Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth mainstream Final Fantasy game released in 2010 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows. Despite mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, it was heavily criticized by many Final Fantasy fans for various reasons, with some calling it one of the worst entries in the franchise.
After her sister Serah becomes a l'Cie by a fal'Cie from Pulse, Lightning and a group of adventurers go on an adventure to save her and oppose the Cocoon government.
- It has a completely linear environment in the first half of the game (roughly 20-30 hours), making characters simply go from point A to point B. While this is the case in previous FF titles as well they also gave you some room for exploration of the game's world throughout the first half of each game. In this game on the other hand, almost every single area in this game is literally a one-way path (resulting in the fan nicknames "Final Hallway XIII" and "On Rails RPG").
- There are almost no towns in the game (although this could be understandable considering Cocoon is under siege) and all shopping is done by shops that are accessed by save spots.
- Poor voice direction.
- No option to switch to Japanese voices except the PC version.
- The Crystarium Grid is similar to the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, except it's very linear and you can't access other characters' nodes to increase your power.
- The Crystarium gets locked when you reach the end of the grid level. In order to access it further, you need to progress through the game.
- Combat is uninspired and there is little strategy involved. The best way to defeat enemies is to keep tapping A to use the chain combo. There is also an auto-battle system included which makes things even more pointless.
- The Paradigm Shift system, the new twist on the jobs system of the games, which is actually a good feature of the game, is not fully realized to its full potential until the restrictions on the characters you can select for the party after the first twenty hours of the game are lifted. It also works better if you have a full party of three characters, but this doesn't occur in the initial few hours of the game. Until you gain access to choosing the characters in your party, the combat is boring because no experimentation can be made.
- Why does it even take that long for full control to be given? The combat is not complicated enough to warrant twenty hours of hand-holding the combat system, by slowly introducing new mechanics for the combat system.
- You can only control one character. Also, even if you have three people in the party, if the character you control dies, it is game over.
- Shopping is largely useless. You can't gain gil for shopping from fighting enemies (only by selling loot and finding it in chests) and most of the time, the only thing worth buying in the shops are potions, since you can obtain most weapons and accessories on the playing field. Buying better equipment is also largely unnecessary as you can break down other bits of equipment to upgrade your own.
- You can't escape from battle so if you're fighting a powerful enemy(s) and haven't fully upgraded then good luck.
- If the "Plot" section isn't enough of a sign, the writing, plot and world-building are so poor and so convoluted that absolutely every single little thing in the game from plot details to lore, unnecessarily strange terminology for objects and items based on real things, character backstory and motivation etc. requires consulting a massive in-game encyclopedia and also the game dialog itself to even have the foggiest clue of what's currently happening in the game.
- The PC port is 60GB in size which is a ridiculous amount of space for a game released in 2010, when not even the Nintendo 3DS console was released, even if your hard-drive is more than 1TB in size. This is due to the game containing full audio files and cutscenes for both English and Japanese. This is made even worse by the fact that by default the game was locked at a 720p resolution with no graphics options.
- The main characters with some exceptions (mainly Fang and Sazh) are very unlikable, especially the main protagonist Lightning.
- Despite the negative reception from fans for Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix actually had the nerve to release two unneeded sequels for this game in the form of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII, and while these games did address the hallway and combat problems, many fans considered them mediocre at best to being as bad or worse than this game. To add even more insult to injury, it was revealed by gamers that Square Enix was constantly pulling staff from Final Fantasy Versus XIII (what would become Final Fantasy XV) to work on it.
- The game was originally going to be a PS3 only game, but because of the Xbox 360 popularity in the west it was added to that system mid way in development, and because of the Xbox 360 hardware/disc space limitations the game was massively downgraded into the mess we know today becoming a prime example of how getting ported to less powerful systems mid way in development can hold back the true potential to the games quality.
- Speaking of the Xbox 360, the version of the game on that console came on 3 DVD discs, yet the FMV cutscenes resolution was reduced to fit it on 3 discs.
- The characters designs are done by Tetsuya Nomura, the artist behind classic Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts characters.
- Amazing soundtrack, especially the battle theme "Blinded By Light".
- Majority of gamers agreed that the best thing about the game is its amazing graphics, which has aged well.
- It implements elements from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Another Story, like post-battle hitpoint refills, the Paradigm Shift system (where you can change the position of characters, allowing a character to take on a tank role, then change to having an attack role when wanted, for example), the pre-attack textboxes, and story recaps.
- As previously mentioned, the combat will get better once you're able to change your party members to fully customize you're Paradigm Shift system (even if it comes hours late into the game.)
- Some of the voice acting is phenomenal, especially Dysley's.
- Some characters like Fang and Sazh are legitimately good characters.
- Some of the environments are very creative, such as Orphan's Cradle.
- Certain boss fights require plenty of strategy, and provide a good challenge.
- Despite the PC Port's problems, it has a few advantages over its console counterparts: An option to switch to Japanese voices, supports 60fps (a feature that not even the Xbox One X through backwards compatibility provides), 4K Support, and even includes the Japanese-exclusive Easy Mode Option which makes battles and grinding much more tolerable.
Final Fantasy XIII was a commercial success both in Japan and international regions. It sold one million copies on the first day of its release in Japan, and 1.7 millions copies by the end of 2009. The game sold more than one million copies in North America in its release month. In March 2010, Square Enix stated that Final Fantasy XIII was the fastest-selling title in the franchise's history. In September 2014, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels has been widely successful and has shipped over 11 million copies worldwide.
While receiving universal praised for its jaw-dropping graphics, high production value, and fast-paced battle system, it was near-universally panned for its extreme linearity, nonsensical plot, boring gameplay, and bland characters.