Final Fantasy XIII


Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Reviewed Platform: PS3
Game Modes: Single Player
RPVP: $19.99*
Release Date: March 9, 2010


Lightning on Gran Pulse, Cocoon is seen floating in the sky.
Final Fantasy XIII takes us to a universe where humans live in an artificial sphere called Cocoon that floats around a planet called Gran Pulse. Cocoon is ruled by the Sanctum, a theocratic government, and both Cocoon and Gran Pulse are controlled by the fal'Cie, entities of godlike power. These entities are able to mark humans as their servants, who become l'Cie, and give them a task that they must complete known as the Focus. If the l'Cie completes their Focus they turn to crystal, but if they are unable to do it in a certain amount of time then they become monsters called Cie'th. The problem is that they receive their Focus in the form of visions that must be interpreted.

One hundred years before the events of the game, a war called War of Transgression took place between both worlds where l'Cie from Gran Pulse attacked Cocoon and destroyed part of it, which had to be patched with materials lifted from Pulse. The citizens of Cocoon have since lived in fear of another invasion, fear that is used by the Sanctum to remain in power.

There are two main military forces in Cocoon overseen by the Sanctum, the Guardian Corps, responsible for keeping order in Cocoon, and PSICOM, responsible for dealing with any Pulse related threat. The fal'Cie have also given the humans advanced technology. There is also a form of magic which normally is only accessible to l'Cie, fal'Cie and various monsters but humans can also use a distilled chemical form of it. 


The purge exiles, being protected by NORA.
The game begins two of the main characters, Lightning and Sazh, being Purged (being sent to Gran Pulse) because they had been in contact with something from there. Lightning derails the train to arrive in the zone where a Pulse fal'Cie had been discovered around 13 days earlier, in an attempt to rescue her sister, Serah, that was turned into a l'Cie during that event.

Snow and his resistance group, NORA, try to rescue the Purge exiles but during that process several people are killed, including Hope's mother, which he witnesses, powerless, together with Vanille who was also to be purged. Meanwhile, Snow is trying to rescue Serah, his bride-to-be, from the fal'Cie.

Vanille encourages Hope to follow Snow to confront him about his mother's death and because of that they also end up inside the fal'Cie. They all meet up with Serah, who asks them to save Cocoon and then she turns into crystal, an indication that she completed her Focus.

In an attempt to save Serah from her current state Snow and Lightning go to the fal'Cie, followed by Sazh, Vanille and Hope. After a quick battle with them, they all turn into l'Cie, giving them the same Focus, and visions showing the monster called Ragnarok.

The game then continues with the characters trying to understand their Focus in an attempt to save themselves from their fate.

Gameplay and Difficulty

Ingame battle system.
The player is able to control any character(s) he wants (in some sections of the game that's not possible but in the majority it is). The controls feel fluid and easy to use but the camera can be annoying in closed spaces (almost the entire game is played in closed spaces) but it can be controlled easily with the right analog stick (there is the option to invert the camera control if desired). It isn't possible to jump which can be frustrating sometimes because the player has to find a marked position to be able to perform a sort of scripted jump, in order to navigate through certain areas (to jump over a bunch of boxes for example).

The maps are very linear and there isn't much to explore, at least not until the player reaches Gran Pulse, which can be explored freely. But most of the time the map is just a corridor or something similar. In Gran Pulse there are 64 side quests to do which involve killing a specific target. In Gran Pulse its also possible to ride Chocobos.

The player is able to level up a character in different roles, and in the end all roles become available to every character. The roles are: Sentinel (aka tank), Commando (melee fighter), Ravager (magic fighter), Medic (healing role), Synergist (a support role to enhance party status) and the Saboteur (this one specializes in inflicting negative status effects to enemies).

Paradigm shift.
The battle system is similar to the ATB system used in other entries like FFIX, but the player only controls one character and there is a feature called 'Paradigm Shift', where the player can quickly change the role of each party member. The party is composed of a maximum of three characters and there is a limit of six different paradigms that the player can set up to use in battle. The paradigms are a set of roles for each party member and activating that particular paradigm in battle will change each character's active role accordingly.

The game itself isn't very difficult if the player uses the Paradigm Shift feature well. The system is very easy to learn and it doesn't take long to get used to it. Each character is able to unlock an Eidolon and use it in battle by summoning it.

It is quite hard to earn in-game currency because the battles do not give any. It can only be obtained from chests or by selling items. All the equipment in the game is upgradable and every character's ultimate weapon is obtainable by upgrading any weapon that they can use. Depending on the weapon upgraded the ultimate version may have different stats.


Chocobo riding in the open plains of Gran Pulse.
Well, in my opinion this is a good game, true its linear but that doesn't have to be something bad. Personally it isn't something that bothers me much. Although I do think that having "virtual" stores to buy/sell items in save points, practically no cities and almost nonexistent interactable NPCs is a shame, thankfully Square Enix addressed this in the sequel, FFXIII-2.

Other than that, the story can be a bit confusing if the player does not pay enough attention but its interesting and the ending is satisfactory (yeah I like endings where everything ends well, you can see my face when I finished FFXIII-2, but that's another review).

Some side quests where challenging (like the trials and the last one) which kept me from leaving the game after finishing it, so that's a plus, but the replay value is very low, mainly because the game's linearity and only one possible ending.

The Breakdown

Positive Aspects
Negative Aspects
Needs Improvement
  • Story and overall world.
  • Battle system and Paradigm Shift.
  • Side quests.
  • Lack of interactable NPC, including the virtual stores.
  • No actual cities.
  • It might be too linear.
  • A jumping skill would be great.
  • The replay value.

My Playing Statistics

Time Played: 121,5 hours
Trophies Unlocked: All
Difficulty played the most: Default

*RPVP based on GameStop retail price for PS3 (New)