Final Fantasy XIII-2 Part 6/6: Unique, but unsatisfying

Posted by GrantHeaslip (1615 posts) -

So, I finished Final Fantasy XIII-2 (including Requiem of the Goddess), and man, what a weird game. The time-hopping paradox-based narrative, amazing art direction, unique soundtrack, and charming lack of self-seriousness has me wanting so badly to love it; but the awful combat balancing, yawn-worthy sidequests, incessant backtracking, stuttery pacing, lack of satisfying story arc, and lame ending DLC left me feeling, at best, ambivalent about the experience.

Story

When I say the story wasn't "satisfying", I don't mean that it should have had a happy ending. The brutal one-two punch of Serah dying and chaos enveloping the world initially rubbed me the wrong way, but upon reflection, it's very fitting for a game with such a fatalistic, "no good goes unpunished" streak. The problem is that the writers didn't acknowledge the way the material events of the game would be nullified by building meaningful smaller-scale narratives. Serah and Noel's relationship is functional, but considering they're the two main characters of the game, there's a severe lack of development, conflict, and general complexity between them. The closest I remember the game coming to a weighty moment between the two was Noel disagreeing with Serah about the potential consequences of her visions. They felt much more like strong acquaintances than genuinely caring friends, and it made the ending feel forced and unearned. I'd extend that sentiment to say there wasn't a lot of complexity or dynamism to the relationship of any two characters, and most of what did exist was a holdover from XIII.

Snow -- who the game occasionally reminds you has a pretty significant role in the plot -- feels more like a cameo than an important character. To my recollection, he's never seen after the moment you resolve the Sunleth Flan paradox and Serah notices his l'Cie brand as he fades out of existence. I read his Fragment descriptions, so I had some sense of what he was up to, but if his actions were really so vital, you'd think they'd be addressed in the main story. I watched the paradox endings on YouTube, and was blown away by the one in which Snow busts in as Alyssa's giving you the Chapter 5 artefact and reveals that Alyssa's working with Caius, someone's going to assassinate Hope in 3 days (wait, what?), and that he's been flying his motorcycle through time solving paradoxes. I suppose I knew he was doing something, and that there was something weird going on with Alyssa, but why the hell were such important details about two of the game's small handful of important characters left to secret post-completion endings? It's not as though there was so much going on in the main plot that they couldn't risk confusing the player.

Sidequests

I can't think of any more diplomatic way to put this: this game's sidequest design is horrendous. I can't shake the feeling that its designers didn't understand the value of the feature in the first place, and thus weren't equipped to make it relevant and enjoyable.

In most cases, the sidequests in an area are required to be played in a specific order. Sometimes, this genuinely makes sense from a story perspective, but more often it's completely arbitrary. I ended up using guides to do a few areas when I started burning out, and seeing the arbitrary flowchartedness of the quests in such stark terms really shone a light on the utter soullessness of it all.

The CP (EXP) rewards for the quests are laughably insignificant, the items you get are basically worthless, and even the fragments don't matter much unless you're crazy enough to collect them all. If I could go back (and dispel my inherent tendency to do side content), I'd have skipped most of it and grinded for a while before the last boss if it turned out be necessary.

The end-game

Speaking of the end, XIII-2's difficulty spikes up dramatically in the last area. It wasn't insurmountable, but after mostly breezing through the first 95% of the game, hitting a point where monsters were all of the sudden capable of nuking characters was jarring. Proto-Behemoth, an unskippable encounter directly before the point of no return, is essentially unbeatable unless he's focussed to stagger nearly immediately.

The interminable string of final bosses ended up being the most fun I had playing the same. Some combination of luck and min-maxing left me at a perfect-feeling level for the encounters. They reminded me what I loved so much about XIII's battle system: the constant competing pressures, risk-reward situations, tactical considerations, snappy control, ATB refresh rhythm, and satisfying difficulty. It's a system that only really works within a narrow "goldilocks zone" of difficulty. If it's too easy, there's rarely any reason to not just ATB refresh between two COM-COM-COM paradigms; if it's too hard, it becomes gruelling to keep your head above water; and when it's just right, it's a pretty masterful work of game design. When I went full-on hail mary and focussed down Jet Bahamut as his doom spell was about to drop, I was shaking and leaning into the screen like a lunatic. It was awesome, but in a bittersweet, "why did I have to wait until the end of the game for well-balanced fights?" way.

The end-end-game

I'd heard that the Requiem of the Goddess DLC contained the "true" ending, so I figured I owed it to myself to check it out, especially since the DLC is all half-price now. The gameplay was ridiculously tedious -- the lion's share of the episode consists of grinding the same near-unwinnable fight against Caius to get Lightning up to level 5-6, since beating him at all -- let-alone 5-starring his battle, which is required to continue -- is very difficult until then. There is a certain satisfaction in learning to exploit his (and Bahamut's) patterns, but it's overshadowed by the sheer tedium of repeating the same lengthy fight half a dozen times.

The final Bahamut fight ended up taking me something like 25 minutes. I took a few sloppy hits and got down to red health early on, got a handle on his patterns, worked out a very conservative pattern that I could take him down with, and stuck with it to avoid potentially having to redo the whole thing.

The story parts, in light of the Lightning Returns trailers that I was finally able to watch, really should have been in the main game. The marketing for Lightning Returns specifically references Lighting's "crystal slumber" on Etro's Throne -- an event that someone who only played XIII-2 as shipped wouldn't know about. The uncertainty about what happened to Lightning in XIII-2 was, I think, pretty admirable, but felt much less so after Requiem of the Goddess demystified it and used said demystification as a hook for a sequel.

The scene with Lightning and Serah felt similarly cheap. I respected the way the initial ending didn't give the player the obvious heartwarming and/or bittersweet reunion between Lightning and Serah, but then the DLC went and gave me exactly that. It wasn't bad so much as puzzling, because it undercut the brutal "everything's fucked" note XIII-2 so brazenly ended on, and made the whole thing feel a bit scattered as a result. Pulling punches that were very core to the narrative tone of XIII-2 just plain rubs the wrong way. There's nothing inherently wrong with Requiem of the Goddess' scenes, but I wish they'd chosen a tone and stuck with it.

Final thoughts

Looking back at what I just wrote, I feel bad about laying into the game like this, but these disappointments ended up defining my experience with Final Fantasy XIII-2. It's not a bad game, and that makes the way the bad parts overshadow the good parts all the more frustrating.

If nothing else, Final Fantasy XIII-2 made me respect Final Fantasy XIII even more. XIII -- somewhat ponderous ramp-up notwithstanding -- is a better game in nearly every way. It's easy to bag on aspects of XIII's storytelling, but relative to XIII-2, I thought it did a much better job of developing satisfying interpersonal arcs, gradually contextualizing the world, and conveying clear narrative goals; and seeing how XIII-2 so thoroughly screwed up combat balance makes XIII's tighter progression control and strategically-doled-out challenge all the more impressive, and contrary to many complaints, plainly justified.

I remain excited about Lightning Returns. I'm still invested in the characters and want to see how this all plays out; and with any luck the modified battle system will re-capture the magic I thought XIII-2's lack of difficulty precluded. I'm glad I played Final Fantasy XIII-2 -- I just wish it wasn't so manifestly flawed.

#1 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

Yeah I feel more or less the same way.

The thing I think Xiii-2 did the best is the part you probably aren't going to play, which is the post game. I really enjoyed the amount of new story content and stuff to do as well as how easy it was to fast travel to to do it. You're right the sidequest structure was a little busted and it felt like many of them I did well after they were intended to have been originally completed.

You're completely right about the battle system and story. The Plot in particular I thought was very very poorly developed. There was just so much randomness. Serah and Noel's Strong VA work covered up a lot of flaws in that story. I admit a significant part of my disappointment with the story was my hope that 13-2 was really going to explore Pulse and what happened to its' people. Instead we mainly got retread environments with a few notable exceptions.

Overall it's definitely a mixed bag experience.

#2 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1615 posts) -

@slag: Yeah, after I played the Lightning DLC, I shelved the game. I YouTubed the paradox endings -- I'd there anything else I should seek out?

Agreed about the lack of Pulse lore. There was some throwaway dialogue early on hinting at political intrigue and a growing divide between Pulse colonists and Cocoon loyalists, and it disappointingly went nowhere. I suppose the wars that predated Noel could have been related to that, but it was a very peripheral part of the story.

You're also very right about the great voice acting from the main characters. Even the NPCs were surprisingly good in most cases.

#3 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

@slag: Yeah, after I played the Lightning DLC, I shelved the game. I YouTubed the paradox endings -- I'd there anything else I should seek out?

Agreed about the lack of Pulse lore. There was some throwaway dialogue early on hinting at political intrigue and a growing divide between Pulse colonists and Cocoon loyalists, and it disappointingly went nowhere. I suppose the wars that predated Noel could have been related to that, but it was a very peripheral part of the story.

You're also very right about the great voice acting from the main characters. Even the NPCs were surprisingly good in most cases.

no, not really you've already enjoyed the best part of it through youtube.

The rest is sidequest grinding/exploring to get there. There are optional (maybe more on than one can't remember) boss fights that are pretty fun , but given your opinion on the game's sidequests I don't think you'd dig it enough to make the time worth spent worth it.

Yeah they certainly could have developed the world a lot more. I don't think they will in 13-3 either, but I I'm kinda hoping FF XV will actually be set on Pulse given it's development history. XV looks like it could be really interestingly different. I'm hoping they go all in in mixing it up.

yeah Laura Bailey in particular quickly has become one of my favorite VAs. Looking over her past work, she's done a lot of great stuff.

#4 Edited by GrantHeaslip (1615 posts) -

@slag said:

@grantheaslip said:

@slag: Yeah, after I played the Lightning DLC, I shelved the game. I YouTubed the paradox endings -- I'd there anything else I should seek out?

Agreed about the lack of Pulse lore. There was some throwaway dialogue early on hinting at political intrigue and a growing divide between Pulse colonists and Cocoon loyalists, and it disappointingly went nowhere. I suppose the wars that predated Noel could have been related to that, but it was a very peripheral part of the story.

You're also very right about the great voice acting from the main characters. Even the NPCs were surprisingly good in most cases.

no, not really you've already enjoyed the best part of it through youtube.

The rest is sidequest grinding/exploring to get there. There are optional (maybe more on than one can't remember) boss fights that are pretty fun , but given your opinion on the game's sidequests I don't think you'd dig it enough to make the time worth spent worth it.

Yeah they certainly could have developed the world a lot more. I don't think they will in 13-3 either, but I I'm kinda hoping FF XV will actually be set on Pulse given it's development history. XV looks like it could be really interestingly different. I'm hoping they go all in in mixing it up.

yeah Laura Bailey in particular quickly has become one of my favorite VAs. Looking over her past work, she's done a lot of great stuff.

Lightning Returns is -- if I'm interpreting the part in a trailer in which Noel mentions committing the "ultimate sin" 500 years ago -- set in approximately 1000 AF, and in a nearly unrecognizable world shaped by the chaos. So even if they did develop the world more, it would be the post-500 AF rebooted world. The ending to XIII-2 seemed to imply that all human life was getting wiped out, but hey, I guess 500 years is a long time?

I was looking at the Wikipedia for XV last night, and there's an interesting quote form Nomura:

The stories from the past entries in the Final Fantasy series are not exactly as I would have done, but that's as it should be because I didn't direct them. My only concern in terms of Versus XIII is that FF always talks about human emotion and psychologies in a broad way, and I want to go deeper in terms of offering some crude reality in terms of human emotion or human [behavior]. The goal, when a player holds a controller and plays an RPG, is to make them believe in another world – to experience a dream in a fictional world. It will be different in Versus XIII because of the intrusion of the real world, and things that are really happening. There will be less fiction and more reality.

I'm not really sure how to interpret what he means by the "real world" and "things that are really happening" (surely he doesn't mean the real real world?), but it's intriguing.

With respect to XV's setting, I thought I remembered hearing that it only shares the general mythology (stuff like fal'Cie, l'Cie, and maybe gods like Etro) of XIII, not anything concrete. I have to imagine that will be even more so now that they're branding it as a new numbered game.

#5 Posted by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@slag said:

@grantheaslip said:

@slag: Yeah, after I played the Lightning DLC, I shelved the game. I YouTubed the paradox endings -- I'd there anything else I should seek out?

Agreed about the lack of Pulse lore. There was some throwaway dialogue early on hinting at political intrigue and a growing divide between Pulse colonists and Cocoon loyalists, and it disappointingly went nowhere. I suppose the wars that predated Noel could have been related to that, but it was a very peripheral part of the story.

You're also very right about the great voice acting from the main characters. Even the NPCs were surprisingly good in most cases.

no, not really you've already enjoyed the best part of it through youtube.

The rest is sidequest grinding/exploring to get there. There are optional (maybe more on than one can't remember) boss fights that are pretty fun , but given your opinion on the game's sidequests I don't think you'd dig it enough to make the time worth spent worth it.

Yeah they certainly could have developed the world a lot more. I don't think they will in 13-3 either, but I I'm kinda hoping FF XV will actually be set on Pulse given it's development history. XV looks like it could be really interestingly different. I'm hoping they go all in in mixing it up.

yeah Laura Bailey in particular quickly has become one of my favorite VAs. Looking over her past work, she's done a lot of great stuff.

Lightning Returns is -- if I'm interpreting the part in a trailer in which Noel mentions committing the "ultimate sin" 500 years ago -- set in approximately 1000 AF, and in a nearly unrecognizable world shaped by the chaos. So even if they did develop the world more, it would be post-500 AF rebooted world. The ending to XIII-2 seemed to imply that all human life was getting wiped out, but hey, I guess 500 years is a long time?

I was looking at the Wikipedia for XV last night, and there's an interesting quote form Nomura:

The stories from the past entries in the Final Fantasy series are not exactly as I would have done, but that's as it should be because I didn't direct them. My only concern in terms of Versus XIII is that FF always talks about human emotion and psychologies in a broad way, and I want to go deeper in terms of offering some crude reality in terms of human emotion or human [behavior]. The goal, when a player holds a controller and plays an RPG, is to make them believe in another world – to experience a dream in a fictional world. It will be different in Versus XIII because of the intrusion of the real world, and things that are really happening. There will be less fiction and more reality.

I'm not really sure how to interpret what he means by the "real world" and "things that are really happening" (surely he doesn't mean the real real world?), but it's intriguing.

With respect to XV's setting, I thought I remembered hearing that it only shares the general mythology (stuff like fal'Cie, l'Cie, and maybe gods like Etro) of XIII, not anything concrete. I have to imagine that will be even more so now that they're branding it as a new numbered game.

At this point, I'm pretty sure that FFXV is an entirely separate beast from XIII, so no part of it will take place on Cocoon or Pulse and it won't reference anything regarding the mythology of XIII's universe. And I believe what Nomura means when he refers to the real world is that XV's setting will be more analogous to modern Earth than previous entries, despite the fantasy elements.

As for Lightning Returns, the game starts off with humanity on the verge of extinction with only thirteen days left. What I find particularly curious, however, is that the entire playable cast of XIII is coming back in one form or another, and for some reason Hope is once again his teen self from XIII, rather than an adult like in XIII-2. Which more or less plays into the idea that time has been really screwed up.

#6 Posted by Animasta (14697 posts) -

XIII is a better game in every way? XIII was a slog of a game. The story was nonsense, but it was the boring kind of nonsense unlike the fun kind of nonsense in 13-2.

I honestly don't get how someone prefers 13 over 13-2, and I've heard plenty of arguments but none of them resonate. I shelved the game for a month because it was so goddamn boring (I had just arrived at pulse too, what was supposed to be the better part of the game; though I enjoyed the earlier chapters much better).

#7 Edited by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@animasta said:

XIII is a better game in every way? XIII was a slog of a game. The story was nonsense, but it was the boring kind of nonsense unlike the fun kind of nonsense in 13-2.

I honestly don't get how someone prefers 13 over 13-2, and I've heard plenty of arguments but none of them resonate. I shelved the game for a month because it was so goddamn boring (I had just arrived at pulse too, what was supposed to be the better part of the game; though I enjoyed the earlier chapters much better).

The story wasn't nonsense. It made perfect sense if you actually paid attention.

#8 Edited by Animasta (14697 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@animasta said:

XIII is a better game in every way? XIII was a slog of a game. The story was nonsense, but it was the boring kind of nonsense unlike the fun kind of nonsense in 13-2.

I honestly don't get how someone prefers 13 over 13-2, and I've heard plenty of arguments but none of them resonate. I shelved the game for a month because it was so goddamn boring (I had just arrived at pulse too, what was supposed to be the better part of the game; though I enjoyed the earlier chapters much better).

The story wasn't nonsense. It made perfect sense if you actually paid attention.

it was told so poorly though! I should not need to go look up shit in an in game wiki to understand the intricacies of your story (this is, incidentally, a problem that Dragon Age 2 had, though for a completely different reason); especially since a large part of the nonsense was all the stupid nonsensical terms they kept throwing out with abandon, and even though I knew what they all were it was still hard to follow at some point.

12 was perfectly able to tell a story that was eminently followable, sure it had some intricate stuff in it but it wasn't really stuff you needed to know. Hell, even 10, for as terrible as the story was, was at least easy to follow.

13-2 was much more of a "fuck it, I don't know, let's do this" game and it was way more enjoyable for it. 13-2 also had way more brevity which alleviated a lot of my problems with 13, in the way it made it so everything was Super Fucking Serious ALL THE TIME. The reason Sazh is my favorite is BECAUSE he's the more mature and also most likely to crack a joke.

#9 Posted by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@animasta said:

@hailinel said:

@animasta said:

XIII is a better game in every way? XIII was a slog of a game. The story was nonsense, but it was the boring kind of nonsense unlike the fun kind of nonsense in 13-2.

I honestly don't get how someone prefers 13 over 13-2, and I've heard plenty of arguments but none of them resonate. I shelved the game for a month because it was so goddamn boring (I had just arrived at pulse too, what was supposed to be the better part of the game; though I enjoyed the earlier chapters much better).

The story wasn't nonsense. It made perfect sense if you actually paid attention.

it was told so poorly though! I should not need to go look up shit in an in game wiki to understand the intricacies of your story (this is, incidentally, a problem that Dragon Age 2 had, though for a completely different reason); especially since a large part of the nonsense was all the stupid nonsensical terms they kept throwing out with abandon, and even though I knew what they all were it was still hard to follow at some point.

12 was perfectly able to tell a story that was eminently followable, sure it had some intricate stuff in it but it wasn't really stuff you needed to know. Hell, even 10, for as terrible as the story was, was at least easy to follow.

13-2 was much more of a "fuck it, I don't know, let's do this" game and it was way more enjoyable for it. 13-2 also had way more brevity which alleviated a lot of my problems with 13, in the way it made it so everything was Super Fucking Serious ALL THE TIME. The reason Sazh is my favorite is BECAUSE he's the more mature and also most likely to crack a joke.

You really don't need to look up anything, though. While some background detail is included in the encyclopedia, everything pertinent to the actual narrative is presented in the game's dialogue and actions. If you paid even the slightest attention, it wasn't difficult to understand what l'Cie, fal'Cie, or Cie'th are, or how they relate to Cocoon and Pulse. I'll admit that there were some points that I needed to think a bit on to connect all of the dots, but it wasn't as though the game left me wandering in a bizarre haze in search of the Final Fantasy wikia. If anything, people seemed annoyed that the game didn't hit them over the head with exposition up front.

#10 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1615 posts) -

@hailinel said:

As for Lightning Returns, the game starts off with humanity on the verge of extinction with only thirteen days left. What I find particularly curious, however, is that the entire playable cast of XIII is coming back in one form or another, and for some reason Hope is once again his teen self from XIII, rather than an adult like in XIII-2. Which more or less plays into the idea that time has been really screwed up.

Yeah, I guess when you put it that way and consider what happened at the end of XIII-2, time isn't really a relevant metric. For all I know, Noel's talking about 003 AF and Lightning Returns is set in some kind of bizarro 500 AF.

@animasta said:

XIII is a better game in every way? XIII was a slog of a game. The story was nonsense, but it was the boring kind of nonsense unlike the fun kind of nonsense in 13-2.

I honestly don't get how someone prefers 13 over 13-2, and I've heard plenty of arguments but none of them resonate. I shelved the game for a month because it was so goddamn boring (I had just arrived at pulse too, what was supposed to be the better part of the game; though I enjoyed the earlier chapters much better).

I think both are slogs in some respect -- and to be clear, I don't think XIII is a great game either -- but at least XIII's battles were fairly balanced all the way through. The sheer brokenness of XIII-2's balancing I think precludes it from being a better game than XIII, and even setting that aside, XIII's story and (especially) character development had a lot more meat to them. XIII's main characters all had meaningful intrapersonal and interpersonal arcs; XIII-2 -- at least from my perspective -- didn't, not even for the two main characters.

I imagine that people's thoughts on XIII's characters at the 10 hour mark or so would be an effective indicator of their chances of enjoying the game. The game's all about its characters, and I think you needed to care about them to get through some of the sloggier parts of the game and find meaning in the otherwise-fairly-mediocre larger narrative. I notice you touched upon its self-seriousness in a later post, and you're right, which is why I think XIII required more of a genuine fondness for its characters to enjoy.

#11 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

Lightning Returns is -- if I'm interpreting the part in a trailer in which Noel mentions committing the "ultimate sin" 500 years ago -- set in approximately 1000 AF, and in a nearly unrecognizable world shaped by the chaos. So even if they did develop the world more, it would be the post-500 AF rebooted world. The ending to XIII-2 seemed to imply that all human life was getting wiped out, but hey, I guess 500 years is a long time?

I was looking at the Wikipedia for XV last night, and there's an interesting quote form Nomura:

The stories from the past entries in the Final Fantasy series are not exactly as I would have done, but that's as it should be because I didn't direct them. My only concern in terms of Versus XIII is that FF always talks about human emotion and psychologies in a broad way, and I want to go deeper in terms of offering some crude reality in terms of human emotion or human [behavior]. The goal, when a player holds a controller and plays an RPG, is to make them believe in another world – to experience a dream in a fictional world. It will be different in Versus XIII because of the intrusion of the real world, and things that are really happening. There will be less fiction and more reality.

I'm not really sure how to interpret what he means by the "real world" and "things that are really happening" (surely he doesn't mean the real real world?), but it's intriguing.

With respect to XV's setting, I thought I remembered hearing that it only shares the general mythology (stuff like fal'Cie, l'Cie, and maybe gods like Etro) of XIII, not anything concrete. I have to imagine that will be even more so now that they're branding it as a new numbered game.

Well right, which is kinda why I'm not expecting that from 13-3. I am interested to see where they are taking 13-2's story. I didn't find 13-2's story all that great, but it does lay groundwork for some really interesting possibilities in a sequel. 13-3 is treading some story grounds very rarely seen in video games. I'm pretty excited. :)

I take Nomura's comments to mean that characters will behave more like imperfect varied real people than characters , which I think could be very exciting. I'm not really expecting much about Pulse in XV, but a guy can hope right?

Either way this is the most excited I've been about the franchise in years. It feels like they are taking some risks again.

#12 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

@hailinel said:

At this point, I'm pretty sure that FFXV is an entirely separate beast from XIII, so no part of it will take place on Cocoon or Pulse and it won't reference anything regarding the mythology of XIII's universe. And I believe what Nomura means when he refers to the real world is that XV's setting will be more analogous to modern Earth than previous entries, despite the fantasy elements.

As for Lightning Returns, the game starts off with humanity on the verge of extinction with only thirteen days left. What I find particularly curious, however, is that the entire playable cast of XIII is coming back in one form or another, and for some reason Hope is once again his teen self from XIII, rather than an adult like in XIII-2. Which more or less plays into the idea that time has been really screwed up.

Ah that makes sense, oh well a guy can hope right?

re: 13-3 I'm more curious to see what the deal is with the girl who looks like Serah.

But yeah excited for that one too.

#13 Posted by Animasta (14697 posts) -

@hailinel: I know what all the terms are, I just think most of them were really dumb. Again, not the fun dumb of 13-2, and it was also told really poorly because I was just bummed when I read the plot summary on the FF wikia because that game sounded way cooler than the one we got.

I mean, final fantasy always has dumb names for shit. I liked FF12's, mostly because I think the phrase Deifacted Nethicite is really funny for whatever reason, but they were also more complicated to explain than 13's were... fal'cie are demigods, l'cie are people touched by demigods, ci'eth are zombies. 10 barely even had any of the silly made up names as far as I remember.

I liked most of the characters and their interaction and plot stuff, I just thought the overarching story was terrible. The overarching story in 13-2 wasn't great either, but it had a very different feel to it that was way more palatable to me... Probably because I could do other things if I wanted to. 13's story was very dour for a large portion of it and that can get tiring, especially with how little levity was in there.

#14 Posted by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@slag said:

@hailinel said:

At this point, I'm pretty sure that FFXV is an entirely separate beast from XIII, so no part of it will take place on Cocoon or Pulse and it won't reference anything regarding the mythology of XIII's universe. And I believe what Nomura means when he refers to the real world is that XV's setting will be more analogous to modern Earth than previous entries, despite the fantasy elements.

As for Lightning Returns, the game starts off with humanity on the verge of extinction with only thirteen days left. What I find particularly curious, however, is that the entire playable cast of XIII is coming back in one form or another, and for some reason Hope is once again his teen self from XIII, rather than an adult like in XIII-2. Which more or less plays into the idea that time has been really screwed up.

Ah that makes sense, oh well a guy can hope right?

re: 13-3 I'm more curious to see what the deal is with the girl who looks like Serah.

But yeah excited for that one too.

Shadow Serah?

#15 Edited by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@animasta said:

@hailinel: I know what all the terms are, I just think most of them were really dumb. Again, not the fun dumb of 13-2, and it was also told really poorly because I was just bummed when I read the plot summary on the FF wikia because that game sounded way cooler than the one we got.

I mean, final fantasy always has dumb names for shit. I liked FF12's, mostly because I think the phrase Deifacted Nethicite is really funny for whatever reason, but they were also more complicated to explain than 13's were... fal'cie are demigods, l'cie are people touched by demigods, ci'eth are zombies. 10 barely even had any of the silly made up names as far as I remember.

I liked most of the characters and their interaction and plot stuff, I just thought the overarching story was terrible. The overarching story in 13-2 wasn't great either, but it had a very different feel to it that was way more palatable to me... Probably because I could do other things if I wanted to. 13's story was very dour for a large portion of it and that can get tiring, especially with how little levity was in there.

I can understand it if you didn't like playing through sixty hours of dour story; that's not for everyone.

The story in XIII was very much about the core group of characters set within the context of a larger conflict, while XII was about the larger conflict at the expense of the characters. They're two different kinds of stories and both have their merits. It just seems you preferred XII over XIII. There's nothing wrong with that, but it also doesn't mean that XIII was dumb or the story was bad.

#16 Edited by Slag (4450 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@slag said:

@hailinel said:

At this point, I'm pretty sure that FFXV is an entirely separate beast from XIII, so no part of it will take place on Cocoon or Pulse and it won't reference anything regarding the mythology of XIII's universe. And I believe what Nomura means when he refers to the real world is that XV's setting will be more analogous to modern Earth than previous entries, despite the fantasy elements.

As for Lightning Returns, the game starts off with humanity on the verge of extinction with only thirteen days left. What I find particularly curious, however, is that the entire playable cast of XIII is coming back in one form or another, and for some reason Hope is once again his teen self from XIII, rather than an adult like in XIII-2. Which more or less plays into the idea that time has been really screwed up.

Ah that makes sense, oh well a guy can hope right?

re: 13-3 I'm more curious to see what the deal is with the girl who looks like Serah.

But yeah excited for that one too.

Shadow Serah?

That's as good of a guess as any I've got.

I figured Serah might have become the new Yeul and that "evil version" is that era's incarnation.

#17 Edited by Animasta (14697 posts) -

@grantheaslip: I admit, I liked the simpler difficulty of 13-2, mostly because playing a battle again irritated me in 13. The difficulty spike once I got to pulse hit me hard (but I rarely play final fantasy for the gameplay)

I also think 13-2 had better high points; going through Noel's dream was amazing (mostly because it reminded me of Nier as did the music), I REALLY liked the ending because it was just so different than what final fantasy usually does. Just the time mechanic in general felt way more novel than anything 13 did. I never really liked Noel all that much but it was never his story; it was Serah's, he was just along for the ride. They totally felt like friends to me though. Not the closest of friends or anything, but it's not like, say, Sazh and Fang were all that close either.

Also if you didn't get the Paradox Endings and just looked them up on youtube... they were also great. Like, they were funny little asides to see how you broke time by accidentally beating a guy you shouldn't or whatever. That's the kind of brevity I wanted from 13 and rarely got.

@hailinel Yeah I preferred 12 to 13 but I also preferred 13-2 to 13... though I probably still prefer 13 to 7 and 10. I think 13 is a very poorly made game, especially considering how much money went into it. If you want to get into semantics then no, it's not a dumb game but it's a dumb game TO ME and there

#18 Posted by BigJeffrey (5021 posts) -

Story, Ending, and Some Characters were terrible. Did like riseVO and rest of them.

Lightning Returns looks alright but ehhh really soured from 13 2.

#19 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

*withdraws to corner to admire Serah's crazy character*

#20 Posted by Hailinel (24961 posts) -

@animasta said:

@grantheaslip: I admit, I liked the simpler difficulty of 13-2, mostly because playing a battle again irritated me in 13. The difficulty spike once I got to pulse hit me hard (but I rarely play final fantasy for the gameplay)

I also think 13-2 had better high points; going through Noel's dream was amazing (mostly because it reminded me of Nier as did the music), I REALLY liked the ending because it was just so different than what final fantasy usually does. Just the time mechanic in general felt way more novel than anything 13 did. I never really liked Noel all that much but it was never his story; it was Serah's, he was just along for the ride. They totally felt like friends to me though. Not the closest of friends or anything, but it's not like, say, Sazh and Fang were all that close either.

Also if you didn't get the Paradox Endings and just looked them up on youtube... they were also great. Like, they were funny little asides to see how you broke time by accidentally beating a guy you shouldn't or whatever. That's the kind of brevity I wanted from 13 and rarely got.

@hailinel Yeah I preferred 12 to 13 but I also preferred 13-2 to 13... though I probably still prefer 13 to 7 and 10. I think 13 is a very poorly made game, especially considering how much money went into it. If you want to get into semantics then no, it's not a dumb game but it's a dumb game TO ME and there

The Pulse difficulty spike in XIII can be a bit brutal, but I didn't find it that bad. Pulse is the one place where the game really opens up to any degree and let's you freely run about and leveling up. The one part of the game I'll say that I didn't really like were the Eidolon battles, which were entirely dependent on whether you could find their weakness in time and exploit the hell out of it.

Outside of the Eidolon battles, I thought the combat in XIII was great. Especially after I really started to learn the flow of combat, and later realized that status-affecting spells were not only useful, but also a necessity in combat. In terms of gameplay, XIII was all about the combat at the expense of exploration, and I found that the ATB system as it's implemented in XIII is probably the best incarnation that the series has ever seen.

Also, a lot of money did go into XIII, but it was also a game that began life on the PS2 and had at least two separate prototypes. Then they bumped it up to the PS3 and suddenly had to contend with creating HD art assets. They did develop themselves into a corner, but I still liked what we got.

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