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Posted by Mento

I didn't think 13 was too bad and I'm liking some of the things I'm hearing about 13-2. It's just.. in the UK it's bookended by the release of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story, both of which seem vastly more enticing options. I can definitely speak for the former, and perhaps have done a little too often of late. I suspect I'll get around to 13-2 eventually, but it won't be for a few more months at least.

Actually, considering the only other recent release that I'm strongly considering getting is Rhythm Heaven Fever, I'm starting to wonder what the hell is going on with the Wii. For a down-and-out console it's sure been busy of late.

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Posted by Dixavd

I 100% completed XIII-2 and by far the standout thing is the ending - it seems like lots of reviewers have been hacking this game down as mechanicaly improved at the cost of the story but I feel it has been one of the best in the series and definitely one of the best endings to a game I have played in the last 2 years. (ignoring the loud song at the end that kind of distracts).

Also, the bosses were fantastic in this game - not a single one seemed broken (unlike Orphan in FF13, which can simply decide to cast death on the main character and kill them) and every single one of thm felt like it halped the ultimate goal of this game as important to kill them (a problem I found in 13 where the characters seemed to just stumble accross a boss for the sake of ending that chapter/area on a boss fight for a huge chunk of the middle of that game.

I found the quicktime events to also add something to the gameplay which surprised me a lot - I especially liked when they added choice to them and then subverted it at the end of the game with both choices making the same thing occuring (which some could argue was badly designed but for me really showed dominance and the strength of Noel as a character).

This is a fantastic game which really spaces out the parts of the game so that players can play the parts they want to do - while I did all of it, I like how someone could easily ignore a lot of the sidequests and focus solely on the story and finish it in about 30hours.

Plus the level "A Dying World" is the single best level of a game I have played in the last couple years and quite possibly the best narratively of any Final Fantasy game.

5/5

P.S. Does it depress anyone else how Giantbomb isn't going to review this game - and Brad is likely not going to finish it so during Podcasts all we hear is them making fun of it or hearing Brad's problems with this game that most of which gets fixed in the second half of the main story - especially how he says he is refusing playing to the end becuase he knows he will hit a "To Be Continued" screen despite the ending being fantastic?

Posted by JimmyPancakes

If you are into Chocobos this is your jam. Game's great but I think my time on Gran Pulse in XIII is better than anything here, by a little bit. I liked the whole gang in XIII by the end of it and loved playing with them finally with freedom. Sarah and wotshisname are pretty uninteresting so the games all about fighting and pokemon, which is pretty cool.

Posted by kerse

I just don't think they Serah and Noel are very interesting, I find myself just waiting to see the next scene where a FF13 character appears again. I really wish they didn't do the monster thing and just had Snow join your party when you find him in Sunleth, I haven't finished it yet but I don't see why they didn't just do that. I still really like the combat, and I keep wanting to be interested in this story because I still think 13 had one of the most interesting stories in a long time, great characters too, however a lot of it just feels like deus ex machina, you never really feel like your randomly jumping in time, its always well we need this so now we're going directly to the right place and time. The weird philosophising every 10 mins Brad was talking about also kinda bothers me. This is the first FF game that's made me feel so torn on whether I like it or not, its kind've a weird feeling.

Posted by MEATBALL

I haven't finished the game yet, I've been distracted by the release of The Darkness II, Kingdoms of Amalur and now the Mass Effect 3 demo, but I think it's definitely a better outing than its predecessor. Although (and this might just be due to the fact I'm overlevelled from sidequests, or something) I've been finding it far too easy. Random encounters see me blindly hitting the X button while I look at my phone until the 5 star screen shows up and I've been crushing every boss the game throws at me. The story is generally fun, although there have been times when I've found myself wishing characters would just shut up - mostly during those moments where they narrate all deep-like about nothing in particular. Noel is probably one of the better leading male characters Final Fantasy has seen for a while - certainly a lot more likeable than characters like Tidus, Vaan and Snow. (Though to be fair, Balthier would tell you he was the leading man of Final Fantasy XII's little story, and he was pretty great. :P)

Posted by Vexxan

I enjoyed FFXIII-2 very much, I love it when the bad guy kinda has a "legit" reason for doing what they're doing. I'm happy it wasn't just another "Hey, I wanna rule the world" scenario, what Caius does makes him an awesome villain.

Posted by Soap

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

I feel like one of the few people who prefer 13 over 13-2. While I do like the more varied and less linear game design the pacing is still flawed. What surprises my about 13-2 is how much I like it's story, which is a big improvement for me. I don't think I could tell you want happens in the second half of 13.

The story in 13-2 does have it's problems with pacing, especially when it comes to searching for the gravitation fragments, at that point the story basically stops until you go and find 5 of them and if your not careful it can be very easy to forget what you were doing (as I did for a while)

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

I feel like one of the few people who prefer 13 over 13-2. While I do like the more varied and less linear game design the pacing is still flawed. What surprises my about 13-2 is how much I like it's story, which is a big improvement for me. I don't think I could tell you want happens in the second half of 13.

Posted by Soap

Hey guys, back again for a brief review of Final Fantasy XIII-2, anyone who knows me will know that I didn't take to well to Final Fantasy XIII, so this might be a surprise for people to read, anyway if people want to hear more from me I might come back and break down the design decisions made in this game that really make it a better game than Final Fantasy XIII in greater detail.

As someone who has played and been a part of the video game industry since the early 90's its safe to say I have a long and storied history with the Final Fantasy franchise, my first experience of Final Fantasy VII was the tipping point which changed me from a casual player to a full time gamer after all.

However my love of the franchise has dwindled over time, as the rest of the worlds games became more advanced and interactive, Final Fantasy became almost stagnant before eventually taking a turn into just being downright boring in Final Fantasy XII and barely a video game in Final Fantasy XIII. Now I've already made my opinions on Final Fantasy XIII hugely clear through other blogs and reviews so its safe to say I came to Final Fantasy XIII-2 not expecting very much, in fact I bought it more out of a tradition for owning each major FF release rather than any excitement to play it, however I was pleasantly surprised.

The first and most obvious change to XIII-2 was the introduction to the game, which lasted a little over 20 minutes before I was running around an environment that was slightly more complex in layout than Final Fantasy XIII's corridors, leveling up my paradigms, earning skills, money and finishing small side quests.

The game still holds on to the high graphical standards of the series

The battle system as well, while not totally overhauled has had enough sensible changes made to it to stop some of the issues with random deaths that could happen in XIII. For example in XIII it wasn't very uncommon for me to have lightning attacked by an entire group of enemies and killed in one combo before having a chance to defend or heal her, causing her to die. Whats the issue you say? Why not just use a phoenix down like you would the rest of the party? Well for some reason the death of your controlled character always meant immediate game over, something which has thankfully been shown the door in XIII-2, if you die you simply switch from one character to the other, giving you a chance to heal or use a phoenix down before continuing the fight.

Another major change to the battle system is the leveling isn't capped to your progress through the story meaning that coming up against a boss that you personally found to be to difficult means that rather than being stuck and having to look up a solution online or simply bash your head against it until you randomly succeed you can now instead simply leave and grind.

Grinding isn't bad either as the new monster system that has been introduced gives you a good reason to want to fight battles to earn either new monsters or items that can increase their abilities.

Due to the use of a time travel structure throughout the game if grinding isn't your thing and monster collecting doesn't do anything for you the third option is to simply move to a different time period and advance a different section of the story, coming back later to stomp all over the boss that gave you trouble before.

On the subject of story the game contains the usual amount of Japanese quirkiness and incredibly cheesy dialogue that people either seem to love or hate but this time it's all wrapped around smaller stories and side quests for the most part broken up into different locations and periods of time while the over arcing story actually shows some incredible movement away from the usual love story interwoven with a mad man wanting to destroy the world.

A villain with a noble cause?

OK it still has a mad man wanting to destroy the world and Serah and Snow are still very much in love but the motivations of the bad guy actually make a fair amount of sense, making him more of a noble martyr rather than just a man wanting to destroy the world simply because he can and the love story is relegated so far from the main thread that it's only ever brought up occasionally in passing as the game decides to instead focus on the new friendship being created between Serah and Noel as well as the search for lightning.

Pre-release there was a lot of stories surfacing about the music in the game, and while it doesn't quite meet the incredibly high standards of previous entries in the series it does still have some stand out tracks and is more than passable for the industry standard.

Overall Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a vast improvement over XIII in almost every way and while other reviewers have mentioned how a love for Final Fantasy XIII is required to gain any enjoyment out of this game, I can safely say as someone who has no fondness for Final Fantasy XIII outside of it's music at all, that it simply isn't the case.

4/5

=================

So what do you guys think? I actually really liked the ending as it is, although I get the feeling it will get changed or altered in someway via a sequel or DLC.

Also, I may review Catherine and Kingdoms of Amalur soon if the feeling takes me.