Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review
Final Fantasy XIII-2
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
It’s been a long time since I’ve been this addicted to an RPG.
About the game
Whether you are new to Final Fantasy XIII or not, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has enough for both parties. I never had the opportunity to play Final Fantasy XIII and over the last few months I purposely let that remain the case. I had chances to grab it but decided that it would be interesting to review this game without bias or any preconceived notions that might shadow my opinions. So let me start out by saying that the game does present you with a bit of a recap of the previous events. Does that help you follow things easier…not really, you’ll still be somewhat lost when it comes to the story. Would it be smarter to play the first before the second? Well, of course. But, would you be able to play the second and enjoy it without playing the first? Absolutely!
The story may be hard to follow at first but you’ll be able to catch up pretty quickly or at least experience what Final Fantasy XIII-2 offers by eventually gathering enough new information about what is going on. The story that it presents you with is yet again another truly wonderful experience. The presentation of the story is also what we should expect from a Final Fantasy game and it absolutely delivers. Maybe it has something to do with me and the fact that I find time travel very interesting. But when it comes to this game and being able to travel through time and figure out the pieces of the story, in addition to seeing how things change by changing the past or the future, it really does capture the imagination. It’s also really well done in regards to the telling of the story and how your choices affect the outcome.
Throughout the game you’ll be on a quest to collect artifacts that when combined with a time gate will help you travel to another period in time. It’s really neat how it is presented to you and you will also be able to return to past areas that you have already visited before. In fact, there is a lot you can do in regards to traveling around from one period in time to another. Within the game there are 160 artifacts to collect and as you play out the story you don’t always collect them all right from the beginning. So you will be revisiting each time period in order to collect each artifact. Each area is spread out fairly nicely as well. There are items for you to collect in each area including some “somewhat” hidden ones that Mog will display for you. Each area is very nice to explore and not too small or overly large. There seems to be just the right feel for most of them.
Your main characters, Serah Farron and Noel Kreiss, are excellent lead characters and come across as both interesting and strong. You also have Mog, Serah’s lucky charm, who is used in many ways and most interestingly turns into her weapon when it is time for battle. He will be the one that finds you hidden items and artifacts when you come across them. He is also used for other things that you will discover as you continue on in the game. I have to say that Mog is awesome and that I absolutely wish I had a pet Mog that would follow me around everywhere.
Gameplay – Controls
The gameplay is handled extremely well from your basic adventuring to the battles and puzzles that present themselves. As you walk around new areas to explore it keeps it really simple for you to make your way around. The use of Mog is also a nice added feature to have in using his abilities while you are making your rounds and finding new objects. The battle system is a lot of fun to control and probably one of the best battle systems I have played. It really is that enjoyable and it makes the battles more entertaining. Plus, you also have cinematic action sequences during battles that you will get to interact with, which adds even more fun to the overall gameplay.
One of the big factors in winning major battles is by setting up a paradigm for your party. When a battle begins you will start with the automatically set paradigm, but during battle you will be able to choose from a list of paradigms that you previously set up in the menus. These paradigms are important in battle because they reflect how you and your teammates react to battle such as setting up an aggressive more attacking option to more balanced attacks. Also, more defensive, support and healing options will be able to set up as well. You may also have battles when you want to start at a more balanced rate and then turn on the aggressiveness at certain points. You’ll be able to switch back and forth during real time battles depending on the situation. It makes it a lot of fun and much more engaging for the player. This will certainly be something that you will want to experiment a lot with until you find a good combination that you like.
As you win battle after battle you will receive a number of points for you to use in the Crystarium. The Crystarium is what you use to level up your characters and to allow them learn new abilities. You can decide fully on what you would like your character to learn and upgrade in. Such as if you want your character to be more attacking then you can fully upgrade him in commando. That will give them more strength when engaging in battles. You also have ravager, sentinel, saboteur, synergist and medic. Each one of these have their own uses and abilities to unlock for your character. I went fully with commando at first with both of my characters, as I just wanted to bring it to the enemy. While I kept doing that for awhile with one of my characters, I eventually started to feel the need to use medic for the other. I also decided to use leveling up with some of the other roles since, in some ways, having a good balance is key and it will be fun for you to experiment with.
One of the other great features in battle is that along the way you will collect “monsters” that you can set up to have battle with you. These monsters have similar type attributes that you can set them up with and then give them certain roles to help you with in battle. They become a helpful factor in battle, especially if you were like me and went full commando with your characters. Certain monsters will have more of a healing role to help back you up on the battlefield. There are many things you can do in regards to what type of monster you choose and how adding their roles will help you when setting up your paradigms. All of these things combined together really make for some good customization and really entertaining battles.
Sound – Graphics
Final Fantasy XIII-2 delivers fantastic cutscenes with visuals that you can’t help but love. Visual presentation is top notch in every aspect from scenery to the characters. It’s simply a joyous treat on the eyes. The soundtrack for the game also brings you excellent melodies throughout your journey. I may even buy this soundtrack myself and would recommend that others do so as well, because it is just that good. The voice acting is also really well done and I never had too many complaints about it. The looks and sounds of Final Fantasy XIII-2 should be listed in the category of perfection as the game is so beautiful in every way.
Enjoyment Level – Fun Factor – Final Notes
This is possibly the best RPG I have played in a long time. With a storyline that revolves around timelines and time travel, it can’t get much better than that for me. Especially when it is executed in such an excellent manner that makes it both interesting and entertaining. It has great presentation in visuals, especially with all of the cutscenes. They can get really neat and interesting, to the point where you just want to sit back and keep watching. Or for some of us, move to the edge of the couch and pay close attention. The whole set up of the game, story and how it’s presented to you is simply just fun.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 was very easy to enjoy and get into. It became clear as I continued on through this game that prior playing of Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t a necessity in order to enjoy this follow-up title. I will mention that it’s obviously still better, or I would imagine so, to play them in order. However, as I said before, I had an excellent experience regardless . I easily recommend this game to anyone with interest. Even if you are not the biggest RPG fan this game is done very well, keeps it fun and even fairly simple to enjoy in a lot of ways. I was really excited about this title, but I wasn’t expecting to have it surpass my expectations as much as it did. There is a lot to enjoy here and I hope you all have as much fun with it as I have.