Well, E3 is over and boy there’s been a big (yet not too big) week for Final Fantasy XIII-2. How to cover this best? Well, that’s to be seen… But let us try and get this figured out!
- Timeline: Final Fantasy XIII-2 is set five years after the events that occurred in Final Fantasy XIII.
- New Character: Noel. Noel is meant to represent the same role as those starting with XIII-2 (Without having played XIII prior). He has little knowledge of Cocoon, having been on Gran Pulse his whole life. While on Gran Pulse, he spent his time hunting monsters.
- New Character: Alyssa. Although not playable (as far as we can see), she seems to play a major role at least in the demo (and likely a good portion of the game). She is researching in Cocoon in the E3 Demo, and was also seen in the trailer speaking about her friend who died running from the Purge.
- “Lead” Character: Noel’s image is set to be the same as Lightning’s in the first game. She was the lead character (And 2nd lead female character in Final Fantasy history) of XIII, and Noel will be the main character of the sequel. Lightning’s sister, Serah, will play the “supporting” role to Noel.
- Lightning WILL be present, and is most definitely shown in the demo and trailer. The scene shown with her in the trailer (and press demo) was of her fighting Chaos Bahamut while riding Odin. While everyone “should” have lost their l’Cie powers at the end of FFXIII, something has happened with Lightning and she is able to use Odin still. (I’m not really sure on all the details here.)
- Music: Hamauzu has been confirmed to return with composing the sequel, however interviews have hinted at there being more composers working on the title. This may explain the rap music heard during the demo…
- Monster Catching/Raising: The E3 demo, and subsequent interviews, confirmed the presence of being able to have a monster in your party. This will, for the most part, take the place of the third party member. At the end of battle you can obtain “crystals” which will place that enemy in your party. Each enemy has a specific role, and so far only a few have been shown. Stonefist (an armored lizard type enemy) is a Sentinel, Flanbanero is a Ravager, and Warhorn (Behemoth) will be Commando. The trailer also showed Pulseworker (COM) and Kaiser behemoth (COM). Overall, Square-Enix has said that there will likely be over 200 monsters you can “catch”. They will also have a growth element.
- Feral Link (Monsters): Along with being able to have a monster within your party, this monster will be able to perform what is known as a “Feral Link”. This will allow the monster to perform a special skill when you hit Square (Shown in the demo was Flanbanero’s “Hundred Fists”. Others may or may not have been named, though I haven’t seen them).
- Party Size: At most your party is still limited to 3 members. The monster capturing/crystals detailed above will for the most part take the third slot, though at times you may gain a guest member.
- Towns: There will be towns. This is 200% confirmed. People will be mingling around town and you will be able to talk with them. When it is raining, they will apparently head for shelter.
- Serah’s Weapon: This is definitely something unique (if anything, to the Final Fantasy series). When outside of battle, a cute, loveable, and talking moogle name Mog will be with the team. When inside battle, the moogle will become Serah’s weapon. Depending on how far Serah is from the enemy will determine the weapon’s form: When close to the enemy, it will become a sword. When far from the enemy, it becomes a bow.
- Mog: Besides being Serah’s weapon, Mog will also help the group find hidden treasures on the field.
- Weather: As mentioned before, NPC’s in town will take shelter when it is raining. Outside of just that, weather will have some sort of effect on battle. So far all we’ve seen is rain, but presumably there will be more types.
- Saving: While there are no major details concerning XIII-2’s save system, it does seem there will be some sort of auto-save feature (And this might be the ‘main’ save feature of the game).
- Combat: Combat has, for the most part, seemed to stay the same. You still have Auto-Battle and Paradigms. The major additions/changes seem to be the monster capturing, and the addition of “Quick-Time Events” (or otherwise known as Cinematic Actions). These actions will have you hit a series of buttons repeatedly or at a certain time. If performed correctly they will buff you and increase the damage. Noel and Serah were seen gaining Bravery and Faith (he was on COM and she was on RAV at the time) after correctly performing one.
- Mog Clock: Another major change from FFXIII is the addition of the Mog Clock. This seems to replace the first games ‘Shrouds’ in some sort. When you ‘find’ an enemy (this games return of a sort of random encounter), a clock will appear. If you hit it while it is the “Green” area you gain a random buff (IE: Haste, Brave, Faith) and the enemy will be near Stagger (Green may also better be referred to as simply a pre-emptive strike). Yellow is a normal battle, no buffs or debuffs. Hitting it in the red (or getting “Time’s up!”) will result in penalties (players were seen in the demo hitting ‘Time’s up! Starting ATB 100%!’ and then entering the next battle with slow and the enemy having haste. This was however a boss, so if they are related I cannot 100% say, but I would guess they are.
- Atlas: One of the other major focuses of the E3 Demo was the creature Atlas. Near the beginning of the demo he attacks the pair with just an arm. As the demo progresses, you make the (player driven) decision to find a device to weaken him. After doing so, when you return to fight his full form, he is at half HP with a greatly lowered max stagger bar.
- Live Triggers: As I briefly mentioned before, you will be able to make player based decisions that drive the story and ultimately decide what happens with the game. This system has been used in games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect (among many many more) before. How much it ultimately drives the story is still to be seen.
- Live Events: In the sense of FFIX’s “Active-Time Events”, XIII-2 will feature “Live Events” – scenes that will add to the story. Though not much information is available on the full system yet, more will surely come soon.
- Multiple Endings, and “New Game+”: Square-Enix in interviews has confirmed the presence of multiple endings within the game. This ties into the point mentioned above with the players driving the story with their decisions. They have also stated while there may not be a direct New Game+, there may be some “form” of it.
- X-2 vs XIII-2: While X-2 was a great leap from Final Fantasy X, with X-2 being a much more light-hearted game (for the the most part), XIII-2 will have a much darker feel than X-2. XIII also had a “dark” feel about it (with the whole l’Cie on the run, ticking time-bombs, etc), but apparently the sequel will be even more so.
- Returning Friends: In the trailer members of NORA were seen returning. More characters from FFXIII are set to return in some way or another, so hopefully this means we find out just WHERE Mr. Snow Villiers is! This also hopefully means we get to see an adult Hope (He will be 19 in XIII-2), Dajh, and baby (grown up) Chocobo.
I hope I missed nothing in that huge mess of information, but that’s all I can recall at this time. Sorry it’s slightly disorganized, but thank you for reading anyways! More information will hopefully be coming in between now and the Japan release this December.
Below are the pieces of the demo from Gamespot, enjoy!
Stay tuned for more hopefully soon!