I just beat Final Fantasy XV, and before that Final Fantasy XIII, so I thought it would be cool to do a side by side comparison of each part of the game with the other one! I’ll try to keep things as subjective as possible going forward, because I know people have strong opinions on both games, and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
The biggest initial problem with Final Fantal’cie XIII is that every’cie thing’cie has a ‘cie tied onto the end of it, making it completely impossible to understand the plot and the world. For all I know, god created demi-god-like beings that sustained human life indefinitely, but then eventually one day got bored of harboring a weaker species and decided to call back god by tricking humans to create a mass extinction event and this was the second time this had happened? I dunno, probably some gibberish like that. Each level is designed so you walk from point A to point B, fighting monsters and bosses in the way, until you beat the game. There’s no dead spaces for you to get lost on the road, or any towns where you can walk blocks and blocks before encountering a store. Where is the fun in that?
Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XV takes place deep in the South of the apocalyptic US where Waffle Houses also hand out bounties for killing squirrels. As a young prince, you have to go on a road trip with your bros to marry your future wife. Complications arise, and you have to fight a bored demi god to save the world. For the first ten hours of the game, you get to drive everywhere, and it tells you how long your sweet bro-ad trip is going to be. You even get points for really long drives! Assuming it’s daytime, nothing bad ever happens, so the game gives you a cool 5 minutes to sit back, relax, grab a beer, read the news, take a shit, and then finally you can complete your fetch quest! You can drive any time, but at night demons come out that make is so you have to stop driving if you randomly run into them, forcing you back into a town that isn’t your destination. I really feel as inconvenienced as the characters do that the monsters come out at night (a big plot point in the late game). If you really miss the winding, endless corridors of FFXIII though, don’t worry - they put a whole chapter in (Chapter 13) as an homage to this!
This is a hard category. FFXIII has some tunes that are really memorable, like the first ten seconds of the battle theme, right before the string instruments kick in. As you wander through aimless corridors and vast plains (the only 2 sceneries in the game), the sweeping orchestral music really starts to wear down on you.
Fortunately, FFXV contains all the music from previous titles that you can listen to on your endless road trip! So instead of listening to a new OST, sit back and relax to nostalgic themes from better games, such as: Nier, Final Fantasy 1. And don’t forget, hit band Florence and the Machine did the perfect cover of Stand by Me for the game. Seriously, though, the cover is really good and the use of it is actually perfect front to back.
Winner: FFXV, by virtue of having all of FFXIII’s music!
The Main Characters
A lot of people don’t like the cast of FFXIII - and for good reason. They all have weaving tales with each other like “this party member got my mom killed” or “this one is the reason my sister turned into a crystal”, or “you’re the reason that my only son was taken away from me by the government, but I cant bring myself to kill a child or also myself.” It’s a constant influx of whining about how miserable everyone has it because of all the exposition in game, and I just can’t relate to it because my sister was never cursed with the mark of a demi-god forcing her to do its bidding or turn into a zombie - so hard to empathise with!
Meanwhile over in FFXV land you have a royal kid who is having a hard time coming to terms with the weight of the crown. #Relatable. He and his 3 best friends go cruising around in cars, camping on the side of the road, and sleeping in hotels. All 3 of your friends have been with you since high school. One is the super tough guy who talks sense, the other is the turbo nerd who likes to cook, and finally there is the one that shoots photographs and sings the chocobo theme and the victory theme after every single fight!
Without any towns, FFXIII is almost completely devoid of side characters, except Sarah, Dajh, Cid, Nora, Mr. Nora, and a couple plucky kids who joined the army because, hey, why not?
FFXV has a walking pair of tits who fixes your car, and that is damn innovative if I do say so myself. It also has Devola as a brunette who half hits on you knowing you are about to be married and later turns into a demon slayer (never shown - but can you imagine!). It also has another pair of breasts in a cool cage like armor that decides working for Hitler kind of sucks and turns into a philanthropic pair of hooters.
The Gambit system...no wait, the paradigm system in FFXIII tried something new with the RPG mechanics. Instead of directly commanding your party each turn, you set them to a different class. Then you mash A as fast as you can to get your main characters Smart ATB attacks going. The fights are hard because you can’t just hold the B button all the time, occasionally you have to use a strategy or time out when an enemy is strong, or your party is weak, or when you have entered a damage race. Its just not what a JRPG is supposed to be - slow, methodical planning of each action, maximizing the action economy and enemy weakness to your advantage. Then FFXV reinvented the wheel of all JRPGs by turning the game into Devil May Cry instead. Such foresight. So much fun.
FFXIII feels like the evolution from FFX’s grid system, where you get magic by investing points into different classes. Instead of locking a character to a class, you can now pick one of three main classes (or later, 1 of 6) to level them up in, getting magic skills as you go. The higher you level up a class, the better skills, except the game, like a dick, soft caps how high you can get until certain boss fights and story beats have occurred. The summons in the game go with something that Final Fantasy never does, and turns them into these surreal and symbiotic transformers which grant you the ability to make one last push on an enemy, get full health back from your squad, or just watch as Odin transforms from a white and golden god into a majestic stallion with glaive for Lightning to ride around the battlefield. That’s not what Odin does!
FFXV is cool because the entire magic system is open to you the moment you start up the game. You pick up magic from magic crystals scattered around the world, and mix them with potions, feathers, or a piece of lint in your pocket, and bam! You’ve got a spell baby. Instead of having a finite resource like every other game with MP, you just have to find a cryptic spot with special lightning rocks for you to drain, and then you have your very own pocket nuke. Your companions can use magic as well, which burns literally everything in its path! Friend, foe, magic don’t care, its all going up in a blaze which they will use with wild abandon. As for the summons, sometimes - like a real God - they will deign it appropriate to show up in battle and just win it for you. You just have to press LT. Or...maybe hold it? Press it rapidly? Softly? I’m not sure, but man, both times you use it, it feels great! The summons all keep the same form they had since FFVI, so no one can be unhappy with their design, especially the one that is just a heaving pair of icy honkaroos!
FFXIII is linear as ever in dungeons, having one path with occasional loot, lots of enemies, and then some boss at the end who is fun and engaging to kill.
FFXIII is amazing and progressive as ever in dungeons, having one path with occasional loot, lots of enemies, and then some boss who will one shot you with every single attack he makes. Seriously, why? Why is there a level 50 something monster in baby’s first dungeon full of level 7 imps? Who thought that was a good idea? And why does every end game boss deal 5000 damage every hit? Did somebody think that would be fun? To have to go into a menu every five seconds to heal one of your two healthbars or to tell your AI only, donkey brained allies to use a potion? Because god knows they are running into that AOE attack thats been telegraphed for a full fucking minute and only you have the power to save them. Then the designers figured out “hey, these last boss sections were bad” so they replaced one boss with four brand fucking new ones that force you to play as a character that you have never played as before after you get used to their rhythm as the main dipshit, so now instead of holding down B you have to read how to launch a titty-fucking bazooka? God help you if you accidentally hit the A button and skipped the dialogue for how to use it, but hopefully you mastered it in the optional DLFuckingC. Don’t worry though, all that teamwork will feel so good at the last boss of the game when instead of using any of the skills you learned in the past thirty fucking hours, instead it turns into Dragonball Goddamn Z in a city I have never been in before, where none of your party is involved, fighting a stupid ass Mary Sue who the writers must have felt so goddamn clever for including this whole time, and it just feels like giving that last watery push of a 40 hour bowel movement of a combat system.
In conclusion, why do people hate FFXIII? Why?