Final Fantasy XIII is a difficult game to defend. It's got serious problems, born from its tumultuous development and a lack of oversight from the developers. Yet, it's also the first game I played on a newly opened PlayStation 3 back in 2010, so I'd be hard pressed to say I don't have anything positive to say about it.
The presentation is out of this world, for one thing. XIII might be, from a purely aesthetic perspective, one of the most beautiful video games ever crafted. Its vision of a sci-fi utopia is lush, vivid, and filled with wonder and beauty... even if you rarely get to experience any of that outside of cutscenes. It truly is a shame, because Cocoon could have been a phenomenal world to explore: there's certainly enough detailed lore to fill the place with, as just about every aspect of XIII's setting is meticulously detailed within its Datalog. Also, Masashi Hamauzu's soundtrack? One of the series' best. Fight me.
I also quite like the Paradigm combat system, even if XIII-2's rendition ironed out the kinks and made combat encounters feel less same-y. The story also has a lot of ambition, even if it's largely poorly told: I really enjoy the concept of Fal'Cie and L'Cie, as humans granted special powers and a task to complete at the behest of mechanical overlords is a clever sci-fi twist on the classic Warrior of Light trope the series is known for. Square Enix's "New Crystal Legend" may not have taken off quite the way they had envisioned, but XIII is more of a curious stumbling block than a failure in every respect.