Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is another sequel to a Final Fantasy game, but this one doesn’t have you sitting there wondering, “Why did I even buy this game?” Final Fantasy XIII-2 takes place after the fall of the Fal’Cie from XIII. Though this game is not as long as a typical Final Fantasy game, it is definitely worth the money and for face value, is beautifully done.
You play as Lightning’s sister, Serah, who in the first game was turned into a L’Cie and later into a crystal. You are also introduced to a new character Noel Kreiss who is from a future world; that ends up at the feet of Lightning and sent on a mission to find Serah. Though Noel is your typical main character who has a mysterious past and holds back information you can’t help but make a connection with the guy and continue to become more attached to Noel and Serah as the game progresses. A nice quality about Final Fantasy XIII-2 is that the creators fixed some of the flaws that XIII had, such as a more expansive and explore able world, more interactions with NPCs, encountering towns, and quests that have to do with more than just fighting monsters.
You start out in Serah’s new home town of New Bodhum, as you begin to explore the surrounding area you are welcomed to the same battle system as XIII with the same customizable Paradigm system, which allows you to fight with multiple strategies. Though there are a few little changes to the Paradigm system, in my opinion, they are all improvements, such as having monsters fight by your side and each monster has its own unique skill once the Feral Link Meter is filled. As you progress you get to experience the main form of transportation in the game which is the Historia Crux. The Historia Crux is a nice addition which makes XIII-2 a non-linear story and gives the player the ability to explore different time eras at their own will. The way the player operates the Historia Crux is with the use of artifacts through story progression or finding the hidden wild artifacts in the different time eras.
As XIII-2 progresses, you meet a few familiar faces along with some unique and interesting, to say the least, NPCs such as your merchant, Chocolina. Final Fantasy XIII-2 holds true to the name as it has an attention grasping story that leaves you wondering what is going to happen next or how will this end. Along with the improvements previously mentioned, XIII-2 continues to show off beautiful landscapes and monster designs, though it is not mind blowing, it still makes one feel at home. While on your travels you will encounter NPCs throughout the game asking you to search for items that have been lost or misplaced because, even in the future, humans have yet to learn the basics of housekeeping and returning your things to where they belong. Along with the search and retrieve missions, you will also encounter a few missions asking you to defeat some monsters along the way as well as finding lost partners and friends. Later on in the game you can experience some fun time-killing mini-games with prizes you can’t resist. The last great addition in FF XIII-2, that has been missing from a few Final Fantasy games in the past few years, are puzzles. Final Fantasy XIII-2 went back to the lost RPG roots and foundation for gaming and threw in some interesting, and at some points, challenging puzzles for players to enjoy and possibly scream about later on.
While this is a Final Fantasy game, it does not have all of your typical classical Final Fantasy soundtracks, which is a nice change but some of the soundtracks that were chosen for this game had me wishing they would have just left it all to the classical songs. Like previously mentioned, the Paradigm battle system is the same for the most part with a few new additions. One detail I wish they would have left the same was the leveling up process of Paradigm classes. You still earn CP (Final Fantasy’s form of XP) to progress through the Crystarium and increase your character class, but rather than each class have a basic starting cost, the Crystarium continues to charge you the same rate which increases as you progress further into the game. So, to learn some basic skills of another class you may not even use does get a little pricey.
Overall, even with some of the terrible music additions and higher cost of character class development, I would say Final Fanatasy XIII-2 is an entertaining game which will have its’ audience losing track of time as you progress through the main story and side quests. Players will also enjoy a few mini-games along with the lost art of RPG puzzles, which gets players away from just hours of grinding and almost becoming a zombie from staring at the screen for too long.
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