Crispy Gamer

Outlook 2010: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII
John Teti

John Teti:
Even though I inevitably end up loving them, I'm always wary about new Final Fantasy games before they're released. In previews, I tend to recoil: They've changed too much! This isn't the Final Fantasy I grew up with! But that's inane. Its relentless reinvention of the status quo is the No. 1 quality that has made Final Fantasy such an enduring creation. (The only borderline misstep in the series is Final Fantasy IX, which tried to recreate the magic of the early games by going old-school and felt redundant as a result.) And that's why I'm a touch worried about Final Fantasy XIII -- it looks too familiar. Created by the same team behind Final Fantasy X, it looks like an incremental evolution of that game's battle structure, which could feel like a step back after the seamless, revelatory battle system of Final Fantasy XII. So I'm tinged with dread on this one. If history is any indication, that probably means I'll love it.

Russ Fischer

Russ Fischer:
I think I'm on exactly the opposite side of the fence. I'm always hopeful for each new Final Fantasy game, but there is often just enough missing from the battle system, or some off-putting wrinkle to the dense story, that I can't quite love the final product. So I'm holding true to form and generally hoping for the best with respect to Final Fantasy XIII.

In this particular case, my primary concern is that there will be too much of a blockbuster approach -- big story and big battle system with details and depth getting lost in the cracks. Early reviews are favorable enough that I'm willing to bide my time. I agree that battles in FFXII were powered by a simple flash of inspiration that made the game feel more whole, and that I'm not completely thrilled to go back to a slightly more removed system this time. But if the strategic side of battle is as strong as has been intimated, I'll accept that as a legit trade-off. And I liked the leveling system in FFX, so in this case I'm happy to have the same team revising an established design rather than going with something new.

Our Outlook for the first half of 2010 continues...