The Best And Worst Parts Of Each Mainline Game

The Best And Worst Parts Of Each Mainline Game

Square Enix / World of Longplays

Best: The Paradigm Shift

Make no mistake, Final Fantasy XIII has a lot of problems, but its battle system is not one of them. The Paradigm Shift mechanic, which has you create specialized dynamics between your characters to be switched between on the fly, absolutely whips ass. Changing your party’s composition in real-time to adapt to different situations is one of the most strategically satisfying formats the series has used. Switching between the Relentless Assault paradigm to deal major damage and defense-driven compositions like Combat Clinic to withstand and recover from a brutal attack is just one of the multitudes of ways understanding how roles relate to each other and work in tandem can create engaging battles that can change in a moment’s notice. Final Fantasy XIII’s complexities can feel overwhelming at first, but by the time it was over, I felt like a master of the Paradigm Shift and all its nuances. Final Fantasy is moving in a more action-oriented direction these days, but XIII’s battle system feels like one of the best marriages of active and strategic mechanics.

Worst: The shoddy exposition

Final Fantasy XIII is one of the biggest victims of proper noun word salad, and it does next to nothing to explain what the hell is going on. A lot of the lore is buried in its codex, and I felt like reading through it was the only way I had a proper understanding of the game’s world. Before that, characters were yelling at me about L’Cie, Fal’Cie, and Focus, and I was just left confused and unclear on how I was supposed to solve any of these problems and what I was even fighting for. I felt like I had a stronger grasp of these concepts in the sequel, but for a world as dense as this, I’m surprised they didn’t go the Final Fantasy X route of having a character who wasn’t from this world and had to ask clarifying questions. It’s a cool world and there are interesting conflicts happening within it. But Final Fantasy XIII cannot be bothered to explain them to you in a natural way.

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