What We Know: Square Enix has been working on Final Fantasy XIII for years now and even though we are still waiting to find out the exact date for when the PlayStation 3 debut of the RPG series will show up over here, a December release date in Japan at least means the game is in the final stages of development. Final Fantasy XIII appears to be a return to form for the series, after the MMO-inspired gameplay departure of the last game. Much of the game's fundamentals have been shown off in the months leading up to the game's release in Japan, which means most fans are already pretty aware of what to expect from Final Fantasy XIII -- a pretty and traditional RPG.
What's New at TGS: Look, I'm going to be honest. I can't read Japanese. The roughly 10-minute playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII at Tokyo Game Show let me play around with the summons-who-act-as-party-members mechanic, but other than that, I could't tell you much about what happened while I was pressing the circle button because the entirety of the demo was in a language that looked like moonspeak to me. Specifics on the gameplay will have to be left for another time, but I have to commend Square Enix for giving players opportunities to encourage movement about the environment in order to dodge enemy encounters. It's tough to tell how extensively this will extened to the entire game, but there were several instances in the Final Fantasy XIII demo where I was able to find a secret path around the enemies that prevented those encounters from ever happening. I'm always a fan of RPGs that make enemy encounters optional if players are being observant.
What I Want to See: An English release date. Square Enix has been teasing Final Fantasy XIII for a long, long time now. It's big, bold and beautiful, but at this point, I'm tired of seeing new trailers with characters I don't know much about and a story shrouded in mystery.