Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

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Heard plenty of good things about this installment and I will be picking up my copy on Friday morning. Not missed a launch in 15 years, well, except for the ones we werent told about, and I aint gonna start now.

It's hard to pick on Final Fantasy for annoying characters because they all have them. Just seems like Square is afraid to make a turn based RPG. of course they could get away with it in this day and age by their name alone. Every company is afraid to make turn based anymore. Love the Pokemon games still, the moment it goes real time is the moment I cry in the corner.

Susan Arendt:

Fiz_The_Toaster:
Really great review Susan! Also, the ending made me laugh.

I was kinda concerned and curious to know how those two characters would work out. I don't have much of an opinion about Noel so I'm pretty neutral towards him, but I didn't like Serah and I found her to be useless, so I was shocked to find she was going to be one of the main characters. I thought it was gonna be weird and awkward, but I'm so glad it's not the case.

Do they give you a limit on how many monsters you can have or is it you get every kind of monster that the game offers you? I was kinda wondering about that ever since they announced that the game will let you do this.

You can't control which ones you catch and which you don't - it just happens (or not). I think there's something like 150 different monsters you can catch, and I have maybe....hmm....25 or so at the moment. Thing is, there isn't nearly enough difference between monsters - a Commando is a Commando is a Commando - so it really doesn't matter much which particular monster you use in that role.

That said, you will catch higher-level ones as you go, and some will have passive abilities like resistance to fire or whatnot. But overall, it's a pretty shallow system, especially if you're used to something like the demon fusion in Persona.

It's a fun diversion, but that's about it. But having a Medic on hand for every fight sure did come in handy.

Huh....somehow I was kind of expecting that. Sounds interesting enough.

Thanks!

Well played, Justin, well played. Into the Gamefly queue it goes!

Well I quite liked FF13 so this does sound good to me now. I think I might get it just as soon as I have some time to play

Susan Arendt:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

You won't love it, but hey, you probably won't hate it. That's something, right?

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"Its fine qualities edge out its shortcomings, if only just" and "You won't love it, but hey, you probably won't hate it. That's something, right?" is a very odd recommendation for a three and a half star rating.

When did nearly four stars equate to "it's kinda good, I guess--but only just"?

Critics don't seem to understand their own ratings systems nowadays. Newsflash: three out of five should be a solid 'good' and scoring nearly four on that same scale should be great.

Inflating your scores just makes your reviews look amateurish and schizophrenic.

To me, FFXIII was a terrible game in almost every respect (apart from the pretty graphics). What disappointed me most was the lack exploration that all other FF games have offered and the hideous characters and story. It appears they have the fleshed out the world in FFXIII-2, which I'm really glad to see - they've obviously listened to their fans (at least a bit). But FFXIII alienated too many people and created both an unlikeable world and unlikeable characters, of which many people, including myself, just don't want to revisit. Best thing they could have done is just move on to FF15 or versus XIII instead of trying to convince us that the world of FFXIII isn't dead behind the eyes by releasing a sequel.

Palademon:
But what really shows, and is even demonstrated in this video, is how people view the combat. They'll say it something along the lines of "Yeah, you just let the AI do all the gameplay, but if you really want to do something, you can paradigm shift." They're missing the point. In XIII the strategy comes from the paradigm shifting. That's the active choices you're making. They made the autobattle so that the fights flow well in real time. Paradigms are the equivalent of choosing what attack you're doing, only instead of a specific thing, it picks a category that the AI will most likely apply in the exact way you wanted. Sorry if that sounds like a rant.

I want to second this. XIII has a rather unique, multi-faceted battle system, which (was the about the only part of that game) I enjoyed. If battle menus could have been tweaked to allow faster selection, or bring up one command each as my ATB gauge fills (so you know when to STOP auto command, or so it doesn't feel like the game is defeating itself for you viewing pleasure) people would have received the battle system better. I am disappointed they did not.

I think the issue lies in that the paradigm shifts made the battle exciting, and its skillful use could make or break battles (and especially the end-battle score), but the other important facet, the one most people are familiar with, the selection of skills, was too simplified.

A nice point of all of this would be that battles with grunts go fast, but the story in XIII was so goddawful, I wanted to stay in battles more than anything else. :( I see no improvement in XIII-2 in that department, so I'll not bother.

Another point, besides chocobos, and a few weapons/armor names, what staples from the previous series actually made it to XIII? I'd have felt better about the game if even the fanfare remained, but I cant even get that much...

Well, I got it last month and nearly finished it (didn't finish some side stuff - btw the story isn't too confusing).

And in conclusion I liked it and they improved a lot of the stuff which was bad in XIII, though there is some unfinished stuff ingame which will get released as DLC and that isn't for my liking.

Mildly amusing and not horribly bad if you're desperate for an RPG.

This is what Final Fantasy has come to.

Okay is it sad that for me the most shocking thing about that review was the Dr. Who Theme at the Credits?

But then this is Susan, so it shouldn't have been shocking at all...

CardinalPiggles:
I never liked FF13s combat, because it required you to spend too much time looking at freakin' menus. I don't want to look at menus, I want to play the game! The other option was to let it run on automatic, I don't want to let it neigh on play itself, I want to play the god damn game!

Yeah, super cheap or no sale thanks.

(I don't hate the game, but it just doesn't meet my preferences).

Well, that's a weird thing to say about a Final Fantasy game. Have you ever actually played one before? Because the very essence of the combat system is centred around picking moves from menus, regardless which one you're playing. Hell, FFXIII took most of that out (and replaced it with automation instead of active input, but that's a different argument), so if you have played a FF game before, it's strange that you should say XIII of all of them required you to stare at menus. Which, you know, some people actually like. I enjoy taking the time to run down my list of possible attacks, weighing pros and cons of using what strategy, trying to predict the enemy's next moves, etc. FFXIII just took all of that away.

OT: I find it strange that some people have such a problem with FF combat being too slow and not having enough twitch-based melee controls and such, like western RPG's. Sure, it's not Demons Souls by any stretch, but I don't think that's the point; it's more about strategy. I'd imagine it's pretty hard to cram 100+ different ways to attack a target or support your team into a 12 button controller, but that's something that Final Fantasy has always attempted to offer, albeit through menus instead. If you don't like it, don't play it.

The problem I had with FFXIII wasn't the combat though. I wasn't a fan, but honestly? They tried something new, which is a rare thing in the JRPG circle, and it's nice that they made the effort. Shifting paradigms can be satisfying... sometimes.

It wasn't the story, which I thought was big, intricate without being convoluted, and interesting.

It wasn't the character's, all whom I genuinely enjoyed learning about, even Hope (Really? Hope's just a "whiny little bitch"? Hey, I'd like to see how well you fare if you'd just been told you're being shipped off to the equivalent of "hell" in the middle of your holiday, you can never return home again, all the people you used to know now hate you, your mum's dead and you're stuck with the guy who's to blame, and to top it all off, regardless of what you do, you're basically destined to die within the next few weeks/months anyway. Oh, and you're about 14 years old. Cheer up, emo kid). To be honest, I thought he was one of the stronger characters in the game.

The thing that annoyed me the most about FFXIII was the fact that the developers invented not one, but two massive, fascinating worlds, one built around a synergy of high technology and magic, the other a beautiful and mysterious wilderness, and then shuffled you mercilessly down a narrow pathway on one, and gave you ONE large area on the next, before sticking you back on the stupid path again. I don't mind having a linear storyline; if the devs have a particular story they want to tell, I don't really think it's something I always need to have direct input in, a la Mass Effect or Skyrim. Remember in VII, how the story revolved around the world actually fighting back against Shinra and Sephiroth? The world in which the story took place became a character in its own right, like Rapture in Bioshock, or the Wasteland in Fallout. Pulse and Cocoon are fascinating places in their own right, but as characters, they are completely overlooked, except in rare cases where lore is delivered with the datalog.

I wanted to explore, to look around, to interact with the world, but I just couldn't do that. I believe that this was XIII's real crime, and I'm astonished that it was completely overlooked by the devs. It looks like XIII-2 is taking some steps to fix this, so I'll definitely give it ago, as I still yearn to explore more of Gran Pulse, but my optimism is restrained with caution.

Well they definitely listened to what pissed people off in 13 and fixed a whole bunch in the right direction, but there is still somuch bad design in there, come on guys it's 2012...

Since I'm not fan of alternate dimension turn based combat I still don't want to play it but they are slowly learning to incorporate fluidity, I'm guessing in 5 years or so they will have something consistent enough for me.

Eh, apart from the Doctor Who thing at the end this didn't really stir much emotion.

Seems to me if you have a game that separates story and gameplay as much as FF tends to do then you should at least try to make them separately enjoyable, but with FF13 and nof FF13-2 it seems they're trying to just let the game itself handle the combat while you get to watch the pretty graphics and story play in front of you.

I guess the accusations that FF developers seem more interested in making movies than they are in making games just get more and more true.

Andronicus:
Well, that's a weird thing to say about a Final Fantasy game. Have you ever actually played one before? Because the very essence of the combat system is centred around picking moves from menus, regardless which one you're playing. Hell, FFXIII took most of that out (and replaced it with automation instead of active input, but that's a different argument), so if you have played a FF game before, it's strange that you should say XIII of all of them required you to stare at menus. Which, you know, some people actually like. I enjoy taking the time to run down my list of possible attacks, weighing pros and cons of using what strategy, trying to predict the enemy's next moves, etc. FFXIII just took all of that away.

Sorry dude you misunderstand me, I was referring to the menus outside of combat, like mixing your characters paradigms and such, not the drop down menus during combat.

(For the record I have played FFX, FFX-2, FFXII and FFXIII.

But yeah, the menus (start menus) in FF13 just seemed to take me out of the game too often and for way too long, so I had no patience for when the game fucked up, and just quit playing.

Storywise my favorite Final Fantasy games were 6, 7, and 10.

Game design I think the best one, easily, was tactics. You could tweak your character any way you wanted with any number of different abilities from a long list of different jobs. The only way to game really veered wrong was that by the end you had a large team filled with people who had special jobs that the other characters couldn't join, thus undermining the whole thing. Still if you wanted a team of all summoners you could have done it.

It'd be fun, add some side quests, one for each class that ends with at least one character getting a new signature ability (a big scary summon, a cool sword, slot machine random ability for calculators, the ability to super jump for monks etc). These abilities would have to be something you couldn't get from another class, and since you could only give it to one character you wouldn't end up with a team full of clones.

Honestly I think a similar game made with today's technology could really grip the player if square were able to stop trying to make the combat as pretty as the cut scenes by discouraging us from actually playing the combat.

That Doctor Who parody at the end was brilliant. Other sites and professional reviews gave mostly similar scores, which were around the range of what I had expected.

I hate to say this but because of XIII I am not buying any more FFs unless I rent it and I like what I played.

Buying XIII was a huge financial mistake. I hated the game worse than I hated Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone.

And I will point out I have a great hatred towards that game.

The FF X-III felt like a 3 hour tutorial. I got to the second disk and when I saw another Tutorial I gave up on it.

Very upset over that game....

Looks nice. I may pick this up eventually.

Honestly, I liked FFXIII. The linearity didn't bother me because, to me, it's the same thing we have all been playing for years. The only difference is that the developer wasn't using any standard tricks to hide that fact from the gamer. The topological design of almost every JRPG has been a straight line with some branches leading to treasure chests or some side quest; you go out from where the main path branches, get to the end of the branch to accomplish the mission or find the treasure, and then come back to where you left the main path and proceed from there with the rest of the main path. Usually, you don't notice this linearity because it gets curled-up on itself. The only exception I have ever seen is Saga Frontier, which actually had a non-linear design to how you progress through the game; however, it was very easy to run into an impassable wall in progression as a direct result of the non-linear design(I had this happen to me very early into the game).

I will admit that the length and number of some of the corridors in FFXIII in a number of cases could have used some editing, as in throwing some away and reducing the length of the ones kept by 10-20%.

In my honest opinion, the only thing that makes it not a "real" FF game is that it was not the remake of FFVII that certain circles of fans have been fantasizing about for years now.

WOOO due to the lovely snow it took a lost weekend for the post but it is in. So first 40 minutes!

I like it I like it! Sure it has the same old battle system but allot more LIVE EVENT and dynamics so it is less about auto battle and more about keeping an eye on the battles. Backstory is told IN FIGHT! Yes... so exitement AND a story moment in one. Beats starting the game in the middle [as yathzee put it] you actually start at the start..and the end..and the start. Mmm time travel can be funny.

Battling system works characters so far not irritating I like like Noel.. And Serra she isn't grating on my nerves like Vanilla! So yeah an action oriented high polished FF.. so far I like it.

And of course MOG joins us again WOOO cuddle time!

And yes this is not going to be a Golden Star Super Final Fantasy I already know that. But it is light years better then FF XIII so far!

Just Putting my 2 cents in here, played about 10 hours now and I have to say it isn't a little improved from XIII, it is greatly improved!
The characters are actually likeable for the first time since X! (Except Tidus, he was lame) There are many things to keep you entertained, not just the main story missions: side quests, the casino, while small atm will be expanded in DLC, which I think is the right move since it isn't holding key story back from players, the chocobo racing will probably entertain for quite a while if you want to train up your chocobos, quick time events that feel exciting and don't suck (:O) and I find the pet system very engaging, I just... just... wanna catch em all! Also most of the pets are actually viable instead of, what usually happens, one being 50X better than the others.
I think this is the strongest FF release since IX. Is it a FF game? Possibly not (Interaction with towns ect could be a lot better, every NPC should talk and give us a few buildings to investigate). But it is a good game!
I have also found a way to cut down the cut scenes Square. Don't voice act everything! The reason "cut-scenes" in the old FF didn't seem such a drag is because we were part of them actively reading the text and scrolling through it with the push of a button, keep the player involved or your game does turn into a movie :P.
Also if you loathed the battle system from XIII you will probably loath this one too. It is more active and will require a lot more paradigm switching and battles do not drag out for about 30mins but at its core it is the same. I personally like this system because it is pacey and I find makes me think more as a player because I have to deal with the limitations of the AI. "But all I do is hit auto attack and paradigm shift occasionally" true, but most FFs have been like this, there have been very few from VII onwards where you couldn't beat most fights just by ramming the attack button and occasionally casting cure, XIII at least adds the extra job of paradigm switching. Status ailments and buffs are also actually effective in this game!
Don't be put off this if, like me, you didn't like XIII! If your not sure on it, try the demo, rent or borrow it you may be pleasantly suprised like I was :P

I really like FF13. After FF6 and 7 it was my third favorite FF game. The story was amazing and beautifully laid out and the characters felt more real then any game since 7, Lightning being my favorite protagonist since Terra Branford. Then the Paradigm battle system so simple and yet infinitely challenging was, imo, brilliant.The only problem was that is was extremely linear, but the fast paced story wouldn't have worked otherwise. to be fair i didn't like the leveling system either.
i am about 15hrs into 13-2 and absolutely loving it. the main Serah, Noel and even Moogle are very likable characters. The changes in gameplay and leveling are welcome improvements. For me though, it is the story. Traveling back and forth threw time to fix the future, paradoxes, and different realities and time periods colliding. This was a really cool direction for a Final Fantasy title to go, I think.

Just my opinion. (:

Susan Arendt:

Mahorfeus:
Everything I've heard and seen about the game suggests that the gameplay is better...

But everything I've read about the plot makes it sound at least three times as crappy and convoluted as XIII's.

Actually, it's not that bad. The times when it gets the most dense are the times it ties into XIII. It also tends to repeat ideas enough to let them to sink in.

That said, it's not the most compelling plot you're ever going to encounter. Serah and Noel are likeable enough that you want them to succeed, but you likely won't care about just about anyone else.

Love the new avatar. trying to remember where that dog came from.

anyway you mentioned other characters in the party who else is there? all I saw in the clips was serah and Noel?

rbstewart7263:

Susan Arendt:

Mahorfeus:
Everything I've heard and seen about the game suggests that the gameplay is better...

But everything I've read about the plot makes it sound at least three times as crappy and convoluted as XIII's.

Actually, it's not that bad. The times when it gets the most dense are the times it ties into XIII. It also tends to repeat ideas enough to let them to sink in.

That said, it's not the most compelling plot you're ever going to encounter. Serah and Noel are likeable enough that you want them to succeed, but you likely won't care about just about anyone else.

Love the new avatar. trying to remember where that dog came from.

anyway you mentioned other characters in the party who else is there? all I saw in the clips was serah and Noel?

Answering that is a bit spoilery...let's just say that they're familiar faces.

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