Short story: my friend lent me his Nintendo switch and he wanted me to play this game because he thought it was a good comparison to final fantasy 13, which I have recently finished and I think it's a good game but a bad FF (Which is a whole can of worms in it self). So with that in mind I plugged the switch and grabbed the pro controller and I went into this game with that expectation. But in this review i won't be comparing it to that game at all, other than recognizing that both are 2010 AAA JRPG games.
Disclaimer: I wrote this review primarily via speech dictation so sorry if it reads a bit rambly.
First of all the good stuff: this is by far one of the most beautiful and artistic looking games I have ever played (And I belong to the PCMR). The whole world of Bionis is gorgeous and beautiful and luscious and I honestly couldn't get enough of it. I wish the story focused more on its Anatomy and different parts of the creatures that lived there and why they lived there, the different eco systems and so on. I mean the idea of having a giant titan, that's a whole world that people live in is mesmerizing to me and I wish there was a lot more to it.
The combat was a bit slow for me at first, but as more abilities were unlocked and I learned more and more nuances of it I grew more comfortable with it. Not the best combat but very well implemented for a wii game. The customization for the character weapons and armours was very well implemented as well. Great stuff all around for each character (Reyn's was best IMO).
As far as the story goes the beginning and the middle part of the story were really great for me. The third act, so to speak, that happens after the Sword Valley/Fallen Arm became a bit iffy for me and honestly I think the game's story became way too convoluted just for the sake of presenting a few plot twists. I think that if the story was more condensed and more "grounded", so to speak, it would have been a better game or perhaps they could have made this game into two parts, and focused on both of these elements separately (Entering Mechonis and all the outragoues revelations from then on). I say this because the last third of the game felt really rushed and even though I was paying attention throughout the story I still have way too many WTF moments.
For a few of my critiques of this game: First of all the UI was extremely unintuitive for a 2020 re-master of a 2010 game. Now I understand that it was originally a Nintendo wii game but that does not excuse the convoluted UI and the lack of streamlined button mapping, or the ability to remap ourselves. Not to mention the lack of fast movement/turbo mode for some of the more unnecessarily bloated maps (Leg/Valak/Forest)
Second of all were the mind-numbingly disgusting mmo-esque side quests. Instead of pursuing quality they went with quantity and we literally have hundreds of fetch quests in this game and all of them are equally mind numbing and boring and a complete waste of time story or lore wise. Now I did do most of those but I wish that they were quality instead of quantity.
My third complaint of this game is that the translation for the Japanese to English subtitles is terrible, absolutely terrible, and most of it is not congruent with what's being spoken on the screen which was quite frustrating for me ( speak a little Jap).
A bit of a spoiler talk: The whole thing with Monado beings Zanza but Zanza being Shulk, Dickson and Lora (Lorinthia) suddenly being disciples, Alvis being some sort of computer–all these were a bit too much for me, especially when squeezed into the last ~3-5 hours of a 90+ hour game. Hell even the naming itself felt awkward. And it was never explained properly what exacly the Monado is. Also, Egil wasn't fleshed out well enough, he suddenly appeared and became the bait villain. The post-final boss epilogue was very cool though, but it still didn't completely justify who/what Alvis was and his role in the entire story. Too many questions.
TL'DR: A very fun and GORGEOUS game. The story was a bit much for me but the world-building was excellent. Suffered from awkward controls and pacing issues that marred pretty much all games from a decade or more ago (But i hoped they wouldn't be there for a 2020 remaster). Overall I would've loved this game to either be divided into two back2back (Like Trails in the Sky), or be more grounded.
Overall is give this game a 7/10. Great eye candy that I might comeback to in the future with NG+, enjoying the sweet fruits of my side quest labour.
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