Later this month, Square-Enix will be releasing a sequel to the controversial Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (the revenge?) will be upon us soon and thankfully we can try before we buy with the newly released demo.
I hope that you’ll forgive me for not getting too in-depth here. I’m going to be reviewing the game eventually and I’ll definitely break down all of its different aspects at that time. For now let’s focus on what the demo has to offer and briefly go over some of the new gameplay mechanics.
The demo starts off with a bang as your main characters face off against a giant hand. Yes I said a giant hand. This is Final FANTASY after all. Once you’ve gone through the tutorial stuff and get a little taste of the mid battle QTEs, we’re taken to something that Final Fantasy XIII did not have; a huge open area filled to the brim with NPCs that you can talk to and get side missions from. The NPC banter could have been a little bit better but considering that they were non existent in FFXIII, I’ll take what I can get.
Eventually you get to explore more of the area and get to engage in battles. The battle system of FFXIII was the best part of that game and it is pretty much intact here with very few changes made. The only big difference now is that you can have monsters that you capture in the field fight alongside you. I don’t know what it is but having those monsters there and leveling them up was pretty fun. The battles are random now but if you’re quick enough and hit the enemy before a timer runs out you will get a preemptive strike on them.
As far as customization goes, you can’t do a whole lot here but it’s enough to let you know what to expect. The Crystarium system is back and seems more streamlined then before. You can also buy weapons and accessories from a scantly clad girl in a Chocobo costume and equip them to give yourself and edge in battle.
The demo concludes with you facing off against the monster from the intro, only this time his entire body has materialized. This battle was pretty tough too and you’ll need to have the right Paradigms set up in order to survive and win. Overall I’m very pleased with the changes that have been implemented. The game still has its distinct Japanese feel but its gotten some influence from western rpgs and not in a bad way. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a game to look out for when it’s released on January 31st on Playstion 3 and Xbox 360.