It’s been two years since the release of its predecessor and just barely two weeks ago, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released worldwide. To the FF veteran fanbase, this game seems like a bit of an apology to make up for the disastrous mess that was FFXIII. With this latest installment in the gaming franchise, it’s fair to say that Square Enix has made a decent attempt in addressing the major issues raised by the fans over the first game.
Right from the get-go, FFXIII-2 throws players into perhaps one of the most integral plot points of the story. Lightning, the protagonist of the last game, is caught in a time paradox, written out of history and transported to an alternate timeline. Players are immediately put in control of Light as they fight the antagonist, Caius Ballad, in an action sequence filled with interactive cutscenes and quick-time events. In the middle of all this, a strange boy falls through a time gate and is tasked by Light to search for her sister Serah to help correct the timeline. Yep, this is when the game begins to get even more confusing as players have to travel through a device called the Historia Crux into different times and correct the paradoxes there.
Thankfully though, the story in this sequel is much easier to follow than in the first game where players weren’t even sure who the main antagonist was. It revolves around Serah and Noel who try to unravel the mysteries behind each of the paradoxes and rescue Light from the time she’s been trapped in. On many occasions, players will encounter characters and familiar locales featured in the first game; a nice touch for those who enjoyed the original FFXIII.
Having said that, it sometimes feels difficult to care about the main characters, especially since they seem like polar opposites of each other in writing. Noel’s been written quite well, his story was fleshed out sufficiently and he turns out to be a rather likable character. Serah, however, was so undeveloped in the first game that bringing her in as the lead for the sequel makes her seem like an errant supporting character who doesn’t bring anything new to the story.
For the most part, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was an enjoyable experience. It was much more fluid compared to its predecessor, both story and gameplay-wise. However, it remains to be seen whether Square Enix would continue this chain of improvements, and perhaps provide fans with more substantial characters.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released on 1st February and is available now.
Reviewed by munnyndonuts