Monday, 20 August 2012

Final Fantasy XIII-2

Gamespot score: 7.5 (Good)

My score:7.4

(+)Pros:- Traveling through different timelines is cool, - Tons of optional content, - Fun and epic boss fights, - Great soundtrack, - Cool monster  capture mechanics and it provides a huge change to gameplay, - Good story that is filled with joy induced cameos.

(-)Cons:- The entire game is TOO easy and only starts becoming a little bit challenging towards the VERY end, - Some parts of the game drag you down with unnecessary padding, -  "What the F**k" ending.

Gameplay time:20-30 hours

Oh how low the mighty have fallen. The FF series was one I truly looked up to, and I have admired it for a long time until now. People said FF 13 was bad, I thought it was great. Then 13-2 came out, and it was supposed to be "better" than the original. I went into the game expecting that, but I was disappointed, BIG time. And deep down I was raging a little bit. What happened to this once high and mighty franchise? Why has it fallen to this decree? Like before when I reviewed FF 13, I said it was a great game alone, but as a FF title, it was average. For 13-2, I think it is a decent game on its own, but as a FF title, it fails, badly.

Fortunately, like all Final Fantasy games, 13-2 has a good story. It takes off after the events of the original Final Fantasy 13, and it stars Serah, Lightning's Sister, as the main character. After the fight with Orphan, a time distortion took place, and Lightning disappeared. With her disappearance, the cast went into a state of sadness, and each one went on their own separate ways. Snow, Serah's fiancee, promises to find Lightning and leaves on a journey to look for her...but never came back. Serah lives the rest of her life in her village, hoping one day that Lightning and Snow will return. She sees dreams of Lightning fighting in an imaginary place against another man, and that leads her to think about various things. One day a young man named Noel arrives and tells her that he can bring her to Lightning. Without thinking, Serah leaves on a journey with Noel to find her sister.

Seem familiar? A little too familiar perhaps....

Before I go any further I have to clarify this. 13-2 is a different kind of Final Fantasy. It is very very different, and as proof, we have the brand new mechanic of traveling through timelines. It completely defies everything that is Final Fantasy, but it works. Through the many different areas you explore, you will come across gates, that let you travel through them to different timelines, hopefully finding one suitable timeline that will lead you to Lightning. There are different timelines, and many of them lead to the same place, but at a different time. You can see how your previous actions in other timelines affect things at another one. Its cool, kind of like Radiant Historia.

While exploration, battle and the like remain mostly like Final Fantasy 13, 13-2 introduces tons of optional content. Side quests and bosses ahoy, at every different location or timeline, there are different NPCs you can interact with that actually give you ACTUAL side quests....UNLIKE the original Final Fantasy 13. You can wander around a map until you go crazy to find an artifact to open an optional gate, and travel to that already optional area and take part in MORE optional side quests there. There are lots of stuff to do...IF you want to do them. Traveling to some of these optional areas also lead you to more battles against different monsters....which will benefit you.

Nice try, but I'm a freaking dragon.

Another new mechanic that is a welcome addition to 13-2 is the monster collection. Similar to Pokemon, every monster you encounter has a chance of becoming your loyal underling. Every time you fight new monsters and defeat them, there is a small chance that they will drop their crystal. Earning that crystal gives you the right to use them in your party as somewhat of a "third character". These monsters come in a different variety of classes, such as "Ravager", "Medic, "Commando" and so on. Adding them to your team arsenal opens up a whole new variety of paradigm shifts. Thing is, you can only equip up to 3 monsters, so you have to choose wisely.

Of course Final Fantasy games won't be complete without epic music and boss fights. To me, the music in FF 13 wasn't too memorable (except for "Blinded by light" and "Saber's edge"), and 13-2 fixes that up nicely. While we still get some tracks from the original, the new ones are pretty f**king amazing. Every time I enter a battle and the battle themes "Paradigm shift" or "The last hunter" kick up, I feel pumped up to beat the enemy's asses down! There is also a nice boss track by Shootie G , the dude who did music for the DMC series (freaking love those songs). It may defy everything that's Final Fantasy, but I don't care, it sounds bad ass. Bosses are, of course, a blast. Probably the only enjoyable battle segments in the game, these provide challenge and moments of bad-assery. The QTEs aren't really needed, but they don't necessarily ruin the game so its not too bad.

Boss fights ahoy!

Now, the flaws, these are bad. First off, the game is far too easy. Minus some of the boss fights and the very last segments of the game, the rest of the game is too damn easy. If you went ahead and did side quests, its even easier! You can practically sleep and hit O all day, the enemies will just fall to your overwhelming power. There is NO way you can die in a normal battle for the first 75% of he game unless you fall asleep. There are also parts of the game that drag you down and just feel like unnecessary padding. Like this one part where you have to find 8 cores or something. You have to travel across every FREAKING area you've been to before and use the moogle search in thin air until you happen to luckily find the damn item. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BIG THE MAP IS, F**K YOU!

Oh yes, and the ending. Dat ending. DAT ENDING! WHAT THE F**K SQUARE!?!

If I were to go in depth, the flaws part could last quite a bit, but most of it just boils down to the game being a complete breeze and cakewalk. Except for the good story, you'll be in for a sleep fest during the battles. You will find normal battles to be nothing more than a troublesome chore. The end parts of the game get a little harder, but come on, you only bare your fangs at us when there's only 2-3 hours of the game left? There are things the game does right, but overall, 13-2 is a disappointing FF experience. As I said earlier, its a decent game on its own, but just not the FF game we're looking for.


Happy gaming.