Final Fantasy XIII-2's Time Travel
Square Enix has revealed two stunning trailers showcasing the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII-2, allowing fans of the series to catch a glimpse of what they can expect to find in January 2012. The story will take place three years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII and will follow Serah and newcomer Noel in a quest to find the missing warrior Lighting. Players will be reintroduced to the familiar faces of Snow, Vanille (no longer a 9,000 foot crystal), and a much older Hope. Missing from the videos are Fang, Sazh, and the tiny Chocobo that lives in his afro.
Whether or not you shed a tear during the heartfelt footage set to Charice’s song New World, fans of XIII will find an abundance of clues in these trailers revealing the fates of their favorite characters. Snow will finally take off his winter hat, Hope becomes the first Final Fantasy character to wear a tie clip, Lightning gets some sweet new armor, and Noel continues the long tradition of somebody being unnecessarily mad at Snow.
Loyal fans of the series were somewhat dismayed at the linear approach Square Enix choose to implement in the first half of XIII and it seems as if the developers took notice. Not only is the sequel promised to deliver a more open world environment, but the heroes will be able to utilize time travel to expand their adventures even further. The new trailer Despair shows us that alternate timelines will open a can of worms for Serah and friends by angering Kaias, an immortal warrior intent on ending your time traveling fun to prevent potential paradoxes. The time gate mechanic being used is known as the Historia Crux and is central to XIII-2′s gameplay and story.
Director Motoma Toriyama explains, “Time paradoxes affect different areas of the world in different ways. In the Bresha Ruins area, a time paradox has caused an enemy called Atlas to appear. The way you figure out how the paradoxes have affected each area is set up somewhat like a mystery.”
To further separate themselves from being labeled “linear,” Square Enix has made sure that player decisions will determine different outcomes later in the story. Multiple endings have been confirmed and will offer an incentive to replay the campaign with different results.
The universally praised paradigm system will be returning with some expansions. Not only will you be able to fight with two other companions, but monsters can join your party for the first time. Square Enix has revealed that there are over two hundred monsters (including chocobos) that are capable of aiding you in battle. Each of these creatures can be leveled up and customized. The game will also feature randomly placed quick time events that will allow your fighters to gain the edge in battle if the right buttons are pressed in the allotted time.
New to the combat system is the concept of Blood Damage. “Each time you’re hit with blood damage, you lose a portion of your max HP. In the first FFXIII, if you had a healer in your party you could recover from damage without trouble. But in XIII-2, you can’t recover from blood damage, so you have to defeat enemies quickly.”
For those of you that were saddened by the lack of Moogles in FFXIII, you’ll be encouraged to hear that they will be returning to the sequel in a vital role. The pink nosed creature will be aiding Serah by turning into a handheld weapon, a clock that determines advantages in battle, and a handy treasure finder.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 will incorporate downloadable content in the form of new monsters, equipment and alternate costumes which are rumored to be first available through pre-orders. I would pay a little extra for every character to be able to learn Haste early on so that I was not handcuffed to Sazh again for the first eight hours but I doubt that will appeal to Gamestop as a suitable pre-order incentive.
Square Enix continues to evolve the Final Fantasy series into something that can be enjoyed along a broader spectrum of gamers, following the path of hybrid RPGs such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. By adding exciting elements to the combat systems of their traditional RPG format and making the game available to XBOX and PS3 users, the company hopes to reach new fans while retaining their loyal base.