Final Fantasy XIII-2: Time & Failure

Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

Actual Review found here: Time & Failure

So as you might be aware of, I...was not fond of FF XIII. You can find my original review here: Final Fantasy XIII Review

I may have come at it in the wrong way though, and not fully stated exactly what my issues were with it, well here you go, reduced for your pleasure: The story was contrived, the gameplay boring, the graphics were pretty but it pushed the console too much, the characters became caricatures and were mostly stereotypes, the level design was linear as all hell and the music and voice acting were sub-par, with broken translation not helping in any way at all, not to mention the broken combat AI.

The question we’re all wondering is, however; did XIII-2 (to borrow some, and by some I mean the only, plot elements from the game) fix the mistakes of the past, and work towards a brighter future? No. No it did not. Suffice to say that this game not only managed to stay rooted in everything that was wrong with XIII, but it made things a hell of a lot worse.

That’s not to say that the game is utterly and totally devoid of any good ideas. The way the story is laid out, there was an overarching plot between these games that tied everything together, in fact, the two games seem like they were supposed to be the one, along with the third title in the series coming at some point in the future. The initial story was about defying god-like beings that used humans to fight their battles, the second? It’s about fixing time after a form of divine intervention from the first title. It explains one of the biggest plot holes in the game, but it shows that XIII was far too long for its own good, and that XIII-2 carries on that tradition by making a paper-thin storyline that can’t hold together properly.

Story-wise, we’re not starting off well. Lightning, the protagonist from XIII, has disappeared, and the only one who remembers her is Serah, her sister who was saved in the first game. We see, in a dream-like dimension piercing ability of a sleeping Serah, that Lightning is now a servant of the Goddess Etro, who needs her help to defeat the androgynous, purple-haired Sephiroth-wannabe; Caius. The player will play through some parts of the fight, and then we’re introduced the Noel, falling from a weird time portal, who is the last child born in the dying world, after some bad things went down. Lightning decides to send him to Serah to protect her and aid her in the fight to save time itself, and when he does finally arrive to help Serah and her friends...they just kind of accept that he’s a time traveller, and away they go on an amazing adventure. Oh and there’s a Moogle in this game called Mog, it’s really annoying, speaks like a high-pitched Yoda crossed with a Pokemon that keeps saying “Kupo!” over and over again until you wish it was dead, who can transform into Serah’s weapons. It’s also an expert on time travel and how to fix the Paradox’s that are messing with time. The story is pretty simple, but it gets drawn out over a minimum of twenty –five hours, and isn’t very well held together. The characters from previous games are thrown back into it, like Snow and Hope...yay...but they barely feature in it, so it’s ok. The major issue with the story however, is both the length of it, and the characters being abominably bad. Serah, a teacher mind you, can’t make up her frigging mind about what she wants to do, whether she wants to save her sister, or save time...because there’s a competition there...and as for Noel, his story of watching the last two people on Earth die and leave him, and his connection to Caius, is downplayed in place of Noel’s survivors guilt and abandonment issues, in the form of whining about it and being as depressing and pissy as he can possibly get. There’s no character development, because they keep resetting to these default personas in every poorly enacted cut scene until plot convenience says otherwise. It’s just...boring. The story lacks any definitive moment to really let the gravity of the situation sink in, and because of that, because the characters are so abundantly stupid, the story outright fails at what it’s trying to convey. Caius is a pretty pointless villain, his motivations are self-involved, he wants to end all time to save the Seeress, girls who are constantly born throughout the ages, can see all sorts of future and past events, but die young, and really, that’s all there is to him, he isn’t ever threatening, he just takes a beating and runs off. It doesn’t resonate with the player in any significant way, opting for a contradiction of tonal shifts and themes that don’t work properly.

Behold! A sissy! God giving up would've been a nice option...

Gameplay wise, nothing much has changed since XIII, there are still paradigms, you switch between them to suit the situation you’re in, and there are six roles in total and you can stagger enemies, the AI has been improved so that the entire team doesn’t waste their abilities at one time, helping with the Launch technique and you now have the option to switch the leader in combat, which is a nice change, though you still can’t control anyone but your lead character. The only significant change is the inclusion of capturing monsters and using their set paradigm skill as part of your team. It’s a pretty cool idea, allowing you to use most of the monsters in the game. You upgrade them through materials that you collect throughout the game, and can infuse other monsters’ stats and abilities to them. It’s a nice little system, and works fairly well...at least, that is, until the game decides that some monsters have limited upgrade paths, needing replacements, which is difficult for some classes, like the Medic, a fairly necessary role. You can always infuse their abilities to the new monster, even allowing that monster to gain up to two moves that the older monster has...however, it’s only if the monster is the same level or higher than the original. Confused yet? See, this is my main problem with this game. Simple ideas are overcomplicated to the point of utter and complete annoyance, and it doesn’t help matters that the paradigm system from XIII has returned in a more streamlined form. Now there is simply one Crystarium tree, where you put points into a certain paradigm role, unlocking abilities as you go. The issue here is that the more points you put into a certain role, the further other role’s abilities are from you in the tree. You can also expand the crystariums by maxing them out, gaining boosts to certain roles, adding to you accessory capacity, something that is also contrived, as the max if one hundred, and the best items are classed at seventy-five, but all of these ideas pale in comparison to the problem that hangs over them: it’s too convoluted and complicated to be any good. When I finally gained access to the Medic role, the Raise move was so far into the tree that it took nearly fifty-thousand points to access, because at points in the tree-route, the amount of points needed to upgrade is increased, the same can be said of monsters, whose expanded crystariums require more powerful materials. All of these issues really come to a head during more difficult fights, as you know you could beat them with the right movies, but they’re either buried so deep or require too many materials to access that grinding is the only choice you have. There are now Quick Time Events, or Live Action Sequences during some of the bigger battles, they mostly involve pushing the analogue stick and pressing a button...there are also Live Trigger sequences, where you will have to choose one of four dialogue options at certain points in time. Neither of these things are engaging, but are really annoying in terms of breaking the flow of gameplay. The QTEs try to show off how 'radical' the game looks...but it fails because the positioning of the prompts is so low on the screen, you can't be bothered to see what's going on as a result of your actions.

Enjoy pumping resources into monsters with limited level-up capabilities!

Mog has the ability to uncover objects stuck in time, and it can also be thrown to get items that you can’t reach alone...and also because throwing that little shit into a never-ending abyss is the best way to relieve stress while playing this game, it can also use the Mog Clock when around enemies, that allows you to get the jump on them with pre-emptive strikes and deal a certain percentage on the stagger bar. You’ll need to collect fragments, objects that can give crystarium points to the player and there are also Artefacts that unlock more areas through the gates in the game, with Wild Artefacts unlocking extra areas that aren’t as important to the overall story of the game. There are one hundred and sixty fragments in all, and all are required to get the ‘secret ending’...don’t bother, just youtube it, the real ending is actually just DLC released post-game, it isn’t worth the hassle. You’ll also need to fix the paradoxes throughout the different time periods that you travel to in order to continue the game, but a lot of them are just repeats of previous levels, so it’s not exactly amazing.

Conversations usually end like this, only to restart as: We need to save Lightning, I need to be brave...no wait! We need to save the world! No wait! Followed quickly by: KUPO KUPO KUPO I'M ANNOYING KUPO!

Graphically, the game looks decent, cutscenes are still pretty, but the game itself looks fairly badly downgraded from the previous title. Movement is janky and details and environments aren’t as nice as they could be. However, there is a bigger issue at hand...the fact that a lot of the levels in this game are direct copy/pastes of the previous title. I’m not even joking, there are levels that are the exact same, no difference whatsoever, put into this title for you to explore, and they barely have any payoff towards the overall game, they could have been changed, but they weren’t, and it’s just sad that the developers had to resort to those tactics in order to pad out the game, because really, all it amounts to is a few extra minutes of padding to make the game seem like it’s worth a full price-point. The levels are slightly less linear, but really, it’s just an illusion, as there are very few deviations and nothing really interesting down any alternative paths that aren’t extra gates or things that are needed to complete certain objectives.

Do you see the lack of linearity? Neither do I.

The music in the game has barely changed, although some more J-Pop music and another song by Leona Lewis has been added to the soundtrack...they aren’t good, and you can play the game with the sound turned off, because there really is no reason to have it on. Voice acting is horrible, mostly due to the terrible script, lack of decent translation and the fact that it’s trying to convey some dark themes with the same stupid goddamn readouts that are on par with the first title. The story and the characters don’t line up one damn bit, they don’t work well together and nothing lines of thematically to make me care about anything going on during the game. Really, nothing here adds up into something even halfway tolerable.

There are a few extra, like...costumes...which count as DLC and cost money, so screw that. There’s a gambling time period where you can enter Chocobo races with Chocobo you’ve caught and strengthened during the game, and it’s genuinely fun, but it’s so limited that it wears out fast.

You can download this lovely bikini costume, and feel like a total pervert!

Look, I’m going to be honest, there were parts of this game that I may have actually liked, the ability to capture and use monsters was a great addition, but it got marred by the other design choices involved in that part of the game. The Chocobo racing reminds me of older FF games, and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. However, this game is not worth a full-price retail title, it’s dragged out and not well thought out, and the good ideas that are scattered throughout are kicking and screaming, trying to escape from the dungeon of mediocrity and utter shit that is the rest of the game. Finding a Golden Chocobo and then unleashing him to kick monster ass is really satisfying, but that isn’t enough to save the title. Caius is an unconvincing villain, the story falters and can’t stand on its own, the characters are annoying and undermine the entire, much darker story of the game and for everything the game does right, it isn’t enough to make up for all of the issues. Believe me when I say that this game had promise, but at the end of the day, it just doesn’t work. I'm just sad this so much was dragged out of so little, and was treated with so little respect. You can see that there was a grand idea at the conception of the title...but it’s long since been buried, there really is nothing left to say but...well the verdict:

Verdict:

1/5 (2/10)

Pros:

· Interesting use of monsters in combat

· Cutscenes are pretty

· Chocobo racing is fun

· AI is much better than in the previous game

Cons:

· Story is dragged out far too much

· Characters simply don’t deserve to exist

· Mog is the most hateful little bastard ever

· Combat is still boring, QTEs are simple but distracting

· Characters are too cartoony to allow the more serious themes to convey themselves to the player

· Soundtrack is just as impotent as before

· Copy/paste level design

· Still linear

· Having to retire older monster because of their lack of strength, despite time and effort upgrading them is irritating

· Voice acting is shameful and uninspired, with conversations options falling flat

· Crystarium is more frustrating than ever

· For all the more streamlined elements, no game has ever been so needlessly convoluted and complicated

WTF? Moment: So you’ve been told by an utter stranger that he’s a time traveller that your sister sent back in time to save time itself with the help of a Moogle, and you just go with it? Hell, there’s a severe lack of healthy scepticism here that really comes off as mind-blowing irresponsibility.

#1 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

Actual Review found here: Time & Failure

So as you might be aware of, I...was not fond of FF XIII. You can find my original review here: Final Fantasy XIII Review

I may have come at it in the wrong way though, and not fully stated exactly what my issues were with it, well here you go, reduced for your pleasure: The story was contrived, the gameplay boring, the graphics were pretty but it pushed the console too much, the characters became caricatures and were mostly stereotypes, the level design was linear as all hell and the music and voice acting were sub-par, with broken translation not helping in any way at all, not to mention the broken combat AI.

The question we’re all wondering is, however; did XIII-2 (to borrow some, and by some I mean the only, plot elements from the game) fix the mistakes of the past, and work towards a brighter future? No. No it did not. Suffice to say that this game not only managed to stay rooted in everything that was wrong with XIII, but it made things a hell of a lot worse.

That’s not to say that the game is utterly and totally devoid of any good ideas. The way the story is laid out, there was an overarching plot between these games that tied everything together, in fact, the two games seem like they were supposed to be the one, along with the third title in the series coming at some point in the future. The initial story was about defying god-like beings that used humans to fight their battles, the second? It’s about fixing time after a form of divine intervention from the first title. It explains one of the biggest plot holes in the game, but it shows that XIII was far too long for its own good, and that XIII-2 carries on that tradition by making a paper-thin storyline that can’t hold together properly.

Story-wise, we’re not starting off well. Lightning, the protagonist from XIII, has disappeared, and the only one who remembers her is Serah, her sister who was saved in the first game. We see, in a dream-like dimension piercing ability of a sleeping Serah, that Lightning is now a servant of the Goddess Etro, who needs her help to defeat the androgynous, purple-haired Sephiroth-wannabe; Caius. The player will play through some parts of the fight, and then we’re introduced the Noel, falling from a weird time portal, who is the last child born in the dying world, after some bad things went down. Lightning decides to send him to Serah to protect her and aid her in the fight to save time itself, and when he does finally arrive to help Serah and her friends...they just kind of accept that he’s a time traveller, and away they go on an amazing adventure. Oh and there’s a Moogle in this game called Mog, it’s really annoying, speaks like a high-pitched Yoda crossed with a Pokemon that keeps saying “Kupo!” over and over again until you wish it was dead, who can transform into Serah’s weapons. It’s also an expert on time travel and how to fix the Paradox’s that are messing with time. The story is pretty simple, but it gets drawn out over a minimum of twenty –five hours, and isn’t very well held together. The characters from previous games are thrown back into it, like Snow and Hope...yay...but they barely feature in it, so it’s ok. The major issue with the story however, is both the length of it, and the characters being abominably bad. Serah, a teacher mind you, can’t make up her frigging mind about what she wants to do, whether she wants to save her sister, or save time...because there’s a competition there...and as for Noel, his story of watching the last two people on Earth die and leave him, and his connection to Caius, is downplayed in place of Noel’s survivors guilt and abandonment issues, in the form of whining about it and being as depressing and pissy as he can possibly get. There’s no character development, because they keep resetting to these default personas in every poorly enacted cut scene until plot convenience says otherwise. It’s just...boring. The story lacks any definitive moment to really let the gravity of the situation sink in, and because of that, because the characters are so abundantly stupid, the story outright fails at what it’s trying to convey. Caius is a pretty pointless villain, his motivations are self-involved, he wants to end all time to save the Seeress, girls who are constantly born throughout the ages, can see all sorts of future and past events, but die young, and really, that’s all there is to him, he isn’t ever threatening, he just takes a beating and runs off. It doesn’t resonate with the player in any significant way, opting for a contradiction of tonal shifts and themes that don’t work properly.

Behold! A sissy! God giving up would've been a nice option...

Gameplay wise, nothing much has changed since XIII, there are still paradigms, you switch between them to suit the situation you’re in, and there are six roles in total and you can stagger enemies, the AI has been improved so that the entire team doesn’t waste their abilities at one time, helping with the Launch technique and you now have the option to switch the leader in combat, which is a nice change, though you still can’t control anyone but your lead character. The only significant change is the inclusion of capturing monsters and using their set paradigm skill as part of your team. It’s a pretty cool idea, allowing you to use most of the monsters in the game. You upgrade them through materials that you collect throughout the game, and can infuse other monsters’ stats and abilities to them. It’s a nice little system, and works fairly well...at least, that is, until the game decides that some monsters have limited upgrade paths, needing replacements, which is difficult for some classes, like the Medic, a fairly necessary role. You can always infuse their abilities to the new monster, even allowing that monster to gain up to two moves that the older monster has...however, it’s only if the monster is the same level or higher than the original. Confused yet? See, this is my main problem with this game. Simple ideas are overcomplicated to the point of utter and complete annoyance, and it doesn’t help matters that the paradigm system from XIII has returned in a more streamlined form. Now there is simply one Crystarium tree, where you put points into a certain paradigm role, unlocking abilities as you go. The issue here is that the more points you put into a certain role, the further other role’s abilities are from you in the tree. You can also expand the crystariums by maxing them out, gaining boosts to certain roles, adding to you accessory capacity, something that is also contrived, as the max if one hundred, and the best items are classed at seventy-five, but all of these ideas pale in comparison to the problem that hangs over them: it’s too convoluted and complicated to be any good. When I finally gained access to the Medic role, the Raise move was so far into the tree that it took nearly fifty-thousand points to access, because at points in the tree-route, the amount of points needed to upgrade is increased, the same can be said of monsters, whose expanded crystariums require more powerful materials. All of these issues really come to a head during more difficult fights, as you know you could beat them with the right movies, but they’re either buried so deep or require too many materials to access that grinding is the only choice you have. There are now Quick Time Events, or Live Action Sequences during some of the bigger battles, they mostly involve pushing the analogue stick and pressing a button...there are also Live Trigger sequences, where you will have to choose one of four dialogue options at certain points in time. Neither of these things are engaging, but are really annoying in terms of breaking the flow of gameplay. The QTEs try to show off how 'radical' the game looks...but it fails because the positioning of the prompts is so low on the screen, you can't be bothered to see what's going on as a result of your actions.

Enjoy pumping resources into monsters with limited level-up capabilities!

Mog has the ability to uncover objects stuck in time, and it can also be thrown to get items that you can’t reach alone...and also because throwing that little shit into a never-ending abyss is the best way to relieve stress while playing this game, it can also use the Mog Clock when around enemies, that allows you to get the jump on them with pre-emptive strikes and deal a certain percentage on the stagger bar. You’ll need to collect fragments, objects that can give crystarium points to the player and there are also Artefacts that unlock more areas through the gates in the game, with Wild Artefacts unlocking extra areas that aren’t as important to the overall story of the game. There are one hundred and sixty fragments in all, and all are required to get the ‘secret ending’...don’t bother, just youtube it, the real ending is actually just DLC released post-game, it isn’t worth the hassle. You’ll also need to fix the paradoxes throughout the different time periods that you travel to in order to continue the game, but a lot of them are just repeats of previous levels, so it’s not exactly amazing.

Conversations usually end like this, only to restart as: We need to save Lightning, I need to be brave...no wait! We need to save the world! No wait! Followed quickly by: KUPO KUPO KUPO I'M ANNOYING KUPO!

Graphically, the game looks decent, cutscenes are still pretty, but the game itself looks fairly badly downgraded from the previous title. Movement is janky and details and environments aren’t as nice as they could be. However, there is a bigger issue at hand...the fact that a lot of the levels in this game are direct copy/pastes of the previous title. I’m not even joking, there are levels that are the exact same, no difference whatsoever, put into this title for you to explore, and they barely have any payoff towards the overall game, they could have been changed, but they weren’t, and it’s just sad that the developers had to resort to those tactics in order to pad out the game, because really, all it amounts to is a few extra minutes of padding to make the game seem like it’s worth a full price-point. The levels are slightly less linear, but really, it’s just an illusion, as there are very few deviations and nothing really interesting down any alternative paths that aren’t extra gates or things that are needed to complete certain objectives.

Do you see the lack of linearity? Neither do I.

The music in the game has barely changed, although some more J-Pop music and another song by Leona Lewis has been added to the soundtrack...they aren’t good, and you can play the game with the sound turned off, because there really is no reason to have it on. Voice acting is horrible, mostly due to the terrible script, lack of decent translation and the fact that it’s trying to convey some dark themes with the same stupid goddamn readouts that are on par with the first title. The story and the characters don’t line up one damn bit, they don’t work well together and nothing lines of thematically to make me care about anything going on during the game. Really, nothing here adds up into something even halfway tolerable.

There are a few extra, like...costumes...which count as DLC and cost money, so screw that. There’s a gambling time period where you can enter Chocobo races with Chocobo you’ve caught and strengthened during the game, and it’s genuinely fun, but it’s so limited that it wears out fast.

You can download this lovely bikini costume, and feel like a total pervert!

Look, I’m going to be honest, there were parts of this game that I may have actually liked, the ability to capture and use monsters was a great addition, but it got marred by the other design choices involved in that part of the game. The Chocobo racing reminds me of older FF games, and that’s why I enjoyed it so much. However, this game is not worth a full-price retail title, it’s dragged out and not well thought out, and the good ideas that are scattered throughout are kicking and screaming, trying to escape from the dungeon of mediocrity and utter shit that is the rest of the game. Finding a Golden Chocobo and then unleashing him to kick monster ass is really satisfying, but that isn’t enough to save the title. Caius is an unconvincing villain, the story falters and can’t stand on its own, the characters are annoying and undermine the entire, much darker story of the game and for everything the game does right, it isn’t enough to make up for all of the issues. Believe me when I say that this game had promise, but at the end of the day, it just doesn’t work. I'm just sad this so much was dragged out of so little, and was treated with so little respect. You can see that there was a grand idea at the conception of the title...but it’s long since been buried, there really is nothing left to say but...well the verdict:

Verdict:

1/5 (2/10)

Pros:

· Interesting use of monsters in combat

· Cutscenes are pretty

· Chocobo racing is fun

· AI is much better than in the previous game

Cons:

· Story is dragged out far too much

· Characters simply don’t deserve to exist

· Mog is the most hateful little bastard ever

· Combat is still boring, QTEs are simple but distracting

· Characters are too cartoony to allow the more serious themes to convey themselves to the player

· Soundtrack is just as impotent as before

· Copy/paste level design

· Still linear

· Having to retire older monster because of their lack of strength, despite time and effort upgrading them is irritating

· Voice acting is shameful and uninspired, with conversations options falling flat

· Crystarium is more frustrating than ever

· For all the more streamlined elements, no game has ever been so needlessly convoluted and complicated

WTF? Moment: So you’ve been told by an utter stranger that he’s a time traveller that your sister sent back in time to save time itself with the help of a Moogle, and you just go with it? Hell, there’s a severe lack of healthy scepticism here that really comes off as mind-blowing irresponsibility.

#2 Posted by Morrow (1829 posts) -

Thanks for your opinion, I enjoyed the game.

#3 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5816 posts) -

fuck you Mog was the best. 
 
but seriously I agree that there were a lot of things wrong with FFXIII-2. Didn't stop me from enjoying it though.

#4 Posted by Demoskinos (14769 posts) -

Still my favorite game of the year. So... hey...guess we don't agree. And I'll fist fight anyone over the fact that I think Caius Ballad is the BEST Final Fantasy antagonist of all time. XIII was also my GOTY of 2010 so I have a pretty huge affinity for the XIII world and characters.

#5 Edited by connerthekewlkid (1826 posts) -

a little harsh dont you think?

i mean you if you didnt like 13 why did you think you would like this one? I mean its called 13-2 as in a sequel to 13 with the same mechanics but improved

#6 Posted by Dixavd (1353 posts) -

You didn't enjoy the battle system but you enjoyed the chocobo racing...?! That is like the most tedious minigame in it, it is there purely to pad it out. It is totally fine that you enjoyed it that way, but it is a very odd reaction.

Also, for this...: @Dookysharpgun said:

WTF? Moment: So you’ve been told by an utter stranger that he’s a time traveller that your sister sent back in time to save time itself with the help of a Moogle, and you just go with it? Hell, there’s a severe lack of healthy scepticism here that really comes off as mind-blowing irresponsibility.

Lightning tells Serah that she would do anything to save her at the start of FF XIII and she does. On the way she: Gets magic powers, kills a couple demi-gods (including the pope and one so powerful it literally created the moon that they are standing on and held its orbit; one who's entire aim to cause so much calamity that it ends up ripping into space and opening a gate to the actual God), travels from the moon where their entire society lives on to the planet they are orbiting, learns to summon her own demi-god, learns to use teleportation stones (eventually being able to teleport between the moon and the planet), defeats an entire army of dark ancient mega demon's on the planet, defeats the entire army who stand for not only a single nation but for all human society, and then blew the moon right out of the sky migrating every person to this new planet.

She then disappears right in front of Serah's eyes as soon as she completes her aim, leaving Serah to have to deal with the possibility that Lightning may have let her self perish to save her. Eventually, the only person who she really cares about, her fiance Snow, leaves to try and find Lightning which leaves Serah on her own waiting for any hope that she could do anything to help. Then a fucking meteor falls from the sky. A boy appears out of nowhere and saves her from enemies appearing out of space portals. They fight a giant demonic monster trying to rip its way through space and time and then find at the crater of the meteor is a levitating giant glowing crystal thing that has never been there before. This new guy then tells her he has been sent by Lightning to find Serah and bring her to Lightning. Serah already knows that Snow is also searching for Lightning so if she too searches for her then she will likely cross paths with both Lightning and Snow.

Now ... why would she not go with this guy. Does the fact that Lightning has bent the fabric of space before and knocking a moon right out of the sky seem fine but then sending something through time is clearly too far fetched?

I'll probably make a saner and less reactionary comment when I properly read your entire piece but just skimming what you said and reading your points at the bottom, these were the two things that stuck out to me as not making much sense.

#7 Posted by Dixavd (1353 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

Still my favorite game of the year. So... hey...guess we don't agree. And I'll fist fight anyone over the fact that I think Caius Ballad is the BEST Final Fantasy antagonist of all time. XIII was also my GOTY of 2010 so I have a pretty huge affinity for the XIII world and characters.

While I wouldn't say it is the Best Final Fantasy villain, I will say he is a great villain (and the most interesting and stellar parts of the entire game). His reactions felt the most deserved as to actually having some meaningful set-up. I really like him as a character fighting between the fact that he already has so much power but can't stop the one thing from happening that he cares about (stopping the pain of each Yeul). He is also one of the few main Final Fantasy ultimate villains who actually seems like a threat in the story and in the gameplay.

And while XIII wasn't anywhere near my favourite game of 2010 (Kingdom Hears: Birth By Sleep, Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Enslaved were all games which I enjoyed much more), I definitely liked the setting and the characters as well (I also really loved the music, it had my favourite OST/Album of 2010 and I still listen to it extremely frequently).

#8 Posted by Animasta (14673 posts) -

@connerthekewlkid said:

a little harsh dont you think?

i mean you if you didnt like 13 why did you think you would like this one? I mean its called 13-2 as in a sequel to 13 with the same mechanics but improved

I really didn't like 13 while I really liked 13-2 personally.

#9 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

Sorry about the block of replies, the limit is a bitch on this site for individual replies:

@FancySoapsMan: I still enjoyed throwing it into that final level where it's just a gaping abyss...just to hear the sound of it freaking out...god it was fun.

@Demoskinos: See, I don't get that, Caius was kind of a bitch, I mean, Yule always dies, she accepted it, but like some sort of stalker, he figures that breaking reality for his own selfish reasons is the best thing for everyone...because the base natural order just sucks...and it could be argued that the protagonists of the first game were doing just that...but Fal'Cie weren't natural, they were beings imposing their will, deciding who lives and dies without choice, and you either became crystal or a monster depending on the outcome. Yule got to live forever, but die young...that would make a person humble.

@connerthekewlkid: ...I was harsh with the first game, like really frigging harsh, by comparison I was just kinda balanced & depressed because, as I said, you could finally see the potential, the core idea, but everything else let it down.

@Dixavd: Chocobo racing reminds me of the older FF games, it was a little extra and it's a fun callback to the older games, the combat system just didn't line up, exactly like the first game. I was able to do more damage and finish fights faster on my own, rather than rely on the auto-battle, which is how you get through the game. The crystarium didn't help either. I like throwbacks that remind me of why I loved this series so much, I don't like the combat system because it can't function properly, freaking out between larger and smaller enemies, switching strategies for no reason.

As for the other thing...that bit was a joke, it's supposed to be funny, you don't have to agree with it, but it's not part of my core review, it's just a little something meta that I add, imposing logic on a situation that seems off. Take it or leave it, but don't read too much into it, I just poke fun to round it all off, it's my style.

#10 Posted by pyrodactyl (1975 posts) -

@Dookysharpgun: as a general rule, if you played a game to completion, especialy a game the lenght of FF13-2, you weren't paid to review it and you even did some optional content, you can't give it a 20%. At this point, it's at least a 60% which is a passing grade since you enjoyed the experience enough to finish it.

#11 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: And the last time I checked, I paid for the game, it's my review, my opinion, and if you don't like it, then that's grand, but saying there's a 'general rule' is bullshit, especially about finishing a game...I'm committed to playing a game to the end, with only two exceptions in a long time, as I believe that I can't be honest and truthful about my experience if I haven't played it through to the end. Just because you finish a game does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that said game deserves a 60%...and 40% is technically a passing grade if we're being anal about it...because I was committed to getting something done.

Let me ask you a question: in what backward-ass state of mind does one write a review without finishing the game? That's not how it works, the method is start game->finish game->write review, it doesn't count if you don't finish it, that's just writing random shit down without seeing things through to the end. That's a general rule.

#12 Posted by pyrodactyl (1975 posts) -

@Dookysharpgun: sorry, I assumed people that do not review games for a living wouldn't waste 30 hours playing a terrible game.

FF13-2 is a good game. If you endured 30 hours+ and grade the experience with 1 star then you're some kind of masochist. Brad didn't even go trough that and he's a professional reviewer.

And if you take the ''professional stance'' and finish a game before you review it, you should also take the professional scale for reviews instead of the internet scale.

Professional review:

5 stars: amazing game

4 stars: great game

3 stars: ok game

2 stars: bad game

1 star: awefull game

0 star: steaming pill of poo

Internet review:

5 stars: My favorite game

4 stars: I like that game

1 or 0 star: I don't like that game

#13 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: it was twenty five hours, I don't give a shit what professional reviewers do, and finishing a game so I can give an informed opinion about how the game mechanics hold up over the game's length isn't masochistic or even professional, it means that I'm not a prick who half-asses a playthrough to give an uninformed opinion to people. And I never claimed it was professional...I'm talking about common motherhumping decency!

I give an alternative view that people can look at, and judge their purchases based on that fact, or at the very least, get a little frigging entertainment and a few laughs out of it.

...and those scale are ridiculous, since I use the whole scale...don't comment on my style without looking at my other reviews first, of which I even linked one in the beginning, I've used a scale of 1-10, or 0-5 using the 0.5 scale, you've got your methods, and your beliefs...they're the methods and beliefs that have turned the gaming industry into a shitstorm of metacritic-praising, score humping cynics, but they're your beliefs. They are not mine. I do this for fun, entertainment and, the odd time, I may be told by someone that they'll get a game based on my review, and that feels good, but it's the fun of it I do this for.

Stop throwing around scores like they're the only thing that matters, because that is certainly not the case. I was, in fact, going to give this game the same as XIII's, a 0.5, but while writing the review, I figured that I didn't dislike it quite as much as the first game, mainly due to the length of the game, the monsters and the chocobo racing...but for all of those things I've talked about, the two that mattered, I gave the negative aspects involved. These negative aspects effect how I view the game as a product worth sinking money into, along with time and effort required to finish it...therefore my end conclusion is completely accurate, given my view. Stop imposing your crap system on reviews because it's the way things are done 'professionally' or via 'internet opinions', and maybe do a few of your own work if you want, and see how backwards that system you're touting really is.

#14 Posted by YI_Orange (1142 posts) -

@Dookysharpgun: Sorry, I didn't read your thing, but I have to call in to question your methods a bit. You gave FF XIII a 0.5? Regardless of personal opinion on the game it does not deserve that low a score. Reviews need to strike a balance between objectivity and subjectivity. FF XIII (I played through it, haven't touched 2. For the record, I would give FF XIII a score of 3 stars) It's beautiful, plays well, is for the most part coherent, a decent length, well produced, and to my knowledge works almost perfectly. Scores that low should be reserved for games that are fundamentally broken and flawed.

#15 Posted by Dookysharpgun (586 posts) -

@YI_Orange: Well if you'd read my XIII-2 review, and then my XIII review, you'll see a common theme of how I break the games down, thought with XIII, it was my first review, and the game left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn't quite stem the annoyance, but the review, by extension, does work with the score it's given. That's all reviews are, and I am objective to an extent, do I think that XIII or XIII-2 deserve a full retail price mark? No, I don't think so, and I've conveyed that, and as a man who, at the best of times has to view games as an investment, my opinions do stand.

That's your opinion, in mine, the game's AI is broken, the story is monotonous, the combat is sadly lacking, and it's linearity makes it feel more like a movie than a videogame. The key to any game is striking a balance between gameplay and storytelling, with slight variations in either direction. XIII choce the storytelling above all else, and it wasn't good enough to handle the strain of the poor voice acting, the terrible caricatures that the game had the audacity to call characters, and the fact that there was nothing to it at all. It wasn't deep or even interesting, the fact that you had to dive into the codex for everything means that the game developers weren't interested in showing through telling, or as I said in my review, weaving the exposition into the narrative.

It was pretty, but graphics are nothing when the end product is so poor. This is a Triple A title that took seven years to create, and even the developers stated that the lack of cohesion came from the fact that the dev team didn't communicate with each other. As a triple A title from the biggest JRPG-producing company in the world, this was just a shambles. Even if it was just a triple A game, the end product was lacking so much that I couldn't understand just how wrong things went. Shitty games are shitty games, nobody is surprised that they suck, but games that are from companies with the cash and apparent skill to make a great title, when they trip up this badly, they deserve no mercy when they deliver under sub-par.

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