People have been mocking Final Fantasy XIII-2, the newest installment in Square’s as-of-late troubled ongoing franchise, as “the great apology”. In an attempt to make up for the many grievances that fans had with Final Fantasy XIII, Square-Enix brought a new tale to Lightning and company, one that supposedly addresses all the complaints leveled against it.
With all that’s being written about this game, it was hard for me to get a bearing on just how excited I should be about more from Final Fantasy XIII’s universe. Even though I (eventually) enjoyed the game despite its many missteps, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to revisit Gran Pulse and Cocoon. But now that I’m in the middle of playing FFXIII-2, I have to say that my response to the game has taken me totally by surprise: I love it.
There are a number of reasons for this. But beyond the numerous sidequests, freedom, exploration and the ability to save anywhere, the addition that I love the most is the monster hunting. In FFXIII, you had three party members that flipped freely between classes and roles. In the sequel, you only have two party members, with the third replaced by a captured monster. This monster can be taught a variety of abilities, can absorb abilities from other monsters and leveled up along with your party. It’s basically Final Fantasy’s version of Pokemon – and it’s awesome.
I’m addicted to the game fiercely thanks to the great gameplay updates, and while the story is still all over the place, the actual mechanics are so solid that I barely even care. I finally feel like I’m playing a Final Fantasy game again, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. If monster collecting is the result of Square apology hunting, I’m OK with that.
So, have any of you guys played Final Fantasy XIII-2? Have you ever been surprised by a game that you were cautious about? Go!