|This scene looks blooming marvellous. Pity I never made it that far.|
My occasion to further experiment with Final Fantasy XIII has come to a close, and to be honest, I'm more than ready to draw the curtain on it. As much as I would have loved to have made it through the requisite 25-hour-long tutorial that opens up the game, in the end I found myself lacking the time and, perhaps most importantly, the willpower to make it through to the slightly less linear second half.
The problems I have with the game are manifold, but not all-encompassing. The beginning is far too drawn out and spoon-fed in its approach to teaching you the core mechanics of the game, while the action that goes on outside of the combat encounters simply wasn't engaging enough to keep me interested in the end. The battle system itself can often feel over-complicated. The need to constantly shift paradigms in battle can reach unforeseen lows, particularly when those battles are longer than the more standard random encounters. The much-maligned auto-battle aspect isn't as automatic, or often as useful either, as it seems. In situations where you are acting as a medic, for instance, the tendency for auto battle to over-cure yourself or your team-mates can lead to frustrating fatal consequences, and it eventually becomes clear that it is beneficial to be more involved and to take a more active role in the proceedings.
|Snow is easily the least likeable character |
that I've ever encountered in a game.
All in all, I spent a total of just over fourteen hours in the world of Final Fantasy XIII. To put that in perspective, I finished Mass Effect 2 earlier this year in just twelve hours. According to various sources, I had between five and ten more hours to go before the game would 'begin'. At that point, I believe there is perhaps at least another twenty hours that await. If you have the time and the patience, I think there's a great game in here somewhere. I'm just sad to say that I never found it.