The next great installment in the Final Fantasy series has dropped to the press, and the reviews are in. First, there's no great update here, folks, or at least that's what they're saying. On the other hand, should a person jump in on the series from this point without having played such classics as Final Fantasy VII, there may be some enjoyment to be had. Have a peek at the opinions dropping across the web on this Square Enix-made game, and decide for yourself whether it'll be worth your cash to pick a time-traveling RPG with the big FF on it again!
The first thing you should know here is that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a time-traveling game with plotlines that fit in several places after the original XIII. There's one timeline 700 years into the future, one 100 years into the future, and one just 10 years into the future, each of them after XIII. Reviewers seem to have mixed feelings on this installment of the game for a variety of reasons, but one thing seems clear: everyone who has reviewed this game has played several Final Fantasy games before.
"Final Fantasy XIII-2 feels less like a standalone sequel than a concerted effort to bring back fans disappointed by the last game. Somewhere within the bowels of Square Enix, there’s a memo that details every major criticism of XIII. The sequel addresses enough of those points to make it feel different from FFXIII, but without making the game as a whole all that much better." - Garrett Martin of Ars Technica
The story for this game, to be fair, will give any new person to the series quite a run for their money - but like every single Final Fantasy game before, this is part of the whole project. Final Fantasy games are sort of like chapters in a book series - not necessarily a series that's meant to go together, but one told many times in the same sort of tenor. The greatest part of this series is still in-tact here as well: the combat system.
"I found "XIII-2" more absorbing than its predecessor, in part because I've gotten used to its "paradigm"-based combat. Instead of controlling all three characters in your party, you control just one — though you can switch the paradigms used by the other two so they concentrate on physical attacks, magic or defense. Boss battles force you to constantly adjust your paradigms, so while the fights are fast-paced, they require strategy." - Lou Kesten from AP for ABC News
So what this game really adds up to is a rattlingly difficult to follow storyline littered with entertaining bits of combat and fabulous graphics. There are loads of entertaining cinematic segments, the whole game feels good to play, but in the end it comes up short - unless you compare it directly to its predecessor.
"Weirdly enough, on a piece by piece basis Final Fantasy XIII-2 manages to one-up itself in almost every department. At the same time, you get the distinct feeling that Square Enix has lost its way with the franchise, especially in the story telling department. The game is littered with moments throughout that just don't add up. For a game that starts out as strong as Final Fantasy XIII-2 ,with Lightning battling through Valhalla, it immediately squashes all hopes of a exciting journey by beginning to loosely explain what is transpiring, and what your ultimate goals of the game are to be." - Bill Hess of Attack of the Fanboy
You'll be able to pick up Final Fantasy XIII-2 for your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for the cool price of $59.99 from all great places sweet games are sold. If you're a Final Fantasy fan, this game is of course not to be missed - unless you'd rather spend the cash on several iterations of the game from years past. Never played Final Fantasy VII? Maybe a quick dash to the store and $10 later you'll have the greatest RPG experience of your life in your hands instead!
BONUS: You can also download the demo direct from your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 today - go grab it and test away!