This is the first and apparently complete guide on Final Fantasy XIII. For your money, you get over 270 glossy, 8.5x11", full color, beautifully illustrated pages that, as far as I can tell cover EVERYTHING that you'd ever want to know about the game except for most of spoilers - the assumption is that you do NOT want to see spoilers.
The book is divided into six main section and an Index:
- QUICKSTART - things you need to know as you start the game and for the first few hours of play.
- WALKTHROUGH - the bulk of the book (over 120 pages). It has all the maps, all the scripted encounters - and much of FFXIII is tightly scripted. It's a good thing to have whenever you get stuck and discouraged. The authors promise that spoilers were kept to a minimum.
- STRATEGY AND ANALYSIS - here you get hints on tactics and strategy, hidden games mechanics are covered, everything there is to know about the Crystarium and Paradigm features. It's page after page after page of illustrated data that help you get insights on how to develop your character and how your team is likely to perform under various paradigms. I can't say that I understand all the graphs and charts at this time but I expect to visit the chapter more and more as I advance deeper into the story.
- INVENTORY - every item you equip affects the outcome of the battle and this chapter has it all, complete with tips and with the mind-boggling charts where dozens if not hundreds of items are analyzed and evaluated. In addition, each character's weapons are analyzed separately.
- BESTIARY - If you didn't know, it turns out that there are 240 monsters you are likely to meet and here you can see exactly what they look like and what their strengths and vulnerabilities are.
- EXTRAS - it's a checklist of side and optional quests. There are also a few pages on trophies but, most interestingly you get the actual story of the 13 FFXIII days, all followed by a few more pages dedicated to 'analysis and speculation'. And, if you are someone who bothers to actually read 'the signs', you get a Cocoon-to-English alphabet decoder.
I am VERY pleased with this book. It's unlikely that I will ever read everything but I will definitely read the first and last chapters, refer to the Walkthrough section when in trouble, read 'strategy and analysis' maybe minus most of the stats, check the monster listings and and the inventory section when curious about enemies or items.