originals\ Dec 26, 2011 at 8:44 am

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Sweeps Up the Mess of Final Fantasy XIII


The Final Fantasy series has always been known as THE staple of what JRPGS were, are and will be in the future. Every time a new title in the series is released, Square Enix always tries to bring something new to the table. Known for their larger than life stories, extraordinary environments and spiky haired antiheroes, the Final Fantasy series has been one of pure quality and perfection for years.

Now, with Final Fantasy XIII-2, rounding the corner to its release date in North America, fans of the series are wondering if they should trust Square Enix again after the lackluster and mixed opinions on Final Fantasy XIII only two years before. Indeed, Final Fantasy XIII had a whole sleuth of problems allowing longtime fans of the franchise to turn their backs on the once consistently amazing franchise they'd grown to love.

Sure, Final Fantasy XIII had issues, but how is the sequel going to make up for what was lost in XIII? GameZone takes a look.

Too Linear/Pacing

Many fans including myself thought Final Fantasy XIII was too linear. Sure, Final Fantasy games have been linear in the past, but there has always been at least a little exploration to give you a break from all the cactaurs and behemoths you run into along the way. However, Final Fantasy XIII too linearity to an entirely new level. The first 20 to 25 hours of Final Fantasy XIII was nothing like Final Fantasy games of the past. There were no towns and no side quests. You went exactly in the path the developers wanted you to.

It isn't until after you play those 20 plus hours that you get to the open world part of the game. But even then, although exploring is finally available to you, it isn't fun. You still run on check points with missions explaining which monsters to find, fight and destroy. In many players' minds, it came too late and didn't save the game's extreme linearity.

How Final Fantasy XIII-2 will fix it:

First, there will be a Live Trigger system in place, which is a system that gives the player different choices when talking to non-playable characters. Offering the Live Trigger system in Final Fantasy XIII-2 will hopefully offer deeper connections with characters and also offer up more side quests and explorations.

Along with the Live Trigger system, the Historia Crux system has also been integrated into the game. This system was specifically put in place to repair the horrific linearity that took place in the first game. It is a time travel system that lets the player travel years and years in the future or the past allowing them to explore same locations during different time periods.

Battle System Woes

The battle system to Final Fantasy XIII was one of mixed reactions. Some reviewers touted it as very thrilling and one of the more complex of the series while others thought of it as just going through the motions and a little boring.

I was somewhere in the middle of those two. I really liked the fast paced system FF XIII brought to the table, but at times, it felt a little stale until the end of the game where the strategy and paradigm shifts kicked in a little more making it more interesting and definitely more challenging. But if you were one of the people who thought the battle system was on the sketchy side, Final Fantasy XIII-2 might change your opinion.

How Final Fantasy XIII-2 will fix it:

Although we can't be 100 percent sure if these additions will appease the masses and create a better battle system, it will at the very least bring something new to the table. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is keeping the Active Time Battle system and the paradigm shift while also adding difficulty settings, monster taming and a feral link.

Obviously, the difficulty settings will be chosen by the player and will control the difficulty of the battles. Secondly, players will be able to tame monsters and use them in the battle also allowing for the addition of the feral link, which essentially is the monster's special attack. Bringing in these additions will hopefully help to keep the battle system a bit less monotonous.

Mediocre Story?

Again, this has been debated since the release of Final Fantasy XIII in 2010. Some appreciated the story explaing that its simply a different direction than Final Fantasy titles of the past while others consider it to be one of the lesser stories of the franchise.

While I didn't think it was an awful story by any means, I felt like the story of Final Fantasy XIII took a backseat to many of its predecessors. Although the cast was a lovable bunch for the most part and the trials they went through were nothing short of extreme, there was never really a point for me when everything clicked. I played through and beat the game with ease, but I was never really immersed in the game as I had been in previous titles. I think maybe this was due to the linearity along with the story writing, but if you felt like I did, there will be no worries for the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII-2.

How Final Fantasy XIII-2 will fix it:

In more ways than one, Final Fantasy XIII-2 seems to have a more impressing story by adding a time travel element. Lightning is thought to be dead, and without giving away too much, players will have to travel through time and space to find her. It's been said that XIII-2 will be a lot darker than the first as the director of Final Fantasy XIII-2 says that now with Vanille and Fang gone and with Cocoon fallen, there's no way the new story can be totally peaceful.

This time players will be given control of Serah to start off and events will center around her and her quest to find her sister. With all this coming into play, it seems as if Final Fantasy XIII-2 has the basic formula to best its predecessor and give Final Fantasy fans a reason to trust the franchise again.

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