The lights are on
Reading information about a game you’re anticipating is always a bittersweet experience. Sure, it helps you get through the agonizing wait, but each new tidbit you learn is something you can’t discover on your own, and spoilers wait around every corner to mar the experience. Over the past couple of days I’ve been playing quite a bit of the Japanese version of FFXIII, and although I’ve had quite a few revelations spoiled for me, I thought I’d put together a list of things that are actually helpful to know going into the game, while avoiding spoilers at all costs. If you can’t make it until March 9th, consider this a (mostly) guilt-free appetizer.
Pro tip: Try not to die:I realize that seems pretty obvious, but more than any previous Final Fantasy game, FFXIII punishes you for falling in combat. As you probably already know, you only control the actions of your party’s leader – the other characters will be controlled by AI. The biggest change to the formula comes from the fact that if your leader dies during battle, it’s instantly game over: You can’t resurrect yourself with a Phoenix down, or be revived in any other way by your teammates. That means that even if an enemy’s attack only floors you but leaves your partners with full HP bars, the battle still ends. The internet is already awash with criticism of this new gameplay mechanic, but if you’re aware of it going into battles, it’s usually not a big deal – especially if you heed the next bit of advice…
Roles make all the difference:Lots of games use designated roles to control AI partners, but never has it been more necessary than in FFXIII. The Optima roles are more than just a management option: Your characters’ move sets are dependent on what role they’re currently in, meaning you will want to switch roles frequently during battle. You’ll definitely want to take the time to set up custom role combinations in the options screen before heading into battle – there’s a big difference between say, Blaster, Enhancer, Healer, versus Attacker, Defender, Healer. Each character is also better at certain roles than others, so experiment a lot to find the roles that work best for you. Don’t be fooled by early reports that FFXIII’s combat is simple – there’s a lot of depth waiting underneath the surface!
Setting your characters to "Attacker" isn't always the best solution
Libra is your friend:Libra is a special command that acts differently from all of your other abilities. Whereas most moves make use of your ATB bar, Libra uses your Tactical bar (the same bar Summons use). Libra allows you to analyze your enemies to identify weaknesses. It is essentially the Scan ability from previous games, but it comes with a major perk: Because you no longer control your other teammates, performing Libra will inform the other members of these weaknesses as well, resulting in instant damage increases as your partners automatically change tactics. Each enemy can be scanned several times, so it’s definitely worth taking the time in battle to scope them out.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
I really like the positive vibe in this article. Makes me look forward to the game.
the only way to cope with this unbearable anxiety is to read about and play other cool games! i don't know what i'd do if there weren't other games to be excited about, like mass effect 2, Bioshock 2, Bayonetta, AC2, cool stuff like that.but my will will is wavering! there's so many FF13 videos out there! too tempting!
I think if everyone just played the awesome games coming out until XIII's release, they will make it. Thats what I'm doing!
Agreed. There are so many more games coming out in the next few months that you can't just focus on one. FFXIII is going to beat face lol, but all the other amazing games coming out are making me unable to set my sights on only one of them. AHHHHHHHHHH
why do u give us hints for a game without a US release date?
Thanks Jeff, very upbeat and informative without spoilers. My interest in this game is beginning to grow. Which is a huge plus, because I never really got into FFXII.
k good tips
Got to say this could be the most difficult of the Final Fantasy series. Could be a nice change of pace.
the US release date is definitely March 9, 2010.
He even says it in the first paragraph. :D
Thanks for the info.
I've always made my party into different roles. . .Like in FF12, I had everyone doing different things. It makes games funner. So I'll do great in this game! Can't wait!
The not dying part is a little unsettling, but I will not that shed any malaise on my experience.
my friend would love this game.
Just a few more months. Been waiting for this since FFX. FFXI was online crap and FFXII was disappointing.
Are you talking about FFXII when you say a US release date hasn't been mentioned? He said it in the second-to-last sentence. Plus, the US release date has been confirmed for at least a month...
This is really cool news, by the way. I need a challenging game. The last games I have played only lasted me 10 hours!
My bad. I meant FFXIII...
This is some good info to know when going into the game, I keep telling myself just three more months and we will finally have it within our grasp. As far as talking about the game, please see the final fantasy group and join up, we have a great ffxiii thread that is packed with great information. As far as waiting and doing things while waiting, I've picked up Crystal Chronicles, and despite the horrid review that it goit, which to me is unwarranted, it is a decent game. The motion controls do work fine, as long as you have a motion plus, without it you will be cursing a blue stream. During the finalk month of waiting I'll be picking up Star Ocean and White Knight Chronicles in Feb, so it's not all too bad.
Thanks for the article! This is exactly what I wanted: a brief, what-it's-like description of Final Fantasy XIII that keeps it short, sweet, and to the point. This article is a great counterpoint to the epic poem-length article that went up on Kotaku the other day. While that one had segues into having an ear infection or a friend who used to draw cars and felt altogether too cool for school, this one is nice, brief, and optimistic; clearly you haven't taken the It's Cool To Hate On Popular Games bait. Can't wait until the 9th of March!
Wow. All of these changes to the formula seem pretty interesting. I'm kind of excited for this game now.