Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Re-Play: Final Fantasy XIII

This week's Re-Play is on an RPG of a series I've yet to complete a game in, Final Fantasy XIII.  In the past when I first received the game, the linear direction of the game was a definite plus for me, keeping me focused on my goals.  I really had a high hope that this would be the first game where I don't get bored and break off.  I was wrong, and I even lost my game save because of my laziness.  Will the second time be the Phoenix Down I need?

Staying on Track

Sure, the linearity of Final Fantasy XIII disheartened long-time fans of the series, saying that it made the game like a rails-on RPG.  For me, however, this was exactly what I needed to help speed me along the way closer to my original save point.  No side quests, no needless level grinding, no yearning to find the latest weapons early on - I just needed to get from point A to point B, and it helps when it's a straight line.

Cinematic Splosion

Going through the game a second time around means faster runs through familiar territory.  Faster runs made the cut scenes occur more frequently.  More frequent cut scenes made it feel like a closely-sewn-together anime movie.  This almost feels like the developers' original intention, because at the speed I was playing, the cinematic scenes together made some sense.  Plus, watching them again gave me a better understanding of the confusing plot behind the whole game, which was lost on me the first time.

A Guiding Light

I bought the strategy guide with the game at the time, something I normally never do.  There are only two conditions when I would get a strategy guide: (1) if it is well-written to the advanced gamer, and (2) I don't have time to finish the game on my own.  For the record, I've only acquired guides for RPGs, and for only a fraction of them, mind you.  My favorite publishers would have to be Piggyback (which produced the Final Fantasy XIII one) and Double Jump, publishers of the Disgaea strategy guides (up to Disgaea 3).  There's a level of gamer respect in each of these publishers, enough to respect the playing styles of its audience while at the same time becoming extremely informative without much spoilers.

That, and I don't have a lot of time on my hands to waste running around doing hour-long quests just because I got lost on the map.

Overall: Maybe

I speak overall on the idea of replaying any RPG.  The initial run gives you the sense of wonder and awe, the type that you can only acquire the first time you play a game.  Unlike other games that are built to be replayed, most RPGs tend to "put out on the first date" and leave you.  Unless you have the real drive to play through all the stories once more, you're really left to ponder whether the time is worth it to play any RPG again.
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