I picked up Final Fantasy XIII this last week for the 360. Overall, I’m enjoying it. The battle system is different, but still accessible, the graphics are beautiful, and I like the main characters, which is always a make or break situation with me when it comes to these titles. If I don’t like the cast, I usually don’t finish the game. I have a feeling that I’m going to see this one through to the end, and I look forward to when the game “opens up” like the reviews say, as I’m in a fairly linear part of the game.

One thing I don’t get, however, are the “PS3 Vs. 360” graphic debates. Such debates are not lost on me, having been there for the SNES and Genesis days. This is also the first multi-platform Final Fantasy main entry, so there is actually a basis of comparison.

Back in the 16-bit days, some titles were easy to spot for the “superior” version. The SNES version of Mortal Kombat II, for example, won out due to its better sound quality and more robust color palette. Going back ever farther, “Atari 2600 Vs. Intellivision” had some clear cut winners in the multi-platform games of that time.

I’m having trouble with this whole “Spot the Difference” issue with Final Fantasy XIII.

Don’t get me wrong. I see some differences in the two versions, not to mention that the PS3 version is one disc in comparison to the 360’s three discs. Multi disc Final Fantasy games are not a foreign concept to me, either, as Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX were all multi-disc on the original Playstation. It’s not that big a deal to disc swap, and if it really is, then I need to trade a joystick for a treadmill, because I’m woefully out of shape if it’s come to that.

But it’s the graphic issue that confuses me. I read the message boards crowing that there is a very clear cut winner, showing comparison shots of the two games. I feel like I’m looking at one of those “Magic Eye” books, trying to find the sailboat if I stare hard and long enough. And that’s the point: You have to really stare at the pictures to spot the differences. I don’t think that’s necessarily a “loss” for either side. If anything, it exposes the series to a new audience, and hopefully will simultaneously draw in new fans, as well as convince Square-Enix to multi-platform other titles such as Kingdom Hearts in the future.

Both the PS3 and 360 got nice versions of what is turning out to be an interesting title in the series. MY attitude is that if you’re having to stare down and use a magnifying glass to see the breakdown, then job well done on their part. This isn’t the first multi-platform title this generation has received. I don’t see why similar “meltdowns” haven’t occurred on other titles if this has honestly become that big of an issue.

To those getting worked up, breathe, relax and play your game. As soon as I “Publish Post” for this entry, I’m about to do just that.

And I’ll enjoy it just fine.

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