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  • Angst Dissonance:
    • Hope is 14, and went through a hell of a Trauma Conga Line that includes seeing his mom fall to her death, finding out he's basically a dead man walking, and being forced to rely on a bunch of strange adults (one of which he blames for his mother's death) for protection as the government tries to hunt them down and kill them. Yet fans hate him for his Freak Out and angsting, which many audiences regard as unwarranted. A major cause of this dissonance is the fact that Nora died from wounds suffered in an explosion, after which she goes limp and slips from Snow's grasp, but Hope—watching from a distance—could not tell she was already dead. From Hope's perspective, it appeared as though Snow let his mother fall to her death in order to save himself, but the player already knows that Nora was dead and that there was nothing Snow could have done for her.
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    • In the midst of her 21st birthday, Lightning is hit with the crappiest two weeks of her life and is trying to cope with a few metric tons of grief and guilt over what's happened to Serah and herself, and only starts to actually get a grip on things in the later chapters of the game. A faction of fans point to her Jerkass qualities as grounds to criticize her for her behavior and dismiss her later Character Development.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The final form of Orphan is... less than impressive when compared to its monstrous and extremely powerful first form, due to the absence of Barthandelus and its unintimidating voice. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat challenging.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Some critics of the gameplay/combat loop in this game found XIII-2 to be much-improved. It spends less time on rails and sidequests are more evenly spread throughout as opposed to being collected in one single area. It also removes the mechanic in which the party leader getting KO'd means instant game over.
  • Base-Breaking Character: All four of the party members other than Sazh and Fang:
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    • Lightning is either one of the coolest, most badass females of the franchise and a worthy leader for the group, or a cold and abusive bitch who treats Snow and Serah like crap and never makes amends for her behavior. A persistent debate grew after she grew to prominence, circling on if she really deserved to become the face of the Final Fantasy franchise in the years after the game's release, with a lot of spin-offs highlighting her presence, leading to frequent Creator's Pet accusations.
    • You either think Snow is a lovable doofus with a sympathetic angle in his attempts to be the hero of the story to help the needy, or he's an annoying idiot who needs to shut up about trying to play hero, a self-proclaimed role that he's not even good at due to causing more problems than necessary by not thinking with his brain enough.
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    • Hope can either be one of the most interesting kid characters of the franchise who grows from a kid into a badass, or an annoying and cliched angsty teen with daddy issues who whines about everything.
    • Vanille is either seen as a tragic Stepford Smiler whose optimism and naive temperament hides a guilt-ridden woman who is desperate to make amends for her actions, or an obnoxiously perky girl who behaves far younger and immaturely than someone who is in their late-teens should. Her English voice acting also got some flak, mainly due to the inappropriate grunts and moans Vanille makes in combat, which makes fights involving Vanille awkward to listen to.
    • The Big Bad Barthandelus was also contentious with the fandom. One group saw him as an entertaining and threatening adversary who offers a great challenge for every fight the party engages with, and is a great Chessmaster who excels at making the party dance to his whims. Another group dislikes how he kills off Jihl suddenly and without reason, when she was a much more developed and interesting antagonist up to that point, and consider him a Generic Doomsday Villain who doesn't get enough screentime to be interesting.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: If the player visits Aggra's Pasture and examines one of the big sheep, you get a cutscene. Vanille walks up to it, asks repeatedly if it's mad, shoves her hand in its coat, and then bodily yanks off a chunk of wool while the others stand around, asking what the hell she's doing—then the screen goes black and gives you a message "You obtained [type of] Wool!" like you've just found a key plot artifact. But there's no sidequest—all this is just to tell you that you can get a new kind of compounding item.
  • Broken Base: One of the most polarizing entries in the series, as there is many people who loved it, but just as many who hated it, for various reasons mentioned in other examples on this page.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: The game has a very complex and deep battle system, where all characters can eventually use all six Crystarium roles but cannot learn all abilities within them, making the party balanced overall and giving characters dedicated roles while still allowing the freedom to use them in other ways. However, this level of depth is largely unnecessary until the harder sections of the game. Some combination of Commandos for DPS and Ravagers to build the Chain Gauge can see you through most battles, and you'll occasionally want to swap in a Paradigm with Medic, Synergist, and/or Saboteur to handle healing and buffs, but that's it. Unless you're into the really difficult post-game content where more dynamic usage of Paradigms is needed, you'll probably find yourself in Complacent Gaming Syndrome through most of the game.
  • Critical Dissonance: This was the fastest-selling sequel on both sides of the Pacific at the time. Reviewers gave more generous reviews for this game than the players did, both in Japan and the West.
  • Crossover Ship: Even before the release of either game, Lightning had been frequently shipped with Noctis from Final Fantasy XV (then known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII).
  • Demonic Spiders: Anything with "attacks quickly and relentlessly" in its description is likely to be really annoying, especially if it comes in groups.
  • Difficulty Spike: Chapters 12 and 13 can be rather hard if you didn't grind a lot in chapter 11, as almost all the enemies are suddenly much harder than what you're used to.
    • There's also one mid-chapter once you get halfway through the final dungeon, where the bosses you fought minutes ago start showing up as regular enemies.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Several fans hated the last level because all the game becomes from that point is level grinding 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 boss fight.
  • Eight Deadly Words: Of the five party members introduced in the opening sequence, they don't exactly make a good first impression. All of them spend the first few chapters of the game variably acting angry, apathetic, cowardly, stupid, and/or just plain irritating, which is at least partially understandable given their circumstances, but this can grate on the player and sour their interest in the group. They do all eventually get Character Development, but this doesn't happen until hours later, by which point a player simply might not care anymore.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Nora Estheim, Hope's mother, for being an Action Mom and making quite the impact compared to her then-cowardly son.
  • 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. Then we see Pulse, who has hundreds of church bells attached to his body that ring while an opera sings a melancholy tune. And that's just the prologue.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Jihl Nabaat, the bespectacled PSICOM officer with considerable assets.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Despite not being particularly close to one another, Fang/Lightning rose to be the most popular Final Fantasy XIII ship, having the most written fics in FanFiction.Net and Archive of Our Own. In canon, neither women is given an official Relationship Upgrade with anyone, but Fang and Light have their own respective Implied Love Interest in the form of Vanille and Hope.
  • 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.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Most Final Fantasy games in the past have been fairly linear. Through a combination of convenient geography and plot contrivances, you're often stuck exploring the overworld for the lone next town or dungeon you can find, with only the occasional sidequest breaking this up, until you get to near the end of the game and the world opens up to you (usually when you get the airship). While you're able to backtrack to revisit previous areas, there's often little reason to do so unless the plot calls for it. This was considered part of Final Fantasy's charm. With this game, the linearity and inability to backtrack were heavily criticized because the overworld and actual dungeons to navigate have been removed, leaving many areas of the game as literal straight lines. Coupled with the removal of NPCs, minigames, puzzles, and sidequests, this leaves players with little to do in XIII but follow the path collecting the very occasional item spheres they see.
  • "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: Here.
  • 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 each other with.
  • Good Bad Translation: A retroactive (inversion?) is thrown in — a humanoid giant mech named the "Proudclad" makes an appearance. After all these years, we know what Scarlett and Heidegger's ultimate weapon was meant to be translated as.
  • 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 he hated them... ouch.
    • This actually extends all the way up to Fang's introduction, with the whole party (save for Vanille) constantly talking about how horrible Pulse and Pulse l'Cie are, thanks to an upbringing leading them to believe that. Fang understandably gets a little sick of it.
      "Pulse is hell."/"Pulse is hell on Earth"
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The cynical Hope's hostility towards the heroism-obsessed Snow becomes this when both of their voice actors, Vincent Martella and Troy Baker would later provide the voice of Jason Todd, whom has a similar grudge against Batman. Adding to it is that Troy Baker would also go on to voice Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Telltale Series.
    • A l'Cie can be created at any time for any reason, it exists solely to carry out a specific purpose, it lives its life in unending agony if it can't fulfill that purpose, and it essentially ceases to exist (at least in any meaningful form) once it succeeds. In short, to the fal'Cie, a l'Cie is basically nothing more than a glorified Meeseeks.
  • 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. The game begins with a context-free jailbreak and hits the ground running, only briefly pausing to parcel out the events of the two weeks leading up to it from each character's point of view and in Anachronic Order. As a result, it can be difficult the weave the plot threads together and contextualize the story and characters, at least on a first playthrough. Even the Inciting Incident—Serah being branded a l'Cie—isn't shown on-screen, not even in flashbacks.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Galenth Dysley masquerades as the head of Cocoon's Sanctum government and an old, helpless Puppet King of the fal'Cie, but in reality he is Barthandelus, ruler of the Cocoon fal'Cie. Surveiling the heroes from afar to help and hinder them in equal measure, Dysley attempts to groom the group to become Ragnarok and destroy Cocoon, fulfilling his goal to exterminate humanity. At the head of the government and the most powerful fal'Cie in Cocoon, Dysley is constantly on-top of the situation and always has back-up plans ready to deploy when things don't go his way, forcing the party to dance to his tune if they want to keep up with him. Dysley's plans only failed due to a literal act of god when the Goddess Etro intervened — otherwise he got exactly what he wanted, tricking the party into killing him and killing the fal'Cie Orphan, which would have destroyed Cocoon if not for the efforts of Etro, Fang, and Vanille. Dysley demonstrates why humanity both worships and fears the fal'Cie.
  • 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 fiancée. 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:
    • Nora Estheim's "Moms are tough" line from the English release seems to be going down this path, as well.
    • GIVE ME COFFEE!! FOR THE HORSE!! FOOOOOOR!! THEEEEEEE!! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORSE!!Explanation 
    • A series of Tumblr macros about the cast has produced "Vodka Lightning". The series has been noticed by Ali Hillis and Liam O'Brien, who find them all hilarious, and even Ali agrees with the captions on how sexy Liam's voice is.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Lighting has constantly praised for being a "strong" female character. The problem arises in that fans were usually referring to the pre-development Lightning when they say this, who berates and belittles her companions and selectively ignored 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:
    • Vanille's VA has lived in Australia for most of her life. They forced Georgia to match her intonation with the original Japanese, which just makes her sound weird. Hence why everyone complained that her accent "sounds fake."
    • Do the names Motomu Toriyama, Toshiro Tsuchida, or Yoshinori Kitase mean anything to you? Kitase was the producer of the game, as well as one of the designers. Toriyama was the director, and Tsuchida was another one of the game designers. But in the eyes of many critics, the designer, producer, publisher, debugger, marketer, and localizer was solely 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 is a cute and kind girl with a huggably tragic past.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Barthandelus callously shattering the crystallized Dajh and Serah prior to the final confrontation has been met with 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 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.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Lightning punches Snow three times in the game during times when she's particularly angry at him, and two of these were in seconds of one another. Yet it went memetic, and thanks to this you'd think Lightning spends the game decking Snow over and over.
    • The game as a whole suffers from this, as there are players who—even to this day—detest the game due to bad first impressions that were left on them, for any number of reasons.
  • No Yay:
    • The Hope and Lightning Ship Tease is not very subtle and is sweet in some ways... a necessary reminder is 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 squick of a potential romance with them hits.
    • Just before their confrontation at Oerba, Dysley assumes the appearance of Serah and gives Snow a big hug. Pass the brain bleach, please.
  • Polished Port: Picking up the slack of the original 360 release as mentioned below, Microsoft, thanks to getting the assets from Square, went back and rerendered the FMV files, as well as the rest of the game, into a higher resolution for the cutscenes to be more comparable to, if not better than, the PlayStation 3 version of the game (as discussed by Digital Foundry here) for the Xbox One and One X backwards compatible version of the game. The game, as well as its sequels, also received a 4K upgrade patch which, while doubling the file size of the first game, makes it exceed even the PlayStation 3 and PC ports in terms of visual quality, which makes it look gorgeous. It also apparently runs a lot better than either original console versions too.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PC version of Final Fantasy XIII is fraught with issues. Performance is extremely poor, regardless of specs, with the cause being between busted resource management and a complete lack of multi-threading. Various effects like the shadows, depth of field, and bloom look worse and/or broken. Before the patches released, pressing the ESC button while in full screen mode instantly closed the game without so much as asking for a confirmation. The file size is a massive 60 GB, due to FMVs for Japanese audio being included instead of being a separate download. The game initially launched without any graphics options, and later had a very small selection of settings patched in, all of which had been added prior by a mod.
    • The Xbox 360 port wasn't too hot either, running at a resolution barely above Standard Definition, missing several graphical effects, suffering from noticeably degraded FMV quality, and also being prone to texture pop-in and noticeably longer loading times. The 360 ports of XIII-2 and Lightning Returns, on the other hand, were virtually on-par with the PS3 versions in terms of graphics quality (with only the FMV quality issues remaining, which was unavoidable due to the 360 using DVDs instead of Blu-Ray discs), strengthening suspicions that the 360 port of this game was a rush-job. As mentioned above, it took the Xbox dev team rerendering the FMV and other game files into a higher definition almost 10 years later to bring the visuals up to a good quality on the Xbox consoles.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Here.
  • Surprise Difficulty: This is one of the handful of post-NES 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.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning:
    • The Paradigm battle system requires you to pick three of the characters as your active party, set up combinations of their skills (the Paradigms), and then switch back and forth between Paradigms during battle. This rewards planning during the set-up, and quick reactions during battle. You don't gain access to the full system until the end of Chapter Ten. Before then the game keeps on splitting the party into pairs for story reasons, which means you don't get access to their full range of skills, and when they finally start coming together, the game picks the active party for you. Luckily there is still a lot of gameplay after Chapter Ten.
    • The consensus was that the game is much much better when you get to chapter 11, with everything preceding having been linear. 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?)
  • That One Attack:
    • Barthandelus' Destrudo in his first battle. Unless you shore up your defenses (usually not enough at worst, barely enough at best) or unload enough damage on him to weaken his attack (which you can do several times), it can easily lead to a Total Party Kill.
    • Orphan has three; two in the first form and one in the second. Merciless Judgement can't kill, but it will knock you down to critical HP, is a cutscene-esque attack that you can't change Paradigms in the middle of, and he starts the fight with it. Progenitoral Wrath is an instant death attack with a high success rate, so god help you if you have a Sentinel as your party leader. Temporal Hole resets the chain gauge; and that form can't be damaged unless it is staggered. And you're on a time limit.
    • Bay and Roar from the oretoises and Screech from the ochus. Not only are they extremely powerful and quick and remove buffs, but the former ones also Daze the entire party, preventing the player from moving until cured or struck. The former can only be done with items and Esuna, which only target one character, and the latter is a death sentence since Daze also increases the damage of the next hit.
    • 10,000 Needles. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and like the above, it removes buffs and can inflict Pain and Fog.
  • 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. Thankfully his third battle is a piece of cake, though the True Final Boss fights are a lot more difficult.
      • The first battle is easily the hardest. The initial stage with the elemental attachments isn't too bad, but once they're destroyed Barthandelus will almost constantly attack the party with Baptism in Ruin or Thanatosian Smile, necessitating constant healing. Then there's his Destrudo attack, which most players would think to block by shifting to Combat Clinic or Consolidation and healing up. As it turns out, it's strong enough to KO you even with that; what you're actually supposed to do is to attack him to interrupt the attack, which isn't hinted at all.
      • The second battle isn't as bad, but it's still very tricky. Barthandelus comes packing a whole host of status ailment inflicting attacks, including Dazega, and his signature Thanatosian Smile has been upgraded to the much stronger Thanatosian Laughter, which will put every party member into critical HP. He also comes with Apoptosis to remove all your buffs and all of his debuffs, meaning that Synergists are almost useless in the battle.
    • The battle with Cid Raines is a very difficult one at the time the player is required to fight him, since he's more than capable of taking out any unprepared player in one swoop, and can apparently cast Doom if the player takes too long to defeat him, ouch!
      • However this can be a Curb-Stomp Battle with the right set up, get him to stagger point and unleash Odin on him, the battle can be over in as little as four minutes, and just for comparison the expected time for the battle? 36 minutes. Or alternatively, build up his stagger point without being outright damaging (ie Sab/Rav/Rav instead of Com/Rav/Rav) and then when fully staggered, lay into them before he can transform (repeatedly juggling him helps a bunch).
    • Each player seems to find at least one Eidolon battle to be a pain in the ass. Key words being "at least." The only exception is Shiva, who can be tricky for new players, but isn't difficult to defeat at all. All Eidolon battles are against powerful foes that lay a Doom counter on the player at the start of the fight to force a time limit, and all bar Shiva can lay down heavy damage on the party, necessitating tight strategies with little room for error.
      • Odin is capable of laying damage swiftly due to his ATB Charge ability, and you fight him with Lightning and Hope, who have the lowest HP pools in the party. If you're not careful, he can KO one or both of them outright before you can heal them.
      • Brynhildr is almost impossible to beat without using Haste or Dualcasting because she's surprisingly resistant to having her Gestalt gauge built up. It doesn't help that Sazh and Vanille are some of the slower attackers in the game.
      • Bahamut is ridiculously fast and strong, and while you do fight him with three party members, it doesn't make much difference due to his AOE attacks that can bring the girls all down to critical HP in an instant.
      • Alexander is thankfully a lot easier due to being a Mighty Glacier, meaning he can be prepared for. If you don't though, a single combo of his will probably kill Hope before the Doom counter will.
      • Hecatoncheir is easily the most difficult of the Eidolons in the game. Unlike the preceding two Eidolons, he's only fought with two characters, Vanille and Fang, which will probably throw off people who have been used to three party members and makes it that much more difficult to build his Gestalt gauge. In addition, if the player hasn't been growing Vanille in the right areas, she might be underdeveloped in critical points, such as lacking her fourth ATB crystal or the high-tier Medic spells to keep up with Hecatoncheir's damage output. If Fang hasn't provoked it, Hecatoncheir can easily KO Vanille.
    • The True Final Boss's first form. He has the highest HP of any non-optional boss, causes tons of negative status effects including Death, 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 the kicker is that this particular attack is the only one in the game you can't change paradigms during.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • One trophy/achievement requires you to five-star every mission, which can be Nintendo Hard unless you have a good grip on the battle system. If you don't, 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 a highly-expensive 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 (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 Changed It, Now It Sucks!: For some, this game does not hit any 'old-school' vibes at all.
    • The switch from the traditional Final Fantasy victory fanfare to this. While it's not the first time the fanfare was changed, it was the first mainline game to depart from it.
    • Critics point out that there is very little player freedom, not much variety in the form of optional things to do. and not much of a populated world or people to interact with. The game is highly linear, with the exception of Gran Pulse, which is much more open. note  Some of the game's defenders use the argument that the characters are fugitives note , but that does little to enhance enjoyment of the game if its simply not to your tastes. It has a high concentration towards story and combat, leaving little room for anything else until about half-way through the game. Another complaint is that the less-than-straightforward story presentation can lose people, causing them to rely on the datalog to follow along.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many had hoped to see Jihl Nabaat as the main villain or at least an active one and were very disappointed to see them 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 DLCs, you finally get the opportunity to give Jihl the sound thrashing that's been overdue for years.
    • Hope's mother Nora. 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 fatally wounded (via concussive force of a very-close explosion) and plummets to her death whilst Snow manages to survive the same fall. She's not an Ensemble Dark Horse for nothing.
    • The Menhirrim and Dahaka in Taejin's Tower. Clearly, there should be some kind of backstory about living statues that have been subjugated by a lone fal'Cie in an immense fallen tower, particularly when the Menhirrim actively fight Dahaka, survive, and then depart to fight evil elsewhere. They're never seen again, in this game or the sequel, and the most the Datalog can muster for Taejin's Tower is "idk, maybe Tower of Babel".
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Lighting's weapon is a hybrid of a gun and a sword, and it's only in a single battle where she is forced to use her weapon exclusively as a gun instead as a sword against Havoc Skytank in Chapter 7. The player is never given the option to utilize Lightning's unique weapon to decide on a hack-and-slash or gunslinger approach to maximize their damage output.
    • The weather-changing mechanic that shuffles the monster positions on the field is available in only one chapter and never makes another appearance afterwards, not even on Pulse where the area is gigantic and such mechanic would help save a lot of time hunting down certain enemies for loot.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: It is possible to make the final boss unwinnable if you fight it with the entire party equipped with Stagger Lock weapons, as those weapons prevent the character from maxing out the Chain Gauge and staggering the enemy. And the final boss is completely invulnerable unless staggered. The reason this is "by insanity" is because staggering is one of the core mechanics, and completely cutting it off by equipping the entire party with Stagger Lock weapons is very questionable.
  • Vindicated by History: This game has started to gain more popularity in recent years, partly due to the reception of Final Fantasy XV being even more divisive than this game, and partly because Lightning's Wolverine Publicity has been toned down a bit now that her game is no longer the most current one.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: One of the few things that isn't debated about the game is that it looks gorgeous from start to finish. Part of the outcry about not getting to revisit most areas of Cocoon that the player visits is due to how beautiful most of them are. The hair in-game looks particularly nice for the time, despite the fact that it's probably just a bunch of flat planes sticking out of their heads with a partly transparent texture mapped on, while the FMVs often showcased spectacular action scenes and breathtaking shots of the landscape. The art direction, while not quite as meticulous as some previous entries, also holds up extremely well.
  • Wangst: Many players claim Hope is guilty of this, spending a good portion of the game whining about how hard things are and that Lightning's being mean to him. 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, the protracted pacing of the arc (there are many moments wherein which he could've spoken up yet choked) was something that some players were sick of having to put up with; they thought it took too long for the arc to be resolved.
  • 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!
  • 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. It should be noted that in French, éclair also means lightning. The intended first name for Lightning did make sense after all.

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