Final Fantasy XIII-2
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a 2011 role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix. It was released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC with an Android and IOS version getting ported later. It stands as the direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII.
Why It Rocks
- It's a MASSIVE improvement over its predecessor:
- In terms of characters, Serah is now the leading role alongside a new character named Noel.
- Both of which are much more likable than, let's say, Lightning.
- Lightning herself is slightly less annoying than she was in the first game.
- Characters from the previous game like Snow and Hope return as NPCs (with the exception of Snow and Lightning who can be unlocked as DLC characters once defeated).
- The game is no longer linear and provides fully explorable worlds.
- Towns are now finally in the game and allows you to interact with NPCs (like finding clues to certain locations, answering questions or doing side-quests), find invisible items like Artifacts/Fragments and Shop for Weapons and Potions.
- Shopping is more useful this time as many enemies and boss fights require you to upgrade your weapons in order to defeat them. You can even buy certain Artifacts/Fragments for you to progress to different time zones.
- Time travel is introduced into this game known as the Historia Crux. Not only can you travel to different worlds but also different time zones that effect the town.
- On top of that, certain aspects of the story will change depending on the type of choices you make like changing up the boss fights that were previously fought or giving an alternative ending.
- You can use Mog to scan areas for Artifacts/Fragments and can be thrown in hard to reach areas.
- The game introduces dialogue choices which, while minor, still effects parts of the story.
- Amazing graphics which, just like the first game, still holds up today.
- Great soundtrack.
- The voice acting is still phenomenal, with the stand out being Caius Ballad.
- Speaking of him, Caius is a great villain. Despite wanting to destroy the timeline, he is driven by sorrow and becomes a compelling character as player's empathy for him grows. His devotion towards Yeul lessens the evil within him as he wants nothing but the best for her, even if that means getting rid of Noel.
- It introduces various types of puzzles solving.
- Tutorials are no longer padding out the game's runtime and there's a lot less hand-holding.
- With the exception of Chapter 1, the Paradigm System is much less restrictive than before and can be fully realized early on.
- Paradigm Shifts are much more faster and snappier than before.
- If one character dies then it immediately switches to your other character in a chance of reviving them, unlike its infamous predecessor.
- During boss fights, you can now perform a Cinematic Action which is essentially QTE moments and you can even acquire exclusive items for it.
- After you defeat enemies, there is a chance you can obtain their crystals and make them your party members. You can have up to three of them in your pack and they're customizable (in terms of clothing and abilities) and can be infused to make weaker monsters you've collected stronger.
- Players can customize Noel and Sarah's outfits with some giving you certain abilities.
- Your monsters can fill their gauge during battle called Feral Link. Once activated, you can perform a QTE for them to deliver a series of devastating attacks. The faster you press the buttons or move the sticks the stronger their attacks will turn out.
- It contains downloadable content that gives extra outfits and monsters. The Colosseum allows you to unlock 7 DLC characters once you've defeated them.
- The Xbox 360 version no longer requires multiple discs to play and its successors (i.e. the Xbox One X and Xbox Series X) are able to input this game at native 4K Resolution with auto-HDR, along with a smoother framerate, although it is still cap to 30fps.
- The story, despite being less convoluted than its predecessor, is still a confusing mess at times, especially with the new time travel mechanic introduced that creates certain plot holes.
- The Combat is still uninspired but at least offers more strategy this time.
- During battles, you can get wounded which fully cuts off your health bar, making it difficult for you to recover unless you use Wound Potion.
- You can only play as two characters compared to the previous game's six.
- The Water element spells are completely absent, although it can be hacked back into the game with the use of save editors.
- Monsters can be hard to obtain since you have to make sure your own monster kills them.
- It brings back the random encounters and adds in a time limit. Once the timer runs out you'll be sent into the battle immediately without the option to escape from them.
- A lot less CG cutscenes than its predecessor. This was likely reduced in order to fit the game in only one disc for the Xbox 360.
- The Crystarium Grid is slightly watered down and is much simpler than before.
- The Cinematic Action QTEs lack some inspiration.
- The puzzles can feel like roadblocks at times.
- No summons (although monsters are their replacement).
- The Questionnaires are an absolute pain due to the player having to memorize what happened in the previous game.
- Some lackluster activities like Chocobo races and gambling mini-games.
- In the PS3 and Xbox 360, a lot of the DLC is paywalled. On top of that, they even paywalled the true endings like the Requiem of the Goddess DLC. Thankfully, the PC Version includes all DLC.
- Very disappointing and abrupt ending that feels sequel bait. After than, you have to download the aforementioned "Requiem of the Goddess" that ties in with the game's ending.
- The PC Port for this game is abysmal and is often considered to be one of the worst PC Ports ever made. Many issues include poorly-encoded 720p cutscenes with artifacts, inconsistent framerate, pixelated, jagged shadows, and low audio volume. Even a good mid-range CPU will struggle to maintain 60fps for this game, compare to its predecessor and successor.