Regarding Final Fantasy XIII, 1up writes:
Despite its deviations from tradition, FFXIII really does play to the series’ core strengths. In many ways, it improves on them. Think of FFXIII as the essence of modern Final Fantasy: The series stripped down to little more than story and combat. As such, the quality of the game is entirely contingent on the quality of those two elements. To its credit, they’re among the best the series has ever seen.
This is good.
I haven’t played a Final Fantasy game since VII. I think two things happened.
- 40 hours costs a lot more in my 20s than it did in my teens.
- It got…really…Japanesey.
Of course it should have that Japanese influence. It’s developed in Japan. But as American business has gotten into the game console market I think they’ve had an unexpected influence on modern games. A genre typically reserved for the PC, first-person shooters, made their way into living rooms.
The past 10 years of console gaming has been defined by shooters, at least in the states. North American companies are not good at RPGs, at least the style that Square defined with Final Fantasy. But we have our own take on them. Just look at anything Bioware makes. With Mass Effect Bioware took elements of shooters and placed them into an RPG.
And I think that’s exposed a bit of a rift between east and west gaming culture. Even with voice acting. Take Skies of Arcadia, a game originally developed for the Dreamcast.
I didn’t make it to the end because I got very annoyed with having to hear “Moons! GIVE ME STRENGTH!” every single time I casted a spell in a battle. I’ll take a poorly acted western RPG over a well acted Japanese/Anime style voice acting any day. I like games, but I just plain don’t like Anime.
Battle systems were unusual too. Remember how long summons took in FFVII? They added incredibly detailed sequences to battles that really stretch things out. How long did your battle with Sephiroth take? I think mine may have been around 40 minutes. Nearly an hour fighting an end boss.
So I welcome the changes I’m reading about in FFXIII. But still, 40 hours is a looooooooooong time.