First Impressions: Final Fantasy 13

I want to start by saying I really disliked Final Fantasy 12.  I tried so hard to like it but I just couldn’t get into it.  So with that in mind I was super psyched about 13 because by all accounts it looked like this entry would return the series to its former glory.  I’m about 7 hours in and I would already say it’s better than 12.  I understand that when you start an RPG like Final Fantasy you’re making a serious time investment and that you can’t make a true judgment on the game until you see it all the way through.  However, you can see the changes from the minute you boot the game up.  That’s not to say that all the changes are good.  In fact, some aren’t.  But there are a few trends that are worth discussing.

The graphics are great, fantastic even.  I’m playing the 360 version so I can’t comment on the differences between the two versions but I can tell you there aren’t many games better looking than Final Fantasy 13 on the Xbox.  And in a lot of ways, the graphics are one of the only things that really prove this is a Final Fantasy game.  There are A LOT of things that will make you say “what game is this?”

The combat system is so different from classic turn-based Final Fantasy that you might not recognize it.  The first few hours of the game, I hated it.  Sometimes I still do.  It takes a lot of getting used to.  Combined with the fact that you don’t even use magic until 2 hours in, it took a lot to continue on.  Basically the only thing pushing me forward was the story and gorgeous cut scenes.

Also in battle, you don’t have control over the entire party, just the party leader.  Yeah, that’s one change I hate.  I’ll say I have started to get used to that at this point, but it’s very jarring to only be telling one character what to do in battle.  I have found myself frequently frustrated with how the other characters were attacking.  But, that is partially my fault.  Which brings me to paradigm shifts aka character classes.

These I do like so far.  Essentially these are the traditional warrior, white mage and black mage classes with a different and cooler name.  The more you play the more paradigms each character can learn.  These can be switched on the fly in battle and make for some cool combination options while playing.  And this is how you control the other characters actions in battle, by switching from medic to commando and back to ravager so you can heal, attack and then spell cast.  It causes a lot of button presses and gives the illusion of an action RPG.  Which is good for the casual RPG fan.  It does seem like it streamlines the game but I am expecting that these paradigm combinations will become super complex really quickly.

I don’t want to comment much on the story because in the overall scheme of this huge game I’m really not far so it wouldn’t be fair so say what I like and don’t like about that at this point.  I am very intrigued by the directions the story’s going but not so much interested in a few of the characters.  Hopefully, that turns around.

Overall, at this point in the game I definitely like the game despite some of the changes and the slow pacing early on.  I am just hoping there’s more to the controls and gameplay I just haven’t figured out or learned.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll answer what I can.

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First impressions: Mega Man 10

Mega Man 10 was released via WiiWare yesterday (360 and PS3 later this month) and I am so into it.  It’s a continuation of the classic NES series as well as the more recent Mega Man 9 from last year.  Since this game was just released, I’ve just gotten into it, but let’s talk about my early impressions.

First off, the game is not a remake. It’s a completely original story complete with new robots, environments and game modes.  Early on when you boot up the game it’s clear this game is targeted directly at the fans.

The story has never been important in Mega Man games, and that seems to be true in this one as well.  I honestly can’t even tell you any of the previous stories.  The opening music and animation were very reminiscent of Mega Man 2, which sent me into a frenzy.  If you watch the opening you’ll be treated to a nonsensical story about a Roboenza outbreak that’s causing the robots to freak out.  It’s completely absurd and I love it.  But I do hope that’s the last mention of Roboenza.

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