Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Grandma's playing Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy XIII has been the focus of Grandma's anticipation since 2006. Whenever a game she played didn't quite pass muster or when a giant hole of suck formed on a new releases calendar, she would wonder, out loud, to nobody in particular: "I wonder when Thirteen is coming out."

She said this so much that FFXIII became the Undying Lands to Grandma's Middle-earth, spilling into conversations that otherwise had nothing to do with gaming. It was the manifestation, in her mind, of The Eventuality of Something Good. Having a bad day? "Yeah, but Thirteen isn't too far away." Your back hurts? "When Thirteen comes out, I can just finally just relax." Car has a flat tire? "I wonder when Thirteen is coming out..."

Needless to say, no game can live up to that kind of expectation. But her first impressions are filled with the same gleeful hyperbole.

"This is the prettiest goddamn game I've seen in my life."

"Holy Jesus FUCK."

"Heeeey! A little CHOCOBO!"

"I wonder who Cid is in this one."

"They use Gil! GIL! They didn't change it!"

After picking up her copy at a rather uneventful local Gamestop's midnight release, along with a huge goddamn strategy guide she will likely never use (she sees it as cheating), she sat down with her brand spanking new PS3 copy for only thirty minutes before going to bed, "just to make sure they didn't fuck it up."

All of today, however, Grandma ground away at the poor thing with skeptical eyes.

Thankfully, she was not disappointed.

Several hours and more than a few chapters in, Grandma found she really has only two things she doesn't like about FFXIII.

First, it's linear to a fault. The first chapter is appropriately staged on a train track. And like a train, you can't really deviate from the path. You will slough your way through to the next fight or the next cutscene. Which isn't bad, I suppose, but- and we're not the first to notice, it's more of a distilled version of Final Fantasy; an RPG version of Tekken, where the fights are what matter the most. The paths in this world are merely a mechanism to get you to the next battle. At least it seems that way to Grandma so far. Glancing through the strategy guide, the maps reminded me of FFXII a bit, which makes me wonder if we only had the illusion of exploration then as well.

Second: the battle rating system. If we've learned anything from RPGs it's that even if you suck really hard, like we do, you can compensate by putting the hours in on things you can do so that you may become awesome through sheer work. In FFXIII, however, your spoils in battle are determined by how well you fight. The quicker one can cut that fucker down, the better shit one gets. So you better know what you're doing, which isn't easy at first, what with the sensory overload display and all.

The first time Grandma cast Libra, I couldn't find the information it had supposedly provided. It was pretty, whatever the hell it was, but it went by so fast I couldn't tell you if the dude was weak to fire or if a thousand angels just flew out of his eyeballs.

"Awwwww FUCK" Grandma just said, just now, trying to dispatch some soldiers, dying.

I don't recall Grandma dying a lot in Final Fantasy XII. Which kind of shows you our point. The deceptively simple first chapter masks a hell of a learning curve that follows.

She just started, so her perspective on the game shall no doubt evolve as her skills improve, kind of like when Materia just sort of 'clicks' right after you get out of Midgar for the first time.

She finally has Final Fantasy XIII, and this bitch isn't going down without a fight :)

If you aren't following us already, make sure you subscribe to our Twitter feed, where I'm posting Grandma's comments about FFXIII as they happen. The blog is where I can make the big posts and tell her stories, but Twitter is surprisingly useful at providing a constant flow of Grandma quotes. I'm usually on the computer in her game room while she plays, so it's very easy to just type up what she says without context.

Game on!


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