This really needs to be said.
The Final Fantasy XIII debate will continue to rage but in truth, all the arguments can be settled with one observation:
If this game had been called anything but "Final Fantasy," it would've been lauded to high heaven. I'll bet every penny I have – and will ever earn – that the average critic score would go up by as much as a half a point, and everyone would be fawning all over this amazing new IP. Think about it. Can you imagine if it had really been a new IP? The acclaim would've flowed.
I suppose people might still complain at the extreme linearity during the first 20 hours and the various combat issues (leader dies = game over, inability to use other characters in battle, Auto Battle feels like "RPG Lite," etc.), but…well, would they? Are we not always making comparisons to past installments in the series? How often are we really measuring FFXIII against other RPGs and other titles in general? I will freely admit that the reason I was a little disappointed with FFXIII is because it was a Final Fantasy and my expectations were through the roof. Those expectations were also very specific; they were extremely defined.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- FFXIII is a great game. It just isn't a great Final Fantasy , at least in terms of what the fans expected and desired. Therefore, logically speaking, wouldn't it be safe to say that if FFXIII had held the name of a new IP, that the majority of the Square Enix hate would disappear overnight? Well, that might be a little extreme but even so…my point stands.
Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII