We don’t usually do multiple reviews for the same game, but the interest in the differences between the two versions of Final Fantasy XIII has been so intense that we’re simply unable to ignore your demands – so here it is - an Xbox 360 specific review.
To be clear, this is not a full review of the game. Our full review of Final Fantasy XIII and all its content can be found here – all we’re going to look at here is the notable differences in the Xbox 360 version of the game. If you want a review of the actual gameplay, story, characters and all that stuff, head on over to our main review.
Allow me to preface this review with a simple statement: the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is by far and away the worse version of the game. While it’s an alright port with solid performance, the PS3 manages to outclass the 360 version in just about every area – but FF13 is still a fantastic game even with that considered.
The port gets the job done, but everything about it screams that it was a shoddy, rushed job – designed to get the game running on the Xbox 360 as quickly, cheaply and easily as possible. It’s worked –the game runs and performs fine – but the sad trade-off is that much of a game that was obsessed with visual perfection is made imperfect.
This review is overwhelmingly negative because sadly the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is the inferior version in just about every way. However, the score isn’t quite going to match that text.
Final Fantasy XIII is an impressive game and something of an achievement in terms of its bold departure from long-held traditions, incredible visual design and absolute commitment to execute on its vision. The issues with this hasty, almost lazy port muddle that vision somewhat, but it still comes through loud and clear. The performance may be worse, but the core game is the same, and that core game is pretty damn good, as our main review testifies.
Final Fantasy XIII is still a fantastic game on the Xbox 360 – and that’s why it still has a score way above average. It rightfully scores less than its Playstation 3 counterpart, though. The lower resolution isn't quite as big a deal as many made it out to be, but the lower quality, heavily compressed cutscenes are.
Fifteen points may seem like an awful lot to dock for things that are essentially graphical issues, but Final Fantasy XIII puts so much importance in its story and visual presentation that the loss in quality here doesn't leave just a less crisp picture - it leaves a ripple of negativity that sullies a significant chunk of the experience.