After four and a half years in the making, GamersWishList finally got their hands on Final Fantasy XIII. Does it keep up with the changing RPG landscape, or is it a failed experiment?
Back in 1987, Japanese game developers Square were on the verge of bankruptcy. Believing that their next title would likely be their last, Square decided to go ahead and release one final game. This game was set to be a fantasy RPG. In a bit of self depreciating dark humor, they decided to call it "Final Fantasy."
Twenty three years and twelve iterations later, the video gaming landscape would seem quite different without the massively popular Final Fantasy franchise. While every game in the traditionally numbered series has been set in a different world with a different cast of characters, the games have always had a number of unifying elements that connected them to the previous titles. All of the games have been turn based RPG's. The spell list has generally remained very similar. And there's always somebody named Cid.
Final Fantasy XIII is the latest game in this long line of JRPG's (Japanese role playing games), and it's been a long time coming. Originally slated to be the final FF game on the PS2, it was switched to the PS3 mid development. And then, three years into it's eventual four and a half year development cycle, Final Fantasy XIII became the first game in the series to go multiplatform by extending it's reach to the XBOX 360.
But in all the years that have passed since Final Fantasy XII was released, the RPG landscape has changed dramatically. With titles from Bethesda like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 and titles from Bioware like the Mass Effect series and Dragon Age: Origins claiming the reigns as the new way to deliver the RPG experience, the JRPG has struggled to gain a footing in the west this console generation. As such, many people expected Final Fantasy XIII to try and recreate the JRPG for the western audience. But instead, FFXIII is more of a streamlined evolution of elements from FFX, FFX-2 and FFXII.