E3: Final Fantasy XIII-2. The more numbers you add, the less I want to play it.

For the first time in my life, I am not enthused for a Final Fantasy title — namely, Final Fantasy XIII-2.

There are several possible reasons for this. Maybe it’s the cringing flashbacks the overly-numerical name sparks, so reminiscent of Final Fantasy X2, a game that I absolutely detest. Maybe it’s the fact that I got bored half way through XIII and dread another game with the same rapid tunnel style of narrative and lack of open world exploration. Maybe I’m just finally getting old and tired of the franchise (God forbid!).

Despite my reservations, I gave it a shot here at E3. After all, that’s what this convention is all about — trying things out and having my expectations either exceeded or disappointed.

Hit the jump to find out where I landed.

First, it looks like Squenix learned from the many mistakes they made with X2. Like X2, the world is the same from XIII to XIII-2, but unlike X2 the characters are different (Lighting’s sister Serah and a new male character were the leads in the demo), and as far as I can tell (not having finished XIII), the areas explored are brand new instead of carbon copies like the locations in X2. Thank god, because that tactic in X2 really infuriated me. No better way to make a gamer feel ripped off than to give them the same game twice.

The battle system in XIII-2 remains the same, which is okay I guess, though I’ve never been particularly charmed by the increasingly convoluted skill wheels or DNA strands or whatever the hell they are. I’m still a little disappointed every time the come out with another game with the classic turn-based system. Traditionalists be damned, what I really want to play is a Final Fantasy that uses real-time mechanics similar to Kingdom Hearts, rather than the traditional turn-based system. Give me a Final Fantasy that lets me button mash once in a while!

Another thing Final Fantasy XIII-2 has going for it? It has a moggle. ‘Nuff said!

Whether or not they’ve changed the constant-action-no-exploration recipe I don’t know. I certainly hope so.

All and all Final Fantasy XIII-2 has exceeded my expectations. Square-Enix hasn’t repeated the mistakes of the past, as far as I can tell.

However, I’m still wary of hitching my trailer to their wagon again (is that a real saying or did I make it up?). XIII was such a disappointment for me that I really don’t think I’m willing to run out and buy this one without a lot of research on the game mechanics and story structure.

Maybe the last possibility was the right one, that I’m getting old. If that’s the case, then by all means, preorder this sucker. Looks like it could be a lot of fun. As for me, I’ll probably wait until after all those unavoidable trade-ins drop under $20.

  • http://padinga.com/members/don-jaime-2/ Don Jaime

    I’ll put it to ya this way, I have played every American release Final Fantasy from start to finish and never let much of anything get in my way.

    XIII has been collecting dust since I got to Pulse.

    There will be no XIII-2 purchase for me :D

  • http://padinga.com/2011/06/12/e3-2011-tomb-raider-and-the-square-enix-round-up/ E3 Square | Padinga.com

    [...] the more flaccid end of the game-arousal spectrum, you’ve got Final Fantasy XIII 2, which Barb examined in a manner much more eloquently than my own “Meh.” To elaborate [...]