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Final Fantasy XIII-2

01 February 2012
Xbox 360, PS3

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Final Fantasy XIII-2

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2012)
While 2010’s Final Fantasy XIII was undeniably a visual treat, it sacrificed many of the series’ hallmarks – exploration, populated towns full of interactive characters, side quests – in favour of a non-stop linear adventure with a battle system so automated, the game near enough played itself. As a result, news of a direct sequel was rapturously received by few.

Defying all odds though, the numerically incongruous ‘Thirteen-Two’ doesn’t just improve upon its immediate predecessor, it stakes ground as one of the best Final Fantasies in years. With the stern Lightning mysteriously absent following the end of XIII, hero duties instead fall to her sister Serah, elevated from plot device to leading lady. Joined by time traveller Noel, the pair take a page out of fan-favourite RPG Chrono Trigger’s book, dropping into different eras in search of the missing heroine and changing the course of history as they go. Completing missions in one timepoint opens more, and players are free to jump between them to discover the game’s many secrets.

While Serah and Noel are eminently more likeable than any of XIII’s grating cast – which alone would almost be enough improvement – their journey brings back all the elements so abjectly missed. Despite the core game engine and many environments being re-used, simply having them populated makes them feel new and alive. Combat remains much the same, a mix of pre-assigned roles, though the ability to switch the active party member is a vast improvement. The introduction of recruitable monsters as ersatz battle party members also adds a welcome element of strategy.

In many ways, XIII-2 feels like a mumbled apology, an acknowledgement that the mark was thoroughly missed previously and that the developers have actually listened to and acted on complaints. For everything Final Fantasy XIII got wrong, XIII-2 gets perfectly, brilliantly right – a shining example of how good Japanese RPGs can still be.

Reviewed by Matt Kamen

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Final Fantasy have made some true classics, if you like this type of rpg but maybe a little more action. I have a solution Mass Effect 1, 2 and now 3 These games are AWESOME! Watch this trailer for Mass Effect 3. Empire please write a piece on how Bioware should go into the movie business! ... More

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Posted by Rebelbumscum at 12:08, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post

Too little too late

I'm happy to hear this game has improved on it's predecessor, but I bought FF XIII and the bitter disappointment of that game is enough to make me avoid this one. I forked out my hard earned dough for one game, I won't pay again while the franchise fixes its mistakes. ... More

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Posted by Baron Von Haz at 02:33, 10 February 2012 | Report This Post

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