Russta (russta) wrote,

It’s choco-loco style in a choco-rodeo

I cannot talk about this game without touching upon the ending. I won't overtly spoil it but I'm afraid it can't simply be glossed over.

So, with that said...

TO BE CONTINUED!!! Really? REALLY? The ironic thing is I actually thought the ending up until that point was pretty good. It wasn't your standard happy ending and it actually made sense within the context of the story and what you had been told at certain junctures by certain characters. So, for me, to practically ruin a good ending because you've already planned out the downloadable content to cover it is outrageously offensive. Final Fantasy games getting sequels is almost unprecedented so to think that they had the gall to do this when FFXIII-2 was lauded as a big budget apology for the perceived failure of FFXIII is breathtaking. I couldn't shake the notion while playing through FFXIII-2 that this started out as DLC for its predecessor. But, after the litany of issues Square were probably too insulated to expect to hear, they decided to just flesh out what they had into a full game while checking off a list headed "fan rancor".

Still, I did think FFXIII-2 was a fine game. As I've said more times that I can remember now, I can put up with anything in a JRPG if it has a good combat system. I was always a fan of FFXIII's and felt it got some unfair criticisms. Can you just smash X to get through the game? Yeah, to a degree, you can. The question that doesn't get asked is what you would be doing instead. Fighting a bomb? Just choose a water spell. Fighting an ice elemental? Pick a fire spell. Are you really making choices? I'm not for a moment advocating that FFXIII's combat system is one of the best but it is what it is and instead of focusing on the negatives it should be enjoyed for its fast paced nature and the strategy of planning out your paradigms and expertly flipping between them underpinning it. Sadly, FFXIII-2 is so incredibly easy that it betrays that aspect more than a little. In fact it's so easy that that one of the last trophies I got was to paradigm shift a thousand times. I accept a part of that will be down to my learnings from it's predecessor but there was rarely ever a need to use Synergist, Saboteur or Sentinel throughout the course of the game. Even more so than I expected going in, everything could be run through with some combination of Commander and Ravager. The monster system, while fantastic, may make you think hard about your paradigm packs but I believe it painted the whole combat system in to a corner. This point will really hit home upon defeating Archylte Steppe's solitary Long Gui. Hardcore players who fondly remember the complexities of farming Shaolong Gui in under two minutes will inevitably lament the fact that only having access to half the jobs in the third slot chokes tactics into numbing simplicity.

Laying aside what the monster system may have done to the combat I still think it's the best introduction they made to the game. It's pretty exciting to think every time you encounter a mob that you could get him as a member of your party and level him up with you. That's only the tip of the iceberg though as you discover that you can infuse old monsters in to new ones. It's around this discovery where addiction sets in. Suddenly you're planning out all these combinations you could make and wondering how overpowered they could get. I think I've spent about ten hours grinding for stuff that involved raising monsters. As soon as I saw the fruits of building a ridiculously overpowered minmaxed Chichu I set out to build my own equivalent of a Ravager using the DLC earned Lightning which took over three hours to plan out, grind for and get around the hidden inherent passive hierarchy system. This is one amazing aspect of the game and they seem to have set the coliseum up as a conduit for DLC. The thought of having great battles against famous characters from Final Fantasy's extensive history then earning them as a monster to use is enthralling. We may groan at paying for more content but I certainly feel as though I got my £1.59 worth out of this first small content pack.

FFXIII-2's story was okay I suppose, a standard Final Fantasy affair with a bit of Chrono Trigger mixed in. I still had that strange feeling when watching the cutscenes that I remembered getting during the first game. I'll be watching and enjoying then suddenly feel the impossibility of suspending my disbelief any further. I thought about this for a while and came to the conclusion that Square just really suck at conveying emotion in their games. I don't know whether it's something that gets lost in translation or that the high degree of realism in the graphics causes a jarring effect when what the characters are pouring their heart into saying isn't matched by the body language we're all subconsciously conditioned to expect. Watching Serah scream at misbehaving kids was perhaps the game's nadir.

Serah was better than I expected her to be though admittedly those expectations were swirling around in the depths with her 'anger' emotion. I actually don't consider her FFXIII-2's lead but Noel instead and he did a damn fine job. I'm laughably unqualified try and squeeze him on to some sort of best lead scale but I can say with certainty that he's a world away from Vaan. Caius as the antagonist was really great and I enjoyed him as a villain immensely. His beliefs in what he was doing were understandable and supportable and it didn't hurt that his sword was fucking bad ass (can't wait to see some crazy cosplayer build that). Of the returning crew, Hope was a shockingly good character. He went from being an inconsequential whining kid in the first game to a smart, insightful adult who understood and aided in everything that was going on across the timeline. How about that for redemption, eh? Shame the same can't be said about Snow; he's as fucking annoying as he was in the first game, possibly worse. No wait, definitely worse because at least that stupid beanie hat gave him an excuse to be a fuckwad before. Fang, Vanille and especially Sazh aren't worth talking about. Lightning was as bad ass as ever even if she was mistakenly relegated to a peripheral character.

An addition to the game I'm informed was more or less lifted from Final Fantasy VII was Serendipity and boy should it have stayed there! To start with the slot machine... I'm sorry but any mini-game that requires a five minute tutorial is automatically far too complicated. Why do players go to somewhere like Serendipity anyway? To take a break from the grind and relax, right? Nothing is fun about the slot machine, nothing. You press R1 to enter a coin, you pull down on the left stick for the lever, you press the face buttons to stop the reels. After doing that about ten times you resort to just holding L1 to do it automatically. After about fifty turns when you've won essentially nothing and realize that there are trophies tied to this bullshit you figure out a way to keep the L1 button held down while you sleep. But guess what! Playing the slot machine by using L1 automatically lowers the chance to win by 33%. How's that for a kick in the nuts? As if to add a steel toe cap the machines have moods so you'll get to reload repeatedly until it's like a hot summer's day! Chocobo racing isn't bad I guess but you've first got to know how to raise one to a point of challenging for everything and even then I found fighting fate almost impossible no matter which items I used. The card game is built in DLC for later which I'll no doubt not pick up along with the costumes. Can we please just have Blitzball again?

Was there an argument from FFXIII that it needed more puzzles? I recall enjoying the FFX puzzles but don't really remember what they were now. What I look for in a puzzle found within a JRPG is that I have to stop and think about the solution because then I feel inner reward upon solving it. What I don't like is a clock forcing me to hurry so imagine my dismay when I'm faced with a puzzle that is a clock with a clock making me hurry. The picture and crystal puzzles were okay but the whole triumvirate felt tacked on to appease a problem that didn't exist rather than to be a worthwhile addition aiding the flow of the game.

At least one point of unquestionable praise I can happily laud upon FFXIII-2 is the soundtrack. FFXIII's was generally of a low standard with a few outstanding tracks, all of which have returned to supplement its sequel's. There's a wide spectrum of genres here but much of it is minimalistic and beautifully serene. For every Crazy Chocobo there's ten Ruined Hometown's with wonderfully soft lyrics and catchy electronica beats. Whenever I hear Noel's Theme I will think about watching him desperately struggle across a desolate wasteland as the only person alive. When a song can instantly evoke such powerful, emotive images I don't think any praise can be higher. Even the few tracks I wasn't initially keen on ended up growing on me by the end. If I ignore FFXI, I don't think a Final Fantasy game has had so many songs get stuck in my head or had me humming them to the passengers of my Battlefield USAS-12 ship before. I kid, but I'm happy it's of such high quality because the only thing worse than a bad soundtrack is one you can't remember. Looking at you Ivalice.

I had a blast playing through FFXIII-2, its predecessor and no doubt the eventual sequel or DLC that closes the story. Even after my platinum popped I had an urge to keep playing before deciding to put it down for a while so I don't get completely burnt out as this is going to be a busy year for JRPGs. I may have one down but there's still Ni No Kuni, FFX HD, Tales of Graces f, Last Story, Pandora Tower and possibly Toki To Tawa to go around all the other games on my list for 2012.
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February 10 2012, 12:07:28 UTC 6 years ago Edited:  February 10 2012, 12:09:30 UTC

Spoilers etc.

Avoided this post until I beat it, which I just did. Ending was rage inducing.. which is a shame because I think I would have liked it if it were EXACTLY THE SAME without the "To Be continued". Sad/bad ending would have been interesting. I know there are multiple endings and I'm not sure what changes, so I guess I'll have to check that out. I got "Chronosaver" when I beat it, dunno if the trophy is ending specific. I can only really think of three choices I felt mattered though: leaving Serah's dream, going through to Caius at the end instead of warping back, and choosing "Finish Him" at the very end (even though I still didn't.. despite choosing it). But like I said, I don't know what you have to switch up to get the other endings.

I've heard the story get knocked but I liked it and thought it came together pretty good. Sneaky Caius, didn't really see it coming which is cool. I sorta question the fact that they keep going early in the game(for what is essentially one person) after its acknowledged they're screwing shit up, but whatever. I didn't have a problem with the reasoning for the paradoxes or the bad guys mission/motive.. so overall I approve. Bummed there was no Alyssa confrontation though after she went bad, and would have liked to known more about why Snow/Sazh could time travel as well.. but those are my only misgivings.

I agree with you on the level of difficulty, pretty ridiculously easy. I thought it was gonna pick up for a second there after Episode 5 started but nope. Pretty sure the last boss is the only one that took multiple attempts(like 5 i think), and I always go out of my way not to farm anything ever until I'm done with the main story.

@Puzzles, I personally missed them and enjoyed the comeback.. even though they were definitely tack-ons. And I only recall one or two instances where there was a timer counting down on the clock puzzles.. most of those trials weren't timed for me.
Are you planning on getting platinum? Even if you're not, given what you've said, make sure you see all the paradox endings and I don't think you'll be disappointed. The flan one is just fucking bizarre though.
Yeah definitely.
***Spoilers most likely***

Gonna be all over the place, just random blurbs.

I used your Lightning build on Gamefaqs! Except I had HP+30% as well. I kinda like having a third human in the party over a random monster as well. I was very pleased with the game as well, it's just far too short though. It's my first ever platinum, no platinum should be obtainable within the first week of playing the game.

I used Sentinels alot for the game, I think a Sentinel was always part of my Paradigm pack for "just in case" some absurdly strong monster ran into me.

Also those clock puzzles. FUCK THOSE CLOCK PUZZLES! I mean in the beginning they were hard, and then every now and then I could solve one of the easier ones, but when I wanted to really get shit done I just used a program that solves the puzzles for me. Which is borderline necessary when you have a timer with 12 different numbers and if you fail it randomizes it again.

I was kinda surprised by the ending too, at first I thought "what, FFXIII-3?" then thought "oh right, DLC."

And omg that tutorial was hilarious. It went on so long for me I thought I was actually playing I was like "hell yes, I'm in super victory mode now" and then "this concludes the tutorial." There goes my jackpot. :(

All in all a short and sweet game, I just hope one of the DLC's is really really difficult. Like throw your controller and break it after losing so much kind of difficult. It should be so hard that the only way to possibly beat it is, max stats, perfect paradigm shifts (to recharge a full bar), and optimal equipment. One slip up = certain death.

My brother has been pestering me to play Demon's Souls, I guess if I want a challenge that much I should get on that already...haha
Glad my Lightning build helped somebody. After seeing what that guy achieved with Chichu and wanting a Ravager that wasn't a floating dodecahedron I figured I'd force myself to sit down and figure it out. What I had in the first place was sound but I didn't account for the HP+25% because I didn't know it was going to be there. I thought about leaving it on there and bumping it up to +30% but my OCD couldn't cope with only having one resist +36%. When I'm a bit more energized I'm planning to do the same with a Sentinel, Synergist and Saboteur. Hopefully more information on not just passives will be available by then or maybe even the program I dream of that lets you just put in what you want and be told what to do. That's what computers are for, right?

My experience from FFXIII told me that a Sentinel is never necessary for anything but Tortoise for a single hit. Before I had medic unlocked on both Serah and Noel I would flip to Sentinel on Noel and hold while we healed up but that's it. In fact, the one time I needed Tortoise was to get a Cactuar to transform to fill out my bestiary and I had to use a level 1 Bunkerbeast (or maybe it was a Navidon) for it. And regarding Medic, the game is so easy that you can simply use a Grimoire Hat and cover all healing with Potions.

I used that program for almost every clock puzzle I did. I wasn't tolerating that bullshit. If it was just one now and again with no timer, fair enough. Oerba though... holy fuck.

I got trolled by the tutorial in exactly the same way.

I hope the DLC or at least a portion of it is some sort of hard, end-game material too. The game has less things to do at the end of it than it's predecessor though admittedly that just involved killing a fucking stupid amount of Long Gui's. I can't get over the idiocy of farming the hardest mob in the game for the materials to make the best weapons in the game. THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT.
To be honest, I probably only used 2 potions throughout the whole game. Shame on me for not taking advantage of that Grimoire Hat!

I never did do the final weapons in FF13. I think I had the intention to do it, but some game must have come out and I never got back to FF13. I didn't even get around to maxing everyone's Crystarium. The concept of the best weapons coming from the hardest monster to fight is hilarious though. I much prefer what you have to kill in 13-2 for the materials, the Yomi fight always seems to be fun to me no matter how many times I do it.

Speaking of him, for whatever reason I thought Durable Hermes' Sandals Auto-Haste would be permanent Haste at all times, but it's only as long a pre-emptive attack haste would be. A Tetrahedron for that crap is ridiculous! Not to mention it costs 75 accessory points.

I haven't looked extensively yet, but some threads on Gamefaqs are popping up saying Omega can be comparable to Chichu. I never used Chichu just because it looked stupid, but Omega is at least kind of cool. It's something to do since the game is essentially beaten for me now.