I didn't like Final Fantasy 13. The story made absolutely no sense (to me at least). I didn't like the characters. Boss fights had insta-kill moves, and worst of all, the title didn't draw me in night after night like most of the other entries in the franchise. Unfortunately, it took about 40 hours of my life to realize my displeasure with the game.
Despite my disdain for Final Fantasy 13, I am excited for Final Fantasy 13-2.
Let me back up. I'm a huge fan of Japanese RPGs, particularly the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy 4, 6, and 10 are three of my favorite games of all time. I could list a million reasons why I love these games, but it really boils down to their ability to draw me in. I was excited to continually play these games, to explore their nooks and crannies and see everything they had to offer.
I did enjoy some parts of Final Fantasy 13. The battle system is easily my favorite in the saga. The aesthetics of the game are absolutely stunning. I loved how battles weren't random and could sometimes be avoided if you didn't feel like fighting. I'm still upset, however, that I wasted all those hours on that game.
Previous installments gave you interesting tangents to help immerse you in the experience. Final Fantasy 7 had the chocobo quest. Final Fantasy 8 had Triple Triad. Final Fantasy 10 had ultimate weapons. Final Fantasy 13 didn't have any of those side adventures. It did have the generically named missions, but I never cared enough to do too many of them. For me, Final Fantasy 13 was all about running from save point to save point, stopping occasionally to watch a pretty cut-scene.
You might be wondering why I would be excited about a direct sequel to a game that I hated. Well, did you see the trailer that Square Enix released this week? If not, it's right here. Watch it. I'll wait.
See? This trailer makes it seems like the developers took all the bad things from Final Fantasy 13, threw them away, and replaced them with some magic that made other entries in the series so good. Before I saw this, I was all ready to ignore the release. Now, I'm back on board.
This latest iteration seems to have actual substance. I see more exploration opportunities, including towns with people to talk to and side quests. The Paradigm Pack system they describe in the video sounds a lot like the Rage system for Gau in Final Fantasy 6, one of my favorite elements from an FF game. The casino and chocobo races mean mini-games are back. I'm seeing a lot of potential ways that a player could become immersed in this title.
Other than Lightning, I get the feeling that characters from the previous offering won't be making much of an appearance. Obviously, Serah is from 13. She wasn't really in it much, so she doesn't count. Remember when I said I didn't like the characters from 13? Having an all-new cast in the follow-up is a good thing.
The trailer wasn't all puppy dogs and roses though. I groaned at the mention of quick-reflex button prompts, also known as quick-time events. Let's just hope they're not too prevalent.
I'm sure you've heard the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Square Enix, please don't make me feel shameful for believing in you.
Am I off my rocker for getting excited about Final Fantasy 13-2? Let me know in the comments.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!