Okay, so, I’ll write up a real kind of thought process later, but here’s some quick notes so far:
Story: Somewhat contrived and…bad. There’s just nothing really going on. Some talk of “L’ciel” and “Cocoon”, but at no point in the game so far (Chapter 5, disc 2, 8 hours in) has anyone said anything about what they are, beyond passing references. You’re assumed to either know what it means, infer what they are, or throw yourself into the extensive datalog, to try and discern it from that.
Characters: Not really sure about it, because the game doesn’t let me play as one for more than 30 minutes at a time before throwing me to another group. Think the splitup scene from FF6, except it’s all the time. Nobody really stands out at the moment, apart from Snow, and that’s because his VA is the guy who did Kanji Tatsumi from Persona 4. Although, I approve of the “Chocofro”
Aesthetics: Something that the game shines on so far. The music is top (However battles are over so fast that I’m sick of the stupid “Fanfare” attempt). Everywhere I go is different, and this is something that FF13 does really well, it creates a real immersion in the world, with everything looking, frankly, absolutely stunning. Every game local, character animation and enemy design is at the top of its game. Sometimes, I’ve literally stopped and looked around at the amazing vistas, landscapes and bizarre industrial designs. A minor problem with the sound mix aside (Flavour dialogue in the field is meaningless, not exciting, and much quieter than it needs to be), it’s very good so far.
Combat: Not sure how I feel about this. Read any review or rabid FF hater, and you’ll hear it’s “Press autoattack, receive win”. Unfortunately, this is true. Despite the fact that the game allows you to pick and choose actions, what’s the point? Brad Shoemaker of Giantbomb said “As much as you can choose your actions, there’s no point. The autocommand picks them much faster, more efficiently, and frankly better choices than a human ever could”. As much as I like to pick my own stuff, I just make “Gamey” job alliances. I’m usually going for a pure caster setup, a pure melee setup, or a “Heavy and medic” setup, because there’s no point in making a competent, debuff ready and buffable squad, the battles are over too fast. I’ve never had any problem with bosses so far, just because the game is too easy to get around. I’m enjoying the character job system so far, kind of. Not sure how I feel about it so far, it seems kind of seethrough, and easy to exploit so far.
Concluding thoughts: S’alright, I guess. Not that far into it so far, but it seems a bit…well, standard. It’s a normal JRPG intro, that looks really good and has the Final Fantasy name on it. Not sure what to expect, the game seems far too easy so far, or far too hard, it fluctuates I suppose. Making my way through it. Seems to be a lot of (Somewhat) boring combat and just…meaningless plot points. In chapter 4, I was on a beach, and a scene happened. From there, I had to run 20 feet forward, to initiate the next plot point. There’s a lot of “What’s the point in that” moments so far, however, this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy it. Making my way through it.