This is my first entry of a series I will be doing called The Hook. This series will solely focus on reviewing the first hour or so of a newly released game, which ideally is the most important. The first hour of any game’s job is to “hook” audience members in order to continue their play - and of course get their moneys worth. In short, these reviews titled The Hook will grasp your idea of what the game has potential of being and your thoughts on either buying, renting, or to not purchase this newly released title. So here is the very first at The Hook with Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Some Spoiler Ahead, Be Warned!
Final Fantasy XIII-2 opens with a beautiful video of Lightning who immediately seems to be in a completely whacked out environment in which she does not belong. We don’t get much of a back story right away as to why this happened or how she exactly ended up there in the first place. The only thing we do know……is that she can still kick some ass.
And by kicking ass I mean that she literally dukes it out with a purple haired man who seems to be the game’s main antagonist, known as Caius. During the fight scenes between Lightning and Caius there is some dialogue in regards to destruction, oblivion and yadda yadda yadda. But, during this time we get glimpses of a character known as Noel - who seems to be sleeping and falling down an uncanny tunnel (similar to that of Sora from Kingdom Hearts floating and sleeping along).
Once the video sequences are done we then are introduced with similar play style to that of Final Fantasy XIII. Has there been much change? No. I’ll just say - Auto Attack. My first thought right away, the word - disappointment. Visually, the UI has changed colors and appearance but play style remains somewhat exactly the same.
There is however a significant addition with a sequence known as “Live”. These are sequences in which the player must quickly press certain buttons in order to achieve the goal in order to move forward. Much like that of Resident Evil 4 and 5’s quick time events. This is neat but not typically something you would see in a Final Fantasy game.
Noel lands in the city known as Vahalla, where Lightning is desperately trying to defeat Caius. Lightning explains to Noel that he must go into a gate in order to reach her sister, Serah. Magically, Lightning knows a lot about Noel and on the other side of the gate where Serah awaits in New Bodhum - she apparently is dreaming of the entire fiasco going on. Really?! How? Anyways, Noel reaches the gate just in time before Lightning and Caius clash one another once more which leads to a massive worldly explosion where Noel can’t return to at the given moment.
This is all within about the first thirty minutes to an hour of the game. Seems more of a movie if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong I find it highly enjoyable to watch any sort of video sequences done by Square Enix but, the main point of this game was to make up for what it’s previous predecessor lacked. Did they succeed that? The first hour of gameplay - NO!
The Hook in this game isn’t properly done well enough to make anyone say "Yes, this game is already better than the previous one". I honestly felt like I was watching a movie that gave some insight on what’s going on now and what happened at the end of Final Fantasy XIII, with the addition of hitting Auto Attack. Making a game feel like a movie/film can be a dangerous thing. To start, you pay $60 to purchase a game and right off the bat you’re just watching a bunch of sequences and basically limited to what you can and can’t do as far as gameplay goes. Seems a little unfair, right?
I give a 2 out of 5 for this game’s hook. Don’t be fooled though, once the world and story opens up, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has incredible potential to surpass its predecessor in numerous ways. Trust me when I say this.
Marcus Vega-Eisenhart // Super PolyPixel