FFXIII-2: Best Square Enix game...period?

PS2 box art (cropped)

So I've been playing quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIII-2 the past week and I am really, really enjoying it. I'm a stickler for RPGs, specifically Japanese developed RPGs, and FFXIII-2 has really hit home with me in terms of design, gameplay, story, and replayability. I'm a huge Squaresoft/Enix fan and have played probably 80-90% of the games they've released outside of Japan. I've gotta say, in my opinion, this is the best game they've put out. One major thing to note, Final Fantasy X (to the right), was a Squaresoft game. I'm not trying to say FFXIII-2 is better than FF7 or FF10 or whatever your favorite FF game is. I'm just simply stating that I think it's the best game the merged company has put out, and that's an incredibly good thing to happen now considering a lot of game critics and fans have ruled SE down and out and out of touch with today's gamer.

360 box art (cropped)

If you follow Square Enix or much video game blogging/discussion at all over the past few years, you've probably noticed a lot of talk about how Square Enix might be going into a lull or that they've lost their touch. I gotta say, after how much I wanted FFXIV to succeed and seeing how much it absolutely failed, I was a skeptic for a little bit as well. The argument against FFXIII was the linearity. I saw the linearity, and could see the frustration there, but I still enjoyed the game very much and put 120+ hours into it.

Having put roughly 40 hours into FFXIII-2, I've beaten the main story line and am beginning the process of trying to unlock all of the fragments, endings, etc. Like FFXIII, the side quests and optional content makes up a higher percentage of the overall playtime than the main storyline. I was a bit disappointed to see the main storyline of the game only last 25-30 hours, however I was excited to jump right back into things and look for alternate endings and more fragments.

The main reason I think this is Square Enix's strongest game is that they finally made a Final Fantasy game that had the feel and polish of one of their classics, but also incorporated modern RPG elements. Playing the game, it just felt like Square Enix had finally figured out the path they need to start taking with RPGs and I'm hoping they can continue to pump out more that feed off of this game in the future. I'd love to see SE create a brand new IP using and building off of elements they've developed and polished in FFXIII and FFXIII-2.

What do you think? Is this a valid argument to have? Am I way off? What's your favorite Square Enix game (cannot include Squaresoft or Enix made games)?

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Posted by Loopah
PS2 box art (cropped)

So I've been playing quite a bit of Final Fantasy XIII-2 the past week and I am really, really enjoying it. I'm a stickler for RPGs, specifically Japanese developed RPGs, and FFXIII-2 has really hit home with me in terms of design, gameplay, story, and replayability. I'm a huge Squaresoft/Enix fan and have played probably 80-90% of the games they've released outside of Japan. I've gotta say, in my opinion, this is the best game they've put out. One major thing to note, Final Fantasy X (to the right), was a Squaresoft game. I'm not trying to say FFXIII-2 is better than FF7 or FF10 or whatever your favorite FF game is. I'm just simply stating that I think it's the best game the merged company has put out, and that's an incredibly good thing to happen now considering a lot of game critics and fans have ruled SE down and out and out of touch with today's gamer.

360 box art (cropped)

If you follow Square Enix or much video game blogging/discussion at all over the past few years, you've probably noticed a lot of talk about how Square Enix might be going into a lull or that they've lost their touch. I gotta say, after how much I wanted FFXIV to succeed and seeing how much it absolutely failed, I was a skeptic for a little bit as well. The argument against FFXIII was the linearity. I saw the linearity, and could see the frustration there, but I still enjoyed the game very much and put 120+ hours into it.

Having put roughly 40 hours into FFXIII-2, I've beaten the main story line and am beginning the process of trying to unlock all of the fragments, endings, etc. Like FFXIII, the side quests and optional content makes up a higher percentage of the overall playtime than the main storyline. I was a bit disappointed to see the main storyline of the game only last 25-30 hours, however I was excited to jump right back into things and look for alternate endings and more fragments.

The main reason I think this is Square Enix's strongest game is that they finally made a Final Fantasy game that had the feel and polish of one of their classics, but also incorporated modern RPG elements. Playing the game, it just felt like Square Enix had finally figured out the path they need to start taking with RPGs and I'm hoping they can continue to pump out more that feed off of this game in the future. I'd love to see SE create a brand new IP using and building off of elements they've developed and polished in FFXIII and FFXIII-2.

What do you think? Is this a valid argument to have? Am I way off? What's your favorite Square Enix game (cannot include Squaresoft or Enix made games)?

Posted by Demoskinos

Can't really give a final verdict yet but I'll say this is the 3rd night in a row I'm up at 5 am having just played FFXIII-2 for hours on end. Its good.

Posted by Loopah

@Demoskinos: I hear ya on that. I've had quite a few late nights this week.. including tonight.

Edited by RandomHero666

Hmm maybe.. pretty close to Lost Odyssey anyway, which imo is pretty much a SE game.
Possibly best Square-Enix game.. not best Square game.
 
 
Also that is not a Moogle

Posted by Animasta

Does Nier count? if you mean actual squeenix developed games, then I'd probably say 12, but 13-2 is rather good

Posted by RandomHero666
@Animasta: First person I've ever seen saying XII is good, or even counts as a Videogame at all.
Posted by Ashuramaru

There are alot of defenders of XII, and I don't get it.

Posted by TobbRobb

Is the soundtrack in 13-2 just a bunch of japanes shitmetal? It won't stop me from playing the game, but it makes me sad when the soundtrack of a FF makes me less excited.

@RandomHero666: @Ashuramaru: 12 is really good, the only thing that sucks is how shoehorned and awkward Vaan is. Otherwise it's definitely better than a few other entries in the series.

Posted by mwng
@TobbRobb: I think they only use it during the boss battles, I'm not a fan of that one either...
 
The rest of the soundtrack is pretty good though. They reuse some of the better songs from XIII too, which is totally forgivable as they were really good.
Posted by Animasta

@TobbRobb said:

Is the soundtrack in 13-2 just a bunch of japanes shitmetal? It won't stop me from playing the game, but it makes me sad when the soundtrack of a FF makes me less excited.

@RandomHero666: @Ashuramaru: 12 is really good, the only thing that sucks is how shoehorned and awkward Vaan is. Otherwise it's definitely better than a few other entries in the series.

There's only 2 songs, and one is a boss theme you hear very rarely and one you only hear if you are on a red chocobo, which isn't very often either

Posted by TobbRobb

@mwng: @Animasta: You have no idea how much better the game sounds to me now.

Posted by ZenaxPure

Loopah? Wait what, how long have you been on Giant Bomb? I feel weird now, what's up man?! 
 
Anyway, I am totally in the camp that Final Fantasy XII is the best game that has been made since the two companies merged, but I think if you asked around enough the general agreement would be TWEWY even if it isn't as popular as say the Final Fantasy brand. That said I am having a blast with 13-2 as well, I am close to reaching the 40 hour mark. It's basically sucked me up since it came out. 
 
@TobbRobb: The boss theme doesn't play that often. Some bosses have other music and in general there are not very many story related bosses in the game. I dunno, like I've said in other threads the music in this game is really random. Even the normal battle theme changes depending on the area you're in. It clearly shows that 3 people (at least according to wikipedia) worked on the soundtrack for this game.

Posted by Morrow

@TobbRobb said:

Is the soundtrack in 13-2 just a bunch of japanes shitmetal?

The rest of the soundtrack is actually quite beautiful, I've even been reminded of Nier at one point... I think in Oerba. Progress further in the game and you'll sure like the sound :)

Posted by TwoLines

Still have to play FF XIII-2. But if we're talking about Square Enix... then it's not really that tough for a game to be better than their other creations.

FF XIII was really linear and kind of boring for 20 hours. Also, irritating characters. And personally, I hate XII.

Posted by McGhee

I love a game that can be called the worst game ever by one person and the best ever by another. I'm gonna play this when I get the time.

Posted by Loopah

@Zenaxzd: Hey there! Didn't realize you were a Bomb fan. FF12 your fav huh? I definitely enjoyed that game and have been telling myself I need to go back and play through it again sometime this year. I didn't give that game enough playtime when I went through it the first time.

Edited by Addfwyn

Maybe not their best game period, but it was certainly my favourite game of 2011. SE has some pretty hefty stuff in their backlog that were tremendous games.

Though XII, on that side topic, was one of my less favourite FFs. Fun gameplay, okay story, very very weak characters.

Posted by huntad

I've heard so many conflicting thoughts on this game. I want to play it, but first I'm going to finish XIII then finish up a playthrough of Persona 4. After that, I may pick it up.

Edited by MEATBALL

Final Fantasy XII shits all over this game. (TWEWY is also an acceptable answer)

Online
Posted by makari

@Loopah said:

@Zenaxzd: Hey there! Didn't realize you were a Bomb fan. FF12 your fav huh? I definitely enjoyed that game and have been telling myself I need to go back and play through it again sometime this year. I didn't give that game enough playtime when I went through it the first time.

You mean you need to go back and let it play itself for you again, o-hohoho.

Posted by Seppli

Wouldn't the best Square-Enix games naturally be an Eidos game? Something like Deus Ex : Human Revolution? Just kiddin'. Carry on enjoying FF XIII-2.

Posted by Ghostiet
@Animasta said:

Does Nier count? if you mean actual squeenix developed games, then I'd probably say 12, but 13-2 is rather good

I don't think Nier counts, on account of just being published and on the stupid marketing that only hurt the game.
Posted by Addfwyn

@Seppli: It could be, if that were your favourite game. Since no two people can even agree what is the best Final Fantasy (I've heard just about every single one except maybe the original or two), I can't imagine anyone is going to be able to agree on a best SE title of all time, considering how massive that company is now.

Posted by MadMagyar92

I've always been unclear to the hate directed towards XII... I'll admit, I hated who they chose for the lead roles (should've been Balthier) and the story was incredibly meh, but I loved their reinvention of the battle-system and the musical score was top notch, as always. Sure, it played itself at times, and the quests were redundant, but at least it offered something different....

Posted by Addfwyn

@MadMagyar92: I guess it depends what you come to the game for. You accept that the characters and story were meh, and for a lot of people, that's the biggest draw for the genre. So when those things are weak, it makes for a weak game for them. Whereas people who maybe enjoy the combat and grind more, would really love the game. It's one of the reasons FFs are so darn divisive and usually breaks down into name calling after a while.

Edited by spazmaster666

As much as I love this game, I have to say that it does have a lot of annoying aspects to it, even putting aside the lackluster ending. The time warps can be very tedious (especially in the post-game) and those quizzes in AF4XX Academia along with the Slots (where you have to hit a certain jackpot to get the fragment) are probably two of the most frustrating parts of the game. I also realized I was still missing four or five entries in my bestiary despite having completed all of the post game content except for the last two fragments (the slot machine one and the bestiary side quest). Still, I'm 70 hours in and I have to say I'm pretty satisfied with my experience, though I have to say that I dd enjoy FFXIII more.

Posted by ZenaxPure
@Loopah said:

 I didn't give that game enough playtime when I went through it the first time.

I didn't either (mostly WoW's fault though, really). I went back to 12 about a year after I beat it and then ended up plunking 185 hours into my new save game and still not doing everything there was in that game. If you actually take the time to explore everything it has to offer and experiment with the combat it offers an amazing experience.
Posted by Gargantuan

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is their best game.

Posted by AlexW00d

12 is by far my favourite, so no.

Posted by Turambar

I'll say this about the game, it does a far better job with the paradox endings than Chrono Trigger did.  By allowing you to simply close and rewind time gates, going back and getting the alternate endings was a breeze.
 
Also Noel Kreiss was a far better character than I had expectations for.  That and his theme is probably one of the best in the franchise.  Considering the area that it plays as back ground music, fucking christ.

Posted by ZenaxPure
@Turambar:  
Posted by Marz

*cough* no *cough*

Posted by SlightConfuse

if we are going final fantasy id say 12 or 6

Square overal id say TWEWY or vagrant story

published would be deus ex or Nier

Posted by Flappy

I'm not ready to call it the best Final Fantasy, but XIII-2 is pretty damn good. Gotta love huntin' fer Chocobos ('specially the Blue ones).

Posted by snakefry

while 12 still stands as my all time favourite, ff13-2 is definitely up there and far better than 13. Although i did enjoy 13, i hated the fact that you had very little control over the leveling system. I used to love leveling up my characters well beyond the recommended level. i'm glad square has decided to turn the autopilot off in this game.

Posted by Loopah

@Turambar: Being able to open and close gates with Time Reversal is huge.

Posted by Loopah

@snakefry said:

while 12 still stands as my all time favourite, ff13-2 is definitely up there and far better than 13. Although i did enjoy 13, i hated the fact that you had very little control over the leveling system. I used to love leveling up my characters well beyond the recommended level. i'm glad square has decided to turn the autopilot off in this game.

One of my biggest complaints about 13 and 13-2 is how restrained you are with leveling stats and abilities. In these two games, all you really get to do when leveling up is head to the Crystarium and spam the button until you have no CP left. It's something I hope SE changes in future FF's. FFX was great. I absolutely loved the Sphere Grid.

Edited by ZenaxPure
@Loopah: Actually depending on what you level up on what node and what level determines what stats you get, in 13-2 anyway. 13 had no options to what stats you gained.
 
Seems to be something a lot of people missed for some reason even though the game mentions it (maybe not the even/odd stuff but pretty sure it totally points out the large node vs. small node). 
Posted by Loopah

@Zenaxzd: Yeah, I noticed the large node/small node stuff, but it's very minuscule and it's still just a static increase of stats that the game decides for you rather than you deciding if you want your HP/Atk/etc to grow by X number.

I mean I get why they need to do it. The whole paradigm battle system tends to require that you have set classes with set abilities. Don't get me wrong, I love the paradigm shift battle system. It's just I don't feel like I'm actually tailoring my characters in a different fashion than anyone else anymore like you did pre FF13.

Posted by ZenaxPure
@Loopah: I know where you're coming from but I feel like that is actually a bit different in 13-2. It's very possible to have an attack focused Serah and magic focused Noel, which wasn't really an option in FF13. This certainly offers more freedom than that. I guess it depends on your definition of minuscule but we have that other thread where the OP hit level 99 Com for his Noel and hadn't even broken 400 attack where I know in my own personal case by the time Noel was at 99 Com he was close to 700.
 
I guess my main point is that at least on the stat side of things this time they actually let you spec how you want and none of us probably have similar stats on our copy of 13-2 where in 13 we'd all have exactly the same.
 
Of course if we're talking skills and abilities, then yeah haha, 13-2 is even worse about it than 13 in a lot of ways (no aoe buffs or HEALS for Serah, really?). I too am on the side where I understand why the battle system for 13 and 13-2 limit it (and absolutely love it as well!) but in any other RPG I do appreciate being able to build a character how I want. I think the international edition of FF12 probably had it the best, it used the licence board just like 12 but to keep you from becoming a masterful jack of all trades by the end of the game (something the Sphere Grid suffered from as well) you had to pick a class and each class had it's own licence board, so you could never learn everything.
Posted by Loopah

@TobbRobb: Yeah, I could really do without the heavy metal for the boss battles. Terrible, terrible thing to have in Final Fantasy game. The rest of the game's music makes up for it though. Really great stuff, and a lot brought over from FFXIII which is perfectly fine with me.

Posted by AggroCraig

Not to disparage FFXIII-2, but I submit FFTA-2 as the best game since the merge.

Posted by JasonR86
Posted by Aus_azn

@RandomHero666 said:

Hmm maybe.. pretty close to Lost Odyssey anyway, which imo is pretty much a SE game. Possibly best Square-Enix game.. not best Square game. Also that is not a Moogle

I want to say that LO is moreso a Square game, considering that most of the brains behind it is Sakaguchi and his old crew, who largely left Square by the early 2000s IIRC.

I really want to pick this up, but I just don't have the time for a JRPG right now.

Posted by Loopah

@JasonR86: You're correct, I do mean SE developed games only. You got me on Tactics Ogre for PSP, I have not played that game and it's killing me that I haven't. I've heard it's amazing, and I hadn't thought about that game.

Posted by BrockNRolla

I find absolutely nothing interesting about the world or fiction surrounding FFXIII and its sequel, but I do think there is an important lesson to take away from this. See below.

@RandomHero666 said:

Also that is not a Moogle.
Posted by tunaburn

I liked FF13. But i cant wait to play this one hearing how everyone says its so much better. Payday cant come soon enough!

Posted by Loopah

@BrockNRolla: Yeah, whoever captioned it got it wrong and I'm too lazy to find a new pic. Gone!

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Loopah said:

@BrockNRolla: Yeah, whoever captioned it got it wrong and I'm too lazy to find a new pic. Gone!

Huzzah!

Posted by MikkaQ

Just Cause 2 is the best squeenix game.

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