This game has been a long time coming, Square Enix have made fans wait and have teased for years with E3 trailers and the like. At first I thought they were just being mean! Though, now even at a first glimpse, it's easy to see where that time waiting has been spent. Every single detail has clearly been carefully considered, every element has obviously been a labour of love.
It's clear from the outset that where it's predecessors have shown flaws or caused frustration, FFXIII has provided answers.
If you have never seen Advent Children, then you may not appreciate the breathtaking graphics Square Enix are capable of and FFXIII is a perfect showcase of how well the latest generation of consoles have been used to their full advantage. In short, the graphics are outstanding and in-game can rival the cut scenes of most.
As for gameplay, I feel this game is capable of attracting a far wider audience than any predecessor in the series. This is largely down to the new battle system. The Paradigm system is the most PS3 controller claw inducing thing outside of mash the pad beat-em-ups and it is not easy to master by a long stretch. Designed to be slick and fast, this will test anyone, even the die hard FF fans and hardcore gamers. Personally I feel the decision to concentrate the players attention mostly on one team member is brilliant. You still need to consider your team mates and control their actions by a large extent by choosing their roles but by severing the requirement to pick each individual action by each individual team member, the fighting experience becomes a very sleek, painless affair. You don't have to wait for each member's turns! Wonderful!
One of my personal gripes with the game is the absence of Nobuo Uematsu, who composed the music for many of the series intallments. His absence by no means takes away from the game, but some of the big plot moments could have connected with the audience better with his contribution.
I would recommend playing this game on the Playstation 3 if you have the option to avoid the compression and disc changes.
The Limited Collector's Edition provides some perks to keep the hardcore fans happy, especially the addtiion of the soundtrack selection CD, however, I feel that for the extra money, Square Enix would have done well to include something a little extra, such as exclusive download content like themes to brighten your screens. I would keep my recommendation of paying the extra to the people who spend more time breeding chocobos than outside in the big wide world, if you don't know what a chocobo is, move over the standard editions. Still buy it though, it's awesome!