So. I'm done with the game. Well, not done with the game as a whole yet, but I've finished the main storyline.
I am about 100 dollars poorer. (Got a fantastic deal at Toys R us for the game. Got a 13 dollar gift card + Prototype (game) for extra 20. I also got the Official Game Guide for another 13)
The graphics is really, really good. Square hit home with the design of the game world. I've played other 1080P games before, but nothing even remotely comes close to this.
And when I think back on what I was playing before Final Fantasy XIII, I drew a blank. I recall that I'm not done with Valkyria Chronicles, or Madden, or Assassin's Creed. Those felt like a lifetime ago. Nostalgia sets in.
Gameplay was okay. I loathe the fact that I can't control the other party members directly, that affected some of the strategy up to a point. But I guess that's what the game wants you to do. I can't make a super high powered offense + ultra high HP and expect to win the game like that.
I recall the hours I spent grinding away at the training room in Balamb garden to make an invincible team. But in FFXIII, no matter how well trained your party is, you still need to master the art of Paradigm Shift to win. But once you get the gist of it, you can take on monsters waaay too tough for your crystarium levels, saving you the hours grinding at the Ruby Dragons. But not being able to control the party members directly cut away some of the satisfaction.
Story was, well, it was deep, with backstory of most characters. There are some parts that you kinda cringe at, but there are some that really hit the spot. Cheesy dialogues are part of the series, so don't expect it to go away in this installment.
Chocobos are back. So are the summons. Odin was fine, but he's a horse, or is he a man? Brynhildr is a car with hot wheels. Hecatoncheir (He-Kah-To-uhn-Keir) is a Magitek Armor, Alexander is a castle and Bahamut is a Bahamut.
After listening to the final cutscene with Leona Lewis's song, My Hands, it felt weird, it felt out of place. It's a good song, don't get me wrong, but it felt like it was forced into the scene, and it just didn't belong. I think Square made a bad call getting her song there, it just didn't have the right vibe. Kimi Ga Iru Kara by Sugiwara Sayuri provides a much better mood for the story.