31 January 2012
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes out in English for North American audiences today!
And I've actually been playing it for about 3 days now, due to my import of it coming in early.
Seeing as I play pretty fast, and that the main scenario for the game isn't very long (about 22 hours or so), I've actually reached the end of the main game, and have been loving every moment of it.
Honestly, after clocking in about 22 hours of game time, I can say that this is one of the best modern Final Fantasy games yet. Based on what I'd heard about the game, I was expecting it to be on par or slightly better than FFXIII, but this game really blew me away.
- Expansive gameplay. The story is not just non-linear but allows you to backtrack and explore at your own will. In fact I think one of its strengths is that it gives you a reason to go back to the older areas you've been to, such that you'll find yourself wanting to explore even more. By this I mean gameplay elements like the mog toss, item hunting, unlocking more areas and doing quests for fragments.
- Customizing options. Since the 3rd character in the battle party is a monster, you have a lot of options to choose from. I was under the impression that there wouldn't been that much to customize but I was so wrong. There are many opportunities to build strong party members and devise strategies for battle.
- Replayability. Pretty much the whole game is replayable. Like, even the main story. This allows you to try different strategies on the same bosses and discover new things about the story by choosing different paths (and there are many options!). This is in stark contrast with FFXIII, where the game is basically a linear path to the end, and you'll pretty much never see an area again after clearing that chapter.
- Lack of polish. I feel that in order for them to have implemented all these drastic gameplay improvements with quests, platform elements and so on, they had to compromise a bit on presentation quality. For example, there aren't as many cutscenes with specifically directed cameras panning or zooming from certain angles and timed pauses. It's more conversation and generic actions. I've had a few "open" cutscenes where random NPCs would walk through my conversation. Nothing major but in terms of visual presentation its one step back.
- Short game. The main scenario is a bit short, even for modern RPG standards, but then again its not like the game forces you down one path all the time. The point is probably that people try out the side quests and do various things along the way, prolonging the experience. With all the side quests and the main story included, it probably builds to a decent length, which I'm fine with.
My qualm is mainly with how fast I reached the end of the story - I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it to reach the conclusion so soon. That said, even after clearing the entire game with a Platinum trophy I believe you can spend hours on it creating specific monsters to suit your playstyle.
not like I reviewed FFXIII before in the same way, but if I did, that would have been a 9/10.
This is actually on par with my favorite Final Fantasy (VIII). An unbelievable score, if I may say so myself. Too bad it's not a main lineage title.