problems are more than something lost in translation
Final Fantasy XIII 2 problems are more than something lost in translationFinal Fantasy XIII 2 fixes the most glaring and griped about flaws of itspredecessor, butunfortunatelyfails to solve the more fundamental problems built into the Final Fantasy XIII DNA.
A little bit of background: Final Fantasy is a series of Japanese Role Playing games typified by involved storylines, beautiful graphics and long cinematic sequences.
Final Fantasy XIII 2 (that pronounced Final Fantasy Thirteen Two) is a Japanese RPG and a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII. Normally, an entry in the Final Fantasy series is a completely disconnected game from the last, with a new world, new set of characters and fresh storyline.
When a second number isappendedbehind the roman numeral, that indicates a direct sequel in the same world. If the roman numeral is put together with some other words, such as in the theoretically upcoming Final Fantasy Versus XIII,that indicates a side story in the same world with different characters.
Even the title of Final Fantasy XIII 2 is telling gamers outside the core fan base to stay away. Sadly, the actual game doesn do itself any favours either as it oftenimpenetrable, and will likely notappealto anyone other than JRPG loyalists.
But I getting ahead of myself.
Final Fantasy XIII 2 starts off with FFXIII protagonist Lighting battling a purple haired baddie in a mysterious city outside of time. Soon we switch to Lightning little sisterSerah (who spent most of the first game as a crystal statue) who meets up with new hero Noel three years after the end of Final Fantasy XIII. Serah finds out that something is altering and destroying history, so she michael kors watches and Noel need to dive into a time machine, sorry, I mean dive into the Historia Crux, to fix the paradoxes.
First, the thingsFFXII 2 fixes from FFXIII:
If FFXIII got ragged on for anything, it was how painfully and unrelentingly linear it was for the majority of its playtime. The first ten chapters of the game mostly entail driving your characters along a very straight path. FFXIII 2 Histo michael kors watches ria Crux attempts toalleviatethat, and as such it probably one of the areas where the game is most improved over itspredecessor. Afterward you can go back to an area you completed and try it again to find all of its secrets.
This time jumping non linearity gives the game a hint of the flare found in genre classic Chrono Trigger or last year secr michael kors watches et gem Radiant Historia.
Another strength is the returning battle system. The battle system was the best part of Final Fantasy XIII, as it forwent the traditional JRPG system inputting commands and instead replaced it with a system where characters actively attacked enemies on their own and you merely told them what type of actions they should take (fight, magic, healing, ect).
Yet in FFXIII, the training wheels weren taken off the Paradigm system for almost 20 hours (another huge complaint about the prequel). In XIII 2, the game pretty much expects you to figure it out right away, which is great, as it throws you into interesting and challenging fights right from the get go. In fact, it might be too much for new players, which is why it great that the game give an easy mode option.
Of course, new players will probably be totally lost in the game, as the story pretty much expects you to have a working knowledge of the FFXIII characters and plot right up to the end of the game.
That said, FFXIII 2 is better at actually explaining the world, and the time travel quest that Serah and Noel go on is far more interesting than the endless series of aimless gobbledygook filled MacGuffin chases that made up FFXIII plotline.
However, the pacing and beat by beat storytelling in FFXIII 2 is still about the same as it was in FFXIII, which is to say bad verging on terrible.
The character of Serah is slightly improved in XIII 2. In XIII, she mostly existed so the camera could pan down and show upskirt shots and later so she could be used as a plot device. Here, she a more developed character, but still a fairly inert and passive heroine. Clearly the idea to focus on Serah over the far more badass Lightning was not made by someone trying to appeal to a Western audience.
Newcomer Noel feels like he was ripped right out of a Kingdom Hearts game, with all of the fluffy Disney connotations that go with that.
Part of this can be attributed to how Japanese the game is. It obvious that the two main characters a school girl and a twee tween boy are specificallytailoredfor that audience. Ditto for the grating j pop at all times soundtrack and the costumes seemingly specifically designed for cosplayers.
Of course, 2008 Odyssey was just as unrelentingly Japanese, but its story wasn nearly as embarrassing to have on the screen.
Also, game Japanese ness doesn excuse just how poorly the narrative unfolds. Scenes involving you running from one character to the next, hearing overwrought cutsceneafter cutscene exposing the same information gets abundantly frustrating.
Saying one of the fundamental tenants of storytelling is showing instead of telling is a cliche at this point, but it a lesson which clearly wasn followed with XIII 2.
All of these problems areexacerbatedby the fact that the game throws random battles at you (returning after an absence in FFXIII). While the Paradigm system can be excellent fun on the more complicated boss battles, it really drags the game out in simpler fights against basic monsters, most of which require little to no strategy. It a problem that most JRPGs have, but it exacerbated here where the interesting and complicated battle system is wasted on pointless and tedious fights.
Perhaps I being too hard on FFXIII 2. It really isn that bad of a game, especially if JRPGs are your jam. But that just the thing: Final Fantasy games have always set the tone for a generation of JRPGs. Before Final Fantasy VII came out, theoriginalPlaystation was filled with RPGs uninspired knock offs of Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy VII shook things up, s michael kors watches et the tone and opened the genre up to a much wider audience. The same thing happened again a few years later with Final Fantasy X on the Playstation 2.
Yet FFXIII and XIII 2 never really differentiate themselves from the pack of b tier JRPGs that are playing to a smaller and smaller audience of dedicated fans. And that makes me sad.
For those of you who notice that I gave Skyrim my Game of the Year and think I just didn FFXIII 2 or that it wasn me, here is a list of FF games I have finished all the way through: FFIV, FFV, FFVI, FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX, FFX, FFX 2, FFXII, FFXIII. I also played through Xenogears, many Dragon Quests and a bunch of other JRPGs. Hopefully, that enough nerd cred.
BTW if you are tempted by FFXIII 2, do yourself a favour and try Radiant Historia first. It came out last year for the Nintendo DS, and might be tough to find at this point, but it really nails the 16 bit Chrono Trigger vibe while being it own thing.