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
- 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.
Well, that's about it. Seriously, I'm trying not to sound like the series is Ruined Forever
(it's not) but I am genuinely at a loss to think of more good things to say about this game.
Everything that I merely disliked about FFX (linearity, "wacky" characters, bosses that are impossible without knowing their one specific trick
, speedy and overwhelming combat that throws strategy out the window) is magnified by FFXIII. It is the epitome of style over substance.
Unless that substance is amphetamines.