A World of Canyons

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Sep 052013

Playing Tales of Xillia made me think of Final Fantasy, which was probably not the intended effect. Of course, Xillia is unquestionably a Tales game. Its story leans heavily on the series’ core tropes – dual worlds, alienated (or alien) young women, uses of magic causing imbalances in nature – and its chaotic combat could never be confused with the more stately pace of the active time battle system. Several Tales hallmarks are downplayed, however – Xillia has possibly the simplest food system in the series, and the title and grade systems have been fused and shoved down into a submenu [Read more…]

Jul 072011
Final Fantasy XIII: A series of tubes

The worst reason to hate Final Fantasy XIII is because of its linearity. Non-linearity doesn’t necessarily improve a game, and following a constrained path doesn’t necessarily make it worse. All Final Fantasy games, including the most highly praised ones, have been essentially linear in both story and world design, and FFXIII is not even unique in degree, given FFX. A player’s desire to break out of a constrained experience is usually not a result of linearity per se, but instead reflects a failure of the game’s story to engage that player. “Failure” is a reasonably good description of FFXIII‘s story, [Read more…]

Final Fantasy XIII: The best part

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Jul 062011
Final Fantasy XIII: The best part

Despite respectable review scores and reasonably good sales, Final Fantasy XIII is widely derided, for many good reasons and a few bad ones. Defenders of the game often point to the battle system as the game’s saving grace. I found myself sharing the sentiment when I played through the game recently. That might be seen as damning by faint praise, given that so much of the game was attacked, but the combat system really is quite strong, and manages to incorporate principles that are familiar from hard-core RPGs in a dynamic and accessible way. While it probably won’t satisfy players [Read more…]

Feb 142008

As I started writing that review of FFXII: Revenant Wings, I realized that I’d never taken out my notes on its predecessor and arranged them into a review. So, I decided I would go ahead and do that. I’ve played through the game twice now, and I feel it likely that I’ll play it again at some point in the future. Final Fantasy XII walks an interesting line: compared to recent entries in the series it seems very much like a new direction. I felt, however, that it actually hearkened back to older entries in many ways. This synthesis had [Read more…]