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09 March 2010 @ 08:22 am
Final Fantasy 13  
A lot of the reviews have compared the linearity of FF13 to traversing a series of tubes. This may give you the misleading impression that you spend the entire game traversing down a uniform passage of circular cross-section. That would be misleading.

You're (mostly) stuck to the floor, so the cross-section isn't circular, and the width of the tube varies quite a bit. The tube will also bend occasionally.

I got an hour and a half into the game last night, and i'd just gotten to the first non-tube section. Unfortunately a quick flip through the bonus mini-strategy guide that came with the pre-order shows that it is also the _last_ non-tube section for quite awhile. In fact it is the only non-tube section shown in the maps, though that may go no further than another two or three hours into the game, it's hard to tell.

Other observations from my brief experience so far.

Actual dialogue is perfectly legible on my 27" SD TV. And i can tell what i'm doing in battle, though i sometimes have to squint a little. Some of the details in the menus are really hard to read though. I checked the settings menu first thing before starting the game, and could have sworn the "On" option was selected for the subtitles, so i was surprised when the game started up and there was no text. Turns small blur that started with a large 'O' was actually "Off."

Is there a TVTropes for "wacky black sidekick who provides comic relief"?

Combat is very fast paced. Perhaps a little too fast paced. They do provide you with the option to change it in the settings. Your choices are "normal," which as noted is a little too fast, and "slow," which is way too slow. Perhaps i will get used to the fast speed. Though it's annoying to note that the "slow" option would have easily provided enough time to control all the characters and to spare. And i'm not 100% convinced the same won't be true of "normal" once i get used to it.

The camera is kind of awkward during battles (hmmm, not sure if i actually tried to see if i could control it or not. Need to remember to try that tonight.) There were many times where i wanted to use an area attack and make sure it was pointed at the enemy in the middle of the group, but i couldn't tell which enemy the cursor was pointing at because my characters were standing in the way. The camera in general feels a little... loose i guess? The running controls seem a little awkward too. That may be something i get used to though.

I think i read the battles described somewhere as "transitionless." Since the terminology has already gotten confused here, i'm not sure what they meant when they used that word, but when you touch enemies in the main map you will get in a fight with the exact same group that you see, however there is a graphical transition to a somewhat different setup. It's not just everyone rearranging themselves on the map like with Chrono Trigger. I suspect that one of the most important reasons for this is to provide an excuse to teleport your companions back from wherever the hell they've wandered off to.

When the battle is over you get the usual "you won" screen, and after clicking through it there's a transition back to wherever you were when you ran into the enemy. So in my mind that's all well and good, some people might think that's too much of a "transition" though.

There is one glaring oversight however. It does switch to battle music when you go into battle, but there is no Fanfare at the end!!!!! It just keeps on with the regular battle music until you're done viewing your loot!! How the hell do they screw that up?!?

In the same vein, overall the music seems pretty forgettable so far.

Snow is just as ugly as the pre-release images led me to believe.

Vanille has a strange high-pitched accent (i think she's the Australian one?) which is a little unusual but might end up being kind of interesting. But she also spends a lot of time making weird little non-verbal exclamations which gets kind of annoying. She's also acting kind of like a twit. And her run animation... well, shelleycat said she runs like a drag queen. After hearing that i can't really think of a better description for it. She may grow on you later like Yuffie or Riku, but early signs are not promising.

There is also a doomed-to-be-sidelined sidekick character named "Gadot." I keep wondering if i'm going to have to wait for him. So far though it mostly seems like he keeps having to wait for me.

And finally, a small spoiler

When the character named "Mother" joined the resistance group after sending Hope off to theoretical safety, both shelleycat figured, okay, she's dead. I kept trying to predict when it would happen, and then we laughed when it did. Later when Snow was staring at the his hands while unknowingly standing next to her son, we quipped "this is the hand that killed your mom!" and both laughed. I think that probably reflects more on shelleycat and i than on the story though :)

Edit: Oh yeah, and speaking of the story, i wish there was a little less of it. I realize they may want to front load things to get us started, but it all seems rather rushed. I'd like a little more time to just play around with the game without tripping over another cutscene =P Presumably i'll get some of that once i get a little further into the game.
 
 
Current Mood: geekygeeky
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Pava: Osaka Sez!jmpava on March 9th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
ATB specifically discussed the english voice acting. They said overall it was very good and in fact made certain characters much more bearable then in the original voices, strangely enough. However, the one explicit exception to that was Vanille which they all seemed to rather hate specifically becuase it was an Australian accent trying to do 'jpop girl' and it really didn't work. I was actually discussing that one with Andrew after you took off yesterday. They even explicitly mentioned the running. They did say that part got better though.

The other thing of note is that they indicated that the game really started off TOO slow (for something that's supposed to be high paced action-y) becuase of how heavy the story is. As someone who has successfully made it through the beginning of Star Ocean 3, I'll probably be slightly inured to it personally, but yeah.

Anyway, just thought it was interesting that the two main things you (geoff) mentioned (well, two of three, they didn't mention the fanfare, but we know you are extra concerned about the music) seem to match what they said which perhaps gives credence to the rest of the stuff they said (specifically, the positives ;-> ).

Oh, and yeah, apparently the camera is fully analog stick adjustable.
DonAithnendonaithnen on March 9th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
Er, i think the game is going too quickly (and i think i recall other people saying it felt rushed to them) and ATB say they think it's going too slowly. I'm very confused :)

How is the camera "fully analog stick adjustable"? They make you pick the inversion right at the start, but a quick scan didn't show me any sensitivity options that i could see. I may need to delve into the options a little more though...
Pavajmpava on March 9th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Dunno on the camera, since I haven't played. They had this whole discussion on being able to move the camera though - someone griping about how they preferred ffx's static camera, so I'm pretty certain it can be moved.

I think the 'slow' was in relation to 'ok, let me actually play already', not pacing. But again, what the heck, I'll let you know tonight ;->
DonAithnendonaithnen on March 9th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'm getting so confused!

Will all the Australians in this game please stand up? :)
(Deleted comment)
Pava: Osaka Sez!jmpava on March 9th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
A (very quick) glance at IMDB/Wikipedia show that both Vanille and Fang come from the same village or have the same surname or something (Hope that's not spoilery...) so I guess it would make some degree of sense that they both have the same accent.
DonAithnendonaithnen on March 9th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Nah, i looked through the wikipedia character listing earlier (trying to figure out who the girl with black hair was *cough*) and noticed that some of them had similar names, i just didn't remember exactly who :)