Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Final Fantasy XIII-2

I started playing this game because I liked Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VI to be precise. I started off with waiting for the cutscenes to end and the gameplay to ensue.
I was barely able to put up with everything from the start of the game to the actual exploration and fighting.
After having played Sonic Unleashed I have the feeling that part of the starting area was either ripped and mildly changed from that game, or vice-versa.
Come to think of it, there was a part of Sonic The Hedgehog from 2006 that was very similar to the starting area, which leads me to think that the area was copy/pasted from that instead.
You start off fighting a giant demon thing and then meeting the guy who you think should be the central protagonist, Noel Kreiss, but isn't. Although you control what he does once you don't actually ever play as him, which annoys me because I really wanted to.
You instead play as the hero of the last games wimpy little sister, Serah Ferron.
I wouldn't mind having to play as the whiny little girl if this was a 3D action RPG instead of using some weird AI system that teleports you to a pocket dimension when you touch an enemy.
There are Quick-Time-Events outside battle to deal extra damage to the enemy before you enter actual battle.
Now, like most (If not every) other Final Fantasy (And Square Enix) game aside from the XIII quapology you can usually switch between the main characters either by pressing Select or by going into the menu and changing the lineup.
I wouldn't complain about the battles except that they seem more random than the ones in Final Fantasy III and I wouldn't complain about the rest of it if I got to play as Noel Kreiss. He's the manly hero (As manly as allowed by Square Enix), the last of humanity from a bleak and not so distant future and Serah is an insecure girl with a moogle that turns into a bow and sword. All I want to do is Devil May Cry my way through the enemies, it'd be so much better if Squenix would stop dancing around the issue of making it an action-RPG and just let you use X to swing the sword and Square to shoot the bow instead of making you sift through a menu trying to figure out what will kill the enemy quickest.
The game itself says that you don't need to have played Final Fantasy XIII-1 to play XIII-2, but I was left wondering what was going on through the whole thing since all the first part of the game does is make constant references to XIII-1, for instance Lightening gave her blessing to Serah to marry Snow, but I never figured out who snow was until one of the flashback cutscenes told me he was a big burly guy with no shirt and a fur coat on, who looked about twenty something. Serah looks like she's about 14 and so does Noel!
All in all the game could be better and doesn't live up to the standards of better games like Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and many other Squaresoft, Enix, Square EA, and Square Enix games. I've been trying to make myself play some more of it, but I just don't want to, the story isn't interesting, the combat is formulaic, and on top of all that whenever I pass the game in the library I'm always distracted by better games like Smash Bros Brawl, Need For Speed Undercover or take your pick of Guitar Hero games.
That being said it could also be worse in many ways, there could be a lot of load times, the graphics could be choppy, and to controls could be brok...
The camera! The camera system is beyond broken and it's not that easy to change it. On top of that the menus are terrible to navigate and even more confusing than turn-based RPGs usually are. I never claim to understand everything a character can do, I just try and get everything to be the best and go with that, I still can't for the life of me figure out all the stats and combos and stuff in Dungeons and Dragons, Growlanser 2, and Final Fantasy III and I still have a good time playing those games, but with this game it's like trying to run twelve Dungeons And Dragons characters at once.
Back to the pacing, it doesn't just drop you into the story and let you do your thing like Final Fantasy III, The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid (Granted it's got a fairly long cut-scene at the beginning but it's not as long as the intro of XIII-2) Chrono Cross, or Castlevania SotN, and that's a very bad thing because the story is extremely slow and I almost fell asleep.
I can't rate this game so much as compare it to better games and say what it needed to be better, it's not very good but I'd rather play this game than say, Iron Man 2 or Superman 64.