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Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

Final Fantasy XIII-2 can hardly be described as long-awaited, in fact it's only been two years since its predecessor made its way to Western shores. A bit of an apology to its veteran fanbase, Square Enix have made it a point to address many of the issues found in the first game, and to a certain degree of success.

From the get-go, Final Fantasy XIII-2 throws players right into the biggest plot point of the game. Lightning, the main character of the last game has somehow been written out of history and has become guardian to the goddess Etro. Players are immediately in control of Lightning after an action-packed cut-scene where she does battle with an ominous looking Caius Ballad, the main baddie of FFXIII-2. In the midst of it all, a strange boy falls through Etro's gate and is tasked by Lightning to search for her sister. Through time. That's right, it's about to get more confusing as players will find themselves jumping through time and solving temporal anomalies aplenty.

Thankfully the narrative is a little bit more coherent than the last outing. Serving as the main motivation for the game's newfound heroes, Serah and Noel will travel through the Historia Crux, time's gateway, in search of Lightning, and unravel the mysteries behind the sudden occurrences of each era's time paradoxes. On the way, they'll cross roads with familiar faces and locales. A nice touch for those that enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (1)

That said, the story feels sort of empty and it's difficult to care for the lead characters, Serah especially. While the search for Lightning is an applaudable act, the game tends to focus more on the new guys, Noel, Caius and Yeul. This makes Lightning and Serah's presence feel secondary. On the other hand, the backstory of the three aforementioned characters is certainly an intriguing one, regardless of the many plot holes time travel brings to the table. If that's something you can't get past, however, you'll find yourself questioning a lot of the things they do.

The phrase, "change the future and you change the past" makes no sense in temporal theory, unless the parallel timeline that splits off somehow magically creates a separate past. However, that's getting a bit too technical. For the story's sake, if changing the future changes the past such that events are entirely different from the original memory, Noel and Serah's carefree attitude to time travelling should be brought into question. On the flip side, it's absolutely curious in regards to Lightning and Caius' presence in the timeline and that serves as a proper plot point worth exploring.

The characters themselves have their highs and lows, and are almost polar opposites of each other in terms of writing. Noel's been written quite well and, despite initial impressions, is a very likeable character. Serah, on the other hand, feels like a forced cog and a narrative device that's there only to support Noel. Needless to say, Caius' motivations demand interest, but Yeul feels robotic despite her relatively important role in the grand scheme of things. The actors' performances aren't helped by the occasional amount of cheesy animations and body language. For the most part, it's a trip to see these characters react to their surroundings and circumstances and the overall narrative is interesting enough to keep pushing forward. Or back, depending on which era you're visiting next.

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