Final Fantasy XIII is the black sheep of the franchise in many ways. Fan reception at release wasn’t stellar – especially compared to the hype around it – and many disliked its more hallway-like linearity and lack of openness (until much later in the game). However, once you strap in, you’re in for a treat. Featuring a cast of great female leads, some male leads that nicely complement the story of this game’s women, and one of the series’ best combat systems, Final Fantasy XIII deserves more love than it gets. Its combat, which is focused on finding weaknesses to stagger enemies, is fresh, and it’s such a wide swing in the opposite direction of the excellent (but highly divisive) combat of its predecessor that you can’t help but admire it.
The story can be pretty nonsensical in an overarching sense, but the individual stories of each character showcase series high depictions of romance, fatherhood, sibling love, and more, all further enhanced by an excellent voice cast. And don’t you worry, we didn’t forget about what is easily the best aspect of Final Fantasy XIII, and that’s the music. Masashi Hamauzu did to Final Fantasy XIII what Phil Collins did to Disney’s Tarzan: created a masterpiece when nobody expected it. From “The Promise”, which weaves in and out of the story in both explosive and tender ways, to battle themes like “Blinded By Light”, and the all-time bop, “The Sunleth Waterscape”, Final Fantasy XIII’s score is still one we’re jamming to today. | Our Review