This review was originally published 09/14/2010 on Game Observer (now defunct as of 05/13/2014). It has been republished here for archival purposes.

Final Fantasy XIII

Defines a new genre: the "On Rails RPG." I hope it’s a short-lived genre.

Final Fantasy XIII cover art

The "Final Fantasy" name is synonymous with "quality." The idea that any FF game could ever be bad is tantamount to gaming blasphemy. The reputation is well-deserved, as the franchise has consistently provided incredibly compelling characters and story with rich, interesting worlds, and deep customization and character development options. The franchise has completely reshaped the fantasy role playing world. With Final Fantasy XIII, the developers took some radical new directions in every aspect of the game. Unfortunately, these changes severely hurt the game, since they practically take away the need for the player to do much of anything. It reminded me of the girl, Yorda, from the game Ico, being grabbed by the hand and dragged around by Ico all over the castle. In fact, the game could be considered a whole new genre: the "On Rails RPG."

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A few weeks ago, I started reading about some new ad campaign that Sony was planning called "Long Live Play". I was kind of disappointed to hear that Sony would be taking a new approach to its advertising, as I actually really enjoyed some of the early Kevin Butler ads. Today, I saw the first advertisement in this new campaign, and it blew me away in terms of creativity and execution!

The full ad is shown below:

While a "love letter" to the gamer in the form of a TV commercial doesn't make up for losing tens of millions of people's Credit Card information, reminding people of why they love to game is a great first step towards bringing back our business. The advertisement above features many of the most beloved characters in the PlayStation 3 library giving heartfelt thanks to the efforts of one valiant gamer for bringing their stories to life and helping them through their greatest perils.

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