Building upon the fantasy lore of its last release, the Final Fantasy series has gone back to re-address the formula by tweaking almost everything for the batter in their latest title. With plenty of new Game play elements and a much more interesting narrative, Final Fantasy XII-2 is a worthy successor to the franchise, and stands as one of the more engaging J-RPGs of this generation. Set three years after the conclusion of the last game, the first game’s protagonist, Lighting, has disappeared to another realm to battle the mysterious Caius Balled. The game puts her sister Serah in the spotlight, which quietly spends her days in New Bodhum waiting for her sister and fiancé Snow to return. When the town is overrun by monsters, Serah comes across Noel Kriess, a young man from the future claiming to have met Lightning. What follows is the creation of an elaborate storyline that makes use of time travel in an innovative way. Players will jump to various locales at different points in the past and future, and encounter time paradoxes and anomalies that must be taken care of. Coupled with a broader set of environments, hidden side missions, and multiple endings, the game certainly has no shortage substance. The combat system has also been refined to be more tactical and engaging this time around. The Paradigm Shift system from the first game makes a return, and gives players a set of load-outs to choose from in the heat of battle. Both Noel and Serah can be assigned four different archetypes.
These determined whether the players use physical and magic attacks to tank foes or heal the rest of the party. Additionally, players can now tame monsters and add them to their Paradigm to act as a third member of the group. Also, party members can now be leveled up much easier through the more simplified Crystarium system that act as a skill-tree of sorts. Aside from that, more responsive systems such as quick-time events, temporal anomaly puzzles, and dialogue options have been thrown in, adding more to the experience as a whole. As expected from any game in the Final Fantasy series, the visual are stunning beyond comparison, and the character models show off more of the androgynous concepts that we’ve come to associate with the genre. Absurd dialogue, cheesiness and melodrama are all there, but they’ve been counterbalanced in such a way that you’ll rarely find anything groan-worthy. Kudos to the voice-acting which employs a really talented cast that keeps you engaged with the English dialogue, a very unusual element for J-RPG, but the music is serviceable at best, all things considered, Final Fantasy Xlll-2 definitely comes off as the more superior title of the two, as it addresses all the issues that it predecessor had. If you’ve been let down by the first game, be sure to consider this one for a more enjoyable experience.