So last night my internet died (thanks Comcast) since I’m not able to add my voice to the, I figured I’ll add my words.

Final Fantasy 13 (aka FFXIII and nerd boner bonanza) has been a big topic on the show. Moreover my reaction to Final Fantasy 13 has been the biggest point of the discussion. Is the J-Rpg style of gameplay still Viable in today’s marketplace or, like so many Camrys, has this Japanese style unintentionally accelerated into the sunset? Well we’re going to find out together as I document my experience  on a daily basis, so suck on that internet.

f13 1
You will never see a Japanese person in a FF. Classic self loathing.

Day one  around 10pm:

So I fire up ye olde PlayStation 3 and the first thing I’m surprised by is no initial install screen. The start up install is something I’ve had to deal with for at least a year or more so to say the least I’m surprised a game that square said “used near 100% of the playstaion’s power” didn’t have to write itself on my hard drive. I suspect they may sneak it in on you later in the game. The Japanese are masters at sneaking things into people, just watch those hentai movies.

Pearl Harbor is another classic example of a clever Japenese insertion

So the game starts up to a pristine landscape with some kinda odd looking manta-ray bird dragon things flying through the air. I push start and the game begins. A cinematic begins with a woman’s voice says something about when they woke up …. I dunno something happened, usually when I wake up nothing happens but my life is really lame.

In the cinematic we see a futuristic bullet train (FF staple) that is filled with people in future robes and who are apparently slaves or prisoners or cos-play enthusiasts. I dunno. Who ever they are they seem to be in bondage, but not the fun latex kind. Robo guards are also on this bullet train to keep them in check. Enter our main character. Well, I assume she’s the main character. She’s on the cover of the game and has been in every screen shot for the game over the last five years.

Ziggy was originally cast as both Cloud AND Aeris in FFVII
Ziggy was originally cast as both Cloud and Aeris in FFVII.

Let me take a quick detour into Rant town, population: you. I say this main character is a girl but how I made that assumption I honestly can’t say. Call it hope. Final Fantasy characters have become the most androgynous thing the public has seen this side of  Ziggy Stardust. Final Fantasy characters are a lot like Animals. They are male or female, but unless you really look (you know check out the under carriage) you’re not going to be able to tell the difference.

But where was I? Oh yeah, our main character on the future train of tomorrow! She apparently is unhappy about being shackled and formulates a plan to kick and punch the robo guards in the head. Classic tactician. A black man with a bird in his hair (another prisoner so clearly this is based in some semblance of reality. I kid! I kid!) seems apprehensive about her plan, but she goes ahead with her kick/punch initiative . When the train plows through a space mirror on the track it goes into a giant mega Tokyo like city scape where colorful rejects from the road warrior do battle with robots. Apparently there is some kinda civil war going on but again I’m reaching for straws of plot at this point. A lot is going on, but the reason why isn’t really explained at all up to this point.

Ok so after all that our Heroin and the Black dude (sounds like a sitcom on fox) jump off the train to find themselves toe to toe with a mechanized scorpion robot. Black guy says ” oh damn!” and then the game finally begins. Then it’s onto everyone’s favorite part of video games, the tutorial! Oh boy! You know Final Fantasy has been around for over 20 years, you would thing by now that they wouldn’t feel the need to tell you that in order to attack you have to choose attack then choice your enemy. It’s pretty much a goddamn reflex at this point, but I can’t really yell at them to much they have to make these game idiot proof and every developer does these tutorials one way or another.

So one of the things that has been praised about this game is the combat system. The combat system so far is really bland. It’s the standard combat system they’ve used for years: stationary and turn based. The biggest change is the fact that you only control one character. A design choice that, to me, makes absolutely no sense. Now hopefully this is something that’s going to change as you progress in the game and they’re easing you in for the time being, like on prom night. When you complete a fight you are awarded a rating and a score. I do not know when or if the these things really account for anything yet. You are also given items that your slain foes may have dropped.

The JRPG fighting system has been tried in other venues with mixed results.

After this first fight you get a taste of the exploration element in the game mini-map in the corner with a over the shoulder,  third person view. Fairly standard. I have to say  that the camera is terrible. It seems to be centered to low and the controls to reset the camera are bit to sensitive. In short I had a very difficult time getting the view to not look awkward.

Enemies now appear on the map in front so one would assume that random encounters are gone from this game (thank god). So you control our heroin (oh her name’s Lightning btw cuz you know it’s normal to have a new born baby and say “you will be named Lightning !” ) You walk toward a way point on the map while doing a little fighting , opening small tech orbs filled with Gil (the money of FF) and saving at save points. I guess Square thought the frist 20 mins of gameplay was incredibly hard because it’s littered with save points. After Lightning and black guy fight robo soldiers, robo panthers  and robo knights they board a space lift and you take control of a new character.

Our “hero” looks kinda like the man that Ellen Degeneres wishes she was. A drag king with a ski cap and randomly placed chin stubble. He is the leader of a small band or punk rockers that are in a  firefight with the robo soldiers. One of the group, a small boy who apparently gets bored with the fact that robots with machine guns are attempting to eviscerate him asks in THE MIDDLE OF A FIRE FIGHT if he can take a nap, I’m not fucking kidding this really happened. Thanks Japan.

looks like Private Johnson's had a long day

So this brings me to my last point. The dialog and voice acting is pretty bad. Resident Evil 1 bad. This is clearly where games like Mass Effect and Fallout 3 have spoiled us because they don’t have to be translated into Engrish. It’s so bad that as soon as this rag-tag group started talking I was yearning for the days where text bubbles robbed them of their annoying over acted  voices.They talked about the army versus somebody I dunno by that point it was like 11:30pm and it was time for bed. So this concludes day one’s report



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