Japan: December 15, 2011
North America: January 31, 2012
Australia: February 2, 2012
Europe: February 3, 2012
The sequel to the controversial Final Fantasy XIII is just months away, ladies and gentlemen. Squeenix hopes to rectify the criticisms of XIII through this brand new sequel. Here is a news round-up of all the features that the player will experience in XIII-2.
Time Travel/Historia Crux
Noel, the leading man in the ever-so fashionable parachute pants, is indeed a time traveler. He has traveled hundreds of years to the past to team up with Serah to help save the future. The Historia Crux serves as a sort of home menu for the game. From this menu, you can select which time periods you want to travel to. This is the feature that will be replacing the role of the world map. Also important to note is that XIII-2’s time periods all take place after XIII. Thus, there will be no story missions that require the player to travel to the events of XIII. In addition to time traveling, you will be given the option to replay certain time periods over again. This gives you the chance to make different conversation choices to certain scenes.
Although the player will meet up with all the characters of XIII in some shape or form, the only playable characters will be Serah, Noel, and a monster of your choosing. In order to capture a monster, just defeat it. Almost every monster in the game has a percentage chance of joining your party once they are defeated. There are over 150 monsters… So uh, gotta catch ‘em all!
Remember the Crystarium in XIII? Well, it’s back in full effect. Serah and Noel will both acquire CP (Crystarium Points) after battle and will be able to use it to advance their abilities just like you would in XIII. However, monsters do not receive CP. Instead, you strengthen your monstrous allies via items. These items can be found in shops and off drops of other monsters. The stronger your monster, the more expensive items it requires in order to further advance its abilities. Monsters can be further enhanced via a process of infusion. You can transfer passive (such as tetradefense) and command abilities (such as Ruin and Firaga) to other monsters by sacrificing them. Command abilities can only be shared by monsters of the same role. This is to prevent your synergists from having moves such as Ruinga.
This feature is aimed towards completionists. Fragments are essentially items you receive when certain tasks are completed such as defeating bosses, opening hidden treasure spheres, and completing quests. There are a total of 160 fragments. In the Historia Crux, the number of fragments for each time period will be displayed. Remember in Final Fantasy X-2 where getting 100% completion would net you a secret ending? I’d bet my left butt cheek that acquiring all 160 fragments will get you some sort of secret ending as well.
I find it quaint that Squeenix would dole out such a fancy term to such a normal feature of most RPG’s. Essentially live triggers are parts in the game where you get an option of how to respond to certain conversation elements.
If there’s anything redolent of XIII, it’s definitely the battle system. The battle system is almost exactly the same as it was in XIII. The major difference is the disappearance of the TP system, thus no eidolon summoning. The six roles are back in form: Commando, Ravager, Medic, Synergist, Sentinel, and Saboteur. Serah and Noel will have access to all six roles but the monsters are a different story. Each monster has access to only one role. Thus, choose your party wisely.
There will be towns and cities in this game. For those clamoring for NPC’s to talk to, the addition of towns should appease them. The transition to towns is seamless since there is no world map. Once you enter a town, random encounters will cease and you can merrily talk to NPC’s and plunder their treasure.
Weapons and accessories are handled slightly different in this sequel. First off, the player will no longer be able to upgrade their own weapons. The components you pick off of monsters will be used in buying stronger pieces of accessories and weapons. It seems the focus of this game will be on customizing and powering up your monsters rather than weapons/accessories. Only Serah and Noel can use equipment. Each accessory has an equipment cost and each of the characters has an equipment capacity that can be upgraded through the Crystarium. For instance, Serah might have an equipment capacity of 50. Thus, she will not be able to equip an accessory that has an equipment cost of 75. However, she can equip two accessories that cost 25 each. Although monsters can’t equip accessories, they can equip adornments which do nothing but affect their outward appearance. Want a behemoth that wears cool looking shades? Well, you can actually do that in this game.
These are just fancy terms for QTE’s (Quick Time Events) These pop up mainly in boss battles and in each of the monsters’ special abilities. Every monster has a special ability gauge that fills up as the monsters attacks and receives damage. Once its full, you can unleash the monster’s special attack. All of these special attacks involve a QTE.
XIII-2 Will End in a Cliffhanger
This isn’t exactly a feature, but more of a hypothesis on my part. I make this educated guess because the Final Fantasy XIII-3 domain name was registered by Square Enix. This leads me to believe that the ending of XIII-2 will raise more questions about the XIII storyline rather than answer them. Thus, XIII-3 will be created to answer the questions that XIII-2 will leave behind. Remember, you heard it here first.