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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Combat in FFXIII...

Is annoying. The AI isn't bad at all, but I really wish they'd slowed it down. Turned based combat at the speed FFXIII takes it to ceases to be turn based and becomes more akin to God of War at the speed of a tortoise (forgive the bad metaphor). What they did in FFX-2, may it burn, actually worked better. You still controlled all the characters on the screen and it moved at a nice pace, if a little sluggish at times. The core battle mechanic had some potential, but, being completely outside of Square's comfort zone, they dropped the ball at many points. I never played XII, but the battle system was similar to XIII's, though XIII took it a step further. With the ability to control one and only one character leaving the rest to the AI, there's not really a lot to do. That, combined with the fact you could just sit and spam the "Auto-Battle" until the enemy goes kaputs, occasionally switching to a medic setup to heal, leads me to think that Square ran out of time from everything else they were doing with the game and left the combat to lay fallow.

Which is a major fault, since combat is 95% of the game. 4% is running towards combat, and the rest is listening to dialogue/watching cutscenes. The whole thing really turns into a giant grind-fest from one battle to the next, and I'm getting to the point where I just want the story to advance at let the combat take a side road. The boss fights are just a little too far apart and a little to predictable, what with suspicious save points and all. Those, too, have lost their satisfaction. I hit a button or two and I win if I do that enough. Even X, whose fights were a little less than button mashing storms themselves, took strategy with the character switching, Aeon summoning and tricky boss tactics. None of that is here in XIII, which really saddens me.

Probably the best part of the battle system is the summoning, if only because it isn't game breaking and you can only do it once in a few fights, so you have to choose your battles. The actual mechanic makes this less of a skill as well, since you can only summon a single character's summon in a battle and not the other characters'. Every summon is awesome, but only being able to use one in the battles I really hope are coming (those that rely on everything you have just to survive, let alone win) might be a game breaker. Hopefully that rights itself as I keep going.


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