To better one’s abilities is the goal of every self respecting Final Fantasy character since the series creation back in the 1987. Over the years there have been various ways to do such a thing with level grinding being the center of most. Final Fantasy XIII looks to offer yet another way to boost character’s skills by means of the Crystalium System. Other than sounding like Square simply added the letters ‘ium’ after the word ‘crystal’ it seems to work much in the same way as a good old skill tree. Rather than experience points, we’ll be earning crystal points – CP. Once accumulated “these can be exchanged for new skills and abilities, shown on a circular chart in the Crystalium management screen,” says Andriassang (via Joystiq). After we’ve bought ourselves some new skills, more branches with even more skills are opened and following those branches down lead to stronger abilities. For example, learn Fire and you’ll soon be able to learn Fira, an even stronger version of Fire.
Being more of a Western RPG gamer it reminds me of games like Mass Effect and Oblivion so is a tried and tested method which works very well. I hope it does reduce the amount of level grinding that plagues many RPGs as I personally feel it cheapens the experience. Japanese gamers and Kanji-reading importers will find out December 17th when Final Fantasy XIII is released in Japan. on PS3.