Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a very enjoyable game, but does it rectify the issues found in the original? We address some of the key points here.
I haven't played FFXIII-2 beyond the demo and watching several key cutscenes, especially that frustrating ending. Thus, I do not feel qualified to throw in my two cents, so thanks for doing this Mac. The focus on style has become quite frustrating with the series...
This is a solid criticism. I agree 100%. At what point did SquareEnix come to believe that story and character development were anything less than priority #1 for people who played Final Fantasy? The graphics for the first few Final Fantasy games originally released in the U.S. were crappy to fair (at best). Why did we play those? Story and character development!
My personal experience is that they made XIII-2 feel like Final Fantasy. XIII didn't feel that way. I think a lot of it had to do with the monster building system, coupled slightly with the crystarium.
I didn't HATE 13 like some, but I didn't love it either. I loved XIII-2.
I think KingHades is right, and what they really need to look at is what made us all love this series in the first place. Back to basics is what FF needs, not to try to push any envelope..
I can't comment too heavily on the editorial (having barely played FFXIII-2), but it seems to be dead on so far. The terrible, terrible dialogue... /facepalm
EDIT: Not to say that the older games didn't have better stories and character development.
I'm just playing FFXIII now, so I'll get back to you next year
The final fantasy series has been junky for some time now imo. I still buy them and play them but, imo, they never are in the top 5 console rpgs for the year they are released now days.
I count myself among the few who really LIKES XIII. Some of the "constraints" I felt were very good for giving the game a better pace as this went along with the idea of the characters really being on the run from the authorities.(Mass Effect 3 is a good example of the opposite: Earth is being destroyed .... by the way can you find my pants?) When I play RPGs I feel the need(sometimes against my own will) to complete almost all of the side quests and search all around for hidden things even though there are times when I wish I could just continue with the main game. I liked how XIII pushed me along at a nice pace without bogging me down in dozens of side quests and dungeons filled with random mazes and puzzles. I also somewhat dissagree with your point of the characters not being developed very well, the first half of the game splits them into pairs and makes them have whole cutscenes where all they do is talk about their past and motivations. I found the Vanille/Sazh combo to be particularly interesting as their pasts and motiviations contrasted very well. I have to agree about the slow introduction of the games systems, but I was having enough fun with the game to not mind it as much as a lot of people. I feel that this game also has one of the best battle systems of any RPG I've played, and easily the best one from a Final Fantasy game. One thing that I think this game does very well, however, actually comes from its contraints on your "level". By placing a limit on your strength the battles actually force you to understand the battle system and use it well or your chances of success become very low. There is no "I'll just grind to beat this boss", you actually have to come up with a strategy. I found it very rewarding to struggle with enemies in a area at first then by the end of the area I would be earning 5 stars on each battle as I had developed a better strategy.
I think you said it perfectly though when you mentioned XIII-2 addressing the complaints without considering what people actually liked. I've heard several people mention how XIII-2 was developed with a checklist in hand; "Towns? Check. Sidequests? Check. Minigames? Check." Almost none of things I liked about XIII are present in XIII-2. I didn't care about the characters at all, who had, as you said, even less motivations than the last cast. As a HUGE fan of time travel scenarios, this one made little sense and also as you said seemed tacked on purely as a gameplay mechanic rather than a part of the story. As far as the combat goes I found it a lot less rewarding; the addition of "random" battles forced me to fight a lot more than I normally would have as the game has a lot of running around environments to find stuff for its myriad of side quests. This led me to grind up my characters and between that and the very powerful third slot monster none of the enemies or bosses were ever any real challenge in this game. Overall I found a game I really didn't like, that had a battle system I loved.
So to answer the question, no, I don't think that XIII-2 "rectified" XIII since I thought XIII was an perfectly fine experience.
I think I prefer 13 to 13-2. My main issue with 13-2, is that they kind of gave you too much "freedom".... with the ability to pop around between areas & times, there's frequently a hard time figuring out what to do next. Also, it gives the game a feeling of "piles of sidequests in search of a plot".
edit: also, the 13 Crystarium was more interesting than the "advance along one path" 13-2 version.
And yeah - a couple of bland main characters; a good helping of "Guide Dang It" with all the not-very-clear interactions between time zones/quests/conversation choices/etc; and that ending. The flying leap onto the DLC bandwagon's a bit disconcerting too..... I haven't paid much attention - is the "ending" going to be resolved by another game, or do I need to grab all the "character side-story" DLC to actually "finish" 13-2? (i.e, did they do the Evil Thing, and deliberately hold the "real ending" hostage for some extra $$$?)
Last edited by Kiralyn; 04-04-2012 at 08:18 AM.
My main complaint about XIII was the battle system, which wasn't addressed in XIII-2 at all. To me, FF has always been the best of the turn-based menu driven combat. I could look through my spells, special attacks, and entire inventory in mid-battle for a way to take down an enemy. It was more about strategy, and less about fitting in as many attacks as possible before some clock ran out. XIII's combat either feels like rushed menu combat, or overly complicated action combat. If they want to change the series to an action game, why use menus at all?
But was XIII-2 a better game? For what it was, I'd say yes. I didn't have to push myself to keep playing. It felt more like a video game than the first one, which felt a lot more like a loooooooong boring movie with battles sprinkled here and there. Not impressed with SE's attempt to cash in by selling the ending as DLC. For every step forward, they take two steps back.
I really enjoyed this editorial, because I have wanted to talk about this for some time now. In all honesty, with the powerful graphics and wonderful lore that 13 provided, (not to mention a fantastic battle system) 13-2 should have been the easiest game to put together except for one key reality: the difference between feeling "free" and feeling "constrained" in a game is a very delicate balance. In my opinion 13 was too linear, with too many constraints on battle party, crystarium unlocks, and the ability to build ultimate weapons (basically, unless your a crazy person, getting the money to build these before post game content is next to impossible, which really annoyed me. I like to do EVERTHING before fighting the last boss of a game). Then came 13-2, and instead of slightly adjusting the balance of play, you are introduced to a game that provides very little direction, tons of fetch quests, an open crystarium, and only two playable characters, or hundreds of characters, depending on your point of view. 13 and 13-2 are both solid titles. What's funny is that after clamoring for more freedom when i played 13, all i find myself wanting when i play 13-2 is more direction. Sorry SE, but i think you missed the mark again.
Both games are good, but neither really nails the balance i personally like in games. Look at some of the past games that are generally considered the best ff's: 6, 7 (yes 7 is still my favorite, sorry to all you 6 lovers), 9, 10 and 12. Each one had really good balance between story, character dev and sidequests. I still remember hunting down a gold chocobo in ff7, and doing the chocobo minigame in 9, and trying to dodge the *&%$ lightning in 10. I don't know about you guys, but I just feel like the era of the console jrpg is over. Aside from a few good titles every now and then (such as graces f) we are now in the era of online mmo's and big budget titles that are built to make money, not as the future of story telling art. sad times best bet is to get a vita
Now Playing: Final Fantasy 13-2, Xenosaga 2, Wild Arms 2, Zelda Twilight Princess
I always told my friends when they ask my opinion of FFXIII-2 that their enjoyment of it will be entirely based on how much they like Serah and Noel. I actually found them to be much more interesting and deeper characters than a lot of opinions on this game seem to say, and I prefer them to the previous cast with the exception of Sazh. I wouldn't go on a rant describing the full arcs of both Serah and Noel, but I do feel that both characters did have significant arcs and tests of character, and their motivations were firmly reshaped by the final confrontation.
That's not to say the old cast didn't grow on me, but only through their appearances in FFXIII-2, especially Hope; I do think the main difference for me and others who aren't as fond of this game is how much I liked the two leads. Otherwise, I can't explain how the game appealed to me so much more than XIII since it shares so many basic similarities, but all this is just my opinion anyways lol.
Great read as always and got me thinking; I've been so busy with Tales of Graces I forgot to comment on this game.
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This thread is so wrong.
FFXIII = One of the best RPGs made. Removed all the boring RPG stuff and focused on the exciting things in an RPG.
FFXIII-2 = Horrible Game, stupid monster catching system, way too complicated, too hard to access, time system is horribly realized, hate the camera and movement, only thing I like about it is Noel, because he's pretty cool
Wished they'd have made FFXIII-2 exactly like FFXIII, just with a new story.
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I'm aware that editorial doesn't really say FFXIII-2 is better than FFXIII, I was more referring to the general mood here that most think FFXIII went a wrong way and FFXIII-2 did better. I have a hard time understanding that because FFXIII-2 is so wrong in basically every single design choice. No good game designer still on his senses would ever approve of this. FFXIII was... well unique. A game designer had an idea and went through with it, ignoring all the financial risks. And I'm really happy what came out of it.
Also I'm really unhappy on what became of tri-Ace, all the games they've been involved with ever since after Star Ocean 4 didn't really have the tri-Ace spirit at all anymore. I'm not sure how their internal staff changed but for some reason the tri-Ace spirit I loved completely switched to tri-Crescendo and tri-Ace is now just bleh. Problem is tri-Crescendo doesn't make games anymore either. *sigh*
Oh well, I have a new favorite now (The Last Story's game designer). Bye bye Square-Enix and tri-Ace.