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Final Fantasy XIII's battle system explained

Jason Dobson

Anticipation is building for the upcoming director's cut of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which is set to drain Japanese wallets of MP next month, as well as give eager gamers their first hands-on taste of Final Fantasy XIII. The demo, which comes bundled with the Blu-ray exclusive movie, also promises to give players an early look at how the anticipated sequel handles combat, which judging by a recent 1UP article looks to sample both Final Fantasy XII and Squaresoft fan favorite, Xenogears.

Much like the "Active Time Battle" system seen elsewhere in the series, XIII's gauge-heavy combat will likely tread familiar territory for series vets. Here different actions -- such as casting a spell or smacking an imp upside the head with a giant sword -- each siphon off a different amount of "time" from a meter, with more powerful attacks demanding a greater sacrifice of patience. This all sounds interesting, though like mom and apple pie, Final Fantasy and combat just go together. And while the series' battles may lack a flaky crust, their mix of spiky hair and androgyny can be just as filling. Well, maybe not as much as mother's rhubarb pie -- that stuff's to die for.

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