Final Fantasy XIII revisited

A few days ago, I really felt like playing FFXIII again. A friend let me borrow the 360 version ages ago and I beat it, but I’d always wanted to play the PS3 version, as it is considered the “definitive” version. Ever since Eurogamer came out with their comparison, it became clear that the PS3 version of the game was much better constructed, if nothing else because it was developed from the ground up for PS3 and later ported to 360. A few months ago, I stumbled across FFXIII PS3 for $10 during a trip to Best Buy, and just had to pick it up. A few days ago, I finally broke the shrink wrap, smelled the new-game smell, and popped the Blu-ray into my PS3.

Almost immediately, I was greeted with a noticeably more beautiful intro video than the 360 version had to offer. The beauty continued through the rest of the game I’ve played so far (4 hours or so). It’s really surprising to me, but I actually notice a difference in this version over the 360, even though I played the 360 version over a year ago. The graphics are much crisper and the pre-rendered cutscenes take advantage of the abundant space the Blu-ray has to offer. Eurogamer states the PS3 version runs at a native 720p, and it’s pretty hard to tell. That said, if I compare it to when I drop the resolution of my PC games to 1280×720, and they get all fuzzy on my 1080 monitor, FFXIII does kinda look like that. But somehow not as noticeable. Interesting how us high-end PC gamers take 1080p (or higher) for granted, but it’s easy to forget that most console games run at 720.

As the Eurogamer article brings up, the compression of the pre-rendered cutscenes is much better on the PS3, once again due to the Blu-ray’s enormous amount of space for extremely high quality video. So, the PS3 version appears to win all the way around on the surface. However…

There was one little thing I noticed that seems quite silly to me, a more-often PC gamer who plays games at 1920×1080 and doesn’t afraid of anything. Even at 720p, the PS3 struggled to keep up during the realtime-rendered cutscenes with high LOD models (once again, Eurogamer goes into greater depth about this). One famous shot, during one of the opening cutscenes, Lightning whips out her gunblade, preparing to battle the first enemy in the game, and we cut to a closeup of her face. This closeup drops the fps to 20, killing the epic mood of the moment (0:55 in this video). The 360 version, running at 1024×576 (clearly SD, and considerably lower than the PS3 res) has no problem handling any of the cutscenes in the game, and barely drops frames even during gameplay. It’s an advantage in framerate, but at the cost of resolution. You lose overall visual quality to gain smoother motion. Who wins here? Meh. I’d like an order of stalemate with a side of personal preference.

So, yeah. I’m playing Final Fantasy XIII again. And it’s fun. I know a lot of the FF fanbase whine about it and how it’s linear and Lightning is Cloud (though she’s actually Squall), and Vanille is annoying and it takes 30 hours for the game to start and blah blah blah. Get over yourselves. It’s Final Fantasy. In my personal opinion, I appreciate every title they release. It’s the result of the creative vision of a group of people, and every game is completely different from the last. The games never refer to each other (except the sequels like X-2 and XIII-2). Only a handful of things tie all the games together, like Chocobos and Moogles. Each game has its own self-contained architecture, culture, fashion, history, religion, setting and story, and it’s really easy to tell the games apart, because their styles are so diverse. They’re completely fantasy and often idealistic, but what’s the name of the series again? Oh yeah. Final Fantasy.
 

                                                                                                    TRG
 
 

Also, relevant:

I made that. 🙂 Really trying to get better with Source Filmmaker and animation in general. Check out my other videos on that channel! I have better animations that I worked harder on than this one.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on November 14, 2012.

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