From Lightning’s opening narration, voiced by L.A. actress Ali Hillis, there is a sense that Final Fantasy XIII-2 will finally deliver on the expectations of its predecessor. The demo was made available yesterday on both Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Producer, Yoshinori Kitase says, “The Final Fantasy XIII-2 demo provides an excellent opportunity for players to try out the evolved battle system and fully explore an entire area of the game. We are very pleased to give our fans the chance to see the multitude of game improvements for themselves.”
The playable demo of FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 sees Noel and Serah pitted against a gigantic and powerful adversary called Atlas, who has mysteriously appeared due to an anomaly in time and space. While only a demo, the improvements are throughout the gameplay. The battle system, which is where you start, has many small and large tweaks in addition to the controversial Monster Recruitment System, which allows the player to enlist defeated enemies into their party that can be developed and grown alongside the game’s main characters. Another notable new addition to combat is the inclusion of Quick Time events that can help turn the tide and lead to bonuses.
At the end of the first battle, Noel, Serah and the Moogle, Mog are free to travel around the Bresha Ruins, in what Square Enix refers to as a hub but, everyone else will call a town. The player controls Noel, in the demo with the others following. Not everyone in the ruins can be engaged in conversation but a good number can. By speaking with the people you meet, you can pick up side quests and while Final Fantasy XIII-2 is nothing like Skyrim, it does add to the RPG feel and allows gamers to make some game altering decisions. Being able to explore these “hubs” and even being able to jump and access additional areas, gives a more open world feel to this highly scripted series.
The sequel has evolved beyond its predecessor, with level design that encourages exploration, a new battle system allowing players to command monsters and a variety of options that support multiple playthroughs. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is available for pre-order for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 now with a variety of in game bonuses. While there is no contextual difference between the demos on both systems and without having resolution specs, to the naked eye, the Playstation 3 version of the demo does appear to again be graphically superior to the Xbox 360 version.
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