First, I'd like to mention that I'm a huge fan of the series and on the release date I was shipped the game from GameFly. I couldn't wait to pop the game in.
Needless to say, the graphics are amazing. All the environments, animations, characters, everything, are least to say: beautiful. What do you expect from Final Fantasy, in HD? Graphics: 10/10
Unfortunately, the graphics exceed the gameplay. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but you might as well pick up a hack-'n-slash. I'm about 10 hours into the game now and all I've been doing, battle-wise, is smashing the auto-battle option, with the occasional paradigm shift. I would normally find an alternative, such as picking my combos and attacks individually but all that does is waste time. The battle system was advertised and reviewed as remarkable, I beg to differ. Also, what made me most upset was the lack of any exploration. In Final Fantasy 12, you could visit numerous locations, walk through cities visiting shops, or just go kill stuff as you pleased. Final Fantasy 13 defines "linear gameplay" by taking all that out. How does Square-Enix expect to compete with modern RPGs today with many different innovations, when they give us this? Battle System & Gameplay: 5/10
I've had this game for a while now and I just cannot simply come to play it. It's way too repetitive: You explore the single-path map fighting (auto-battling) through enemies, watch a 5 minute cutscene, fight a "boss", watch a 10-20 minute cutscene, rinse, repeat. Replay Value: 4/10
If you're like me, and don't like a rental sitting at home for too long, this game is not for you. The game itself is good for the occasional play but not for trying to grind through as it gets boring fast. I'd still buy it and play occasionally but as a rental, I'd prefer something else that I can enjoy, finish, and send back. Not bore myself, finish, then return.
I've played every Final Fantasy, Japanese and English alike, and I can't say this is one of the worst, just play FF VIII for 90 minuets and you'll understand. Yes it's pretty. Yes it's linear. Yes for the first 25 hours it is very repetitive. And then it becomes much more involved, give it time, or don't. If you don't want change, then don't ask for it. Everyone criticized FF XII for being too free roam, and not linear. This is SquareEnix's first run at HD gaming, so of course they're gonna dump a ton of time into graphics, and sure we could have seen a variety of mini games, or towns....or whatever else people want to complain about. The matter is SquareEnix landed a solid story, good graphics, and addictive game play in it's first entry in HD gaming. I'm sure people complained about FF III ( or VI...pick your poison ) and we all know the mixed feelings people had about FF VII, but in the end Square, now SquareEnix, made a solid product. If you don't want to play a game you need to spend a lot of time to enjoy, then get a job.