I definitely enjoyed XIII, as plot hole filled and cheesily dramatic as it was.

Guess I'm just one of those people who like to focus on the positives of my gaming experiences before anything else.
ILive  +   906d ago
You can certainly tell square put in effort, only for people to ignore the effort by complaining about its linearity and how "its not a final fantasy game." The best thing to do is to be patient, let it open, and you will have a blast, for its a highly strategic game. For some reason, complaining has become an acceptable thing this gen. But i will continue to find the best out of a game, while being aware of its faults, despite any expectations. That is what gaming is about...having fun.
#4.1 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
King-Prodigy-X  +   907d ago
No we haven't. We need to be more harsh so SE can get the point we want new FF's and not endless FF XIII sequels.
#5 (Edited 907d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
dumahim  +   906d ago
Agreed. And it's worth watching all of Spoony's videos about the game to show just how bad the game really was.
Mr_Nuts  +   907d ago
I was excited by it, I bought it and then I found myself getting roughly half way and then calling it a day.

At the time I was disappointed but now I just hate it, it's everything but a FF title

- Lightning as the main character is horrible, she's bland, boring, depressing, a moan, a right b**** at times. Least past main characters had a powerful backstory to how they became the characters we see but even then you see the development over their games. Look at Squall from FF8, from a lonely selfish jerk at the beginning of the game because he felt as a child that he was abandoned by his parents and then later Ellone when she was taken away basically the last person he put his trust into, to a brave heroic leader at the end of the game who has opened himself up to his new friends and love interest.

- The combat was terrible, I felt like FF12 was on the right path but even then, after I played Lost Odyssey later on I was like "Turn based still works". The combat was basicaly about luck and how quickly you can mash the X button

- The other characters were horrible. Hope was annoying, Snow was a dick at times and Vanile...don't get me started on her.

- The story was just confusing and instead of it being well told through the script it made you keep checking your log to find out what the hell was going on

- No exploration, just go from point A to point B, cutscene, boss fight, cutscene, save rinse and repeat.

- No side quests

- Couldn't create weapons and the ones you could buy, IF you could get enough Gil (another problem) didn't have the same effect when you got a new item in the past games

- The Summons were basically transformers...I mean a Shiva bike, Odin a mechanical looking horse and Bahamut looking like a machine aswell.

- The music wasn't as good as past FF games and the theme song...Leona Lewis, a manufactured X Factor winner to sing the song which I don't even think is the official theme song it's different for the English version.

I could go on, the point is there's too many things about the game which set it apart from a true FF game. My real FF13 this gen was Lost Odyssey. If this wasn't called FF it would probably get the benefit of the doubt but it isn't and with it being Final Fantasy you know it has something big to live up to.
#6 (Edited 907d ago ) | Agree(17) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
porkChop  +   906d ago
I've always said that Lost Odyssey was the best FF game this generation. Shame it was only on 360 though, at least if it was on PC more people would be able to enjoy it.
GenericNameHere  +   906d ago
"- No exploration, just go from point A to point B, cutscene, boss fight, cutscene, save rinse and repeat.

- No side quests "

Well, if you wanted to get all items, you had to explore. And there are side quests. It was those Fal'Cie crystals all over Gran Pulse.
darthawesome90  +   906d ago
I couldn't agree more with your list. Not much to add. FFXIII had everything going for it as far as art style is concerned, it just.....well your list says most of it.

I felt like XIII was FFX gone way wrong. FFX was amazing but was just as linear. It had so many things that hid it's linear nature though. Great storytelling, music, very likeable characters, character development.

I felt the best game to use as a template for the future is FF XII. While far from my favorite the wide open exploration was amazing. It's only fault is that:
- mmo style combat wasn't for everyone, too much like a dungeon crawler at times. How many darn floors till I reach the top?
- story could have been more engaging
- It had excellent companion characters but severely lacked character development. Ashe was amazing but was like lightening....never talked. In fact there was just about no interaction with companion characters. Everyone felt like a stranger despite their great personality. Imagine sitting with the most interesting people in the world but nobody spoke to each other...ever.
- Felt like everyone was just along for the ride since there was just about no interaction between characters.

Sounds like a long list of why not to like XII but XIII was 10x as bad in my book. FFXII is like a beta version of a game, trying new things so it was great but not epic and completely improvable. FF XIII was a train wreck and unsalvageable.

I hope Versus (possibly renamed FFXV) takes the best of XII and X and meshes them together. From the details revealed so far it may do just that. Open exploration + good storytelling....if it ever comes out.

No, we have not been too harsh with FF XIII. It took many of the minor faults of amazing games like X and XII and amplified them to create a complete mess of a FF XIII. Then decided to come out with two more...then decided to say the FXIII saga still isn't done.

Want to make a great game Square? Look at FFVI, VII, VII Crisis Core, VIII, IX, X, X-2 (subtract the girlyness pls) and XII. Sheesh don't torture us with endless XIII sequels.
#6.3 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Relientk77  +   906d ago
No Final Fantasy XIII was not good, the worst FF I've played
KingKelloggTheWH  +   906d ago
It was great visually,but everything else was mediocre to bad.The music was ok the story was...there,there was one good character and the combat was terrible..then it was so linear it was scarey.

Had it not been FF it might not have got all the hate,but it would also have not gotten the success either.
Kevlar009  +   906d ago
Final Corridor
wishingW3L  +   906d ago
worst game I played this generation.
TimelessDbz  +   906d ago
Yeah people are being way to harsh .
FF 13 is solid 8 in my book I like.
When you get to switch up your party thats when it really open up . Like the game got harder and side quest appear.
As for linear set up I did not mind it because I hate when you have so much open world that you're just walking around for the sake of it just to find that ONE NPC to give you a hint. Just a waste of time when devs do that .
#11 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(9) | Report | Reply
Brucis  +   906d ago
I enjoyed the graphics, music, and the fights (for the most part). I disliked the linearity and most of the characters, as well as most of the story (had some good moments). It was more of a disappointing Final Fantasy than a disappointing game.

For a general game it'd personally be pretty decent with some obvious flaws, but for a Final Fantasy it's comparatively weak.
edonus   906d ago | Spam
tigertron  +   906d ago
I like FFXIII. I never got round to finishing it, but I will sometime. I think I got up to chapter 12, but anyway, my biggest gripe was how linear it was and how you couldn't interact with the environment like you could with older FFs. Not to mention certain characters irritated me like Hope.

The combat system looked better in the 2006 trailer, but the final one was pretty good, although X-2 will always have the best combat system imo.

I do think that FFXIII could have been better, it could have been so much more, but I guess we expected too much from Square-Enix...maybe on the PS4 they'll give us the Final Fantasy we deserve.
McScroggz  +   906d ago
I'm very split over FFXIII. On one hand we have the worst cast of characters, with the first three getting a pass because at that time JRPG's didn't have much of a story at all. Everything about Vanille and Hope just annoyed me to no end - it reminded me of the characters in anime that I don't like. The story had a lot of promise, but it was so long before it got moving at all and I was constantly frustrated by the party limitations. For over half the game I don't control who I'm playing with. It was extremely linear for the bulk of the game. I could go on...

But, at the same time, I was able to have some good fun with the game. It's hard to quantify honestly. Even the combat system, which is fun, struggles with some of the same issues as FFXII in that at times you have to do little to nothing because the computer will play out the battle for you. I will say that for me, the biggest reason I ultimately enjoyed the game was because I thought the ending was actually really good, until the "twist." I understand those that hate this game or think it's terrible because it has a lot of flaws - especially for a Final Fantasy game.

Also, though Lightning isn't a great character, she was a female Cloud to me so I did like her. Fang, alright. Everybody else, GTFO.
e-p-ayeaH  +   906d ago
biggest problem with ff13 - very inspired by moe anime.

plus the gameplay is quite simplistic and hardly there´s any exploration.
HarryMasonHerpderp  +   906d ago
It was awful.
One of if not the biggest disappointment ive had in a series this gen.
The downfall of square has been really depressing . Used to love pretty much all of their games from Parasite Eve and Kingdom Hearts to Final Fantasy 1-10.
Now they just produce mediocre to just plain bad games .
I can't understand how anyone can defend FFXIII.
#16 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
e-p-ayeaH  +   906d ago
FFXIII as few good points that deserve to be mentioned:

- somewhat interesting plot (once you deal with the characters personalities that is)
- decent soundtrack
- beautiful locations (even tough there´s no towns or world map)
- awesome cutscenes

The incredibly slow story progress and simplistic combat (with hardly any chalenging difficulty) during the first 10-20 hours of the game made me cringe is incredibly painfull but even after all that is simply not worth it i only recomend it for hardcore FF fans and anime moe genre fans (god i hate that type of anime) thats about it.
#17 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
diepdiep  +   906d ago
I bet people complained about the battle system being too mindless and automatic. Well, I've played through all the chapters, and I'll just say one thing:

You cannot play the entire game by just pressing "auto-battle".
#18 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
darthawesome90  +   906d ago
You are correct. That being said simply changing classes to ravage then mashing auto then changing classes to assault and mashing auto got old real fast.

I wanted to cringe about 1/4 of the way through the game and it got worse from there. Wanted to cry of frustration and boredom with every enemy. Spent hours just trying to avoid battles which was impossible...too linear corridors.
SexyGamerDude  +   906d ago
You can beat any FF game by just mashing buttons. All you have to do is grind a little and you can blow through the games with no problem.
swishersweets20031  +   906d ago
ffXIII was just pure eye candy with really terrible characters.
Firan  +   906d ago
I really hate the gameplay.

Bad AI Movement. "Hey guys! Someone is casting AoE spell! Let's group up so it can hit us all!" Seriously! Why do they even have to move in the first place?

Battle Rating. So i have to rush through fights to be most efficient? Mash away!

Timer on bosses. Seriously... If I'm not quick enough to defeat a boss I get doomed to death?

I can only control a party leader. Once he/she dies, insta gameover. So I can revive a fallen party member but they can't do anything when I die? Great logic there.

I can play a game with mediocre story with good gameplay. Too bad FFXIII didn't have that either.
FRA85  +   906d ago
the game was just boring. the story was poorly told and the cheesyness (is that a word?) made me wanna throw-up.
it did look good i'll give them that.
diepdiep  +   906d ago
Something tells me that none of you guys are willing to give "Lightning Returns" a chance.
#22 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
HeavenlySnipes  +   906d ago
Why support the sequels to a game very few actually enjoyed. It's not even just a vocal minority. It's either people say "it wasn't that bad" or they say it was downright horrid

The characters were all melodramatic stereotypes. Snow being the wannabe badass that tries to save anything he sees to make up for the fact that he feels he failed Sarah. Lightning is a lone wolf alpha female that makes snarky comments at everyone. Vanille is overly optimistic and says stupid things all the time. Hope is just downright horrible. The only relatable characters are Fang and Sazh because they behave like regular people.

The combat would have been easier to stomach if it were in real time (all the enemies and party members are rendered, why teleport us to a virtual battlefield just to partake in a 44 second fight. Smh). Magic should have only been divided to support and ravager (makes no sense having medics only be useful for 1 spell instead of just adding haste and shit to that tier)

The game should have started from the beginning of the major conflict. The player is literally left in the dark if they attempt to just watch cutscenes to figure out what the hell is going on
SexyGamerDude  +   906d ago
"Why support the sequels to a game that very few enjoyed"

That's where you're wrong. The game actually sold well and was well received by critics.

Those who hate the game are actually the minority.
Summons75  +   906d ago
Easily. Great story when you finished, some good characters (not all of course), great battle system (atb with a fast pace, 3-9 had atb system), and a great soundtrack. Sure it has flaws but every ff does and the linearity complaint is a joke because all the other ones were too just masked. I can understand complaints about hope and vanille and snow but lightning had good character development and so did fang and sazh.

Most haters didn't play the game and the ones who did either didn't finish or are diehard ff7 fanboys who have never played another ff except maybe 10. The quickness of the combat was inspired by the positive reception of ff7 advent children ad he leveling system was an improved sphere grid (which is funny because most haters loved the sphere grid but not this.

Ff 13-2 fixed a lot of the flaws 13 had and improved everything else. Was 13 the best ff ever? No but it was good and the haters are greatly outnumbered by the positive reception of the game and the number of silent fans whom praise it in final fantasy communities.
#23 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(7) | Report | Reply
diepdiep  +   906d ago
Agree with you completely, but N4G isn't really an ideal place to defend this game (people jump in the hate-wagon too easily).
#23.1 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(7) | Report | Reply
SexyGamerDude  +   906d ago
I know what you're saying, especially in the FF7 die hards part. Too many people are quick to diss a FF game just because it's "not like 7". I've played every FF and IMHO number 6 was the best.

13 may not be the best FF but it was not as bad as people claim. People just love hopping on bandwagons.
#23.2 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(6) | Report | Reply
nofallouthero  +   906d ago
this was a terrible game hopefully ff15 will be better.
elda  +   906d ago
I personally loved FF-XIII,it did have it's flaws comparing to other FF games but I enjoyed it,the game is visually stunning like every FF game,the battle system imo was addictive,fun & strategic,this had to be one FF game where I died alot of times at boss fights because I had to be quick & strategic of my attacks,in previous FF games I never payed any attention to the music but the composer who did the music in XIII is one of the best that I even downloaded some of the tracks especially the emotional track "Dust to Dust"I do understand why some things were left out of the game due to the story...if you're being hunted & you're a fugitive from a certain society you don't have time to visit other towns to shop & do side quests.I do agree that it should have ended with FF-XIII not pt2 or a 3.
Inception  +   906d ago
I've been hyped and waited it for years and when i got my hands on it, the only thing i felt is a big dissapointment.

My most hated part is the story. It is very dull and borderline snorefest. Lightning is the most boring main character in FF that i ever seen. And don't start me with the other party. I even shut my ears when Snow yelling "SERAAHHHHHHHH!!!" for a hundreds time.

Ok, Sazh not that bad and because of him and his son Dajh, FF XIII have some flare that lighten me a bit. But the main antagonist still sucks donkey balls. I still don't believe my eyes that i'm playing Final Fantasy, a video game series who produced Kefka and Sephiroth, two of the most well known antagonist in the history of video games!

The other parts such as music and gameplay also had big flaws. But i'm too lazy to write them again.

So, are gamers have been to harsh on FF XIII? The answer is NO. This IS Final Fantasy we're talking about. A 25th years old franchise that always had high standard to produced high quality game for RPG fans!
If SE develope FF XIII as a new IP, than maybe the critics aren't so harsh.

Btw, it bothers me why FF XIII fans still defend it until this moment. Cause FF XIII are not the only FF who got harsh critics. If you all remember that FF VII: Dirge of Cerberus also got harsh backlash from FF fans (including me) and gaming media. So deal with it if a lot of people don't like FF XIII.
#26 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Blackcanary  +   906d ago
Had to give u a bubble for that.
Blackcanary  +   906d ago
A final Fantasy with no towns for me to explore is just not a final fantasy in my mind. Its just a wanna be Final Fantasy game in sheep clothing.

I couldn't even get past the 40 hour mark in that game. And when i went away from it i couldn't see my self going back to complete it the only other FF game i've done that with is FFXII. Even that left a bad taste in my mouth.
Inception  +   906d ago
Yeah no towns to explore and SE gave a BS excuse for that like "Lightning & friends are being hunted & you're a fugitive from a certain society you don't have time to visit other towns to shop & do side quests" -_-

WTF! I mean, are they forgot they created FF VI where's Terra, Locke, and the gang are being hunted by the Empire?

Or FF VII where's Cloud and the avalanche gang are the fugitive and being hunted by Shinra because they blew up the mako reactor?

Or FF IX when Garnet & friends being hunted by Queen Brahne?

But that doesn't stop FF VI, FF VII, or FF IX to have towns to explore and tons of mini-game to play. Hell, even Gold Saucer in FF VII are the king of mini-game (Chocobo race ftw) in FF series (imho) and in the story Cloud with his friends had a lot of fun (still remember Cloud dating with Yufie, Aerith,or Baret) even Shinra still chasing them.

Hopefully, FF versus / XV will not have the same problem like XIII. It's 7 years in the kitchen and i will be pissed if Nomura don't make towns to explore or mini-games to play!
#27.1 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Blackcanary  +   906d ago
Could you picture FF verse having its own version of the Gold Saucer that would be so cool.
If they do that i would have to play Verse about 10 times
LAWSON72  +   906d ago
Yes people have been to hard on the game. It has fantastic visuals, cutscenes, voice acting and characters. The battle system is brilliant was the long as tutorial is over and you fight harder bosses and monsters. The complaints about being linear are stupid in my opinion, but i do agree that the world does not pull you in , due to the absence of towns, and the story are not as good some ff
#28 (Edited 906d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply

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