June 30, 2010
About 30 hours into the game now, and it's still a really mixed bag. I like (some of) the characters, the battle system is surprisingly fun and I actually do want to know what happens next in the story. On the other hand, the game struggles with pacing and the narrative could be a bit more captivating. I'm also somewhat put off by the equipment system with the evolving weapons and such. (That's actually one of my pet peeves: I dislike RPG systems where weapons evolve or you need to have different items to create weapons.) Not sure if things are going uphill or downhill, but I'm determined to see where this is going.
Lightning is, for once, a very nice female video game character. She isn't a "babe" to be drooled over (though I'd prefer if she'd been given, you know, pants or something) and her gender isn't a point in any way. Her gender is not a thing, if you will. She's just the sort-of protagonist of the game, who matter-of-factly pushes onwards in life as well as in battles. Also, Fang and even Vanille are interesting characters! This must be the first Final Fantasy game where I don't have to cringe at the typical men-saving-the-women scenarios, and where all the primary female characters feel more than just something planned to appeal to a crowd of awkward males. And for that I'm ready to cut FFXIII a lot of slack.
(If you're wondering what Playing for Time is, see this explanatory post.)