Final Fantasy back on track
It is hard to write about a Final Fantasy game, without referencing the game that brought Japanese Role Playing Games to the attention of all western gamers. Final Fantasy VII, was a revelation when it was released back in the day, a game that sold a shed load of copies on the original PlayStation- an epic 3 disc masterpiece, that stands the test of time, when it comes to storytelling and gameplay. A game, which is screaming out for a HD remake, more than any other. So, is FFXIII-2 as good as FFVII�nah, course not, but it does certainly improve on the original FFXIII. The people at Square Enix have responded to all the major concerns that were raised by the fans. This time around, the main selling point is the ability to time travel .Yep, gates appear throughout the world of Cocoon & Gran Pulse. You then need to wonder around your current area, fighting monsters and chatting to NCP`s, whilst looking for Artefacts. Some areas have numerous gates & artefacts. Artefacts are also obtained by defeating certain bosses as well. Once a gate has been opened, using the correct artefact, you fly through time (like Bill and Ted, but without the phone booth!). You are then in the Historia Crux. This is basically a fancy smancy level select, that allows you to revisit time zones and locations, once they have been unlocked.
this is tons better, with character’s you care about and stunning visuals, as well as great gameplay .
Also, this time around you can chat to loads of ncp’s, whilst in different towns, and during different time zones. While we are on the subject of chatting to people, another new addition to the FF gameplay is something called Live Trigger. A bit like the Mass Effect games, at certain times during conversations, you are given 4 different options to choose how to reply to key questions. This makes you feel more in control, like a proper RPG should. Plot wise, this all happens 3 years after the events of FFXIII, and Serah is visited by a new character called Noel- who claims to know Lightning (Serah’s sister, who has gone missing). They embark of a dangerous quest through time and space, where they also encounter Hope, ten years in the future. We also meet a moogle, called Mog, who transforms into a weapon for Serah, and is very useful in helping you to find hidden treasure & items. There is even a casino world (a bit like a Blackpool- compared to the Las Vegas-esque golden saucer in FFVII), where you get to indulge in some Chocobo racing. Other new features include some simple puzzle sections, called Temporal Rifts, which may seem hard until you get you head round them, like all good puzzles. An example being; a series of floating platforms, which disappear once you have passed over them. You have to get to the end of the platforms, hitting certain points, without going over the same ground. You also have the option to capture certain monsters after you defeat them in battle (no not with a pokeball!). After beating certain enemies they turn to crystal, and you are able to use them in your team to battle. You can add them to your various Paradigms. The Paradigm Shift System returns, pretty much in tact from FFXIII. This basically a set list of instructions, that allow you to control 3 characters at once- or at least tell the 2 computer controlled character’s how to battle. You can set up your own options, although I found the most useful being the one using one Commando type (the warrior class), one Ravager type (magic user), and using the Cait Saith monster as the third combatant, as they are a Medic Class (healer) . Another addition to the battles are strategically placed RTE`s (real time events) or cinematic events. This is basically where you have to press certain buttons within a certain time, or choose to press one button or another- to perform 2 different actions. This does allow for extra replayability, something that is new to this kind of game. If you are new to JRPG`s, and the only RPG you have played is Skyrim, then this game will seem a million miles away from it (although the level progression is kinda similar). Like most JRPG`s, the settings are more cyber punk than dungeon and dragons. Everything is bigger, and has a greater colour palette. Talking of the colour and the graphics, I don`t think I have seen a better looking game on any console. This looks absolutely stunning. At times you forget you are plaing a game, and think you are watching a multi-million pound CGI , epic movie. The sound is also stunning. The usual epic movie style score is present also. This is also the first time I have played a console version of a Final Fantasy game on anything other than a Sony console. And it was no different playing on the XBOX 360, than it was on a PS3, so happy days all round. The last Japanese RPG I played , was the PS3 exclusive, White Knight Chronicles, and this is tons better, with character’s you care about and stunning visuals, as well as great gameplay . A must buy if you are a fan of the genre.
The Bad: battles are still “spam the A button for a win”