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I have terrible news everybody. After a long month, I have decided to give up on finishing Final Fantasy XIII. Our relationship hasn’t been going well, and it’s time that we both admit it isn’t going to work, and move on.

However, I wasn’t able to tell FFXIII to her face. Instead, I took the high road many of us have traveled before; I left a note. Now that she knows, and we both have started the healing process, I decided it was time to share the news with everyone here on the site; by posting the letter I slipped into her case only two nights ago.


Dear Final Fantasy XIII,

We have spent over 20 hours together, fighting to bring peace to Cocoon and Pulse. It’s been a fascinating ride; filled with spectacular visuals, and wondrous set-pieces. You are a technical marvel, and I hope you know this.

But…it isn’t working out. You see, when I started following you on Gamer Limit, I was swept up into the mystique of the next-generation Final Fantasy. You promised me an epic storyline, robust characters and lengthy, meaningful gameplay. I wanted all of these.

I slipped your disc into my PS3 with careful reverence. I wanted this to work; I wanted, needed, you to prove that the JRPG was worth saving.

I realized, as we slipped down the narrow corridors to the x, x, triangle beat of your battle system, that I had done this before. Sure, there were changes – but ultimately, you were just like every other RPG girl. Refusing to give up, I pushed forward; telling myself that you would change, and I could tell my friends the JRPG was back on the home console – ready to save the world. It never happened.

You revealed your secrets to me too slowly. I wanted to dance with your battle system, and wage wars against our enemies, but you held me back. Your intravenous drip of information tortured me with towering possibilities; but controlled environments shackled me to the ground. I know that freedom was mine, after I earned it, but your tutorial gauntlet disguised as gameplay left me apathetic.

I would have been OK with this if I cared about the people I was fighting with, but I didn’t. Your character line-up was filled with every feasible JRPG trope (save one), and you made no effort to make them more interesting than their polygon count. Sazh is a fantastic character, and I’m sad I must leave him, but Snow, Hope, Vanille, Lighting, and Fang are better left behind; lost to the endless fan-site top ten lists of the “Hottest Final Fantasy characters” or “The best Final Fantasy asses.”

My friends tell me this is how you’ve always been; no compromise, even in the face of genre-genocide. If that’s the case, perhaps I’m the one to blame. I’ve spent a lot of time in the west – hanging out with Dragon Age: Origins and Fallout 3 – and their influence could be the crux of our incompatibility. Because of them, I know the difference between good and bad video game writing. I know when someone is feeding me the same antiquated nonsense.

You’ve camouflaged yours well, but its there.  You might have something to offer for gamers willing to look past this, but I’m not one of them.


  1. avatar Chad

    Games like Dragon Age and Fallout 3 – Western RPGs – are where the problem is, though. Not the games themselves, but the mindset that people get. They then expect everything to be like that and JRPGs never have and probably never will.

    Sure, you see a few influences of the Western design philosophy every so often, but my motto is that if you want to play a WRPG, then play one, if you want to play a JRPG, then play one. Not that either sub-genre is bad in itself, but when you try to mash them together and forcibly make one into the other, you always end up disappointed. Expecting FFXIII or other JRPGs to be as immediately engaging as Western shoot-em-up RPGs that throw you into the action from the first second seems to me to be a bit ignorant.

    Most of the best JRPGs ever have had many of the conventions that FFXIII still holds, such as early game linearity and a slow moving story that builds up to greatness. You just have to give it the chance and not be swayed by the Western way of doing things.

    Just my opinions, anyway. :)

    • avatar Anonymous

      First of all, WRPGs were turn-based way before they used real-time combat, and many of the best WRPGs are from that era, so don’t use the words “shoot-em-up” to describe WRPGs as a whole

      Anyway, I agree that you should try and differentiate between playing a WRPG and playing a JRPG and enjoy each for what it is. However, that’s not to say that you can’t miss something you have in a WRPG that you don’t have in a JRPG, or vice versa. I mean, there are times when I’m playing a JRPG when I say to myself, “Damn it, why are there so many random encounters?!” or “Why can’t I just kill this guy?! He’s so annoying!” It doesn’t make me enjoy JRPGs any less and I don’t expect them to have those traits and be like that, but it does make me like WRPGs more because they do

  2. I said it before on my blog and I’ll say it here:

    The worst thing that FF13 did for JRPGs is further instill the belief that JRPGs are a static, unevolving genre, incapable of going any further, of changing into something other than monotonous nightmare of grinding, with a poorly made, superficial story.

    “After all, if this is Final Freaking Fantasy – the pinnacle of JRPG design – what else can anyone offer that’s better, right?” they’ll probably think. What a bummer.

    • I pretty much agree with Jamie, here. There’s a difference in sticking to the genre and being stagnant to the point that each game plays like the last. When you can pretty much cookie cut all of the characters in a game, it is time to re-think whether this is a genre or just a re-hash of the same materials you have seen over and over.

  3. I loved it. There are plenty of “classic JRPGs” that have been released recently, and there are plenty more to come.

    In fact, Square Enix is still going to release age-old formula JRPGs (see the upcoming iPhone game): so I’m not worried because one of them is streamlined. You can also look forward to FFXIII Versus, which is allegedly a more old school style.

  4. I can totally relate. I have this problem with most JRPGs… the buildup is too long and the payoff is too short. But, really, my issue is that I don’t want to be playing my first playthrough for 80 hrs. I want to burn through it pretty quickly and then replay or delve into other game modes, multiplayer, coop, etc. So, FF just isn’t my thing, I guess.

    It’s kinda sad cause so many have beautiful experiences with the games that I just can’t share with them. But, I’m not gonna torture myself to have that either.

  5. avatar Dan

    i felt the same, yet i struggled all the way to the end. and i regret it

    FF13 is not only a relic from a long distant time. is also a bad one
    you can attribute any quality you want to “classic” jrpgs and compare them western rpgs or even less traditional jrpgs.

    but even when comparing to other things in the tiny egg thats “jrpg”, FF13 is still a bland tasting egg white

  6. TLDR: A guy who’s never kissed a woman writes a break up letter to a video game.

    • avatar cyril

      nofskeolwreestyle on April 23, 2009 perfect business whether you have a busy schedule or you have spare time only takes about an hour or two to make cash. projectpayday rocks

  7. avatar Anraiki

    This article isn’t long. And if you didn’t bother reading it, don’t even bother putting a summary of what you think the article is. In fact, stop posting comments that doesn’t contribute or argue to this article.

  8. I enjoyed it, but like Jamie, I hope that Square Enix take more risks and stop worrying about what people think.

    • I would be willing to bet that most of peoples’ perceived problems with this game (including mine) would vanish in an instant if the game was 20 hours instead of like 45. I _really_ enjoyed myself in the first half.

    • In today’s distressed economy, Square-Enix cannot afford to stop worrying about what the people think; if they don’t cater to what the consumer wants and sales decrease, there likely could be a very different Square than we’ve seen even since the “merger” with Enix.

  9. My exact suspicions over this game

  10. The 55 hours I spent playing this game were some of the best and worst in all my time gaming. Square Enix did so many things right, and so many things wrong.

  11. avatar I love this writer!

    I totally agree. I have not liked any FF games after FF3 or FF4. I am over FF…

  12. avatar Ian

    After playing FF7 AFTER FF13…it’s not me; it’s FF13. This game is a pile of shit in comparison to older offerings.

  13. avatar ThoughtForms

    I paid too much for my pre-owned copy of ff13 and about a year after the release….I had hoped for button combo requirements to pull off the different moves & certainly never expected to only have control of one character and only in more of a directorial sense then true commading of a troop….the battle system AND the levelling up system sucked balls. I would rather play final fantasy 8 or 9. FF7 started something magical that died at the end of FF9. If FF7 had card games it would have been equal to 8 & 9. and tbh the first final fantasy (final quest? can’t remember exactly) kicked more ass than ff13. square/enix have killed their firstborn. god willing they never attempt a remake of terranigma… least until they get their shit right…

  14. avatar Foge

    At last! Sotemhing clear I can understand. Thanks!

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