I posted a deal a few days ago suggesting that the £32.85 price from ShopTo was the lowest price you could find for Final Fantasy XIII, but it seems those canny cats over at the Game Collection weren't happy with that and so they've dropped their price for the Xbox version to just £29.95, saving you just under £3 which could buy you a beer or a couple of oven pizzas or a beanie baby or three quarters of a ride on the Tube or thirty penny sweets (goddamn inflation!).
Final Fantasy XIII was clearly built backwards by a team of men and women with balls, metaphorical or otherwise, made of titanium. Instead of trying to impress you from the start with gripping gameplay, immersive narrative and an expansive game world ripe for glorious exploration, Final Fantasy XIII funnels you through a series of narrow corridors in varying locales and makes you fight, fight and fight again.
It's very pretty to look at, in fact the graphics are frankly astoundingly good even on the inferior 360 version, and system evolves into a deep and complex strategic setup eventually, but you see eventually is the operative word with FFXIII. After five hours of condescending hand-holding you're fed up already, but after twenty!
The second half of the game, when you eventually reach Gran Pulse and can finally alter your party of characters who are finally starting to develop (arguably a first for the series) and go on some side quests and enjoy a little bit of choice (Choice? In an RPG? Who would have thought of such a thing?!) does open up the game a lot and suddenly the comatose cocoon of a game (sorry for the pun) bursts into life as a beautiful butterfly. There's a great game hidden amongst these three discs, you've just got to slog for a few hours to get there, which seems a little bit backwards, but maybe that's just me.
FFXIII is a solid game that's really boosted by its exceptional presentation, but it strikes me that it was only halfway through development when omeone reminded Square that they were supposed to be making a game and not an even more nonsensical version of Advent Children.
Thanks to Alena at HUKD