Sunday, March 23, 2014

Final Boredom XIII

              As a person who enjoys J-RPGs I have to concede to some of the reasons why people don't like my favorite sub genre.  I have heard it all such as boring gameplay, bad characters, and horrible story; And like this review it is all opinion of course.  And I will admit there are J-RPGs where I hate one of those aspects while enjoyed others.  Take Final Fantasy V for example, it is has a slightly entertaining but over all boring story.  Yet it has gameplay that brings me back over and over again.  Unlike Final Fantasy XIII which personally is so horrid on so many different facets that I am amazed and a bit scared that this was created.  For me Final Fantasy XIII should be a case study in all the things that doesn't work in a J-RPG.

                It's hard for me to pinpoint what offends me about this game the most, but I would have to say the characters are the worst offenders.  Every character in this game is ripped right out of the "Japanese Anime Character Stereotype How To" book.  Lighting the angsty solder sadly has the most growth out of the cast even if it's just "I accept you as my brother in law".  The rest of the cast for the most part made me want to beat me head in.  I grew sick of Snow acting like a moron while not seeing how his actions can affect other people and learning from them; all while being angsty about his girlfriend being a crystal.  Hope who won't shut up about his dead mother and angst about it throughout a good portion of the game.  Vanille who acts bubbly while hiding her own angst of turning a kid into crystal, while her friend Fang is a live and let live type.  Last is Sazh, which pretty much went "My son is crystal", "You made my son crystal, you shall die", and "Killing you won't do anything, lets finish our focus".  Not much growth since he just went from an emotional outburst to a rational conclusion in the span of one cutscene.  I was so numbed from how awful the heroes were I somehow got it in my head they where the bad guys, and I blame that on how bad the plot was.
                The plotting in this game is awful and feels like it is full of holes the whole way through.  The story constantly implying you were the "bad guys" then reversing it so much I thought the game was having a bi-polar attack.  What made it worse was that the game kept dumping datalogs on me after each story moment to understand what happened.  Why the hell do I need to read extra datalogs to explain a cut-scene that just happened.  It's like if Mass Effect had a scene talking about the Reapers being bad yet good then vomiting a datalog on me to say "Oh no they are bad because raisins".  I don't even want to talk about the villain who is so pathetic that he wants you to kill him, all that was missing was a ball gag in his mouth.  I get that his overall goal, but it is odd that if he was made to perform a task wouldn't that imply that his task is to destroy cocoon?  Also in the end he tells the  heroes that he wants to be killed.  In response the group says no, so just talks his army into killing him.  Which in turn causes our brave heroes to want to stop the army, but fighting and killing the big baddie in the process.  Sadly playing the game felt like a metaphor for cradle to spike covered grave, I honestly wished for my disc to explode so it would give me some excitement.

                Having to view this masterwork of storytelling I believe is my new personal hell.  I have never found a game to point to when people ask "How come no one likes J-RPGs".  But this game hits all the complaints people have with the sub genre, slams a bell on your head and beats you with a hammer.  This game should really be called a corridor RPG, much like corridor shooters that have come out in recent years.  Only difference is a corridor shooter will require more brain cells then smacking the X button when a bar is full.  "Clip-clop clip-clopping" down hall ways and narrow paths having to hear your footsteps the whole time.  I honestly think someone saw the scene in "Monty        Python Quest for the Holy Grail" where the guy was clapping coconuts for horse steps and thought that was something to have in the whole damn game.  The only relief is during battles where you can take a nap if you manage to set up a sippy bird to smack the X button for you every seven seconds.  Ninety percent of battles had me scan then just smack auto-battle until I hit a new enemy.  When it does get hairy I just have to swap pre-defined roles I had to set up like a mother trying to get her five year old ready for school.  So now it is smack auto-battle, and if my health is low I swap to a medic team auto-heal and switch back.  After you fight enough battles and get your angst high enough you get to spend time in the Crystarium to level up.  And it's not like the Sphere Grid system or the License system where you pick how you want to grow, it's just moving a node to predefined slots.  So there is no choice just tedium and worse off it gates you so you can't over power yourself until you get to a certain point.

                All and all this was a depressing fantasy I would love to leave for reality.  I much rather just play one of the older Final Fantasy games or a current gen game like Lost Odyssey.  This game is just crap in a very pretty and thin wrapper.