I have more to say about Final Fantasy XIII, but that post is so depressing to write I thought I'd hold off for now and elaborate on a point I made in my post discussing its combat mechanics. Role-playing games tend to get broadly divided into "turn-based" and "action" categories, distinctions that are not particularly informative, often get used inaccurately, and don't usefully elaborate the relationship between the player and the system.
The worst reason to hate Final Fantasy XIII is because of its linearity. Non-linearity doesn't necessarily improve a game, and following a constrained path doesn't necessarily make it worse. All Final Fantasy games, including the most highly praised ones, have been essentially linear in both story and world design.
Despite respectable review scores and reasonably good sales, Final Fantasy XIII is widely derided, for many good reasons and a few bad ones. Defenders of the game often point to the battle system as the game's saving grace. I found myself sharing the sentiment when I played through the game recently.
Last time I checked in, I explained how I quickly went from level 1 to level 10 doing Guildleve quests at Camp Black Brush outside of the starting city of Ul'dah. The grind to double digits was really fast (far faster than it was in Final Fantasy XI before Square Enix made leveling so much quicker in that games). With mobs in the region giving less experience and skill points (experience needed to grow in physical levels, SP needed for leveling your specific job or class), I decided it was time to head to the next Guildleve hub—Camp Dry Bone.
In the last entry, I spent a lot of time talking about what signing up for Final Fantasy XIV was like, how you create your character, and how the game compared to Square's previous MMO, Final Fantasy XI. Moving forward, we'll be taking a look at my first few days in the game's world and how everything works.
As someone who spent many thousands of hours (and no, I'll not state the exact number here—it's been repeated enough times on the podcast already) with Final Fantasy XI, few folks were more excited than I when Square Enix surprised everyone at E3 a few years back with a trailer for Final Fantasy XIV. Longtime fans knew SE had been working on a new MMO for some time, but when the trailer debuted with Galkans, Tarus, and Elves, it was extra cool—if only because we were basically getting a high def sequel to FFXI.
At first, I held off writing this article because everyone was too busy talking about how Final Fantasy XIII is a terrible game, then it was because the game was "too old" to talk about. Fortunately, the recent release of Metroid: Other M has reignited conversation about the portrayal of women in games, and given me the perfect opportunity to get this article out of my mind and off of my back. This article does contain major spoilers.
Chi hits the Vegas Strip to throw down with some of MMA's biggest stars and gets an early look at UFC Undisputed 2010. Brad takes on Alan Wake and in the process enrages the entire Internet...again. And we open up the mailbag to answer your burning questions about game manuals, Final Fantasy XIV, and Microsoft Game Room. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Pitfall is So Worth Three Dollars" Spaeth.
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