Life After the Lobotomy: When FFXIII Opens Up

WARNING - This article will invariably discuss spoilers. Most of them gameplay related, but there will be very minor story spoilers as well.

Lightning says "Guess where I am?"

Lightning says "Guess where I am?"

Well, 35 hours into Final Fantasy XIII and I’m finally at the fabled point when the game opens up. Yup, I ended up on Pulse, and the game kinda turned into FFXII with a better battle system and pretty graphics. I gained control of the formation of my party and then very quickly had all the roles available to every player. Sidequests (See: hunts) were also opened up, and I was plopped into a fucking massive field filled with various beasts and a pretty spectacular view. It’s a little overwhelming, actually, but mostly in a good way. Just after THIRTY FIVE HOURS of extreme linearity, it’s daunting to be able to level up how I want, go wherever I want, find out which enemies to avoid for now on my own, and accept at least some form of side mission. If nothing else, it makes me understand the constraints placed on the Crystarium system until this point. At this point, stats are hiked, but so is the CP cost. I’m talking doubled. Monsters divvy out more CP too, but it’s going to be a while before I’m powering up more than 3 stats at a time again. The point is that without some direction, a lot of players would be screwed if given the full grid off the top. Focusing on filling out a few roles per character helps you to not fuck yourself over before you’re punched in the face with choice.

So the progression makes sense to me, but did it take way too long to set up? And while I had enough fun with the battle system and paradigms to not really care, the answer is still yes. I may not mind personally, but new players coddled by the gameplay to this point will be smashed in the face when the game lets go of their hand, and experienced players will likely be frustrated that they didn’t have this much freedom a lot earlier.

I’ve barely started, but I can already tell how much of a timesink the game will become now. Yes, and I’m saying that after 35 hours of gameplay. The point is that it’s a bittersweet feeling, but ultimately I’m very excited to play on and finally feel like I’m going at my own pace.

And seriously, although it’s just a field, it’s fucking beautiful. Just wait.

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5 Responses to “Life After the Lobotomy: When FFXIII Opens Up”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    The light at the end of the tunnel … literally!

  2. Ethos says:

    I was truly enjoying the tunnel, but man, I just played 2 hours and it felt like half a second compared to all the exploring there is to do. Again, it’s just a field, but it’s huge and I’m fairly certain it’s just a segment. Something I didn’t notice before is that there’s some enemy pop-in. Which is too bad, but given the sheer size of the field (and some of the enemies), I’m not surprised. Still a pleasure to run through.

  3. SiliconNooB says:

    … So apparently Tomb Raider and Hitman are “Western RPGs” http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/03/final-fantasy-gdc/

  4. DarthGibblet says:

    Just like TF2!

  5. SiliconNooB says:

    Exactly like TF2! :D

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