Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review: Out of Time

Final Fantasy 13-2

Note from the Editor: We here at Morality Points firmly believe that video game reviews don’t have to be the most timely occurrence; many games go through initial bursts of popularity and fan-dom only to be hailed as the most boring 20 hours in the history of ever. Even though Final Fantasy XIII-2 came out in January, Stephen’s review offers a better perspective over the true merit of the game.

To avoid spoilers, I have avoided discussing the plotline.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the latest installment of the series created by Square-Enix and was released at the very end of January 2012. So, that begs the question: Why is my review coming out just now? Well, my playthrough of FFXIII-2 was nearly complete when my time and attention was stolen away by the arrival of Mass Effect 3. However, now that I’ve finally beaten the single player and played plenty of multiplayer, it’s about time for me to finish up with FFXIII-2.

As you can tell by the title, FFXIII-2 is the sequel to Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIII was a controversial game that had both lovers and haters. I prefer to take the middle ground and say that Final Fantasy XIII had many great points but several big detractors, such as a lack of open world exploration, a linear plot, lack of cities and annoying voice actors.

With the creation of FFXIII-2, Square-Enix hoped to rectify the mistakes of Final Fantasy XIII. However, whether or not it was a success is debatable.

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Morality Quickie: Big Love for Big N

At Gamescon, Nintendo announced a doozy of a holiday lineup. I mean, big time. Games just announced at E3 this year are seeing release dates in October and November. Either these games are going to be rushed, or someone can actually keep a secret at Nintendo–Sony, Microsoft take note, please.

The big hitters for Wii:

Wii Party – October 3

NBA Jam – October 5

Kirby’s Epic Yarn – October 17

Donkey Kong Country Returns – November 21

Goldeneye – TBA November

Epic Mickey – Holiday

For DS:
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future – September 12

Final Fantasy the Four Heroes of Light – October 5

Mario vs. Donkey Kong – Mini-Land Mayhem – November 14

Super Scribblenauts – TBA October

And of course, SUPER MEAT BOY comes out this Holiday for WiiWare. That game is going to be epic. I’ve always wanted to be a pile of meat sliding around and dodging large chainsaws.

So this list is huge, and they are all buzz worthy games. Furthermore, Metroid Other M comes out in just two weeks (YES!!), which is another exciting title, and you can expect the next generation of Zelda to appear sometime either this holiday or early next year. NBA Jam will always hold a place in my childhood heart, so I hope that’s going to be awesome. I’m not as sold on Kirby as apparently everyone else in the gaming media–for some reason, their pencils get a little bit stiffer every time new details get released. Don’t even get me started on Goldeneye — if they mess that up, I swear I’ll… I’m gonna… argh, I’m gonna be pissed!

Wii Goldeneye release date

Nintendo must have realized that there are other franchises other than Mario for it’s little white box.

And here I was thinking I could get through this holiday season without buying too much….

Also, the opening cinematic for Epic Mickey was on display at Gamescon, and let me say, it’s pretty…. epic. I’m not gonna lie, I thought this game was over hyped, but I should’ve had more trust in Warren Spector. That man can seemingly do no wrong.

Here’s the video for those interested

What games are you most excited about? Sound off below!

Source: IGN

-Joshua “Neutrally Chaotic” Duke

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First Impressions: Final Fantasy 13

I want to start by saying I really disliked Final Fantasy 12.  I tried so hard to like it but I just couldn’t get into it.  So with that in mind I was super psyched about 13 because by all accounts it looked like this entry would return the series to its former glory.  I’m about 7 hours in and I would already say it’s better than 12.  I understand that when you start an RPG like Final Fantasy you’re making a serious time investment and that you can’t make a true judgment on the game until you see it all the way through.  However, you can see the changes from the minute you boot the game up.  That’s not to say that all the changes are good.  In fact, some aren’t.  But there are a few trends that are worth discussing.

The graphics are great, fantastic even.  I’m playing the 360 version so I can’t comment on the differences between the two versions but I can tell you there aren’t many games better looking than Final Fantasy 13 on the Xbox.  And in a lot of ways, the graphics are one of the only things that really prove this is a Final Fantasy game.  There are A LOT of things that will make you say “what game is this?”

The combat system is so different from classic turn-based Final Fantasy that you might not recognize it.  The first few hours of the game, I hated it.  Sometimes I still do.  It takes a lot of getting used to.  Combined with the fact that you don’t even use magic until 2 hours in, it took a lot to continue on.  Basically the only thing pushing me forward was the story and gorgeous cut scenes.

Also in battle, you don’t have control over the entire party, just the party leader.  Yeah, that’s one change I hate.  I’ll say I have started to get used to that at this point, but it’s very jarring to only be telling one character what to do in battle.  I have found myself frequently frustrated with how the other characters were attacking.  But, that is partially my fault.  Which brings me to paradigm shifts aka character classes.

These I do like so far.  Essentially these are the traditional warrior, white mage and black mage classes with a different and cooler name.  The more you play the more paradigms each character can learn.  These can be switched on the fly in battle and make for some cool combination options while playing.  And this is how you control the other characters actions in battle, by switching from medic to commando and back to ravager so you can heal, attack and then spell cast.  It causes a lot of button presses and gives the illusion of an action RPG.  Which is good for the casual RPG fan.  It does seem like it streamlines the game but I am expecting that these paradigm combinations will become super complex really quickly.

I don’t want to comment much on the story because in the overall scheme of this huge game I’m really not far so it wouldn’t be fair so say what I like and don’t like about that at this point.  I am very intrigued by the directions the story’s going but not so much interested in a few of the characters.  Hopefully, that turns around.

Overall, at this point in the game I definitely like the game despite some of the changes and the slow pacing early on.  I am just hoping there’s more to the controls and gameplay I just haven’t figured out or learned.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll answer what I can.

Podcast +3!

Subscribe to the Podcast: - Morality Plus One Podcast - Morality Plus One Podcast

This episode Not Judas makes his podcast debut and talks with Cool-C and Neutrally Chaotic talk about what he’s playing and his favorite games. We also talk about games that deserve a sequel as well as series that need to die. There is talk about Mass Effect 2, Gitaroo Man, Dragon Age: Origins, Earthbound, Morrowind, Oblivion, Modern Warfare 2, Final Fantasy X and DJ Hero with a few others mixed in.

We use a new method of recording so let us know how you like it. Thanks for listening!

Morality Podcast Episode Three (right click to download)

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