Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tempest Plays Final Fantasy XIII: What Is Even Going On?

I’m not a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. I’ve only played one actual story based game in the whole series, which is Final Fantasy VII. I love Crystal Defenders and Tactics (mainly Tactics Advance), as well. Before playing this, I wasn’t exactly sure why I never really got into the games. I just never cared for them too much, but now, I think I have a better idea why. XIII was recommended to me because it tried something a little different with the battle system. A fellow gamer who knows my gaming style said that I might like it because it was more ARPG-styled, which is true in some ways. I’ll get more into that later.

This is a very pretty game. I will give it that much. I know many people hail them as pretty games and they're usually visual treats, but this one is a bit more impressive than most for me than normal. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the story at this point, though. I’m just starting chapter three on the game, and it's starting to feel like I'm trapped in one long tutorial at this point. I’ve learned about paradigm shifts, which is starting to add an interesting angle to the game, and I’m finally getting new abilities after spending so much time character jumping and getting them all to that point where they meet up for their big drama-fest. And it is DRAMA in all caps and italicized. That cutscene with Serah turning to crystal and the events surrounding it? I think my face locked into a semi-permanent state of "UGH!" until I turned the game off for the night. I probably went to sleep making that same face.

I'm officially annoyed with half my team. I think Snow is a big ol’ cornball with extra corn. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that anytime he opens his mouth is probably going to result in me rolling my eyes at some point in his dialogue. I’m not even going to comment on the fact that he brings fists to a gunfight. Vanille is inappropriately bouncy right now. I know there’s always one character in Final Fantasy who is the eternal optimist, laughing and bouncing when we’re probably about to be killed. So, I guess I have to forgive and forget. At least, she is beginning to show some other emotions, but mostly, she's just bouncy. Her accent makes it hard for me to not like her.

I think I’m finding myself more annoyed with Lightning and Hope than anyone else at this point.

Lightning is giving me a bit too much Cloud right now, and even though I loved Final Fantasy VII, I can assure you that love had absolutely nothing to do with Cloud. I’m trying not to hold that against her right now. I’m trying not to call her “Cloud, but with a vagina.” I’m trying to be positive and open-minded about this instead of letting those residual ill feelings toward Cloud taint her for me, but it’s not working out so well. Hopefully, she’ll give me a reason to not lump her in that same category as the game continues.

And Sora Hope, how are you going to blame Snow for your current predicament when you're the one who followed him because you have something to say? If I'm going to have to put up with this a whole game, you just need to go home and send a text message, write an email or something just so you can get the hell out of my face. I'm sorry your mother died and I understand you’re angry because you feel like Snow could’ve done something to prevent that, but I'm not here for your drama, especially when you placed yourself in this situation. Either get right or GTFO.

Yes, I know I didn’t mention Sazh. That was intentional. I can’t be mad at anyone who carries a baby bird around, especially a baby bird that rides around in his hair. Besides, he’s the only person of color that I get to hang out with in this game. Solidarity, man, I have it even for fictional characters. I’m going to treat him like a national treasure that needs to be protected. And I haven’t gotten that other chick, yet, so no comment there either.

I just want to hang out with you and talk about stuff.
This is where I figured out my disconnect with Final Fantasy. I am a huge fan of characters and story. I like to be able to relate to the characters and the story. Sometimes, I relate more to the characters than the story and vice versa. However, I’ve never been emotionally invested in any of the games or its characters. The emotions in the games feel too shallow and overly romanticized for my personal tastes, and the games never gave me enough of anything else to compensate for that and make the game still enjoyable for me, even though I didn’t connect to its characters.



For sure, there are other games where I have that same disconnect in the RPG genre (and other genres), but there tends to be something else there that makes me want to stay. There is some other element for me to enjoy enough to see the game through to the end, and I normally don’t find that “something else” in Final Fantasy games. As I said, this is just my personal bias. I’m sure for lovers of the series they see a ton of depth where I just don’t.


Source

I’m starting to warm up to the battle system. I expected it to be a bit more dynamic and action-y in the style of Kingdom Hearts. The did incorporate a similar battle menu, but the battle itself is like the bastard child of turn-based battle and action-based battle. I’m not disappointed by it, but I am a little underwhelmed. It’s gotten more interesting since I’m able to access paradigm shifts and new abilities now, and I stopped right after the paradigm shift tutorial. So, I'm expecting that I will enjoy it much more in the future.

Now, let's talk about what is REALLY making me wish I could stab someone. The cutscenes.

Why are there so many freaking cutscenes?

This is pretty ridiculous to be honest. Wrong question. I don’t actually have a problem that there are so many cutscenes, but I do have a problem with how they’re fit around--or rather, not fit around--the exploration/battle play. What I'm getting completely fed up with as far as the cutscenes go is that sometimes after finishing a cutscene and taking 1.5 steps with a character, another cutscene immediately plays. What is the point in breaking up the cutscene for me to walk 1.5 steps into the next one? I don't understand this.


At the end of chapter one, there is literally a scene right before Vanille and Hope follow Snow where I’m given control of Hope after the cutscene. There was a save point after that scene, so I saved, thinking that I’d probably have at least another fight or two before getting YET ANOTHER cutscene. But nope, the minute I took 3 steps with Hope, I was thrown into another cutscene. After the cutscene, I was asked if I want to save my progress. Chapter two started after that, and I was in control of Vanille after the cutscene that played there.

Why the hell would you even do that? Why wouldn’t you make that just one long cutscene instead of giving me control to walk a character (a character I haven’t controlled since, by the way) into a cutscene? That is literally one of the stupidest things I have ever had to do in a video game. The frequency of the cutscenes cutting into combat or combat cutting into the cutscenes makes it hard for the story to flow. I’m not sure what they were even hoping to accomplish with this, but it is jarring. And I’d probably be able to connect to the story more if it wasn’t so disruptive.

Anyway, I said that I was going to stick with this. I’m an Aries. We invented stubborn, so I’m in for the haul, even if it hurts me.

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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

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Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

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