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GamesRadar E3 2011 Special Award: Best Response To Fan Feedback

Final Fantasy XIII’s totally tubular linearity was a divisive design choice - many fans felt its narrow corridors and lack of exploration took it too far away from some of the key defining characteristics of its genre. The demo we saw of XIII-2 at E3 clearly demonstrated that Square-Enix has heard those complaints loud and clear, and is crafting the sequel to be more inclusive of traditionalists, while still maintaining the strengths of the original.


 

Instead of focusing on the story or new characters, our demo dove right in to show the features added to XIII-2 that were most conspicuously absent in FFXIII. The first area we saw was something that Final Fantasy fans most vocally missed - a traditional RPG-style town. The demo emphasized the complexity of the town’s layout, with various alleys and areas to explore, hidden treasure to find, and even chatty NPCs you can engage with to provide the flavor dialogue that RPG fans love so much. As you wander around town, we’re told you’ll also trigger various seamless, semi-cinematic events that will make your surroundings seem more alive and engaging. All these qualities come together to give an overall more dynamic feel compared to the beautiful but static environments in most of FFXIII.


Above: We enjoyed the convenience of the online-style shops in FFXIII - will these be replaced with traditional town shops in XIII-2? We’re hoping for both options 

Square-Enix is known for its mastery of the fully-animated cutscene, but in our demo we were told that the developer is now striving to interweave that cinematic quality throughout all aspects of the game, blurring the line between gameplay and cutscene, which, if true, seems like a positive progressive step for the genre in general. It’s the kind of modern approach that has the potential to please people who feel the JRPG genre is too stagnant with outdated design (whether that’s a fair assessment is a whole other discussion) without alienating fans of the traditional RPG gameplay flow.

The brief glimpse we got of Serah’s bustling hometown in the demo looked promising - almost too good to be true. But regardless of Final Fantasy XIII-2’s final outcome, we left Square-Enix’s booth with the definite feeling that the minds behind XIII-2 really do want to strike a balance between trying something new and respecting the wishes of the franchise’s traditionally-minded fanbase.



MONDAY:
Most graphics | Coolest character reinvention
Best response to fan feedback 
TUESDAY:
Best trailer | Most satisfying gore | Guiltiest pleasure
Most shameless rip-off 
WEDNESDAY:
Best new game we know nothing about
Worst first impression | Best game for masochists 
THURSDAY:
Most likely to consume our lives | Artsiest-fartsiest
Most tasteless 
FRIDAY:
Might not actually suck | Proof that 2D isn't dead | BEST OF SHOW 

Topics

E3

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27 comments

  • Yeager1122 - June 23, 2011 1:26 a.m.

    Sounds better but i dont know about buying it.
  • LIKEUCARE - June 22, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    I liked FF13 as it was. The battle system was fine by me. The only gripe I have with the game is the HUGE hand-holding linearity of the game. Even on Pulse, the game is still linear where you get an illusion of being "open-world". Still Platinum-ed the game... required many gaming hours for sure! I might get this sequel especially with the promise of more open-world gameplay. I just hope the new characters won't be as annoying as Hope or Vanille in this game!
  • MkLangley - June 22, 2011 7:44 a.m.

    I loved FFXIII's combat. And this one looks fresh as well, and specially convenient for hours of play through without getting boring.
  • wicko - June 22, 2011 4:44 a.m.

    I didn't like the combat system because it was all macro - you couldn't control the finer points, or discouraged from doing so in most cases. So you controlled what type of attack auto-battle would generate, and once in a while you'd spam a certain attack. It seemed like the designers didn't know which direction to take the game - continue with turn-based, party control combat that FF is known for, or single character control, action RPG similar to Star Ocean. Instead they went for some kind of hybrid and in my opinion created a monstrosity. I mean, c'mon, area effect attacks when you can't control positioning? Auto-generated attack queues? I'll give them props for trying something new, but I'll never play XIII again. I platinum'd the game, so I'd say I've experienced enough in order to legitimately judge the game. I hope, for those willing to subject themselves to another round of that combat system, that they ditch those stone missions - going back and forth between all 64 of those stupid stones was mind numbing.
  • EricBratcher - June 22, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    @Asmodean - you mean the big picture? That's actually FF XIII-2. It's a new character. And the little pic in thumbnail view is also from XIII-2, though it is abnormally brownish for that game.
  • Moondoggie1157 - June 21, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    The battle system was great, don't bitch because you actually had to think strategically while playing, stoked for XIII-2
  • Sjoeki - June 21, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    This looks promising, I just ehm hope that Hope and Snow aren't in this game.
  • Gob - June 21, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    I don't see what people could dislike about FFXIII's battle system- I found it fast-paced and strategic all the way through. It didn't feel like a turn-based suckfest (I can't stand most turn-based games), and is one of my favorite combat systems of all time. The only thing I hope they change is the world (open, please, and it looks like they are), and the dialog, which was cringe-worthy throughout. Seriously, the story itself was cool, but I don't see how AAA development houses can get away with having characters say things that stupidly...
  • philipshaw - June 21, 2011 2:54 p.m.

    Like the sound of what they are doing, never beat FF13 not because I didn't like it but because I didn't have the time
  • ichigoame - June 21, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    blurring between cgi and in game, like VIII? cos that was awesome, like the time your edging your way out of the prison whilst it's drilling into the sand,only difference is, the in game graphics are so good it will blend better, I didn't like xiii much, got bored about 20% through, but this actually looks like it's coming along ok
  • IvansTreehouse - June 21, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    Guest character: Naruto (1:55)
  • Clovin64 - June 21, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    I should probably add that I'm relieved the battle system is unchanged. I adore FFXIII's system, and I'm glad that Squeenix didnt cave into the haters who claimed the battle system "plays itself". Pah.
  • sugaplz - June 21, 2011 7:47 a.m.

    Its good that they do something about the linearity of the game but the battle system was crap also. I would buy if it where turn based like FFX but like this...no tnx
  • Ishtom1 - June 21, 2011 7:15 a.m.

    If you think the battle system was bad, how do you think it would be better? I bet you'll find you either can't answer or a lot of people disagree with you. There is no 'Perfect' battle system, and there will be no 'Perfect' battle system, you simply have to appeal to the biggest audience. Personally I loved the battle system in FFXIII, I especially loved the fact there was no mana or MP or what ever you call it. If magic has to be regulated it should be stronger than a meelee attack(*Rant*) I can't wit for XIII-2, it looks awesome and I bet the story is great... in fact, the thing I love most about any Final Fantasy game is it's story, and this one sounds fascinating... Can't wait til I can get it
  • Dondada - June 21, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    I dont trust the extra crap Square-Enix trys to push to the fanboys like these -2 games or the crysal chronicles.
  • mattdark - June 21, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    I thought the combat was pretty good in XIII, especially after the mess that was XII, makes XIII's combat seem even more amazing then it is. Its not the greatest battle system, but its really well done and easy enough to use.
  • quincytheodore - June 21, 2011 6:02 a.m.

    I actually like the battle system. It's fluid and engaging. This was the first FF that I had to actually do something to defeat the boss. A mix between turn based and almost real time, it's good. The graphic is outstanding, whatever complaint I might had disappeared after that firework scene. This is probably the closest digital hair in a game. You can compare other games with superior graph, hair is still one of the hardest to do in games. It even has appealing, but still practical, user interface (kudos to GR for crediting that). Soundtracks are brilliant. It's not Uematsu anymore, but I don't mind. It's modern, still has FF vibe and the changes in instrument or vocal is great. I think this is the best JRPG has to offer in this gen, aside from Lost Odyssey. I still think ME is better, but I love this just the same.
  • Asmodean - June 21, 2011 5:58 a.m.

    Why is there s pic of FF XIV on the link to the article if FF XIII-2 is the winner?
  • Headshot10101 - June 21, 2011 5:25 a.m.

    Can't wait till tomorrow for the Most Shameless Rip-Off! Seems like it will be fun ;D !
  • kit07 - June 21, 2011 5:03 a.m.

    @Clovin64 im kinda a hater and this has turned me over.

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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