You must play the most controversial Final Fantasy of all time on Game Pass ASAP


Few games are as controversial as Final Fantasy XIII, an entry that seemed to give way under the pressure injected by its predecessors. Today, 11 years after its release, it still receives its fair share of hate, but it also appears that many have discovered it. Fortunately, it’s available on Xbox Game Pass, which means you can try it out for no extra cash. Despite a large number of flaws, Final Fantasy XIII worth a visit, especially if you prefer the linear design.

A linear approach is more accessible

Lightning is the star of Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix

Many of us fell in love with Final Fantasy when we were kids or teenagers. Back then, we had little responsibility and plenty of time to get deep into sprawling RPGs. But today, as adults, it is increasingly difficult to find time to devote to massive games focused on exploration. If you are looking for a linear version of the series, Final Fantasy XIII is probably for you.

While there is something to be said about exploring and uncovering secrets in densely populated worlds, it’s also nice to feel that you’ve made significant progress with every play session. Final Fantasy XIII is as linear as possible, with little reason to deviate from the main path. It may be a jerk to some, but it certainly takes away the overwhelming feeling of knowing if you’ve spent your time wisely.

When you only have a few hours to play each night, it’s nice to be able to get by without worrying about finding the way forward. Despite its linearity, it will still take you around 50 hours to go through the main story, so you shouldn’t worry about getting your money’s worth (especially if you’re playing on Game Pass).

A healthy mix of old and new

Your party consists of a variety of characters, each with their own roles.Square Enix

Although Final Fantasy XIII is often criticized for a muddled story and somewhat weak character cast, its fight is an addictive innovation unlike any other entry in franchise history. It effectively mixes elements in real time with turn-based mechanics, making it feel like a satisfying mix of new and old. It looks more like a classic Final Fantasy than FFXV Where Final Fantasy VII remake, even more action-oriented than Final Fantasy XII despite some close similarities.

As you and your team work to shift enemies using the new Paradigm Shift system, you must constantly assess team roles. Being able to swap roles on the fly is hugely rewarding, prompting you to think quickly since combat takes place in real time (instead of strictly turn-based).

But since it still uses a variation of the Active Time Battle system, combat still rewards you for a well-planned strategy, without feeling like a push button. There’s nothing wrong with hack ‘n slash adventures, but Final Fantasy XIII feels sophisticated, mixing two types of combat systems in an intelligent way. It effectively combines some of the best aspects of Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, and Final Fantasy XII fight to deliver an experience that feels new but familiar all the same.

Timeless artistic direction

His characters are wonderfully stylized. Square Enix

Even if combat and linear design aren’t your thing, it’s hard to deny the stunning nature and design of the surroundings. In 2010, seeing a game as beautiful as this was impressive, and while some of its visuals haven’t aged as well, most still look great in 2021.

It is thanks to his artistic direction, which leans towards a stylized realism. The figures have exaggerated facial features and proportions, but are still realistically impacted by light, giving them an identifiable style. Other games that aimed for pure realism in 2010 don’t look as good today, but Final Fantasy XIII has stood the test of time in the visual department and that’s thanks to the unique art direction. All this to say nothing of his breathtaking musical score.

Ultimately, Final Fantasy XIII is a flawed game that deserves some of its reviews. But now, 11 years later, we can look back with a cleaner slate. If you do, you might find that it’s a Final Fantasy that still holds up really well.

You can dive into Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox Game Pass now.


About Johanna Gooding

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