Final Fantasy XIII Guide
Final Fantasy XIII Guide by Chris Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
Over the years we have come to expect an ever-increasing level of graphical and technical excellence from Square Enix in its Final Fantasy series. Each new title is an improvement on the previous, though the sub-series system that is used in the series does tend to confuse players, especially if the FFXI-type game is their favorite - so to be clear, XIII is not part of the sword and sorcery series!
Having pointed that out, I should also add that there are elements that exist in both worlds - for instance there is a tiny pet Chocobo in XIII and though it is nothing like what the player experiences in XI there is a tacit link nonetheless, and later there are Chocobo that are more familiar. The money is the same, most of the spells are similar in naming convention and function, and in many respects despite the fact that it is clearly a different universe, knowledge of one of the subs in the series will benefit you here..
FFXIII is the flagship title for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series of Final Fantasy games. Set in a high-tech world with a mixture of enclave and wilderness, it is a story about resisting the inevitable (and evil) progress that is created by technology - if progress means totalitarian regimes, technocracy, and fascism rolled into a neat package of oppression and death...
The Active Time Battle (ATB) system reappears in this title - though it is somewhat different this time around - allowing the player to stack battle commands and execute them in long chains. Battle in this world is a divided process, where once engaged, the combatants are removed from the active world and exist in a micro-world of their own for the duration of the fight.
The role (job) system that is used in the game is pretty straight-forward and is one you will have encountered before in FF games. There are five classes, and while your character can learn more than one class of skills they can only use the skills associated with the class that they are designated as in play.
The party system is mostly unchanged as well - in the game a party (called a Paradigm) consists of three characters, each playing their own designated specialty. Up to six Paradigm sets can be stored in the configuration deck, and the player can call up those different configurations pretty much at will during battle, lending a level of flexibility to the process that will take some getting used to.
There are a lot of similarities between FFX and FFXII but despite those this is really a game unique to itself, so judge it on its own merits rather than comparing it to previous games in the series and you will not go far wrong!
There are some items of note that I cover in the next section to help you quickly get your feet on the ground, but I want to emphasize that the first third of the game is really a very long tutorial mode - you do not even begin developing your characters and their abilities until after that, so if you were expecting to jump wright in to the mechanics of all that, well, no. Just play the game and enjoy the progression of the story - which is at its richest in the first few chapters - and as always, have fun!