Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review
- Posted February 5th, 2012 at 10:29 EDT by Timothy Nunes
- 13 Comments
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This fantasy needs a bit more effort to be final.
- Improved and hastened combat system
- Stellar graphics/voice acting
- Overall game is more varied than XIII
- Story is short and sporadic, despite multiple endings
- Irregular frame rates
- Some unfavored gameplay directions
Final Fantasy is a name that's lost its former glory. After such shaky outings as Final Fantasy XII and XIII, and that one numbered online game, the series of titles haven't had the fiery following that any prior release of the same name has had. This inconsistent delivery of games almost makes the name change from Squaresoft to Square-Enix seem like a foreshadowing to something even diligent fans would have to justify with extreme exaggeration. SE has declared that it's intent on changing the standard with the newly-released Final Fantasy XIII-2 by appealing to a wider demographic while properly appeasing the die-hard fans.
The story kicks off three years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII, and SE chose to use Serah as the main protagonist. I can't say that the move is unjustifiable, but after having control of characters like Lightning, Fang, and Snow, Serah doesn't seem quite as interesting; or as dynamic. After a plethora of strange events, Serah happens across a man named Noel, who hails from the future with omens of world's end. He convinces her to come with him through time to find her sister, who strangely went missing immediately after the orbiting planet called Cocoon had nearly fallen to Gran Pulse at the end of XIII.
I came across a couple of frustrating elements in this game. The first is that everything is explained simply as a “Paradox” and no other explanation is used for a long while. It's kind of a little particular, but I'm sure that trying to explain the physics of time travel and its potential paradoxes would either contradict the point or convolute the story too much to let players care about the happenings within the game. The other frustration comes near the end of the game, but I want to keep it as vague as possible: the final chapter is filled with subtext and ties to the first game, but the gameplay changes drastically, for the worst. It was a very harsh block and a hefty risk to take. The concept makes sense after looking at it, but it was terrible for overall flow.
While on the subject of the story, a lot of the plot is very slow moving and somewhat irrelevant to the overall task at hand, that being the search for Lightning who's in Valhalla. The frustrations posted above really articulate the issue with the story experience. I easily forgave it when the answers started coming, but that last chapter really felt like a massive hinderance, which was very unfortunate.
The controversial combat system has been both hastened and modified. Monsters encountered and defeated in combat can be tamed for use in combat, which is meant to be similar to Eidolons in XIII and to allot three characters in a party. This Monster Hunter/Pokemon-inspired feature is somewhat limited, since most monsters through the beginning of the game are only Commandos, Medics, or Ravagers; and never more than one Role per monster, unlike Noel or Serah. Point being, benefits (stat boosts from the Synergist) or hinderances (like stat reductions from the Saboteur) can really only be done by Serah or Noel until rarer monsters can be found later in the game. It's a bit inconvenient for die-hard fans, since XIII almost required a third of the available party members to have either a Saboteur or a Synergist Role at the ready. However, these two Roles aren't very crucial for most of the game, which is also a bit unfortunate. Right around my 19 hour, I was flying through fights without much of a challenge that couldn't be fixed by a quick and simple Paradigm Shift that consisted mostly of commandos and ravagers anyway.
In addition to all of that, monsters that are collected can be “infused,” so that passive combat abilities and resistances can be given to monsters you actually like. It feels like an option that replaces gear, which seems very appropriate and effective. Though, it was a bit overpowering to apply about 12 monsters to my Sentinel so it could have beefy stats.
The combat experience can't be done without a leveling system, and the Crystarium influenced by the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X makes a simplistic return. I say simplistic, as in it's essentially a straight line. Indeed, the flow between ... (continued on next page)
- 11:36am EST - February 5th, 2012
After such shaky outings as Final Fantasy XII and XIII..." Okay, come on. I'm pretty sure this very site gave both the above games scores over 9.0 (correct me if im wrong). XIII was met with a lot of criticism, I know, but as far as I'm aware, XII went down rather well with most of the fanbase, myself included. In my recollection, XII was an excellent game.
- 11:44am EST - February 5th, 2012
Completely agree with Flogar. I thought XII was beautiful, at times breathtaking. On the other hand I haven't even considered paying good money for this game, as XIII was almost unplayable to me.
- 11:47am EST - February 5th, 2012
Yeah, XII was really good. But it didn't have quite the story quality and consistency that, say, X or VII had. The gameplay was unique, but it didn't perform on all cylinders like some of the others.
- 1:04pm EST - February 5th, 2012
s this one of those Japanese porn movies? All I see is women with pink hair.
I thought PSU reviewed games?
- 1:25pm EST - February 5th, 2012
AaronSOLDIER | AaronSOLDIER
- 1:52pm EST - February 5th, 2012
Meh, will get it at bargain bin at some point next year maybe, much better games coming my way. The sales in Japan pretty much say it all, no doubt it'll sell better in the US, theres more blind $E fanboys.
- 3:07pm EST - February 5th, 2012
"Crystarium influenced by the Sphere Grid" thanks for saying that, as FFX leveling system was the worst found in any JRPG, thus making FFXIII and 2 the second worst levelling system ever
- 3:40pm EST - February 5th, 2012
I thought XII was horrible, but I still got the collectors edition of it lol 10, 7, 13 - in that order. /FFfanboyism
- 9:52pm EST - February 5th, 2012
gotta say, for those that want to know. XIII-2 is a complete turnaround form XIII, If you enjoyed the XIII Story and such then you may not like XIII-2, if you disliked the linear storytelling of XIII and the lack of content then you will probably like XIII-2. This game is poor in story compared to XIII but has a lot more freedom and content and travelling through time reminds me of Crono Trigger. Though in the end I am still a story/character base person and I enjoyed XIII, I am still enjoying XIII-2 but it lacks big time in the story/character department.
I love the battle system, but they should have really made it 2 players like the old days, it would make the game so much better, to play with someone else in battles considering how many battles actually happen. The Time travelling is great, it's nice to see the aspect again, the freedom in the game, you can skip ahead, play harder parts in some situations and not realize it then go back to earlier storyline and everything is super easy, the gameplay is fun.
But I'll re-itterate, storyline so far...One of the worst FF stories, something square is known for. So far these multi-plateform games have been iffy, not to blame it on that per-say, just something that's in my mind. On the other hand Type-0 is going to be awesome!!
tdn | beechwoodbandit
- 4:59am EST - February 6th, 2012
Dassureth, since when has final fantasy had a two player battle system????? The tales of series has had 2 player battles, but not final fantasy!
- 7:29am EST - February 6th, 2012
Look harder into the settings of some of the old school FFs. I've been an FF fan since FF came out here in Canada (1992 i think?)
The only reason i brought it up is due to the battle system just like FFXIII, it is a great battle system that would work freakin awesome with two players.
AaronSOLDIER | AaronSOLDIER
- 9:00am EST - February 6th, 2012
Shin_Gouki | Shins007
- 5:47pm EST - February 15th, 2012
7.5 is about right, game is very much aimed at the masses and not the fans, easy & short not a lot of real challenge or replay value, entertaining at least but lacking serious depth imo, pity that SE always seems to want to fix what isnt broken, hence their rpgs are becoming a new cinematic genre so unlike any decent turn based FF of the past, as SE targets its new large mainstream audience it has to turn its back on the die-hards, cant keep everyone happy of course, wonder if they can possibly dumb down the series any more maybe aim it at pre-schoolers as well (-_^)/
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