Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Preview for Xbox 360

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 screenshot
Final Fantasy XIII-2 screenshot

Article contains spoilers relating to the end of Final Fantasy XIII.

SquareEnix, a Japanese company best known for its Japanese role-playing games, had just one Japanese game to show at E3. While androgynous teens and silly haircuts remain firmly intact, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is clearly influenced by the likes of Mass Effect and Fable. While this might not sit well with staunch supporters of the vegetating JRPG genre, this western inspiration addresses many of the problems critics had with FFXIII.

The E3 demo welcomes two new characters; Serah - Lightning's little sister - and the mysterious Noel, a scruffy haired youth with a distinct look of Squall about him. Specialising in magic and melee respectively, we see the pair scrapping with a colossal golem known as Atlas. I'm not sure what his beef was, but he's a sizeable obstruction in Serah and Noel's adventure to find Lightning, who is presumed dead after the events of FFXIII.

Changes to the battle system are subtle - not quite the shake up I was hoping for - but some interesting new features have been brought to the table. Let me use this opportunity to get something off my chest: the battle system in FFXIII is fantastic - those that didn't like it simply didn't get it. If you were put off by 'Auto-battle', clearly you didn't understand what it was there for. Strategy isn't derived from which spells or abilities you're selecting, but which Paradigms you activate - which in turn determines which spells and abilities your party will use. If you didn't get on with this the first time around - for shame; little has changed in the sequel.

While the core pillars of combat remain unchanged, there are several new features that attempt to shake things up. Most notably, you can now employ the services of monsters in the midst of battle. Certain enemies will appear as loot once they've been killed, which can then be added to your party. By filling a Feral Link gauge in the corner of the screen - thus 'synchronising' yourself with the beast - you can use its special ability. Think of it as a Limit Break, of sorts.

New QTE events break up the flow of battle, offering cinematic portions of gameplay where strategy is swapped for some good old fashioned reaction-based button bashing. Whether this will serve as the palette cleanser Square Enix hopes it will, or a needless interruption from the strategy remains to be seen. It looks pretty, though.

The screen still does that familiar swishy thing before a battle, but this time around you can determine the nature of battle based on how you engage with monsters in the overworld. A timer appears when you stroll into the vicinity of an enemy. From here, you can either choose to run, or attack the beast head on - giving you a pre-emptive strike should you land the blow successfully. You can even use NPCs - guards, as they were in the presentation - to distract your enemies, allowing you to pass through an area undetected.

After fending off Atlas as best they can, Serah and Noel find themselves in the Bresha Ruins; an area of stark contrast to the corridor-like environments of (the majority of) FFXIII. The mini-map is reassuringly complex; Bresha is spacious, littered with chatty NPCs and chests off the beaten path. Fans of the series will be happy to learn that a Moogle follows you about now, and will kick up a fuss whenever there's treasure nearby - much like your dog would in Fable.

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Endless's Avatar

Endless

I forget how far I got in F13, did as many of the hunts as I could when I got to gran pulse and headed off to...where it was I was headed to. Pretty sure I either only just got there. Or didnt get there...hmmm. My biggest bugbear with FF13 is that character progression felt pretty nonexistant, much like the story progression, it was just a slog along a dark tunnel of mundaneness. However I NEED to revisit it before FF13-2.

FFX. Didnt like it. Tidus; Wuss. Wakka: Wuss and crap. Yuna; Whiney bitch. Rikku; fun but crap. Lulu: brilliant. Auron: best thing about the entire game.

FFX-2 is one of 2 FF games I have played and not completed (FF13 being the other) I got as far as the 3 sisters and just wasnt high enough level to beat them. Went back a fair few times to grind up but ultimately got bored and never finished it. I still have it though and a working first gen PS2, so I may yet go back to it. if I ever run out of games to play >.>

If you like grinding, Resonance of Fate. Go. Now.
Posted 21:29 on 16 June 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Jamin

"Article contains spoilers relating to the end of Final Fantasy XIII."

Read that, then stopped so that's why I asked. :D Thanks for the response though! Seems I will add to the summer 'to do' list. I found the game to be pretty good, nice scenes very nice I must say.
Posted 13:01 on 16 June 2011
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin@ Wido

Shouldn't be any spoilers in there dude? I think it's safe to assume Lightning and the gang saved the day in FFXIII given the sequel actually exists and is set in Pulse/Cocoon. It's about the journey / characters anyways -- and I wouldn't spoil any of that stuff for you.

I'd suggest keeping at it, things get more interesting once you reach Gran Pulse.
Posted 12:27 on 16 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

I have still got a LOT of grinding to do before I can complete all the missions with 5 stars for Final Fantasy in my attempt to get my first platinum trophy. It will take years! If you like to grind then you shouldn't find it to hard to get back into.

I think it was only chapter 13 or so that I actually felt like the game had started to get going which is disappointing. Anything before then seemed to structured for me. You have a set path and you can't do anything but follow it.
Posted 12:23 on 16 June 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Jamin

Seeing as this preview has spoilers on how FF13 ends, I couldn't continue as of not finishing the game.

Now, more like advice as FF is a game that takes time for me personally to digest. I don't play many JRPG's but I do make exceptions for the likes of Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, FF and more. I got to the first boss of the game in FF13, and just hit a road block. I like to grind, so I have my characters as powerful as the next boss comes along.

I'm willing to give FF13 another go and will this next installment offer more, in a non-spoiler response if you can. :D
Posted 12:07 on 16 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

I loved X-2 I'm actually going through my second play through when I have a spare 5 mins in the bedroom.

Fang was my favourite out of them all but I pretty much liked every character really, I wouldn't mind if I didn't see Hope or Sazh again, they just didn't do it for me. Hardly ever had them join my party unless I really needed too. I did find Hope quite useful towards the end.

I can't wait to play as Serah :)
Posted 12:02 on 16 June 2011
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin@ Endless

You liked FFX-2 but not FFX? You're a strange one...

I'm glad you like X-2 though, it doesn't get half as much attention as it deserves -- the dress sphere system was absolute genius.

You manage to work your way to the bottom of Bevelle Underground? One of my crowning gaming achievements is doing that -- 100%'d that badboy.
Posted 09:58 on 16 June 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ 87Sarah

Lightning was the only character I liked tbh. Though I did like Vanille for a while....until she spoke. lol.
Posted 21:55 on 15 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

Nice preview Jamin. I'm looking forward to this, I love the sound of multiple endings and it gives me even more of a reason to play through it again and again.
I wasn't too much of a fan of Sazh tbh so he wouldn't be missed to me :)
Posted 14:52 on 15 June 2011
Endless's Avatar

Endless

It was the paradigm shifting I didnt like, instead of having to make choice with which abilities to use, which initially is the focus having a limited number of actions, the game progresses into a 'which paradigm should you be in at this point' system that just didnt sit right with me. In a lot of cases it didn't really matter what abilities I chose, even elemental weaknesses (few and far between) didnt have a massive impact.

I wanted more abilities, more choice. Not switch here, switch back, switch here to avoid this. Most of the time you end up standing still the entire battle, switching paradigm like a change in clothes. I miss the action of FFXII, for me it was one of the best yet. If they'd kept that and added in paradigms and action points FOR ALL CHARACTERS! then I would probably have decided FFXIII was worth finishing.

Course that relies on the fact that the story and character progression was up to snuff (which they weren't) *sigh* I need to get me FFXIII again just so that I can play FFXII-2, mainly because FFX-2 has taught me that they can make a poor initial game really good in a true sequel!
Posted 13:52 on 15 June 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 03/02/2012
Developer: Square-Enix Co
Publisher: Square-Enix Co
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 730 10
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