YMMV: Final Fantasy XIII

  • 8.8: Ties in with Broken Base.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The player party are Villain Protagonists. While it's true that they were turned into l'Cie against their will and don't want to destroy Cocoon even if it is their Focus, the cast does little to prove their good intentions. To the contrary, they often make the problem worse, such as Snow firing a gun into the air in a public place and declaring "I'm going to kill you all!" It Makes Sense in Context (he wants the civilians to run from him so the area is cleared and no one will get hurt in crossfire), but it does not help his case when he shortly after tries to reason with PSICOM and claims he wants to protect Cocoon and means no harm. There's also the hordes of PSICOM officers the party massacres without care in random encounters to consider. Further, the party does almost destroy Cocoon by killing Orphan, and it only gets saved when Fang and Vanille pull a Deus ex Machina to become Ragnarok and stop Cocoon's fall. The party had no plan at any point to actually save Cocoon, and thanks to Barthendelus' manipulations almost destroy it and got everyone living in it killed. It's up for player opinion if this is Barthandelus being an excellent Magnificent Bastard, or the party being incompetent and selfish.
  • Angst Dissonance: Hope is 14, went through a hell of a Trauma Conga Line and he is hated for the resulting Freak Out.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The final form of Orphan is... less than impressive when compared to its monstrous and extremely powerful first form, arguably due to the absence of Barthandelus and its unintimidating voice. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat challenging, especially when compared to other examples.
  • Base Breaker:
  • Broken Base: The game itself, with many people who love it, but just as many who hate it, for various reasons.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Fans have sparked this between Lightning and Aqua — both are Lady of War Magic Knights, but whereas Lightning is a Knight in Sour Armor, Aqua is a Friendship Freak. Depictions of the two of them together are not hard to find, including one of them using the outfit or a trademark pose of the other. Fang occasionally gets included for a Power Trio.
    • A subplot involves the youngest member of the team having a grudge against a tall guy in a trench coat and hat who accidentally killed his mother. Am I talking about Hope and Snow, or Ken and Shinjiro?
  • Critical Dissonance: Reviewers gave more generous reviews for this game than the players have, both in Japan and the West.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The one thing just about everyone agrees on with this game is that it, like the rest of the series, has an absolutely stellar soundtrack.
    • Averted, however, by the lack of the traditional Final Fantasy victory fanfare, which is replaced by a very understated tune.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Completely Inverted, as the consensus is that the game is much much better when you get to chapter 11 (it's all linear up to that point). This was actually intended, as the developers stated that Cocoon was more story-driven whereas Pulse was more exploration-driven. (A lot of the people mostly complained about not getting to see more of Cocoon... and really, wouldn't YOU?)
    • Several fans COMPLETELY hate the last level because all the game becomes from that point is level grinding to get you to a good level for the final boss. At least with Final Fantasy X, you could still go back and do mini-games and side-quests before the final fights, here it's just going around these "training grounds" and getting ready for a disappointingly EASY boss fight
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hope's mom Nora had a bigger impact on some players than most of the cast combined.
    • There are still people upset that Jihl didn't have a bigger role, especially since early trailers played her up as a major antagonist. Demands that she should have been faced in battle were also heard, and met with XIII-2 at least.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Let's see, we'll start with the fal'Cie Anima (conveniently cross shaped) l'Cieifying everyone, then blowing up the Hanging Edge, and freezing Lake Bresha. Oh, and it's made of hundreds of church bells that ring while an opera sings a melancholy tune. And that's just the prologue.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Jihl Nabaat, a glass-wearing PSICOM officer with considerable assets.
  • Expy: The Eidolons are giant robotic humanoids who can convert into the forms of vehicles or robotic animals in their Gestalt Mode. Sound familiar?
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Hope/Lightning, or Hoprai, has apparently gotten to be the most popular couple in the game. Or at least the one that's attracting the most Fan-Art.
    • For the fans that hate Hope, Fang/Lightning ("Flight") is probably the ship of choice for her.
    • Also Fang/Vanille, thanks to plenty of subtext.
    • Gadot is always paired with Snow amongst the gay fandom.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Careful not to let yourself forget that Hope hates Snow; if you do, several scenes and lines suddenly look a little suspicious.
    Vanille: Couldn't tell him? Nothing'll change if you don't do anything.
    Hope: Words won't change anything. Next time we meet, he'll learn exactly how I feel.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: During the fireworks scene in Bodhum, Snow says to Serah, "Our engagement is way bigger news." When they do tell Lightning about Serah becoming a l'Cie and their engagement the next day, Lightning doesn't believe in them largely because of the engagement, thinking it's made up as an excuse so they can get married.
  • Game Breaker:
    • Some of the full ATB skills can be outright devastating if used properly. Lightning's Army of One seems to stand out among them due to how many things you can do to capitalize on its effectiveness.
    • While most buffs manage to be fairly useful, Haste stands out as being incomparably so, and will become a staple of every major battle you get in. Even better, the AI knows this, and AI Synergists will prioritize using Haste before all other buffs.
  • Goddamn Bats: Flanitors in the early game in groups of two or more will drive you up the walls. Thanks to being stuck with only two party members, your damage output will be hard-pressed to outpace the endless healing they help eachother with.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: When Hope tags along with Vanille at the Vestige, he has a go at Snow for wanting to save Serah, asking how he could help a l'Cie when they are the enemy. We don't find out until later that Vanille was a l'Cie all along, and stood next to him in silence as he ranted about how much hated them. Ouch.
  • Hell Is That Noise: That annoying alarm going off on the Palamecia for majority of Chapter 9!
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • God help the poor soul who likes either "Kimi ga iru kara" or "My Hands". These songs opened a new wave of English vs Japanese.
    • The jump to multi-platform made a few people a bit upset. This game in general is divisive.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Lightning isn't exactly a saint, but she's had a hard time raising Serah after their parents died.
    • Fang might not be the nicest person around, but in the ending she goes into crystal stasis with Vanille to hold up Cocoon.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Lightning again. Probably comes from being very attractive and without a canon Love Interest.
  • Les Yay: Fang and Vanille come very close to crossing the border between subtext and text. The ending practically makes it canon.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Sazh apparently committing suicide, horrifyingly dramatic though it may be, is pretty obviously not going to stick since it comes directly after he obtains his eidolon.
  • Lost in Medias Res: A common criticism of the game's opening.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Barthandelus may be one of the most guile and competent villains in the series. He manipulates everyone, Cocoon civilians, the Sanctum, PSICOM, other fal'Cie, and of course the party, in a plan spanning five centuries. And while the result wasn't what he wanted, his plan worked perfectly. He's so good that even when the party knows he's manipulating them and setting them up, they go along with it because they have no choice, he's forced their hand in some manner.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Sazh's Chocobo. Just check WMG if you don't believe it.
    • Fang is the Sexy-Female-Dragoon-Aussie version of Chuck Norris, AKA: Chick Norris.
    • Two words: Snow. Villiers. As one YouTube comment puts him:
    Snow is goddamned awesome. He punches monsters in the face to get strong enough to punch bigger monsters in the face. He faces beasts, abominations, god-like beings and Lightning's wrath to save his fiance. He nearly gets killed protecting Hope's life and STILL protects him after Hope made it clear he wants to kill him, and he rides a motorcycle made of women! If this dude was any more bro, the game would be about him (and Sazh) instead.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: Lighting has constantly praised for being a "strong" female character. The problem comes in that fans refer to the pre-development Lightning, who berates and belittles her companions and ignore the scene where Fang says that punching people right and left doesn't actually help anything. Yet, Serah, who is hands down more feminine than Light, has become almost a Scrappy to players for her "weak" personality.
  • Misblamed: Do the names Motomu Toriyama, Toshiro Tsuchida, or Yoshinori Kitase mean anything to you? Kitase is the producer of the game, as well as one of the designers. Toriyama is the director, and Tsuchida is another one of the game designers. But in the eyes of many critics, the designer, producer, publisher, debugger, marketer, and localizer was Tetsuya Nomura... who only is credited as one of the artists, and you know what else? He's not even the ART Director! Anyone who knows Tetsuya Nomura well enough to dislike him should be able to tell that this game isn't even really his style.
  • Moe: Vanille.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Barthandelus callously shattering the crystallized Dajh and Serah prior to the final confrontation has been met with similar revulsion. Granted, this was just an illusion, but still.
    • Jihl was already a manipulative bitch for taking away Dajh from Sazh for being a Cocoon L'Cie, and allowing PSICOM soldiers to open fire at Nautilus of all places. But then she manipulates Sazh into letting him kill Vanille because she was partially responsible for Dajh becoming a L'Cie in the first place. Her reaction? To sit back and watch, because she thinks it would be amusing to see one L'Cie kill another.
    • Orphan crosses it when he transforms the party into Cie'th.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Flanitors. Sirens are already annoying, but at least in real life they pass by and grow quiet. These, however, just don't stop until you kill them. And there are a LOT of them in the area. And they heal each other. While making noise!
    • The continuous alarm that blares while you're onboard the Palamecia and the only time it ceases is when you access the menu. Code Red, Code Green, Code Purple, whatever, fine, but somebody shut off that damn alarm!
    • Vanille's voice for some.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • That is one satisfying breaking sound every time Lightning finishes her gestalt with Zantetsuken. BAM-BAM-SMASSSSSHHHHH
    • Whenever you fill the stagger bar, particularly on a very resistant enemy.
  • Narm: “Moms are tough!” Actually they're not. When Hope’s mother dies. She seems so far from the explosion that she just gasps and falls over for no reason. But Snow was right with her, perhaps she caught some debris? Nope, her back is revealed that she is completely fine. Suddenly she’s nearly unconscious and faints while Snow tries to save her and because she's dead weight she ends up slipping from his grasp to her death.
    • As far as no debris, this isn't the first time small details aren't animated into character models all for the sake of a few seconds of screentime... plus, the 'seems' bit, if you look closely, was actually feet from her. That close, explosive concussive force can knock you away easily.
    • In addition, the concussive force of a really powerful explosion can cause an effect called the white butterfly, named for the x-ray of victims whose internal organs are crushed by the kinetic force of the shockwave alone. Also, the explosion in question was only a few feet away from her, which could've done the injury in question easily.
  • Never Live It Down: Lightning punches Snow twice, in the same scene, early in the game at a time when she's particularly angry at him. Yet it went memetic, and for it you'd think Lightning spends the game decking Snow over and over.
  • No Yay: Just before their confrontation at Oerba, Dysley assumes the appearance of Serah and gives Snow a big hug. Pass the brain bleach, please.
  • Porting Disaster: The PC port is locked to 720p, has no graphics options, has severe framerate problems, has only a few bindable keys, and takes up 60GB of space (mostly because of the uncompressed, unoptimized, 60fps cutscenes for both Japanese and English, which take 39.9GB of space alone). This is especially sad due to the great reputation Square has for making Polished Ports.
    • They've admittedly tried to redeem themselves by enabling custom resolutions, shadow texture size and antialiasing levels, albeit not fixing the other issues listed above. The space thing is still a very sore spot though.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: After finally confronting Snow (as well as getting one of the most badass summons), Hope Took a Level in Badass.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • If your party leader bites it, you lose. Other party members still alive and capable of reviving said leader? Too bad, so sad.
    • The first time you switch Paradigms in every. Single. Battle all three characters randomly decide to strike a pose — without the battle pausing at all.
    • The only character you have any control over is the party leader. The rest are control by the AI.
    • For the first half of the game you'll only have two party members.
  • Squick: The Hope and Lightning Ship Tease is not very subtle and is sweet in some ways... a reminder though that Hope is 14, and a lot of the Ship Tease is Lightning acting as his Parental Substitute. Add in that "Nora" is the Greek word for "Light", and suddenly the Unfortunate Implications of a potential romance with them hits.
  • Surprise Difficulty: This is one of the handful of Final Fantasy games you can't load up your favorite characters with overpowered spells and weapons and blast through the game easily after a bit of Level Grinding. The usual Absurdly High Level Cap is avoided, with a cap on the Crystarium throughout the game that gets raised a bit higher at set points. This puts a limit on how strong your party can be at a given point, and even once you're allowed to begin training the party in all six roles, some are clearly better than others at set roles, and no one character is the best at everything. All in all, the game forces you to plan out your Paradigms, observe the flow of battle and switch Paradigms to react to enemy behavior, and know each party member's strengths and how to use them best.
    • Except with Death being a slap on the wrist, and the reset being a humble start-select button combination away, the combat becomes less of the above, and more of finding out the right answer to the puzzle. Making FFXIII feel more like a puzzle game than an RPG.
  • That One Boss:
    • Barthandelus is quite a formidable opponent, particularly in his first and second incarnations. He has loads of HP and enjoys dropping a doom timer on your party leader, so your damage had better be top notch.
    • The battle with Cid Raines is a very difficult one at the time the player is required to fight them, especially since he's more than capable of taking out any unprepared player in one swoop, and can apparently cast the uncurable death countdown spell if the player takes too long to defeat him, ouch!
    • Each player seems to find at least one Eidolon battle to be a pain in the ass. Key words being "at least."
    • The True Final Boss's first form. He has the highest HP of any non-optional boss, causes tons of negative status effects, and has an attack that will always leave each of your non-Sentinel characters with less than 100 HP, unless your characters are poisoned, in which case they'll be dead before the attack animation is even finished. And if you're lucky enough to survive the phase of the battle where he causes all those status effects, he can still randomly and unpredictably cause instant death on any character, including your party leader, which means instant game over.
  • That One Level: Near the beginning of Chapter 4, when Lightning leaves the rest of you behind, you're assigned a party of 3 non-COMMANDO characters for a duration. This period can be the most annoying part of the game; without a COM in your party, enemies with high defense or hit points become Goddamned Bats, as killing these Mooks without the aid of Stagger (which COM characters are a vital asset for inflicting) becomes a marathon of sorts. Battles that normally take less than a minute can easily go past five in this part of the game. Fortunately, Sazh learns the COM class after this section is over, so the problem never arises again. As a light compensation, 2 of the 3 characters you do get have the MEDIC class, so death is rarely a threat for this section, and the game makes a point that here, rival groups of enemies will fight each other, allowing you more pre-emptive strike chances and to whittle down both groups as they focus on each other before turning to you.
    • This part, however, becomes significantly easier once you realize that Saboteur skills also slow down the stagger bar reduction.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • One trophy/achievement requires you to five-star every mission. Have fun with that.
    • Another potentially frustrating sidequest is getting the Treasure Hunter Trophy, which involves getting every weapon and accessory in the game (thankfully not all at once, just owning each one at some point in the playthrough is enough). It requires an unfathomable amount of cash to do since you need to do a lot of upgrading, plus you need to get at least six of the rare and expensive Trapazohedrons (although there's a trick that allows you to get by with only having to find/buy two). It's not exactly difficult to do, but it takes much longer than anything else in the game and demands that you spend many hours farming Oretoises and Sacrifices.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many had hoped to see Jihl Nabaat as the main villain or at least an active one and was very disappointed to see her killed off after a total of ten minutes of screentime. So, not surprisingly, those same fans rejoiced in the sequel where, in one of the DL Cs, you finally get the opportunity to give Jihl the sound thrashing that's been overdue for years.
    • Hope's mother Nora is definitely this. Though one can argue her death is what serves as the basis for Hope's growth and storyline, her scenes in the beginning clearly paint her as this stronger-than-she-looks woman that's telling Snow "Moms are tough" and she even saves his life. Then she's apparently fatally wounded by an inexplicable injury (actually the concussive force of an explosion very close to her) and plummets to her death whilst Snow survives the fall of the same altitude. She's not an Ensemble Darkhorse for nothing.
  • Wangst: Many players claim Hope is guilty of this. Other people feel that Hope's reaction is perfectly justified as a character but are just annoyed at the writers for going down that predictable path, making it an out-of-universe Pet Peeve Trope. In addition, while it is completely justified, the overtly dragging pacing (there are tons of moments he could've spoke up yet choked) of the arc was something many players were getting sick of enduring in a video game, rather than a movie.
  • The Woobie: Pick a protagonist. Chances are, they'll each get at least one scene in this role. However, see Jerkass Woobie, too.
    • Serah ESPECIALLY. She gets killed to be turned into a McGuffin...TWICE!
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Oddly enough, the Fal'Cie. Their actions are detestable, but as is pointed out, they only have one role in life and all their powers, all their being is devoted towards that role, forever and ever and ever. If Screw Destiny is the crux of the game's plot, with the player party trying to defy their focus, shouldn't the same hold true for the Fal'Cie? Well, it would be a lot easier to feel sorry for them if they weren't specifically planning to sacrifice the citizens of Coccoon (not to mention the inhabitants of Pulse) in a plan to force Pulse and Lindzei to return. Even Barthandelus has some shades of this, since his final words are expressing relief at his own death. Orphan, however, is downright pitiable. Even accounting for his cruel attempts to coax Fang into becoming Ragnarok and turning the others into Cie'th, the kid has had a pretty rough time - almost from inception, Orphan was sealed away from Cuccoon, the humans he was intended to serve and his fellow Fal'Cie in an alternate dimension; from there he was trapped in a permanent state of unbirth, self-aware but unable to act, being used as a living battery to keep Cuccoon aloft for for hundreds of years. Little wonder he wants to die after so long in that state. Lightning lambasts him for giving up on life before he was born, but can she really blame him?
  • Woolseyism: NORA is originally a pun of the Japanese term for a stray cat. In the English version, it got turned into No Obligations, Rules, or Authority.
    • Lightning's real name being changed from Éclair to Claire, avoiding stupid jokes about pastries and adding an extra layer to her request to be called Light.