Yes, I know I’m asking for heat by covering what is perhaps the least loved Final Fantasy title since 7. However, despite it’s linearity, the game’s story is every bit as epic as the previous entries in the series. Final Fantasy XIII takes place within a place known as Coccon, a sky city which floats above a larger world known as pulse. The mysterious gods who keep Cocoon afloat have the ability to mark various humans, making them into thier servants. These servants, called L’Cie are given a task to complete. If they do, they turn into crystals. If they don’t, they become mindless monsters. A cruel government purges citizens who are suspected to be L’Cie, supposedly sending them to the Pulse. In actuality, they are being killed off in mass exterminations. The main character in this story is a woman named Lightning, whose sister was one of the L’Cie. In true Final Fantasy fashion, you run into other people, each with their own stories and complex relationships.

Most of the game is linear, make no mistake. It’s streamlined, and there is little exploration. The battles however, employ an unique strategy. They use a variation of the Active Time Battle system from earlier Final Fantasy games. However, you can unlock and assign paradigms to characters, which govern their AI roles, such as healer, mage, and tank. You’ll run into save spots where you can also buy equipment. The graphics and scenery are breath taking, and the music will stick with you the same way other Final Fantasy soundtracks do. The graphics may be a bit much on the Xbox 360, as it takes up four discs.

With a sequel coming out soon, now is a good time to check out Final Fantasy XIII. While longtime fans will balk at the changes, players who give it a chance will enjoy it.