It should come as no surprise that I used to love Final Fantasy. It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to state that I likely played through some of the earlier entries like Final Fantasy VI hundreds of times, but somewhere along the line like many other gamers I bailed out. I never ventured into the franchise’s forays into the MMO platform, and the last main entry I played was Final Fantasy X which I never even finished.
When Final Fantasy XIII first released on the Xbox 360, it was a title I was hoping to check out. I honestly hadn’t read much about it beforehand so knew little of its premise or mechanical departures. All I really knew was that it starred a female protagonist called Lightning and that many of the individuals that made the series so legendary had left Square Enix many years prior.
Hironobu Sakaguchi who created the series and directed most of the earlier entries left Square in 2004 to form his own studio Mistwalker Corporation. In the same year, Nobuo Uematsu who single-handedly made Final Fantasy the most recognizable video game series for its music also departed Square to focus on personal projects and would coincidentally compose a great majority of Sakaguchi’s future titles now under the Mistwalker brand. Also writer Kazushige Nojima who was responsible for many of the previous main series entries like Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy X did not return as lead for Final Fantasy XIII (although he was responsible for its core mythology).
The departure of many of these notable figures followed closely on the heels of the merger of Square and Enix just the year before. Whether this was pure coincidence or the fall-out over some internal drama remains open to speculation, but the bureaucratic paradigmatic shift has afterward often been cited as a starting point of decline for both companies. Both Square and Enix previously had been monstrous power houses who were consistently putting out innovative and medium-pushing titles. With their eventual merger, it seems the new conglomerate struggled to attain the greatness of either company in years past and have continuously shown signs of increasing financial woes and a complete inability to produce anything worthy of absolute critical acclaim.
This isn’t to say that all their future productions were duds, but it seemed entirely certain that the golden era that saw both companies regularly putting out titles that could informally make up a canon of sorts, was long gone.
From a personal standpoint, the decline of Square and Enix was markedly more impactful then merely the closing chapter of either great company. Instead, it signaled a personal departure from the larger genre of JRPGs but even more so, a growing disinterest in the cultural and mechanical sensibilities of the East. And with its decline, I unintentionally found myself skewing towards more Western styled productions like those of Bioware or Bethesda in the years to come.
The last year saw Square Enix re-releasing Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XIII-2 on the PC platform through Steam with the last entry in the XIII trilogy Lightning Returns expected to release shortly somewhere in the beginning of 2015. And at a heavily discounted price, I found myself deeply curious to delve back into the series as both a return to Final Fantasy, but also of where JRPGs seemingly stood in the current era dominated by the likes of The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher, and Dragon Age.
It also seemed like ideal timing to play through the trilogy with all three titles close together as a whole, as opposed to waiting years in between like for those who had to actually wait for the original console releases previously. With that said, I have to admit I was entirely skeptical and already assuming I wasn’t going to enjoy the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy at all. The whole anime and J-Pop flavorings of the franchise in recent years was something I wasn’t particularly fond of, nor was the “uncanny valley”-ness of its character models something that I could easily ignore. I had grown to like the realistic grit of the Western branch of development as opposed to the doll-like perfection of the East that was seemingly more obsessed with outlandish costumes and eerily symmetrical faces.
But I knew absolutely nothing of Final Fantasy XIII past what I have already mentioned here and that much of the Western audience hadn’t been entirely fond of it at launch. And sure enough my first few moments in the game were far from promising. I was finding myself frustrated with the lack of actual gameplay, limited freedom, and overall pointlessness in much of the interaction presented. The cutscenes which are most definitely over-abundant failed to impress as both spectacle but more importantly in establishing exactly what the hell was going on narratively speaking. For the first few hours of gameplay, I was entirely lost as to the events of the game’s sequence of events and conflict, and the rather poor dialogue and character behaviors only served to frustrate and confuse me further.
Upon initial impressions, I was finding myself quick to criticize and mostly unsure whether I really wanted to proceed. Above all else, Final Fantasy has always been a series about becoming emotionally invested in the struggles of a group of characters who the player can easily connect to. In Final Fantasy XIII, I simply found the cast downright dull to often embarrassingly annoying. No one actually talked organically or realistically, instead favoring one-liners and hokey hollow platitudes. It seemed if anything, the game was more concerned with modeling pretty characters doing inanely cute gestures over actually presenting depthful complex individuals who were actually worth being explored.
But for whatever reason I kept playing and once things actually started to fall into place I found myself actually becoming invested in the events unfolding before me. The characters stopped being idiots and began acting like genuine individuals. While Final Fantasy XIII may have been a side step from the series I used to know and love, it is difficult to write it off completely. And through my subsequent play-through of the followup Final Fantasy XIII-2, I was increasingly finding that much of my previous distaste was largely inconsequential, and might have been more a harsh reaction to the game’s surface rather then its core elements.
Is it “Final Fantasy?” And the Cultural Divide.
The first consideration I had when delving into Final Fantasy XIII was whether or not it retained some semblance of a core identity the series had in the past. While Final Fantasy has never been about continuity, it has to a degree held a certain tonal consistency. In other words, a player could easily distinguish Final Fantasy VII for example as a Final Fantasy game despite its divergence from the high fantasy aesthetic of previous titles and its jump to 3D models. If the music, UI, and base mechanics didn’t already give it away, its similar thematics and premise would have. And this is typically true of any of the main series entries up til Final Fantasy X.
That said, Final Fantasy XIII poses more of a challenge put to the same test. The combat mechanics are a far cry from the turn-based formula of the past and its aesthetic has little to do with its predecessors. From a narrative standpoint and one of structure, it is also difficult to draw any strong parallels. While the game retains the premise of a closed cast of characters facing a world-ending cataclysm, the breadth of interaction or influence is seemingly more centralized into exploring personal struggles.
For better or worse, Final Fantasy XIII while concerned with the literal threat of the world ending, is actually more concerned with a relatively diverse cast of characters being forced to work through their personal struggles but also find a willingness to work with each other. It is certainly easy to compare it to the likes of Bioware’s Mass Effect, and the comparison would be absolutely spot on however Final Fantasy XIII doesn’t offer the same sort of player freedom in exploring these relationships on their own volition. Much of the characterization is out of the hands of the player, instead being force-fed through cinematics.
Honestly past the appearance of Chocobos and items like Phoenix Downs, there is little to actually connect Final Fantasy XIII to the larger series from any standpoint. But the issue if there even is one, is that the game more then simply being divergent in thematics or premise, has made liberal shifts away from mechanics that used to be central to the series.
There is no longer an open world to explore, and even the exploration presented in isolated zones are limited. Critics regularly called out much of the exploration as simply walking down long hallways that were shamelessly linear. The reliance on cutscenes as well seemed to heavily overshadow the amount of time players actually spent playing the game.
In response to mostly criticism from the West, director Motomu Toriyama stated that Western players unfairly expected an open world to explore that fundamentally contradicted the notion of providing a deeply compelling story that had been carefully crafted. Past the specific merits of Final Fantasy XIII, Toriyama’s sentiments on the matter do ring true. While player freedom can provide an enormous avenue for emergent play and immersion, it typically goes against the idea of telling a specific story.
In a sense, linear practices in game development are more or less akin to strong direction in film. Without it, games often lose focus and are open to be experienced by players in vastly unintended fashion, such as going off and continuously running over pedestrians instead of engaging in the personal conflict of Niko Bellic and his struggles to integrate into American life in GTA IV. This of course shouldn’t be an indication that either approach is inherently inferior, rather that each has their specific uses. And choice while novel, isn’t always something that is beneficial to the holistic experience especially when writers and developers cannot accurately predict how players will react, and in turn create the relevant proceeding content.
The real issue however is that previous Final Fantasy titles were still able to provide compelling narratives with a much higher degree of player freedom. While the narrative itself would typically progress in a static linear fashion, players were free to roam a large expansive world to go off on side-quests or simply tackle the ingame content at the player’s own discretion, rather then having their hand held by any sort of closed rigid structuring.
Final Fantasy XIII on the other hand with the exception of its combat is mechanically a glorified walking simulator. It honestly wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that it has less interaction outside of combat then the likes of Gone Home which at the very least allowed players to explore its game space albeit on a smaller scale.
From a cultural standpoint and of director Toriyama’s general sentiments, there is definitely a difference in expectations mechanically from the East to the West. While this is most certainly a generalization, I do typically find that the East is less concerned with the mechanics of a game and how it relates to the narrative. Notions of dissonance are nearly non-existent and games tend to employ practices that would be totally unacceptable by Western audiences.
For example Resident Evil’s usage of lower FOV (field of view) and no option to adjust it has been a point of contention especially on the PC platform. Unlike consoles which are typically developed from the understanding that its players will be yards away seated on a couch, PC gamers are comparatively at a much closer distance to their display where a low FOV can not only pose an uncomfortable challenge, but actually cause nausea.
It has been regularly justified as a purposeful design decision to increase tension, feelings of claustrophobia, and for added difficulty. However some in the West have questioned this notion, especially in light of more recent entries that didn’t actually feel tense, but instead more game-y drawing the player out of immersion. While challenge itself is obviously not something that should be avoided, from a game design standpoint it seems problematic to simply aim to create obstacles for the sake of preventing players from reaching their goals more efficiently.
This was certainly the issue with Dark Souls II which seemingly had a flawed design proof of concept from its inception. MatthewMatosis did a lengthy critique of the title wherein he discusses the game’s reliance on simply making a challenging game specifically, instead of utilizing challenge to actually enhance the overall experience. Dark Souls II was characteristically advertised as brutally hard and even opens with the game telling the player they will die over and over again, then presents them with a monument tallying global player deaths.
The issue here in comparison to the series’ previous entries was that difficulty was never the end goal, rather a means to paint a dark and utterly hopeless world. But Dark Souls II failed on this front by focusing on its mechanics and ignoring the original premise for its usage. This isn’t to say that it was necessarily a bad game, rather it lost sight of what made its previous entries so memorable and like with Resident Evil, these mechanical choices made the game feel too formalistic in its approach. It was fairly hard to get drawn into its world when I was constantly being reminded of the fact that I was simply partaking in a series of mechanical systems, most of which were more annoying then actually difficult.
The question becomes whether Final Fantasy XIII failed to impress a large segment of its Western fanbase because of an actual shift in developmental methodologies, or rather if the fanbase itself had shifted in its own sensibilities. It would be fairly easy to draw some correlation between the release of Final Fantasy XII in 2006 to the release of Final Fantasy XIII four years later and the changes in the genre’s climate here in the West in those central years. In between that time, Bioware dominated the RPG market with the releases of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age: Origins. All three of which can clearly be linked to a resurgence in the genre in addition to elevating it to an increasingly mainstream audience on the level of blockbuster titles like Call of Duty.
With all that said, there is absolutely one thing that Final Fantasy XIII did get right and it certainly falls in line with what made some of the series’ previous entries so successful. While at first impression, the cast of characters were altogether unlikable and caricatures of anime/ Japanese tropes, by the halfway mark things took a noticeable turn for the better.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to state that Final Fantasy XIII provides any sort of deep deconstruction of both genre and cultural tropes, it does become apparent as the narrative develops, that the initial distaste for the cast is somehow fitting to the direction the individual characterizations head.
On meaningful characters and what we ultimately remember from gaming.
The first thing I remember when thinking back on Final Fantasy VI is Celes being stranded on an island and having just awoken from a coma to realize the world has utterly been destroyed. What follows is Celes trying to look after a sickened Cid by trying to obtain fish from the sea and other equally mundane tasks. In the face of such cataclysmic events, the whole ordeal presents a strange irony especially on a first play-through given I wasn’t sure where the game was headed in what had appeared as shocking defeat. We had failed to prevent Kefka from tearing the world apart and like Celes on screen, I felt utterly hopeless and without direction. It was almost comedic how the game went from epic battles against fantastical monsters to simply staving off sickness bereft of any sense of fantasy.
In other words, what I remember most from earlier Final Fantasy titles isn’t the nuances of its gameplay or mechanics, or even the epic struggles to save the world. What I find myself remembering primarily, are those personal moments of character interaction often outside the context of the larger struggle.
When remembering Final Fantasy V, I recall Lenna and Faris realizing they are long lost sisters after having already bonded over the course of a long adventure, then having a brief emotional reunion with their father. And while I certainly remember the epic battles with Exdeath or other equally formidable enemies, they are not what comes to mind initially.
With Final Fantasy XIII, it is difficult to defend the writing to any substantial degree. There are clearly issues with how the world is initially introduced and the manner in which the needlessly complex premise is handled. And honestly, I would freely admit that much of the specifics and motivations of the antagonistic forces in the game still confuse me.
But I found myself not really caring about the conflict between Cocoon and Gran Pulse or the grand machinations of Dysley or Orphan. Instead these overarching threats only served as a framework to allow the cast of playable characters to actually grow and relate to one another.
In much the same way that the film adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy thrust a collection of diverse characters who would normally be at odds with one another, Final Fantasy XIII similarly forced a cast of individuals with minimal prior relation against a common enemy.
The basic premise and setup for Final Fantasy XIII presents a more focused and divergent character exploration then any previous entry and sees more character growth then ever before. For this alone, the game might be worth a certain degree of acclaim outside comparisons to the series as a whole. It is somewhat intriguing how Final Fantasy XIII equally presents what is possibly the most unlikeable cast of characters, then by the end of the game has you actually caring about them and feeling a degree of empathy.
Lightning the so called protagonist of the game is initially presented as a cold and apathetic individual void of any redeeming qualities past her porcelain beauty. She is altogether ignorant of those around her and fails to think outside her own enclosed worldview.
On the other side of the spectrum, Snow presents an opposing but equally frustrating character. One who is too sure of himself and ego-driven. But like Lightning lacks the ability to expand his focus on the conflict at hand. A self proclaimed “hero,” Snow is initially presented as reckless and somewhat irresponsible when simultaneously freeing Purge victims and then getting them killed.
In the middle of the two is arguably the single catalyst for much of the narrative, Lightning’s sister and Snow’s fiancée Serah. While primarily playing a background role to the events of the game, Serah is central to the motivations and goals of not only Lightning and Snow, but of the rest of the playable characters.
Before the events of the game, Serah is made a L’Cie by a Pulse Fal’Cie making her an immediate enemy to those around her, but especially to her own sister Lightning who is an officer of Cocoon’s military. As a brief explanation of Final Fantasy XIII, the setting is roughly composed of two opposing worlds. Cocoon where the majority of the story takes place and home to most of the playable characters is a world that floats in the sky over Gran Pulse. Gran Pulse on the other hand is the larger planet below which is comparatively inhospitable being inhabited by formidable beasts and merciless mother nature. Each world has their own gods called Fal’Cie who regularly and against the will of the person, brand them as L’Cie into their service.
Becoming a L’Cie has nothing to do with personal choice or alignment to either world and is largely at the whims of the Fal’Cie in question. L’Cie are cursed to carry out a Focus, or a specific task set forth by their Fal’Cie. In addition they are endowed with great physical and magical abilities to aid in their quest. However for reasons never explained, L’Cie are not actually told their Focus but must rather figure it out on their own.
And failing to complete one’s Focus in a timely manner results in the L’Cie being transformed into a horrific mindless monster akin to turning into a zombie for a lack of better description. While completion bestows the gift of immortality via becoming crystallized, at least that’s how the legend goes. Both the player and the characters themselves are unsure of the actual truth, and crystallization seemingly presents as much a death sentence then failure.
The State of Cocoon unsurprisingly hunts down Pulse L’Cie and goes to great lengths to exterminate them. The Purge is a literal mass-killing sanctioned by the State where anyone even thought to have been touched by a Pulse L’Cie are rounded up and executed. It should also be noted however that Cocoon has their own L’Cie branded by their own separate Fal’Cie, of whom are conversely hailed as heroes but typically put under similar scrutiny.
Serah before the events of the game is branded by a Pulse Fal’Cie that has secretly invaded her home of Bodhum on Cocoon. The narrative opens with both Lightning and Snow days later trying to rescue Serah from her fate amidst the chaos of Bodhum getting purged as a result. Snow leads a group of friends simultaneously trying to free Purge captives while making his way toward Serah. While Lightning accompanied by Sazh is headed in the same direction from a different route.
Without getting into extraneous detail, Snow and Lightning among the rest of the playable cast through their own motivations make their way to where Serah is being held. However the reunion is short lived as Serah crystallizes before their eyes seemingly having fulfilled her Focus which remains unknown to the player and the characters.
The other characters are then all branded themselves by the same Fal’Cie and given a collective unknown Focus that must be completed together. This largely dictates the primary direction of the narrative that sees this cast of characters exiled and on the run, while at the same time trying to figure out what their Focus is.
What is ultimately intriguing in retrospect, is how Final Fantasy XIII sets up much the groundwork for its characterizations in these first few segments of introduction. It simultaneously introduces most of its playable cast and presents their personal motivations while also painting a clear picture of where they stand in relation to one another.
Snow and Lightning are obviously at ends over the loss of Serah with both blame and guilt being thrown at each other including at themselves. Hope a young boy who was on the Purge train has immediate resentment towards Snow who just minutes before put a gun in his mother’s hands inadvertently resulting in her death. But much like the self-guilt felt by Lightning and Snow, Hope is also equally overcome with guilt at having simply stood by as captives around him like his own mother chose to take up arms instead of running away.
Vanille while outwardly excessively sugary sweet, presents a character who is noticeably not what she appears to be. From a casual glance by players initially, her mannerisms and dress are immediately jarring to those around her placing her as an explicit outsider not of Cocoon.
And lastly Sazh seems the most out of place being a relative adult among children, and clearly not possessing the mental disposition to be in such chaotic turmoil while also being the only character having the maturity to see past trivial personal drama. It is unclear why he is accompanying Lightning at the start of the game, although it is obvious they don’t share any sort of lengthy relationship.
Probably the most significant aspect of the characterizations in Final Fantasy XIII is the depth to which the game goes in order to explore a variety of character interactions to express individual growth. The whole cast of playable characters are vastly different individuals from the opening moments of the game to its final closing.
Quite soon after becoming L’Cie, the group fragments and heads off in their own respective paths not able to work together. Lightning who is stubbornly head strong and from a militaristic mindset sees everyone else as weak and a liability, goes off on her own. Hope in his own angsty state follows suit seeing a certain comfort in the coldness of Lightning but soon is abandoned by her as well.
In an ironic turn, Snow of all people seems to look out for Hope despite the boiling anger he secretly harbors towards him. And eventually when Hope tells Snow of his mother and attempts to kill him in an act of misplaced vengeance, Snow doesn’t hesitate to shield him from danger anyways. And largely from observing his older peers like Snow, Hope fundamentally becomes a different person. He goes from a child emotionally lashing out unable to properly process trauma, to an actual mature voice of reason who is able to see past himself. Not only does he come to terms with his mother’s death and his new found companions, he also reconnects with his estranged father.
In turn, learning of being responsible for the death of Hope’s mother and many others despite his good intentions, Snow becomes noticeably more humbled and less prone to act on impulse. And Lightning as well goes through a similar transformation by actually opening up to those around her who she frequently finds to be less of a liability, but friends she actually cares about. In this manner and through these external influences, Lightning and Snow repair their own relationship especially in light of the chance to save Serah, of whom they both care about deeply.
Lastly the two most seemingly well-adjusted characters Sazh and Vanille, are slowly revealed through their own lengthy interaction that their calm exterior is simply a means to hide their own personal trauma. Sazh while initially appearing as simply a source of comedic relief, is shown to be coping with his own son becoming a Cocoon L’Cie and thus being put under supervision and seperated. In a certain way, his pairing with Vanille who is arguably the most childish of the bunch, could be a sign of projecting a need to nurture or guide onto someone else.
And the noticeably depressed demeanor of Vanille by Sazh is read as a reaction to the recent events they had just been subjected to. Because of this and unlike the other characters who chose a more dangerous path, Sazh suggests the two of them go to Nautilus, famous for their amusement park. Vanille agrees in her usual cheery self however is subsequently revealed to be harboring her own feelings of guilt, and clearly knowing more then she lets on.
In a twist of irony, it is revealed that Vanille is in fact responsible for Sazh’s son Dajh becoming a L’Cie when she ignored her own Focus and also having been a Pulse L’Cie already who had awoken prior to the events of the game from previous crystallization. In this manner, it is shown that Sazh seeks some sort of redemption through helping Vanille, and that Vanille herself likely attached herself to Sazh out of feelings of guilt.
A final brief note on the playable characters, Fang has gone unmentioned and this is largely intentional. While her own characterization wasn’t flawed in anyway, her later inclusion into the game placed her in a space that simply didn’t provide enough relevance to discuss. And given she is one of two characters secretly from Gran Pulse, I tend to lean towards the notion that her inclusion was somewhat unnecessary from a narrative standpoint. The game could likely have done with just Vanille, or an amalgamation of both.
Reaching a final verdict
There is no debating the strength of Final Fantasy XIII’s characterization nor the climatic emotional punch it delivers which had me in a state of catatonia. The narrative while bumpy, is overall satisfying to the needs of providing a vehicle for the characters to grow and interact.
However while my impression of the game was overwhelmingly positive especially after I had given it enough time to sink in, I have to admit that in retrospect it is a difficult game to defend from a mechanical standpoint. It was simply all too apparent when the game went from moments of non-interaction to those of interaction, and the balance of the two left much to be desired.
Comparatively, Final Fantasy XIII as a primarily narrative driven game still seems problematic when put against something like Telltale’s The Walking Dead which had a similar if not worse balance of gameplay and simply watching the narrative play out. The difference however is that Telltale employed mechanics with careful precision and with great thought.
QTEs might typically be seen negatively, but with The Walking Dead, it was often used sparingly to create tension and anxiety. The choices as well while not offering branching narratives, created a sense of immediacy and the borrowed point-and-click mechanics added a contrast of the everyday mundanity of survival against the more action-oriented encounters with walkers.
Final Fantasy XIII on the other hand felt like most of the developmental effort went into the moments of non-interaction which were typically heavily directed and pre-rendered with a higher level of sophistication. The actual mechanics of the game felt somewhat shoddy and honestly I would be hard pressed to state anything worthwhile about them. I could however list off a multitude of things that I found fundamentally flawed such as a contradicting inclusion of stealth mechanics against the need to grind, a combat system that felt unpolished, and inconsistent difficulty with drastic spikes.
Overall the mechanical systems of Final Fantasy XIII seemed more or less unfinished or simply not carefully thought through. In my proceeding play-through of Final Fantasy XIII-2, this became abundantly clear where it went to great lengths to polish many of the same systems to overall workable conditions. For example, the paradigm shift combat in the first game felt confusing and somewhat jarring, while in the followup felt increasingly more strategic instead of simply frantic.
The narrative as well had elements of relating to its mechanics in a way that was meaningful, but the mechanics themselves often simply failed to live up to these expectations. The whole premise of becoming branded as L’Cie and its subsequent progression provided an actual narrative reason for why the playable characters possessed superhuman abilities and why players would be able to improve them. However given the inconsistent difficulty and initially confusing leveling and combat systems, the interplay never played out as nicely as it could have.
Ultimately if one were to judge Final Fantasy XIII without the Final Fantasy brand, one could speculate on a difference of overall perception. I would still argue that the mechanics would have failed to impress but as a first entry in a series as opposed to an implied lineage from the brand name, the roughness of its systems could have been considered more generously.
And in retrospect, my play-through of Final Fantasy XIII-2 had me looking back on the first game and seeing it more as a trial run that simply needed a good polishing. And even looking back on the series itself and its more notable entries, namely those between Final Fantasy IV thru Final Fantasy VII, it is clear that this specific range of golden era titles had the benefit of building atop the same formula. The ATB system introduced in Final Fantasy IV and much of the other mechanical systems went more or less unchanged into Final Fantasy VII.
The series seemingly started to teeter off once it began experimenting with its core mechanics with each proceeding title instead of refining a single workable formula. With that said, it is visibly unfair to judge Final Fantasy XIII directly against many of its predecessors given it was arguably a new venture. To quote then-president of Square Enix Yoichi Wada, “Should Final Fantasy become a new type of game or should Final Fantasy not become a new type of game?” in response to the game’s divergence and subsequent criticism.
And especially in light of the recent unveiling of Final Fantasy XV which has completely abandoned its traditions of turn-based combat into the more contemporary action-RPG in an open sandbox setting, it seems that while Final Fantasy XIII might have missed the mark, their willingness to break away from itself was the right path. Feedback for Final Fantasy XV while still early into its development has been overwhelmingly positive, and it presents one of the most significant shifts in the series’ whole history.
Lastly from my own personal standpoint, it’s completely uncertain whether I will reminisce on Final Fantasy XIII to the same extent as the series’ previous entries. I don’t think I would be too off-base to say that it is likely the most imperfect Final Fantasy that I have played. However, once I step out of a critical space and react to it emotionally, I find it utterly impossible to not still find a significant degree of attachment and fondness for it. Likely the best indicator of the game’s worth was how long I waited to buy Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was immediately after and my impressions for the followup were objectively much more favorable.