Final Fantasy XIII Catch-All

Does FFXIII continue with the boss battles that have become standard? (IE: Find the weakness and exploit it or die trying?)

I enjoyed that method when I was younger but with battles that can take literally take 30min and you can still fail because of this style is another reason FFX is on the pile, un-played for months. When the beauty of Dragon Age allows me to progress with my awesome skills or because I was able to just wail on the main enemy with my weapons (maybe doing less damage at a time) but wasn't being held back, I simply can't see myself enjoying the battles that penalize me a lot because I didn't *get* the method they wanted me to use.

Relevant Dragon Age spoiler:

Spoiler:

The best example would be the archdemon, which I probably quaffed 25+ potions to beat because I didn't realize you could use the ballistas. I still won, but there was a better way.

Blind_Evil wrote:
chajjar wrote:
ahrezmendi wrote:
beeporama wrote:

X-2 is the only entry in the series I can think of that has a New Game+ option

This was true until the recent DS remake of FFIV, which has a New Game + option.

How exactly does the New Game+ work? I almost grabbed that for the DS, and probably will when it drops below $20

I'm don't quite remember. I just wanted to push you in the direction of purchasing, because that really is an amazing version of ff4.

You get items from departing characters (usually) that teach people new skills. You retain the skills and lose the levels, i think.

It carries over some rare or special items, and any augments you attached to characters who remain. It also opens up new hidden bosses. Levels are lost.

It's also important to note that what augments (abilities) you get from characters depends on how many you give them, and the game does not explain this at all. For example, if you want Hide from Edward (haha, like anybody would), you have to give him 2 augments.

I agree with Blind Evil, it is definitely the best version of FFIV. It's also hard, harder even than the GBA version (which was also based on the Japanese Hard version of the game), so be prepared.

Vector wrote:

Im a little ashamed that I never played the Suikoden games. That can be easily solved.

Not that easily. Suikoden II is selling for $750 at Amazon...

Bullion Cube wrote:
Vector wrote:

Im a little ashamed that I never played the Suikoden games. That can be easily solved.

Not that easily. Suikoden II is selling for $750 at Amazon...

Really? Crap. I sold my copy for $80 the other year and was quite pleased with myself.

Their copy is new. Used were going for $200+, but maybe ebay is cheaper. Suikoden 1 was over $100 too, if I remember correctly, and I'm almost positive that's out on PSN now. Wacky economics.

Bullion Cube wrote:

Their copy is new. Used were going for $200+, but maybe ebay is cheaper. Suikoden 1 was over $100 too, if I remember correctly, and I'm almost positive that's out on PSN now. Wacky economics.

they are on psn.

I know Suikoden I is available through the PS3 for download - is Suikoden II also? There was also a Japan-only PSP port of Suikoden I and II.

At least I still have my Chrono Trigger SNES cart... The sole item to survive the great scourge of grad-school-must-survive sales.

Tanglebones wrote:

I know Suikoden I is available through the PS3 for download - is Suikoden II also? There was also a Japan-only PSP port of Suikoden I and II.

I'm pretty sure it's just Suikoden I. The PSN Wiki page doesn't list the 2nd one on the list of available games.

All this JRPG nerdery in once spot makes me think someone should make an "Obscure JRPG Catch-all" thread. Not to say these games aren't worth their own thread, but usually when I see one it gets 4 people posting twice each: "Got this game" "hey this is pretty good, go get it (no one does)."

Two recent/upcoming DS RPGs made me think about it, Sands of Destruction and Glory of Heracles. Neither is getting any buzz at all. SoD has a pretty serious pedigree, too. I actually went to Best Buy to pick up SoD today, but it wasn't there. When I got home I looked on bestbuy.com and hot damn, ONLINE PURCHASE ONLY! Way to push your game, Sega.

Bullion Cube wrote:
Vector wrote:

Im a little ashamed that I never played the Suikoden games. That can be easily solved.

Not that easily. Suikoden II is selling for $750 at Amazon...

My friend has all of the Suikodens and I own a PS2.

Alright, you filthy enablers.

I'm coming towards the end of FFTA2 on DS, and after humming and hawing about whether to get my bedtime RPG fix from, Chrono Trigger is on the way from Goozex, and FFIV is on my queue.

Jonman wrote:

Alright, you filthy enablers.

I'm coming towards the end of FFTA2 on DS, and after humming and hawing about whether to get my bedtime RPG fix from, Chrono Trigger is on the way from Goozex, and FFIV is on my queue.

You have made a correct decision, sir.

Jonman wrote:

Alright, you filthy enablers.

I'm coming towards the end of FFTA2 on DS, and after humming and hawing about whether to get my bedtime RPG fix from, Chrono Trigger is on the way from Goozex, and FFIV is on my queue.

Draong Quest IV, V, and VI are my favourite JRPGs of all time. If you haven't played them, get them on the DS they are AWESOME.

I can't wait for DQVI, Ulairi. I've never played it.

I haven't been able to stomach a DQ game, starting with DW for NES. I got VII when I was in high school. I remember working really hard to get through what I felt was tedium to get new classes, which I considered the bees knees because of FFT. Once I got them and my character sprites hadn't changed at all, I gave up. The lack of visual representations of your progress killed my desire to play.

Back to the game in the thread title, I just updated my blog. I hit the 50-hour-mark in the game, and am at the beginning of the last level. The following is my latest spoiler-free update/ongoing review of the game.

Reposted from http://kitkowski.com/?cat=8
========================

How’d that happen? I’ve not been playing voraciously, just an hour here, an hour there. Anyway, I’m at the very beginning of the last chapter now. Chapter 13: The Orphan’s Cradle. Here is the penultimate quick list of spoiler-free FFXIII stuff, focusing on story flow and rules.

* In a previous post, I talked about how anyone can eventually learn abilities in any role/optima/paradigm: For example, even though Lightning starts out as Attacker, and learns later Blaster and Healer, at a certain point all characters are free to learn the other roles as well.

However, the truth of the matter is that even though they can learn those roles, there are some HUUUUUUGE caveats which I didn’t notice until I started looking down those paths:

– The cost is high. Each “Node” like “+200 HP” “+30 Magic Power” and the like costs 20,000 points or so on the highest of your character’s primary role. So for Lightning, that means Healing, Blaster and Attacker: Each node on the top ring (Level 5) costs about 20,000 “exp” (crystal) points. However, each node on the highest rings of non-primary roles are far more expensive. IIRC, it was something like 45,000 “xp” to get level 4 abilities, and they were way lesser things like “+60 HP”.

– Not all the abilities are available: Of all the abilities for that class, if it is your primary class you will get 80-100% of all the abilities, but if it is not your character’s primary class you’ll only get about 30% of the abilities. So if you want to make Fang into a Healer, you’ll end up spending a TON of crystal points only to get a bare minimum of Healing Ability nodes, likely Cure, Curea and 1-2 others.

So in the end, levelling up these tertiary roles isn’t something you would really ever do until the point that you max out on every single node of your characters’ primary three roles, and then had a mountain of amassed XP that you didn’t know what to do with.

It’s kinda cool, though. If you really want to turn Vanille into a badass Attacker, or Hope into a stocky Defender, you still have some room to do it, but you will also suffer a little. So the role casting is still there, it is NOT like FFXII where everyone can learn everyone else’s abilities with no hindrance.

* Openness… of sorts. Up until Chapter 10, the game is pretty linear. At chapter 11, it opens up immensely (respectively). Chapter 12 drops you back into the killing tubes, but 13 opens it back up again.

* Game length: What the above means in short is that Chapters 1-10 are about 40% of the game. Chapters 11-13 alone are another 40-60%, depending on how much side-stuff you want to do, how much grinding you want to do, etc. I have done about 10 side-missions (all the ones to open up teleporters, plus a few more), and I don’t plan on doing too many more on this first playthrough.

* I was wrong on the grinding: I said that the game was built so that you never have to grind. It’s better to say that for MOST of the game you don’t have to, but starting with Chapter 11 you’ll find it very beneficial to spend an extra hour or two running around swatting dudes to build up a bit: It will make the boss fights a little faster and easier.

Current (50 hours in) New Likes and Dislikes: This isn't the sum total of my likes/dislikes, it's just my latest revelations since my last post of likes/dislikes (again, spoiler free):

LIKES

* Music is badass.

* Chapter 12 was like someone pulling out my eyes and screaming full-motion-videos into them. Very visually awesome, however they were a bit jagged and distracting as well (ex: Speed Racer. Seen it? These gorgeous FMVs are like that: Too much to visually focus on so it all kinda blurs together into a mush. Still, very pretty).

* Hope and Vanille went from being the characters I hated most to the characters I like the most (after Sazs). If you tired of their respective cheerlessness and fatalism/unstoppable perkiness, they change naturally through the course of the game. Very well done. No further spoilers than that.

* I like Snow’s gang, and I wish they played more of a part in the game. Except for the blue-haired dude, he’s too ‘Anime-looking’.

* Gaining CP and using them to unlock nodes is just as addictive and exciting as the grid levelling mechanic from FFX. Provides you with some solid choices when levelling without hurting you for making a less strategic choice up front.

* Enhancement and Jamming (buffs and enemy debuffs) I’m using far more than in any other FF game, making their implementation great.

* Someone posted a discussion with the writers/engineers of the game, saying how the magic system worked: In all previous FF games, you get low-level spells like “Fire/Water/Ice” etc, but once you learn the “next higher level” of the spell, you will never have a reason to use the lesser form in tougher battles. Once you learn Firera(?) and Firega, by that point you’re using Firega all the time and will never use Fire again. They wanted to make it so that all your abilities can and will be used even in later fights. This is TOTALLY TRUE. The Blasters use black magic to weaken the enemy by charging up their “break meter”, and while spells like “Firega” take 3 times as long to cast, they’ll do more damage… but up to the point that you Break the enemy, it makes far more sense to cast 3-5 small fire spells instead, as that drives the break meter up faster. The “damage multiplier/break” mechanic, coupled with turning magic into a time-based resource and not an MP based resource, was in fact what made that designer’s plan of “using spells from the beginning to the end” come true. I’ve just recently realized that, and find it awesome.

* The main antagonists/”The System” is bad, and makes me want to stab it in the face. So the story has me sold and locked into the end. “Somebody’s gotta stop Shinra…” “Somebody’s gotta stop Sin…”

DISLIKES

* After the openness of Chapter 11, I find the return to the Killing Tubes of straight-line dungeons in Chapter 12 really disconcerting/unwelcome, even though I had been doing it from Chs 1-10 with no complaint. I realized that exploration is a big part of the franchise. While I won’t be That Internet Guy and say “FFXIII sucks because its linear and you don’t explore much until the end”, I will say that it is an element that might keep the battles furious and stable, but keeps this particular game from being the Best In The Franchise.

* Fang: I’m not really interested in this character much at all. She might have more story left in her, though.

* The fact that each summons is tied to each character… That means that if you like fighting mainly with one particular character (Lightning, etc) you will probably see her summons dozens of times, but complete the game without seeing half the other characters’ summons. Makes me long for the “one character who can summon all of the biggies”.

* Summons: I haven’t found them very useful thus far (though I must say: I LOVE the character design on them, up there with FFX). I’ll need to read up more to make sure I’m using them right, but the most I got out of them was like maaaaybe shaving off one minute of a 15-minute boss battle.

* Levelling up weapons: It’s both interesting and not all that interesting. It’s not difficult, but it can be a little time-consuming. I almost, ALMOST yearn for the FFX-style “mini games”, but then I remember chocobo racing and collecting blue butterflys, I slap my face and realize that this way is better… and yet, I miss other activities other than combat.

* I compare this game against FFX a lot, as FFX is my favorite of the series. And while I see that FFXIII isn’t as awesome for me as FFX, it’s pretty close, so the points that don’t live up to FFX stand out that much more. In this regard, FFX had a stable of secondary characters that you interacted with, regularly encountered in your journeys, and sort of saw the world through the eyes of: There was the senior summoner who told you how to summon, the rival bitch summoner, the young novice naive summoner, the old sage, a bunch of various village friends, and so on. In FFXIII, there are a very few secondary characters, and you simply do not interact with them that much at all. This results in not feeling quite as attached to the world.

Having said that, there IS a lot more inter-party drama, conflict and resolution than FFX, and while that makes up for it in part, I still miss the Recurring Secondary Character.

* Right around the end of Chapter 10/parts of Chapter 11 (back to the killing tubes) I started to find some of the combat tedious. I think this directly corresponded to the places I needed to grind to get ahead. No where near as bad as places in any other game (including and especially X), but still there, and noticable. And since there are few distractions from combat, considering all the side-missions are all combat based as well, it’s hard to find an alternative way to immerse yourself in the world.

SO IN SHORT...

If you like J-RPGs on the console, or are looking to try out your first, I still highly recommend FFXIII. Even though I’ve already mentally ranked it behind FFX for some story reasons, I would never say it’s a “don’t play” (like the kneejerk reactions to the Kotaku, WIRED preview articles), it's certainly up there in the top of the franchise: I rank the combat mechanic far higher than any other game in the FF franchise, and the FMV sequences are just Mind. Blowing. A must-play.

Good read Diamond. Thanks for that!

Clemenstation wrote:

Good read Diamond. Thanks for that!

Seconded. Also, much appreciation for being 100% spoiler-free

How does the game handle exploration chapters in regards to your party and the lead characters? Are you stuck with Lightning or do you get a choice at that point? You may have mentioned this but I can't seem to find it.

Jonman wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

Good read Diamond. Thanks for that!

Seconded. Also, much appreciation for being 100% spoiler-free :)

Thirded, I get scared to read stuff cause I am scared something will be ruined. You have done a great job not doing that

Cheeto1016 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

Good read Diamond. Thanks for that!

Seconded. Also, much appreciation for being 100% spoiler-free :)

Thirded, I get scared to read stuff cause I am scared something will be ruined. You have done a great job not doing that :)

Fourthded, in all it's glory.
I might have to steal XII back from my sister, or pop in X to get a fix tonight.

I might have to steal XII back from my sister, or pop in X to get a fix tonight.

Ha, I just did exactly that (pop in FF10) about 15 minutes ago. As rough as the start of that game was ("One, two, three, show us out to blitz!") and as dated as the visuals now look, I'm already being flooded with memories of how much I love the game. Not sure if I'll be able to make it through the game by March (let alone FF10-2, which I'd also love to replay), what with Mass Effect 2 kicking off a flood of new games I'm interested in next week, but damn, I just might give it a go.

Vector wrote:

How does the game handle exploration chapters in regards to your party and the lead characters? Are you stuck with Lightning or do you get a choice at that point?

Not too long before the game "opens up" into the exploration chapters you will get to decide how your party is formed: Sometimes they make you take a leader but let you switch other members.

Right around the exploration chapter, though, you have total freedom in party creation and the subsequent boss fights. I haven't been forced back to taking a particular leader, the game lets you play and fight bosses with whichever three characters you want.

I don't really have a preference, because I get bored easily and switch it up a lot. However, I really like playing with Vanille as a leader because of her Jammer abilities: As leader, I can control how she deploys those debuffs (and also heals), being more strategy-minded than the AI might have been. And the debuffs are really useful and fun to lay on your enemies. But most of the time, my strategy is as simple as "Oh, it's been a while since I've used Hope, let's throw him in with Vanille and Snow and see what happens." "Hey, let's try with all three women. OK, after that, Team Sausage Fest with all the guys." "Now let's see what happens with 2 Defenders," and so on.

But yeah, when you get to the "half way mark" (which is like Chapter 11 of 13) the game lets you do whatever you want, play with whomever you choose.

zeroKFE wrote:

Ha, I just did exactly that (pop in FF10) about 15 minutes ago. As rough as the start of that game was ("One, two, three, show us out to blitz!") and as dated as the visuals now look, I'm already being flooded with memories of how much I love the game. Not sure if I'll be able to make it through the game by March (let alone FF10-2, which I'd also love to replay), what with Mass Effect 2 kicking off a flood of new games I'm interested in next week, but damn, I just might give it a go.

Heh, actually about two months before I got FFXIII I threw in FFX-2 again just to complete it: I played it before, but got the "bad ending" and was damned if I wasn't going to get the "good/happy ending" (I didn't bother with the Perfect Ending, that's for shut-ins with the complete strategy guide in their laps). I had played FFX to completion for the 4th time or so about half a year earlier (without doing too much Blitzball or super-weapon-minigame-collecting). And man, hot damn the memories came back with every little cutscene.

I went deeper into FFX-2 than I did last time, much deeper: So I got the full stories on Paine, Isaru, Meihen (the old dude), Dona, Clasko, and seeing Rikku's story from the Mi'hen mystery episode... Stellar stuff, really flushed out the world. It was like reading an old, welcome book. Just with more random battles and totally unfun mini-games to avoid.

Cheeto1016 wrote:
Jonman wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

Good read Diamond. Thanks for that!

Seconded. Also, much appreciation for being 100% spoiler-free :)

Thirded, I get scared to read stuff cause I am scared something will be ruined. You have done a great job not doing that :)

x4. Finished Chrono Trigger for the 3rd (maybe 4th) time this weekend, hurry up March 9!

I got FF IX to run on my PSP, first try. So happy!

Since everyone is talking about what they're doing in anticipation of FFXIII...

I ordered a used copy of Knights in the Nightmare, an obscure but very well-received SRPG for DS. I meant to get it when it came out, but never did. I noticed its new price creep over its original retail and decided to bite for 30.

If this doesn't scratch my JRPG itch, I may have to give in and try again to finish ff12.

Thanks for the lengthy write-up. Could someone clarify a couple of points for me on the combat system? I've done mostly a media blackout on the game, but I got excited when I heard that the battle system was a return to FFX - I love true, non-ATB combat. However, I read a tidbit that said it was more like FFX-2 - which I couldn't play for more than an hour because I really didn't like the ATB system. Is it indeed true turn-based (like FFX) or is it a return to the ages-old 'little bars that build' system? If so, is there a way to change it in the options to 'pause' or 'wait' when it's your turn so the game stops automatically when it's one of your character's turns?

Farscry wrote:

I can't wait for DQVI, Ulairi. I've never played it. :)

*high five!!!*

Diamond Sutra, after reading your impressions I think I'll be skipping FFXIII. It seems what we both like in a Final Fantasy are completely different. So, thanks for the impressions! It saved me $60 and hours of my life. My favourite Final Fantasy games are IV, IX and VIII. I was expecting it to be closer to VIII than X, which is my least favourite.

Hopefully Square announces a new DQ game for the consoles this year.