Review by Fiz57

"An improvement to the FF 13 but whether the improvement is accepted or not?"

Another Final Fantasy game series which Square Enix proudly present, a continuation of FF 13 thus the name FF 13-2. The game followed the story after the original FF 13 ending with a small twist of fate, Lightning disappearance. FF 13-2 is set up to fix several issue which gamer complaint some difficulty in the original FF 13 while they kept the same battle system.

Story 7/10

FF 13-2 story begun 3 years after FF 13 ended, this time the story focus on Lightning's younger sister, Serah. Lightning mysteriously disappear after Cocoon was saved when she became the support for the pillar. However, Serah refused to believe it and everyone confused by her story made her heart-broken thus forcing Snow to look for her while everyone walked their separate ways. One night, a mysterious event occur and Serah found herself rescued by Noel, a mysterious man who said he was send by Lightning. It was said he came from another timeline to rescue humanity although everyone refused to believe him except for Serah. Given a chance to recover what she lost, Serah and Noel embarked a journey to Valhala where Lightning would wait for them in the end of time.

Most of the story focus on time travel and fixing paradox, this type of story line is quite risky since time travel story usually get a negative feed back. It also introduced some new and old character like a mature Hope from FF 13. There is a new system which let the player to decide the flow of conversation, making each conversation to be different through the 'Live trigger' system. What's more, player could replay part of the story-line when fulfilling certain condition thus a unique New Game+ for this game.

Gameplay 8/10

The battle system is the same like the original FF 13 with Active Time Battle (ATB) system removing the use of Magic/Mana point where the amount of bar in the ATB decided the command input. Auto-Battle also return thus making the game easier to play where the AI decided the course of action and quite effective it the enemy stat is known. Stagger return as well but put less emphasize compare to the original where stagger was almost a must. This mean that a group of one Commando and one Ravager could finish the enemy without stagger it. All six class Role also return but sadly the ability or command input was reduced example, a synergist ability haste was removed from the game or saboteur slow was also remove. The level up system still use the Crystarium is fixed with each role could level up to 99 each and this time, player could level to maximum even in the middle of the main storyline since no extended Crystarium story progress existed like the original. However, it is mindful to progress the level up carefully since the player could decided the final stat of each character.

New to game is the classic random encounter mixed with FF 13 encounter. The enemy could randomly spawn near the character, the battle started when the player manage to pre-emp attack by hitting the monster before certain time limit pass or stumble upon contact. The pre-emp attack caused a some stagger damage instead of near stagger point, the characters were also given a haste effect bonus upon success pre-emp attack. The paradigm shift had a new feature in which player could decide whether the character to attack the same target or separately meaning player could decide the all 3 commando to attack a single target instead of separately. The best feature is that player could change the leader in and out of battle making the strategy more efficient e.g the player want to use certain Serah saboteur ability which the AI didn't choose properly, player could easily change leader and select the command wanted. Due to the change leader feature, the battle still continue as long as both Noel and Serah didn't KO at the same time

Since the main character consist only two; Noel and Serah, the third character would decide upon large selection of monster. Player could decide up to 3 monster in the paradigm pack to decide what type of strategy game play they wanted to use due to the limitation of 3 maximum monster role in the paradigm shift since each monster only have one specific role. There are huge selection of monster to select but must be capture by luck in defeating them. The monster player used had many access to ability in which some ability the player could not learn and if they did not possess them, they could infuse with other monster to learn its command and passive ability. The monster level up system is determine by the use of different grade and type monster material, the player could decide their final stat if the player prefer a full offensive monster, they could just a strength monster material. Player could their own monster to assist in combat whether they wanted a FF mascot of Chocobo or the fearsome, Behemoth in their fight. There are large number of monster to collect so it could consider as a side-quest if player want to tame all available monster including the DLC one.

There are many side-quest to take and many world or stage to play and re-play making the game a bit endless. There is a fun side-track in gambling to raise some token to collect rare item. Weapon and accessory upgrade are simple by searching specific material compare to the tormenting level up of original FF 13 although there is a strict accessory limit equipment. What more appreciate is the return of gil reward after defeating the monster so shopping is now easier with some extra help. Also there are future DLC content to expand the game so the game won't end so soon.

Control 10/10

This is a RPG game so control won't be a issue since player just need to select, move, confirm, cancel or take instant action. The control is basically the same as the original with R1 to paradigm shift and L1 to check enemy stat.

Graphic 10/10

Square Enix is famous for its graphic so the game is almost real-life especially in HD TV. The characters and level design are impressive making the world to really exist. This game put more emphasize on civilization so there won't be a less populated world like the original although the world is small due to timeline selection compare to the Grand Pulse of FF 13.

Music 9/10

Square Enix is also known for its music ost thus the music is great. There is also a mix of 'Rock' music and instrumental, there wasn't any dreadful music I could remember. However, the original FF 13 ost is also mix in so not every music is new hence forth nostalgic reminder of certain music although some doesn't fit in certain area.

Conclusion 8/10

FF 13-2 is a great RPG game created by Square Enix. The game improve with the revised battle system and level as well as the return of gil reward. The negative part of the battle is the reduction of six main characters into two thus making a limited strategy with the limited ability available and the three maximum monster role in battle. There might be some complaint in the story-line especially with time travel issue since it more unrelated to original FF 13 story-line and the new DLC system making the game to be more or less welcome with future expansion. This would be a first FF game (except for online FF 11 and 14) that isn't fully complete to be on sale. The question whether to buy the game now would depend on the DLC content release by Square Enix in the future.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/27/12

Game Release: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (US, 01/31/12)

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