>uh-oh, pt. 2

>Sorry if that last post was too cliffhanger-y; I suddenly looked at the time and realized I had to be somewhere else in a hurry.

So, then: yes! I finally finished FF13’s infamous Chapter 11, and now I’m a few checkpoints into Chapter 12. And I’m still very much on board.

The game’s got some issues, of course, and the biggest is its pacing, which is all over the place. The first 15 hours are relentlessly linear and incredibly confusing, story-wise, and then suddenly the game pulls a 180 and gives you nothing but side missions and wide open spaces to traverse. The game picked up for me once I decided to be done with the side missions and start getting back into the story, and now the game feels perfect: I feel like I’m making legitimate forward progress, the environments are more and more stunning, and – most importantly – I’m really getting into the battle system.

To wit: for the first 40 hours or so, I mainly just stuck to the “Diversity” paradigm – i.e., melee/magic/medic. Even if it was slow and inefficient, it still generally got the job done. But now, suddenly, the Synergist and Saboteur roles are becoming more and more useful, and finishing a battle is now a bit like solving a puzzle – there’s a strategic element to planning everything out, and as a result the combat is far more engaging and enjoyable.

It is ridiculous that I’ve spent this much time with the game in the first place, but in the end, I’m glad I stuck with it. Especially considering how dry the release calendar has been of late – a game this long couldn’t have come along at a better time.

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