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Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

17 Mar

(A notice of warning: most of the links in this blog lead you to YouTube videos that don’t have anything to do with the review. Only access them if you are bored and in a safe place. You have been warned.)

Time travelling is serious business, don’t do it! Even if some guy taunts you, saying he will kill everyone by messing with time, don’t run into that trap! You will do way more damage to existence itself than him. You will cut yourself. Badly. Even if you travel to the future, don’t think that won’t have an influence on the past because it didn’t happen yet. It will. It will change your childhood without you even noticing. If you think time paradoxes are just made up by bored scientists, you are wrong, deal with it. Because that shit is real. It’s real!

And it’s –awesome-.

Ask Stephen Hawking. Or watch Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher, I don’t care. Just don’t do it yourself, it will kill you. Time travelling kills people, and you won’t even know. You won’t even know.

Hey y’all, Grynax here with another review on a somewhat recent PS3/360 game. Probably the one with the, like, easiest attainable trophies/achievements ever, it’s Final Fantasy XIII-2. You may spend an hour on a predictable and rigged slot machine, but it’s still easy as hell when you find the right video guides on YouTube, Gamespot, or Machinima or whatever. I don’t give a damn, because I already did that. You check my effing PSN (or Sony Entertainment Network, whatever) account if you don’t believe me. Even a weaboo casual like me got a platinum trophy thanks to Final Fantasy, it can’t be that effing hard, you see.

“Let’s see if we can hit those 88 MPH…”

If you don’t know what Final Fantasy is, stop reading right here. Close this god damn blog, look for any of the 14 available main titles and play the first one you come across. It doesn’t matter which one it is. Just don’t play the MMOs, they are horrible because they are MMOs. Don’t play II, III or IV either if you are not experienced with RPGs, they are hard. You will only hurt yourself in the progress. And yes, these are roman numbers, get used to it. Also, if you don’t want to play an RPG you shouldn’t even be reading this review. Leave now if you don’t ever want to play a 50 hour long, story-oriented role-playing game. It’s your decision.

I know, I’m using a lot of “if”s and “don’t”s in this review. Now back to FF XIII-2.

As the name indicates, it’s the sequel to FF XIII. If you haven’t played that one yet, get it, it’s only 20 bucks on amazon. Shouldn’t be a leg break for you. And as both of them have almost the same gameplay, I’m not going to review the old one. It’s old and cheap. Get it if you are interested in FF XIII-2.

The gameplay in FF XIII-2 is rather simple. You have to find your way to time portals and so called ‘Artefacts’, keys to open those portals. Each portal grants you access to a new area, defined by the place and time you are travelling to. For example if there is an area called Oerba -200AF-, it’s a bit different from the area called Oerba -400AF-, because they are different times. Each of those areas tells it’s own story, and you have to go on through these areas until you conclude the main story. You will find sidequests in each of these areas, plenty of them. Also monsters you have to fight to gain experience and materials. Do whatever you want, you can’t f-word anything up (because you already did when you decided to travel through time in the first place), unless you quit the game without saving. No, wait… not even that is a problem, because the game autosaves a lot. The only mistake you can make is spending your money or experience (crystal points, whatever) on the wrong stuff and letting the game save it. Autosave is dangerous, especially in the casino.

There are five noticable changes in this game, compared to the predecessor. First of all, it’s an entirely open world. You can replay everything. It’s damn time travelling, for chist’s sake. That’s why I said you can’t f-word anything up. You can’t miss anything, just go back there and get it. Secondly, you only have like two playable main characters most of the time. The old one had a total six, with up to three in your party. XIII-2 is different. Instead of a third party member you can catch monsters like they are some effing Pokémon or Megami Tensei demons, except you don’t have to talk to them or throw balls. You don’t need balls to play this game. It’s very popular among the female audience, so you don’t need balls.

The third thing is your equipment. In XIII you had to upgrade your weapons and accessory with shit-tons of items. Now you don’t, you just buy the better versions in the store. The last difference are the Quick Time Events. Yes, QTE, like in Asura’s Wrath, God of War and Force Unleashed. There are portions in this game where you can get rewards if you get 100% of the events correctly. But it’s easy, not as fast as in other games. Just to add some more action sequences to the game, I guess.

“Is it worth sacrificing the world, for the woman I love? … She was the only world that mattered to me.”

I won’t explain the battle system. It’s real-time but you can’t move around, that’s all I’m going to say. Like 70% of Final Fantasy games are like that. If you want details, get them somewhere else but be careful of spoilers. For myself, the battles were the best part of the game. They require strategy, they require good timing and sometimes they also require good preparation. That is all I’m going to say about the battles.

Now for the story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but here are the basics: Your two characters are Serah, a girl who looks for her vanished sister called Lightning, and Trunks Noel, a guy from an apocalyptic future who has a message from this sister. And so they travel through time to find and help Lightning in her fight against the big bad. Long things short, never mess with a guy who wields the Soul Edge, looks like David Bowie and is voiced by Liam O’Brien. Those are three traits that already defined villains in other video games, and a guy with all of them just has to be an evil asshole. Literally, he is the worst that could have happened to the world. And that’s not even a spoiler. Caius Ballad, already the most melancholic yet insane bastard this year. It maybe sounds like that is a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s awesome, and you just want to beat this smug guy. Well, at least you have enough chances to fight against him.

One last thing: The game ends with a ‘to be continued’, and a lot of people came to the conclusion “Oh noez, I has to buy ze DLC to finish ze game! You greedy bastidz!”, and I laugh at them. Do you seriously believe that? If there’s one thing important in Squeenix games, it’s the story, and the story of this particular title is concluded. The rest? Well, instead of being scared of DLC, how about being scared of a whole new game titled Final Fantasy XIII-3? Wouldn’t that be horrifying? No, it won’t. I don’t quite get why Squeenix is so eager about continuing this title, but I have to agree that it works. Do you know how much I would have loved to see sequels or prequels of other Final Fantasy titles? How happy I was about Crisis Core or The After Years? How I would have hoped that X-2 would do the predecessor justice? Well, now, Squeenix doesn’t leave us hanging. A lot of people enjoy the XIII saga, and while not being one of the best FF titles, it is in general more liked than disliked, and it’s quite refreshing to get more. The only thing I would hope for is that Squeenix takes a step back once in a while and… I don’t know… creates side-stories for other FF games. How about a Crisis Core: Final Fantasy X, where you play as Jecht back in his days? Crisis Core: Final Fantasy V, with the Warriors of Dawn as the main lead? Wouldn’t that be great if there was something like that for each FF title, a game that tells the story of when shit hit the fan in the respective world?

So, back to the topic, my rating for this game. To be honest, I held myself back with this review, a lot. I’m a huge fan of most of the Final Fantasy series, thus I tried to be as objective as possible. It may have sounded like I didn’t enjoy this game at all, but that’s not true… I’m just trying to be a bit more serene. or maybe it’s just because this game is so melancholic it made me melancholic. This game is anything but peace and flowers, I’ll tell you as much…

That being said, I rate this game 66 MPH out of 88. Not-as-confusing-as-you-think-it’d-be time travel, Final Fantasy setting (along with typically great soundtrack) and a villain you can hate. And it doesn’t even feel too recycled from the predecessor. It would have been great… but a few things bugged me: even though the time travelling is nice and simple, everything else is far too complicated. You have no clue who will give you sidequests and who doesn’t, the monster taming system can be a bit messy (and after getting three certain monsters, useless) with so many monsters to choose from, and the levelling just gives you too many options to choose from… oh wait, it doesn’t.

Would I play it again from the start? No. I can travel back through time whenever I want to give this smug bastard Caius what he deserves, so why should I. Maybe I will get the DLC, but that is a whole different story. Cheers!

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Posted by on 17/03/2012 in Games, RPG

 

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