But how can FF13 possibly hope to match such a pile of hot, painful disappointment?
By making almost exactly the same mistakes -- tedium and cheap AI-- but that's not all it managed to fuck up. What annoyed me the most about this game wasn’t even the game itself, but the assholes trying to defend it and acting as if I was some sort of bad guy for having a negative opinion of it. Let’s get something clear here, folks. Here’s a disclaimer, one you’ve likely heard before, because I’m not the only one who has said this: I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan, and I desperately tried to like this game.
OK? I'm not some impossible to please asshole, as you'll see when these "awards" continue. I love Final Fantasy, I even own fucking Ehrgeiz, which I bought when I was a child. I'm not the bad guy here.
Truth be told, different people have different tales to tell of FF13. Everyone has had slightly different experiences while playing it, which can be hard to reconcile. See, I’m referring to the combat system, since that’s practically all there is to the actual game-play side of things, and since the game is a linear, barely interactive snore-fest, nobody plays through twice or more, thus sometimes people have endured the exact same experiences as me, more or less amount of times, and some haven't.
Experiences like dying on “trash” enemies before bosses in extremely cheap fashions. Being stuck on bosses for days. You see, the enemies of FF13, like the enemies of UFC 2010, were absurdly powerful cheaters. Before a boss, one could expect to suffer through several attacks by trash enemies that actually took upwards of seven minutes to kill (note: yes I knew perfectly well how to use the Stagger System and Paradigm Shift nonsense), and this is assuming you didn’t get unlucky and they wipe the party. Oh sorry, take out one member of the party which causes a game over… WTF?
Randomness is a very poor thing to base combat on.
This was to make the irritatingly clunky “Paradigm Shift” battle system necessary – yes folks, they turned crappy trash enemies into dangerous threats that take ages to kill (thus locking you out of the plot) to force players to endure a marathon- length trash battle that uses a shitty, repetitive command system.
This literally means that a random encounter can kill you, quite easily. Often all it takes is two or three of the trash enemies deciding to attack your party leader on the same “turn.” So, it’s down to luck whether or not you die to them. I could handle that, but quite frankly, I got bored of having to spent five minutes or more on every trash encounter because things just have far too much health and the party had to heal too often.
Contrary to the opinions of those who only got about five hours into the game, you cannot win fights by just pressing “X” over and over. If. Fucking. Only. The harder fights might be fun the first few times you take them on, but ten trash-encounters, eight minutes long each, requiring the exact same diligence with the Paradigm Shift system each, all running the risk of instant game over if the game cheats you gets old VERY FUCKING FAST.
What it ultimately comes down to, people, is that FF13 is a barely interactive game, almost a movie, and the only truly interactive part of it is a boring, slow, difficult delay tactic to keep you from watching the rest of the movie. I mean, game.
FF13 is also a game of cheap illusions. There’s an over-world, but it’s mostly just linear corridors to run straight down; they say you can avoid enemies, but often you can’t; there’s something that imitates a customizable leveling system like FFX’s Sphere Grid called the Crystarium, but it’s actually a linear stat-boosting system that simply forces the player to hold down a button to do what should be fucking automatic. It’s almost a movie, but you still need to read the textual “data-logs” to figure out what the fuck is going on because it’s so badly written nothing makes sense without them!
Perhaps the final nail in FF13’s coffin is going to be my most controversial statement yet: the characters fucking blow. The only decent, believable character who puts on a real performance is Sazh: a loving father out to save his son, who suffers so much but his powerful morality and sense of duty holds him together when things look bleak. We get a truly epic scene of him and the obvious Pulsian, Vanille ("spoiler" alert, as if the bitch's inane twittering didn't clue you in already), where he wrestles with his desire to blow her head off – a desire the audience by this point shared, though that’s just because this bitch is more irritating than a tropical skin disease.
On the other hand you have “Hope.” I really fucking hated this kid. Thirty hours in and I still hated him. I cannot believe how badly written he was, it’s like the writers were on fucking strike. God knows he made me want to strike the writers.
He’s a whiny, irritating little shit, always going on about how his dad is such a jerk. But we get to meet his dad. His dad fucking rocks! I wish mine was like this guy! He's made perfectly aware that sheltering Hope and his friends could result in his execution or torture, and what does he say? He says: "I don't give a shit, motherfucker! He's mah boy!" Or... something along those lines. I mean, wow, look at how much that guy doesn't care about his son. Or how much he's neglecting him. Yeah, neglecting him so hard he's willing to take a bullet or fifty for him.
In fact, randomly blaming people is something Hope is apparently good at. So one of the major subplots, Hope and his dad, turns out to be a joke. It’s like the writers were fucking taunting us with how retarded they could be and still make a best-selling video game because fanboy dickwads will defend it to the death.
Every time this kid opens his pixelated mouth it’s hard to not want to just slap it shut again. The other subplot with Hope is that he blames another character, Snow, who spews forth platitudes and clichés like the mindless “shonen” anime device that he is, for his mother’s death – but it makes no sense. Hope’s just a little bitch.
The evil world government started to massacre an entire town, and would have succeeded if it weren’t for Snow and his band intervening and doing the best they could to save thousands of innocent lives, sacrificing their own for the cause. Hope’s mother died in the process, fighting for her son’s life, and thanks to the efforts of Snow’s crew, a select few manage to escape certain death at the hands of the government. His mother died to help Snow save him, and what does Hope do? Try to kill Snow. Wow. It’s hard to not hate this kid. At least this one makes more sense that the daddy subplot though.
Ultimately, Final Fantasy 13 gambled a lot on its pretty graphics and writing, which would work if the writing was at least as good as Final Fantasy 9's. It's not. The writing is possibly the worst of any Final Fantasy to be released on a modern system. Even worse, the length of the game is extended beyond endurance by lengthy cut-scenes nobody cares about, subplots that go nowhere or are insulting stupid, and a slow-as-snails, broken combat system that I'd rather have thumbscrews attached to my bollocks than suffer again.
UFC 2010 and FFXIII. Two of the biggest disappointments of the year; two of my favorite franchises; two of the most expensive pieces of crap I've ever bought. Avoid these like the plague unless you're an easily pleased fan-boy tosser. But knowing my luck, you are, and you're already writing a long diatribe explaining how I suck, that I'm going to ignore. Or ridicule.