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Mixed or average reviews- based on 482 Ratings

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  1. Jan 16, 2014
    Let me start off by first saying that this is easily one of the best Final Fantasy games out there right now. Ever since I finished Final Fantasy X's epic storyline, I've been yearning for another Final Fantasy game to come along that can emulate the emotions that I had felt all those years ago. I'm happy to say that I have indeed found that game in the form of Final Fantasy XIII. I've slowly come to realize that most fans either love the game or absolutely hate it and I can understand both sides of the spectrum. Graphically, even by today's standards, FFXIII is one of the sharpest looking games out there. Character models still look extremely solid and the environments and cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous. The game features an entirely made-from-scratch world with its own rich history and extremely deep lore that is presented in spot-on fashion so as to not overwhelm the player with too many details. Now, moving on to the core aspects of the game, starting with the storyline. As mentioned earlier, FFXIII's story is one of hope. It's about setting out to accomplish something, rather than sitting around wishing you could, when others say it is impossible. Admittedly, it's not exactly the most unique message a video game has ever conveyed, but the manner in which it is presented is spectacular. The story starts off focused on Lightning Farron (whose real first name is revealed later), a Guardian Corps. soldier whose sister becomes branded by a demigod-like being called a Fal'Cie. Those that are branded, called l'Cie, have what's called a Focus, which is a single objective that must be accomplished in a limited amount of time. If the l'Cie fails to carry out their Focus in the time given, they turn into mindless demonic creatures called Cie'th. However, if they do carry out their Focus successfully, they turn into crystal to sleep for all of eternity, which isn't exactly much better. Without giving away too much more, Lightning desperately tries to help her sister out of this impossible situation. By far, this is one of the most stellar endings, in my opinion, to any video I've ever played, neatly wrapping up all loose ends and satisfying the player. The game features an extraordinary cast of hit-or-miss characters. My friend hated every single party member while I grew fond of every one of them. Each of them features an engaging backstory and personality and I actually cared deeply what happened to them as the story progressed. The game's score is absolutely fantastic and suits the game's tone and atmosphere perfectly. Moving on to actual gameplay, many critics fault the game for its extreme linearity and I wholeheartedly agree. This is easily one of the most linear games you will ever play, with very little to no side-missions or objectives to accomplish. The side missions that are available (late in the game) are nothing more than monster-slaying missions and a majority of them offer rewards that barely warrant the time and effort put into these challenging battles. In fact, the majority of the game is very challenging. The game lacks any sort of difficulty setting and so if you're a very casual gamer, you may want to steer clear of this one. Personally, I enjoy challenging video games but this game was just downright frustrating at times. I honestly don't even know how they expect you to win some of the fights without maxing out your characters. The game's battle system is a healthy combination of turn-based combat and a fast-paced action game. It's difficult to describe in a few sentences but it is extremely satisfying without becoming a mindless button-masher. Triumphing over rough boss fights is a real treat that truly tests your skills as a gamer. Fortunately, you can "Retry" any battle mid-fight, which resets your character to right before you engaged the enemy, and the save systems throughout the game are very generous. Overall, Final Fantasy XIII is a treat of a video game. Boasting sharp visuals, an intelligently-satisfying battle system, a fantastic cast of characters, an emotionally engaging storyline and an absolutely stellar ending, this truly is the Final Fantasy game that all fans should play. Expand
  2. Sep 21, 2010
    Its a beautiful game, but it fails in the aspect that it is too linear and it still does not beat FFVII for story and variety. The battle system, while no doubt some will love it and some will hate it, i was disappointed by it. These flaws are i can only give it a 9
  3. Dec 2, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Not great, not the worst. Graphics and OST are breathtaking, the storyline is good, although a little bit weird and twisted in the end. The fighting system was awkward at first but nice once you had trained it for some hours. The worst is the lack of secondary missions. Expand
  4. Dec 21, 2010
    I really don`t know why people hate this game so much, i know ff xiii isn`t ff vii i know lightning is`nt cloud but you can`t pass your entire life waiting for a remake, ff xiii innovates and refresh the jrpg concept and that what square enix said before launching the game, in ten years this game will be remembered like one of the most underrated ff ever just for the obsession with cloud and company. Expand
  5. Feb 14, 2011
    For most of you, you think this game sucks. Well guess what... it DOESN'T! Final Fantasy games have never been mainly about focusing on in game play, it was just a side thing that was awesome. Anyway, the main thing is the story line, and if you actually pay attention it's really good! I admit that some of the characters I didn't like at first (Snow and Lightning to be exact) but then I started to like them after a while, it's an amazing game if you give it a chance but most of you haven't. If you have a problem with this game, then the problems with yourself. Expand
  6. Aug 24, 2011
    I've been playing RPGs for a very long time, and the Final Fantasy series, like many other old-school RPGers, comes close to beloved status for me. FF3 (6), FF7, FF10, these have a special place in my RPG shrine, also known as a dusty corner in my closet.

    So when I saw that FF13 was shortly due to be released, I decided to borrow my buddy's stormtrooper costume and go out for the midnight
    release. He opted to go as Voldemort. Much fun was had, and I returned excited to play.

    Upon popping that disc in and loading up the intro movie, I experienced what I consider the major positive of this game: the graphics. Let me just state that plainly: from a technical stand-point, the graphics are gorgeous. The characters are modeled with exceptional detail. It really is a pleasure just to watch them. On the other hand, I found the stylistic side of the graphics to be something of a let-down. There's a lot of recycled corridors and monster models. Nothing ever really popped out at me; I never encountered any memorable sort of artistic moments.

    So going from the intro screen, I had high hopes. And then I played the game.

    The gameplay is both exceptionally linear and exceptionally easy, especially in the first parts of the game. Basically you can control only one person and even then your options are limited. Essentially the entire strategy of the game comes from switching roles. Sadly there are very few fights that require even that. During some of the early dungeons I literally held up on the joystick and pressed A over and over and beat them, while I was outside grilling salmon (wireless controllers ftw?) An entire dungeon, without looking, except for the boss. Which is unfortunate because I was also randomly using items and libra and other such things, but I still managed to win the day!

    Let me elaborate further upon my claims of this being the most linear game ever: the game's dungeons are essentially corridors running in one direction, there are never any towns to explore, there are no extra townspeople to talk to, and your character development is more or less entirely linear. There are no choices to make because you can choose them all.

    Simply put, the gameplay is boring. It's a game made for over-achieving zombies.

    Now then let me move on to the story. A big letdown, for several reasons. For one, the dialogue is abysmal. The voice-acting is great, that's not my complaint: the script is terrible. Perhaps I was spoiled, coming from Dragon Age, but I found most of the conversations painfully formulaic. I understand that this game is made to be understood even by little kids, yet Pixar movies somehow manage to be entertaining and approachable for all ages so why couldn't FF13?

    Starting from a poor script, the story can really only go down hill. The villains (like in FF12) are somewhat vague and/or absent. It's not really very clear until later, and even then only just so, why exactly I'm running through corridors, killing everything that moves.

    As we say in the creative writing biz, the game never managed to "draw me in"; it never captured me and consequentially I couldn't careless about the fates of anyone involved.

    The characters are, like everything else in the game, one dimensional. Snow is the cardboard cutout of a "hero" oblivious to reality; Lightning is the cardboard cutout of the gritty tough soldier, even though as a Guardian soldier, she's the equivalent of a national guard soldier in a completely peaceful country; Hope is the cardboard cutout of a weak unguided boy who has "great potential" or some other BS; etc, etc, etc. I actually found Vanille, which Gamespot's reviewer thought was annoying, to be the only character with any real depth. Unfortunately, the game feels the need to constantly blungeon you over the head with this: I HAVE A SECRET, I HAVE A SECRET. Yet, if you are at all cognizant of how Square localizes their FF games, her Australian accent (as opposed to the accents of everyone else) is a dead give-away what her secret is.

    In short, this game has wonderful graphics and decent voice-acting and not much else. It'd be like if you gathered a bunch of beautiful actors, gave them a crappy studio with no props or tools or anything else, handed them a Danielle Steele novel to serve as a script, and told them: "Go at it." Then you'd have FF13.
  7. Oct 12, 2011
    I have played this game 3 times from start to finish. The game is visually insane and shows how much square's engine can dish out compared to unreal engine. The combat is a mix of turn based combat combined with real time. You select your characters actions and watch them move around the battlefield although you cannot directly control your character, although the arenas are so small its doubtful it would have any different impact if you were able to do otherwise. Going through the bosses on my first playthrough, I thought each one was perfectly oriented for a person with that much experience in the game. The end bosses were very hard and tested my mettle even with optimal strategies. Going though the game the second time, the beginning bosses were significantly easier because of my experience but the end bosses were as hard as ever. If there is anything I could complain about, it is how *possible spoilers* all the postgame content is developing your characters and weapons to the max and all sidequests are just monster hunting missions, although it is a small gripe as the endgame is optional and really only for achievement hunters *end possible spoilers* The characters are very believable and the only ones i thought were really annoying were sazh and snow with a dash of hope. the game challenges you to think about the best role configurations to defeat monsters. The story is epic in the highest sense as the story is not very outlandish (for a fantasy game). While the chapter and the linear progression are also minor gripes, it is acceptable because of the story.I could not recommend this game enough to anyone. All that is left for me now is to wait for 13-2 and versus 13 Expand
  8. Oct 27, 2011
    This game is a good game. The combat is certainly very boring if you choose auto-battle but if you actually choose your attacks (Yes you can do this) it becomes more challenging and certainly more engaging as you need to make quick decisions based on what enemies you are facing. I for one liked the characters and felt that they all developed well throughout the story which was overall, very entertaining. People complain about the linearity but I for one don't see it as so much of a problem, FFX was linear too and has a large group of stalwart fans. It does get tedious at some points in the beginning but the fact that they have such an amazing graphics engine and that the scenery is so interesting helped me keep going. Each area has a fitting and well composed theme, the enemy designs are detailed and interesting. Unfortunately the best part comes towards the end, when the game world opens up a little and you get sent on side quests somewhat reminiscent of the Hunts from FFXII. The main problem with this game is the Final Fantasy title. This game would have done well and sold well on it's own merits, (not as well as it did but certainly not abysmally.), but by making it a Final Fantasy game Square instantly set it up to be compared against it's predecessors. When you do that, there are many more Final Fantasy titles I would recommend before this one, I still do recommend it but there are definitely others you should play first. However I am very glad to see that Square is listening to their fans and are making XIII-2 into what this game should have been. Adding what they left out and refining that which needed it. At $20 this game is worth picking up for what it is, not for what the other Final Fantasy games are. Expand
  9. Mar 18, 2012
    I just can't understand why the bad reviews. People seem to go all fanboy when a new game of a saga comes out, and something has been changed. I've played all Final Fantasy games up to date in all different Playstation and Xbox formats. People complain that the combat system has changed, that the maps have changed, that the eidolons have changed... well, let me tell you that the way of playing games have changed. I'm about 30 hours into this game and it plays beautifully: combats require some party preparation and although you can only control the leader, to tweak the AI and to administrate all the combat profiles is part of the game. The new combat system takes from the player all the boring management and just lets them get in what they like, to fight.

    Technically, this game is constantly impressing me. Final Fantasy games are known for being epic and spectacular, but FF XIII has just gone over all that. It's like on a different level from any other thing. Beautiful graphics, masterpiece soundtrack, amazing motion capture, and a catchy storyline. It's hard to get better than this in terms of production quality. Too hard.

    Fan gamers will just not even give this an opportunity, or even if they do, they'll be so stubborn about it being different that they'll be stuck. I think SquareEnix has done a great done adapting the Final Fantasy saga to mechanics with which players are more comfortable these days. And that's not bad, that's improvement.

    The only drawback of it, and the reason why I don't give a 10, is that enhancing the weapons, and knowing which ones to use, where to get them, or how to optimize them can be a very intrincate task. It's as if you really couldn't figure it out without a guide.

    Do yourself a favor: don't listen to the fanboys, don't compare it with old Final Fantasy games, and play it. It'll submerge you in a fantastic experience you won't regret.
  10. Nov 10, 2011
    I really thought this game was quite fun, and it takes a long time to finish (around about 45-55 hours).
    I can see why some people don't like it, but i don't agree. One of my favourites, personally.
  11. Dec 15, 2011
    Best Rol game of this generation.
    Square did a masterpiece.
  12. Jan 11, 2012
    Final Fantasy XIII is a beautiful RPG game with a easy to learn battle system and impressive graphics, with all this comes a great story that will really touch your heart as every character brings so much life into the game and some you might even relate too. This game is a very fun game to play,you might spend atleast 50+ hours on your first playthrough and by that time you feel attached to the hero's of this story. As for its flaws there are no shops and the game is very linear well untill you pop in disc 3 then you see a huge world full of life but these are its only flaws i have seen but overall this is a must have for RPG lovers and Final fantasy fans. Expand
  13. Jan 29, 2012
    One of the best games I have ever played. While it is not perfect, it is a very engaging and interesting play. The main problem people seemed to have with it is that "it's not like the other FF games", but that is the point. Innovation can only happen if something differs. This doesn't mean it's a bad game. The story is completely amazing and it wouldn't be possible if the game would not follow on a "rail" for the first chapters. It is a worthy sacrifice for a deep story of this kind.
    Visually there is no need to talk about anything. It looks gorgeous, just brilliant. I love the look of the game. The soundtrack and the effects have me enchanted as well. I'm still listening to tracks from the OST, especially Snow's Theme and Lightning's Theme are very awesome songs.
    Gameplay-wise it is different from previous FF games. The combat is semi-real time, but pretty fast. Player's have to switch between paradigms to overcome different obstacles in enemies or bosses. I really love the combat system after I got used to it. It is very versatile, retains the tactical element of turn based combat, even adds a new layer with the paradigm system, but is more engaging than normal turn-based combat. The amount of text in the game is astounding as well. There is so much information about the world, the events, the characters and everything to read, it was a paradise for an avid reader like myself. The game also opens up largely in the last chapters and actually continues on after you finish the story. A chunk of content is only accessible after you finish the last bosses, because that opens up the last level of character upgrades, which allows you to go on a hunt for the biggest enemies in the game. It is a game with hundreds of hours worth of gameplay, a super-engaging and beautiful story, an amazing combat system and amazing graphics. I don't know how people cannot like it!
  14. Mar 20, 2012
    This is the first Final Fantasy I have ever played, I expected a huge open world with towns, side quests among other things. However, there was none at all. You start off (after some Jaw-dropping cut-scenes) with the most basic moves of "Attack" as the game teaches you about this new battle system. This lead me to run in a very straight line and fight battles again and again with no idea of the characters or the story. By chapter 3, thankfully, you begin to understand what the game is about. The boss fights are pretty epic and will keep you entertained, but the fight that get you there will wear you out a lot. The story more than makes up for this though.

    The game teaches you about the Paradigm System which changes a group of roles within a party. This makes you focus on switching between offensive and defensive strategies causing the battles to be a lot more fluid. I highly enjoyed this over the turn-based system I expected. It wasn't fun but it was tolerable. Mind you, you might not be able to play the game for more than an hour without it boring you.

    The story and graphics are what this game is made for. The story is dramatic and touching (but can go overboard at times) as well as great CG cut scenes which I looked forward to as well. A Data-log option also keeps you up to date with any confusion you have which helped me hugely half way through the game. It's a game that rewards you as you play more, however I hated the first 10 hours. As i went through it i was entertained by the personalities of the different characters and how real they felt. Vanille was hugely annoying though. She never shut up. This will probably be the only Final Fantasy game i will ever play and i really did enjoy it. Its a game that i will remember. The criticisms of this game really does confuse me but I guess we are all entitled to our opinion!
  15. Feb 4, 2012
    Despite being a polarized Final Fantasy, especially for letting many elements of previous titles aside, there is much to enjoy in Final Fantasy XIII. With a fast and functional battle system, flawless artistic direction, great narrative and a high quality soundtrack, Square-Enix proves that traditions are not necessary to forge an excellent game in the series.
  16. Aug 2, 2012
    Before I write the review I just have to say FFXIII trolls give this game way too much crap. This game is a great game, the linearity was not a huge issue. It's just westerners have gotten used to these WRPGs where you have a wide open world that you can easily get lost in (literally), not to mention the story is usually lacking. So the bad reviews is just westerners complaining that the JRPG is a different type of RPG. Also, the FF fanbase is very split and conflicted. If Square does one thing then half are going to be pleased and half not pleased. Honestly, I think you can't ever please more than 60% of the fanbase at one time anymore because we all want different things. Now on to the review.......Final Fantasy XIII is another great addition to the franchise. The story is a compelling tale and the characters play well off of eachother. The only short coming is Vanille's high pitched voice, but thats the voice coach's fault for wanting it that way. The characters are well developed and you see the main protagonist mature through the course of the game. The combat is fantastic, very flashy and fun, as well as fast-paced. It offers a refreshing change up for the series. The music is good also, but not quite up to what Nobuo Uematsu has offered for previous installments. That doesn't stop the soundtrack from being good, though. There are also over 60 sidequests to indulge in when you get the chance which offer plenty of post-story play. Final Fantasy XIII's more streamlined nature pays off in this epic tale of heroism. Expand
  17. Dec 28, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the best games of this generation of consoles. Beautiful graphics, interesting story, great world, deep characters, nice battle system.

    Only - is closed-corridors levels.
  18. Apr 23, 2014
    I honestly don't know why you would objectively give this game a bad score. Amazing graphics, amazing music, amazing story. The only thing you can complain is that in terms of gameplay it is quite limited for an RPG, specially for a Final Fantasy. But it is clear they have focused a lot on the story, which is the keystone of Final Fantasy, its essence, and this game haven't lost that AT ALL. Also the new combat system is great and seems the natural evolution of the classic turn-based combat, and battles are very challenging, some are among the most difficult of the entire saga. Expand
  19. Jul 23, 2012
    Final Fantasy XIII is a game that has garnered quite a bit of backlash for largely misunderstood reasons. The game is linear yes, is that a negative aspect of the game? no it is not. Is the plot really that convoluted? no it isn't, you aren't even required to read the datalog that so many people dislike. The story of Final Fantasy XIII is it's strong point. The main character of the game is a young woman named Lightning. The story begins with her attempt to rescue her younger sister from the clutches of a god like being known as a fal'Cie. From there Lightning and her friends are put on the path of an adventure that will test both their battle prowess and who they are as human beings, calling into questions their morals. The battle system is a fresh take on the ATB system. Being able to que up to six consecutive attacks is something that the series has needed for a long time. The system revolves around two things, first is the paradigm shift system, which is the roles that you assign to your characters, second is the stagger meter, a bar that once full staggers said opponent and lowers their defence allowing you to inflict massive damage. The battle system has been criticized by "fans" of the series saying that it only consists of pressing X. That is not true but even if it were, what series have they been playing for all these years? Every FF game requires an over abundance of the use of X, that is just selective whining. XIII will require you to use the L1, directional pad and X in battle, not just one, unless you want to lose that is. The biggest bright points among Final Fantasy XIII when compared to the rest of the series is the protagonist of the game, Lightning, the character development of the party and their interactions of a group. Lightning has been compared to Cloud on a lot of message boards, but that isn't an apt comparison, there is a world of difference between the two. The development and characterization that Lightning undergoes through the game is a lot more human than anything Cloud has to offer. She is a very strong female lead that is so relatable that almost any player should be able to relate to her. The character development of the party as a whole is done a lot better than in previous iterations. Each character will come to realizations throughout the quest that will change who they are and how they view the world. The chemistry of the group also makes their interactions that much more meaningful. Another criticism is just how linear the game is. It's true that the game is indeed linear but it is done for a purpose. Final Fantasy XIII is a story driven game, moreso than it's predecessors. The linearity of the game is used as a story telling tool to help put you into Lightning and co's shoes. They are on the run and have no where to go but forward, they cannot stop to shop and lolly gag in towns because they are fugitives. The game is simply being realistic in it's plot and should be commended for taking such an effective approach to telling the story of Lightning so that you could relate to her situation and how she would be feeling. The soundtrack is also top notch, including beautiful orchestral pieces that fit perfectly with each scene. It adds another layer to the storytelling. Overall Final Fantasy XIII deserves a ten out of ten for it's epic plot, memorable protagonist and addicting battle system. There is not a better release in the series than this one. Definitely worth playing through. Expand
  20. Oct 4, 2012
    This is the Avatar of video games. With jaw-dropping graphics, beautiful music, and incredibly well crafted and detailed environments, FFXIII is THE best looking and best sounding games EVER. OF ALL TIME. Another thing that is incredible is the magnificent, and emotionally capturing story and the colorful and memorable characters that we have come to expect from all the final fantasy titles. Not to mention the impressive, fun and challenging battle system. The things that annoy me about this game are that some of the dialogue is stupid, random, and corny( much like other Japanese games) and the 50 hour story may be a bit much for some gamers. Other than that, great game. Expand
  21. Jun 25, 2014
    I have played every single Final Fantasy game except for the ones on handheld devices and the MMO ones. Square made one huge mistake with this release and that was calling it Final Fantasy. People have really high expectations for this series because it literally is one of the last good JRPG series out and frankly? Square has done better than this. This game is by no means WHATSOEVER a bad game though! I couldn't put it down because the story is amazing. The graphics are amazing. OMFG the graphics are so good. Even in 2014 the cut scenes are like WHOA! The music is great. From what I remember about every Final Fantasy Square always brought at least that to the table except for the music on X-2 (really?). The bad? The game is super linear. I still put in about 65 hours in this game from start to finish only doing about half of the side content. The side content is not that great. It's just a bunch of monster slayer missions. You have the opportunity to get your group super OP and take down super OP mobs. Who has time for that anyway? Not me. I was semi thankful towards the end that the first 2 cds were so linear. The content is still astounding though if you compare 60 hours to the 25 hours it takes to beat Final Fantasy 2(US release) for the SNES. Think about it. They made this super linear and it still takes at least 45-50 hours to play through your first time. Do yourself a favor. Forget about the other Final Fantasy games and play this with an unbiased opinion. You will probably like it. I know I did when looking at it like that. Expand
  22. Jul 31, 2014
    Ah Final Fantasy XIII a game that is hated and loved by many at the same time. I love this game. This game is gorgeous, the battle system was pretty cool, and the story was simple at least for me to follow. I love the character development this game has. Overall I love this game a lot. I recommend you try it.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 54
  2. Negative: 2 out of 54
  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. 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.
  3. While the game's first 10 hours still give me pause, the 60 magnificent hours after those initial steps onto Cocoon make up for the tunnel-vision tutorial. [Apr 2010, p.68]