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Final Fantasy XIII-2 QA Session!

November 27th, 2011 by Tony Garsow

As we’ve written before, we’ve played the first few chapters of Final Fantasy XIII-2 and we’re ready to answer your questions. Apologies, not everyone is represented here tonight, but we will be answering more of your questions tomorrow! Thanks to all our contributors and readers for the great questions!

Chrono Mizaki: Many previews, including one I read on Eurogamer, said that the game is a huge apology letter to the fans as they took many opinions (good and bad) on board when creating XIII-2. So in contrast to the original, how much open it is and how much it places on a player-driven narrative?

I don’t think it’s necessarily an “apology letter” to the fans as the team believes that Final Fantasy XIII (even with the critcisms laid against it) was successful at being the game they wanted to create. However, with the sequel, they have gone out of their way to incorporate player feedback into the development process.

As far as exploration and narrative, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is much more open than it’s predecessor. The Historia Crux will allow you to proceed through the game as you fit, and environments have been designed to avoid the general stuck-in-a-tube design some of XIII’s Cocoon locales feature.

Ethnic Woman: How did it feel having monsters in your party? Did you feel like it was a loss because there was no character as the third member or did it feel like that allowed for more freedom to customize? Would you personally rather a permanent third character member or the monsters?

The monster party member does add quite a lot to the battle system, each one having traits and Synchro Drive specials. While I would like to play as some of the old cast members such as Snow (whom is controlled by AI in the first trip to the Sunleth Waterscape), I found myself wanting to learn and experiment more with the mechanics behind it. So, somewhat of a cosmetic trade-off you’ll have to decide purely on preference.

BlackBlitz7: Besides the monster system, what’s new/improved about the battle system?
Two new features including Blood Damage and Paradigm Tune. Blood Damage is a special type of damage you’ll take in battle that will decrease your party members’ max HP. MEDs cannot heal this damage, and you’ll rack up more if you let battles draw out longer than they need to. This provides more of an incentive to perform efficiently in battles to avoid a Game Over.

Paradigm Tune will tweak your allies’ AI to attack a single target or to focus on different targets, but there are more as well. These Tunes can be set with your Paradigms in the Party Menu outside of battle. The Tunes can be useful in mowing down a group of enemies to get a better post-battle rating.

ghost013: Will only Serah and Noel be playable throughout the game? If so, why? Will characters like Snow and Lightning be playable later in the game like in the original FF13. What about Hope? Are there any new characters playable?

In our time with the demo, we first played as Lightning and then as Serah and Noel. Later on in the Sunleth Waterscape, Snow Villiers joined the party, but he was controlled by AI. Some of the menu hierarchy I’ve observed seems to indicate that Serah, Noel, and a monster ally will comprise your whole party through the game.

Wastewander: What aspect of the game did you enjoy the most?

I personally enjoyed exploration, the soundtrack, the monster ally, and the new Crystarium. Areas are a lot more fun to poke around in, and it seems like return trips will be necessary to collect some of the loot. The soundtrack is great, but be warned that there will be a few moments where you will question “What is this kind of music doing in a Final Fantasy game”? It’s similar to the first time I heard “Otherworld” in Final Fantasy X, and it eventually grew on me.

Monster allies are fun to micromanage, and I wanted to collect more after the few I managed to snag joined my party. I know it’s silly, but I do want to put a moogle pom-pom on a behemoth’s head through the Adornments system. The Crystarium itself is a much better thought out process in that it pushes the major decision-making on the player. Since the CP required to reach each next rank in a role grows higher each time (max is 99 for each role), you need to plan out ahead of time how you want to build Serah and Noel.

Ethnic Woman: How smooth does the game run? Is there any kind of load time when switching between areas, using the historia crux, or switching from between gameplay and cutscenes?

We didn’t play the final build of the game, and we were told load times have improved. There aren’t any noticable load-times heading into combat, but in the menu which switching from monster to monster, the game took several seconds to load the model for each one. Some large enemies that you can see on the field like Atlas took several seconds of loading time before the battle initiated.

oathkeeperriku09: Who’s the strongest: Noel or Serah when it comes to their standard roles? Ikkin: Piggybacking off this: what are Noel’s starting roles? Serah’s seem to be Com/Rav/Sen, but his Crystarium wasn’t shown in screenshots.

It’s really a toss-up. Serah and Noel start off relatively even, or if their stats aren’t the same, they’re close enough to be negligible. However, with the new Crystarium, you can level up Serah and Noel how you choose. So if you want to make Serah more magic-oriented or Noel more melee-oriented, level up the RAV and COM roles respectively in the Crystarium.

Serah and Noel both start off with Commando, Ravager, and Sentinel. Medic, Saboteur, and Synergist are unlocked in the Crystarium when you progress to a certain point. In the meantime, you’ll have to rely on monsters such as Cait Sith to be your MED.

DPRFKI86: I’ve noticed something extra in the paradigm names from three party paradigms in some of the screenshots. What is with the “-X”? What does it mean? How are Serah and Noel able to use magic? What are the revisitable areas from the previous game? How have they changed?

Forgive me I’m not 100% on this, but I recall that it has to do with setting a different Paradigm Tune in your Paradigm Shift. The three we had access to were Single, Cross, and Wide.

In regards to why Serah and Noel can use magic, I jotted a bit down from the Datalog about this subject. In the Datalog, magic is described as “The ability to draw on the crystal power residing within oneself. Once only available to l’Cie, people have begun developing these powers after Coocoon fell.” It goes on to say that it is theorized that “a move to Pulse has awakened these abilities.”

Okay! We’ll be answering more questions as they come (Yes there are a few we haven’t gotten to yet but we will soon! Leave a comment below or visit the thread in our forums!) in another QA report, so look forward to that tomorrow evening!

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  • ghost013

    Wow, Lightning is called the main character, yet ff13 seemed to revolve around Vanille and Fang more. Seems like ff13-2 is gonna be the same around Serah and Noel. Still buying the game but a little disappointed. Thanks for answering my question.

  • Cody

    @ghost013

    When I think of 13, none of the characters really stuck out as “main” characters. Sure Lightning was somewhat more of a center-point, but the general plot was bigger than just Lightning by herself. I thought all the characters played evenly important roles. In fact, the whole “focus” theme required all six characters to accomplish a goal together to fight off becoming a Ci’eth(or however you spell it.) It just so happens Vanille and Fang had the most devastating/emotional role, which was probably why Vanille narrated the game, to add more emotional attachment to her character before killing her off(well kinda).

    As far as Lightning in 13-2, she hardly seems like the main character. She just seems more apart of the foundation within the plot.

  • Envodeferym

    “The Crystarium itself is a much better thought out process in that it pushes the major decision-making on the player. Since the CP required to reach each next rank in a role grows higher each time (max is 99 for each role), you need to plan out ahead of time how you want to build Serah and Noel.”

    Does this mean that the roles have levels that require CP, like character levels that require EXP, or that you can miss abilities in a certain rank of a role?

  • Tony

    @Envodeferym

    Each role has a level you can increase to 99. You fill in crystals to level up the role.

  • AgitoXIII

    Who the hell is the “ethnic woman”. WTF?

  • whamigubadudududududah

    @AgitoXIII Some gal at KHInsider