The Final Fantasy series has taken an interesting course in the past few years. In 2010 Final Fantasy XIII was released as the first game in the series on the next generation consoles. The game received mixed reviews by gamers. Many loved it, while others criticized its linear game play and simplistic battle system. Major gaming magazines and website generally gave the game good reviews. Final Fantasy XIV was then released in September 2010. It was a complete disaster and received terrible reviews from both gamers and critics, who claimed it was “essentially incomplete.” Final Fantasy XIV is a MMORPG with excellent graphics, but apparently fell short in every other area, being full of game play flaws and bugs that made the game just a hassle to play. At the end of January this year, Final Fantasy XII-2 was released. The game is a direct sequel to XIII and has been generally well received by gamers and critics. It allows for more exploration and side quests than XIII, but the main story has been rumored to be too short.
Clearly the days are gone where each new main installment of this groundbreaking series was absolutely loved by its fans. (This probably ended with the released of Final Fantasy X-2) We now await the release of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, an action RPG that is part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series. This is the subseries that both XIII and XIII-2 are a part of. The game was revealed back in 2006, and has yet to have a fixed release date. According to the games producer, Yoshinori Kitase, the game is currently under full production. There have been rumors of a release on December 31st 2012, but this has not been confirmed.
Versus XIII’s story is not linked to XIII and XIII-2, but will include an entire different cast of characters and storyline. The games director, Tetsuya Nomura claims the fighting style will be similar to that of the Kingdom Hearts Series, with more of a realistic approach (there is nothing cartoonish about this game.) Little has been revealed of the story except that the protagonist is Noctis Lucis Caelum, a prince whose family controls the city in which the game takes place. The city has control over the Crystals; the legendary supernatural stones that can control natural phenomena. These stones have been a staple in the Final Fantasy series. The city controlled by Noctis Lucis Caelum’s family is a modern city with gigantic skyscrapers and advanced vehicles. Marauders invade the city, as they want to take the Crystals for themselves.
An online video of Versus XIII’s game play shows beautiful graphics that are in the similar fashion of the other titles. The majority of action shown takes place in the city streets. The fighting does look extremely reminiscent of Kingdom Hearts. In the corner of the screen is a sub menu that has the option to attack, use magic, summon, and use items. Another part of the video the player wandering around a vast world map that looks just like Grand Pulse in XIII. The player is shown fighting against monsters and human enemies with both swords and guns.
With out a doubt, this game looks amazing, and hopefully there will be a confirmed release date soon. However, Final Fantasy has reached the point in its existence where each release will bring about controversy amongst gamers and critics; whether it is over game play mechanics, characters, or story. But despite the disaster that was Final Fantasy XIV, the new installments of the game have still managed to hold up well. Lets hope that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is as good as it looks and delivers the epic adventure that had always been Final Fantasy.