I’ve been looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII for such a long time. I got it on the release day and I’ve been playing it as soon as I’ve come home from work.

I’m currently about 12 hours in and just started chapter 6. I probably did something wrong, but it took me 16 minutes to beat the Aster Protoflorian at the end of chapter 5. Normally the battles are a couple of minutes long, maximum.

You’ve probably read some mixed reviews of this game online (I probably read too much about this game before I started playing it) where people are complaining about this and that. I only have one major gripe with this game: on the back of the package it clearly says that it supports “DualShock3 Vibration Function”, but there’s no vibration in the game (edit: during cut-scenes and summons). I always found that it enhances the game-play, especially during dramatic cut-scenes. Also, if you want to get DTS audio, you have to disable Dolby Digital in the PS3 audio settings.

This game reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy X, which I really liked by the way. The beginning of the game is a bit… fragmented. Most of the background story is shown in flashbacks as the game progresses. It’s also pretty easy and tutorial-y for a long while - you’re introduced to new mechanics for battle and character and equipment upgrades little by little. The battles get harder pretty quickly after you’ve learned everything. I actually like the characters better over all in FFXIII than in FFX.

The complaints people have been having is things they’re missing in this game that was there in earlier Final Fantasy games, but most things they’re missing are things I didn’t like. Like countless “hunts” and side-quests a la Monster Hunter Freedom (puke) that make you forget about the story, towns where you have to go around and press X on every person to see if they have some important info and mini-games like, wait for it, Blitzball in FFX, and even more micro management for upgrading weapons and equipment. I think this game is good the way it is, as long as you’re patient in the beginning.

One nice detail in the game is that when you load a saved game you get a recap of the story while the game is loading.

A tip is to save to a new save game file after the big cut-scenes if you want to watch them again later.