Developer(s): Square Enix Production Development Division w/ Tri-Ace
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Genre: Role-playing game
As you may have realized already, Final Fantasy haven’t had a lot of luck with sequels with their mainstream games since Final Fantasy X-2 having an unneeded storyline and Final Fantasy XII attempting to create a RTS with a Final Fantasy feel to it. So, I was a little bit skeptical about getting Final Fantasy XIII-2, especially since they was bringing back the theories of the space/time continuum – a topic that's always interesting to explore but notoriously difficult to execute. Luckily, Final Fantasy XIII-2 does bring back the space/time continuum with some touches and innovative play style.
Story-wise, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is lacking a little bit but it still makes a heavy impact. It follows the events of its predecessor: Lighting was written out of history for disrupting the flow of time by “achieving the impossible” in defeating Orphan and saving Cocoon. Presumed to be dead, everybody moved on and began their life on Gran Pulse believing that Lighting gave her life up to the common good except for Serah, her sister, who believes that her sister is still alive because of her dreams. Along the way, you run into familiar faces and learn the reason for the paradoxes and problems in time. The story does make interesting theories regarding time/space continuum as well as give more depth to the story and events in the world of Final Fantasy 13. Especially since, as a Final Fantasy first, you are granted the ability to time travel from the beginning of the game. The game introduces a variety of side-quests and multiple endings that more than compensate for the short story that can be achieved through various criteria.
When it comes down to actual in-game content, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has revamped their gameplay style, bringing back the paradigms roles and adding cinematic triggers to the various battles to add more of an action element to the game, while maintaining the graphics that the original game is known for. The game brought back some favorite such gaining gil after battle, random encounters, exploring town, Moogles, and, which was a shock for everybody, the Beastmaster class. This feature in the game allows the player to capture and raise various monsters, each with their role and assign them to your party. To take it a step further, different monsters can also be absorbed by another monster to obtain passive abilities and/or learn new abilities.
PRO: Unlike its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII-2 focus more of adventure than the main storyline on the game giving more freedom with great side quests to complete and various endings to see which adds to its re-playability. It also took combined the traditional elements of Final Fantasy with the gameplay style of Final Fantasy XIII. Of course, the graphics are breathtaking, especially when it comes down to its their cutscenes. Finally, the return of the Beastmaster class was a welcome addition to the game allowing the player to add their trained monster to their party, even if you can only add three at a time.
CON: Final Fantasy XIII-2 does have a few flaws. For instance, the game is pretty short for a Final Fantasy game. The other thing that can be a nuisance is the low odds of monster crystal being dropped but there are workarounds. All and all, the flaws can be overcome.
OVERALL: Final Fantasy XIII-2, in my opinion, has finally broken the curse of sequels of the Final Fantasy mainstream games providing a sensible story and unbelievable gameplay features. The story may be a little short but it will keep you hooked from beginning to end.
Overall Score: Final Fantasy XIII-2 gets a 4 out of 5.