Four Hour Fantasy

I’m now a little over four hours into Final Fantasy XIII. It’s not much compared to the overall length of the game (estimates seem to be around 50+ hours for basic completion), but it’s “progress”. My process of trying to enjoy and get used to this genre of RPG continues.

I’d say the game is improving somewhat – there have been a few new options added to the combat system, namely “paradigms” of how to fight and a couple of other things. The narrative has become somewhat more interesting as well, though it’s still firmly in the realm of cheesy goodness.

In some ways, the weirdest thing about playing this game so far is the sheer lack of things I can see to actually comment on about my playing. Nothing has grabbed me as specifically interesting, strange, or evocative about the world it’s set in, the mechanics of play, or the story as it rolls dutifully along.

To me, that’s strange. It’s rare that I play anything that doesn’t trigger some kind of reflection in me, but FFXIII so far leaves me perplexingly blank. I keep waiting for something to happen, but it’s one long, smooth experience of “gameness” without any frisson – a bit like drinking a flat coke, say.

I’ll keep sipping away. I’ve promised myself to get maybe 20 hours in or so, where I hear from reviews and people that the game “becomes interesting” at last. That’s an absurd investment to have to make, but I’ll make it at least this time.

25 September 2010
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