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Final Fantasy XIII is a Role Playing Game set in a ficticious world called Gran Pulse following the lives of several different protagonists and how their lives are interwoven. It was published by Square Enix in December 2009 for PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. It was subsequently released for Microsoft Windows in 2014.

Game Play

Story Line

Players will find the game play to be very linear as the available paths are tightly controlled. The story begins on Cocoon, an artificial biodome which floats above Gran Pulse with protagonist Lightning who experiences her sister Serah branded a l'Cie. Any l'Cie are enemies of the Sanctum - the government of Cocoon. The Sanctum initiates a purge of any people that may have been in contact with the l'Cie delivering the purged victims to Gran Pulse.

The l'Cie are humans which receive a brand on their body almost like an infection. The brand confirms they've been given a mission and a time period to complete the mission by a fal'Cie - supernatural beings which are never quantified by the game. For most l'Cie the mission, even the time span available to complete it, is unknown. If the l'Cie fail in their mission their bodies twist and deform becoming a Cie'th - the completed dis-figuration bears little human resemblance.

The story is broken up into multiple chapters with no ability to move backward in the chapter sequence. Most of the story is told in the form of unavoidable FMV sequences which trigger at given moments. Interactions between PCs and NPCs are very limited and only embellish small portions of the story.

The available environment is limited by the current chapter and there is little free movement available to the player who is ultimately just wandering along the story line until Chapter 9.

Chapter 9 sees the characters arrive at The Archylte Steppe, a large expanse of wilderness. Unlike the rest of the chapters (12 in all), the players are able to freely roam around the area.

Combat

Throughout the story line the players will meet adversaries to fight or avoid. It will often be that the players can see their opponents before battle is initiated and so some count of the opponents can be made. This count becomes easier when the player is spotted by the adversaries as each opponent receives a warning triangle above their heads. FMV cut-scenes that preempt the battle should not be relied upon for this count, however.

When there is no FMV sequence, the mini-map will change colour, the characters in the current group will draw their weapons and the music will alter. If the player is not immediately faced with the adversaries, the player can opt to back out of the area and prevent the encounter. However, many encounters are simply in the path of the story line and unavoidable.

The battle itself initiates with the first physical contact between the player-controlled character and any one of the adversaries. If the player is able to strike an adversary before they see the players, an advantage is given to the player in the form of a Preemptive Strike. After the contact, the scene changes to a generic battle area based on the current chapter for the face-off and actual combat.

At the start of each battle an overview of the opponents is given in one of two ways. If the player receives a Preemptive Strike then each opponent is visited once in the precursor strike and the opponent tally can simply be made. Where no preemptive strike occurs, there is a scene-setting view before battle commences.

Regardless of the pre-emptive strike, the Action button and the names of the opponents aid to give their numbers some meaning. The Action button will list up to five opponents, however, this menu option is usually only on-screen for a few frames due to the speed of combat. The names of the opponents appear on screen at various locations depending on the current battle scenario. If there is more than one of any given opponent type, a letter is attributed to each member of that type to give each a unique name - A for the first, B for the second and so on. Therefore the opponent with the letter furthest into the alphabet confirms how many of that opponent type. If there is no letter suffix shown then only one of that opponent type is in the current battle.

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