22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Fun if played with an open mind
, March 10, 2012
This review is from: Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
First things first, I actually really enjoyed the first game, despite it's shortcomings. Now, on to the FFXIII-2. I'm very near to the end of the main story and I've collected about 120 of the 160 fragments, and I'm already about 50-60 hours in.
Story: People need to stop griping that time travel is overdone. What storyline hasn't been overdone in an rpg to an extent? As for me, I've never really played a time traveling game, so this was a welcome change. It's also not as confusing as some may lead you to believe. I think my biggest issue with the time traveling here is that you don't get a lot of variety in the places you visit. You're basically going to the same places in two or three different time periods, and the only things that really change are the NPCs that show up or how the environment looks. Now, on to the actual story. Serah is looking for her sister Lightning, who mysteriously disappeared after the events of the first game. Lightning sends Noel (a boy who is connected to the villain) to help Serah along the way. People are saying there are plot holes and whatnot, and I admit there were a few times when I thought, "why did that just happen?" More often than not, however, I'd give it some thought and things began making sense. The main story IS short, but there's so much to do on the side, that I didn't particularly mind.
Characters: Lightning is one of my favorite FF characters, mostly cause she's badass. Yes she's very stoic and a bit lacking in the "personality" department, but what would you expect. Her parents died, and she bascially had to take care of herself and Serah on her own, which means she probably had to "grow up" fairly quickly. Anyways, I loved the opening of the game when you get to use Lightning, but was pretty disappointed when I found out you could only use her for those 5 min. As the game progressed, however, I became ok with that fact because the story IS about finding her, so it would make sense that you wouldn't be able to use her (kind of like Link looking for Zelda). Which brings me to Serah. I had my reservations about her in the beginning because, well, she's not Lightning. She's pleasantly surprised me. She's got much more spunk than you'd expect, and she's not some helpless girl either. She's carries her fair share of the fight with Noel. I've read people don't feel like they can connect with her, espcially during the short reunion with Snow. First of all, you all, Serah wasn't just all "oh time to move on since our objective here is done." Snow was the one who was "leaving," and she did get a bit emotional about it. Now, Noel, on the other hand, is your run-of-the-mill hero. He has even less of a personality than Lightning. I don't hate him, but I don't really care for him either. Caius, I actually like as a villain. He's not as epic as Sephiroth nor as Sadistic as Kefka, but he's still pretty cool. The fact that he's doing everything in order to save Yeul makes him more relatable too, even though saving her means destroying the rest of the world. I didn't expect to care too much about Yeul, but how can you not feel for her. Every time she sees the future she dies! Over and over again. Granted it's not always the same Yeul, but that sucks nonetheless. Alyssa I didn't mind too much. I'm always a bit wary of characters who are too chipper because people aren't normally like that. I do have to say that she ended up surprising me, and, to avoid spoiling anything, I won't say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Finally, for the original FFXIII characters. I never really liked Snow. He's too preachy, too full of himself, and too reckless. The fact that they gave him the ugliest hairdo in all of FF history made me thankful he's only in this game for a short amount of time. I'm glad that Hope is grown up and mature now. He was a big, whiny pain for the majority of the first game, and it wasn't til towards the end when I started to like him a little. Sazh, I never cared for, so I was fine with him not being in this one. I wasn't expecting to see Fang and Vanille at all, but I was plesantly surprised when they did. It also made me realize how much I missed Vanille and Fang. Fang, of course, cause he's my favorite character. Vanille on the other hand I didn't mind in the first game.
Battle System: I have such a love/hate relationship with this. It's great that it's fast-paced, but like everyone else says, it's too fast-paced. I would love to chose the abilities I want to use manually, but if you really want to attain a 5 star rating, you're going to rely heavily on the auto-battle. Next, I like the "gotta catch'em all" thing they did with this game. Using different monsters with different special attacks adds a lot of fun variety, BUT I still prefer regular characters. This is why I eagerly downloaded the Lightning and Amodar DLC so that I could have Lightning in my party. And what the hell happened to the magic? It seems like they took out a bunch of spells, and you can't even cast haste unless it's from a special ability of a monster?! How does that make sense? They should have at least kept the aegisols, fortisols, and ethersols. Other than that, nothing has changed too much from the first game, so if you liked it then, you'll be ok with it now.
Music: I'm 50/50 on this one. If a song doesn't strike me as I'm playing the game either in a good way or bad way, I probably won't have an opinion on it. I bought the Collector's Edition, so I have the 4-disc soundtrack. I've only listened to the first two, and I have to say that I couldn't remember what parts of the game most of the songs were from. That and like a quarter of them were just remixes of other songs, and not very good ones either. When the music is good in this game, it's really good. When it's bad, it's awful. The rest is forgetable.
Side Stuff: FFXIII-2 has a casino like place called Serendipty, and, let me tell you, Gold Saucer it is not! First of all, there are only two things you can do there without having to downlad anything. There's the slot machines, which are incredibly tiresome. The chances of you making any profit are marginal at best, even when the machine is "on fire." Then there's chocobo racing. When I heard that they brought chocobo racing, I was ecstatic. I loved it in FFVII, and I was looking forward to it here...What a let down! All you're doing is watching chocobos run around in a circle for a set distance, pressing the boost at the very end, and what a crappy boost it is too. The chocobos spend half the boost meter in a pre-boost sprint. I grew so bored of watching the races that I'd do other things while the races went on.
Game Play: I actually liked all the Live Action and Quick Time. For me at least, choosing what the characters say adds a level of replayability because I want see how the characters react to whatever you chose. The Quick Time during battles gives them a little more flare. I would have liked there to be more of them, but I know some people don't like that stuff, so all things considered, there's a good amount. I wish they were more like the very first one though, where you get a choice of what the character does (i.e. using magic or using a physical attack).
DLC: I'm a BIG hater when it comes to DLCs. We shell out $60 more if we get collector's editions, and then we don't even get complete games. I understand that gaming companies do need to make a profit somewhere, but it's ridiculous if one's gaming experience can't be completed without them. At least, thus far, none of the DLCs for this game are necessary for you to fully enjoy the game. You don't NEED any of the extras, so if you DO want them, then you can't complain if you have to pay. Heck, I even paid for the Lightning/Amodar DLC because I really wanted Lightning. I have been hearing that the "real" ending for the game is going to be a DLC. If that's really true, then it's a ripoff.
All-in-all, FFXIII-2 has a lot of fun things to offer. A lot of people who criticize this game tend to be biased. Just because a game doesn't measure to other games that you hold in high regard doesn't mean it's bad. If you play this with an open mind, you'll enjoy it.
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