|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 9, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
We all know the series. We all know what to expect from Square Enix as far as story and graphics. What we could not have expected was that nearly a year ago we would have been bedazzled with the announcement of three separate titles all with XIII attached to them. Square Enix further made use scratch our heads by stating that none of the titles will be related the way previous "sequels" have been. They will share the same universe and that they are collectively referred to as Fabula Nova Crystallis, which means the new tale of the crystal, but that will be it. Two of the titles will be sharing a home on the PlayStation 3, while the third will find its own niche on mobile phones.
The story of Final Fantasy XIII will take place mainly in the large floating city of Cocoon. The story begins when something from the lower world, called Pulse, invades Cocoon. The city of Cocoon was created by the crystals and is protected by machines. The inhabitants of the city have lived peacefully for many years, and now that peace has been disrupted. The invasion from the world below furthers the worst fears of the denizens about their city falling from the sky. The government of Cocoon, in fact, deports the people who do things to harm the city or even people that might have the ability to fell the giant air city. Recent contact with those from the world below, have caused people to question one another and their way of life. This disturbance has lead the government of Cocoon to exile any who show signs of coming in contact with the world of Pulse.
The crystals responsible for the creation of Cocoon have looked for a woman, one who would destroy Pulse and its inhabitants. Her name is Lightning and it is believed that this woman will lead the world to its fall. Not much is known about Lightning, not even to herself. However, it has been stated that Lightning is not her real name, it is a codename given by the crystal. The only other details about her are derived from the trailer. Due to the stripes on her uniform, she appears to be a high-ranking soldier and she lives in the city of Cocoon. Continuing traditions with previous Final Fantasy installments, Lightning will not be the only character in the mix. It has recently been stated that Lightning may not even be the main protagonist of this title. Lightning will also use an anti-gravity device, seen in the trailer, to defend her city against the soldiers of Pulse.
As far as information on other characters, Square Enix is as mum as they always are. However, in a recent trailer there is a blonde bandanna wearing man that comes to the aid of Lightning. Other than him being an apparent ally, not much else is known, though it does appear he will use rifle-based weapon. No other characters have been revealed for the main cast, but there has been mention of a long running tradition getting another revamp. The summons have been mentioned for the game, but they will most likely not be known as summons. In fact, they may not even appear as they have in the past. Recently, it was reveled that the blonde-haired person that comes to Lightning's rescue in the trailer will have control over Shiva, which most will recognize as an FF long-stay, and Shiva will change into a motorcycle. To further itch our brains, the motorcycle two sister pairing of Shiva will be ridable in the game, and you will also be able to fight enemies while atop the summon.
This new change to the summons will not be the only either welcomed or unwelcomed change to come with the number XIII. The ATB system has been tweaked to the point that we will still be able to input commands, but the action will be even faster paced than it was in XII. The battle system is still considered an ATB system, complete with time flowing by as you input commands. However, the actual means of input has changed a bit and will now allow for more control options. You'll be able to, for example, select between carrying out a simple slash, or charging and then slashing. Some characters will be able to combine magic with standard attacks. Moreover, all of this is somehow connected to a new animation system that will blend individual motions to result in a single smooth motion. Don't expect this battle system to be a refined XII, on the contrary. Instead of saying "oh look there's an enemy, let's get it," we will have new ways to get into our brawls with the enemy. However, even though the battles have been referred to as "party battles," it has not been confirmed whether we will be able to control the actions of the other members or if they will act on there own.
In addition to the main party getting a revamp on the battle system, fans should expect tweaks to the enemies as well. Instead of enemies that are basic carbons of previously fought enemies, the difficulty and abilities of our foes will greatly depend on where we encounter them and what type of enemy they are. The enemies of XIII will be categorized with greater detail. Battalions will have their own personnel chart with each soldier having there own background story. This amount of detail will stray away from the traditional sense of the classic monster battles.
Now being on the numeral XIII, Square Enix has proven they don't plan to stop anytime soon, and fans of Final Fantasy couldn't be happier. The series has been known to take risks that payoff big. With the development of Fabula Nova Crystallis, it appears that Square Enix is pulling out all the stops to draw in fans of the series and breathe new life for soon to be fans. Final Fantasy XIII is the first and the anticipation level builds with each month leading towards the release date. Keep checking back for more information.
CCC Freelance Writer