With the storm surrounding the recently released FFXIII demo settling, I finally took a few minutes (or three hours) to sit down and just watch the deluge of media online. Sadly, without a PS3 or the desire to import a longer version of Advent Children I was left watching other people play a demo. Kind of sad, when you think about it. Oh well.
So, what did I think. Strangely enough, as a gigantic Final Fantasy fan having looked forward to this for three years now, I felt a sort of disconnect and not a small bit of disappointment. In a nutshell:
- The graphics a damn pretty. Probably the very best I’ve ever seen come out of Japan as of yet. Not as meticulous as MGS4, no, but there’s a certain flow to the faces and body movements that’s just damn fluid.
- Really well made CGI and cinematics. The facial details are astounding, as are the background details and artistry.
- It’s FF!
- I still hate the ‘Japanese’ motion capture of it all. It’s simply a difference in acting philosophies between the east and west. Japanese mo-cap is just too jittery, having the heads and shoulder constantly moving and bobbing. It’s annoying. People in real life don’t move that way, including the Japanese, so I don’t know why they bring it into their games.
- Maybe games like Elder Scrolls and Fallout III have just spoilt me, but does anyone sense the demo being rather…restrictive? I know, that’s how every FF is made, but I would have figured they’d taken a step forward. FFXII was a real jump ahead for the series, so its disheartening seeing them reel it all back.
- The battle system, like the level design, seems a step backwards from the real time nature of FFXII. I loved XII’s free flowing gambits and no-load nature, while XIII is taking a piece out of Chrono Cross and the Tales’ series’playbook. Nothing against those other games (amongst my favourite JRPGs), but FF is supposed to be a flagship series to lead the way, not copy the competition.
- I have never, ever, liked a black character in a Japanese game. They are always eastern interpretations of stereotypes, and in a way just feel iffy. I know there’s no malicious intent, more an enthused ignorance, but that still doesn’t change the fact that black character + Japanese development = most likely terrible.