Part 13 in a fundamentally confused series

WELL THE marauding, ram shackling beast is finally here and what’s more, it’s on the XBOX360. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. It’s seen as a Japanese company taking a pro-western view of things, perhaps because they feel the market may be slowing in their home country. Regardless, sales of the 360 unit in Japan increased by 19 per cent in February of this year, two months after the game was released.

It’s also a swift kick in the balls to Sony, and in particular Sony fan boys who held up the series as an example of the natural superiority of the console. When Final Fantasy made the jump, it even (very allegedly) drew suicide talk from Sony devotees.

The question is, amongst all the white noise and hulabaloo, is there actually a good game in there? The Anti-Cookie has played through the first ten hours of the game, and is going to give you its first impressions.


Yes, the Final Fantasy series has always set a benchmark in graphics and art design but this game still manages to take your breath away. So far, I’ve been traipsing around in a sort of futurism-meets-fantasy world, a blue-light jungle and an absolutely gorgeous rainforest. Seriously, they’re the sort of scapes that you expect to see in your most vivid dreams, not a bunch of zeroes and ones.

Often, I just had to sit back for about five minutes and just admire the scenery. It’s kind of the feeling I had when I booted up Oblivion for the first time on my shiny new XBOX. That’s right kids, at times; it’s that kind of experience. It’s just a shame then, that you won’t have too much room to explore the fantastic looking world.



Much has been made of the linearity of the game, and for good reason. So far, the game can perhaps harshly be described as a bunch of paths filled with monsters, all of which you need to defeat if you want to progress to the next cut scene. You can only really go down one path so far, and it’s really disappointing.

It invariably starts to feel like a bit of an endless grind when all you’re doing is walking down paths slaying monsters. I really want to stop at a town somewhere at some point, and just have a chat to the locals. I want to scope out some secret areas which make me feel like I’ve accomplished something will sitting on my arse eating chips.

For now though, all I’m doing is running down narrow paths fighting things. I want a break!


That doesn’t break the game entirely though, as combat is actually quite fun and satisfying. This time, you only control the leader of your party, while the support roles are taken by the AI. You can train your motley crew in a wide variety of different roles, ending up with a combination of different configurations you can set your party to during battle. For example, you can set your party to all-out attack, and then when things aren’t going well you can set a configuration which includes a healer. Battle becomes quite fluid that way, it’s all about knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

You may think that trusting your life to AI is madness, all I can say to that is that THIS IS SPARTA! Not really.

The AI is quite good at knowing what to cast at any given time, although at times you can be waiting for the AI to cast a certain spell you actually need while its casting spells you don’t. I anticipate this will become a bit of a problem down the track once a wider range of spells and abilities become available.


The story so far has been about exploring your party’s back stories. Sure, there’s a larger narrative going on about being branded enemies of the state by some magical machine and having to complete a certain task before they all become zombies but for now, the story hasn’t really clicked into high gear. Although, some interesting seeds have been planted regarding where the story could just be going.

I anticipate a story about rallying against your fate, and allowing humanity to determine its own fate. You heard it here first folks!

This time, Square Enix have decided to cast aside the male with androgynous sexuality and just make the lead a woman. The fact that she’s pretty much a bad arse without becoming a bull dyke will have the feminist cosplayers celebrating around their Hello Kitty paraphernalia.  

It wouldn’t be Final Fantasy without an annoying character though, and this time there are two! There’s Hope, a young chap (That’s right, a chap) who has a burning desire for revenge that come across as whiny emo-ness. He’s starting to change under the tutelage of the aforementioned bad arse, but he still annoys me no end.

Then of course, you have the overly cheerful underage schoolgirl wearing inappropriate clothing. *sigh*


The story has set up some questions that I want to find the answer to. I enjoy most of the characters and the scenery is beautiful. The combat is quite fun, and that’s going to get me through the grind.