For one to note its my opinion. I'm not forcing it upon anybody.
Overall the game itself isn't totally horrible but it is one of those I most likely won't play again. Too many problems for me to enjoy a 2nd or any future run. You can scroll down to the bottom to see a summary of the game.
For one the battle system while ok at some parts makes you feel like a cheerleader or a do nothing general that issues orders from the side-lines. A.I. is also rather dumb at times when you need them the most (especially the Sabatuer class). Really the battles didn't feel interactive as compared to older Final Fantasy titles. It seemed more Eye Candy was your general reward for doing a battle well. Really to sum up the battle its generally build up the stagger guage, enemy is staggered, go all out, heal when neccessary, repeat till you win the battle. I give the game enough that you have to plan out a bit of strategy before rushing head first into battle. But there's little to no room for experimenting in battles its pretty much all laid out for you no room to play around. Again restating the cheerleader/Do-Nothing General comparison. Grinding isn't that big of a problem since from what I've seen you can play this without a shred of grinding and still beat the game, even speedrun it. Assuming you fight every enemy you'll come across in the game only once you can still beat the game with very few problems. I am happy the game uses status effects more often as some just tend to forget status effects exist in the game. Not focus so much on eye candy and give a little more interaction between characters.
Considering the game's system and the year it was released the maps could be done a lot better. While it looks great even for an SD screen. There's a whole of nothing going on and its mainly you walking to the next area for either a cutscene or a battle. If this was on the PSP I would totally understand but Crisis Core:FF7 did right with that even for random battles heck even for sake of Argument FF12 did that far better with enemies and map design. The 360's/PS3's power is far more capable than this. Could add a lot more enemies or more activity going on cause you can walk for long periods of time before you encounter a cutscene or a battle. And I'll you this the game felt like MGS or Xenosaga with the massive amounts of cutscenes going on. I honestly fell asleep with on the game with all the walking and backtracking I had to do. Added about 10 hours to my game time from boredom. Probably the notable thing was the monster design. I actually wanted to pause the game for the sake of drawing some of the monsters (Chocobo's and Behemoths are oh so smexy to look at!)
I don't know who decided this but this was rather a bad decision. Pretty much everything in the game was a battle. Sidequest were all kill this monster. The only side event where you didn't have to fight was to fix Vanille's robot and that was a fetch quest. There wasn't a shred of puzzle even in the game. Which I don't know about you but I'm used to a puzzles appearing every now and again in my RPG's.
Not bad but it did feel rushed at points. Hope's character for starters. He went from whinny brat to suddenly want to be a man with way too many awkward moments. The game also didn't really give closure to his character. Fang as much as fans like her I didn't find her all too interesting. She didn't get much time to get to know her better. Lightning was pretty well developed I still hate her but they made her easy to understand. From Angry Lady at death's door to warrior with resolve. Snow is just Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia but with a girlfriend and a rebel army that he can't really lead properly. Sazh my overall favorite main character to be honest this is how Barret should have been in FF7 with his character. Vanille....Too happy for her own good to run away from her past that eventually caught up with her. Kinda like Estelle.
Storyline itself felt like a SOAP opera for the most part. Especially the transitions from past to present. This is a SOAP without minus all the boring stuff.
I've said this before. I'm not too fond of stories that use things in real life to make a point. Seriously if you change the terms used in this game to Government, Religion, or Terrorism you got the real world. Which leads me to the question if a game can point out these things why can't we as people who play them see it? Or really do anything about it? In that regard I prefer more fantasy style games instead of using things you see in real world everyday stuff. Sure real world situations make for a good storyline but it does bother me when the writers do that.
I like the music at parts. Other tracks got rather dull or annoying to hear. Some just seemed overplayed. I actually fell asleep at Oerba cause of the music playing even in battles.
Would I play this again?
Probably not. Especially on the 360. I installed the game disc by disc as I progressed. Each disc was about 5-6 Gigs in size. I bet if I didn't install it I would RRoD. But mainly due to the game being way too linear. Even comparing it to FF10 which was also linear. This just takes the cake. The game being far too linear along with overdoing the enviroment with a whole lot of nothing going on kills most of my joy for me. The eye candy is nice but like all games eye candy is short lived. Battle system is generally boring as well for a FF I can't really have fun with it or experiment. I want a little more freedom in my RPG games. Not locked up like this.
The Reason I give it a 6.5/10
-Great Graphics -Too Linear
-Decent Story -No Freedom
-Good Music -A lot "nothing" going on