E3 Profile: Final Fantasy XIII-2 SuperCheats News
When Final Fantasy XIII came out in 2009 it was to mixed reviews by the games press, while the game was embraced by series fans quickly, and perhaps a bit more slowly by gamers new to the series and those expecting it to be more like the MMO. The world in FF games is instantly recognizable and yet different at the same time, with each game containing common elements while being just different enough to make it necessary to introduce a learning curve -- but that is not the case with XIII-2, as there is much that will be recognized from the previous game.
The game world is the same Gran Pulse from Final Fantasy XIII, but it is not the main setting of the game in Final Fantasy XIII-2, whose story begins a few years after the events of the first game, following the story that was told in the Episode I Novel that was released with the International Version of the game. If you are not familiar with that -- meaning that you did not purchase the International Version -- the basic situation is a continuation of the end of the first game, but Lightning is missing and presumed dead in the events that culminated in the ending of XIII.
Survivors of the revolution have banded together to begin rebuilding Gran Pulse, but when the new settlements are overrun by monsters a mysterious man named Noel Kreiss appears and, joining Serah (Serah Farron, Lightning's younger sister), heads off in search of Lightning, who they both believe survived the calamity and is still alive somewhere.
While Lightning returns as the protagonist and main character, the demo at E3 featured Serah and Noel, who are working together to battle a monster that has appeared in the center of the city and has attacked them. The demo showcases the new and improved Paradigm Shift and the new "Command Synergy Battle" (CSB) that allows the player to control the difficulty level of the battles.
Noel is a warrior with the ability to wield multiple weapons, and of course Serah should be familiar to you if you played the previous game, in which she appeared as an NPC. In XIII-2 she has a much more prominent role, teaming up with Noel to adventure and battle.
The Demo Report
The game world is as vivid as that of the original for this sub-series, though there are significant differences between this and the previous game, starting with the feeling of the world, which is far darker and more ominous here. The joking banter of the previous game appears to have been dropped for a more serious approach to the challenges that are faced by the player, which include some spectacularly huge monsters.
The button set-ups and Paradigms return though they appear to have been significantly tweaked, playing smoother in the execution and taking less time to go off. Fans of the first game are not going to have trouble picking the controls back up, and the instantly familiar game world is comforting, as is the opportunity to become reacquainted with old friends.
Game play in XIII-2 is way more over-the-top than it was in XIII, which may sound odd and hard to believe, but there you have it. As with most hand's-on demo's for the really good games, we walked away feeling like we had not had enough time to satisfy our itch, which means that we'll be looking forward to the release of this one, which will arrive in the First Quarter of 2012 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.