PS3 Reviews: Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

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Graphics:

 

8.8

Gameplay:

 

8.3

Sound:

 

8.6

Control:

 

8.2

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       8.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Square Enix

Developer:

Square Enix

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

Historically, all true Final Fantasy installments have been entirely new; i.e., a whole new world, new story, new characters, and even new gameplay mechanics. From Materia to Junctions to the Sphere Grid to Licenses and Gambits and everything in between, each has been magnificent in its own right. But Square Enix broke the mold with Final Fantasy X-2, which turned out great in my opinion, but many say wasn’t up to franchise standards. So what to expect from the latest sequel attempt…? Well, I'll do my best to explain.

As you might expect, production values are once again sky-high, as players will enjoy meticulously crafted CGI sequences and quite a few well-envisioned set pieces. Too many of the environments are too dark for my taste, but that’s my lone complaint. I actually like the character design more than I did in FFXIII, as there’s a bit more inspiration and innovation in that vein (look at Alyssa, for instance), and the special effects and in-game visuals are pretty damn good. Essentially, it’s beautiful without being overwhelmingly amazing.

The sound will be a mixed bag, depending on your personal preferences. While we do receive some of those patented music pieces – classically composed, sweeping, majestic, epic – Square Enix tossed in a harder hitting variety of mainstream tracks. There’s some heavy rock and pop-y type themes here and there, and some may not like the amped-up battle music. The effects are just as good as always, and the voice acting seems a little better; Noel and Serah are quite good, and Lightning, Hope, and other returning characters do their jobs well.

I won’t spend a great deal of time detailing the specific upgrades, alterations and tweaks, as I assembled such highlights in a recent write-up. Please refer to that as a supplement to this review.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 finds the protagonist of FFXIII, Lightning, locked in an over-the-top battle with a blue-haired bad guy, who we learn is Caius. Lightning, referred to now as the “Warrior Goddess,” is somehow in Valhalla, and she tasks Noel, a surprise time traveler, with finding Serah. As FFXIII players will remember, Serah was Lightning’s sister and Snow’s fiancé. As such, Serah and Noel team up to solve the mystery surrounding Lightning and the strange time paradoxes that crop up everywhere.

During the first few hours, the game does a good job of recapping FFXIII events in a way that doesn’t seem tiresome or boring. You’ll also notice that you have more freedom right off the bat; you can run around the settlement of New Bodham, talking to NPCs and going off to fight some enemies, if you so choose. This freedom permeates the entire adventure, which is definitely a good thing because once you reach the Historia Flux, you can select any open time available. This means jumping back and forth between various sections in the game is not only admissible, but encouraged.

As I stated in the rundown linked above, the developers did indeed make plenty of desired changes, and that includes the aforementioned freedom and open-endedness, as well as the combat. With the Mog Clock (strike an enemy just after it appears and gain the upper hand), Cinematic Actions (button prompts during certain boss sequences and Feral Links), restricted and thereby more strategic Accessory equipping system, and streamlined Crystarium, there’s a lot to like. Did I mention they sped up the Paradigm Shift, too? The first switch is no longer intrusive.

The addition of Monsters is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a compelling, in-depth mechanic that urges you to capture every monster and select your favorites for use in battle. You can level them up via Crystarium (special items are needed) and even “Infuse” them; in other words, one monster absorbs another and becomes inherently stronger. On the other hand, as a monster is always your third party member in battle and it’s only Noel and Serah throughout, you’re robbed of the RPG joy of choosing your party. Really, that's sort of a staple.

Yes, of course you can always change your monster, but that’s not really the same thing. You don’t necessarily feel any personal connection to any monster in your party and besides, since when do we have a Final Fantasy that doesn’t have more than two human characters to choose from? It just bugs me. That being said, given all the improvements with the battle system, this is a greatly refined mechanic when compared to the one in FFXIII, and that shouldn’t be glossed over.

Even so, we’re still looking at what should be deemed “RPG Lite” in terms of gameplay. Despite all the added depth, regardless of all the micromanagement that is indeed in this game, combat still allows you to hit Auto Battle with the X button and win the majority of random encounters. As I’ve said before, this means you can win a fight in a so-called RPG without ever actually looking at the abilities you chose to use, and that’s just wrong in my eyes. Am I the only one?

But I would like to stress that despite my hesitancy to label this an RPG, it’s still fun. Due to the battle tweaks – game isn’t over if the leader falls, the ability to change the leader in combat, faster Paradigm Shifts, etc. – this feels like a more solid, reliable system. And it’s true that boss fights and other tough encounters will force you to be strategic in your ability selection; you really need to take advantage of your other classes, like Synergist, Saboteur, Sentinel and Medic.

The biggest problem involves the story, which unfortunately isn’t very good at all. There was a time when we played Final Fantasy for an amazing story and memorable characters, but in their admittedly valiant attempts to listen to their fans, they made the gameplay better but forgot about the story. It’s there and it’s kind of heartwarming at times (what with Serah trying to get to her sister), and there are intriguing time-related elements. But it’s also convoluted and uninvolving overall.

After a while, I realized I was playing for the sake of playing, and not for the plot and characters. That’s a first for me in this series. It gave me mixed emotions: I really liked the combat and overall gameplay flow, what with the great freedom and added depth via side quests and a dozen other upgrades. It’s what kept me playing and I definitely enjoyed myself. But the whole time, I’m sitting there thinking— “Damnit…I’m only not supposed to care about the story in a game like Skyrim.” So I’m having a blast…and not giving a fig about the plot.

I still have mixed feelings about that. As for the control elements, it’s not perfect. The camera can still be an issue in cramped areas and the addition of jumping (Circle button) often seems superfluous, as the blue jump spots are still in existence, and you can’t jump to places that are out of reach for other reasons. It’s also annoying that in tighter areas, enemies appear very close – if not on top of you – and therefore, you’re thrust into battle without having a chance to strike them first. But really, these aren’t major concerns.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 improves on the formula of FFXIII in just about every way possible. And yet, we lose a little more of what makes Final Fantasy a story-driven role-playing game. It’s amazing that this happens given all the great features and gameplay elements that should’ve been included in FFXIII. I’m actually thinking that if you combine this sequel and its predecessor, take the strengths of each, and abandon the weaknesses, you’d finally get a 9+ game.

Lastly, there’s one phenomenon I mentioned when FFXIII arrived, and it’s once again relevant here— Had this game been called anything else; had it been a separate IP that wasn’t in the Final Fantasy universe, I absolutely guarantee that review scores, on the average, would be at least a half-point higher, if not a full point. You drop a game like this into a critic’s hands without decades of landmark greatness and the expectations that go along with a legendary franchise, and I promise the scores would be higher. Take it with a grain of salt, if you wish.

Personally, I tried not to fall prey to this widespread effect, and simply gave this game the score I think it deserves…visions of what FF used to be notwithstanding. ;)

The Good: Super high production values. Some good music and decent voice acting. Overhauled combat mechanic is undeniably better. Freedom aspects make the adventure more immersive. Noel and Serah are good characters. Nicely designed areas. Varied gameplay mechanics add diversity.

The Bad: Some of the new music will grate. Story is definitely lacking. A Monster as a permanent third party member doesn’t feel right. Control isn’t completely stable.

The Ugly: “I think Square Enix is trying…I really do…but…”

1/30/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (81 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 9:50:06 PM
Reply

I've been really looking forward to this review from you. I ended up going ahead and preordered the collectors edition again since I'm a sucker still for FF and I can't do without the soundtrack even if it has more vocals (ugh).

Agree with this comment 5 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Nas Is Like
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 10:53:28 PM

Vocals in a FF soundtrack, smh...

It's all about those instrumentals baby!

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hellish_devil
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 11:12:18 PM

FFX's Suteki da Ne (Isn't It Wonderful?) is great and has vocals. Well, it was Uematsu's work, that's why it is great.

Last edited by hellish_devil on 1/30/2012 11:13:59 PM

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RaYz89
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 11:17:08 PM

The amazing in-game Melodies of Life has a vocal - well just "la, la, la, la..." and its also Uematsu work~

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:09:52 AM

There's a variety. I like some of the heavier stuff, but I imagine the purists might not.

Either way, I'm having fun and I think it's a great game.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:15:33 AM

Suteki da ne is a great song and well written, but on my Distant Worlds album, they put in the English lyrics. And it destroys it. Just ruins it. I love that song, but I always change the track when it comes on. I've heard the Japanese, too, and while better, it still is teh suck. It has a lot going on in the instrumental version, and I feel the vocals take more away than they add.

The j-pop craze hasn't been good, in my opinion. The ONLY song with English lyrics I liked in a game were the two in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. "Sanctuary" and "Simple and Clean" were pretty decent (would have been better with a more talented singer). (Although, Simple and Clean is so incredibly NOT applicable to the KH story it's laughable...)

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/31/2012 9:16:02 AM

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Neo_Aeon666
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:12:00 PM

Ben, I have been playing since this afternoon. It really is a great game. Only 5 hours on it but I really love the way you can change paradigme so fast just before a monster attacks. Really have to analyse whats going on. Brings back alot more strategy and alot less frustration over getting hit while changing in XIII XD. Yes it is fast paced but in a way it is getting closer to what I felt while playing a final fantasy... Exept that I have to think faster.

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 1/31/2012 9:12:54 PM

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Oxvial
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 10:42:04 PM
Reply

Didn't like the combat on XIII and the demo of XIII-2 didn't convince me, this game doesn't have something that I could enjoy.

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RaYz89
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 11:15:21 PM
Reply

Quite a good review score from you Ben~ I've pre-ordered the Japanese language version with english subtitles - not going to miss a chance to try my first ever FF game in its original language, gonna take a while for it to arrive from Hong Kong though~

I do hope people wont start complaining about auto-battle again like FF13 because its optional - go to menu set the default action to "ability" instead of "auto battle" if people dont want to use it, I only use auto-battle for level grinding~

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:48:04 AM

Since when did they put English subtitles in their games? Finding an original Japanese game with English subtitles is like finding hen's teeth...

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ZenChichiri
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 1:06:25 PM

They sometimes offer it with the Asian version, available to the Asian countries outside of Japan. It is rather rare though to have them translate it from Japanese with English subtitles though, but it does happen on occasion.

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Pandacastro
Monday, January 30, 2012 @ 11:35:25 PM
Reply

Whatever happen with the questions?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:10:42 AM

They've continued to ignore me after saying I could submit the questions. That's all I know.

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:48:07 AM

I don't know if the questions were submitted, but maybe they can't, or would rather not answer them? I say that only knowing this community, and the types of questions that may have been asked! But then again maybe they were less candid questions.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 4:09:03 PM

Ha, SE probably fears the responses they'll get here for all their boneheaded backasswardness this gen.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:02:36 AM
Reply

I will say, take the good from Lost Odyssey (turn based battle system + beautiful dream script + deep music + ancient mystic world) + FF13/13-2's character, CGI and traditional chocobo and moogle and side quests and towns, this might be a winning formula for a true JRPG.



Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/31/2012 12:04:18 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 5:08:13 AM

I liked Lost Odyssey, But it was very very cheesy through out... Still it was a great RPG one I would have loved to have on the PS3.

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Palpatations911
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:27:06 AM
Reply

When someone tells me it's a "JRPG" im basically being told "Of lesser quality".

I'll give it to them on Hardware, but Japan is falling off the map in terms of game development.

I'll buy another Final Fantasy when Blizzard, Bethesda, or SCEA Santa Monica get ahold of the rights to it.

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:44:41 AM

I dont think giving Bethesda the rights (it would never happen anyways) would make FF what it has always been, which is what the fans want, mind you! I love Bethesdas games (Skyrim is simply amazing) but they create the polar opposite of what FF is, or rather was! FF is indeed getting "westernized" but that's not what the long time fans want!

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:11:05 AM

You know, its an interesting thought experiment - if nothing else - to ask what would be the result if a western developer created a jrpg (as opposed to the other way around) - the western company provided the technical framework with a Japanese experienced creative director.

Would be darn cool to see the result of that!

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:18:57 AM

it's one thing to argue about the state of jRPG's, but it's another to try to say Japanese dev's are falling off the map. Some of the best games this gen have come from Japan.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:29:16 AM

@Underdog: In fairness I believe he's talking about the jrpgs here, not all devs. They do know how to make fast paced action games.

... I think? Right off the bat I were unable to come up with any Japanese favourites this gen other than Katamari Forever of course. You think of that racing sim?

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:09:26 AM

Among other things like Nier, Deus Ex, and Metal Gear Solid 4. There's also Skyward Sword, DMC, and more. There's lots more, too. I can add more to the list, if you like. These are just off the top of my head without research.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/31/2012 10:10:05 AM

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ZenChichiri
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 1:08:35 PM

Deus Ex and DMC are just published by a Japanese company though. I do however agree that some of my favourites are from Japan this gen, including Valkyria Chronicles, Catherine, Bayonetta, Vanquish, Resonance of Fate, and Dark/Demon's Souls.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:23:50 AM

Yes Deus Ex were French afaik. Great game too, except for those dead stupid boss fights. Fail of the decade.

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/1/2012 5:24:37 AM

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ZenChichiri
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 1:47:08 AM
Reply

It's too bad the story isn't there but I'll enjoy it for what it is. I can't turn my head away from an RPG with as high production value as this. There still is hope for Square yet, but we'll have to see what their next move is.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 2:21:40 AM
Reply

I think it looks like they are onto something here. It takes more than one title to turn a trend, but on behalf of jrpgs in general and FF in particular I'm cautiously optimistic now. I actually felt a sting of curiosity while reading the review.

But the "had it not had been FF it would have scored higher" reasoning I disagree with. On the contrary, my logic tells me it's the other way around. All experience shows that a well established, respected brands pulls review scores *up*, not down.

I believe we experienced the exact same with GTA 4: Had that game not been a GTA released after the iconic GTA3-family (3/vc/sa) it would have ended up with a lower meta rating. It would still be a high metascore (obviously), but 97%? gtfo. That was a "Brand Bonus" in effect.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/31/2012 2:28:38 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:12:50 AM

Beamboom: Absolutely not. The rampant hate FF suffers from, and the fact that this franchise is NOTHING what it used to be, has absolutely infected review scores. All critics hold FF to a certain standard, which is why I promise you the scores would be significantly higher if this were a new IP.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:14:24 PM

Past FF's before 13 meta around 90-92%. FFXIII was 82 and this one is currently 78. For one reason or another, Beamboom, critics consider it 10 marks worse than the rest of the franchise.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:22:29 AM

Weird.
I gotta add that FF13 is one of very few games over the years who I personally found to have a heavily overrated metascore. I usually agree with the metas (that's how average I am... :D ) but FF13 being 80+ made no sense to me whatsoever.

Oh well, I'm not supposed to understand *everything*.

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godsdream
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 2:59:05 AM

Disappointed because the game is good?? I really don't understand some things in present days...

Last edited by godsdream on 1/31/2012 3:01:56 AM

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Excelsior1
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 5:11:49 AM

Ha! I must admit that's the first time I've heard somebody say they were dissapoited a game did not get a terrible review score.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 5:57:24 AM

I think I see a faint blip on my irony-radar here...

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:19:25 AM

:o

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:28:22 AM

This, right here. See, Beamboom? Most, including reviewers, WANTED this to fail.

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Palpatations911
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 8:56:30 PM

Too bad you can't practice girl power and put a dress on to get new powers like in FFX-2. lol

Perhaps I overlooked the absurdity of JRPG' in the past, but that was definitely my cue to never buy another one of these types of games.

I must be the only one who thinks they're corny as hell on this site, but then again, I always thought japanese culture was pretty corny to begin with.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:16:52 AM

I don't buy this, it must be meant as a joke?
Why would anyone *want* something to fail? Well, other than COD that is, that hate is pretty undisguised but that's usually how the king of any hill is treated so that's different.

ffrevenge, enlighten us please: Was it a joke?


Last edited by Beamboom on 2/1/2012 5:19:44 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 9:54:20 AM

Final Fantasy was king of it's hill at one point in time. So I suppose it wouldn't be totally absurd to have some form of emotion follow it everywhere, Beam.

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___________
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 3:02:42 AM
Reply

2 steps forward 5 steps back is what im getting from the reviews.
combats better then XIII but its still not a proper FF.
but then the story and characters are nowhere near as interesting or capturing.
i say 5 steps back because the story and characters are what FF is known for.
you go to FF exactly for that, not for combat.
just as you would a shooter for its combat, not its story.
in other words a FF with a poor story, is pointless!

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:57:34 AM

OM, I am in 100% agreement with you. To me this review reads like a review of Cross Edge, which is a game with an interesting combat system but zero story. Granted this has better production values, but still, it's a combat system with little in the way of characters and story, and yet it pulls down a very good score? Whatever.

It seems that you play it to 'play' with the combat system, not to follow the story or complete it. How can you complete a game that has no conclusion?

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ZenChichiri
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 1:10:56 PM

Ask people that play MMOs, as they do it all the time.

Last edited by ZenChichiri on 1/31/2012 1:16:20 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 9:55:24 AM

@Zen
This is true. But for story lovers, most MMO's have various stories that can be started and completed.

FFXI, if you were good enough, had a couple of decent stories and conclusions.

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godsdream
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 3:03:36 AM
Reply

Based in these review, I might get this game. The big difference is that with every FF since 7 I got all of them on day 1, and with this one I'm going to wait for it to drop at least to $30. I'm disappointed because the story is one of the main things about FF, and this one is still lacking.

Sorry SE but you still have much to improve to embrace again your old standards and make it up for all of us.

Last edited by godsdream on 1/31/2012 3:06:09 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 5:07:01 AM
Reply

Thanks for your review Ben, one thing that comforts me is that you said Noel and Serah were interesting characters. One of my biggest concerns was that Serah especially was just not lead material. I played the Demo and took an instant liking to Noel so that ontop of this reassuring.

The 2 human party does not bother me if they are characters I like, once I could choose my party I always kept Fang, Lighting and Hope in XIII-1. I am really looking forward to the monster system. To have a classic FF monster like a Tonberry, chocobo or Malboro (I so hope we get one!) in your party does make it up for me. It was one of the funnest gameplay elements in the demo for me. I look at games like FF6 which has a massive cast and feel it's just too much so I don't reckon it'll bother me.

I still don't like the Mog Clock, I preffered FFXIII's system with the eneimes on the map then transition, instead of enemies just poping up out of the blue nearby then transition. Just have then on the map or not, not this mess inbetween.

So did you find the open enviroments interesting overall? I played the demo and found myself having a quick nose around the Atlas quarantine site, but quickly moved on. I wasn't really interested int talking to everyone unlike in previous FF's.

The complaints on the story are worrying, what I loved ab out XIII was how the characters were but back into the foreground and we got story updates every 20 minutes. I hope the focus on gameplay doesn't escape to much from this, I hated the Temporal Rifts, which just seemed an excuse to slap a puzzle element into the game.

I have heard good things about the music else where, replaying XIII I realise how good the score actually is. I'm sure there will be a few gems in there I'll love.

I'll be sneaking into town before a lecture friday morning to get this along with my pre-order bonus stuff can't wait. After replaying XIII at the moment, I still feel it is one of the best gaming experiences this gen has offered I hope XIII-2 will deliver the same quality.

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 8:50:17 AM

Interesting!! In XIII my party was Lightning, Fang and Hope as well. I liked hope because Lightning really took him under her wing to protect him. So I went with that and wow hope really transformed! This was a great review and I am really looking forward to playing XIII-2 after KoAR.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:21:25 AM

Hope was the best Ravager (statistically). Had the strongest magic stat. So he's not a bad choice for a party.

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:27:32 AM

I agree, many seem to complain about Hope moaning all the time, but I thought he was a create character, the conflict in Palumpolum with Snow had me in tears. I also liked Lightinings mentor-ish care for him.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:29:28 AM

Light, Fang and Hope was so obviously the best all-around party. :)

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 11:34:19 AM

That's cool, I just chose my party based on the story. I had no idea they were different as far as Hope being the best Ravager.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:17:03 PM

I agree, Ben.

However, for some tougher fights, I used Vanille instead for her Death spell and because she had weapons that made saboteur much more effective. I guess that makes her a situational player, to use a sports reference. Hope is the regular starter, though. lol

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:04:07 AM
Reply

"But Square Enix broke the mold with Final Fantasy X-2, which turned out great in my opinion, but many say wasn’t up to franchise standards."

Only the ignorant, unwashed masses think X-2 was anything other than stellar.

-Arvis

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:22:31 AM

I agree. It was amazing. Best battle system in the franchise's history, imo.

Some of the dialogue bothered me (as I felt it sometimes took people out of character), but that is my only complaint.

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:45:43 AM

Yeah, there was... SOMETHING... lost in translation there. Culturally.

But I actually thought the story, overall, was really touching. I was moved to tears (little ones) a couple times.

-Arvis

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:10:33 AM

I disagree, the fact that it does not have Aeons alone makes it stand out negatively. I also found the dressphere system silly, I know it was a nod to the Job System era in classic FF's but I just didn't like it. I did however like the pacing and hwo the characters move around the screen. But my biggest issue with X-2 is the story, it goes off on this whole other route and only comes back to what is important in the end which you won't even get from completing the game unless you get 100% which is impossible wihtout a guide. Also they completely broke Yuna one of my favourite characters within Final Fantasy >:(

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:19:14 AM

Oh yeah, for sure. I didn't mean the story. Just some of the banter.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:22:40 PM

Well, the side missions, which admittedly make up most of your play, go off on different routes. The must play storyline missions had a very direct and intentional story.

I, also, missed the aeons, but the dressphere was appropriately complex. It allowed for lots of variety, and with different grids with different traits after changing jobs, you could really build up your characters around certain traits.

Again, as is with most FF's out there, you can just make everyone average at most jobs, or, do the smart thing, and make them focus on particular roles. Then it's excellent in it's ability to give you lots of options for bringing out the most of all roles.

Any idea how strong Yuna was as a BLM when I beefed up her Magic Power in boss battles by 160? Especially against bosses with an elemental weakness? Very quick finishes even against bosses technically more powerful than I!

I like that kind of choice and mixing, which is why I liked the battle system. Combined with it's excellent pace, your ability to space out attacks to delay enemy attacks.... just... so much you can do that it really takes time to master.

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Arvis
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 2:16:00 PM

Ultimadream,

True, nobody can say the removal of Aeons was a POSITIVE thing, but you have to look at the tradeoff. Each characters' "Super Mode" Special Dressphere thing basically let's you experience battle -AS IF YOU WERE A BOSS CHARACTER-. Much more so than the Aeons ever did. This was a welcome addition to the game, as it was fun to use and unique to experience.

Now, the Aeons were more diverse and interesting than these Special Dresspheres, but the point was to do something different, yet similar. X-2 walks that line so perfectly and delicately it's astounding. If I could play through every main series Final Fantasy game again, I would start with X-2. The most fun and addictive title in the franchise, even if it isn't the overall "best."

I think if people were just honest with themselves, they would admit that they simply didn't give the game a genuine chance because the girly bubbliness made them uncomfortable (understandably). So any talk of how GREAT the game is invokes immediate, knee-jerk reactions of "NO IT'S NOT I DIDN'T MISS OUT ON ANYTHING BY NOT PLAYING IT LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING."

This happens constantly in the gaming community. Just look at Gran Turismo and Forza fanboys.

-Arvis

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Palpatations911
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 8:57:47 PM

You just like wearing dresses, admit it.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 9:56:31 AM

Would you judge me if I did?

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:01:08 AM

@Arvis
For sure. Just look at Palpatations (who conveniently immediately proved your point. ;p)

Whether the dresspheres were dresspheres or something else, the system was fantastic. Anyone with eyes can see that. It was fluid, complex, and there was pretty much no way you could master everything. There's too much! Even if you could master everything, there's nothing that would allow you to have it all disposable to you every battle. The added stats through changing allowed you to really set up specializations, thus rewarding good strategy while keeping it playable for all by not making it necessary to complete the game.

Although that bubbly dialogue can get to you at times, (not out of embarrassment, but out of frustration for me) the gameplay was top notch, 1st rate.


uh... anyone else put lady luck in their dresspheres for the... uh... animations?

..... *runs and hides*

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Arvis
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 11:02:27 AM

LOL, Underdog, the only thing left to say on the subject is: SOLIDARITY, BROTHER! *fist pump*

-Arvis

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:54:28 AM
Reply

Ben, I think this might be the first time I find myself in disagreement with your review, based on your own review history. You've just given a very good review to a game with a poor story and an even poorer conclusion (as in there isn't one). More amazing to me than that - after all you've written on the subject of FF - is that the game is a Final Fantasy with a poor story and no conclusion, and yet you have still given it a very good score. That means that either the game play is utterly stellar, of you feel in love with the visuals. Since the game play is a modification of what happened with FFXIII, I can't see how it can ever qualify as stellar since it's fundamentally flawed at the fundamental level by not being turn based.

I'm sorry, whether or not this is a good game in it's own right, your review and previous comments do not lead me to agreeing with your score, or optimism about the game.

Yes, call me cynical, say I'm in a poor mood (which I am), but I am not buying into this at all.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:15:59 AM

It's all right. I knew you wouldn't like it; it isn't your style.

However, you can't just go basing an entire game score on story, especially when there's so much going on. If I only counted story, Skyrim would've gotten a 2.

A game can very easily not be story-driven and be a great game. In fact, MOST games today fall into that category. I'm a little disappointed that a Final Fantasy game did, but we can't be slaves to an ideal when there's so much quality about a particular production that shouldn't be ignored.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/31/2012 10:16:14 AM

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:28:28 AM

Possibly so. I am in a very poor mood right now. too many games are disappointing me right now. You are right though, it's not my style and I was probably never going to like it.

Perhaps I should sit in my curmudgeon's corner for the next few days...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:43:21 AM

As I said in the review, I wish we could have a Final Fantasy with the linear focus on storytelling as we had in FFXIII, and the enhanced gameplay and depth we have in the sequel.

...not sure why Square Enix can't get this right. No FF scoring above a 9 in an entire generation at most places? That's just depressing, despite the fun I might be having with XIII-2.

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 11:40:10 AM

As far no conclusions go, SE looks to be going the Back to the Future route. XIII-3 maybe the epic story everyone is looking for. Who knows what marbles are bouncing around in the that empty head that is SE. For a company that has fumbled the proverbial FF ball I sure enjoyed FFXIII and will no doubt love FFXIII-2.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:23:59 PM

I'm just sad people are talking about FFXIII-3...

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CrusaderForever
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 12:35:18 PM

I'm not since XIII-2 didn't have a conclusion you will need XIII-3 to conclude it. If all goes well Lightning and the whole XIII and XIII-2 cast will be playable with an epic story and conclusion. Once they are done they can finish up and then release FFXV!

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Beamboom
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 5:39:48 AM

@Highlander, quoting "it's fundamentally flawed at the fundamental level by not being turn based" - This statement made me curious: Is it in your opinion impossible to imagine a good Final Fantasy game without it being turn-based?

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 01, 2012 @ 10:03:07 AM

@Beamboom
It is for me because it's been that way since it's origin in the late 80's. In that sense, it is fundamental, I suppose. No one ever said "FF must be turn based" at a managerial level, of course, but it's always been that way.

Dunno if that makes sense or not.

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bebestorm
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 9:57:26 AM
Reply

Once again you show us you have integrity. Though I never let a review determine if I buy a game but I do take the time to read your reviews. I havent played yet but I will soon. Excellent review.

I'll probably buy all the dlc because I love dlc for single player games.

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gungrave
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:05:46 AM
Reply

Hey Ben have you heard of the new rpg coming out from Level 5, Ni No Kuni? Level 5 and the artists from Spirited Away are making it for the PS3. Check it out. http://youtu.be/1ysGqsLf2oA

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:16:53 AM

...of course I've heard of it. I think we have a dozen headlines on that game at least.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 10:21:15 AM

hehe, I just imagined a bear emerging from his cave after hibernation giving a big stretch and yawn.

haha... big bear's kinda cute.

*back to reality*

But yeah... most of us are waiting on that game with bated breath.

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Ninja_WafflesXD
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 11:06:08 AM
Reply

It's reassuring to see that FF XIII-2 managed to pull good review scores, although the fact that the story is weaker in the sequel is disappointing.

Hmmm....will probably be picking this up at a later date :)

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Teddie9
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 3:26:22 PM
Reply

This rarely occurs after Ben's review but I'm still on the fence on this one. It's true though what Highlander said, I need a story that is at the very least structured, there seems like there isn't really enough to pull you over for 13-3 (ughhh).

Well, reckoning will be out soon! :D

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 3:46:27 PM

It makes me wonder though whether FFXIII-3 might be released as a triple pack collectors edition with all three games to be played sequentially so you get the full saga end to end...

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 3:57:22 PM

I'm enjoying the game so far. It's better than XIII though I'm not far enough into it to judge the storyline.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 6:56:02 PM

I ended up with the Collector's and the guide, LV. Have to admit, I'm having fun, too, so I'm not sorry I have the extra stuff. :)

Still...there's a part of me that feels just a tad empty. Ah well.

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kokoro
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 @ 8:09:59 PM
Reply

Well a metacritic score of only 77 is quite bad for a FF title. Review wise, this sequel has failed (by FF standards).

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Draguss
Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 7:49:12 PM
Reply

Interesting. The story may have pulled this back, but it still gives me hope for the future. f they can keep the improvements (and hopefully get rid of the damn auto battle), and make another excellent story, I don't think I'd mind them going on to make a 3rd. At least that way there would be a main FF with XIII in the title that actually deserves to be part of this series. Although if they do, I do hope they finish Versus first.

Last edited by Draguss on 2/27/2012 7:50:48 PM

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