Crispy Gamer

Initial Impressions: Final Fantasy XIII

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Despite the fact that I got myself really excited for Final Fantasy XIII, I kept my expectations low.  Through three and a half hours of the game, I haven’t seen enough yet to say that my expectations are being blown away, but there are definitely some positive things happening here.  

Without revealing too much about the beginning of the story, I can tell you that the game really hits the ground running, opening up with a daring escape that eventually leads the cast into a city-wide battle of epic proportions.  As amazing as that sounds, the opening phase of the game falls flat on its face due to its pacing.  What should be a quick-tempo, action-packed battle sequence is instead a slow, plodding wade through a swamp of ill-conceived and cryptic dialogue.  Since then, the plot has been picking up some speed, enough to keep me interested. 
 
What really shines so far (other than the absolutely gorgeous graphics, play on an HDTV if you have the option) is the battle system.  While you directly control only the actions of the party leader, you are constantly weighing decisions in a fast, unforgiving battle environment.  Prioritizing is an absolute must, as is constantly changing your party’s configuration (or as FFXIII calls it, paradigm).  You must react fast, think quickly, and constantly re-analyze your situation in order to survive; I absolutely love it.
 
So far, it’s no better or worse than I expected.  Full review will be up upon completion of the game.

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