NY Comic Con Final Fantasy Coverage

My last stop at New York Comic Con 2011 was the Square-Enix booth, to check out the sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2. Not to be confused with Final Fantasy Versus XIII, btw, which is a mistake I made.

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So what’s’ the deal here? Basically, and sorry for the spoilers, but you were able to help Lightning save the world at the end of the first game! That’s the good news. The bad is how it caused some kind of time paradox, which resulted in no one remembering what you did for everyone.

Now, knowing what I do about space and time, how could actions by a person still stand if he or she is made to no longer exist? I know it’s a video game and all, but… in the end, I chose not to bother the SE rep who was demoing the game for me too much about it. After all, he didn’t make the damn thing (and was having a had enough time explaining every little thing, since it had been a while since I played the prequel).

At the very least, Lightening’s sister Serah remembers all that her now nonexistent sis did for everyone. And the sequel takes places three years after the end of XIII-1, in which some dude from the future contacts her. He claims that Lightening ended up in his timeline, who offers a chance to help them be reunited.

Thus the basis of the game: you search for your sister. From what I understand, you’ll be playing as Serah and future boy, and that’s about it. Instead of having a bunch of other human characters in your party, the goal is to increase your offensive and defensive capabilities by battling monsters, and then asking them to join your fight. Sounds like Pokemon doesn’t it?

Though instead of a simple rock, paper, scissor battle system, which is the heart of Pocket Monsters, things are a bit more complex this time around. I’ll admit it; I find the current iteration of the FF battle system a bit too obtuse for my tastes. Sure it’s pretty, with so much going on, everyone beating the crap out of each other. But what’s the fun if you honestly don’t know what’s going on?

Well, S-E has heard certain complaints, and acknowledged them, by refining the battle system. On one hand, things are actually a tad bit more complex, since one can pull a of tiered attacks. Basically, those who are more than familiar and comfortable with how FF handles its battles will be in heaven.

But for someone like me, there’s the ability to actually adjust the difficulty of a fight in the midst of things. To be honest, how this was done was not made entirely clear, but I was assured that this is one of the more approachable FFs in a while. Furthermore, Quick Time Events have also been added into the mix to add drama and a little bit of ease when fighting the really big guys. And I’m not so bad when it comes to hamming the circle button really fast.

Another big complaint from the previous game was how everything was too linear. The fact that the SE rep was able to acknowledge and joke about complaints about how you were effectively going down a corridor, from one battle or story point to another (which is totally true btw) is real evidence of how the point was taken. So in response, the land you’ll trek is far more expansive. As for where you’ll go, many old sights will return, but slightly different with it being three years later.

But the biggest addition of them all is the notion of playing around with time. Things you do in the past will have an effect later on. So apparently, if there’s a challenge that has you stumped at one point in time, you can just head towards the past and do something that might possibly rectify the matter. Leaping back and forth has a direct impact on both the story and your abilities. Which makes the aforementioned lapse in logic, i.e. how Lighting’s efforts could still stand in light of her being written out of existence, but that’s neither here nor there.

The game is due at the end of January of next year. I was told that those who pre-order the title via GameStop will get a pre-order bonus in the form of alternate costumes for the leading hottie (I can say that now because three years have passed and she’s finally legal) and a new Omega enemy in the Coliseum. Whatever the hell that means.

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