I'm the sort of chap who typically does his research before making a purchase of any order. Anytime I've not done so (HP cameras, shoes, Darksiders... etc) I've typically gotten burned. So, recently I've started reading the reviews for Final Fantasy 13 that have trickled onto the web. So far, all I've read, in not particular order, are:
5. Still Linear.
7. 25 hours of Linear.
8. Great fighting.
9. Linear. Still.
Well, this frightens me some because it seems Final Fantasy 13, to the fear of all generational Final Fantasy fans, may well indeed suck. What to do, what to do, what to do.... I hate renting anything because in essense, you are just adding to the cost of a game if you figure you are going to buy it anyway. "Here's 6 more dollars, just because I don't need it". If it's just a weekend gathering and you want a copy of a game that needs multiple copies, it's a great way to get around everyone owning it. (I'm looking at YOU Gears of War 2). But, to rent to try and see if you like then you do, you turn an already expensive $69.99 title into a $75.99 or even $79.99 title, which just isn't good for anyone save the shop who rents the title then sells the title. Blah. This is where demos save people. In store demos, downloadable demos, you know, to see if you like a game RISK FREE. Divinity 2 got a sale from me just because the demo worked out so well. SquareEnix (the company who make Final Fantasy) would do well in releasing a demo just because the reviews for the title read like obituaries in some cases. Let people decide for themselves.
To me, so far, I'm on the fence. It sounds like they've taken the FF formula and made it less stale. BUT... they've also taken some of the joy of freedom away from it as well. I have trouble playing older Final Fantasies now because I find the trudge of grinding levels and waiting for full animated sequences for Summon Attacks to complete a little tedious. I just want to get through a fight and move the story along. Random encounters bug the hell out of me now. Sometimes I get random encountered right out of a game as it seems I can't pick a fight when I need it (those grinding times) and I can't take two steps without getting nailed when I don't want them (I hate you... Lost Odyssey).
All of this thought and discussion on the traditional JRPG formula really shows how engrained it is in our generations gamers psyches. We've all had a game like Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy in our catalogues at least once in our lives. They have always been the backbone of what Role Playing is to some gamers. But now, we see the faults in the formula. Sad, sad indeed. We want more, and apparently, Final Fantasy 13 is trying to give us that.
1. At the start it controls what you do with your team.
- Reason being, it helps you get into the game and learn it. People get lost at the start of so many JRPG's because they get overwhelmed.
2. At the start it's linear.
- Reason being, it keeps you from getting lost, another reason players stop playing.
I can't speak for the battle system as I haven't tried it myself or read enough on it. From the briefest of notes I've read on it, it takes the Active Battle Time or whatever it's called and from Final Fantasy 12 and cleans it up, which is good. Hopefully it did away with all the weird little lines on the screen. Very annoying.
All in all I am afraid I will regret getting this game. But I have to take the "don't let your fears rule you" thought with this as well, because there is one thing that is worse than fear, it's regret for not trying. I'd regret not getting it, and can still trade it away if it sucks. Simple.
I love gaming. :)