With every new Final Fantasy game there is a new story, new soundtrack, as well as new visuals and features to behold. The Final Fantasy series has been on the forefront of innovation in the gaming industry since the first installment in 1987, setting the benchmark for traditional Role Playing Games indefinitely as well as adapting to the needs of the modern gamer. Final Fantasy XIII‘s battle system takes another large step for the series towards realtime battle control, a move that will attract many gamers who previously avoided the series due to its turn-based controls. Long time fans, as well as newcomers to the journey that is Final Fantasy, all want to know what battling it out will be like in the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII.
After innovating the turn-based RPG genre with the Final Fantasy series so much, it seems a revolutionary time for RPG growth is upon us again. While games like Oblivion, Fallout: 3, Valkyria Chronicles, Resonance of Fate (a.k.a. End of Eternity in Japan), approach a lot of gameplay aspects of the RPG, with various alternative concepts, Final Fantasy has made good use of its trademark features common to its battle systems throughout the years. We’ve seen everything from 7 to 3 characters per party and, as IGN will let any of you know, this years party will also consist of 3 characters at a time. Enemies being able to fight you while you are making choices in the menu is also one of the trademarks of the FF battle system.
The major change in this installment of FF will see magic points entirely removed from the game! Rather than using the standard MP/Magicka style system, FFXIII will split up an action bar into sections which will be taken up by actions selected in real time. This system will allow for near-real time combat selections as well as stacking attacks and spells for combination. There will be basic attacks which take up less of the action bar than advanced attacks and the gauge will refill fairly quickly (faster than the AP bar in Fallout 3).
In Final Fantasy XIII players will be able to call cool summons, as many FF games have in the past, retaining the in-battle cinematic breaks and all. Called Eidolons, FFXIII‘s summons will now be able to join forces with players giving an unprecedented feel of control over their actions. In another shift towards the real time action I was speaking of earlier, Eidolons will be controlled with near-real time controls instead of the classic turn-based system expected.
There will also be a drastically new way for FF fans to train soon. New forms of classes have been created to center the action in the game around a strategic standpoint. Each of your characters is a jack of all trades and can learn from various experience fields. Being a Commando for melee expertise or a Saboteur to remove enemy magic barriers and status conditions that are giving them the edge, for example, sounds like great fun. Players will be able to set up ‘Paradigm’s which will consist of assigned class configurations that can be shifted at any time in combat. What this means is that if you were fighting with all Commandos and suddenly an enemy threw up a spell that is making them useless, you can change instantly to a new configuration (Paradigm) and use a Saboteur or two to get that Reflect wall broken! This is another revolutionary feature for the series, and again it is pushing away from the classic way of playing FF while pushing towards a more fast-paced, real time game experience.
So is this where Final Fantasy is heading? Will the next single player Final Fantasy game be completely in real time live action? I often have wondered if Final Fantasy would ever change in this way. It seems only natural that the series would, there has always been a large percent of gamers who have been unable to sink deep into the series. What has been holding most of those gamers back is indeed the turn-based system which Square Enix is seemingly pushing away from step by step as their design concepts evolve dramatically with these next-gen installments coming our way.
So what has changed is that you are much more in the forefront of the action, on the edge of your seat, and turn-based mechanics are being replaced with real time in an experimental FF that will likely pave the way for the pack of planned releases in the series. Stay tuned to DualShockers for the latest information about Final Fantasy XIII, XIV, XIII: Agito, XIII: VS, and of course any other Final Fantasy games that come to be. Pop some popcorn and let us watch as the worlds’ favorite RPG takes us into a new world of real time over the years to come!
FFXIII Gameplay Info from [IGN]