Gamers can be extremely opinionated. I myself have been known for letting my love for certain games pollute the air in hopes that all my friends play a game and love it as much as I do. However, I am also responsible for the opposite effect of trashing a game with the goal of convincing my friends it is not worth playing. It’s part of the hobby to form opinions and have discussions about games, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered I myself might have missed out on a game that I truly liked because of all the negative things I had heard about it. That game, of course, is the infamous Final Fantasy XIII.
Clouds Or Lightning
Recently I began a journey through the Final Fantasy series. Besides some brief experiences with several of the games in the past, I have never really given the legendary RPG series much of a chance. However, now I have found myself fully immersed in a Final Fantasy fandom that I would never have imagined. I have had some harsh feelings towards the RPG genre, as seen by some of my past articles on the website (here). But surprisingly a game that has really warmed me up to the genre is one of the series most controversial games.
Final Fantasy XIII is not a game that has received a lot of praise, especially from the Final Fantasy fan base. For the most part, it is considered the worst game in the series. This has been one of the main reasons I have always steered clear of the game when looking at games in the series I should try next. Even among my friends, it was considered a game that I should avoid like the plague.
Still, something about the game kept drawing me near. The characters looked interesting and honestly the stench that everyone else kept assigning the game only made it a little more appealing in my eyes. I needed to know why Final Fantasy XIII was such a terrible game. It seemed to be the only thing that people agreed on. When I asked them for their favorite game in the series I heard all kinds of responses, but universally everyone agreed that XIII was the worst.
XIII Reasons Why
I took the plunge and started Final Fantasy XIII and almost immediately I realized why so many people hated it. It was a very linear game. However, for myself that wasn’t a bad thing. Many of the problems I have had in the past with the genre was due to the games being too cryptic. This meant most of my time was spent in the game being lost or confused as to what to do next. Final Fantasy XIII is quite the opposite. I was always focused on the objective and as a result, I was able to enjoy the story as well. This, of course, does not mean that the game is completely linear. Towards the end, the game provides a pretty expansive open world to explore and battle in, but it is towards the latter part of the games hefty run time.
The most captivating thing about the game, however, is its combat system. It functions off what the game calls paradigms. These make it so that you can switch your battle team from aggressive to defensive in an instant. As the game progresses so does this system and it becomes extremely in depth. You will have six slots in which you can assign three team members actions. From there, you will be strategically planning your team’s paradigms and switching them constantly in order to take down some crazy bosses. This becomes the main challenge of the game and as new summons and abilities become available figuring out how to level up your team and arrange them becomes the main mechanic of the gameplay.
While even I will admit that Final Fantasy XIII is certainly not the best game the series has to offer, it is far from the criticism that it unfairly receives. The story is really good, the combat is awesome, and the worlds and environments are super impressive for the time that it was released in 2010. The game is good and for some reason a lot of people are unaccepting of the middle ground between an amazing game and a bad one. If a game doesn’t completely blow us away nowadays and earn a nine or higher on critical reviews then sometimes people will treat it like a bad game. Final Fantasy XIII is an enjoyable game that is worthy of your time. Sure it is not a Chrono Trigger or a Final Fantasy VI, but that does not make it a terrible game.
One Mans Trash Another Mans RPG
Final Fantasy XIII is a flawed game, but in no way is it a terrible experience. In fact, I would recommend anyone new to RPGs to give it a shot. The linear level design combined with the addictive combat makes for a game that is really friendly for newcomers. The gorgeous cut scenes and the story are enough to keep the player engaged for the long play time and if anything it’s a great game for easing someone into what to expect from an RPG. While it may be considered a bare-bones experience for some, there is certainly plenty here to keep anyone playing for quite a while. And when the game finally does open up, not only do you feel prepared for what lies ahead but the teams you can create allow you to pick your own custom play style and tackle a plethora of side quests anyway you feel fit.
Of course, not everyone will agree with my opinion, and nor should you. But I think it is important that people give the game a fair chance before it becomes the butt of the joke. If I had listened to all my peers and skipped the game I would have completely missed out on an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. Everyone has a game that they champion for when no one else will, and maybe that is what Final Fantasy XIII is for me. But I think this game really has something special going for it that is worth any RPG fans time. So if you haven’t played it since release or you just skipped it altogether, go back and give it another chance. Because if you are like me, you just might find that Final Fantasy XIII is a good game.