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RetroBeat: Final Fantasy XIII deserves – and gets – another chance

If you believe in the internet, Final Fantasy XIII is the worst ever to happen with an historical RPG series. I do not agree. Final Fantasy XIII is fine.

Final Fantasy XIII and its successors (Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns) received backing compatibility on Xbox One today. So if you own these games on the Xbox 360, you can play them on the modern console. They even look better than they did before, thanks to Xbox One X enhancements. Even XIII's cutscenes will look better, since Microsoft and Square Enix have the collaboration to enhance their video quality.

So if you have not played Final Fantasy XIII before, this is the best time ever to do that. But you probably will not because you've heard that it's terrible. The reviews are overblown. I like Final Fantasy XIII.

Look, I do not say it deserves any review. The story and the signs are weak. The cast is not alike, certainly not anywhere, close Final Fantasy VI or Final Fantasy IX level. And the plot is … well, it's complicated even by Japanese RPG standards. I played it back when it debuted in 201

0, and now I could not give you a historical synopsis if my retro game collection was dependent on it. I remember that there was something about an evil pope … and people caught in crystals.

Fight With Style

But you know what I remember? Kampen. Because Final Fantasy XIII has a great fighting system. It's like a combination of the Classic Active Time Battle (ATB) system used in SNES and PlayStation listings, but with more strategy. In most Final Fantasy games, you only worry about dealing with injury and healing. Final Fantasy XIII also makes it important to have a character in a traditional mindset, which means that they must allow enemies to focus on them, not the rest of the party so that they can absorb most of the damage.

The fighting also looks fantastic. Although the game is still halfway, characters move around the battlefield and attack each other in a cinematic and exciting show. Final Fantasy XIII still looks as good as most modern games. Few JRPGs can boast better visual.

Final Fantasy XIII also has one of the best fighting songs ever. Seriously, these are some of the best strings I've ever heard on a video game track. I am reinforcing every time I hear.

Some people complain that Final Fantasy XIII is too linear. You do not have a traditional world map to explore. Too much of the game, you follow a straight line. However, there are areas that open up wider fields and branches. Yes, this is still one of the most linear Final Fantasy games. But is not alone. Final Fantasy X worked a lot the same way, but it never receives nearly as much criticism.

Final Fantasy XIII also has a slow start. The game throws many cutscenes and story sequences on you front, and it takes time to unlock all the features of their combat system. In the beginning, the games are simple. It's not until hours later that you can unlock the true depth of the system. These slow burns are not for everyone. Given how much Final Fantasy XIII match has been going on (it's more complicated than I've described and I could not really do it justice in a few episodes), I can understand why the game will help you in things.

A Hype Victim

I'm not sure why people are so hard at Final Fantasy XIII, but I expect the hype had something to do with it. Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XIII in 2006, year before release. And the debut trailer was amazing. It was too amazing. Square Enix distributed a cheap trick by overlapping a user interface on top of a prerendered match. As much as the actual games in Final Fantasy XIII look, they are not as flashy as this first video promised.

The series was also used to the rigor of modern game development. From 1999 to 2002, a new numbered entry in the franchise came out every year. There was a three year wait between XII and XIII.

So when Final Fantasy XIII came out and it was not the second one in JRPGs, it took a lot of flakes. But now that it has been almost ten years since the release, we might look at Final Fantasy XIII with more cautious expectations. No, it's not the next Final Fantasy VII. It is not one of the best entries in the series. But Final Fantasy XIII is still a fun and beautiful RPG that does not deserve as much vitriol as it receives.

And before you say something, an Xbox 360 game can be retro now. Because I say so.

RetroBeat is a weekly column that looks at the game's past, dives into classics, new retrotitles or looks at how old favorites – and their design techniques – inspire today's market and experiences. If you have any retro-themed projects or scoops you want to send me, please contact me.

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