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With its praises being sung in here, and wanting a relaxing break from Sodding Maliketh, I thought I'd give Final Fantasy XIII a go. And sure enough, it is very pretty for its age,* and as an anti-Elden Ring it does work. But while I think the criticisms of its linearity were perhaps unfair, the other major criticism that befell the game is ringing very true; that is, that the game is far too untrusting of the player's abilities, introducing its combat systems with so little pace that the average walking sim feels like it has a more satisfying battle loop several hours in. Having gotten to the second 'area' of the game after two hours (and seven minutes, per the save game slot), every single combat had been resolved by hitting 'auto-battle' repeatedly, every time achieving a 5-star rating (whatever that means), with the only other non-tutorial action required being the final boss fight of the area, in which I had to go to the 'items' menu and pick potion a whole two times between auto-battles.

 

Another hour has since been spent with exciting new concepts like 'levelling up' and 'occasionally switching to a defensive paradigm' being added, but again, no combats coming in at under 5-stars, no need so far to actually do any micro-managing. Having an incredibly slow start is the same stuff Persona gets picked up on for, but where that dumps four hours of visual novel on you upfront, with the occasional battle, this has just been 165 minutes of of auto-playing battles, and 15 minutes of cutscenes. Now, I imagine for some people that's a preferable solution, but as an actual fan of visual novels and disliker of unengaging combats this feels even worse to me! I'm going to keep playing in the hope of coming up on some actual gameplay I have to pay attention to, because the combat system seems reasonably interesting (a sort of combination of traditional ATB battles with a pre-programmed version of FFXII's gambits), but I'm hoping it actually lets me loose on it, you know, within the next few hours.

 

(also, extra points off the game for making me endure large amounts of Troy Baker. At least he's voicing an appropriately punchable character, I suppose)

 

(oh, and the opening part of the opening theme aside, the music is the least memorable I think I've encountered in a Final Fantasy game. Which, looking at its credits, I'm guessing is down to the change of composer. Alas)

 

(plus points for the very stylish menu backgrounds, though. Not quite Persona levels, but those can stay)

 

*though the locked 30fps and drunken camera are non-ideal

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Yeah I really liked that about the first game. Can't remember exactly how it was structured - I don't think it was quite as freeform as Crackdown's "all the targets are alive and accessible somehow in the game world at the start" - but it was definitely more interesting and involving than the scripted, linear assassinations the series eventually peddled. 

 

Now the series has gone back to a big open world, there's no reason why they can't do something similar again. With Origins and Odyssey having members of a cult for you to hunt down, some of which are perennially in the game world for you to find and others you unmask with clues, there's definitely a way to bake this all in. 

 

You have all the targets in the game world from the start and theoretically available to kill. You can play through story missions that will direct you to them via clues - revealing names, locations, weak points in their fortifications etc - and these let you make a more measured, planned approach. At its best, the first game made you feel like a more acrobatic, parkour-y version of  Hitman and you felt like you were conducting your own kill, rather than following the game's strict framework on what you should do. 

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10 hours ago, Wiper said:

With its praises being sung in here, and wanting a relaxing break from Sodding Maliketh, I thought I'd give Final Fantasy XIII a go. And sure enough, it is very pretty for its age,* and as an anti-Elden Ring it does work. But while I think the criticisms of its linearity were perhaps unfair, the other major criticism that befell the game is ringing very true; that is, that the game is far too untrusting of the player's abilities, introducing its combat systems with so little pace that the average walking sim feels like it has a more satisfying battle loop several hours in. Having gotten to the second 'area' of the game after two hours (and seven minutes, per the save game slot), every single combat had been resolved by hitting 'auto-battle' repeatedly, every time achieving a 5-star rating (whatever that means), with the only other non-tutorial action required being the final boss fight of the area, in which I had to go to the 'items' menu and pick potion a whole two times between auto-battles.

 

Another hour has since been spent with exciting new concepts like 'levelling up' and 'occasionally switching to a defensive paradigm' being added, but again, no combats coming in at under 5-stars, no need so far to actually do any micro-managing. Having an incredibly slow start is the same stuff Persona gets picked up on for, but where that dumps four hours of visual novel on you upfront, with the occasional battle, this has just been 165 minutes of of auto-playing battles, and 15 minutes of cutscenes. Now, I imagine for some people that's a preferable solution, but as an actual fan of visual novels and disliker of unengaging combats this feels even worse to me! I'm going to keep playing in the hope of coming up on some actual gameplay I have to pay attention to, because the combat system seems reasonably interesting (a sort of combination of traditional ATB battles with a pre-programmed version of FFXII's gambits), but I'm hoping it actually lets me loose on it, you know, within the next few hours.

 

(also, extra points off the game for making me endure large amounts of Troy Baker. At least he's voicing an appropriately punchable character, I suppose)

 

(oh, and the opening part of the opening theme aside, the music is the least memorable I think I've encountered in a Final Fantasy game. Which, looking at its credits, I'm guessing is down to the change of composer. Alas)

 

(plus points for the very stylish menu backgrounds, though. Not quite Persona levels, but those can stay)

 

*though the locked 30fps and drunken camera are non-ideal


Not all games are made for people who play games all of the time. 

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FF13 does take an absolute age to open up its battle system fully - in particular it makes you do a lengthy dungeon right at the start of the game where you literally have no options other than auto-attack. It then drip feeds its features very slowly over something like the first twenty hours of the game.

 

In its defence, it is a unique battle system and the way in which it keeps mixing up the characters in the first half of the game does force you to explore the various things it can do. If it just let you off the leash immediately then most people would just pick a single configuration that vaguely worked and not really get to grips with the features you need later on.

 

Later on the game really does open up so stick with it. There's also loads of post-game content with some of the best battles in the game, if you want that kind of thing.

 

(I will accept no criticism of the music, though. I think the soundtrack is brilliant, and very distinctive).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Huge sale.

 

  • Age of Booty £0.67
  • Assassin's Creed £3.59
  • Assassin's Creed II £2.69
  • Assassin's Creed Rogue £4.49
  • Asura's Wrath £2.99
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 £1.99
  • BioShock £5.99
  • BioShock 2 £5.99
  • BioShock Infinite £5.99
  • Blue Dragon £3.74
  • Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway £3.59
  • Bully: Scholarship Edition £4.79
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger £3.49
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood £4.49
  • Call of Juarez: The Cartel £2.99
  • Dark Void £2.39
  • Duke Nukem Forever £3.99
  • Dungeon Siege III £2.39
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara £1.99
  • Fable Anniversary £7.49
  • Fable II £7.49
  • Fable III £7.49
  • FLOCK! £1.99
  • Grand Theft Auto IV £6.29
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us £7.49
  • Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days £1.79
  • Killer is Dead £2.99
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light £1.79
  • Lost Planet 2 £2.99
  • Lost Planet 3 £2.99
  • Mafia II £6.24
  • Max Payne 3 £8.09
  • Mega Man 10 £1.35
  • Mega Man 9 £1.35
  • Midnight Club: Los Angeles Complete £8.03
  • Persona 4: Arena £3.95
  • Prey £2.99
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands £3.95
  • Red Dead Redemption £8.24
  • Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD £2.99
  • Rockstar Table Tennis £4.79
  • Saints Row £1.34
  • Saints Row 2 £1.79
  • Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution £4.99
  • Sid Meier's Pirates! £2.29
  • Sine Mora £1.99
  • Skate 3 £2.99
  • skate. £2.99
  • Spec Ops: The Line £3.99
  • Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy £2.99
  • Street Fighter IV £2.99
  • Super Street Fighter IV £3.99
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified £2.24
  • The Darkness £2.99
  • The Darkness II £4.99
  • The Witcher 2 £3.74
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier £2.69
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent £4.79
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 £4.49
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell® Chaos Theory™ £4.79
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction £4.49
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent £5.99
  • Tropico 4 £2.24
  • The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom £1.35
  • XCOM: Enemy Within £5.99
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2 hours ago, moosegrinder said:

Same stuff over and over and over and over :(

 

I'll get Midnight Club once they eventually knock that 3p off. I won't pay a penny more!!! 

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its just 60 fps. no res upscale.

 

and apparently, it cant be completed, as you cant push A enough times at the end to register properly!?!  or so i have jsut read!

 

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I can't be bothered to even scan through sale lists. It'd be good if Microsoft would make personal landing pages for sales that say something like "these are the games that you've looked at before" or are games that people who play what you play are also playing, etc. 

 

If they're going to mine me for data constantly, at least make it beneficial when I'm trying to give them even more money. 

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2 hours ago, Transient Curse said:

I can't be bothered to even scan through sale lists. It'd be good if Microsoft would make personal landing pages for sales that say something like "these are the games that you've looked at before" or are games that people who play what you play are also playing, etc. 

 

If they're going to mine me for data constantly, at least make it beneficial when I'm trying to give them even more money. 

You can make a wishlist and save it. I just look at mine once a week and see if anything has been reduced. Not a perfect system but at least saves you going through everything if you know what you are after.

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