Biggest Letdown 2010 – Ethos

Final Fantasy XIII

How can I follow up Riddles’ hilarious post with the same pick? While I think he’s completely wrong about the battle system, he’s bang-on with everything else.

I was extremely excited for Final Fantasy XIII. I thought the world looked beautiful, I loved the idea of a badass female lead, and because I’m a really big fan of Final Fantasy XII I couldn’t imagine the game could be bad.

Boy was I wrong. The game is almost less of a game than Heavy Rain. And that’s saying something. In fact, before the credits roll, the title is less of a game. No decisions matter. The leveling up system is pointless, the upgrading system is worse, and progressing forward is quite literally a tunnel. We’re not joking when we make the comparison.

The fact that Final Fantasy XIII becomes a fun game after the final boss, and as such the back-end leveling and upgrading systems start to make a difference and actually become great systems really makes little difference.

The point is that this was supposed to be a worthy entry into the esteemed series, a HD JRPG that I could really dive into. FFXII had my hopes high, and XIII tore them to pieces. Granted, it took me a while, I was in denial for a bit. But a 60 hour price to get to a good game is too much.

If you had asked me a year ago if I’d ever sell Final Fantasy XIII, I’d say “hell no”. But I sold it and I have no regrets. Vs XIII will have to do a lot to regain any sort of trust in the series.

Runner up: Epic Mickey

When last year’s runner up in this category earned a “N/A” from me, it’s a little depressing that I was deciding between 3 titles for this year’s second biggest letdown.

Still, life must go on and while Guardian Signs was a step backwards from Shadow of Almia, and Heavy Rain turned out to not be a game, the fact is that my hype was never huge for those titles. Epic Mickey had me pretty excited. I wasn’t expecting the controls and camera to be top-notch, but I also wasn’t expecting them to practically ruin the experience. The game could have been truly excellent. Unfortunately, the technical flops squashed this possibility.

Seriously, this could have been a true Game of the Year contender. Instead, it’s a decent game. There’s nothing wrong with the content, but the sad fact is that if you can’t properly play or view an excellent game, it is no longer an excellent game.

It’s truly a shame, but it’s the truth. This was definitely a year for loving more games and different games than I expected, and for being let down by hype and previous standbys.

Except Super Mario Galaxy 2. That was a standby and exceeded my hype.

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4 Responses to “Biggest Letdown 2010 – Ethos”

  1. 7thCircle says:

    If played one major role in my life in 2010, it was convincing me never, ever, ever to play FF13. Thanks for saving me the time, money, and misery.

  2. Andogo says:

    You know, recently, I’ve been itching to play some FFXIII. There’s something magical about a prettied-up spreadsheet program that I can’t quite shake.

    I think the problem with the game was that people were expecting it to have a story. If you play FFXIII as if it were Monster Hunter, it’s a great game. Everybody wins!

    On a separate, but related note, I can already imagine a contender for next year’s biggest letdown: The 3rd Birthday. Over 10 years, and this is the follow-up? It’s almost as if SE said “Let’s rip off the concept for a game we’re publishing (MindJack) for an in-house throwaway PSP title, and let’s say it’s a sequel to a game we published in 1999 so we’ll get some sales.”

  3. Ethos says:

    @Glenn – More than glad to help

    @Andogo – Nah, FFXII had no story either and it rocked. I get cravings for FFXIII as well and there are parts that I truly like and some that I love, even. It’s just that 95% of that takes place at the very end or literally AFTER the end of the game. If they just made FFXIII a Gran Pulse playground downloadable title and got rid of ALL of cocoon and all cutscenes, then we’d be talking.

  4. SiliconNooB says:

    … Those cutscenes still give me nightmares.

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