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Game of the month, January 2012

Winner: Final Fantasy XIII-2

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If you loved Final Fantasy XIII’s unique take on the RPG genre, you might not be happy to hear that, in many ways, XIII-2 was a return to the ways of old. It’s less linear. There’s more exploration. The game, on the whole, feels more like a traditional Final Fantasy game. Then again, there’s a good chance that those things are what you missed the most in XIII – and, in general, XIII-2 is a marked improvement over its predecessor. It caters directly to longtime Final Fantasy fans, unlike its vastly divergent (and therefore highly divisive) predecessor. The return of the moogle is symbolic of this, but its classic tendencies are manifested throughout the game, most notably through its increased focus on exploration and discovery.

 

If FFXIII was an exercise in form over function, its successor is an exercise in working with what you've got – and doing a brilliant job of it (for the most part). It does some things better than its predecessor, some things worse, but what's most impressive about Final Fantasy XIII-2 is how much of it feels new and different, despite sharing most of its guts with XIII. It’s a wholly new game set within the same universe, and it’s impressive just how fresh Square Enix managed to make it seem.

Runner-up: Soulcalibur V

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Soulcalibur V is an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. On the surface, it seems like a fighting sequel that few people actually asked for, yet as you dig deeper into it, the subtle improvements reveal a game that delivers in droves. From new characters that evoke classic ones (but with a clever spin) to stellar visuals, gorgeously fluid framerates and faster-paced gameplay, it’s a striking retort to people who claim the series hasn’t been good since the second game.

 

There’s depth here for competitive players to jump in and explore, both online and in local tournaments, and there’s an accessibility that lets more casual players enjoy it with friends on the couch. We can’t predict what kind of legs it’ll have, but we hope it catches on with both audiences. It’s a fighter that deserves it.

We Recommend By ZergNet

17 comments

  • TwinHallow - January 31, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    ayyy final fantasy won
  • Caenlen25 - January 31, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    FF XIII and XIII-2 are junk compared to X, X-2, and XII.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - January 31, 2012 4:15 p.m.

    I love you. Somebody else, aside from me, who liked X-2.
  • CrashmanX - January 31, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    Let me guess, you haven't even played 13-2 yet have you?
  • sheah1 - February 1, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    The released a demo dude. It kind of sucked.
  • Cyberninja - January 31, 2012 7:03 p.m.

    all depends on what you like in a battle system, i hated 12 because of the battle system
  • Ravenbom - January 31, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    Aww! How sweet! An article by Sterling Cooper!
  • GR HollanderCooper - January 31, 2012 5:19 p.m.

    Damn you GamesRadar and your lack of a "Like" button!
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - January 31, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    Call me retarted, but why is Final Fantasy such a huge franchise? Hearing that it takes 20 hours for Final Fantasy 13 to start being good kinda turns me off a lot.
  • EnigmaSpirit - January 31, 2012 4:51 p.m.

    I just got a PS3, and am about 15 hours into FF13. I have loved every second of it.
  • Moondoggie1157 - January 31, 2012 4:52 p.m.

    Honestly, the first 20 hours were not bad. Linear yes, but not bad. Personal taste is what it is, but even though 13 was different, it was not by any means, a bad game.
  • CrashmanX - January 31, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    I know the same sort of feel with 13 and it's 20 hour start, but it's actually not as bad as most make it out to be. It should be more categorized as a 20 hour pick up. After the 20 hour mark the story REALLY starts to pick up and get going. The first 20 is more characterization. Also it's so long because it's an RPG and they generally have more depth (story wise) than 90% of FPS and other games.
  • sheah1 - February 1, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    Wait what? Where's all this XIII love coming from? It's a particularly glitzy visual novel, where the only real involvement you get is from the paradigm system, a horribly overhyped QTE. And characterization? There's one interesting character! And outside of cutscenes, he's treated like a bloody ridiculous cartoon! I got about 30 hours in waiting for the real game to start, finally reached the part where it supposedly gets better and.... Was forced to go through the most repetitive dungeon in FF history. I kind of broke there. The XIII-2 demo showed that Squenix had completely missed the point (awful, awful combat) and it's weird that reviewers seem to enjoy it so. Oh, and Enslaved lasted about, what, 8, 9 hours? Best story, characterization and writing in gaming.
  • profile0000 - January 31, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    I'm actually surprised, I would have bet money that SCV would've won, but cool that FFXIII-2 won nonetheless.
  • davidnorman - January 31, 2012 7:18 p.m.

    In Europe there hasn't been anything worth playing all month!
  • trent-power - February 1, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    Hi! I make positive comments of video game articles and forums.
  • Yeager1122 - February 1, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    What's a final fantasy and why are there 13-2 of them.

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

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