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Final Fantasy XIII battle system detailed

Find out what's going on in all those juicy Famitsu.com screens.

 

Famitsu got the scoopy scoop once again on Final Fantasy XIII in its latest issue. The focus this time was on the game's battle system, with a few new solid details now just a couple of weeks before the release of that super hot demo.

As always, the print coverage was posted to Famitsu.com in a weekend update. Here's a screenshot-by-screenshot summary of what's said in the Famitsu.com story. Be sure and open up the Famitsu.com story to read along. You can also access thumbnails here.

First screen
Lightning, a former army soldier, is shown with a bazooka. The train Lightning and crew are riding is being attacked from the sky by the Holy Army.
Second set of two screens
A gun fight between the citizens of Cocoon and the Holy Army. The floating sphere of blue light releases the creature to the right. This is a monster that the army uses for combat.
First battle shot
The text below this notes that the battles in FFXIII flow in real time with a time gauge (the long gauge that's split in three) building up. As the gauge accumulates more levels, you gain access to additional attacks.
Second battle shot
This shows the game's cost system. All battle commands have a cost associated with them. When issuing a command, the time gauge depletes by the command's cost. The time gauge has three levels, each representing cost 1. So, if you have a full gauge, you can execute three cost 1 moves or one cost 3 move.
Third battle shot
This shows the stock system. Above the timer gauge are stocked attacks, from left to right "fight," "fight," and "fire." These are executed all at once after the time gauge fills up. Based off the screens, it appears that the game will default to stocking up commands as you input them. If you want to execute the current set of commands before the time gauge completely fills up, you can press triangle.
Fourth battle shot
The key point about this shot is not what it shows, but what it doesn't show: an MP gauge. There is no MP in FFXIII. It appears that magic, like other commands, is handled with cost (I'm not sure why, but the Famitsu text states this as supposition -- although that usually means it's true). A simple fire spell takes cost 1. This particular shot shows an all-enemy Fiaga spell, which takes up the full cost 3.
Fifth battle shot
To the lower right of the screen, you can see the HP and timing gauges for your party -- in this case Lightning and afro boy. The site speculates (again, this probably means that it's true) that you can time your attacks so that characters line up for combos.
Sixth battle shot
That mysterious gauge in the upper right of the screen is a chain gauge. It builds up as you chain attacks together. The damage you deal to enemies also increases in response to this guage. The game also includes something called "Break" status, which gives you a chance at dealing even greater damage to foes. You make an enemy reach this status by continuing to string together attacks against it. The enemy will grow red indicating that it's been... uhh... Broken. The "Bonus" figure below the chain gauge is still a mystery, but the site speculates that it might be important for those aiming to reach a Break state.
Seventh and Eighth battle shots
These show how you can launch an enemy who's in a Break state up into the air. By following this launching with various attacks, you can deal lots of damage and also produce some nice visual displays. There are some enemies who cannot be launched up.
Ninth battle shot
The result screen. To the left, data for battle time, maximum chain count, and Break. To the right, what appears to be a rank of at most five stars. The site is not sure what that TP Bonus stuff is all about.

Famitsu.com screens, while now clickable are still woefully small for a game as gorgeous as Final Fantasy XIII. Thankfully, past Square Enix FFXIII update schedules suggest that the game's official site will see an update with larger versions of these shots either this week or next.

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