Originally written at 28/4/16
Current mood: MY HANDS!!!!!
When I first bought my PS3, Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel is a must have. So yeah, it’s my first PS3 game. I got up to Gran Pulse and stopped because there were too many side missions and I don’t want to go to Eden yet. But LR happened and I finished it… so maybe it’s time to finish it???
Note that in this review Noel, Yuel and Caius WILL NOT be mentioned, if you read my LR review before. This is when FF13 was still innocent and fun and not all too angsty. Now that we’re here, it’s time for another round of ‘guess that character’!
Our main character is Lightning, who has pink hair. Everybody knows her, don’t they? There’s Serah, her sister, who has pink hair too. She’s the reason FF13 trilogy has a story to tell. Snow is a bulky bandanna man who is also Serah’s fiance. Sazh is a cheerful afro dad with a chocobo chick; Hope, my bae, well, he’s the youngest in the party. The famous magical lesbians Fang and Vanille are the only ones left. Vanille is as sweet as her name would imply, Fang is… er, manlier than any other male character in the story. But that doesn’t stop her from wearing sports bra and having a beauty mark!!!
I hope you managed to guess who is who, now on to the review!!!
We begin with the Purge and two characters (Lightning and Sazh) hell-bent on saving their loved ones (Serah and Dajh). Snow saves the purgees with his team NORA, but as some of them rise to fight, Hope’s mother Nora dies. Hope leans onto fellow purgee Vanille for support. Somehow The five characters come together and find Serah when she crystallizes. Lightning believes Serah to be dead, but Snow, being the hero he is, thinks she will wake up someday. They get branded as Pulse l’Cie and find themselves as wanted criminals in Cocoon. Btw, look at my bae Hope! So cute… wait till you see him in the sequel!
The meeting of our five characters is short-lived. Snow stays behind to pry crystallized Serah out of the wreckage; Sazh and Vanille wish to flee but Lightning wants revenge. At this point Hope is merely a hopeless, whiny and angsty teenager. Hope follows Lightning through her journey, intent on learning how to fight, and he does toughen up through his hatred for Snow. Snow, still trying to save Serah, gets arrested by a different branch of soldiers and sees Fang with her frozen brand. Sazh and Vanille bond over the course of their journey, and lo and behold, Vanille reveals that she is more than just a purgee. She hails from Pulse. Sazh tries to kill himself, drama ensues, and both of them get caught.
Lightning realizes she messed up big time, and now Hope is dragged into her problems. Snow and Fang show up to save the day, but our four characters got separated into Lightning/Fang and Snow/Hope. While Fang explains the truth about the Purge, Hope is still thinking of a way to kill off Snow. Snow doesn’t blame Hope for wanting to kill him, he feels sorry and responsible for Nora’s death. The four reunite and head to Hope’s home for temporary shelter and our teenager reconciles with his father. Peace doesn’t last long as soldiers attack Hope’s home and the party is rescued by another branch of soldiers.
After receiving news of Sazh and Vanille’s capture, the party devises a rescue mission. The two manage to escape on their own and FINALLY our six characters are all together! More truths are revealed as Barthandelus, a fal’Cie so ugly it rivals the angels in Bayonetta, states that the fal’Cie themselves want to die (what??) so that the Maker can be summoned. The party escapes in another airship as the airship collapses, and falls onto Gran Pulse.
The characters search for a way to remove their brands, but to no avail. Vanille suggest they go to Oerba, their hometown to seek for answers. Unfortunately the village is deserted and the only thing they could do was move forward. Barthandelus appears again in the form of fake Serah, which Snow hugged… ew. He provides a one-way ticket to Eden so that the party can destroy Orphan, the fal’Cie controlling Cocoon. So begins the Siege of Eden, a cutscene so awesome, I can’t even…
Chaos ensues as feral creatures from Pulse gets warped into Eden, destroying buildings and scaring citizens. Our characters head to the seat of Sanctum, where Orphan awaits death… except he isn’t. Barthandelus (that fal’Cie too ugly to not put out of his misery, shoots lasers out of his eyes and forehead) is there making us beat him to death again and only then Orphan is born. Orphan (uglier than creepier than Barthandelus, fondling his.. wheel?) tortures Vanille and when that didn’t work tortures Fang instead to turn into Ragnarok. Orphan’s second form comes along (he’s an effing Teletubbies sun baby, what is creepier than that?!), our characters defeat it and they start to crystallize… when Fang and Vanille turn into Ragnarok and holds Cocoon on the sky with their crystallized lava pillar.
Lightning and Snow is reunited with Serah, Sazh with his son Dajh, but Hope, waiting for his other two friends to show up, is disappointed and accepts the fact they’re not coming back. Fang and Vanille lie as crystals in the heart of cocoon, inviting a new dawn.
This is just a prelude to the OTP masterpiece ohohoh… Anyways, when the game was still young a lot of people hated Hope because he was an angsty whiny teenager who doesn’t live up to his name. What do you expect, he’s just a kid who lost his mom, he is branded a criminal and now he has to defend himself from danger! He has no idea what lies in store for him in the future. I used to doubt if he’s too perfect for a character, but when you think about it, his character development in FF13 is enough to make him as good as any well-written character out there. GOD ESTHEIM FTW!!!!
Gameplay: 7 because I have almost most definitely mastered the battle system. The battle system allows me to cast my favorite -ga spells without spending any MP(because they don’t have one LOL), and that is dayum good. Even though you cannot revisit locations except for the last three chapters, Gran Pulse is fun to trek, if not tedious. The crystarium leveling system is ok until chapter 10 when all roles are unlocked and you just sit there in shock thinking, ‘omg now I have to master all the roles don’t I’. I rarely use Synergists and Saboteurs, but once you realize there are enemies out there who are not immune to Poison… OHOHO I spammed Sabs so much I feel sorry for Synergists… Also the easter eggs!!
Story: The concept is simple, just six people defying their fates and rebelling against God. But the mysteries of the past is what gets me. To think FF13 is like our normal society where people is people with no magic whatsoever. Only l’Cie has magic abilities. The story is fine, despite the shortcomings of gameplay mechanics, so I give it a 9. I wanted to give a 7 but after defeating Orphan, when My Hands by Leona Lewis is playing in the background, I cried. I cried harder than I did when Ion died. I’ve seen the ending a hundred times even before completing the game and this is what happens. Good lord SE, you’re doing rite in the kokoro right!
Soundtrack: You wouldn’t believe which track was my fave. It’s foreshadowing my obsession with Hope/Light. You guessed right, The Gapra Whitewood! There’s also Sulyya Springs, which is quite ambient and calming, and Serah’s Theme, which hugs you tight and then PROCEEDS TO STAB YOUR KOKORO INTO PIECES. I like all of the Gran Pulse BGMs, to be honest. 7 for not being as fantasy-esque, but not giving it a low rating either because it’s a new generation of music!
Overall rating: I’m being honest here: 7. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy FF13 as much, but I’ve underestimated SE’s tendency to include heart-wrenching feels. And Hope Estheim. When it was released and gameplay vids became apparent, I used to think that people do not dare criticize the story and gameplay just cause ‘it has pretty graphics’. It’s the new PS3 gen after all, and Final Fantasy is a major JRPG franchise. I was wrong. The gameplay may not be much, but the story is definitely good. This was when the story is *still* good and simple though. Once the sequels come out… well, I’ll just say I’m not as pleased with the stuff they thought up. BUT LR IS STILL AN OTP MASTERPIECE.