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Final Fantasy XIII-2 Collectors Edition - PlayStation 3
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- Collector's Edition contents: Special digipack packaging, including slipcase; 4-disc Official Soundtrack; Contents of concept art book, bound directly into the packaging
- Player-driven scenario with freedom over story progression; Multiple endings offer extensive replay value
- Tame and develop over 150 different monsters as party members, including iconic monsters like cactuars, tonberries, and behemoths
- Newly added "tuning" feature allows for greater strategic control over paradigms; Diverse in-game environments rife with NPCs offer an abundance of exploration opportunities and side missions
- Cinematic Action sequences blur the line between battles and cut scenes
- Platform: PlayStation 3
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Platform for Display: PlayStation 3 | Edition: Collector
Amazon.ca Product Description
Cocoon - a utopia in the sky. Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise. Under the Sanctum's rule, Cocoon had long known peace and prosperity. Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever. Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie. The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse - the feared and detested lower world - awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end. Fal'Cie curse humans, turning them into magic-wielding servants. They become l'Cie - chosen of the fal'Cie. Those branded with the mark of a l'Cie carry the burden of either fulfilling their Focus or facing a fate harsher than death itself. A prayer for redemption. A wish to protect the world. A promise to challenge destiny. After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins. Set several years after Lightning and the others saved Cocoon, some survivors have decided to start over by rebuilding on Gran Pulse. Lightning, however, is nowhere to be found and thought dead by many, but Serah believes otherwise. When her town is suddenly overrun by monsters, a mysterious man named Noel appears to save her. Collector's Edition contents: Special digipack packaging, including slipcase; 4-disc Official Soundtrack; Contents of concept art book, bound directly into the packaging
From the Manufacturer
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 is the follow-up to the 2010 hit title FINAL FANTASY XIII, and the latest installment in the world-renowned FINAL FANTASY series, which has shipped over 100 million units worldwide. The all-star production staff returns to create a true sequel that offers a more immersive experience than its predecessor, with extraordinary level design that encourages exploration, a more strategic paradigm-based Active Time Battle system, the ability to tame monsters and have them fight in your party, and a multi-path, player-driven experience that offers significant replay value.
Three years after Lightning and the others saved Cocoon, some survivors decided to start over by rebuilding on Gran Pulse. Lightning, however, is nowhere to be found and thought dead by many, but Serah believes otherwise. When her town is suddenly overrun by monsters, a mysterious man named Noel appears to save her. Together, the two set off on a journey that transcends time and space, hoping to find Lightning.
- Player-driven scenario with freedom over story progression
- Multiple endings offer extensive replay value
- Tame and develop over 150 different monsters as party members, including iconic monsters like cactuars, tonberries, and behemoths
- Newly added "tuning" feature allows for greater strategic control over paradigms
- Cinematic Action sequences blur the line between battles and cutscenes
- Diverse in-game environments rife with NPCs offer an abundance of exploration opportunities and side missions
|FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 Collector's Edition features a 20-page concept art book, 4-disc original soundtrack, and game disc, all contained in a premium hardcover digipak case with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano.|
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Personally I have enjoyed every Final Fantasy, even Final Fantasy XI, XII, XIII, and XIV (now). I come into each, and every one of them with a different set of eyes. This is not a series that is not going to stay along a specific formula. Each chapter in the Final Fantasy saga is constantly evolving, and changing. It is up to the fans to embrace that change or sadly this Fantasy may be Final for you.
Story (Spoiler free):
The story in XIII-2 is pretty interesting. It plays off similarly to a mystery. It starts off 3 years after the events of the previous game. Lightning is gone, and Serah is determined to find her along with Noel. They set off on their grand adventure. Where did Lightning go? How is Noel involved? Who is Etro, and how is she involved? What is the main goal of the antagonist? All of these questions popped into my mind several times. Luckily XIII-2 succeeds in the story department, especially in the later segments of the game. XIII-2 has an excellent cast of characters, with one of the best antagonists in recent memory.
If you aren't a fan of getting the overall plot in smaller portions, and then a grand finale in the later segments of the game. You will more than likely dislike XIII-2s story. Also one needs to remember that this is a time travel game so you need to keep an open mind of what is happening because there are certain things that don't make sense at first, but they will later on. Outside of the story from the cinematics, some bits and pieces are told through data logs and through NPCs (Talk to ALL of them). This was a nice addition because I really enjoyed reading those extra tidbits from the datalog fragments.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a time traveling game. You will be delving through the Historia Crux jumping between the timelines to enter new areas. In these areas you can of course do the main plot, but Square also implemented many outside additions for the players to do. These biggest additions include:
Monster Hunting - One of the best additions to the game. The 3rd slot in the party belongs to a monster, so hunting is essential. You can capture tonberrys, cactaurs, ochus, and even in some cases primals! Each monster has a different role, and can be leveled through the Crystarium (similarly to the main characters, except they take monster components). In certain cases, there are even one of kind monsters. So choose wisely before you level them up. Monsters can be infused to inherit abilities, and traits. One can lose hours of their lives with this system, especially if you want to catch them all.
Sidequests - There are tons of these throughout the game. There are simple fetch quests, killing quests, detailing a map, obtaining 100% of the beastiary, solving puzzles, answering questions, and many more. The nice addition that Square did here is that every character in the game has a voice over, and they aren't reused. If Square did re-use voice actors for NPCs they did a darn good job of hiding it, and I'm pretty good at catching that sort of thing. Also every quest is started in the form of a basic cut-scene. Gone are the days of long dreadful text walls.
Paradox Puzzles - Square implemented puzzles to the game in the form of Paradox Puzzles. These puzzles take place in what seems like a rift between time, and there are three different forms of puzzles. Running tile puzzles, connect the dots of sorts, and the brain crunching clock puzzles. Some of these puzzles had me stumped. One in particular took me close to an hour to figure out. (By the way, those clock puzzles are random. Good luck finding a guide).
Serendipity - This optional area is a theme park of sorts if you wish to call it that. There is Chocobo Racing, Slot machines, and more that will be added later via DLC such as card games. There are dozens of adornments to be found, tons of prizes to win, and lots of money to be lost.
The battle system is pretty much the same as Final Fantasy XIII. At first I actually had a hard time readjusting to it because it's so darn fast. I still dislike the "Auto-Battle" option but I do understand why it's there. You never have to use it once through the entire game if you wish not too.
Square redid a lot of the animations, especially in the magic department. The later tier magic spells seemed to have a lot more effects than its predecessor which I found to be really nice. Though there was a lot of reuse in abilities such as "Ruin, Blitz, Imperil" and more. Monsters from XIII are also reused in a lot of areas, which is also understandable because it's still the same world so they aren't going to just disappear. However if in the future a sequel is made (oh and there will be) I would like to see more additions. There is enough for it not too be annoying, but I would like to see more variations.
Characters advance through the Crystarium, a system used in Final Fantasy XIII. While it may look similar in style to its counterpart it's actually a lot different. There is still a one way path for each role, but depending on what role you level and when, the stats you have at the end of the Crystarium may differ greatly from another player. When leveling the "Bigger Orbs" there are stat bonuses determined by that role. For example a Commando is a 2 STR bonus, while a Ravager is 2 MAG bonus. Choose wisely.
Square implemented dialogue trees, and cinematic actions for more of a western appeal approach. These additions were alright, but as a fan of JRPGs over WRPGs. I hope that in the future, they stay far away from the genre. It's not that I dislike them, but I would rather appreciate 100% of the story, and watch the impressive cutscenes.
The music in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a bit of a departure from other games in the series. A good portion of the soundtrack which boasts over 70 songs has vocals. Luckily the rap tracks have been eliminated from the western version, but almost all of the songs are a delight to listen too. Naoshi Mizuta, Masashi Hamauzu, Nobuo Uematsu, and Mitsuto Suzuki put together a very decent soundtrack.
There were only a few songs I really disliked, and unsurprisingly they were composed by Nobuo. I am a big fan of Nobuo's early work but that Crazy Chocobo theme was entirely unnecessary, and didn't fit with the Final Fantasy universe at all. Head banging, and really crazy death metal isn't my style especially in a boss fight or, when riding a cute little bird.
Naoshi Mizuta continues to impress me with themes like "Warrior Goddess" and "Caius Theme." I really hope that he is a part of all future Final Fantasy installments. In my opinion he is the new Nobuo Uematsu of this time period.
In a generation where video game technical issues seem to be the norm, it is nice that Square-Enix is ahead of the curve with their single player Final Fantasy games. However the game is not perfect. There are frame drops in cut scenes. They aren't anything that will significantly irritate the player (and most people probably will not notice it at all) but it does break my focus.
Thankfully though out of the entire time I spent with the game that was all I encountered. No freezes, no screen tears, no cutting out music, hell my entire 24MB save didn't drop to 10 frames at all!
What I played:
My adventure in XIII-2 lasted about 65 hours (the main story took me roughly 35 hours, and I skipped some content). That time will differ heavily depending on what content you do. The Platinum trophy has been obtained, and I have conquered a majority of the games content. I have seen every Paradox ending, the secret ending, and all 160 fragments have been found. I however did not capture every monster (but I did kill them all ^^), or obtain all of the adornments that can be found throughout the game. I also did not collect the weapons that require ridiculous farming time.
My score and final thoughts:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is by no means a perfect game, because it isn't. Not everyone will enjoy XIII-2 but I do believe that Square succeeded in bringing back the joy for many Final Fantasy Fans. XIII-2 boasts a very decent story, great music, decent characters, one hell of a protagonist, and one of the most memorable endings I have ever seen. Time literally flew by while playing XIII-2 for me, so thanks Square for the fun.
Caius is EPIC
Illusion of freedom is back
Collector's Edition has an amazing casing
Re-use of Monster assets
Inconsistent Difficulty (Luckily the Final Boss is insanely fun!)
Frame drops in cut scenes
Nobuo's ridiculous head banging music
Note: This review has also been posted on the standard edition, because I purchased them both. I think it's fair that it gets credit on both fronts.
However, you had to have finished FFXIII to really understand whats going on.
If you liked FFXIII you'll love this one.
If you hated FFXIII you'll hate this one a bit less than you hated XIII.
FFXIII-2 is so much of an upgrade, as far as my 6 hours of game play can tell, that it's astounding some of the reviews that gave it a lower score than it's predecessor. I'm enjoying the story and especially the fighting of this game, it is roughly the same, which I personally loved the battle system of FFXIII to begin with and the only thing they changed was instead of a third person as a party member you get to choose any number of monsters that you tame throughout your journey. I feel this is a decent trade off from a third person party member but I will really have to see with more experience with the game. I do like the idea of it all though. The environments of the areas I've explored as well as the character designs and enemy designs are fantastic. I especially love the way Sarah looks, quite cute if I say so myself, and the boss you fight at the beach area is really cool looking, but a bit easy. I'm playing on normal and only every once in a while I get 4 stars, but it's quite rare so I'd have to say that it's pretty easy.
One of the best changes is the fact that you get gil from winning battles. My god the most annoying thing about FFXIII was the fact you couldn't get gil any other way besides selling things. That is why the treasure hunter trophy is stupidly hard to get. Not sure how this will effect trophies but it's much better than having to hope you get something worth selling. Another welcomed upgrade is the fact that there are NPC's which you can talk to, and towns which you get to explore. This, to me at least, is what final fantasy is all about, I mean who doesn't love to explore areas endlessly in the hopes that a rare treasure is behind some random corner, or even that some NPC will give you the scoop on the best item in the game if you talk to him a couple of times. It's one of the appeals to the franchise in my opinion and this definitely has that.
I do wonder though, if this is a case of a little to late. I feel people were so turned off by the linearity of the first one, in combination with all the things aforementioned in my review of this title, that it makes it hard for people to even give this a chance. If FFXIII would have been more like this title then I definitely feel that it would have gotten better reviews. Ultimately anybody who is a fan of the final fantasy franchise will really enjoy this title as it's aesthetically pleasing and has fixed everything wrong with the first title. The only thing would be if you didn't like the battle system of the first one you wont like the battle system of this as it's essentially the same. If you were ok with the battle system then please pick this up as it is by far and away an improvement and I don't see how you wouldn't enjoy it.
-A Paradigm Pack to help you in battle (acts just like a third party member)
-The Story is no longer linear....
-More depth in story
-DLC keeps pouring in every month to keep post-gamers a happy high for awhile.
-Gil come from monsters again instead of being almost nonexistant (no more selling off those precious catalyst)
-Better Crystarium System for the main characters (no more painstaking CP farming)
-Instead of automatic game over for characters if your leader gets the KO, it gets switched to the other character.
-music is better now.....seriously...
-More disorganization and more terms to remember
-Random Battles come back (yay?)
-The status boost effects last less than 10 seconds or so.....versus the harmful status effects that can last throughout the whole battle...
-annoying monster componenets to keep up with
-many useless weapons
-too many cutscenes....to the point that even Serah and Noel are pretty sure they have seen this happen even before.
-character designs for serah does not match ANY ERA.
I have to admit, Square Enix has lost the essence of their games now and now i feel like they are doing this for the Money.....big flops in their games lately. I did no feel that homely feeling of being in a fantasy.....maybe they should focus on remaking FFVII :P jk
So pretty much from the very beginning, the game feels very similar to FFXIII in terms of the battle style, equipment system, leveling system, ability system, etc. As you progress, you see that there are some key additions (and a few detractions) in most of these, many of which appear to be interesting; but unfortunately there is generally very little reason to actually utilize these features because overall, the game is so incredibly easy, which is obviously a "bad" for those of us looking for a challenge. The game has 2 difficulty levels, Easy and Normal, which you choose at the beginning and can change anytime during the game. So I went with Normal hoping for it to be similar to something like Tales of Symphonia where the harder difficulty actually presents a fairly good challenge at many points in the game...unfortunately this wasn't the case and I can't imagine what a walk in the park Easy is. I'll put it like this, I didn't die to any of the main story bosses and I think I died to maybe 3 optional enemies, which I was just way too under-leveled for when they were first available. On this note, as most of you probably know, the nice thing about this game is that it is far more "open" and "flexible" than it's predecessor in that you can return to anywhere you've been at most any time and given the time traveling nature of the game, you can even "reset" pretty much every location so that you can play through the story part of that location again, which is useful for various reasons. However, back to the ease of the game, this unfortunately gives you very little incentive to be creative and experiment with a variety of different paradigms and the new additions to the paradigm system that could've have been very interesting from a strategic standpoint but ultimately becomes almost completely unnecessary unless you just want to see what happens.
Next I'll get into some detail on the leveling, the roles and capturing monsters, which shouldn't be a spoiler since you can see this or read about it in pretty much every video/review (and if you didn't know, you'll find out within 2 hours of gameplay max). So the leveling or Crystarium system is very similar to FFXIII with a few noticeable differences. On the good side, you don't have any limitations on your leveling like you did on FFXIII, i.e. you had to progress to certain points to "increase" your max Crystarium level, so you could only level up to a certain point depending on how far you were in the game, whereas this isn't the case in FFXIII-2. Also, once you have opened enough crystals among all your roles your Crystarium level increases such that you get to choose a certain enhancement for your character which includes the following: add a segment to you ATB guage (so now you don't just have to wait for that to happen through the progression of the game), add a new role (both Noel and Serah start with Commando, Ravager, and Sentinel and can open Saboteur, Synergist and Medic), role boosts (there are 2 boost levels for each role that just enhance the natural attributes of that role), and capacity increases (which I'll address this a little later) and when you reach your overall maximum level, you will have been able to attain every available enhancement out of all of the ones listed. The only thing you might could call a "downside" to the Crystarium in FFXIII-2 when compared to FFXIII is that you don't get to choose certain "optional" crystals to open like you did in FFXIII; but I find that really irrelevant because in FFXIII, all you had was maybe 3 crystals off to the side at certain points and there's no reason not to open them so in my opinion, it's basically just the same. As far as the roles for Noel and Serah, that part is a bit disappointing because for the most part Noel and Serah only learn a relatively small number of just basic abilities for most of their roles that are nowhere near as expansive as the abilities the characters in FFXIII would learn for their "primary" roles. The goal here is to force you to develop and experiment with all of your monster customization options since monsters are your 3rd party member; but the sad thing is that due to the ease of the game, you can pretty much get by easily with just their basic abilities combined with a pretty good monster for each role. The various monsters can learn A LOT more abilities for their roles than Noel or Serah; but honestly, there are many abilities I still have never used just because there's no real need to. As far as capturing monsters, using them in your party, developing them and the various customization options, it seems to be a very fun and creative concept at first. The leveling is fairly basic as their descriptions give you a good idea of how far they can level up, which obviously gives you a decent idea of how powerful they can become. You have to either farm or buy monster items to level them and this part you can sort of play around with to see which items work best with which monsters, though in many cases, their descriptions also indicate. However, the monster item farming process can be kind of tedious and while you can also buy most monster items, they can be fairly expensive up until post-game play. But again, the sad thing is that you don't have a whole lot of incentive to experiment with a lot of the monster development and customization options because you just don't need to. Once you start finding the "good" monsters, which some are just obvious and others you can find through experimenting or just looking up online if you do that kind of thing, then you're pretty much set. The one thing that irked me though is that you can only have 3 monsters at a time available to be used in your paradigms and since each monster has 1 set role you can only have monsters of up to 3 different roles available at any given time. While this isn't really a problem due to the ease of the game, there are still times where I would like to have a monster of each role available just for convenience.
Next I'll discuss the equipment system, which revolves around the one thing I really hated about this game and then the weapon/accessory system. So it's basically the same equipment system from FFXIII with one major "downgrade" in my opinion. When it comes to equipping accessories, Noel and Serah each have a capacity limit, which starts at 50 and can be maxed at 100 and each accessory costs a certain amount of capacity to equip. At first I thought, ok so they're just trying to add some challenge by sort of restricting you to where you can't just go crazy equipping all these super accessories. However, shortly into the game I began getting annoyed because I was finding accessories in treasure chests or from enemies that already cost more capacity points than my characters had. And then when I found that the max was 100 and I already had accessories requiring 75 or more, I was just like wtf?! So here's the crux - most of the worth a crap accessories that you actually care about equipping later on in the game cost 60-100 capacity, meaning that in many cases you can only have 1 "good" accessory equipped (with a total of 3 slots for accessories) and maybe 1 other sub-par accessory equipped just because that's all you have room for. Throughout the entire game, I NEVER used all 3 accessory slots with either character because it'd be a total waste since all I'd be able to equip is crap items - I mean the lowest capacity accessories cost 25 and they are all total garbage. As far as the weapon/accessory system itself, personally I like it better than FFXIII. Instead of having to use 100's of components to upgrade every single weapon and accessory you get and hope that it turns into something better (or again just look it all up online), you buy and find in chests or from enemy drops most of your weapons and accessories and then from some of your weapons and most of your accessories, you can use components to make new weapons/accessories of a similar nature; but each upgrade only requires a specified number of specific components and not the whole continuously using components until the weapon/accessory finally levels up deal like on FFXIII. And as with FFXIII, there are certain components that are a little harder to come by, where you have to spend some time farming for the items as rare drops from certain harder or more time consuming enemies, but it's nowhere near as tedious as in FFXIII and again you don't have the whole "leveling" process to the weapons/accessories.
And finally, I will address the story of the game, which I guess is the key factor that a lot of people play RPG's for nowadays. The story starts out very interesting, really pulls you in and makes you curious to figure out what the heck is going on here. Throughout the early progression of the game, I think they do a good job of keeping you interested and maintaining that curiosity factor making you want to keep going and figure things out. I also think that the writers put a lot of thought into the whole time/dimension/paradox concepts because while they may seem a bit farfetched to people who haven't thought much about the topic or are into hardcore astrophysics or whatever and think that crap has anything to do with the actual nature of the time/space/dimension and paradox concepts, they actually did a really good job of conveying the most likely occurrences as well as "fixes" for a lot of what was going on if any of it was theoretically possible. So I very much appreciated that aspect. However, later in the game, things just start getting incredibly convoluted to the point where you don't know who initiated what and even though you have your theories and the things/persons that the game points you to, their motivations ultimately make absolutely no sense. And then the "main" story ending is just like WTF /facepalm?! So overall, the story started good; but it's like I don't know if they got to a point where they had to rush it to meet deadlines or what; but it just sort of falls apart at a certain point where it's like ok, I've gotten a pretty good understanding of what's going on here; but now everything they're throwing at me is just total contradictions, the motivations of certain characters begin to seem completely contradictory to what they're actually doing and just many plot points in general begin to not make any sense. And given all the "story" dlc content that Square Enix has already released and plans to release, maybe (hopefully) they will give some reasonable explanations for the story degradation as the main game progresses; but right now, I have to give the story a thumbs down.
So in conclusion, you might be wondering why I gave the game 4 stars after all the bad things I had to say about it; well, it's because overall I found it fairly enjoyable, was able to have fun playing it despite my qualms with many facets of it and was motivated to keep going to where I've nearly 100% completed the game. That in and of itself is one reason I feel comfortable giving the game 4 stars is because nowadays, 100% completion always includes getting every achievement or trophy and FFXIII-2 is one of the few games I've played where there aren't AT LEAST 3-4 trophies that require you to do some random, tedious, time wasting task, completely outside of anything you would ever want to do for any other reason in the game that just makes the game totally not fun anymore. With FFXIII-2, pretty much every trophy is either something you do throughout the course of the game or either side stuff that you want to do. That's not to say they're all easy to get; but they're at least the result of things you'll most likely want to do. But aside from that, like I said, I personally just had fun with it overall; but want to give a complete view so that you can make your own decision. It's probably something that "traditional" FF fans or "hardcore FF purists" aren't going to like (even though I've been playing FF games since the NES era) but you decide for yourself.