So, I've been playing Final Fantasy XIII pretty regularly for the last few days, and in that time, I've developed strong feelings towards this game. Most of those "feelings" are based on weird parallels that can be drawn between this game and Final Fantasy VIII, quite possibly the worst game in existence.

I'll just go over really quick what I hate most about FF VIII: The characters.
Our heroes consist of...
...a sissy, emo punk-tard with a gun-blade (the dumbest weapon EVER):  Squall...
...a lesbian fem-bot outfitted with gun-boobs and a whip:  Quistis...
...a teenage school girl wielding nun-chucks:  Selphie...
...a psychotic half-monkey armed with nothing but his bare fists:  Zell...
...a loud-mouth, rock-stupid whore sporting a wrist-mounted dog-launcher:  Rinoa AND...
...a gay cowboy with a high-caliber rifle:  Irvene.


Not only does this game (FF VIII) sport some of the most retarded characters in RPG history, it's also plagued by yet another impossibly complex and bone-headed time-travel story centered around a sorceress's irrational plan to destroy the universe by "compressing time". As someone who works in an environment where time-travel is frequently employed, I can say from stone-cold experience that it's a little more complicated than THAT. In fact, I don't think black magic is even capable of controlling time. No, even now, time-travel is only possible by tapping into the unbridled power of Windows XP and Notepad. (And 90% of the audience has been lost. Their sacrifice shall always be remembered.)

Moving on...

The number one thing I hate so far about FF XIII after 12 hours of play? You guessed it, THE CHARACTERS. I'll go through it one step at a time.

Yet again, the designers of FF have decided to include a playable character (named SNOW... oh trust me, it gets dumber) whose chosen weapon against the hordes of darkness are HIS BARE-FUCKING-FISTS. There are, and I'm not kidding, dozens of guns just laying on the ground at his feet and he chooses to use his fists? Even his nameless teammates are smart enough to grab an assault rifle.  Hell, the hot chick in his first team carries a bigger gun than even the enemies crack troopers. But that's not the insane part: I could understand fore-going modern firearms if he were some kind of martial arts expert (he's not), but, in battle, and I'm not making this up, he has a limitless -- LIMITLESS -- supply ... (wait for it) ... of hand-grenades.
(several deep, calming breaths later)

Moving on, our main character (and I actually hesitate to say that because I'm not sure she IS the main character) is named Lightning... Snow and Lightning... someone please stop me before I lose my mind.

No one? No one at all? Fine, screw you, too. Her weapon of choice is, and I wish I were making this up too, a gun-blade... another fucking gun-blade. To the designer's credit, this incarnation of the gun-blade is slightly more believable... but only slightly. It's kinda like it's not a gun all the time, but it's not a sword all the time?... I guess? It's almost like a transformer. Picture an assault rifle. You're firing it, mowing down bad-guys. Then you press a button, and the pieces of the rifle move under their own power, maneuvering themselves into a sword. And that's about it. Stupidly, our hero never uses the gun functionality in combat, rendering the idea of having a gun-blade entirely pointless.

FF XIII seems to have a fixed a major design error in that all the weapons are either small enough to be holstered (like pistols), none existent (fucking Snow), or capable of folding-up, reducing their size by about 2/3s. Going back to VIII (I wish I weren't), it always looked like the heroes just carried their weapons, if fact, their entire inventory which sometimes included such impossibilities as 100 black-holes or the Goddamn Devil, in their infinitely deep pockets. Now, their weapons, which can weigh upwards of 20 pounds, get folded up and stored in special pouches/sheathes... that hang from their backs... below their asses... banging against the back of their thighs whenever they run... Nope, still doesn't work, ass-holes. Better luck next time 'cause I'm not buyin' it. Except that I did buy it... for $60... I hate you Square Enix, I hate you so fucking much.

The next character I have to bitch about is a whiny, little shit named Hope. I told you it got dumber. He's all emo because his mom died while fighting to defend him and the other kids against hordes of elite government storm-troopers. Being an irritating, little runt, he naturally blames Snow for this, even though there was nothing Snow could have done to save her. His weapon of choice? You'll never guess this. I dare you, if you haven't played this game, go ahead and guess. I'll give you a minute........................ yeah, you're wrong, it's a fucking boomerang. He's got a BOOMERANG. Fuck it, if they don't care, neither do I. Oh, but he'll only USE the boomerang in the beginning of the game. Yeah, after he gets magic he never throws his boomerang again. In fact, you don't want him to throw his boomerang because he's the best mage in the game. All you really want is for him to throw Lightning Bolts at the enemy, and to hell with the boomerang.

So, who's next... oh yeah, Vanille. I can sum her up as this: Absolutely, out-of-her-mind, bat-shit INSANE! She's what I call the "chin up" character. Always smiling, laughing, and telling everyone, "Don't be so negative!" Her weapon is a staff, and she tends to serve as either a mage or medic to the rest of the crew. I have yet to identify her accent, as it sounds like a fake-y cross between a Brit and a Kiwi.

The fifth and final (at this point) playable character is Sazh who is about the only intelligent character I've met thus far. He has the best voice acting out of any character in the game (something that makes me not hate him). He's armed with twin pistols that he holsters on his thighs, wears a bitchin' green trench coat, and has the most epic Afro in video game history. But there's no room for total awesome in a Final Fantasy game. No, like everyone else, he too is slightly insane. His crime? A baby chocobo chick that's made it's nest in his Afro. He even goes so far as to talk to it. Honest to God people, I have no idea.

There is a sixth playable character, but I haven't gotten that far, so fuck it.

I hate spoilers, and hate it when game plots get spoiled for me, so I'm not going to attempt to analyze the plot. I leave that to you, dear reader. I only want to say something about the game play outside of combat. There's no freedom. I'm not kidding, the entire game is essentially one big hallway after another. You cannot deviate to the left or the right EVER. You are stuck running back and forth down the same fucking passages grinding our meaningless, bullshit levels. It's boring and linear as all hell, and I hate it.

So, there you have it. My rant against a game that I will probably continue to play and hate for the next several months.

Oh, wait, there's something I forgot: Paradigms. There are no longer "jobs" like in the older games. Now, everyone has paradigms which are based in something call the Crysterium. I call this the illusion of choice. You're told you can level up your character's abilities as you see fit, ignoring things you don't want... except you can't. You're forced to fill in every part of the crystal if you expect to be competitive in combat. Aside from the title's of jobs changing, it's all about the same. Commandos are offensive melee, Ravagers are offensive magic, etc. ad nausium. It's actually an effective combat system, and, though I hate to admit it, I kinda like the new style of fighting, though it takes some getting used to. 

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