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Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

I’m not one for off topic posts but after spending close to 60 hours playing Final Fantasy XIII I needed somewhere to vent my frustrations. With my experience of the Final Fantasy franchise limited to the two movies I bought the game simply on the weight of the visuals within the trailer. The trailer was movie quality and really peaked my interest in the story, the game didn’t bother me. Now after 60 hours of game play my opinion hasn’t changed and Final Fantasy 13 has a big problem.

The story is amazing

Without giving any spoilers away the story is simply fantastic, potentially assisted by the gorgeous cut scenes. Created in the style of most Japanese anime the story keeps a good tempo and does well to drop hints to get you guessing about a characters past and motives. Some characters within the story aren’t always so well rounded but the datalog (a written account of the story, characters and locale) does help to fill in some of the blanks. Standing alone I’m not sure if the story would suffer from the loss of the datalog or not.

It’s possible that with the length of the game hides many of the cracks in the story as you simply forget sections by the end. The situation is similar to that of some books perhaps.

The game is good, but there’s one bit that’s awful

Although criticised for maybe being a tad linear I thoroughly enjoyed the game at the start. The slow introduction of new aspects to the battles were helpful for a newbie, but I imagine it may frustrate hard core fans. Once everything was introduced and you have enough knowledge to fight effectively the game makers decide to put a massive brake on the story and give you a locale that is full of 60+ missions that would take close to two thirds of the total game play to complete.

These cie’th missions, as they’re known, are not easy and on first play I gave up at mission 16. Before the finale of the game you are given the opportunity to go back and finish the rest yet still I could not complete them all. Given the abilities of these foes it’s unlikely I would ever finish them, seemingly only going back after finishing the game would I be able to complete them all.

The inability to finish these missions near ruined the whole game and whoever suggested these missions needs shooting. Not only does this part of the game ruin the enjoyment of the game but also creates a massive lull in the story right before the build up to the finale. The missions add nothing to the story and could simply be removed without affecting the story. The only apparent purpose of the missions is to expand an already long game or provide the ability for some to replay the game after completion.

It’s time for the franchise to change

Sure I’ve only played the one game and seen the movies but to me it seems that the Final Fantasy franchise has gone as far as it should on the consoles. I can’t see any way within the current framework to improve the game play yet they can always improve the story and the visuals. To me it seems obvious that they should be simply making Final Fantasy movies rather than games.

The problem is of course does a 60 hour game condense into a 2 hour movie and can it be done at a £15 per DVD cost rather than the £30+ possible for the game. Probably not, but if the story was done as a mini-series like Battlestar Galactica started out then it provides more time and they could potentially charge more, maybe even generate TV revenue. It may even be possible for Square Enix to do both providing the game for gamers and the same story as a movie for those unwilling to commit to 60 hours game time.

In all honesty I would pay £30 to get FFXIII as a movie right now as I would really enjoy watching the story again. Sure I could play it again but I don’t think I’d last another 60 hours.