Being a fan of the series and playing everyone that was released for the US, I cannot say that it was disappointing. From the non-stop battles, a great story line and well developed characters, it is a game to be enjoyed by all.
The story is about Lightening and her comrades battle their way to freedom from the Fal’cie. Becoming the magical servants, L’cie, made for a single purpose, or “Focus”, themselves makes rescuing the world much harder. They must find a way to conquer the impeding Fal’cie, free themselves and their loved ones from the curse of being a L’cie. All the while saving their world, Cocoon, and being fugitives in the very same society they are trying to save.
The game is made for the powerful gaming console PS3, and for the first time, for the Xbox 360. This is the first Final Fantasy Game to be release on a console outside of the SONY corporation. With such powerful gaming consoles, the graphics during game play and the cut scenes are next to none. Detailed backgrounds that come along with each “Chapter” are highly detailed. The characters themselves are very well designed and move in realtime.
The characters are so beautifully etched that you will feel that you are experiencing their emotions yourselves and with Xbox 360 at the helm, it takes the story to an entirely different level that shifts from Domino99 Online to San Andreas.
The battle engine has been redone completely from the other games in the infamous title series. While before you simple chose an action for each character and waited for your turn to strike, heal, or improve your party; this time around you can assign certain roles for each character. The battle party consists of the classis 3 people to fight vs. targeted enemy, and each you can assign do heal, hinder, improve, fight or defend. Choosing their roles by “Paradigms”, makes the battle more tactical, easier, and challenging. The “Commando” role fights using physical attacks, while the “Ravager” uses magical attacks. “Sentinels” defend the party, taking most of the blows while the others fight. “Synergists” and “Saboteurs” help the party, and hinder the enemy. “Medics” are self explanatory. All the bases are covered with this new system in place.
Some of the downfalls are the removal of wandering around towns and bigger maps to explore. Most of the areas you are in are straight forward for most of the main game, and offer little more to do than get on with the story. After playing well into the story, you are offered a series of side quests called, “Marks”. Here you track down certain enemies, destroy them, and are rewarded rare items. Other than those, there is little to no play outside of the story.
The use of EXP has also been thrown out almost all completely, as using CP, or “Crystogen Points” are used instead. You obtain the points by defeating the enemies, much like the EXP in previous FF games, and use them to build the characters roles in the “Crystarium”. The farther you get along the game and in the roles, the higher it costs to build the roles. It takes many hours of ‘farming CP’ to master one role, let alone all 6 for all characters. You can also only level up so far as to where you are at in the story. The Crystarium only expands every so often within the game.
All in all, after playing this game well into the 50 hour mark, I highly recommend this game to any fan. It offers a new FF experience in many places, as well as another amazing story line. Except for the few things it is lacking from the normal Final Fantasy experience, it makes up in many others.