My buddy just came back from Tokyo and brought the Advent Children Complete Blu Ray set for me. Obviousley, the first thing I did was crack FFXIII open and give it a run. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I've been waiting for this game since at least 2006. After playing the demo, I know that this game will easily be worth the wait.
The Battle System
The first thing I did once the game started is watch the openning trailer. There is almost nothing that we haven't already seen here, however, it looks gorgeous in 1080p. The demo starts in a boss battle. You notice the change from the FFXII battle system instantly. First of all, there is a battle screen. My current favorite RPG this gen is Lost Odyssey and it takes that game at least 30 seconds to get you into battle. The transition between the regular map and starting a battle in FFXIII takes maybe two seconds.
The second change I noticed is that you cannot freely walk around the battlefield. This felt a little wierd at first, but if you are a fan of RPGs and have played any of the games in this series, you will fall in love in a matter of minutes.
The third new aspect of battle is a bar reminicent of the ATB bar that was introduced in FFVI (as far as I recall). Each of your primary (or basic) attacks takes up 1 of the 3 slots that your time bar allows you to have. Therefore, you can mix 2 attacks with 1 fireball. Or you can you can shoot 1 ball of fire then come in for 2 attacks. There is also one heavy attack which hits all enemies and needs all three slots of your bar to work. I'm sure there will be many more options in the final product. What I can tell you is that the time bar creates a very exciting battle where you are trying to mix and match attacks to see the results.
Now while it's true that you can't move around freely during battle, you will notice that your characters are constantly relocating themselves on the battle screen. This obviousley depends on the actions you choose to take. As a simple example, let's say you are fighting three enemies. Once you kill two of them, you party members automatically surround the final target.
The Game World
Quite obviousley, I have absolutley no clue what was being said during the demo. All I know is that the game starts off with our train entering Cocoon. The story seems like it will go very deep, but this is no surprise to FF players. There is a wide variety of characters in your party during the demo, most of which I assume will not be main characters in the game. I felt myself beginning to like most of them. However, I can already tell you that the Blonde/Black dudes will not make the cut for my final party.
As far as story goes, we are obviousley the good guys and we are fighting against people who are using much more advanced technology. Once you start running around, you notice very fast how magnificent FFXIII is. I will not even start on the CGI because at this point they pretty much exceed real life. The character models are absolutley stunning. The camera can be moved around freely for almost half of the demo. The setting really makes you feel as if you are right in the middle of an epic battle. Ligthning needs to leap, jump and skip to make her way to your destination. In the meantime, ships are flying around, crashing and shooting at each other in the distance. All of this looks smooth and feels natural. One of the most interesting things that happens involves a ship crashing right in front of you, triggering a cutscene. Almost everything is instant.
VGC, if you are not on the FFXIII hype train yet, it's about time you jumped on. The game is absolutley breathtaking. You enjoy yourself from the very first moment you take control of Lightning. I have played many RPG's in my life. This generation has had its fair share of highlights. For me, Lost Oddyssey has been this gens best, with Mass Effect a far second. FFXIII will anhilliate those games.
The Final Fantasy series in general gets a lot of negativity around here. I already know how much hate it will recieve on these forums. Most of it will be for no reason, but hey, to each his own. I only hope you guys actually try the game before you pass up negative comments. I will say this much: I am feeling extremely confident about the two bets in my signature. My first experience with FFXIII has been amazing, and I cannot wait to play the full version. If anyone has any questions please ask, other than that, please discuss...