So in continuing to clear out my STEAM backlog I have moved on to the FF13 trilogy! Starting with the first game the adventures of badass gunswordswoman Lightning and her band of sidekicks try to save their floating ant farm in the sky. As usual, spoilers ahead!
I had to read wikipedia to confirm if I actually understood the story because the naming sense in this game is crazy, everything just sounds the same! So I guess I’ll try to ELI5 it for those out there who never played it or played it and can’t keep track. But basically a cradle-like world called the Cocoon, created by a mythical god fal’Cie floats above earth. The current human civilization all lives inside there because the humans on earth have all been destroyed and only wildlife and monsters roam there now. Another fal’Cie god named Barthandelus (who I like to call Seymour Thordan because he keeps coming back and looks like a shaven King Thordan from XIV) wants to destroy Cocoon for reasons I can’t understand. So in order to do this he randomly assigns random humans to be his destruction puppets who this game refers to as l’Cie, and if they fail their mission, they turn into Cie’th – a hideous looking deformed monster that roams aimlessly only killing things in its path. Oh and the original earth area has now become referred to as Pulse, and anyone in Cocoon who they think has come in contact with anything from there is said to be “infected” and must be “purged” back to Pulse – where they will probably die a horrible death by the many monsters who roam there presently.
So now that I’ve confused you further, let’s talk about the characters! The girl who constantly makes weird noises in the English dub (though I played Japanese so I was spared) named Vanille, apparently was turned into a l’Cie many years ago, became Ragnarok and basically killed everyone on Pule hundreds of years ago. After she and her bff/girlfriend Fang completed their mission they were turned into crystal only to reawaken in the present day to destroy the newly created Cocoon. After sneaking into Cocoon, the army there PSICOM is made aware that sickness must be purged and she ends up on a purge train with Hope and his mother. Hope’s mother unfortunately has a death flag on her and dies almost immediately because Snow couldn’t save her. Snow is the supposed hero of this game but nobody cares about him and he sucks badly and all he thinks about is saving everyone, but instead he fucks up badly and saves nobody. He just wants to marry and bang his girlfriend Sera, who has been turned into crystal after completing her mission of getting Lightning and the team together.
Lightning is angry gunsword waifu but becomes softer after having to take care of shota-kun here, meanwhile Vanille gets paired up with dad only to find out that she turned his son into a l’Cie and has endless guilt about it the rest of the game.
So then you basically go through the game, kill monsters, level your sphere grid (which was 3D and annoying as fuck to maneuver) until we get back on track with the story. After roaming around Pulse and getting my ass owned by Behemoths, everyone by then had began to awaken their inner primals. Lightning got Odin, Sazh was Bryhildr, Hope was Alexander, Snow was Shiva, Fang was Bahamut and Vanille was HeckasomethingIforget cause it’s not a server name in FFXIV 😂. By then Hope had also given up trying to get revenge on Snow, had said goodbye to his father who was grief stricken to find out his wife was dead – but it’s like dude, your wife was on her way to get purged anyway, where the fuck were you up till now?? They also visit Vanille and Fang’s hometown where as I had mentioned, there’s nobody left except Vanille’s broken robot, and if you do this quest you will get like 500k gil which I then used to upgrade my main team’s weapons (which didn’t even matter because the entire game runs on the basis of upgrading your sphere grids.)
So then I finally hit a brick wall in this game, despite being in easy mode, because the game never taught me and important aspect: DEBUFFING. The game gives you the opportunity to level various skill trees on all the characters, but the game starts you off as having only 3 skill trees per character – which you would naturally think to level up as you’re going along. So while it makes it seem like you can play ANY character, once you get to Seymour Thordan here it’s painfully obvious that you MUST have a debuffer with certain debuff skills in the party or the boss is impossible. The way the game works is you wack an enemy with a Commander/Ravager combo to get it to “stagger”. Once it’s staggered, you can do tons of damage on it, even more so if you have debuffs on it – such as making it weak to every element. Since priest man’s elements are halved for everything, by making him weakened, you can do more damage to him. Like with most FF bosses, he has an enrage, and if you do not kill him within a certain time, he puts doom on you and you basically auto-die in 10 minutes. I ended up dying 3 times to this guy until I said fuck it, let’s just put in 2 Saboteurs and give it a shot!
The fight went from impossible to a literal joke as I pretty much knocked him down to 30% in literally the first minute of the fight. Also because of the way the skill order works, I swapped in Vanille over Hope (who I was using because I had upgraded his weapon) and debuffing priest GGE instantly knocked him down. In fact all the other times I had to fight him ended up in the same fashion where I had do put debuffs on him in order to actually be able to defeat him. Not all bosses were able to take debuffs, in some they were completely immune, and I just had to whale on them and use Synergist for shields instead which then made Hope useful. By the end of the game though I had unlocked everyone’s skills so Fang was able to place every single debuff and Hope was able to put on every single buff so I had tons of shells/protects etc on everyone and lots of debuffs on the boss. It made the actual final fight against Orphan a complete joke and I really wish the game had some kind of tutorial explaining that you literally cannot defeat bosses without a debuffer. Imagine never having a debuffer in your party because you just happened to like Hope, Lightning and Snow in your party – you would never get past chapter 11. Not even weapon upgrades could make up for this, you NEEDED A SABOTEUR IN YOUR PARTY.
So anyway, back to story, everyone defeats priest GGE, evil Cid #2 (looking at you FF12 😂), Fake Thancredrush and an evil god fal’Cie apparently voiced by Shimono Hiro (???), everyone turns into a crystal. By now all the residents of Cocoon have been escorted by PSICOM out of Cocoon back to Pulse but since they are protected by the army the evil beasts have not killed everyone instantly. Vanille and Fang decide to turn into Ragnarok and save everyone by de-crystallizing them, stopping Cocoon from falling and crashing into Pulse and bringing Sazh’s son and Lightning’s sister Serah back to life. To be continued in FF13-2 I guess!
So aside the annoyingly similar naming sense for everything and the lack of explanations on debuffing during battle, I actually really enjoyed the game. At first I was like what the fuck’s even going on, but I kinda ended up understanding it, and the game does have an entire datalog you can read at your leisure in case you are confused as it does pretty much explain and summarize every single chapter. Even when you save/load the game, there will always be a summary to explain what happened in case it’s been a while since you played (aka would have been real helpful when I took that 5 month break between playing FF12 😂)
The battle system was interesting in where you could change party composition on the fly which is something I haven’t really seen since FF10-2. It was neat to be like “ok lots of damage going out we need the T/H/H setup ASAP” and then immediately swapping to “ok time to put on some debuffs while we whale on his stagger bar – C/R/S setup go!” I would often use Relentless Assault for trash mobs, and swap to Diversity if I needed some backup healing because someone got weirdly debuffed and is hurtin. The only thing that sucked was the entire party comp was based off your main character – so if say Lightning was your party leader – if Lightning dies -everyone dies. In other FF games, if someone died, as long as the other 3 were alive, you just ressed the dead person and kept going. In this one, leader dies = everyone dies. I found that to be honestly kinda stupid especially when the other 2 characters in the party had raise skills lol.
Overall I think this was one of the better FF games. I heard this game got a lot of hate but I think I mostly enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to playing the next 2 in the series! 😀 I streamed the whole thing on my twitch channel so feel free to check out my highlights. And as usual I leave you with this: