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About me: My name is Ben Nacca and I specialise in game reviews. Check here for the reviews in their natural format at www.lanraiders.co.uk Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BenNacca

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Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2

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04.03.2012

Advantages:
Superb character visuals  |  Upbeat soundtrack  |  Exploration and quests in abundance

Disadvantages:
Over complicated the levelling system  |  Weak story  |  Some poor, bland characters

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Gameplay/Playability

Graphics

Sound

Value for Money

Difficulty & ComplexityQuite a simple game not too complicated

LongevityVery good longevity

MultiplayerNo Multiplayer/Not Applicable

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Final Fantasy XIII-2


Tested and reviewed based on the Xbox 360 version.
Review by Ben Nacca
(Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BenNacca )
XBL GT: Darkeyes1991 PSN ID: Darkeyes2k11

All the excitement and build up to Final Fantasy XIII’s arrival to next generation consoles turned out to have a rather damp and dull impact upon release. The fact that it was only a Final Fantasy game by graphics and title since the ability to explore was all but removed from the game till the very end.

Billed as a Role Playing Game but holding your hand steady throughout, Final Fantasy XIII left little to be imagined and held your hand tightly through the game but here is where Final Fantasy XIII-2 improves. The story for the first game was great, the graphics and characters were superb and yes, some voices were annoying but it is a Japanese RPG, what do you expect? Bottom line, FF XIII-2 builds on these and gives the people what they want.

Bringing the world of Cocoon back to life again along with Gran Pulse is something that Square Enix aptly do, in full beauty and more as they once more plunge you into the depths of another Final Fantasy story with a bang – a cutscene featuring Lightening and Caius – leaving you on the edge of your seat from the very off.

Gone are the days of controlling Lightening, FF XIII’s first protagonist. You are now handed her younger sister Serah who is great at whining and is generally absent when it comes to any kind of interest or charisma. The new sidekick isn’t much better either coming with the name Noel and really lacks any charm at all. They feel like back-ups when compared to how fierce Lightening and Fang were or comic relief that Sazh brought to the table – not to mention Vanille who was interesting and weird, at the same time. I guess, getting the downside out the way now, there is no real love or attachment for the main characters in XIII-2.

Essentially, you follow these two, Serah and Noel, as they try to reach Lightening’s side with battles and exploration in the meantime to be consumed. Active Time Battles make a return and although the story is very driven, you can always stop and explore, find artefacts, talk to Non-player characters here and there – FF XIII-2 has really opened up in terms of being an RPG as you can see.

Variety is what suffers though with most missions being a “fetch this” or “do that” template that rarely spurs the mind. Occasionally there are puzzles that ,quite frankly, are wonderful but they are rare treats. Yes, the ATB makes a return as mentioned earlier and many people didn’t like that system but many people will not sit back and just let the battles progress by pushing one button over and over, even though you potentially could. The reason why is simply because people are playing FF XIII-2 because they want to but yes, it is possible to just press one button throughout the entire battle sequences and watch paint dry on a wall while doing so.

The voice acting is done really well but the main delight is the soundtrack that is once again upbeat and captures the various situations perfectly. Sometimes the script is littered with cheesy offerings that make you lose that belief in the characters but for the most part, it is solid.

If Pokemon fell into Final Fantasy…well wait, it looks like the concept did. You can now catch monsters you fight and use them via the Feral Link ability as powers – essentially limit breakers – but they are a great addition and bring back a bit of variety to the gameplay.

Last time round, I really loved the Crystarium levelling system – how you could add points into varying options to develop your characters and it worked, in my opinion, rather well. Shame the same could not be said this time round though with the ability to progress in any unlocked class at the same time and some nodes that you spend points on offer bonus’ to you sounds great, generally this has complicated matters. The game isn’t forgiving in terms that you can’t go back or change things and shortly into the game you will realise the new system is actually rather limiting – it’s already complicated as it is.

The story is no way near as strong as before but the voice acting and characters are once again, as expected, astounding to say the least. The actual backdrops can be a bit bland at times though and there are slow down moments that again make you wonder if consoles are in need of an update in hardware but generally FF XIII-2 is great on the visual aspects.

Video 8/10

Final Fantasy is always about the cutscenes. It always has been. No complaints here and characters look superb. Shame some of the backdrops are a bit hit and miss but generally FF XIII-2 holds up very well.

Audio 8/10

Well while it spells cheese at times, the voice acting is done well and accompanied by a upbeat musical score that keeps things fresh and interesting.

Gameplay 8/10

More or less the same feel as last time round but with the ability to explore and solve puzzles, find artefacts and so on = awesome. Simply put, FF XIII-2 develops on the shortcomings of it’s predecessor but lacks the oomp to go the extra mile.

Delivery 8/10

Over complicating the levelling system was a big no-no but the addition of capturing monsters and extra quests thanks to the expanded RPG element, FF XIII-2 will last you hours and hours as is to be expected from an RPG. No multiplayer obviously either and I wouldn’t say there would be much replay value either.

Summary 8/10

Well you can’t say Square Enix don’t listen to fans. They do, just not all of them. Lots of things have been addressed and fixed but it still lacks the Final Fantasy feel we have had since FF VII to FF X and we miss that, we really do. It has charm though and you will be engulfed by it regardless but with a few weak characters and the story not strong from the start, it will feel like a step in the right direction at the beginning of a long road.


This guide is the property of Ben Nacca and is for the sole use of www.lanraiders.co.uk, www.dailyecho.co.uk and www.ciao.co.uk. No copying to other websites or other mediums without written permission first.
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Walowiz 04.03.2012 23:37

I am so excited to try this game, a shame XII disapointed so much D;

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Product details

Long Name Final Fantasy XIII-2 Standard Edition
EAN 5021290047426
Publisher Square Enix
Genre Action/Adventure
Platform Xbox 360
Release Date 03.02.2012
Age 16+
Manufacturer Square Enix

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This review of Final Fantasy XIII-2 Standard Edition (Xbox 360) has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. SirJoseph
  2. harveydog52
  3. MEL0611

and 9 other members

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