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Uh-Oh...I Think I Like FFXIII-2 For All The Wrong Reasons

I didn't know Square Enix dabbled in the dark arts.

Over the past four of five days, I've come to a few conclusions:

Firstly, I still say Final Fantasy XIII-2 isn't a role-playing game and if it is, it's definitely a watered down facsimile. Secondly, the story is one of the biggest attractions of the franchise; it has been for a couple decades...and FFXIII-2 isn't cutting it in this capacity. Thirdly, and finally - and here's the ironic contrast - I'll heartily defend the game.

But why? By all rights, given my history of RPGs, given the fact that I will always love turn-based better than any other RPG mechanic until the day I die, and given that I have called out Square Enix as often as anyone, I should have no interest in this sequel. None. Logically speaking, I should've played it long enough to deliver an accurate review and then move on. But I think a S-E representative has been sneaking over to my house and putting something in the water supply...because I can't seem to stop playing a game I should - should - despise.

I mean, it's not really anything I want from a Final Fantasy, besides the added depth and more freedom. The combat mechanic should be more like FFXII (still real-time but at least I could pause, and at least it was actually an RPG system) and above all else, I really don't care about the story or characters. Well, that's not entirely true. I actually like some of the characters; I'm a big fan of Lightning, for instance, and as I said in my review, Noel and Serah are actually better than I had anticipated. But overall, they're not why I keep playing.

I keep playing for the same reasons I kept playing Skyrim and that just feels wrong to me. No, it's hardly the same type of game but at its core, the concepts aren't vastly different: at the end of the day, I play both to get and do everything and increase my power. Now, I always had that mindset in past FF iterations but they also kept me playing for the story. Now, I find I don't care about the story...and I'm not caring that I don't care! That's what worries me, right there. It's just plain unsettling the whole way 'round.

And it has nothing to do with a shifting personal taste in games. I will always prefer an excellent story and memorable characters to just about anything else; it's why I say Heavy Rain and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are the two best games of the generation (next to Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3, both of which have great stories and characters in their own right). And when you combine my accrued bitterness concerning my beloved Final Fantasy series, it makes no sense that I'd love FFXIII-2. No, it didn't get a 9; it doesn't deserve a 9, IMO.

But I still can't stop playing it. Lord help me.

Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII-2

Tags: ffxiii-2, final fantasy xiii-2, final fantasy xiii sequel, ffxiii2

1/31/2012 8:56:32 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (41 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:25:48 PM
Reply

I'm 6hrs into the game so far and I'm really enjoying myself. I loved the story in XIII and so far I'm enjoying where this game is going. The game is pretty damn easy, that's for sure.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:14:23 AM

It depends on what paths you take. You'll come across multiple situations where the enemies in a certain place are just too powerful for your party.

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Cesar_ser_4
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:26:27 PM
Reply

Well its official. Hell has frozen over yet again.

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cLoudou
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 11:17:09 PM
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sounds like I will hate it, but I won't know until I have played it. The lack of story is really a turn off for me as I didn't even enjoy games like Skyrim, and FO3 despite all its critical acclaim.

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cLoudou
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 11:26:54 PM

I'm actually thinking of trading Skyrim and Deus Ex, two proven, critically accepted, RPGs that i didnt enjoy for this, whatever it is with its ratings all over the place that I might enjoy.

Last edited by cLoudou on 1/31/2012 11:30:09 PM

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Dante399
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:11:13 AM
Reply

Okay Okay, I think I'm gonna go and buy it now. I shouldn't regret it later, right?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:15:25 AM
Reply

Btw, guys, you know bots when you see them, right? Don't reply. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/1/2012 12:15:36 AM

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Sol
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:54:34 AM
Reply

The thing I have noticed nowadays is that people always expect the worst. In expecting the worst, the product will almost always surprise you (can't wait to see how well dmc will do in that regard...). Final Fantasy was never about the gameplay, and never truly about the story (not saying they aren't big contributing factors to each's success...). There was always a sort of synergy in each title. The particular combination of elements that turn the whole into something worthwhile... That's what made Final Fantasy games great.

They were always a great experience, not just a game, not just a story, but many little things that make up a package you can enjoy for many hours. Though the package is much different from those of old, it is still the same in that it still maintains that synergy.

You can take my statements with a grain of salt if you will, but know that out of my history/collection of games, I have and have been through, Final Fantasy: V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, Tactics, X-2, XII, DoC FFVII, CC FFVII, XIII, Tactics Advance, and Tactics: War of the Lions. I'm not yellow, I'm Gold with Sky Garden Status.

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BigBoss4ever
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 1:44:27 AM

i agree on the "expecting the worst and now here is the bounce back mentality", and vice versa, when there was huge hype of FF13 at the time, there was huge let down.

..and I agree that FF games in the past is about the experience of the whole package. well said!!!

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/1/2012 1:45:30 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 1:37:17 AM
Reply

Hey, those reasons are not wrong, they are absolutely right - you're obviously on a positive roll now Ben. Release the westerner in you, don't be afraid! Embrace the light.... The liiiight! ;)

And now that your gamer mindset is growing, expanding - yes one might even say maturing! - this could give such desirable consequences like that you start enjoying sci-fi settings too! And wouldn't you know, that's just in time for a certain little release, the conclusion of an epic trilogy that's just around the corner now.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/1/2012 2:06:42 AM

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shadowscorpio
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 3:03:04 AM

What epic sci-fi trilogy might you be referring too might I ask?

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 3:37:34 AM

Oh, a pretty MASSive title. In EFFECT it's the best game I've played in many years!

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/1/2012 3:37:47 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:10:25 AM

No. I will never like Mass Effect because I'm not into the style and setting. Gameplay-wise, I can be flexible but when it comes to that...

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:14:54 PM

Is it even possible to consider getting into Sci-Fi as.... "maturing"?

;p

Last edited by Underdog15 on 2/1/2012 12:15:03 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:18:15 PM

No, and I don't like the implication that putting the INTELLIGENT stuff (i.e., story, writing, characters) behind you is "mature." :)

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 1:48:06 PM

lol - stfu you two. ;)

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Nlayer
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 2:45:56 PM

I'm curious, Ben. Why do you not enjoy Sci-Fi?

I for one don't think Sci-Fi is any better or worse than any other genre. It all depends on taste, right?

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 2:59:49 PM

@Nlayer
Yeah it is, but we were just joking around with Beamboom. He loves his sci-fi! We joke about future gens having a holodeck, too.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 3:22:01 PM

I don't know why. I've never been a big fan of Star Wars or Star Trek or anything like that. I vastly prefer the old-fashioned, medieval-like settings of the staff 'n sword themes, like Lord of the Rings.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:19:42 PM

***SPOILER ALERT***

I loved Mass Effect 2 once I finally got the game up and running. Somehow, it felt like a real living/breathing universe to me. The characters were so well fleshed out and I found myself caring a lot about what happened to them. The comic was pretty lame so I can only imagine how I would have felt if I played the original ME. No doubt seeing the Normandy destroyed and Shepard killed at the start of ME2 would have had so much more of an impact.

Anyways, back to the reasons I loved ME2. The quality of the writting and storytelling is some of the best I have seen in a videogame. It's hard to describe but it felt like a real place to me. I like sci-fi but that is way down on my list of reasons I loved ME2.

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killerbee12
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 4:50:09 AM
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Seems like the xbox version did better

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:25:55 AM

I've noticed the same. Weird.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 9:35:52 AM

Did it? That is strange considering the former was a few times better performing on PS3. Interesting!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:11:39 AM

FFXIII did, too. The reason is that many of the reviewers on the Xbox side don't have a history of Final Fantasy on their platform to think of.

And that leads me right back to my point I made in the review, about how the name alone causes it to score lower among people who recall its greatness and compare then and now.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:24:47 AM

oh sorry, I misinterpreted. I thought the OP meant in terms of sales.

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Arvis
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:27:39 AM

Yeah, nobody is buying this game on the Xbox.

-Arvis

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 1:49:22 PM

@Ben: That's actually an interesting point. Maybe you are right after all. In this case.


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/1/2012 1:51:29 PM

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 4:57:40 PM

I just checked Metacritc and the PS3 version has a a metascore of 82 while the 360 has a score of 81. So what exactly are you guys talking about when you say the 360 version is doing better? Ben's comment implies that it's review scores that is being cited but the the PS3 version is acutally scored slightly higher on Metacritic...I'm confused. Underdog's comment seems to rule out a reference to sales...plus there is just no way it's selling better on the 360.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:30:51 PM

Major sources won't be different. The smaller sources with less professional reviewers make it more obvious.

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Beamboom
Thursday, February 02, 2012 @ 2:11:31 AM

@Excel:
According to Gamerankings the ps3 version is at 79.74 while x360 is at 80.94. That's not a whole lot of difference, but in a strict statistical sense Ben is right, there is a 0.12 difference on his 10 point scale system. I'll give him that.
So, theoretically speaking, according to these numbers reviewers that do not know the Final Fantasy franchise well would indeed on average rate the game 1% higher. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/2/2012 2:46:44 AM

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darxed
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 8:26:57 AM
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Well maybe it's a trend... I couldn't stop playing FF X-2 either, even though I cringed with every jpop song (except for the "a thousand words" song/video) and every charlie's angels reference. The normal ending of X-2 left a lot to be desired too... Maybe SE focuses on the gameplay and depth for sequels cause I still maintain the battle system of X-2 was one of the best in the series, and it seems they did something like that for this game. Can't wait to get It!

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duomaxwell007
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:44:20 AM
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if fFXIII-2 isnt an RPG that what is it? it has stats, leveling up, equippible items and you select attacks from a menu with upgraded turn based gameplay... sounds like an rpg to me :p

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 12:03:07 PM

Not really. If I can't pause the combat to issue commands, and if I can win a battle without ever once looking at the abilities I used, I don't call that role-playing.

This is slightly more RPG than FFXIII due to the freedom and the fact that I can change characters in battle, but that's about it.

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shadowscorpio
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 1:28:52 PM

Hence, RPG "light".

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JohnnyKey
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:00:40 PM
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I must say that I am a gigantic fan of this game.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:32:01 PM

Me too. I'm loving it. The game is a lot more open which I love because I'm tend to despise linear games. The characters were my biggest concern heading into this game but I am liking them just fine.

As for this liking a game for the wrong reasons...I just don't think that really matters. There's no law that you have to like a game for certain reasons. What really matters is if you like the game or not.

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karneli lll
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 6:52:23 PM
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If this was another rpg it would've been trampled to death for having a "no party" option, sub-par story etc. I guess the urge to play the latest final fantasy far exceeds the reality that the fantasy is over. Unfortunately, Square knows this and are wasting no time taking advantage.

My only solace is that some revenue from this rpg goes to Versus 13 development

Last edited by karneli lll on 2/1/2012 6:58:11 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 8:16:05 PM

Considering that Versus XIII is likely to be even less of an RPG, I'm not sure what you're talking about.

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karneli lll
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 9:11:46 PM

I never said it was an rpg, i said that some ff 13-2 mula will go to versus 13 development.

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eLLeJuss
Friday, February 03, 2012 @ 7:37:49 PM
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I'm only in episode 3 and im hooked already. This is a great game. It's not as bad as people say it is. Some people are just so negative. Square Enix did a great job improving ff13-2!

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MMKM
Sunday, February 05, 2012 @ 11:57:02 AM
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I played through the demo, then deleted it. It was more frustrating for me than XIII was, and I liked XIII. I was annoyed by the very detailed management that I have to do to get the paradigms just right *prior* to combat in order to get the party to act as I want as I button mashed. The two times I spoke with Chocolina were two times too much! *sigh*

I don't know if I'll ever get the game. If I do, I'll probably get it used sometime when it's cheap.

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