So rummaging around in my basement recently I came across Final Fantasy XIII. My daughter Traveler says it’s not hers, ask Sweet Pea. My daughter Sweet Pea says, no, it’s not hers, ask Traveler. So guess what? It’s mine!
Now, I was aware that not many people put this game on the short list of favorites, but I thought: Hey, it’s Final Fantasy, how bad can it be? Then I thought: We have a PS3, so maybe someday I should play it.
Then I thought: Maybe I should play it now.
So I did, and well, what to say? This game has been criticized for being extremely linear, and that it is. Even the few branching paths are illusory. Basically you walk and you fight and you walk some more. And then you watch a cut scene. Or a bunch of cut scenes.
This game has been criticized for offering no areas of exploration, and that is also true. Even the most “open” area has very little to do: you mainly just walk through a field and hunt and walk some more.
There are no villages, except for one abandoned village, and no cities except the guided pathway through the capital.
And everything is enemy-infested! The fighting never lets up! There are no places of comfort: no inns, no camping or cooking, no NPCs to talk to. Nothing! Only walking, fighting, walking, fighting, walking… and watching cut scenes.
There are no side quests, except hunts. (Actually, my apologies, there is one side quest: the robot.)
The characters are not especially likeable. I did not care about any of them! I did not even care about the main character!
The game was said to be pretty when it was released. I am sure that is true, but eleven years have passed and there have been prettier games since then.
Yet I stayed with the game until I beat the final bosses and saw the end credits… Why? Why, with the negative things I have said, did I bother finishing this game?
Well, for one thing I like to finish games if I can. For a second thing, the story was quirky, and I wanted to see where it was going, and how it would end. And a third thing: the music. The Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack is beautiful. The haunting, ethereal song I listened to on my way through Oerba… well, I think it will be with me forever. You can listen to it here:
Trailing Sleeves gives Final Fantasy XIII 5/10 bowls of soup: