Final Fantasy XIII was released in 2009 as the first Final Fantasy game for the PlayStation 3. It was later ported to the Xbox 360 and PC.

The game takes place in the floating world of Cocoon, where a government known as the Sanctum is ordering a purge of the civilians who have come into contact with the world below, which is called Gran Pulse (Pulse for short).

There is still bitterness between the two worlds following the War of Transgression that took place hundreds of years ago. Pulse badly damaged Cocoon in that war and the floating world has been worried about another invasion from the world below ever since. This is why the Sanctum oversees two operations that were created to deal with foreign threats: the Guardian Corps and PSICOM (Public Security and Intelligence COMmand).

Both Cocoon and Pulse are maintained by mechanical god-like beings called the fal’Cie.

The humans who serve the fal’Cie are known as the l’Cie. They are branded with either a Cocoon symbol or a Pulse symbol, and are given airships, mechanical beasts and other advanced technology to maintain order in the Sanctum.

Cast:

Lightning, a former soldier and the main protagonist.

Snow Villiers, leader of a paramilitary group.

Oerba Dia Vanille, an exile from Pulse and the game’s narrator.

Sazh Katzroy, a pilot and father to a boy named Dajh.

Hope Estheim, a teenage exile who seeks revenge after losing someone close to him.

Oerba Yum Fang, a l’Cie working in the Sanctum’s cavalry.

Galenth Dysley, ruler of the Sanctum and the main antagonist.

Cid Raines, Sanctum brigadier general who secretly doesn’t trust the government.

Serah Farron, Lightning’s younger sister and Snow’s fiancée.

The game was directed by Motomu Toriyama (Final Fantasy X-2) and written by Daisuke Watanabe and Motomu Toriyama. The art was directed by Isamu Kamikokuryo with character designs once again provided by Tetsuya Nomura.

New features in this game included the Eidolons, which replaced Espers and provided a new Gestalt Mode you could trigger to transform your Eidolon and ride them in battle.

The Crystarium was a leveling up system that was similar to the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. Based on how many Crystarium Points you acquired from enemies in battle, you could advance down a path of nodes along six crystals, each divided into ten levels, which provided bonuses to your health, strength and magic, and also unlocked new abilities and more space for accessory equipment.

Reviews for the game were generally positive. The battles were exciting, the setting was inspired, and the graphics were amazing. The story was generally thought to be unspectacular but the relationships between the characters were well-developed.

Some fans felt the game was too linear and less exploration-friendly than most modern games of the time. This was just a select group of gamers who championed freedom of gameplay over being directed through a series of battles and cutscenes, but the voices were loud enough that most of those issues would be dropped in the game’s 2011 sequel Final Fantasy XIII-2 for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. That game was well-received from a gameplay standpoint but the story for the sequel was also not the best. The final game in the trilogy, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, had a similar reception when it came out in 2013.

Plus Final Fantasy XIII was the first game to start off the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy series which features games that all take place in the same world and involve the power of crystals. Besides the FFXIII trilogy, other games in that series include Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy Type-0, Final Fantasy Agito and Final Fantasy Awakening.