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Old 02-03-2012   #1
Don Chipotle
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Final Fantasy 13-2: I told you, assholes

Remember way back in the day when I first posted that topic about Final Fantasy 13-2 info and I said "wow this sounds pretty awesome" and then someone said "what? no it sounds terrible" and then like everyone started getting all cold on it but then I kept saying "Trust me guys, it's gonna be good"? Well guess what?


I WAS RIGHT.


Mostly.


I have spent a good 13 or so hours with the game now so I feel like I can comment on some of the positive and negative aspects of the game so far.


THE GOOD

-Battles with regular mobs are faster.

Let me elaborate on that. You know how in 13 once you got to Gran Pulse the enemies suddenly had really high stagger points and it took a bit longer to actually get them weak and battles would take like a few minutes or longer if you suck at paradigms? That's not really the case here. Weaknessess are just as effective as staggering and battles are faster because of this. If an enemy is weak to fire, using fire will kill it just as easily as if you had staggered it. Boss fights are largely the same, as in constant paradigm shifting to maintain a good flow, but regular mobs are easily dispatched in seconds or a minute, and it really helps combat not get stale.

-Teammate A.I. can be customized...kind of

Remember how in FF13 your two A.I. party members wouldn't, like, cast an AOE spell even if that spell was the weakness of the group of enemies you were fighting? Well now you can make them focus on that with your paradigms. Your paradigms can be customized in three ways: Normal (like it was in 13), Wide (AOE focus) and Cross (Single target focus). So say you have two ravagers (black mages). If they are using the Wide Paradigm, you will see a lot of Firagas being flung around if enemies are weak to fire. It also makes the combat faster and more fun because I don't feel like I am doing all of the work now.

-The Crystarium requires thought

In 13 you could pick a job, hold X, and then get stronger. This is not how it works in 13-2. The classes have the same Crystarium lay out. You might think this dumbs it down. You'd be dumb for saying that. Instead it makes you think about which job to allocate your points into. There are two nodes, small and large. Large nodes will increase your stats for that job while small ones just increase your level in the job. You also see what ability you will get at what level so it helps to plan it out. Say you are going Commando. If you suddenly decide to switch to Medic, you can do that, but you might end up making you miss out on vital Commando stat increases and abilities. It's....it's kind of hard to explain but it is a better system than in 13.

Sure you can min/max and eventually max everything out if you grind, but that's no fun.

-Using monsters is great

There are only two party members in the game, Serah and Noel. A third party member is needed and thus was born the monster party member. It is explained in the story, but your third party member will always be a monster. Monsters can only use one job role and you can have three in your 'Monster Pack' at any one time. Monsters in your pack can be placed into your paradigms. Monsters can also infuse with other monsters to make them stronger. It's kind of like the fusion in the Shin Megami Tensei series except that a new monster is not born, instead one monster gets stronger. You might think this makes the monster taming aspect irrelevant because you would just get three starting monsters and constantly infuse them with stronger monsters. Well, monsters all cap out at a certain rank and would not get stronger from infusion. An example, one of the first monsters I got was a Pulsework Soldier who fills a Sentinel role. I maxed him out and he is still only a rank 1 monster. I could make my Behemoth eat him so the Behemoth gains all the passive abilities of the Pulsework Soldier, but instead I am waiting until I get a better Sentinel monster so it can be more effective even though it will be at level 1.

It's a really cool system that allows you to fully customize your monster team. You could have a monster that resists all attacks if you wanted. Also you can make it wear DAPPER HATS so that is the best thing. Using monsters also makes it easy, for me anyway, to not focus on jobs like Sentinel and Medic. Because why focus on Medic when I have a monster that can heal me while I wail on a boss? And let me tell you, having a monster as a Sentinel makes boss fights a lot easier to manage since I don't have to worry about my characters not dealing damage.

-If the player character dies in battle, it is not game over

Instead it switches to control of the other player character. I play as Serah because duh and if Serah dies in battle, it switches to Noel. If Noel and Serah die, it is game over. This may sound like a silly thing, but considering how FF13 gave you a game over if your character died (even if the other two were standing) this is great.

-Chocolina

She is a time travelling shopkeeper that is either a woman who thinks she is a chocobo or the child of a chocobo and a human love affair. Either way, she is the best thing.

-Every area feels fresh

In 13 every area looked pretty but they amounted to the same thing "confined path, fight dude, confined path, boss, cutscene". In 13-2, every area feels unique and varied. Sometimes you are in a town and then go off to explore, sometimes you start in the thick of things, other times you go to an area just to advance the story. The areas actually make it seem like I'm playing an RPG, what with the exploring and doing side quests and getting into battles. In one area I was having to follow a constantly moving spotlight unless I wanted to fight a Behemoth (I fought the Behemoth anyway, which is why I have one in my party now, but whatever) that is far stronger than the other enemies at that point. It keeps the gameplay exciting.

-Time travel is used well

Time travel is dumb. But one thing I like about this game is how it lets you see the results of your time travel escapades. Since you have control over time, someone you help in one timezone will remember you when you see them in the future. And then there is the part where you can create alternate timelines where people don't know who you are. I somehow managed to go to a place that was SO FUCKED BY TIME that I literally could do nothing but go and try to UNFUCK IT.

-Caius is a really good character

Caius is the antagonist. And he is a good antagonist. I will say no more on the subject, but I will say that unlike 13 where the antagonist didn't really do anything until the end, Caius actually does things that you would expect an antagonist to do: Like actually try to prevent you from doing things.

-Sidequests

There are sidequests as soon as you get to run around the first town. You will want to do them since doing sidequests will allow you to open more TIME GATES and mess around in time more.

-Areas aren't linear

I've done actual exploring and dungeon crawling. This is great.

The Bad

-The story is backloaded

The story does little to win you over in the early goings. It mostly consists of Serah asking what happened to Lightning since the game changes the ending of 13 slightly (but Serah remembers the real ending, shock!) and Noel being dismissive and mysterious. It does get interesting, but it takes a while and it isn't as engaging as some of the others in the series.

-No Sazh or All The Old Cast is Missing

The cast you grew to love or loathe are suspiciously absent. Well that's not true. You play as Lightning at the start of the game and you do see the cast in flashbacks. But you run into some of the old gang. But not Sazh. Because Sazh just "mysteriously vanished" during the three years it has been since the end of 13. Why is this a negative? Because it will be DLC and why even fucking bring it up in game? It is like the game is saying "Fuck you, buy the DLC eventually" whenever they mention Sazh.

-Music

There are some good tracks in the game, but a lot of the music is j-pop, j-rock bullshit. But some of the battle and area themes are good, but I am not really enjoying a lot of the tunes.

-Being able to re-do areas negates the LIVE TRIGGER

Live Trigger is a system that pops up every so often. You engage in conversation with a character and then you will have four options to respond. Most of the time you will not be able to go back and see what the options you didn't pick lead to. Unless, of course, you find an artefact that lets you go back and do the area again. This kind of thing should be saved for a new game plus, but nope, you can do it almost instantly. I mean I personally haven't, but it is there.

-Quick time events remove the satisfaction of victory

Sometimes when you are fighting a boss, you will get him down to low HP and then HOLY SHIT QUICK TIME EVENT DON'T FUCK IT UP, BRO will happen and then the boss will die. Sure they might be nice to look at, but if you just quick time kill a boss, there's no satisfaction in the victory. It's like the game going "Hold on, dude, you got this far, let me take care of it, you're too dumb to finish the fight." To be fair, not every boss has ended this way, but when it happens I don't really care for it.

-The fucking moogle talks too fucking much

I liked the moogle in the game before it said stuff other than "Kupo". Every time the thing speaks I want to punch it. Right in the nose. Kupo.

-Sidequest objectives are needlessly complicated

So you accept a sidequest to find some dudes capsules of medicine or something. Congrats. Now spend half an hour walking around, getting into battles, looking for a chest in an out-of-the-way location only to discover that you're really looking for a chest that is LOST IN TIME so you need to have the moogle UNSTICK IT FROM TIME. Okay, good, you found the items, go turn it in and move on. Okay, you accepted a sidequest to find some item. Now do everything I just described all over again, but this time realize you lack the moogle ability to get the item you need. Come back later, asshole! I wish they were all combat sidequests because they are way easier to deal with.

-Anomaly Puzzles are stupid

Sometimes to resolve a paradox you will have to solve an anomaly puzzle which often consist of you walking around gathering crystals. BUT THE FLOOR FALLS AFTER YOU STEP ON IT! It's just tedious and lame puzzle solving.

-Hope still has the same voice

He shouldn't have the same voice. You'll agree with me if I told you why.

-Why are there so many empty platitudes

This is an issue I have with many Japanese games. But god damn stop with all the fucking platitudes. Especially if it is just a disembodied voice waxing philosophical about NOTHING.


Overall, Final Fantasy 13-2 is like the game 13 wanted to be. It is better in nearly every possible way. And I told you all it would be.
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How dreamlike to see my x-sisters, outside the context of a Papa Song dome. They sang Papa Song’s Psalm, over and over; background hydraulics underbassed that sickening melody. But how jubilant they sounded! Their Investment was paid off. The voyage to Hawaii was under way, and their new life on Xultation would shortly begin... Watching them from the hangway, I envied their certainty about the future.
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Old 02-03-2012   #2
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The story is as shitty as I'd heard, yes? And that everythgin is explained with TIME PARADOX KILL IT
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Old 02-03-2012   #3
Don Chipotle
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The story isn't as shitty as, say, 10-2. The problem is that the story is badly told. Let me give you an example.

The first time you fight Caius, Noel seems to know him and reacts to him. You fight him and win yadda yadda. Serah then asks if Noel knows Caius, and he brushes the issue aside. In the next scene, they talk about Caius and Serah again asks if Noel knows him, as if she had never asked this in the first place. A part of this is the Live Trigger system which allows cutscene dialog to come off as disjointed. You can theoretically ask a character about something before it comes up in a cutscene later down the line.

Time paradoxes aren't the explanation for everything, they are more the solution for problems in an area. A time paradox has never been used as an explanation outside of "Hey how come this event that was supposed to happen two hundred years in the future is happening now" or something like that. By resolving paradoxes you are 'fixing' the time line, for better and for worse. Where I am at now, the characters are starting to understand that fixing time may not always lead to happy things, so the story is getting more interesting.

The main issue is that there is no tension. See, in 13 you had the whole Focus thing driving you forward even though you knew it would not matter. In 13-2, you can just freely hop around in time so anytime someone says "WE'VE GOTTA DO SOMETHING" it's like...no, you really don't. But that is a problem with pretty much every game that has time travel as a plot device. There's no real tension to the story and a lot of the early stuff was just "Serah and Noel's Misadventures Through Time!" with only a thin thread of "GOTTA SAVE LIGHTNING" or "GOTTA SAVE THE FUTURE" linking it all together.

It has been less of that, which is good.
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How dreamlike to see my x-sisters, outside the context of a Papa Song dome. They sang Papa Song’s Psalm, over and over; background hydraulics underbassed that sickening melody. But how jubilant they sounded! Their Investment was paid off. The voyage to Hawaii was under way, and their new life on Xultation would shortly begin... Watching them from the hangway, I envied their certainty about the future.
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Old 03-13-2012   #4
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I have this game still unopened for Ps3 and the limited edition guide, but haven't gotten down to playing it.

A friend at work has played it 3 times, but just isn't in to it, it seems as he still hasn't finished 13. I will give it a try one of these days, maybe after Dark Souls or maybe I will play Atelier Satori or Zelda first.
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Old 03-13-2012   #5
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Why would someone play a game three times if they are not into it.
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How dreamlike to see my x-sisters, outside the context of a Papa Song dome. They sang Papa Song’s Psalm, over and over; background hydraulics underbassed that sickening melody. But how jubilant they sounded! Their Investment was paid off. The voyage to Hawaii was under way, and their new life on Xultation would shortly begin... Watching them from the hangway, I envied their certainty about the future.
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Old 03-16-2012   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Applejack View Post
Why would someone play a game three times if they are not into it.
Not the entire game, they have turned the game on to play it 3 times. Which means they may be 10 hours in at the most I would think.

I know that I need to see if I have PS3 money as I bought the game for the Ps3 as I bought FF XIII for the Ps3 and wanted to do the same. I know I have MS points, but not sure about Ps3. I want to buy the extra weapons and outfits for everyone and the enemies as well before I start playing.
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