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Forums > Submission Feedback > genj's Final Fantasy XIII review

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Author: aschultz
Posted: March 23, 2010 (03:10 PM)
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This jumped out at me as something that was written just before the week deadline, as you wanted to get a RotW entry with feedback and had another review prepared for the NEXT week. I'm seeing the small mistakes I know you can paper over. Given the length, I think a bit of time to sit and revise the review would've helped nail things down. Hope these suggestions help, if you'd like them. Let me know in the future if you'd like it scaled back...I actually try and proofread stuff instead of doing unproductive time wasting at work. It helps with my own writing, review or other.


The 1) and 2) early on seem unprofessional--not that you do this for money, but it feels like reading from an outline. Also, I can't really guess what balance you've been craving since IV, and the only way to is to read reviews for previous games. The contrast of pathetically easy vs linear-but-worth-sacrificing, though, is a good one where the reader could learn something. Perhaps "FF13 exceeded expectations by providing beautiful visuals and more challenge than I thought, but it is too linear--and since you're stuck in one of the franchise's worst stories, that's a lot to suffer through."

"you have the biggest hurdle to overcome" also sounds awkward. It sounds like the story has the weirdness that will appeal to people, but it doesn't do anything with it. May I recommend "Only Japan can cook this crap up, but of course, they can also reheat it abysmally." Then the transition to "I don't play RPGs for a good story" doesn't work. I think the transition from Super Pope to the solid battle system would be great--THIS is why you hate the enemy, to probably the best paragraph, though I'm wondering about having huge groups of enemies being a GOOD thing. You touch on it later. Perhaps you could do that earlier, to show why hacking through 17 of the same enemy does provide a challenge for a while.

"Quick strategy" is also confusing to me as I thought that is what tactics was. This could just be terminology. The review may get a bit FAQ-y after that. Perhaps after "Some enemies can be" you can get straight to a good part later where you mention you need to combine your party differently for different enemies, and while level grinding to make everyone a superfighter is an option, it takes too much time. And that's a good thing. It forces the player to see the challenge.

"I don’t think enough RPG fans realize how much more enjoyable and satisfying it is to win through skill and strategy than through numbers." <- this is a bit of editorializing and it seems that you could collapse it with later stuff to say, concentrating on doing a lot with a little may save FF13 for a lot of RPG fans AND help them appreciate strategy more in general.

"you're party" = typo

Also, too long to discuss the large parties of enemies--that's very interesting, but again, it can go maybe a bit further up, woven into the bit about how button bashing isn't impossible. Does it encourage maximization not only to win, but to win quickly? It sounds like it.

"There's been a lot discontent" -> passive voice, plus "lot of"

"There are still a few odds and ends to discuss about the game." does sadly feel like you're reading from lecture notes. And it does, sadly, feel like a bunch of odds and ends. I think it's worthwhile to mention the Xbox 360 port somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Perhaps at the beginning, when you talk about your expectations? I mean, you talk about the prettiest visuals the Xbox 360 could produce and then later saying "almost as good as PS3" is a bit of a switch. Perhaps you expected Xbox360 to be nearly equivalent to the original PS3 version, and the combat/gameplay would take care of the rest.

"quests other then" -> than

The final paragraph feels a bit choppy but adequate. I mentioned the 4th wall in Zipp's review and here I prefer something like "With a better story and more sub-plots, XIII would feel more epic, but it's still fun to play. Still, you need to know what you want in an RPG for XIII because it focuses heavily on battles/dungeons."

"True a" -> comma

My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips

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Author: Genj
Posted: April 05, 2010 (03:43 PM)
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Sorry I didn't see your feedback earlier, Schultz. I'm actually pretty dissatisfied with how this review turned out and have been meaning to do major edits to it, but lack of time etc. Hopefully I will get to it eventually. Thanks for the comments on these areas to look at.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: April 06, 2010 (08:29 AM)
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Glad I could help. I've definitely been there too. Also, I've missed feedback for my reviews too. There's a lot to say about the game, and I think even in HG reviews where I see a lot I'd change, I get a lot out of them.

My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips

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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: April 21, 2010 (10:32 AM)
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As promised, detailed feedback.

Your discussion of the battle system is a little confusing, which is to say it sounds a lot like FF12's. Point is, the tone of this paragraph makes the battle system sound innovative and fresh. You need to tell us why that is, and what sets it apart from FF12 or Dragon Age, which used the same concept and for some reason nobody noticed.

The paragraph on Paradigms and Roles reads too much like a list at first, and then gets all technical at me. Your point - that the system is clever - either needs to be detailed better or seriously streamlined.

Then, suddenly, we're back to talking about the battle system again. I see the connection with the last paragraph, and that roles need to be explained before you can talk about the tactical uses of switching them, but what it needs is a smooth transition. The sudden shift is jarring.

Next paragraph begins atrociously.

"The experience system is essentially a more restrictive version of Final Fantasy X’s Sphere Grid with a Crystalum grid for each role. The separate grids are just a way to develop each party member’s roles at your own pace. The Crystalum has a cap that occasionally expands after a major boss fight as well."

That's three consecutive sentences beginning with "The [noun]". It's choppy and distracting; you need to find a way to tie these together somehow.

Anyway, the lack of paragraph transitions really, really hurts this piece. In my opinion, you need better, smoother transitions between paragraphs. You also need to better manage details; like I said in the other topic, this review has a bad case of information overload. You don't want to get too technical too quickly or present too many details in a short time.

The good news is, all (I think) this review needs is to be streamlined, and restructured in some places. You might cut some things out, but you could just as easily not and reorganize; nothing in here is what I would call superfluous or unnecessary information, there's just a lot of it in a short span of time. Even polishing those paragraph transitions would help immensely.

"Either, sir, you're an ass or masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe

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