Review: Final Fantasy 13 (PC) (Computer)

Final Fantasy 13 (PC): Member Review

Computer 3,469 views 2 likes 11 comments
Reviewed by Dominik Dudek, posted Jun 27, 2015, last updated Jun 29, 2015
Jun 27, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): March 9, 2010
  • Release Date (EU): March 9, 2010
  • Release Date (JP): December 17, 2009
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Genres: JRPG
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
  • Also For: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
The last fantasy no.13, the first! It's a Square Enix game so it's gonna be beautiful. And it certainly is a nice looking game however on PC you can kinda see through the methods they used to make the game look better than what the PS3 and 360 Hardware could achieve.
Dominik Dudek
Introduction

Final Fantasy XIII was always a weird horse for me. I always wondered why the critics liked this game so much but the fans hate it like some sort of disease.
I watched a let's play, of somebody who really enjoyed playing it, twice (while grinding in other RPG's) and I seriously couldn't tell whats wrong with this game.
But then I played it. I regret doing that.

Gameplay

Let's start with the gameplay. In the first 20 or so hours you'll be doing nothing but walking a straight line from point A to point B and figthing a few bosses which got boring after a few hours. After that you reach Chapter 11 and the game suddenly become much more enjoyable.
The prologue of the game, in which you can't level up or even collect exp, is 2 hours long and the levels are literally straight lines. This game is filled with bad and unimaginative level design.
The Battle system however is okay-ish after you get the sentinel role, which is around 15 hours into the game. Until then you aren't expected to do anything outside of switching between damage dealing paradigm's and healing paradigm's.
The Paradigm battle system really lacks depth. You're essentially a coach screaming battle strategies at your team to perform well in combat. The form of attacks are chosen automatically for you so you don't have much to do outside of pressing the confirm button really often and occasionally changing the strategies of your team. There's really not much challenge to it.
There are six roles and six characters. Each character is good at at least three roles. A paradigm consists of three party members using the assigned roles in battle and the paradigm shift allows you to switch roles of your characters which ultimately leads to changing your battle strategy. The Commando role is used to deal heavy physical damage, the Ravager Role is used to deal heavy magic damage, the Sentinel is the tank who aggros enemies and eats all the damage, the Synergist Role is used for buffing your team up, the Saboteur debuffs your enemy team and the Medic heals your team. However the Medic, Ravager and Commando roles feel kinda unimaginative since they have so little active abilities and so many passive abilities that you end up seeing them do the same thing through the whole game. The Ravager doesn't have this problem of ability shortage but he suffers from the typical Square Enix trope of the Spells being very unimaginative. They all look and feel the same and the only thing that changes is the element it represents.
Once you reach chapter 11 you really start getting invested into the combat system and plan better strategies. Some monsters even have very specific weaknesses forcing you to test new strategies, which is great! But the Battle system really feels like it was meant for more casual players. Which I'm totally fine with.
The Crystarium is your means of leveling your characters. It's very similar to the Sphere Grid in FFX but much more limited and streamlined. I found it to be okay but leveling all six classes for all six characters is a really heavy grind. Especially once you beat the game and unlock the final layer of level ups, that you need to fill for the achievements.
They added a weapon modification system but it's completely useless for weapons. Leveling up your weapons for better stats does increase your DPS but it also reduces the maximum time fights are allowed to be long for a good score at the end of the battle. It's easier to get 5 stars by ignoring weapon modification and simply modify the accessory. It's a contra productive game mechanic.
Unfortunately there are no minigames like FFX's Blitzball to at least give you something other to do than walking a hallway for 40 hours. This really could've given the game more fun time and would be great for world building. In some cutscenes you see that in Cocoon, the place FFXIII takes place, Racing is apparently some big entertainment. Not to mention the gang of Snow, one of our six protagonists, is a biker gang so it feels like it would be a golden opportunity to include a bike racing minigame. But they didn't...
And that's something what I kept realizing while playing the game. "They could... but they didn't"
Speaking of Chapter 11, that thing is great. You get a semi open world to explore with 64 side missions to tackle and non hallway-ish level design! 20 hours into the game! That's way too late but I was so grateful that this chapter existed! I could finally forget the stupid plot for a second and do whatever I want to. The Quests aren't anything great since all of them are stupid "Hunt monster X" missions but it was certainly more enjoyable than walking down a hallway for 20 hours.

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I really wish this screenshot could represent the whole game.
Presentation

It's a Square Enix game so it's gonna be beautiful. And it certainly is a nice looking game however on PC you can kinda see through the methods they used to make the game look better than what the PS3 and 360 Hardware could achieve.
For example you can notice some CGI-cutscenes that render ingame character models with higher textures and more flashy graphic effects which gives you the illusion of not being able to tell if what you see are the graphics or CGI cutscenes. Some of these cutscenes are pretty long which probably explains why the download for this game is freaking 50 gigabytes. They also used a lot of 2D panorama pictures for their surrounding, which looks blurry when viewed upclose on a PC. Giving you the illusion of not knowing if what you see are the graphics or prerendered 2D image. The Crystal Engine really doesn't look that impressive on PC as it did on Consoles.
But this game still looks beautiful in it's own way. Unfortunately you won't be able to make it prettier since the PC port has no graphics options. But I'll get to that later. The music is pretty great though.

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How come Lighting has fans despite Fangs existence? That woman is perfect! Look at her!​

Story

Oh boy the story! It's the biggest mess I've ever seen in a videogame. The game delivers it's story so poorly it hurts watching some of these cutscenes.
In the menu there is this "Datalog" which you would assume is just some lore crap about FF13 that is completely optional. Nope!
You need to read so much to understand whats going on! The ending for example if you didn't read up anything to know whats going on you would assume: "Okay so our protagonist want to save Cocoon, by destroying Orphanus, which leads to Coccons destruction". But after reading it up in the datalog you realize they didn't decide this but rather were tricked to do this.
Our protagonists have too little relax time. We aren't given any reason to like any of our protagonists we are simply expected to like them. The characters get introduced in the middle of the action and after the prologue the plot doesn't allow for any breaks to make a picnic and get to know each other. Until you reach Chapter 11 where you can forget the stupid plot for once and you see some nice character moments. You won't care for the main protagonists until 20 hours into the game! Which leads me to believe that the entire Story structure is extremely flawed and the game suffers heavily from it. This game feels like in development they came up with the story first and then designed a game around it which btw. is a very stupid way to develop games and rarely works well.
Then there are a bunch of side character that get so little screentime that you forget who they are. And some of them could've been easily given more screentime without changing the story... but Square didn't.
The antagonist is super boring. He smells from so many cliche's it hurts my nose when he opens his mouth. He is your stereotypical pope who wants to burn everything to revive a god while using his religious position to not draw any suspicion. Grandia 2 had the exactly same antagonist with the exact same motivations and even that one sucked, but that was 15 years ago and that one at least acted like he was crazy. FFXIII Pope acts like it's just all natural.

2015-06-22_00008.png
Meet the pope, the most boring villain you'll ever see in any videogame ever.​

Lasting Replay

There is no replay at all.
Starting the game from all over again would mean 20 hours of hallways until you reach the good part. After beating the boss for the first time you will unlock new branches in the Crystarium but you'll only be doing that for the 7 achievement that come with it.

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PC Port report

The PC Port is terrible.
PC's that meet the minimum requirements fail to maintain a stable 60FPS. My game ran at a consistent 50FPS even though it shouldn't. Even menu's and CGI cutscenes ran at 50FPS for some stupid reason.
Button remapping isn't a thing so if your controller doesn't support Xinput have fun learning the f*cked up control scheme because the game tries to support DInput but fails heavily. It also completely ignores the X360CE software.
This is the port of the Xbox 360 version of the game so the CGI cutscenes are 720p instead of 1080p like on PS3. Which is a bummer for PC users and really shouldn't be a thing.
There are no graphics options. You can increase shadow resolution, AA and switch to 1080p but for PC that set of options is really lackluster. Not to mention these options are only available in the launcher since this port is so lazy they didn't even bothered to program a "Return to Windows" button.
Also there was one Mission in Chapter 11 that didn't wanted to load a cutscene which caused in me loosing 3 hours of progress.
There are also reports of people not having sound on surround sound systems so take that into consideration.
Verdict
Pros
+ Good graphics
+ Combat is simple but not too simple
+ Chapter 11 is smexy
+ No Random encounters
Cons
- Bad PC port
- Story very poorly delivered
- Characters have too little to like them
- Combat lacks depth
- 20 hours of hallways until you reach the good part
- Outside of 1 chapter the game is mediocre
- Weapon modification is useless
7 Presentation
Game looks beatiful even for today's standards but the Crystal Engine is really unimpressive on PC.
5 Gameplay
You either like it or hate it. It's simple for casual players but lacks depth for more hardcore fans..
6 Lasting Appeal
I really cannot say that I see myself playing this game ever again.
6.2
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
It's not a bad game just very mediocre. If you want to play this game get it on PS3/360/PS Now because the PC port is far from recommendable. I would still say that this game gets more hate than it deserves. There are many lows in this game but the few highs scattered around the game are really enjoyable.
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