Following the release of Final Fantasy XIII, the segregation between Final Fantasy fans has become abundantly clear. Many fans were dissatisfied with the quality of the release and the apprehension regarding the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2 became apparent. I, for one, enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII immensely but still proceeded to approach this release with an unbiased opinion and open mind.
Despite the appearance of this title closely resembling its predecessor, Final Fantasy XIII-2 showcases enhancements to gameplay and an extremely engaging plotline and narrative. Although it is indeed a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, there are clear examples of alterations throughout this title.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 features random encounters as you traverse a location. This feature allows for bountiful combat opportunities, but can be somewhat frustrating as they appear frequently and can hinder your progress. As these random encounters take place, you are greeted with an encounter circle. If you vacate so that no enemies are present within the circle, you flee the battle and are not required to engage in combat. A mog clock is also displayed upon enemies appearing .The mog clock is a countdown system that represents the opportunity to achieve a pre-emptive strike upon the enemy. The quicker you engage the first strike upon the enemy, the more opportunity there is to successfully administer a pre-emptive strike.
Paradigms allow you to customise your party’s formation and strategy for battle. Various formations will aid you in combating enemies and bosses. A formation that allows you to defeat one group of enemies may not work on others. Players can now assign monsters to their paradigms within Final Fantasy XIII-2. Upon defeating a specific enemy, you are granted access to allocate them to your paradigm. Each monster possesses unique abilities and attributes, which can be developed within the crystarium. Upon selecting a monster, the formations available to you within the paradigms expand.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 grants you access to a trusty companion known as a Moogle. A Moogle’s bobble will glow when you are within the vicinity of special items and treasures. It may also help you discover artefacts and lead you to locations where live triggers are present. A Moogle also has a unique function known as ‘The Moogle Hunt.’ Treasure sphere and other objects which are out of phase with the current timeline will reside across various locations. These hidden objects will be made noticeable by a shimmering aura. With Moogle’s assistance, the paradox effect is dispelled and will allow access to the now-tangible object.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 places a massive emphasis on conversing with people throughout the various locations. You are able to converse with individuals and discover information that is sometimes helpful regarding the storyline. The characters may also converse amongst themselves, especially during live triggers. These live triggers appear occasionally and are an opportunity to discover more about the character and sometimes topics such as location and history. Upon receiving a question during these live triggers, there are four unique responses present, depending on the nature of the discussion. This directly affects the response of the other character you are conversing with. As you make progress, people may proposition you with missions you may wish to undertake. You are not required to partake in these missions, they are simply side missions. Upon completion, you will receive a reward for your efforts.
During selected parts of the game, you have access to Chocobos. Upon mounting a Chocobo, you may traverse the map freely with no worry of being attacked or having to engage in combat. Chocobo’s also grant you access to locations you may be unable to reach on foot. You must feed a Chocobo a gysahl green before they will allow you to mount them.
Throughout the Final Fantasy XIII-2 experience, you are required to time travel through the Historia Crux. It acts as a compass for navigating time and allows you to select a year and location that you wish to travel to. With each gate successfully unlocked, more locations become available to you. Gate seals allow you to close various locations within the Historia Crux. Upon closing a location, it resets part of their history. It can also be utilised to rewind to a point before an artefact was obtained, allowing you to complete past mysteries again.
Whilst you travel to plentiful locations, you may discover a function known as a temporal rift. To progress further, you must unravel the mystery presented and resolve the anomaly. You may also encounter cinematic actions within Final Fantasy XIII-2. During the cinematic action segment, you will be prompted to complete a button sequence. Upon completing this sequence perfectly, you receive a random bonus. Decision making is a primary feature within Final Fantasy XIII-2. The game will present you with a situation and prompt you to select an action to resolve the predicament.
Owing to the difficulty of individual enemies within Final Fantasy XIII-2, you may find yourself seeking robust weaponry and items to aid you in your quest. Chocolina’s Shop appears in various locations throughout the game. The shop grants you bountiful amounts of weapons, items and accessories to compliment your character’s abilities. Each accessory possesses a unique attribute, and clever combinations will improve the capabilities of your characters. Weapons can also be optimised to focus on strength, magic and HP.
The quality of presentation within Final Fantasy XIII-2 is phenomenal which swiftly captured my interest. The inclusion of music and sound created a powerful atmosphere in specific sections of the game. I did find occasionally the use of specific tracks became repetitive but, was utilised effectively for the most part. Final Fantasy XIII-2 combines a harrowing storyline with a light-hearted connection between two protagonists, creating an emotion-wrenching experience for the player. If you were not a fan of Final Fantasy XIII, chances are this title will not sway your opinion. If you’re possibly a fan of the older releases within the Final Fantasy series or have not played the prequel, this game may present a new lease of life for you. It provides a brief summary of the prequel so this game is accessible to avid fans of Final Fantasy or those who are just beginning their journey.
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