Love Thy Nerd posted an article today titled “10 Incredible Women of Gaming and Their Impact”. I appreciated that Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII was on the list (have always liked her as a character). I do wish though that this line from the opening paragraph was not included (bold emphasis mine):
Here are 10 women from video games who are powerful, brave and inventive—far more interesting than all of the Nathan Drakes, Adam Jensens, and Soldier 76’s littering the gaming landscape. – You can read more here
I’m not sure why we can’t celebrate female characters in gaming without comparing them to men let alone taking a jab at male characters. What if I find Nathan Drake just as interesting as Samus? Can’t we love both without labeling one gender more interesting than the other?
Run down a linear path, fight 20+ times, and watch a movie. Wash, rinse, repeat.
For a game representing the next generation of role playing games, Final Fantasy XIII sure doesn’t deviate from the established formula. I mean sure, the Paradigm shifts are fun and the battles are quick and breezy, but where is that next-gen wow factor? One could argue that:
- The graphics are amazing. This is true.
- The battle system is an extremely polished version of what has come before (what has worked and what hasn’t). This is also true.
But what about the storyline? The heart and soul of the game. Already, in my few hours of game play, I have found myself trying to figure out what exactly is going on. I have even visited wikipedia in an effort to unravel this mystery. This isn’t a good thing. Past Final Fantasy’s have grabbed ahold of me straight from the beginning. Take for instance Cloud in Final Fantasy VII. The game opens with Cloud, on a train with the terrorist group AVALANCHE, going to blow up a Mako reactor. At the time I didn’t know what a Mako reactor was, but I sure wanted to see it blow up! Simply epic. Similarly, Final Fantasy XIII begins on a train that quickly devolves into an endless escape sequence. Questions such as:
- Why are we running/ escaping?
- Where are we? Are we apart of the good guys? Are we bad?
- Why do so many people have to die from all of these suspended roads collapsing? Surely someone thought that building such roads could be hazardous.
Soul burning questions (okay, not quite) aside, these questions are just not as compelling as going to blow up a reactor. No, I’m not bashing Final Fantasy XIII. I have kept playing it to see if the story becomes any clearer/ gets better. So far, I have learned that the story involves the main characters trying to figure out how to defeat a curse by figuring out exactly what they have been cursed with. This could be interesting I guess.
The graphics and battle system have kept me going thus far. But I wonder if ultimately I am wasting my time. I will not deny that this game certainly represents a step forward for the series, but I also wonder if it could represent a step back as well.