You can guess that as Final Fantasy XIII is one of my favourite games that I would be pretty excited for a new game starring XIII’s main character. I should point out that I have deliberatly not looked at previews and reviews so I could go in knowing as little as possible, so it may be things I talk about change or dont really have an impact. Having played the first 5 hours or so, it’s interesting but like XIII I think it will be a slow build up.
The plot carries on from the story dlc from XIII-2. The non spoiler version is Lightning has 13 days to save individuals until God awakens and destroys everything. There is a lot of talk of religon and heretics which makes for a nice change. The one thing about the plot that worries me is the time limit. Time counts down when you are running around in the areas. Now normally in a JRPG, I like to spend some time in an area levelling up before going for the boss or progressing. With a time limit, this might be difficult but then you find you dont level up by fighting monsters in the traditional sense. You level up by helping people out with their problems. You can also level up your abilities to help but i’ll get to this with the combat. So if you dont go around and deal with peoples problems, come the later stages you could be way underpowered. I like to talk to most NPC’s in a game but this could lead to OCD levels of talking to randoms. The problems i’ve dealt with range from escorting a dude about 25m to get him to work safely to racing a small child. One nice addition is the first main town you get to explore has lots of back alleys and feels good to explore.
The combat has yet to really click with me. As this is a JRPG with only one playable character in battle, they have tried to make it more a bit more action-y but it just feels like I can really screw up a fight. You have three different sets of moves, each with their own useage meter. But each set only has four slots which you decide on before battle. Run into an enemy that has a fire weakness but none of your sets have fire spell, tough luck. Its a pretty different system and hopefully its one of those ones that the more you use it, the more it makes sense. The customisation appears pretty epic. You can mix and match outfits, weapons and shields. Then add accessories on top of that. They all have their own specifics to them so no doubt the idea is to end up with one for attack, one for magic and one for use while the others recharge their use gauges. Well thats what I have been using so far.
A nice addition is the ability to download the Japanese voice’s via PSN for free. Having played the past two games with the English voices, i’ll be sticking with those. Though if I find myself grinding lots or on a completetionist run through, its nice to have the option.