The fact that I haven't made any comments on FF XIII since purchasing it pretty much sums up the state of play. To be honest, I'm finding it a little boring, to the point where I haven't actually played it since I bought it. Only the other day did I realise that I had misplaced it during the move to the flat, which demonstrates my lack of interest. The game looks absolutely beautiful, continuing the Final Fantasy tradition of pushing graphics to the cutting edge, and the story is complex and original. However, these elements don't really make up for the dull combat system, which consists of telling your characters to 'auto-battle' over and over, the changing of their fighting style being the only useful action to be taken. Also the character evolution mechanics are equally bland, offering the player only linear paths and little choice. The weapon upgrade system seems to be based completely on chance, with no skill involved.
The word 'linear' sums up my experience of FF XIII so far. It doesn't matter how pretty it is, if it has the complexity of a 4-piece puzzle. I am going to give it another shot, when I eventually find it, but I'm not keeping my hopes up.
Whilst contemporary gaming has been a little bit of a disappointment to me recently, going back to the classics has been a rewarding experience. I dug out my copy of Pokemon Fire Red the other day, and have been enjoying some mindless leveling for the last few weeks. Where as Pokemon's story-line is fairly non-existent, it's gameplay is absolutely flawless. After the dreary experience of FF XIII, Pokemon's simple yet open-ended gameplay style has been a breath of fresh air. I've been leveling all my creatures up to level 20 at the moment, which has actually been less repetitive than playing the latest FF game!
I also recently downloaded a Playstation One classic the other day; Metal Gear Solid. This game is one of my all-time favourites. The stealth-focused gameplay is innovative and addictive, with all-out gun battles off the menu, replaced by careful sneak tactics. At the time, the graphics were cutting edge, taking the PS1's capabilities to the limit. The story is extremely complex, playing out in an incredibly cinematic style, which touches on every emotion as you travel through the game. The music, sound effects and voice acting are all equally unforgettable, making the story even more effective. I don't know how many times I've played through this game, but I have to say it never gets boring!
Let me know if there are any unforgettable classic games you're always returning to, or if a recent game has been a real let down.