Well a sequel who would have thought it? Especially to the rage inducing Final Fantasy XIII! I always have faith in Square Enix so you know like a loyal blind fan I let them run with it because lets face it, they weren’t going to listen to my opinion. Oh yeah you heard me right, big companies don’t really listen or care about your opinion. They seem like they do but no they just want to use you like a hooker uses you (not you personally….) for your hard earned cash.
Ok I went off on a tangent there! Right Final Fantasy XIII-2 turned out for me to be a nice little suprise in the sequel department, I mean its rare sequels do better than the first game or movie. Lets face it FFXII-2 didn’t have that much to contend with. You have the fantastic and exquisite FMV sequence at the beginning of the game to whet your appetite ready to begin the actual game play. I first twisted my face when at the start it became apparent that Serah’s weapon was a moogle. Oh yeah a moogle, not only can they save your game and sell you stuff but now they poof into bows. Ok granted each moogle is lets say unique in which ever Final Fantasy game they happen to be, just look at Final Fantasy 12….yeah ok lets not.
Now the actual storyline when I first head of it just made me scream time travel what the hell man! I mean i’m all for trying new ideas but how on earth can they possibly make this work? Actually pretty well and it’s not as linear as Final Fantasy XIII, but don’t get excited you won’t get that nostalgic feeling as though you were playing an older Final Fantasy game. You can travel back and forth in time to places you have visited and to ones you haven’t once you have unlocked certain games, the headache for me was going back and forth just to get one fragment. Collecting all fragments isn’t a requirement to finishing the game unless you want 100% completion and lets face it die hard gamers and achievement/trophy whores will want to. You follow the story of Serah searching for Lightning who is now accompanied by Noel Kreiss who is from the future, now the villain of the game is well not as much of a villain as you might think. Caius for me is one of the better villains in the Final Fantasy series, he isn’t whack out crazy and he isn’t being a total selfish prick either. I found myself even feeling sorry for him during the course of the story.
The levelling system goes off the crystarium from FF13 but you are on one straight path with it really, there is no branching off and once you reach the end of one tier you can choose a bonus or new class to level up. You can switch back and forth between classes and you don’t lose any levels for doing that, each class can level up to a maximum of 99 as well. The ATB gauge is back and hasn’t changed really since FF13, you can increase the ATB gauge by 1 by having a certain weapon. No summons at your disposal as you now have monsters as party members. There can only be three in a battle which is Serah, Noel and which ever monster you choose. You get these monster party members by defeating them in battle and hoping against hope you get their crystal at the end of the battle. This has just opened the flood gates for Square Enix to tempt you into buying extra DLC which at the moment have been extra party members like Lightning, Amodar and Sazh. Not to mention extra outfits but Lightnings own story will be released in due course.
Weapons, items and materials can be bought from the one merchant throughout time and space Chocolina who leaves little to the imagination in the clothing department. To make higher weapons you will need certain materials and older weapons to make them. Chocobos are back including different coloured ones and Chocobo Racing makes a come back but not in the FF7 sense.
I think Square Enix have tried to recapture that nostalgic feeling but it doesn’t quite work, I mean sure you have the casino with Chocobo Racing, slot machines and now card game thanks to the DLC but there is something missing and maybe that can never be recaptured. I know most fans cling to the older games like a kid holding onto a toy they don’t want to share but maybe it is time to move on and embrace the new and maybe not improved Final Fantasy. Nothing will recapture the emotion I felt for Final Fantasy 8 or 9 and even X, I won’t mention 7 because it is one of my least favourites.
Overall FFXIII-2 is much better than FFXIII and the majority of fans will buy it or have already bought it, but I don’t think that’s quite enough to win over any stubborn or pessimistic fans. The sheer amount of DLC that can and more than likely will be released will be enough to put some fans off. I say give the game a try but wait for it to come down in price if you don’t want to spend too much on it.