It's the Ninth of March, Two-Thousand and Ten and today the next installment of the acclaimed Final Fantasy franchise has been released for X-box 360 and Playstation 3. As with many big titles games being released recently there has been an influx of "Special Editions" to get the consumer to pay an extra £10-£30 (average) more on a title and of course Final Fantasy XIII is no different. First you have the standard edition that gets you just the game, but that doesn't sound exciting at all does it? For and extra £20 on top of the £40 for the standard edition you can get the Limited Collector's Edition, for those how have been enjoying the Final Fantasy series this surely is the edition for you!
So, what do you get for your extra £20? First of all there's the cover which follows the theme of the previous games showing the logo designed by Final Fantasy design veteran Yoshitaka Amano as opposed to the regular one featuring a CG-rendering of the main character taking up most of the image. The contents of the box are all collected within a well designed cardboard box. With some weight to it there's plenty to be had inside such as: The Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack Selection, The World of Final Fantasy XIII hardcover book, Limited Edition prints featuring the characters of the game and a Unique ‘Brand of the l’Cie’ decal. Sound like a good bonus?
Let's take a look at each of the components, the Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack "Selection" is unfortunately just that, only 10 tracks from the games robust library, an insert includes the title tracks and notes by composer Masashi Hamauzu on each of the 10 tracks. This seems a little lackluster for a Special Edition, but the rest of the items include should make up for that right? The limited Edition "Prints" sound very exciting but their really nothing more than double sided postcards featuring the main characters in poses with their summons, with the exception of adding the summons in the background these images have already been seen on every piece of promotional material making them seem less unique or exciting. Next, the Unique ‘Brand of the l’Cie’ "decal" is nothing more than a sticker that barely takes up the a5 sheet it's been printed on.
Finally the hardcover book, The World of Final Fantasy XIII. A book that contains Character "Art-work" and CG rendered artwork and Environments from the games production. I have to say this was the main reason why I bought the Special Edition and this was the biggest let down, the Character Art-work that it speaks of is nothing more than those promotional images of the characters again and the CG rendered stuff is nothing more than screen shots.
That's it for the "Limited Collector's Edition", I've seen many games present these editions in so many better ways such as production artwork booklets featuring concept art are it's development, making of documentaries, exclusive content but all Final Fantasy XIII presents are some cheap collectibles that offer no real addition to the experience or insight into how hard people worked on the game. Special editions are meant to be the equivalent of 2-Disc DVDs, if that's the case where's Final Fantasy XIII's Special Features Disc?
For those buying the Playstaion 3 version you're in for a treat though, as with any edition you purchase there is a code included to join the online beta for Final Fantasy XIV: Online (For more info check out 1Up.com). If you're looking to buy Final Fantasy XIII: Limited Collector's Edition you are better off saving your extra £20 and getting the regular edition as there is nothing of great value in this box set that offers any extra experience to the fans of the series.
::Update: I couldn't Swap the Limited Edition for the Normal one and get my money back, trade in is only £25::