Friday, July 29, 2016

—Game Review— Final Fantasy XIII-2

They made a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII?!? 

That was my reaction when I first heard (years ago now) and I gotta say, it wasn't in a "WTF?" kinda way. There were things about FFXIII that I loved, but a bunch of stuff I hated, so the news that there would be a sequel got me hoping for an improvement over FF13. 

***Final Fantasy XIII-2***

Published and developed by Square Enix
Released 2012 | JRPG
For Xbox 360, PS3, PC | Review: Xbox 360, PC
*Rated T for Teen*
Drug Reference | Mild Language
Mild Suggestive Themes | Simulated Gambling | Violence

HGG rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 8/10

You are Serah, a young woman plagued by memories of a sister who supposedly died during the fall of Cocoon. You are also Noel, a young man from a future world, the very last of humanity. Teaming up means fixing the unraveling timelines, searching for Lightning, and trying to prevent the dismal future in store for mankind. Piece of cake.

First impressions? 
Well, love. Beautiful graphics, interesting story, entertaining characters. I love this so much it's not even funny.

In-game scene
Graphics and voices? 
Quite good. Realistic, especially in the cutscenes. A little better in the PC version than the 360, but only a little.

This is one of those games that includes skins for the characters. Serah has a few more than Noel, and for the PC version there are mods available that change the outfits a bit. These skins only change the game and regular scenes, not the major cutscenes.

Battle Attire
I thought the voices were cast well. I'm a particular fan of Troy Baker (Snow), so any game with him doing a voice is fine by me. (OK, not really. I tried BioShock Infinite and couldn't stand it. But you get my meaning. LOL)

As far as JRPGs go, this one's pretty easy to catch onto. Not too difficult, even in normal mode. Easy mode's a breeze. Some of the bosses can actually present a bit of a challenge in normal mode.

As is true of almost all RPGs and especially JRPGs, this game requires grinding. The things you kill drop items you can use to upgrade the monsters that fight alongside you. (One of my monsters is Caius. I got him from a PC mod.)

Besides the traditional JRPG fight scenes in this game, there are puzzles to solve. None of these are too hard, but they can be a bit frustrating at first. I prefer the clock puzzles simply because there's a nifty clock puzzle calculator I found online that makes them a breeze. Yeah, I cheat my way through these. Sorry, not sorry.

There's some gambling in this too, which isn't a big deal. Not really my thing, but for those who like mini games within their games, FFXIII-2 has you covered.

Xbox 360 vs. PC:
I saw no real difference between these two formats, other than the ability to mod the PC edition. Many players reported issues with the PC port, but I experienced nothing other than the inability to use my hubby's off-brand 360 controller. My off-brand 360 controller worked fine. (His is one of those $30 light-up ones and mine's a $15 POS. Go figure. I can't remember the brands. I've since had to replace my controller and ended up getting an authentic Microsoft 360 controller. It works perfectly, of course.)

Old friends,
and new friends.
more old friends,
On the surface the story seems simple. But it's much deeper than that. Lightning and Caius play a much larger role in the story than they do in the game.

As you go through the story, you come across some familiar faces from FFXIII and you make some new friends who might even make an appearance in Lightning Returns. wink, wink

The bad side of the story, and this might be a bit of a spoiler for some of you, but the game ends with a "to be continued" instead of wrapping up unanswered questions. Some of these issues are resolved in a DLC episode, which is a bit annoying.

There are things in this story that bug me, little redundancies that stand out to me. It may be the writer in me, objecting to poor story editing.

For example, in the beginning, Serah talks to Noel about Snow, going so far as to reveal that they're engaged. Not even ten minutes later, you come to a point where it's indicated you can speak to your partner (doesn't matter who you're controlling, you get this option). In that moment, Noel asks about Snow and wants to know who he is. Serah's got a few options, the majority of which are completely corny, but it boils down to her explaining all over again who Snow is to her. Not a big deal, but mildly annoying.

There are other examples of this kind of inconsistency, but this is the one that really stood out to me.

Another irritating thing, the true ending is in the Lightning DLC. Allow a second for that to really sink in. The game's ending doesn't come with the game. You have to buy it separately.  

This is a fun game with an interesting story. As I mentioned before, the true ending is in part of the DLC, which isn't a big deal if you get the PC edition. Steam includes all the DLC. It's a separate purchase if you have the console version. I think that's a little... well, greedy on Square's part.

The Collector's Edition—which is what I got—includes the complete soundtrack, four discs worth. Personally, I love it. Makes me want all the game soundtracks. ALL. THE. SOUNDTRACKS. It also has an artbook, which I find pretty neat. It's all in a fancy case. It didn't come with any of the DLC, however.

My rating? 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ - 8/10 life hearts.
I play this over and over, and I'm really enjoying the heck out of modding the PC edition. I'm going to try my own hand at texture mods and then maybe see what I can do with gameplay mods. I don't think modding FF games is really encouraged (at least, not the way it is in Skyrim or Witcher III), but there are some great places to find mods for this and other games right on Steam

Where to buy?
Getting the PC edition from Steam means you can get all the DLC with it, other than a few outfits that they couldn't include due to licensing issues. The PC edition can also be modded, which can make the game more fun, or at least better looking.
*All screenshots/vidz were taken by LowliGigger/The HGG/Jaimey/Laura. Copyright © Square Enix. Square Enix does not in any way endorse this blog.

Until next time... 

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