1UP reports that Final Fantasy XIII, set for release in Japan on December 17, has gotten its very first review from Weekly Famitsu, one of the most widely-read periodicals in the biz.
And they FUCKING TRASHED IT, giving the release an unbelievable 39 out of a possible 40 points. It’s an epic fail! Gamers everywhere are gathering their torches and pitchforks, preparing to storm Famitsu offices. As Kevin Gifford of 1UP says,
Well, they like it – but not quite enough to give it the perfect score everyone expected.
What the hell? Why does everyone expect a perfect score? No one’s seen the god damned game except in tightly controlled junket settings. And now Japanese gamers are all hot and bothered because FFXIII is one point off from a perfect score. I think the real question is who would use an out-of-forty scoring rate.
Well, I can’t, really. I’ve been intrigued by this game since it was announced in 1902 due in part to the story mentioned in the above link, in which I translated the Latin subtitle Fabula Nova Crystalis for literally every person in the games industry over the course of two days. For some reason that experience just sort of left a hook in my mind about this game.
I do think it’s funny that people are berating Famitsu for handing out a 39/40 score; I guess everyone expected that since it’s a Final Fantasy game and Japanese gaming press is even more unreliable and lacking in credibility than western, they’d just roll over and hand out the 40. So maybe this is Famitsu’s little rebellion against the powers that are.
On the other hand, the true problem with the gaming press is the years-long buildup that AAA titles receive, this one no exception. By the time the game comes out most outlets feel compelled to give great scores even to mediocrities like Borderlands and Grand Theft Auto IV, deserving or not. This is, of course, because the chief advertisers in gaming press are in fact part of the very industry that press covers, which is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention that most big publishers, Square Enix included, throw lavish press events and bombard attendees with gifts, booze, really hot PR agents, and (often) straight up bribes or threats in order to get cover stories and high scores.
Final Fantasy XIII might well deserve a 39. We won’t know until March. It hardly matters, since the game will sell a bazillion copies in Japan and a hozillion elsewhere, which does beg the question: why does anyone read reviews at all?
Of course, you should read our reviews, because we are awesome. All the others you can take or leave.