Review by bl00dbErry
"8.8/10 Repairing the Flaws of its Predecessor"
To be honest, I am really anticipating for a Final Fantasy XIII sequel. While I enjoy playing FFXIII, I was not pleased with its denouement. For me, the story was left hanging, and I was dissatisfied with its plot. I think its game developers focused too much on innovating the traditional FF gameplay, that they forgot to add depth to its story. I think by creating a FFXIII sequel, its developers can redeem themselves and address the issues fans brought up with the game.
Quick Review of Final Fantasy XIII-2
It's hard to appreciate the storyline of Final Fantasy XIII-2 per se. As a sequel, it requires you to play FFXIII or at least know its plot before playing FFXIII-2. The problem with FFXIII-2 is that it makes too many references to the characters of its predecessor at the early point of the game. It readily assumes that you have prior knowledge of the story it follows. For this reason, it does not fare well as a stand-alone game.
On the positive note, FFXIII-2 gives you more choices about how the story will go, hence, successfully addressing the issue of linearity brought up against its predecessor. There are more sidequests you can take on aside from your main mission. Compared to its prequel, FFXIII-2 allows you to interact to more NPCs to gain more insights about the plot. It also gives you choices on how to respond to others questions instead of simply following the main characters' dialogs.
Character Design: 10/10
Caius is definitely a nice addition to the game series. He's simply an EPIC badass. Watch its trailer and you'll know what I mean :> Noel Kreiss, on the other hand, is intriguing, and somehow he reminds me of Chrono Trigger. Maybe because he travels through time? I dunno. I haven't finished the game so I'm yet to make any judgment on him. It's also nice to see Serah step up her game. From being the rescued, she now becomes the rescuer. Hurray for her! I still prefer Lightning over her though =p Costume designs are wonderful. It's nice that they patterned Caius's and Lightning's costumes over their controlled Eidolons.
While it still follows many of the FFXIII's gameplay features, it still made innovations such as the Mog Clock, Historia Crux System, Cinematic Action, Live Trigger sidequests, Monster Hunting, etc. Its gameplay additions definitely add value to its replayability.
Unlike FFXIII, it demands your full attention. I, for instance, got a hard time taking pictures of it while playing because of its Cinematic Action' feature. You have to focus and watch intently to discern what button you'll have to press and where it would appear on the screen; otherwise, you'll miss it or worse fail.
The only thing this game missed is the Summon' feature. Unlike other FF games, you won't be summoning any Eidolons here. Instead, you'll have monsters as your companions. You'll hunt for these monsters and train them as your own. They are useful though. You just have to know how to control them effectively in the battle.
I see no improvement compared to its prequel. It's excellent but nothing new.
I don't like its theme song (neither Japanese nor English version). It's not that catchy compared to other FF games. Voice acting, on the other hand, is commendable. Also, you won't be needing to read every conversation, as each dialog is fully voiced (even the dialogs of NPCs).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/14/12
Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (English Version) (AS, 01/31/12)
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