PS3 Previews: Final Fantasy XIII-2 Preview

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 Preview

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Scheduled release date:

January 31, 2011

Publisher:

Square Enix

Developer:

Square Enix

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

So I played the Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo today. …it’s difficult to select a starting position. On the one hand, I don’t mind at all that it stayed very much like its predecessor because I maintain that FFXIII was a great game. On the other hand, I have a little difficulty seeing where Square Enix “listened” to all its fans. Plus, I have to consider that the game in question is quite large and we only saw a very small piece in this playable demo.

So I’m a little stuck but I’ll do my best. First and foremost, let me say I’m intensely annoyed at the prospect of keeping the exact same party throughout the adventure. Of course, your third “party member” will always change due to the new monster recruiting and training mechanic, but if I’ve read the news correctly, it’s always Noel and Serah throughout FFXIII-2. No exceptions or changes. Now that I have that out of the way, let me focus on this new monster idea.

Personally, I don’t really like it. However, before elaborating, I want to make it clear that this is a very subjective viewpoint and I can see how some gamers could really fall in love with this new feature. It actually reminded me a bit of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, where you would recruit, train, breed, and use monsters in battle. In FFXIII-2, it seems that just about any foe you conquer in combat becomes an ally that can be used by attaching the monster into a Paradigm Shift. You can have up to three monsters equipped into various Paradigms at any given time.

It’s a tremendously in-depth feature that acts as a double-edged sword. You can “adorn” your monsters with items, allow them to grow, and even fuse them with other monsters to create more advanced allies. The fact that each has its own set of skills, combined with their inclusion in every Paradigm, makes this an extremely robust mechanic. Furthermore, when a monster hits a certain point, he can unleash his Feral ability, which, in FF parlance, is kinda like a Limit Break.

The downside is that due to its depth and because you only have Noel and Serah to consider, this monster thing could take up half your life. It could easily take up a good portion of the gameplay preparation, and I find it a tad tedious. But as I said, some people might love it. The other major change in battle comes in the form of Cinematic Actions, which is similar to the button prompts you’ve seen in numerous action titles, ranging from Resident Evil to God of War. They’re relatively easy, as analog movements are on the left side of the screen and face button prompts are on the right.

In the demo, you run around the Bresha Ruins, tracking down a giant creature called Atlas and even taking on a side quest or two. As expected, it’s very pretty, and there are plenty of people to talk to at certain parts of the demo. Oh, and there’s one other gameplay addition and this involves choice, an element we often see in many modern-day RPGs. When it comes time to make a big decision, the game will give you an option of who to ask for advice, or sometimes you can just fish for more information.

Basically, it’s FFXIII with a few small additions and one big new feature in the monster collection. The Paradigm Shifts seem faster but other than that, those who enjoyed FFXIII should be able to dive right in with little problem. I just don’t know if it will satisfy those who didn’t like this sequel’s predecessor. I’m guessing it won’t but you never know.

1/10/2012 Ben Dutka

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Date
Game
Reviewer
06/13/11 Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ben Dutka

Comments (58 posts)

Marckon
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 10:08:54 PM
Reply

I liked it and I think the monsters are a good feature. But then again I enjoyed ff12 and didnt finished ff7, which is blasphemy in here. I really want to buy it and support it, but reckoning, twisted metal, the vita and mass effect 3 really making difficult... :'(

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The1Weapon
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 12:25:06 AM

Currently downloading. I like XIII, though. I also liked 12, which brings up that I don't understand why so many people don't.The battle system was the most progressive and I'm disappointed that they didn't continue in that direction.

Back to 13, though, I liked it, and I'm optimistic for XIII-2. We'll see how it turns out though.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 7:19:03 AM

Final Fantasy XII's battl system is too MMO's styled for the likes for Final Fantasy. Many complain at XIII's but I feel it's just a new exploration on the Job system and enjoy it very much.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 9:44:09 AM

I like FFXII's system (MMO how? Because it's not random encounter or has a battle screen? Playing with a 3 person party is hardly MMO....) It's still turn-based.

I'm ok with exploring different battle systems. Differing battle systems is what makes FF such a great franchise. Rather, it's ONE of the reasons. FFXIII's system was awful because it lacked depth, freedom, strategy, and more. The weapon's forging was overly simplistic, and also, without any sort of strategy.

I'm sorry, but changing between 6 paradigms at JUST the right moment is not exactly very strategic.... not when you can hardly even make decisions mid-battle nor decide how your allies behave. Any complexity in strategy was only needed for 1 or 2 enemies in the game. You don't need to be efficient because your health restores after every battle. There's no longevity to your strategy. As long as you can beat up the guy in front of you, you don't have to plan for ANYTHING.

That simplicity without depth, exploration, or anything else was like playing an RPG version of a rail shooter.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/11/2012 9:44:46 AM

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PasteNuggs
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 10:14:33 PM
Reply

I have it downloading now. Not really that excited for it though. We shall see though.

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gungrave
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 10:57:11 PM
Reply

Haven't tried it yet, but it looks like a little bit of Persona 3 where you can equip a new Persona or fuse it with another one to make an uber Persona. But it didn't take a huge portion of that game :(

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Russell Burrows
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 11:02:27 PM
Reply

Pokemon Fantasy Final?
Sigh.......

Back to playing Skyrim.

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newchef
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 11:09:24 PM

i was just thinking the same thing

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Marckon
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 @ 11:17:46 PM

you should at least try it and the pokemon thing is didnt old

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Highlander
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 10:35:21 AM

Monster Hunter meets FFXIII?

Last edited by Highlander on 1/11/2012 10:35:45 AM

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Jutter
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 12:26:49 AM
Reply

I've been playing 13 off and on for the past little while and this definitely feels a bit meatier. the battles are a bit more hectic and are in turn not quite as boring in my opinion. It's more challenging and fun, at least that's what I've taken out of it. The path is not as strict and the environments are definitely more open this time around. The changes are subtle but appreciated on my part.

I don't like the idea of 2 permanent party members either and the 3rd party member being a monster isn't bad but it just doesn't feel... the same? it was better than I expected still not as great as actually having 3 party members though.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:59:34 AM

Yes, I agree with you. I like having 3 party members but would love if I could have all of them in XIII but that didn't happen. However in XIII I am using the same 3 people, Lightning, Hope and Fang. Pisses me off when they force me to use others LOL! So, hopefully Serah and Noel will be dynamic and I can find great strategy in the monsters like Ultimadream said.

Also, make sure you allocate the CP for party members you never use! That hit me last night with Snow. Snow was so weak it was like he was throwing pebbles at the enemy. It took 30 minutes to kill this sub boss with pretty much only 2 characters.

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Oxvial
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 12:41:55 AM
Reply

I was bored, Asura demo entertained me a lot compared.

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Raze22
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 4:01:17 PM

-3 points for having to stick with serah and noel. The monster thing should be fantastic though.

Asura demo was definitely off the chain! Played both levels and had a blast.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 12:45:24 AM
Reply

I'll hafta try it, I remember seeing Snow in the battle in some videos.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:06:11 AM

You winning the good fight, World?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:25:08 PM

Fighting too many battles at once I think, I can't even keep up on what's happening in gaming.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:01:12 AM
Reply

Interesting about the monster building stuff. Seems odd, but okay. I hope to sample the demo by the week's end. But, man, this game is almost out. Almost out? I'm way in over my head with great games and RPG's to play. I have DA:O to enjoy more. I still do want to get back to Lost Odyssey. I really want to play through Deus Ex.. I sampled through the first real mission..it's a dang awesome game. There's DA2 I already bought (six bucks, okay?). And now, here's another FF. And I haven't even started on with how I want to do more Skyrim, a lot more Skyrim. Ugh, something has to change lol. It's becoming very clear to me that gaming is bigger and broader in quality offerings than what I simply have time to consume.
Anyway, don't know how I feel about the lead characters in this new FF. The lanky skinny girl and the big blue pants boy. oh well, FF's always mezmorize me with their awesome brand of sci-fi'ish artistic beauty. Just seeing the content is worth my time.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 9:22:26 AM

Oh Temjin001 you have brought up one of my biggest problems right now. To many excellent games to play with no time. I have so many games I want to finish that I own but just don't have the time. FFXIII will probably take me 60 hours. Then Kingdoms of Amalur!!! Uhhggg!

DA:O was fantastic to say the least. I was glued to my PS3 during my time with it. Keep going as it is great all the way through. DA2 I didn't like, I played the demo and was really disappointed. I guess you cannot change your parties armor or anything. Also the combat is way different.

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dmiitrie
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:29:46 AM
Reply

Dammit Ben! I was all set to completely ignore this, but the way you described the monster part (initially one of the reasons why I was going to ignore it) actually made it sound interesting. = p

I don't expect to like the game as a whole, since it apparently is very similar to its predecessor. But the one interesting sounding part makes it worth a free download at least. And hey, I've been surprised before...

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BigBoss4ever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:52:42 AM
Reply

just played the demo, it is actually better than I thought, I like the monster part plus the little crystal puzzle part and the monster's fusion thing too. it seems less linear and more FF-ish this time with the mini games, chocobo, more custumization. altho like Ben said in the article, it feels most part just like FF13, nothing really new, but the small tweaks makes it more interesting.... yet to see the full game.

one simple question -- why can't they just retain the damn cool graphics but use the FF7, FF8, FF9 or FF10's game mechanisms and worlds? what is the difficulty or hardship in putting it there and build a world like FF7-10??? if they can do just that, it might become the greatest JRPG this gen.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/11/2012 1:58:13 AM

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main_event05
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:47:01 PM

they're prolly waiting until things get really really bad. Which is prolly whats gonna happen after fans realize they've been ignored again.

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karneli lll
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 2:25:19 AM
Reply

The demo bored me. I dont know how Square thought adding pokemon features would help. Also that little thing that kept saying "kupo" annoyed me.

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Sogi_Otsa
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 7:54:35 AM

... You mean the Moogle... that also did that in other games. especially FF6 and FF9, Kingdom Hearts, and is a mascot for the series? wow.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:42:51 AM

What the hell!?!?

Moogles are a staple of the franchise!!! They are right up there with there always being a "Cid" and chocobos!

Mog for the win!

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/11/2012 8:43:26 AM

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karneli lll
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 2:12:23 PM

Eesh, take a chill pill kupo.

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bentl78
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 3:45:31 AM
Reply

Kupo annoyed someone? omg.. i love mog!
On Vgchartz, seems the preorders for ff13-2 was actually higher in the US compared to 13.. very different results than japan. lets see what happens, cant wait to play the demo after it finishes downloading!

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bentl78
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 3:45:53 AM
Reply

question to ben.
you are not doing the review on this game? no review copy yet?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 9:38:20 AM

I'm doing the review.

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SmokeyPSD
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 5:06:20 AM
Reply

When is the next revision/remastering coming. That's all I've resigned myself to with final Fantasy anymore :(

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 7:00:01 AM
Reply

I played the demo just now (On the 360 as my PS3 is at my uni house...) I generally enjoyed it however a few of the new features did annoy me.

Mog Clock:
I was hesitant about it during the previews and I did not like it during the demo. a lot of the time the mosters just appeared off screen or directly infront of me, it press atatck and strike, but the monster was still generating into the map that it would not count my hit.

Mog's scan ability:
This is found frequently annoying, the animation itself is very slow, so doing this feels tedious. I also dont like the fact that all through out the maps there will be items hidden with no clue, sure sometimes Mog gets excited over a hidden item, there were other times where i pressed it randomly where he didnt.

What was more infuriating was that I was in Mog Clock Mode just when he found something. the game focused on the item while the enemy crept up behind me while i couldnt move, that was just lame.

Accessory point system:
Did anyone else notice this system they have now put in the game. At the start I sold most of my potions and pheonix downs to buy weapons and accessories. I bought a load hoping to equip them only to find out each accessory had an ammount of points and each character could only have a certain amount of points active at once. This is nearly as tedious as XII's license plate system. Why cant i just equip what I have bought! The only way I have found so far to raise a characters Accessory point limit is to activate it on the rare Lv up bonus. If you got it automatically each level I would not mind, but to have to sacrafice a level bonus is poor.

The new blood system(?):
In XIII-2 I noticed your characters can be wounded in battle, this takes points of your HP which you cannot reghain back in battle by simply curing. How you get these HP's back... I have no idea, but I hope you can because that would be really horrible if so.

Puzzle sections...:
I have to admit I dont see the point in the puzzle sections within the game, where your in a paradox and you have to walk over the platforms like in Dissida... Not fun at all.

They're my major irritations about the demo. Here is what I loved.

The monster system:
I love this! Sure you can just slap it as pokemon, but it is so much fun. The monsters simply act as a third party member in battle. But you will have to know their strenghts before equiping them in a paradigm. What I like is how you can swap monsters as you change paradigms. This is going to add a lot of depth to the game and is something i am really looking forward to expanding on.

Noel:
From what I read up on the datalog and his on screen presence, he seems like he'll be an interesting character to follow which is a mircale as I am still not sold on Serah.

The sassy chocobo merchant:
This made me laugh and it is also good to see a merchant on screen, ratehr than in XIII just shopping at a save point.

That's what I got from playing the demo. the rest was much like XIII. I am definatly looking forward to gettting the game within a months time :)

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:18:05 AM

Very nice demo review!!! You answered a lot of my questions, Thanks!!

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:47:25 AM

I haven't tried the demo yet (as stated below), but based on your description, the accessory point system sounds like a definite plus in favor of having to incorporate strategy and balance. I like the sounds of it.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 7:08:00 AM
Reply

Oh and just so you know, they solved my biggest complaint, if the party leader dies, it switches to another character ;)

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Sogi_Otsa
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 7:57:43 AM

Best news so far

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:18:33 AM

That is great news!!

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:32:21 AM

Indeed, however I think it Noel + Serah both die while the monster lives, that might not count. Oh and you can switch character within battle, theres a tab in the battle menu to do so.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:43:27 AM

More great news :)

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:12:43 AM
Reply

Downloaded it last night along with the following:
Gatling Gears
Syphon Filter 1, 2 and 3
Grand Slam Tennis 2 demo
Oh yeah, FFXIII, the cutscene when they....
SPOILER ALERT
*
*
*
*
*
Leave Gran Pulse and come back to Cocoon was EPIC!!! I had goose bumps! I have really grown attached to the characters.

Uhhhggg, the decision to get either FFXIII-2 or Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning is tough one. I mean, I will be buying both D1P, but which to play and sink 50 hours into first?

Once I finish FFXIII which will hopefully be today or tomorrow I will give the FFXIII-2 demo a try and then have a better understanding. Since I just sank over 50 hours into FFXIII I will probably go with Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning.

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JLB1
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:35:28 AM
Reply

This being a first FF for me, it was a bit overwhelming. I don't know if it was because I was playing tired, or because it was a bit much for me to honestly comprehend what it was that I was doing. Either way, I will be playing the demo again at some point. The combat system was different for me as well, don't really have an opinion on it as this point, though. It may either be one of those games I'll have to really get into to appreciate it, or one I will just flat out not like. We'll see.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 8:51:20 AM
Reply

I'll reserve judgement for now. I didn't get on for too long yesterday at all, and it was still downloading when I went to bed. I'll give it a shot tonight.

Based on what folks here are saying, however, I am encouraged that strategy is much more important in this title. It definitely sounds better.

A little sad about the lack of playable characters, but that might be ok. FFX-2 only had 3 playable characters (although a whole lot of classes and customizability) and I thought it was the best battle system in the entire FF series.

Still though, diversity has always been important in the FF series, and the best FF titles out there have lots of different characters.

Looking forward to testing it out tonight.

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Highlander
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 10:35:52 AM
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I am so not interested in this at all.

Sad that SE have got to the point now where I really do not look forward to their games because of the near ritual complaints that they are no longer FF games or that they are action games with RPG elements or whatever else. The truth is that they ceased to be FF games, perhaps with FFXIII, perhaps earlier. Whether they are good in their own right or not doesn't bother me, they are not FF and they sure as hell are not full blooded RPGs any more. What they actually are is something for someone else to decide, for me they are a game by a company that was once highly regarded by RPG players and that is about it.

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Clamedeus
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:07:03 PM

Agreed.

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Warrior Poet
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 1:58:06 PM
Reply

I've never enjoyed monster-hunting games, but my love for Valkyrie Profile and the Einjerjar has made me decide to at least try the demo. I'll get back on that.

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Oxvial
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 2:49:57 PM

Valkyrie Profile That was a real RPG!

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homura
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 3:57:32 PM
Reply

Is there an eidolons or summons? I want to train them more instead of those monsters, i like XIII eidolons when they are not in gestalt mode, hated gestalt mode. XIII battle system is good enough for me, so much potential, if only i could just edit the auto attack of my other 2 party members, can't always cast big spells at the same time. I also wish that I can summon 3 eidolons at the same time, that will be great to watch. Still gonna get XIII-2, still the best looking rpg at the time. Tonberry for a party.

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Highlander
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 5:15:47 PM

Great looking it may be, but and RPG? Not so sure...

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homura
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 3:58:01 PM
Reply

Is there an eidolons or summons? I want to train them more instead of those monsters, i like XIII eidolons when they are not in gestalt mode, hated gestalt mode. XIII battle system is good enough for me, so much potential, if only i could just edit the auto attack of my other 2 party members, can't always cast big spells at the same time. I also wish that I can summon 3 eidolons at the same time, that will be great to watch. Still gonna get XIII-2, still the best looking rpg at the time. Tonberry for a party.

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homura
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 3:59:30 PM
Reply

Is there an eidolons or summons? I want to train them more instead of those monsters, i like XIII eidolons when they are not in gestalt mode, hated gestalt mode. XIII battle system is good enough for me, so much potential, if only i could just edit the auto attack of my other 2 party members, can't always cast big spells at the same time. I also wish that I can summon 3 eidolons at the same time, that will be great to watch. Still gonna get XIII-2, still the best looking rpg at the time. Tonberry for a party.

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homura
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 6:03:49 PM
Reply

Still a jrpg for sure, advance though, not traditional jrpg. Maybe an automated jrpg. If only Ni No Kuni has already an english version i will definitely get those first.

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Highlander
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 11:16:58 PM

Ni No Kuni is being released in the English speaking markets this year.

And, no, FFXIII and FFXIII-2 are not JRPGs by any definition unless you believe in completely revising the definition to make it fit. I do not.

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homura
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 3:40:11 AM
Reply

What is your definition of jrpg? Turn based battle system? FFXIII battle system is advanced not traditional. Most jrpg now has a real time battle system, some is better than FFXIII like tales of xillia but still it's real time battle system, if you want traditional turn based there is disgaea, lost odyssey.

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Highlander
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 3:50:00 AM

A quick answer off the top of my head... Turn based or something similar is a good start. Side quests, exploration, multiple party members, switching mebers in and out, skill system, melee and ranged attacks, character stats and builds that you work on, lots of story depth and character, etc...

For traditional turn based, you could always go for the Atelier series - which I like.

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homura
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 4:16:18 AM

Atelier is a good series, i agree. FXIII gameplay is story based that is why the gameplay is restricted. The characters can only use 1 type of weapon and the save point is also the shop, boring weapon leveling. It's not the best gameplay but still a jrpg.

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homura
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 5:35:12 AM
Reply

Here's a link if you want to read the prologue and epilogue novel of FFXIII. Just sharing... http://dilly-shilly.blogspot.com/2010/12/episode-i-part-iii.html

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sdragon001
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 8:56:55 PM
Reply

@ Ultimadream

I dont know if anyone has said this yet but if you read the info section when you get character or monster info in the main menu it tells you that the new wounded system you need to use (wounded cures) to bring back your max hp in battle you can buy those from the choco girl travel merch....

Last edited by sdragon001 on 1/12/2012 8:58:21 PM

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Underdog15
Friday, January 13, 2012 @ 1:59:54 PM
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I played the demo. It was alright, but didn't grab me. I'll get it eventually, probably.

I think a lot of whether or not I'll like it a little or a lot will depend on the characters. I always love the one or two FF characters that talk like floozies, but the main characters need to be real. Couldn't see that in the demo, obviously, so I can't say one way or the other.

I didn't like stopping for a cutscene in the middle of a boss battle that offered little more to the experience than Serah yelling out Noel's name, so hopefully that doesn't happen too much. I'd hate to see pointlessly trying to keep me eternally engaged through cutscenes. Just let me flesh out my strategy on the boss and beat him up.

I'm also looking forward to learning many more abilities. Auto-battle is still freakin' stupid.

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DeathOfChaos
Friday, January 13, 2012 @ 11:45:12 PM
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I absolutly hated XIII, but XIII-2 has EVERYTHING that the first game lacked and MORE! You can jump anywhere (just feels awesome to be able to jump whenever I want, lol), R2 (I believe) can reveal hidden items and such, there's better animation (in battle AND out), and it just feels more like a Final Fantasy than XIII ever did all the way through in just one demo. Also something not mentioned was that after you beat the demo, you get a trailer showing off a whole bunch of gameplay and minigames, Chocobo Racing and all! It even teases Omega Weapon, lol. Two things I found that I didn't really like though; the Crystarium felt like it was much smaller and when it expanded, I didn't really notice if or how it expanded. I also noticed the animation that triggers when you move them around an excessive and confusing amount of times in XIII doesn't happen anymore, It was probably the part of the first XIII that I enjoyed the most because it was just entertaining to do when I got bored of the game. Even though you can only play as Sarah and Noel throughout the whole game, it looks and feel much better than XIII ever did, and that's pretty sad, lol.

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