Final Fantasy XIII-2, continued: Part 2

Nov 27, 2012

In my last post about FFXIII-2, I probably came off as someone who hates Final Fantasy. Having just now beaten the final boss I figured it was time to rectify that.

I don’t really hate the game as much as I’m just annoyed by a lot of its elements. The characters are mostly annoying idiots and the cheesy background music lyrics can fuck right off, but for the most part the gameplay is actually pretty solid. Let it be known that turn-based games will probably never be my favorite kind, but for what it’s worth I think XIII-2’s combat system beats that of VII at least.

My problem with FFVII’s combat system was mainly that it was a turn-based menu in a non-turn-based battle. In contrast to the system of FFX, where it truly is turn-based and you have forever to plan your next move, in FFVII you really just have a delay on executing your next command (which I believe is a Final Fantasy tradition). XIII-2 does this as well. The key difference between the two, however, is that whereas in VII you have to manually select your commands for all your party members while the enemies kick you in the face, XIII-2 has a party leader who is manually controlled while the rest of the party automatically executes commands according to their assigned roles.

Because of this, the combat system becomes much more a game of how to set up your roles and when to switch between them than a game of trying to frantically make out the best decision in the heat of battle. This is good. I think XII is probably the high point of the series in regards to combat, wherein pretty much everything was beautifully automated with gambits and close to real-time, but XIII-2’s system works well too.

I’d also like to say that this is a game where quick time events work alright, partially because the game literally tells you when there’s about to be one and partially because some of them take the form of decisions that actually have some sort of consequence.

They’re not all good, however. The very last decision in the game, spoiler warning, is whether or not Noel should kill the antagonist, Caius. Noel has refused to kill him through the entire game even though it seems like it’s the right thing to do and Caius himself actually welcomes it.

When Noel’s blade is inches away from Caius’ heart, a decision event popped up, prompting me to either “show mercy” or “finish him”. Noel was as usual reluctant to do it, so I went with the violent option, if only to defy the smug cunt. As it turns out, he still wouldn’t do it. Yes you will. You will because I made the decision for you! But alas, it was no use arguing with a video game character.

Finally, Serah dies because of some time traveling disease, and the game has the balls to end with “to be continued …“, undoubtedly to connect it to XIII-3. Square, you bastards. If Serah is somehow resurrected with the use of time travel, I’m going to be really fucking pissed mildly confused about the rules of the game’s time travel mechanics.

I doubt my time with this game is over now, as there are still fragments to collect and gates to close, but I probably won’t have much more to say about it.

To summarize, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a game with some good gameplay. It’s just a shame that everything else is shit.