Final Fantasy XIII is considered by many game reviews a good game. Though many gamers out there will consider a mid-8 metacritic score below average. For Final Fantasy, it is below average. While Square has tried to revamp the series and make it more appealing to Western audiences, they still have a ways to go.
With XIV expected to come out later this year, will the upcoming MMO be a bigger critical success than XIII? Will the game appeal better to Western fans? And will XIV be a much better title than XI?
It’s well known that both games are of different genres. XIII is a traditional single player Final Fantasy while XIV is a MMO. XIII is what Final Fantasy fans expect from the series, and the introduction of MMO’s to Final Fantasy has only been around for less than a decade. Knowing this it would be unfair to say that one game is better than the other because it is all about personal preference, but we can get an idea on how the media and the majority of the population think.
XIII is being praised for a great story, great visuals, and a much improved combat system. The game though is also being criticized for linear gameplay, lack of side missions throughout, and mediocre voice acting. The game, especially in the West, is not what RPG fans expect from a RPG for the most part. People have grown accustomed to open world RPG’s in the West with branching choices in the world. The West has grown accustomed to RPG’s from companies like Bethesda and Bioware. Now this isn’t to say that the hardcore Final Fantasy fans hasn’t stuck to the classic JRPG (Final Fantasy) feel.
XIV has been in development since the PS2 era, to followup XIII. As we all know, XIII has in development for a LONG time. There was a rumor around last E3, that XIV was closer to being completed than XIII and thats why it debuted last E3. A rumor is that if that Square wanted to, they probably could have released XIV before XIII. Knowing that we can assume that XIV had a much clearer vision put into the project, and less hiccups along the way.
XIV is a MMO so obviously it is going to be open world. You will have the choice of different races, different home areas, and still have a vast Final Fantasy story. The game will focus on getting the best weapons when it comes to leveling up your character. This is popular in most MMO’s, and non-MMO’s like Borderlands. People in the West like getting rewards for their actions, and it seems that with the linearity of XIII that there isn’t much of a reward feeling involved.
XIV is also one of the prettiest MMO’s I’ve seen from the screenshots that have been released to the public. This game is going to be one of the better looking MMO’s visually which always help in todays day of graphic “whores”. Combine quality in-game graphics with stunning CGI cut scenes and you got something very appealing visually.
The developers of XIV have said that since the release of XI they have been taking notes from World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, and Warhammer Online. They have tried to implement the new elements that have come along over the past 6 years.
While we will know more about the quality of XIV when the beta is released, for now it seems like XIV may do a little better critically in the West than XIII. While XIV, may not be a World of Warcraft killer it does contain a lot of gaming elements that Western fans have come to appreciate. XIII is a Japanese RPG that seems to have been made for accessibility with Western audiences, but stylistically it wont appeal to the Western audiences. The art style, linearity, and world aren’t something that Western fans aren’t into as much anymore, unfortunately. While, personally, I think both games are going to be great, I can see XIV being a much more well received and popular game, especially in the West due to the open worlds, weapon upgrade system, job system, playing with friends, and different choice paths.