February 21st, 2014

Final Fantasy XIII - Lightning Returns - Initial Impressions

Wow. This is a beautiful game. And it has the best fighting system of all the Final Fantasy games. But, man is it frustrating.

The clock is a total pain in the ass. You start out with six days until the world ends. But, you can't fight the final boss until Day 13, so you have to complete quests during the initial days in order to earn more days. But, trying to figure out the essential layout of the cities and the overall game mechanics takes time which is a serious handicap. For example, there were seven possible things I could have accomplished in Day One and I only managed to do two of them before "Oops! Out of time for this day!" Because the accomplishments are day specific, those other five quests are forever closed to me.

I suspect that as I get more into the game and know the layout and how to find places I'm told to go to more quickly this will become less of an issue, but as you are getting used to game it's a major hassle. (For example, I'm out of potions. I don't know where the potion  shop is in this city. Do I spend my precious time looking for potions or trying to accomplish the quests?)

The saving grace is that when you kill monsters they drop a bit of energy. Get enough of that energy and you can freeze time for a while while you go out and do stuff. That would be a great idea - once I stock up on potions. The downside is that every time you lose a battle it takes an hour off the clock. (This is what fucked me on Day One. I lost six battles, which cost me six hours of game time I could have been exploring the town and doing quests. I lost six battles because I was still figuring out the battle mechanics. My big blunder? In every other Final Fantasy game the A button launched your attack. In this game it's the X, Y or B buttons depending on what type of attack you want to launch. Mashing the A button skips your chance at attack. You can imagine the results.)

I'm having fun with it and I can't wait to figure out how to do stuff. I suspect that I'll get killed arround Day 7 the first time around and have to start over at Day One (though with the leveling up I will have achieved along the way) and then the second time around actually know what I'm doing and have a reasonable chance at finishing the game.