The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the sequel to Square Enix's 2009 Playstation 3/Xbox 360 game Final Fantasy XIII, released on those same two consoles. In this game, the focus is on Final Fantasy XIII main character Lightning's sister Serah and newcomer Noel. The plot features time travel as its main gimmick. Lightning mysteriously disappears after the end of the last game and Serah tries to find her. The game opens with Lightning in a place called Valhalla in battle with a man called Caius, in a rather epic battle on horseback. It's nice opener and works well as an intro to the game. The game then switches to Serah and her time travelling adventure. Each part of the game adds fragments to collect and there are 160 fragments to collect. The story starts relatively well, but then quickly descends into abit of a dog's dinner and is just silly by the end. The ending sequence is rather...special and is one of the few games where I was just laughing at the events as they unfolded. It's just that bad!
The gameplay is much improved from the previous game. The battle system returns but the little niggles are removed – battles are random to an extend, where enemies spawn around the player and either the player or the enemies initiates the battle. A timer counts down during this time and if the player doesn't start the fight or run away during this period, then the retry option is locked (preventing the player from retrying the fight and giving a game over if they lose). Paradigms, roles and paradigm shifts all return from the original game, but with little tweeks that make it so much better and fluid to play. Another new feature is monster capturing, where defeated monsters join your party and are used as the third character. Upto three monsters can be set in the party, and using the right monster in each paradigm is vital to success. The battle system is what really spurred me on to totally complete the game. The only negative for me was the anomaly puzzles, which was just awful and felt unnecessary.
Graphically the game is great, with bright vibrant colours. The character models of the game are great, and the loneliness of the previous game (there were very little NPC characters there) is gone. The sense of scale that Final Fantasy XIII had has been lost alittle though, particularly those areas towards the end of the last game. You just don't get that sense here, even with those areas that are the same as those in the previous game. I liked the soundtrack overall but it's a lot more J-pop and J-rock than the last game and it's Leona Lewis theme song. The english voiceover is pretty good and the four central characters to the story all do a great job. It works really well.
I bought the standard edition of the Xbox 360 version of the game and received some pre-order bonuses (costumes and monster DLC and a steelbook containing postcards and a short story of events set before the game. I also later bought the Playstation 3 limited edition (though have yet to play it), which comes with different postcards, a lenticular card, an artbook and a CD soundtrack. The standard edition cost £40 and the limited £60. There was also a really limited “Crystal” edition, but it's rare and goes for £150+ on certain auction sites.
Overall Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a much better game than it's predecessor. The bonkers story is something I can overlook, because the battle system is that fun for me. But for people looking for more story related to Final Fantasy XIII might be disappointed.