Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the first big RPG of 2012. If sales of the original are anything to go by, it should be the first top-seller of the year.
XIII-2 is set three years after the events of its 2010 predecessor which has shipped over 6m units worldwide. Female protagonist Lightning is back, but this time players control her sister Serah who must travel into a mysterious new world to find her. Serah is joined by a hunter from the future called Noel.
XIII-2 is a direct sequel and the latest in Square Enix’s 100m-selling Japanese RPG franchise. The turn-based series, which encompasses more action-based gameplay today, has been going since the late 1980s and the days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Although the publisher’s recent foray into the MMO market hasn’t gone quite so swimmingly, with the introduction of subscription-based Final Fantasy games, the console SKUs still perform strongly.
Square Enix has maintained the flowing real-time-style combat established in XIII and has added a number of new features to make XIII-2 more epic and attractive to gamers. The publisher previously said the title will feature “high quality game content which exceeds XIII in every aspect”.
Monsters can now be caught and levelled up like traditional characters, each with their own stats, skills and powerful limit break attacks. Several XIII characters also return such as Hope and Snow, along with new faces like Noel and Paddra.
Players also have greater control over the plot. They can access time gates to travel into the past or future, to solve puzzles and seek out new locations. Plus they can undo their actions by accessing old time gates at certain points. During certain events or conversations, users can choose from several actions which will have implications on the storyline and eventually the game’s ending.
And for those who haven’t played Final Fantasy XIII, there’s a ‘Beginner’s Primer’ on XIII-2’s menu screen which offers a summary of events.
With its bigger, better approach to Final Fantasy, don’t be surprised if XIII-2 betters its predecessor in terms of retail sales, too.
Assassin’s Creed’s hero Ezio Auditore will make an appearance in the game. Well, his costume will. In-game character Noel Kreiss will be able to wear the assassin’s iconic garb thanks to some downloadable content.
After players reach Episode 2, they’ll be able to purchase a legendary bow weapon called Azrael for 80 Microsoft Points. This will be exclusively available on Xbox 360 and can only be wielded by Serah.
Consumers can choose from two special Final Fantasy XIII-2 SKUs – a Collector’s Edition and a Crystal Edition. The former includes a CD soundtrack, art book and postcards, while the latter features all of these items as well as a four-disc soundtrack, T-shirt and premium packaging.
Since the first Final Fantasy title arrived in the late ‘80s on NES, tons of games in the series have been released on a plethora of formats. XIII-2 is the latest full console release, which sold over 500,000 copies in Japan in its first week on sale.