So I finally got FFXIII-2…

Although I haven’t really talked too much about games on this blog, I am actually an avid gamer. For the most part, I like Japanese games (with the exception of Scribblenauts and Guitar Hero/Rock Band), but I love love LOVE the Final Fantasy series.

I will admit that I fail as a Final Fantasy fan for having NOT played VII ever (I didn’t have a PS1. Sue me.) However, I have played III (DS), IV (DS), VI (GBA), X-2 (PS2, which sucked, by the way), XII (PS2 and my absolute FAVOURITE) and XIII (PS3).

Recently, I saw FFXIII-2 in my local game shop for the low, low price of $30 CDN, which is AMAZINGLY GOOD for a game that came out so recently. Plus, I had two gift cards for the mall in question, so I actually ended up paying only five dollars of actual cash. Score!

I know it's Caius and Lightning, but it's difficult to tell sometimes...

Note that this isn’t going to be a real review, since I’ve only been playing the game for about two days, for a combined total of around…ten hours or less than that, really. (I’m at the part where Snow shows up for reals, for those of you in the know ^_^)

Now, here are my thoughts so far! Comparisons between both FFXIII and FFXIII-2 abound!

1. Graphics
The cutscenes at the beginning of the game (like, the NON-ultra cinematic ones) were sort of…ugly, and then they got a lot better, for some reason. I don’t know if it’s just because Vallhala is difficult to handle, but the character rendering was kinda…bad. Although after New Bodhum, things get a lot more shiny. There are a lot of really AMAZING looking cutscenes in FFXIII (especially the one where there’s the racetrack, and everyone comes out with their Eidolons), but in FFXIII-2, things look kind of…well, not UGLY, but not as shiny. Hm. Curious.

Don’t think for a second that FFXIII and FFXIII-2 aren’t amazingly beautiful when put next to a bunch of other JRPGs on the PS3. They are.

2. Issues with lack of/excess of linearity 
What I really disliked about FFXIII was that it was really linear until you got into the final third of the game; after you finish, all you do is wander around aimlessly doing Cie’th quests. Plus, I REAALLLYY wanted to go back to the amusement park, because it was so beautiful. Playing through FFXIII, I couldn’t help but wonder why the game creators put so much effort into those locations when you could only go through them ONCE. Like, really. WHY? Going into FFXIII, I was totally expecting it to be this universe of BEAUTIFUL EPICNESS like FFXII was – a completely open, diverse universe you could travel endlessly in. But no, it was not; this is why I haven’t played through FFXIII post-final boss as much as I would most other games.

FFXIII-2 on the other hand veers in the complete OPPOSITE direction. It’s so un-linear it’s almost confusing. I’ve used one of my Wild Artefacts unwisely (I believe), and I think I’ve played through some cutscenes I wasn’t supposed to play through yet…=_=
But still, I appreciate the freedom to roam free! Yay!

3. On “Cinematic Action”
The “Cinematic Action” is completely pointless. Whoever thought that this would do any justice in replicating the action in-game was a complete idiot. At least it gives the game makers an excuse to make fun action sequences. They used something similar in the final boss battle in KH2, as I remember, and I didn’t appreciate it then either…

4. The Crystarium!
Allowing monsters in the party is just fun. I LOVE IT. More customization is always a win. That being said, I don’t like what they did with the Crystarium for Serah and Noel. While I will admit that scrolling through the Crystarium in FFXIII was unwieldly, I LIKE being able to look ahead in a easy-to-read way and see what skills are ahead. The way they’ve structured the Crystarium in FFXIII-2 makes it difficult to follow and see the way it’s progressed – it basically looks like a bunch of spheres connected by lines with no indication of where they start.

5. The voice acting
For FFIII-2 – Serah’s voice is quite good actually, although it kind of sounds like she’s over acting sometimes. I love Noel’s voice though, and I don’t recall the Japanese version being particularly memorable. Caius is just…typical villain fare, I guess. Lightning is great as always. Yeul is the kind of character that doesn’t really translate well to English voice over, in my opinion, so I think the actress is just doing her best. Hope sounds reasonably aged, considering how much time has passed, and I LOVE Allysa’s voice and the way she plays her scenes – SO GOOD! ^_^

FFXIII and its sequel have great voice acting overall. Actually, voice acting was my main issue with FFXII, where I was basically ambivalent with everyone except Balthier and Fran. Yup.

Yeah, that’s all I really have to say right now. I can’t say anything really substantive after less than ten hours. So I will get there…when I’m not reading manga, BUT I WILL FINISH! 😀

(Wait, wasn’t I supposed to be finishing the 6th Stratum boss in Etrian Odyssey III? Oh well, it’s not like I have a 3DS to play the sequel with yet ANYWAY….)