Monday night at the E3 Sony press conference was the first place to see SquareEnix’s Final Fantasy XIII-2 in action. On the E3 Expo floor Final Fantasy XIII-2 was on display at few booths, Sony and Square Enix to name a couple. While Square has made it clear on numerous occasions, that they have no intention of remaking Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XIII-2 might be closest we’ll get. As the videos show, many welcome changes are in store for the next Final Fantasy game, which begins right where XIII ended.
The first change that is obvious in the demo is what appears to be a town. Representatives from Square however, are hesitant to refer to it as town. There are no shops or buildings to enter. It is however an open area with corridors and NPCs with which you can have conversations. Some conversations will be branching and have some plot relevance, others can give you hints. There are also side quests that completed in the “town.” The side quests can affect the plot and boss battles. Square is promising significant replayability to their 40 plus hour main quest.
Another significant addition is in the combat. As mentioned earlier, boss battles can be affected by side quests and will now feature quick-time sequences that will also affect the battle in different ways. The standard combat is improved as well. Now when in the area of an enemy, a timer displays your ability to perform a pre-emptive attack or flee. In some instances, where you can engage an enemy near allies, NPCs will fight your battles for you.
The biggest change by far to the combat, borrows from the hugely popular Nintendo handheld series. While you’re in no way going to become a “Master Trainer,” as you defeat the monsters, you will capture them in crystals and then use them in combat. Collecting these monsters sounds as it will be an exercise in itself as Square says there will be a large number of them. As in the Nintendo series, these monsters have different abilities and in Final Fantasy XIII-2, combat roles. When you perform a Paradigm Shift, they will “tag out” to your preselected and appropriate monster. The monsters will also level up and gain abilities through combat.
It appears Square Enix listened to their fans and added what was widely criticized as missing from Final Fantasy XIII. There will be much more to do this time around and the game should have a little something everyone. Seeing the track Square is on, will make the wait until next year a little more difficult.
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