In reviewing this game, I'm reminded of a quote by Tony Iommi, of all people. He intersperses his balls-to-the-wall riffing with gentle acoustic pieces because, he says, music needs dynamics. It needs the ups and the downs, because that makes it interesting. That's the problem in a nutshell. FFXIII may rocket forward, but too quick is just as boring/static as too slow. RPGs need variable pacing; after you slog through a plot relevant dungeon, you need the choice of whether to carry on or just relax and talk to some NPCs, do a few sidequests, or kill monsters for EXP and gil. It seems Square-Enix took criticism of FFXII to heart, because this game is the antithesis of it. Instead of a sprawling open world, you spend most of the game running down corridors. Inside of small and understated emotions, it's animesque in-your-face histrionics. Instead of a sublime and masterfully archaic script, the characters make awkward statements about their emotions and vague platitudes about their purpose. Instead of humongous cities you can explore with six different shops, everything is handled from a tiny menu screen. Instead of a lengthy, drawn-out introduction, it has a confusingly non-linear mishmash of jaw-shattering made-up names and people trying to kill other people for no adequately explained reason. I could go on, but I won't. Suffice to say, they tried to make up for FFXII. Problem is, they went too far in the other direction. However, the game does have some positives:
- As always, it's absolutely beautiful.
- The music can be good (though it frequently nosedives into animesque/J-Pop territory). The battle theme's violins are literally all I look forward to about combat.
- Uhh....this video.
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