Check out our first impressions on the latest gameplay build of Final Fantasy’s direct sequel. Very few games had short lines for immediate play. Street Fighter X Tekken, MGS HD and a handful of other anticipated games potentially required an hour wait before actual playtime. However, to our surprise, Final Fantasy XIII-2 found itself easily available on the floor. Without much hesitation, we picked up a PS3 controller and jumped into the shoes of Serah (sister of the original game’s protagonist, Lightning), Noel (a new character), and their non-playable Moogle companion. They discussed some minor backstory from the original game which we decided to omit for brevity and we promptly got into a fight with giant disembodied hand.
Impressions at the E3 floor
Unfortunately, the sound from the video will probably drowned out to you by the conference noise but you can see the game in all its glory (and my failure) in the video. The battle system has some minor changes from its predecessor – Auto-Attack and the Paradigm Shift still provide you some adrenaline-based quick decision making that adds to the fighting and visuals are to be expected of a franchise known best for their high-value production. And during an actual attack something new pops up in the middle of the turn-based fight: a quick-time event! Love them or hate them, they’ve made their way into Final Fantasy so it leaves me curious to see how the fanbase responds to this development.
Impressions after the filming
I wandered around the map for a while, noticing that many of the common complaints about XIII had been addressed. The map was much less linear, there were NPC’s to converse with, and I was given the freedom to decide what to do next, instead of progressing in a linear fashion. The game also shows off the complex system for getting advantages in battles, in which you can strike an enemy on the overworld map to trigger an attack as the fight opens.
To date, the demo aims to improve from Final Fantasy XIII“˜s linearity, and it attempts to shore up other issues from its prequel. From the get go, the plot is looking to be less restrictive to the actual gameplay. I think QTE’s are going to be a point of contention for longtime FF fans, but if nothing else, they were pleasant to look at. I think XIII-2 will appeal to fans of the original and those that were irked by its flaws need not see the game converting any haters.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 will be available for both PS3 and XBox 360 and is expected to debut near the end of 2011.