DOING THE TIME WARP: What to Expect from Final Fantasy XIII-2
Hey Gaymers!!! So I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but the new demo for Final Fantasy XIII-2 is now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN. I was curious about how SE (Square-Enix for you n00bs ☺) would do at a 2 game since the hot mess that was X-2, but after playing the demo, it looks like SE learned from their mistakes.
Since I learned of the development of XIII-2, I had been reading that SE had been seeking user feedback on XIII, and in return using that to help develop XIII-2. After playing the demo, it seems that SE really listened to the feedback and developed a proper Final Fantasy for the 360 and PS3 consoles.
Before I get into what you can expect and all the fun changes made to the system, lemme get into a little bit about when and where this game takes place.
Immediately after Lightning and the team free the l’Cie, everyone is happily reunited, or are they? Before Lightning is able to reunite with Serah, a dark mist surrounds her and a time rift swallows her whole. With Lightning no where to be found, everyone concludes that she sacrificed herself along with Fang and Vanille. “Wait, what are you talking about?! She was right here a second ago,” replies Serah. Snow, believing in Serah, departs and promises he’ll come back with Lightning.
One evening New Bodum is attacked and a mysterious boy named Noel shows up claiming to be from the future. He also claims he know where Lightning is. With Serah’s faith renewed, she sets out with Noel in hopes of finding her sister. Little does she know, she’s about to set out on an adventure that will span a lifetime (literally).
XIII-2 revolves around Serah and Noel’s journey through the time/space continuum to save the world and find Lightning before it’s all too late. Now that you’re caught up on the story, lemme get to the part you’ve all been waiting for, the new changes and improvements made to Final Fantasy XIII-2. Here’s what you can expect:
Non-Linear-ness (yes that’s right, I just made up that word)
One of the big things that I, as well as many of my friends, had a problem with during XIII was the fact that it was so linear. It felt as if you were walking in a straight line the whole time. There were no towns or dungeons to explore nor any fun side quests that Final Fantasy is known for.
In XIII-2 they have taken that away completely and made it free roaming. You can now explore dungeons (and TOWNS!!) and talk to people and find hidden areas. There’s a lot more secrets to now be discovered and uncovered.
Towns & Shops
There are now towns and shops you can visit. You can interact with the people in the towns and hear what they have to say. There are also shops in these towns that sell different things. Although there is a vendor that consistently appears throughout the time/space continuum named Chocolina. You’ll definitely be able to spot her from afar in her scantily clad chocobo outfit. Who knew chocobos could be sexy?
Side Quests & Mini-Games!
While roaming the dungeons/towns there are side quests and mini-games you can do. In the demo, I encountered 2 side quests while in the Bresha (sp?) Ruins. One was to recover these 2 medicine capsules that some dumbass solider in the ruins lost. And another was to kill a fal’Cie that was spotted in the area. You get extra rewards for completing these side quests.
Also there’s some footage in one of the trailers, as well as a ton of screenshots, showing the new mini game land featuring a ton of mini games. There’s slot machines, chocobo racing, and a coliseum. It reminds me of the Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII.
As well as being a Final Fantasy trademark, Mog is the most adorable (and useful) member of your party. He has many functions that help you on your adventure. For one thing, he transforms into Serah’s awesome Bow/Sword in battle. On the field, Mog helps you find hidden items. The little bobber on his head will light up when you are close to a hidden item. Some of these items are far away and you can only get to by throwing Mog (which you can see in the video below). In addition to all that, Mog helps you engage in battles with the Mog Clock. The mog clock basically alerts you when you’re in the area of a battle, if you attack the monster before the mog clock is up, you can start the battle with a pre-emptive strike, etc. You can just as easy escape an enemy by running out of the area and the mog clock will disappear.
Master of Monsters
This Final Fantasy allows players to control monsters to fill the 3rd battle slot in the party. Sometimes this battle slot may be occupied by guest characters (I have yet to see any screens of this but I remember reading this a while back). After you fight a monster, you will get a crystal, allowing you to control the monster. Each monster has a different battle role (Ravager, Saboteur, Healer, etc.) You can set what monster you want in what paradigm in your menu. These monsters are another member of your party. You can level them up with the help of Monster Materials. In addition to that you can name them an accessorize them.
In the demo, I named my little Ravager robot monster Pat and equipped him with an Orange Newsboy hat that I found in the ruins. Accessorized and leveled up, Pat was ready to go kick Atalas’s but with Serah and Noel (which took us 3 game overs to finally beat him, lol)
The crystarium is the level up system in XIII-2. It basically is the same thing in XIII. Thru winning battles and completing missions you get crystogen points, which you use to level up. (Picture below). Also word of advice, make sure you keep up with leveling your characters, its real easy to forget.
You can jump now. It’s not that amazing but its fun and helps you get places.
Cast of Characters
Lightning- Was written out of time and now is in Valhalla. She is working for the goddess Etros. She is apparently trying to restore time to its natural order but other than that not much is known about Lightnings new mission.
Serah Farron- The main protagonist and Lightning’s younger sister. In XIII she was turned into a crystal, but now human again, she sets out to find Lightning. She uses Mog who transforms into her bow/sword in battle.
Noel Kreiss- A mysterious boy from the future. Noel shows up one night when New Bodum is attacked and hands Serah the bow/sword and says “you can fight right?” He claims to be the last surviving human being from 700 year in the future and that Lightning sent him. Noel seeks to restore time and change the future. He uses two swords, which can also transform into a spear.
Hope Estheim- Now 24 when he meets Noel and Serah in the future. He is the leader of The Academy, a research institute. He knows about Noel and Serah’s time travels and seeks to help them out. It is unknown if he’ll be playable at this point but he apparently has an important role in the game. He seeks to save those that he loves.
Snow Villiers- Somewhere along the time line he saves Serah and Noel from a giant Flan. Not much is known about what happened to him except for the fact that he set out on a journey to find Lightning. After saving Noel and Serah, Noel tells him that his efforts are pointless.
Mog- A gift from Lightning to Serah, or at least that’s what Noel claims. He accompanies Serah and Noel on their journey assisting them in various ways. Also he provides words of wisdom to the two on their journey.
Caius Ballad- A mysterious man from the future who seeks to destroy everything. He is said to be “beyond death”. He is seen battling Lightning in Valhalla in many of the trailers. Noel and he also seem to have some sort of history, how much is unknown.
Alyssa Zaidelle- Hope’s trusted assistant. She is seen crying over her friends grave in one of the trailers. In the demo, it is said she saves Serah and Noel from being imprisoned. The fact that she already knew their names makes Serah and Noel extremely suspicious of her. The extent of her role in the story is unknown.
So there you have it folks. The down and dirty of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Coming out January 30th in the US and February 3rd in Europe. I’ll be waiting at midnight here in Seattle to get my hands on a copy of this game (Collectors Edition of course). Expect some follow up articles soon and also articles about the new Final Fantasy Type-0 and development on Final Fantasy XIII Versus.
On an ending note,
“We’ll be together after all this is over right?” says Serah
“One thing at a time” replies Lightning