13 things Final Fantasy XIII-2 has over XIII
To celebrate its release, PS3 Attitude thought we’d take a look at what Final Fantasy XIII-2 has that its predecessor doesn’t, and why gamers and Final Fantasy fans everywhere should be excited.
1. A more open world
Without a doubt, the biggest criticism levelled at Final Fantasy XIII was its linearity. Final Fantasy games have always been about exploration and discovery, and many fans felt this had been taken away from them in XIII.
Wisely, Square Enix has rectified this somewhat with FFXIII-2 by designing a game world that is littered with multiple paths, NPCs to chat to, and collectibles to find. Players are genuinely rewarded for exploring, which wasn’t necessarily the case with its predecessor.
The story even includes multiple endings, further exemplifying Square Enix’s wish to raze the ‘linear’ label that has been attached to XIII.
2. Proper side quests
Another sticking point of FFXIII was its lack of inventive side quests. True, it did include 64 monster-hunting missions, but quest variety was very thin on the ground.
This is not the case with Final Fantasy XIII-2 though, which reverts back to more traditional and diverse side quests that are acquired from NPCs, and not, thankfully, from Cie’th Stones.
Sure, battling monsters is fun, but there were times during Final Fantasy XIII when all we really felt like doing was chocobo racing or gambling on a slot machine.
As unlikely as it is, Square Enix clearly heard our call, and subsequently included a plethora of minigames in FFXIII-2, for when players fancy a break from combat; good times!
4. Characters who aren’t annoying (well, less annoying)
Some would argue that FFXIII had more than its fair share of irritating personas, which is possibly one of the reasons why many players failed to make it to the end of the game. Whilst FFXIII-2 isn’t completely devoid of annoying characters, it is a significant improvement over XIII.
Serah Farron was one of the more interesting characters in FFXIII who finally gets her chance to shine in its sequel, and Noel Kreiss seems to be a likeable protagonist with an intriguing past (or should that be future?), so things are definitely looking promising.
Similarly, returning characters Snow Villiers and Hope Estheim have been given radical new looks for XIII-2, and their personalities have also matured significantly in the three years since the events of the previous game.
5. Mog the moogle
Moogles have been part of Final Fantasy mythology for decades (since 1990’s FFIII, to be specific), although they were hardly mentioned at all in XIII.
Not to worry though, moogle fans, as one of the strange creatures accompanies Noel and Serah on their journey throughout FFXIII-2, and he even has the useful ability of transforming into Serah’s unusual weapon, Starseeker.
With his squeaky voice and mysterious nature, Mog may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we guarantee he’ll at least be less annoying than Vanille.
6. A baddy with big hair
According to Final Fantasy lore, the bigger a character’s hair, the more evil he is. If that’s true (it isn’t), then FFXIII-2’s main antagonist and Lightning’s rival, Caius Ballad, must be very evil indeed.
In the hierarchy of Final Fantasy villains, we all know Sephiroth is currently sitting pretty at the top of the tree (he has seriously big hair). We’re not saying Caius can topple Sephiroth, but his barnet could certainly give Seph’s a run for his money.
7. Alternate costumes
Costume design in Final Fantasy is always ostentatious and often awesome, and XIII was no exception. However, each of the main characters inexplicably stayed in the same threads for the whole game, even during flashbacks; evidently no one on Cocoon could afford a second outfit.
That’s all set to change with FFXIII-2 though; alternate costumes for Serah and Noel are part of the game’s pre-order package, and an Ezio costume has even been announced as future DLC.
In a nice touch, XIII-2’s cutscenes are not pre-rendered (unlike XIII), so your characters’ equipped costumes will be visible throughout their entire adventure, including during cutscenes.
8. Monster collection
Monster collection isn’t new to the Final Fantasy series, but it regretfully didn’t feature in FFXIII, so it’s making a triumphant return in XIII-2, with over 150 unique monsters to recruit into your party.
If that sounds suspiciously like another popular Japanese game franchise, that’s because it does, but we’re excited about it in FFXIII-2 all the same.
9. Time travel
Time travel and paradoxes play a huge part in Final Fantasy XIII-2, with new boy Noel hailing from seven hundred years in the future. However, thanks to the Historia Crux system, Noel isn’t the only one who can travel through time.
Time gates are spread all over the game world, which can only be activated by finding each gate’s unique artefact. Once the artefact has been found, the player is free to travel between all activated time gates from various places and times. Confused? You will be.
10. Cinematic Action
Unfortunately, Cinematic Action is just FFXIII-2’s posh way of saying ‘quick time events’. Don’t be too disappointed though, because for once they’re actually useful!
During bosses and other specific battles, the Cinematic Action prompt may be displayed. If the player successfully presses the correct button(s), a great deal of damage is delivered to the enemy, possibly turning the tide of the battle, and you may even be granted bonus spoils once it’s all over.
11. Random encounters
Unlike FFXIII, monsters in XIII-2 do not roam freely in the world. Instead, enemies are randomly generated, as they have been in previous Final Fantasy games.
When a random encounter occurs, the Mog Clock appears on the bottom of the screen, which grants the player either a bonus or penalty in combat, depending on the amount of time it takes them to start the battle. It’s an interesting concept, but we’ll have to wait a few days to find out if it works in practice.
In Final Fantasy XIII, if NPCs were approached they would simply repeat a couple of lines of generic dialogue, so there wasn’t much interaction between player characters and everyone else in the game world.
However, in FFXIII-2, characters can have genuine two-way conversations with NPCs, which are all fully voiced, and the Live Trigger feature even allows for multiple dialogue choices; it looks like JRPGs are finally catching up to the rest of the gaming world!
13. The number 2
We’re truly, truly sorry about this one, but we simply couldn’t resist. Besides, if we didn’t say it then someone else would have!