While I was deprived of internet for about two weeks, I decided to play Final Fantasy XIII-2. It's... uh... a bit of a mixed bag for me.
For the good points, I love the soundtrack. I was worried that it was going to be like X-2 and have some horrible, pop-culture-infested, generic electronic crap going on, but it was pleasantly surprising. I also appreciated that the game brought back tracks from XIII, since despite my utter disdain for that game, I did really adore the soundtrack.
I also greatly appreciated that the locations were more or less all new, although I would have liked to unlock more of them in subsequent visits, as opposed to basically visiting the whole map on the first go and only missing one little branch. It would have made those return visits seem more exploratory and less "let's just get what we came for and scram".
Battle system was tweaked from the original in such a way that it was much more enjoyable. I was mostly just happy with the fact that the battles weren't all ridiculously long and overly tough. Also, thank fucking God
for removing level caps. I'm pretty good at games, and I'm always up for a challenge, but damn it, if I want to make it easy and be overleveled at a particular section, that should be my right. I'm not always
playing a game for the challenge. I only had real problems with one storyline enemy, and I'll give you a hint, you fight him more than once. Even that wasn't terrible. I just needed to rework my battle strategies.
Bad points? Well, the story is pretty stupid.
They seriously could have changed a few names, faces, and a couple of plot points and branded this as a new game if they had really wanted to. Even X-2 managed to have a story more related to its predecessor than this one.
Lastly, just to wrap this up and keep from ranting too much, I'll end with saying that every Final Fantasy manages to have one really, really stupid part in it that frustrates gamers and makes them want to track down the developer who suggested it and cockslap the fuck out of them. In VIII, Laguna and the Red Dragon. In IX, the mandatory Tetra Master game. In X, blitzball (and more specifically, the way it directly links to Wakka's Overdrives and ultimate weapon).
For XIII-2... it's the fucking Hands of Time puzzle. I've noticed a pattern in games, that when a developer creates something that they're especially proud of, they show it by making you do it as many times as possible. XIII-2 definitely adheres to this. I know how to do the puzzle. That's not the problem. The issue is when I need to retry it a few times, and then they time and randomize the fuckers on me.I almost cried when I found this.
So all in all, I like it, even if I won't openly admit to liking it. Just a few Fragments left!