Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 83 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 83
  2. Negative: 1 out of 83
  1. The streamlined, focused structure eliminates potential tedium without dumbing anything down, and the battle system strikes an elegant balance between strategy and fast-paced action. Stunningly beautiful graphics and a pervasively meticulous level of polish throughout only add to the experience.
  2. 100
    Everyone who likes Japanese RPG will love Final Fantasy 13.
  3. The graphics only represent the topmost layer of a pervasive meticulousness, and every last detail feels thoroughly polished. [Apr 2010, p.66]
  4. It probably goes without saying that this is one of the most gorgeous games to grace a video game console. FFXIII's in-game graphics look like other games' cutscenes. Its cutscenes look like other games' full motion video, and its full motion video looks like a Hollywood blockbuster.
  5. No, Final Fantasy XIII isn't perfect. It is, by and large, an absolutely incredible accomplishment in terms of technical wizardry and streamlining of so much of the unneeded fluff found in a lot of JRPGs.
  6. 95
    Despite the omitted tune, Final Fantasy XIII overall is a high quality RPG that is worth every ounce of the hype. It most likely won't change the minds of those who dislike JRPGs, but fans of the genre will love every minute of the 70-100 hours they will invest.
  7. 95
    One of the best games that I have played so far this year. The team at Square Enix has really taken a leap in the right direction for the JRPG genre. They have made a gorgeous game that is fun to play, yet at times challenging and rewarding.
  8. A phenomenal RPG destined to be remembered as a technical milestone for the series. [Issue#203, p.88]
  9. Square-Enix should receive high praise indeed for their continued willingness to take chances with their flagship intellectual property. While many of the JRPG standards are missing, what remains is an incredible game experience.
  10. Final Fantasy XIII is an epic game that plays to its strengths by taking risks.
  11. Final Fantasy XIII isn't just a game you merely enjoy. You fall in love with it. It's gorgeous worlds have you stopping to admire them in complete awe, while a graceful soundtrack massages your brain (despite the unfortunate replacement of the original Japanese theme with a song from Leona Lewis).
  12. 92
    Final Fantasy XIII is a fantastical foray into a magical imagination. Ably supported by gorgeous visuals, the gameplay ramps up at a rate than can only be described as perfection as you fall in love with the characters in your party and the environment in which they adventure. It's not perfect in every way but the imperfections that are to be found are like dust on a diamond - there, certainly, but utterly irrelevant.
  13. We can't assure it is a turning point in the series, but it manages to make fights fun and it's no doubt an outstanding game.
  14. Final Fantasy XIII goes back to the J-RPG-roots of the franchise while stripping away that which made its predecessor appealing to fans of western RPG. For Fans of the linear J-RPG genre, FF XIII is a great game; fans of western freedom had better stay away from it.
  15. 91
    Like Mass Effect 2, FFXIII seems to be an attempt to answer the question of how to create an RPG for the modern, console-owning masses. Square Enix's solution is certainly different than BioWare's, but it's arguably just as effective in its own way.
  16. Superb storytelling, a very human cast, and visuals that will change your life, there is nothing to stop anyone from enjoying what this adventure has to offer.
  17. Ten hours in you might have doubts, but stay with it and you'll be smitten right through to the frankly unbelievable end. [Apr 2010, p.104]
  18. Even the thirteenth installment keeps the series in high standards and comes with an interesting battle system and stunning visuals. Story though is rather straightforward and more technical than stirring. [Issue#190]
  19. Final Fantasy XIII establishes a new reference and reinvents itself again, offering an experience unlike any that came before.
  20. The story, its great combat system and its sublime production values all work in one direction: submerge the player in the kind of hyperbolic odyssey that only the JRPG genre can offer.
  21. Final Fantasy XIII is an amazing game. With an engrossing story and a thrilling new battle system, this is one title you can't afford to miss as an RPG fan. However, though it succeeds on the most important fronts, there are some notable areas where the game could have been better. The linear level design is a fairly large stumbling block, and if you are used to open-world games, it can make the entire experience feel a little claustrophobic.
  22. The linear beginning may disappoint hardcore players but Final Fantasy XIII is a journey from start to finish and it is worth losing a few days or weeks over.
  23. Whether you enjoy it or not will depend on your expectations. Walk into it with a clear mind and you will get lost in this magical fantasy world.
  24. If you expected a traditional JRPG, Final Fantasy XIII will be very disappointing for you. But that's not what Square Enix wanted it to be: this thirteenth chapter is a completely new point of view for the saga, which was in terrible need of a new direction. The plot is intense and built on an enjoyable smaller scope, the battle system is deep and satisfying, and technically (albeit a couple of unexpected flaws) the game delivers. So that's it, a NEW Final Fantasy: if that's what you were waiting for, big time.
  25. Final Fantasy is back, and it's not afraid to take a few risks along the way. Square Enix have taken a giant leap towards genre reform and should be congratulated for it. This is the best JRPG of this console generation by far.
  26. Final Fantasy XIII isn't your typical Final Fantasy, but what is? Final Fantasy's tradition is its divergence, and when its execution is ever so clearly in line with its vision, there isn't much else quite like it.
  27. 90
    Square Enix has brought some RPG elements to the forefront, while putting some away in the back. This might offend some gamers, but with a mix of tactics, a deep battle system and action-filled battles Final Fantasy XIII will entice plenty of players. The interaction between the characters and the gradual revelations within the story are placed within a wonderful audio-visual jacket and manage to grab the gamer without letting them go. The linear aspect shouldn’t bother anyone in this thirteenth step of one of the most popular franchises out there.
  28. 90
    Thank goodness for the battle system, then, because it saves the game while you're wincing through the saccharine banter and waiting for the training wheels to spin off.
  29. 89
    Hardcore Final Fantasy fans might be disappointed by the game's abandonment of franchise traditions like open worlds, town exploration and complex mini-games. The game is still worth buying, but it doesn't quite feel as complete as its well-loved predecessors.
  30. While I did find the linear game style to be slightly annoying, it’s a small flaw in what is otherwise a really enjoyable game to play.
  31. Final Fantasy XIII is very entertaining even if the borders between the different genres aren’t visible anymore. Not just great graphics, the simple controls and the interesting story motivate me every time to play another hour.
  32. 89
    After a long wait, the newest episode in the Final Fantasy saga has finally reached our consoles. Although it will take several hours of gaming before you will see its full potential, it sure is worth the effort. It will give you hours and hours of gameplay, great visuals in the form of graphics and cut-scenes and off course superb audio. We enjoyed the ride. Next stop: FF Versus XIII or FFXIV.
  33. A unique, refreshing, and strategic battle system unlike any other; it just takes too long to gain total control.
  34. Final Fantasy XIII is a big and impressive adventure that manages to push the genre in the right direction. The characters, battle system and the story are all great. The fact that there are parts in the game that are unnecessary long and boring is to bad, still FFXIII is the one of the best RPG’s of this generation.
  35. Final Fantasy XIII may not live up to the hype, but any fan of Japanese-style RPGs will find a lot to like here.
  36. It all just works so, so, so well. If this was my first Final Fantasy or even my first RPG, I’d think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever played. But I really can’t shake the recurring feeling that Square-Enix has taken something away from me. It’s hard to pin it down exactly, but it’s the void I feel when I subtract so many beloved role-playing elements.
  37. 87
    Final Fantasy XIII is probably the RPG of the year and therefore a must have for any RPG-lover. The game is very strong, has beautiful graphics and good voice-acting. Unfortunately after completing this adventure we again have to wait a couple of years for a new part.
  38. Final Fantasy XIII embraces a feeling of immediacy that ultimately serves it well. Yeah, there aren't any towns, at least not in the classic sense. But once you're fully invested in the deep, demanding combat, you probably won't miss them. If you've been waiting years for Final Fantasy XIII, don't let its streamlined approach scare you away.
  39. The most beautiful Final Fantasy game yet is an imperfect but still impressive saga that will touch your heart.
  40. A game that impresses easily – merely looking at this game will have eyes popping and jaws dropping. However, get beyond that and there is a very linear game with many prototypical J-RPG elements in place. While there is some latitude for how battles are fought, for the most part, the game holds the player’s hand and escorts them through this fantastical land that is part fantasy and part sci-fi.
  41. 85
    A brave step in a new direction for the series. It won’t please everyone, but Final Fantasy XIII succeeds where it counts.
  42. Final Fantasy XIII will probably not go down as one of the high points in the series. However, on its own, FFXIII is still a really good and enjoyable game with a fantastic battle system and gorgeous graphics.
  43. 85
    For our part, despite its flaws, we think it gets the job done. [Issue#190, p.64]
  44. Square Enix expands the Final Fantasy series with a title full of new mechanics and important design decisions, all of them oriented to tell to fans a great and exciting story. The progress in the game is extremely linear, the cinematics are numerous, but the battle system is simply awesome and the big tool of the J-RPGs to claim its big values again. Thirteen is a good number for the Final Fantasy series, but we feel that it could been even better.
  45. An unexpected Final Fantasy. The 13th chapter has a great story and some of the most incisive characters of the whole series, and even the battle system works very well, being deep and complex (even if you control only a single character). But on the other side the overwhelming linearity of the plot, the absence of cities to explore, and the small amount of side quest will disappoint fans' expectations.
  46. 84
    It’s a massive game with a ridiculous amount of content. That said, bigger isn’t necessarily better. A slightly shorter game with a more unified design might have worked better.
  47. 83
    As a technical feat the game is a triumph, but it seems a slave to its own spectacle, manacling the gameplay to serve its own bombastic vision and ultimately while the excellent combat and stunning visuals are enough to recommend it, they're not enough to earn it a place amongst the series’ top rank.
  48. Final Fantasy XIII is a huge, incredibly well realized game with a brand new and spectacular combat-progression system made even better by top notch visual and sound. Unfortunately these good features have to face some serious flaws like the unnecessary linearity and the too hard difficulty level.
  49. The shock of change is overwhelming at first, but give the game enough time to develop and you'll soon appreciate its intricacies. A few problematic design choices aside, there's a lot of fun to be had in this newest and most Final-est of Fantasies.
  50. There's not much middle ground for Final Fantasy XIII, either you'll appreciate what it's trying to do or you won't.
  51. 81
    As an RPG, it is an excellent experience that provides a beautifully crafted world and engaging battle system. However, as a Final Fantasy game, it falls short of expectations somewhat.
  52. This fantasy isn't something that every boy dreams of, but on the other side, the game offers nice story and extremely streamlined mechanics. If you can put aside the annoying characters, the incoherent script and the overall restrictions, the game is reasonably fun to play. [Mar 2010]
  53. Linear and needs patience, but tells an epic, emotive story with rare polish. [Apr 2010, p.92]
  54. Less to do and much, much more to see. Final Fantasy XIII preserves the usual depth of its storyline, adding stunning graphics and sound, which make this a game worth playing. Yet, the lack of any typical RPG action and the technical differences of the PS3 against the X360 version left us quite confused, if not upset.
  55. Final Fantasy XIII's is a superb system overall, easily making up what depth it has lost in speed, tactical cunning and moment-to-moment engagement. Some have bemoaned the apparent retreat from XII's daring reinvention - I did myself, at first - but in its way XIII is just as big a step for the party RPG, albeit a simpler and perhaps more palatable one.
  56. A very different Final Fantasy, then, but one that becomes more familiar by the end - and we're certainly not going to bemoan Square Enix for attempting and achieving something beyond the usual expectations attached to the genre. [Apr 2010, p.112]
  57. Yes this game is very linear and you can wonder why you’ve paid £40 to wander in pretty much a straight line. But don’t forget what you’re playing Final Fantasy for; the story and battles. And Final Fantasy XIII delivers big time.
  58. A beautiful adventure that you can’t put down for the first thirty hours. The second half isn’t as gripping as the first, though. It’s interesting that the game sways away from the previous games in the series, but not everyone will be pleased with the linear gameplay.
  59. Final Fantasy XIII does away with a lot of the components that make out the traditional Final Fantasy formula, which at first feels odd, but the overall experience is still very much a Final Fantasy one. The combat system might just be the best the series' has ever offered and the characters are with a few exceptions well fleshed out. It's a shame that it takes almost twenty hours for the game to realize it's true potential since the experience for those who endure the slow introduction is nothing short of amazing.
  60. For fans of traditional RPG games (and especially for fans of the Final Fantasy series) this should be unmissable. However, for those more casual players or newcomers to the genre it may be slightly overwhelming and the repetitive nature and sheer linearity of the early level design might be quite a disappointment for fans hoping for more from this generation’s first Final Fantasy RPG.
  61. Despite being extremely linear and not having a lot aside from the main story itself, Final Fantasy XIII impresses on most levels - especially when it comes to the amazing graphics and the well thought-out battle system. While the 50+ hours it takes to complete the game may sound daunting, they really do fly past - something that can't be said about a lot of things these days.
  62. But the more changes they make to get in line with a faster-paced style of gameplay, the further away they drift from what made the franchise unique for so many years. The drudgery at the beginning may annoy the casual gamer with an investment of several hours before Paradigm Shift is available and a half-a-dozen more before the first summons. Fans, however, won’t care in the slightest. They’ll be well aware lead time before proceedings really kick off. [Apr 2010 p.64]
  63. The story, characters and combat are all some of the best in the series and help invigorate the gameplay which the game depends so much on.
  64. While it's not quite the final word on JRPGs, Final Fantasy XIII represents the felicitous first steps on the path to a destination well worth reaching.
  65. Stir up a fast-paced, strategic battle system, some awe-inspiring sounds and visuals, and a unique story told through a frustratingly linear adventure, and you get Final Fantasy 13.
  66. If you don't have time for an incredibly long game, don't buy Final Fantasy XIII.
  67. It's difficult to get back the magic of the early days, but Square Enix tried its best in order to develop a storyline that's worth living. With an outstanding graphics engine, an impressive story and a quite interesting gameplay style, the only element that Final Fantasy XIII's lacking is a better mechanics and not the just go-on-forward gameplay style that it offers. Still, it's a worth-buying JRPG if you're a fan of the genre. And if you're not, just give it a try.
  68. Once the characters grow up and band together, the plot finds its Focus, and the gameplay takes the training wheels off to let gamers make the most of the stellar combat system, it's an excellent JRPG, just one with severe pacing issues.
  69. 80
    Complaining about the lack of a Japanese audio track might seem like nitpicking but it goes back to my main point: XIII ignored me -- me, a dedicated JRPG and Final Fantasy fan -- to try and seduce someone else with user-friendly tutorials and a Leona Lewis theme song.
  70. It’s a mixed bag and the game is nowhere near perfect. Stick through the linear and less gripping parts for the first few hours, and you’ll end up with a story and combat engine that’ll hold you hostage until completion.
  71. Game of the Year? Cutscenes of the Year, more like. A Marmite Final Fantasy experience. [Apr 2010, p.80]
  72. Final Fantasy seems to have fallen in a rut, but if you can put up with the linearity for long enough, there is an interesting story and game at its heart. That said, even hard-core Final Fantasy fans are going to struggle to find an A++ RPG here.
  73. It may feel a bit different from the Final Fantasy you're used to, but Final Fantasy XIII deserves the chance to branch out and develop on its own.
  74. It’s also worth noting that there’s a huge difference in visuals when playing this game on the Xbox 360. The game seems to have been made for Blu-Ray, and it’s only on one disc, making the PS3 version the more appealing one to buy.
  75. You have to hand it to Square Enix for trying to move things forward - better that than yet another rehash of the tried and tested Final Fantasy formula (the less said about Infinite Undiscovery the better). But it does so along a path so narrow and straight that you long for the days of old.
  76. Considering the initial expectations, Final Fantasy XIII is definitely a disappointment. Although the adventure looks absolutely stunning (especially on PS3), the gameplay lacks in terms of depth in a way that no one could have expected, and if we add to the equation the extreme linearity of most of the adventure, the whole experience is far from perfect. Anyway, we can't blame Square Enix too much: this is where mass market is leading us.
  77. High production values and charming characters make Final Fantasy XIII a good game. But an all too linear structure and a boring story keep it from being brilliant.
  78. By eliminating many of the factors that we've come to expect Square-Enix has delivered a Final Fantasy XIII that is different, but also desperately attempts to cling on to some elements of the past purely to maintain conventions. Unfortunately, the biggest criticism is the fact that you're left with a feeling of playing for the sake of it, rather than savoring it.
  79. 60
    The fact that Final Fantasy designers are so willing to experiment is a good thing, because it’ll keep the genre from dying off. But Final Fantasy XIII should be considered a failed experiment.
  80. Baby and bathwater are thrown screaming from the tub as Square Enix strip Final Fantasy down to the marrow.
  81. Final Fantasy XIII just needed to be about half as long as it is, with tighter pacing and a faster ramp up to entertaining combat in its first half. But at least whether it's entertaining or boring you, it's unflinchingly gorgeous from one end to the other.
  82. FFXIII takes brave risks with the series’ foundations, but they ultimately create trembling fractures throughout the entire edifice, that robust battle system unable to support the weight of an entire world. Final Fantasy games are always an investment. This time, the returns are questionable.
  83. It takes more than graphics to make a game, and Final Fantasy XIII offers very little else other than eye candy. Ultimately, this latest addition to the Final Fantasy series is a pompous and masturbatory affair, created seemingly to promote the developer's ego first, and the player's enjoyment second.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2057 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Breck
    Mar 9, 2010
    0
    Quite possible the worst final fantasy in the entire series. It shouldn't even be considered a true final fantasy. Nothing about this game is good, I returned it. Something that took 2 years to make, was delayed for ps3 for another 2 years and downgraded so they could put it onto 360. Pathetic. Besides that, graphics still are bad with ps2 style environments. Annoying characters, and the same damn plot you've heard 100 times. Unless your a 6 year old girl, avoid at all costs. Full Review »
  2. Aug 24, 2010
    4
    Before buying FF13 I knew of two crushing facts about it - no overworld map/controllable airship and extremely linear gameplay. One of the main reasons I bought a PS3 was for this game, so even after learning of the disappointments I still gave it a try. Now I've been an rpg fan for a long time. Playing through Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, and Secret of Mana were some of the most memorable expereices I've had. These games have a certain charm, a certain soul, that I believe Square has lost. Indeed, the brilliant minds behind these games are no longer working together (Sakaguchi, Amano, Uematsu, etc.). FF6 I believe was the pinacle, with my enjoyment declining with each subsequent release. There's something quite endearing about the old overhead-view and world maps. You're able to take it all in, your imagination turns, and you feel a real sense of the universe that's being portrayed. But now because of cut-scenes, fixed viewpoints or locations, and flashy graphics we're given a much more controlled and limited environment. With that said, I did enjoy FF7 and I wish they would have stuck with that format at least. I honestly cannot comprehend how they thought taking away a free-roaming world and airship travel would be received well by fans. Actually, I'm sure they realized it wouldn't be, but instead did not care and opted to appeal to a newer generation, thus making more money. Overall, this Final Fantasy is not for me, and I am ok with that. But it is a shame that the days of Final Fantasy as I knew it are gone.

    Ok, as far as FF13 goes... after 15 hours of playing I have completely lost interest. The story is the only reason I played this far, though at this point I feel as though I understand it enough to not continue with it. The major things that prevent me from finishing are the core gameplay (as I mentioned earlier) and the characters. The characters have stupid names. There I said it. Vanille, Snow, Lightning... Anyone of those is fine by itself but all 3 together? They act too childish. And with all their action, vibrancy of colors, their whining and shouting, I am somehow still left with a vapid taste in my mouth; not to mention how annoying some of the voices are. Most everything about this game comes off as way too contrived. Another thing that has not sat well with me since it was introduced are fight scenes, or cut-scenes in general. This is just a way of making the game more presentable and easier to consume by the masses, who by and large appreciate this and find it entertaining. I do not. I am not a huge movie/television fan to begin with so it does not appeal to me in the least. Maybe a few cut-scenes here and there are fine (like with FF7), but when it's done as much as it is in FF13 you feel as though you're playing an interactive movie, and in an essence that is really what it has become. So if you are new to Final Fantasy, I urge to to take a look at the older ones (or older Squaresoft games like Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana), and try to have some patience and imagination and I am sure you will find a much more rewarding experience.
    Full Review »
  3. JD
    Mar 19, 2010
    5
    Worst Final Fantasy ever. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fanboy for sure, but this has got to be the worst in the series. First, it isn't a "game" per se, since you can get through the whole game mostly using "x" and a few directional keys. Second, the RPG element has been removed. It is hard to believe that Final Fantasy has been dumbed down to pretty graphics and awful, boring gameplay. This is basically a game for the attention deficit disordered millenial generation, and I'm afraid for the future. Full Review »