Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

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Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby News Portal » 7 Feb 12, 12:41 pm

After the lacklustre performance of Final Fantasy XIII, can Square Enix improve with the immediate follow-up of XIII-2? James Pinnell puts on his cat ears and rides a giant yellow chicken off to find out.

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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Klas » 7 Feb 12, 1:05 pm

How many hours have you put in? Did you get an early release or something?
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby James Pinnell » 7 Feb 12, 1:06 pm

Klas wrote:How many hours have you put in? Did you get an early release or something?


We got it roughly a week early. Put in more hours then I'd care to admit :)
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Jez » 7 Feb 12, 1:13 pm

James Pinnell wrote:
Klas wrote:How many hours have you put in? Did you get an early release or something?


We got it roughly a week early. Put in more hours then I'd care to admit :)


The threshold of embarassment for hours spent in a Jrpg can be mighty low... :dodgy:
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby James Pinnell » 7 Feb 12, 1:18 pm

Jez wrote:
James Pinnell wrote:
Klas wrote:How many hours have you put in? Did you get an early release or something?


We got it roughly a week early. Put in more hours then I'd care to admit :)


The threshold of embarassment for hours spent in a Jrpg can be mighty low... :dodgy:


It can indeed. But to be honest, combat aside, I really enjoyed moving through time and unfolding the story.

I've almost finished the game and I've gone pretty much everywhere and done everything, including fragment hunting and revisiting unlocked timelines.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Bugalugs McScruffin » 7 Feb 12, 1:57 pm

Watching TotalBiscuit go through this has sparked my interesting in going back and finishing off Final Fantasy XIII. I personally loved the combat system and while the linearity is annoying, I don't seem to mind it nearly as much as many other people did.

If it 'fixes' all of the issues of the original this well while leaving the combat system intact then this might just be a must-get. :)

Now I just need time to finish of XIII and not get distracted by new-game-syndrome again. >_<
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Paastie » 7 Feb 12, 3:21 pm

I've been a big fan of the entire series and honestly enjoyed 13 despite the obvious linearity.

The story, while it could have been paced a little tighter and told a little better, was an intriguing twist on the 'screwed if we do, screwed if we dont' plot style.

The characters were fine by me (I really don't get the hate for Hope - sure he is angsty, but that is part of his character development and besides, his mother died in a seemingly lost cause). I hear that in 13-2 you don't see much of your old party which kind of sucks, because Serah was a character I had trouble liking.

The music had some great tracks and the visuals were top notch.
Honestly, after I played the demo I found a much improved game to 13 overall - Square genuinely tried to address everything fans disliked before and it makes a fair difference. The combat is the same at the core, which I like. The Gametrailers review makes a really good point about the system overall, how it is more about controlling the flow of battle and timing rather than each specific move. If you dislike auto-battle that much, then you can easily input direct commands.

So yeah, long story short, I hope to pick up XIII-2 soon! Cheers for the review.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby James Pinnell » 7 Feb 12, 3:41 pm

Paastie wrote:The combat is the same at the core, which I like. The Gametrailers review makes a really good point about the system overall, how it is more about controlling the flow of battle and timing rather than each specific move. If you dislike auto-battle that much, then you can easily input direct commands.

So yeah, long story short, I hope to pick up XIII-2 soon! Cheers for the review.


I can see the merits of the combat system, and there are times I really found it worthwhile. It speeds up the smaller battles and boss battles require a little more tactics.

My issue isn't with the auto-attack function, its with the twitchy nature of the paradigm changes. Sometimes there is too much going on and its very difficult to track boss movements, making for some incredibly frustrating battles. At other times, I've noticed the game doesn't pickup my change fast enough and I don't get the defensive or offensive bonuses I should be.

But I'm glad you enjoyed the review, the game is definately worth picking up if you are a fan of the series or JRPGs in general.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby tacitus42 » 7 Feb 12, 4:21 pm

I remember being in japan when the game came out and when I came back to australia I got it right away just because of the graphics and i had previously enjoyed 7, 8 and part of 10. I tried, but i never really got into it. Maybe I'll pick it up one day. Maybe tonight.
I had no issues with the new combat system. Every FF i've played has a new combat system and i find them interesting. 13 seems a little more streamlined which i can't say is a bad thing. The FF games do have way too many 'encounters', kind of makes the fights tedious.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Roachless » 7 Feb 12, 4:34 pm

I agree with everything in this review, except one thing. The difficulty. Do you REALLY think this is harder than 13? I am playing on normal mode and am finding it almost too EASY. 13 was way harder. You make one mistake in certain battles and you are dead. 13-2 I have just stuck with a Relentless Assault paradigm the WHOLE game and not needed to change. There are a couple of battles near the start, where the game TELLS you to switch, but thats all. The bosses in this game dont seem near as threatning, and I stick with relentless assault here too, with a switch to combat clinic if someone gets low. I have feel I should have spent points elsewhere for Noel, rather than mastering the Sentinel role early in the game, because I rarely ever USED the role. I am not finished the game yet, but based on the narration I feel I am close. I LOVE this game, but it does not challenge me the way 13 did.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby James Pinnell » 7 Feb 12, 5:27 pm

I could just be really bad at it ;p I still manage to get through most battles pretty easily, but my star ratings on bosses are still pretty bad.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Nexi » 7 Feb 12, 9:01 pm

Played it through to the end across two days and am somewhere in the area of 70% completion (fragments, side quests etc) and the one thing that can be said of it is straight up, it is fun to play. Squeenix went to great pains to fix what their fan-base said was wrong with XIII and this shows not just in the general improvements to established systems but in the little things, subtle references to things of the past, stuff they buggered up in XIII and a few odd pop culture references.

The soundtrack quite frankly was my biggest letdown. Some of it was ok, even the vocalised tracks from the Historia Crux, Oerba and Sunleth if I remember correctly were quite pleasant but ultimately, it is not music that you will remember as fondly as tracks like One Winged Angel, To Zanarkand, Liberi Fatali and so on from PS1 titles in the series.

The battle system I actually found better than the first but this was less that it had been improved much from the first but more that the battles you came up against were less frustrating. FFXIII was full of boss battles with stupidly large amounts of health but little in the way of damage output, resulting in an overly boring experience. In XIII-2. with the exception of <last boss marathon> nothing had large sums of health and nothing through the general course of the game was frustrating to beat, some were difficult but not rage inducing.

I did miss the crystarium from XIII, even though XIII-2 served exactly the same purpose, I still preferred the UI used in the original.

The other major gripe I had was with the balance of main storyline to side stories. When you strip the main story down, it is really a very quick clear from start to finish and the majority of the game lands in side quests and minigames and while I am not opposed to a healthy dose of side questing, I prefer a bit more meat on my main quest first.

Though as I stated at the start, the game is still great fun to play, and you can overlook the odd patches of "meh" quite easily in favour of things it does well. Buy the game if you were disenfranchised by XIII, it will improve your outlook in the future of Final Fantasy games, and remember, ATB stands for Awesome Tasting Banana.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby Roachless » 8 Feb 12, 12:10 am

Having now finished the game, I can say an extra plus for it is that I still actually WANT to play after the main story. I have beaten FF13 from start to finish twice, and neither time did I continue playing after. There was no incentive for me to do it.

This game actually makes me want to keep playing after I have beat the main story. I WANT to go back and collect missed fragments and open missed gates.. I WANT to solve those pesky paradoxes and get the other endings. That is a huge plus for this game, because the story was not near as long as 13. This was $150 well spent.

Now that I have finished the main story, I can look back and put in some criticism.

I played on normal mode, but for most of the game it felt like I was on easy. The Relentless Assault Paradigm was in use 95%.

I didn't need to use a Sentinel for anymore than a few seconds to heal.

I NEVER used either SAB or SYN roles. Not once. They would have drawn out most battles longer had I used them. Only the last boss had enough HP to make using them worth it, but my deck used the space better and I didn't think to change it before fighting the last battle.

I am hoping that some of the side quest content will encourage me to use this roles now that I am done with the story, but I loved using paradigms like Tide Turner in 13. It made buffing important and useful. I have never really thought buffing in previous Final Fantasy games was worth the tick of the ATB to get them, so I was pleased to be able to use that mechanic in 13 to great result. Now it just feels unnecessary again.

I liked having a monster in my party, and the Feral attacks are a nice sort of call back to limit breaks of old.
That said, once I had my Cryosaur (I think thats what its called; little reptile thing with 4 legs and a tail) as a Ravager, I didn't even bother leveling any other monsters up. I have not yet used the merging of 2 monster function, but I will look at that tomorrow when I jump back in for some side quests.

I have to come back again to difficulty.. this is really the only thing I was DISSAPOINTED in about this game. I am not some uber gamer eiher. I am average at best and this was just TOO easy. The game even rewards you with trophies for ploughing through certain fights, if you get a 5 star rating you get GS points or a trophy. I figured that with the ability to "reset" timelines, you could go back and refight certain bosses when you are more powerful to unlock those, but I got them first round.

I remember the Proudclad from 13. That boss game me HELL. I just could not keep lightning up if she got that barrage of missles focused on her. I only passed it through sheer luck of retrying over and over till I got lucky and the boss didnt fire it at her. Now I know that there is an easy way of killing that boss, or I could have back tracked and developed a bit more, but that is not really my play style and I plowed on through till I won. I like that sort of challenge, and while I also got a fair share of nerd rage and some cheap shot deaths by random mobs in the game, there is really no punishment for death so it encourages you to play on.

This game, I saw the game over screen twice, both times I was fighting Omega early in the game while way too weak to have a chance.

I have had my rant now. This is a GREAT game, its emersive, the story is much easier to follow than the previous one, and most important of all, its FUN.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby James Pinnell » 8 Feb 12, 7:53 am

Roachless wrote:I have had my rant now. This is a GREAT game, its emersive, the story is much easier to follow than the previous one, and most important of all, its FUN.


That pretty much sums it up.
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Re: Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

Unread postby BurntToast » 8 Feb 12, 7:59 am

Ive just brought XIII to play through first, then Ill pick this up.

Havent played a FF since ...i think about VII? on the PS2??
All I know is my gut says maybe.
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