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May 24, 2013

Let’s discuss Final Fantasy 13-2 (Part 1).

Show of hands: who here has heard of Kung Fu Jesus?

He’s known for a few Let’s Plays, his God Hand LP well among them.  I haven’t seen his work before, but I’ve known about him for a while…and by coincidence, ended up finding out he and his posse did a blind LP of Final Fantasy 13-2.  And what started out as a simple playthrough ended up becoming a 100% completion run.  And they did it.  It took them a whopping eighty-three hours, but they did it.  Indeed, in the final video each member of the posse talks in turn about how terrible the game is and why it’s terrible.  That might have just been a consequence of plunging head-first into the abyss of insanity, though (which you can see just by looking at the video titles and the descriptions).  Frankly, I’m surprised none of them are laid up in rubber rooms.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing up 13-2 after I slammed the book shut on the game; making this post seems largely unnecessary, and even harmful.  It goes beyond just beating a dead horse; it’s more like digging up a dead horse’s corpse, performing black magic to turn it into an equine undead, slashing it to pieces with Frank West’s paddle-saws, kicking the pieces back into its grave King Leonidas style, and then doing the same thing after a five-minute recess and a swig of root beer.  I acknowledge that.  But I said I was going to finish the game, and there’s been a part of me that regrets not being able to.  It felt like I was leaving so much on the table.

So it’s time for me to fix that.  Will Final Fantasy 13-2 find redemption at long last?  Will there be a glimmer of hope in its final hours?

No.  No, it won’t.  It just gets worse.

Spoilers inbound.  But whatever.  If you’re playing this game for the story, I would recommend a reconsideration of your tastes and standards.

So, let’s take this step by step -- and start with a little revisionist history.

1) Serah and Noel aren’t good enough to carry this game.
Looking back at one of my earlier posts on the game, I’ve realized that I was really lenient when it came to Noel.  Having reviewed the footage, I’ve realized that Noel is inoffensive at best…the reason being that he doesn’t really have a character.  He’s got no story arc.  He’s got no personality.  He’s got no role besides “monster-killer” and “Serah-comforter”.  The most I can say is that he’s level-headed, but that’s not saying much because his level-headedness comes from nothing happening for huge swaths of the game (and considering the outright moronic choices he makes throughout, it’s hard to say he’s even using his head). 

He has a conflict with Snow for no reason besides the fact that he’s there and he does have a personality.  He has a conflict with Caius because…because.  Even his motivation is dubious, if you can believe that; he ends up getting thrown into a dream world where his greatest fantasies become real, and as such you’d think that the world he dreams up would be in line with his motivation up to that point: to save the future, his present, and create a world where peace and prosperity reign.  So of course, he ends up imagining the same dying world he came from, we see him living through the past, and a sequence that more or less becomes an origin story that probably should have shown up ten hours earlier.  I don’t want to think to heavily about the implications here because they’re pretty grim (and stupid), so let’s just call him a low-quality dual-wielding cipher and leave it at that. 

And speaking of Serah, she doesn’t fare very well either -- even in comparison to last time (my posts, and her game of origin).  I was under the impression that this was her story, but apparently Squeenix didn’t agree with me; ignoring the fact that the plot is more focused on Noel and his struggles, you could argue that even with character development -- and I use that term as loosely as a tire held onto a drag racer with scotch tape -- Serah ends up going backwards instead of forward.  She starts off as a weak and helpless girl obsessed with Lightning, and every attempt to make her out as a brave and awe-inspiring heroine ends with her looking like an idiot, getting shoved into the background so Noel can have at it, and/or failing. 

She’s the exact same person in the opening hours as she is in the ending hours -- except for two facets.  One: she ends up becoming a self-sacrificing, messianic waif who’s only there to advance the plot (and even then she does a shit job of it).  Two: even with all the justifiable rage she has against Lightning, she never even bothers to call her out on it.  Or Etro, for that matter.  She -- and Noel, to a similar extent -- doesn’t act at all.  Only react…and even then, it’s debatable.  Hell, in the final battle she drops to her knees on the sidelines while Caius and Noel duke it out.  And she keels over and dies for no reason in the end.  So long, semblance of credibility.  We hardly knew ye.   

By the way, I found this little nugget in regards to Serah’s clothes.

In an interview in Famitsu, it was revealed Serah's clothing from Final Fantasy XIII-2 was designed by Yusuke Naora, based on plugsuits from Neon Genesis Evangelion, as requested by director Motomu Toriyama. Isamu Kamikokuryo, the art director of Final Fantasy XIII-2, has said the character designs are built from the scenario and setting and the new designs for Lightning and Serah are reflected within the environments they begin their journey. For Serah, he said she was cute and girly in Final Fantasy XIII, but that she is a little more tough and battle-ready in Final Fantasy XIII-2.

Is that right?

Let’s…let’s just move on.

2) Stop explaining things, you’re really bad at it. 
The biggest problem with Serah and Noel isn’t (entirely) the fact that they’re half-baked archetypes, or (entirely) the fact that they don’t go anywhere as characters.  The problem is that huge -- HUGE percentages of their dialogue are devoted to trying to figure out what’s going on.  It’s a problem the game has as a whole; it’s not all that difficult to come up with a basic outline of what time travel entails and what the characters can and can’t do.  But there’s not even a cursory effort to try and sort out a framework -- and because of it, our leads are lost almost from start to finish. 

But they’ll try to make sense of everything.  Oh, they’ll try, and they’ll try, and they’ll try, and delude themselves into thinking that they’ve got their next objective in place.  But the explanations given are A) half-assed and unsatisfying, B) oversimplified to the point of labeling every problem as a “paradox”, and C) based on knowledge that the characters have NO REASON to ever have.  Noel is especially guilty of this; Serah at least tries to reason things out at times, but he’ll suddenly spout information that comes from nowhere.  At one point, he says that the time gates strewn about are starting to disappear, which is something he had no chance to ever learn because he just finished a fight with Caius.  It’s weird because a good half of the cast can effectively see all of time, and Serah -- as a seeress -- could have done the chrono-gazing if her powers had been properly explained and developed throughout the story.  Why they’d bootstrap the world mechanics to Noel is just one of life’s great mysteries.

Then again, this is just emblematic of the game’s major problem: it’s taking on a bigger challenge than it can handle, and ends up taking a knockout blow as a result.  FF13 fumbled every step of the way in trying to define its world, and that was just based on a thirteen-day time period; of course Squeenix can’t handle multiple worlds across multiple eras and timelines.  I would applaud their ambition, but given that this is a complete and total rush job with more holes in it than SpongeBob in iron maiden, I would keep this game and “ambition” on opposite sides of an iron gate.

3) This entire system is built on bullshit. 
And I thought the fal’Cie were bad…

All right, let me see if I can explain this in a paragraph or so.  According to the right-out-of-nowhere lore of this game, there’s a seeress who possesses the “Eyes of Etro”, a gift from the goddess of the same name that allows her to see the future.  As a result, she sees images of the future and has them recorded for future posterity in machines called Oracle Drives; the tradeoff, however, is that viewing the future inevitably shortens the seeress’ life, so that she’ll die young no matter what she does.  Still, she’s appointed a guardian that’s duty bound to protect her -- and that guardian can only be replaced by another guardian Highlander-style.  And even beyond that, the seeress (Yeul in this case) is set to constantly reincarnate as a new and largely-identical, but slightly-variant Yeul, so that whatever society can continue using her predictions as a guide.  Or alternatively, she exists to dole out information to Serah and Noel -- i.e. they can't figure out the plot, so someone has to tell them where and when to go.

The game’s explanation takes a lot for granted, and assumes that the player will never bother to ask questions that should have been, but are never satisfactorily answered.  Example: what society is upholding the Yeuls in such high esteem?  I’m asking because not only do we never see the society that upheld her, but in the context of 13’s universe she’s a complete non-entity, which makes it all the more confusing.  Remember, in the last game Cocoon very nearly ended up destroyed thanks to the efforts of some nasty fal’Cie, and it took the last=minute efforts of a heretofore-unexplained super monster to save the day.  So why doesn’t Yeul’s role at least pay lip service to a major, world-changing event?  Why is predicting the future so important if no one ever acts on it?  You could argue that it’s because the society that did revere her -- the Paddra, if I remember right -- have died out, but if that’s the case why does Yeul get to wander around the globe from one time period to the next unhindered?  Why weren’t there other societies that tried to get in on that oracle action? 

And that’s not even getting into the problems that Caius brings to the table.  He’s supposed to be her guardian, fine; he IS effectively immortal, after all.  But that just raises further questions.  Why can there only be one guardian, and why do they -- they in this case being Caius and Noel in the endgame -- have to fight to the death to see who has the right to protect Yeul?  Why can’t there be multiple guardians?  Caius may be immortal and the baddest dude around, but he’s still just one guy.  Why not appoint a small army?  Why give the job to someone who failed to protect the civilization in the first place, and even beyond that lets the reincarnated Yeuls wander around aimlessly across the ages?  If the assumption is that Yeul is in no danger of dying because she’ll die at a predetermined point, what’s even the purpose of a guardian?  Even if Yeul’s in no danger of dying, why would any of the Yeuls ever come to like and respect a man who’d let her wander around in a city under siege by magic crystal zombies?  Is emotional support just not a possibility here?  Is he not even going to try and rescue her, or protect her, or anything?  And what the hell is she doing here?  Where is that (besides some random location in the first game)?

You with me so far?  Good.  Because it gets worse.

4) This entire conflict is built on bullshit. 
From what I can gather, this entire game could have been avoided (besides what I pointed out last time) by Yeul actually…well…to put it simply, having a personality. 

This is the inherent problem with Yeul, and a lot of JRPG waifs by extension; they’re not characters as much as they are sketches, plot devices, and/or someone to pity.  Yeul is supposed to be a seeress who’s out to protect the sanctity of the timeline, but she does a tremendously shitty job of it; the most she does in the entire game is spout exposition, spout cryptic exposition, act like a pretty little sunflower, and die.  That’s it.  If the intent was to have the player sympathize with her, or try to understand her plight, there’s been a severe technical error.  All Yeul had to do to bring this story to a halt is tell Caius to knock it off -- which is something she should have done, considering that A) she’s effectively immortal, and B) Caius’ end goal isn’t going to make her life better, but just ruin everyone else’s. 

We have no idea what it is Yeul wants or what her desires are.  The Yeuls all tend to die with a smile on their faces, so you could argue that she’s at peace with the idea…but considering that she helps Caius anyway, it’s another case of conjecture =/= confirmation.  And we have no idea how she feels about being a seeress because she’s there to fill in this Mad Libs page of a plot.  Like I said before, it’s guilt by association of the highest caliber -- and if not that, then she’s the TRUE villain because she’s content with letting Caius wreak havoc on the timeline.  And if she can see the future and knows that Caius is going to effectively shatter reality, why the hell doesn’t she stop it as someone who has to “protect the sanctity of the timeline”?  And on top of all that, Yeul -- one of the ONLY main characters in this thing -- doesn’t even appear in the ending.  At all.  From start to finish, Yeul is just a commodity -- a plot device used to give Caius and Noel pathos and motivation.  That’s pretty fucked up.

But whatever.  If Squeenix can’t be bothered to think about Yeul (because -- say it with me now -- Squeenix hates women), I guess I shouldn’t either.  So let’s talk about Caius for a bit.

I was about ready to (reluctantly) name Caius as the best character in the game…not that that means much, all things considered.  But no, I can’t give him that “honor”; that honor would have to go to Hope, who  -- Subplot aside -- manages to at least TRY to add some connective tissue between the two games and salvage whatever merit 13-2 ran through the trash compactor once or twice or twenty-three times.  But I have to give Caius credit for at least offering glimmers of potential.  There’s a good plot in there somewhere about a man who was “blessed” by the gods and bound to a duty he doesn’t believe in…but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not in here.  Like Kingdom Hearts 2’s Organization 13, Caius has no presence in this game except for the beginning, a minutes-long taste in the middle-ish section, and crammed-in plot details and “justification” at the very end.  And in spite of all that, he still wins.  Time ceases to exist, Serah’s dead, and chaos seeps out from Valhalla into the world…and it barely felt like he had to do a damn thing.  This is in spite of being the central villain.

Like Yeul, Caius’ motivations are hazy at best.  You can pare it down to the absolute basest description, “For a girl,” but if you think about any of the circumstances surrounding it the whole plan falls apart.  “In order to strip my dearest friend of a fate that condemns her to eternal youth and effective immortality -- which she seems to be okay with -- I’m going to kill a goddess so that time is wrecked and my dearest friend will ________”.  Really, his end goal makes no sense; how in the world is ending time and killing a goddess supposed to help Yeul in any way? 

Previews for and comments on Lightning Returns suggest that because time has come to a stop, everyone who’s still alive will stay alive, and everyone who’s dead will stay dead (though given how much 13-2 ignores the framework of 13, that’s subject to change).  So if there’s a Yeul out there that’s still alive, won’t she continue to be immortal?  If not, and if Yeul is dead, then aren’t you killing her permanently as a result?  How is that any different from her visions of the future killing her?  And most importantly, what’s his plan afterward?  Caius wins and gets everything he wants.  So what, is he going to rule the universe?  Is he going to start killing everyone?  What is he -- well, I guess it doesn’t matter, seeing as how the only characters that exist in this world besides the main cast are quest vendors.

The implication here is that Caius is -- again, like Yeul -- supposed to be a sympathetic villain.  But I don’t buy it.  In order for this Sephiroth knockoff to be sympathetic, he has to be understandable.  Identifiable.  There has to be some method to his madness.  It’s okay for him to be an asshole about things, because he’s the villain -- but he can’t be sympathetic unless there’s a good reason FOR him to be an asshole.  If he’s just an abstract of a character with an absolutely alien goal and alien concepts surrounding him, then he’s just an outright -- and whiny -- asshole.

5) This game is about as defined as a six hundred pound man.
I would very much like to know what the process is for building the worlds of 13 and 13-2.  I would like to see video footage of the discussions and construction of these areas the company expects us to wander around in.  I don’t like thinking of the games as just a bunch of strung-together art assets (and again, in 13-2’s case they’re reused art assets), but more and more I find myself realizing that there’s no other way to describe it.  I don’t know what goes on at Squeenix Keep -- or Tri-Ace Mansion, thanks to the outsourcing at work -- but it seems like what we have here is a failure to communicate.

I forgot to mention this when I discussed 13-2’s “world”, so I’ll go ahead and mention it here instead.  If you remember what I said in that post, I went on about how the futuristic world of Academia -- which is four hundred years in the future, mind -- is almost a point-for-point copypasta of any generic city of tomorrow you can think of.  I still stand by that.  But the thing that I didn’t say was that in the context of the original 13, it makes no sense.  Remember, the opening hours of the original game featured gunblades, super-empowering trenchcoats, warmechs, bullet trains crashing into alls of what I can only assume (or hope) are AR projections, machines that reverse or even nullify the flow of gravity, jetpacks, rocket cycles, biomechanical attack panthers, and enough laser beams for a thousand raves.  The world of 13 is already futuristic enough; Academia feels like a massive step backwards technologically, in that it’s too identifiable with what you or I might expect a few decades down the line. 

Too much information is left either unexplored or banished to the godforsaken datalogs -- which is a shame, because once again I can actually see the potential behind the games.  This game especially; instead of going back (forward?) in time to see Caius’ past and how he became the invincible Adonis he is today, we end up getting told all about his heroic exploits…to some extent, at least.  Again, my brain has worked furiously to eject anything related to the game, but I suspect that what I know about Caius came more extensively from a wiki than the actual game.  The one area that could have offered insight into the world and maximized the time travel aspect ends up becoming little more than a site for fetch quests and random asides -- doubly so, considering that the area is never given proper placement in the timeline, as if the devs couldn’t figure out where to put it.  There’s a subplot with Hope’s assistant Alyssa that’s pretty much a dead end.

You know, I have a theory: I think that for all future games, Squeenix should keep Final Fantasy and the like away from science, technology, and any real-world mechanics.  The franchise has been applying old-world thinking to new-world situations without any forethought on how the two mesh.  FF13 could have been resolved almost entirely by a few phone calls.  13-2’s eggheads think that just because they had one magic floating space station means that they have to make another using their own incredibly-faulty magic.  And that’s ignoring the barely-explained anachronisms of combat, like Vanille’s whip-rod, Hope’s boomerang, and Noel’s double-antler swords.  If they’d just explain why these things exist, or at least acknowledge that they exist, then that’d be fine.  IF they’re not, they need to take these characters and ideas and put them in a simpler setting.  They need to put the fantasy back into Final Fantasy.  If they won't, they need to put some serious time into explaining the worlds and how technology exists alongside magic.  Right now, this shit ain’t flyin’.

6) Don’t go for hundred percent completion.  Just don’t.
Eighty-three hours.  Eighty-three hours of wasted time.  I feel great empathy and sorrow toward Kung Fu Jesus and his posse.

To their credit, they had the foresight to grab the guide for 13-2 beforehand.  Or at least A guide; hard to say whether or not they found an online walkthrough, or just grabbed the player’s guide -- a paperback that’s bigger than a lot of novels, based on the times I’ve seen it at Best Buy.  In any case, if you’re going to go for 100%, the ONLY way to do so is with a guide in your lap; there is no way for you to know exactly what you need to do in order to get everything.  The most notable instance is a quiz minigame; there are questions that are based on 13’s lore and events you have no way of knowing…and then there are questions where the right answer depends on whether the two options are placed horizontally or vertically.  I’m serious.  Your choices are “red” or “black”, with no contextual clues to even begin helping you make a decision.  It’s like the Zodiac Spear all over again.

Even beyond that, there’s a load of time-wasting that’s “necessary” for the “full effect” of 13-2.  You can pretty much measure your “progress” in this game by way of the Fragments you collect -- little knickknacks unlocked by performing certain tasks along the way.  Kill off a giant turtle after a dozen hours of grinding? Have a Fragment!  Piss away your life with slot machines to earn obscene amounts of coins?  Have a Fragment!  Explore every inch of every version of a map that’s been repurposed at least three times?  Have a Fragment!  Beat ALL the monsters?  Have a Fragment!

It’s hard to say whether or not 100% completion entails completing all the DLC chapters/sidequests as well.  I’m going to give Squeenix the benefit of the doubt and assume that isn’t the case, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.  Even beyond that, the fact that DLC even exists and has the gall to pretend that it adds anything significant to the story is like a slap in the face from a giant squid on steroids.  The reason I say this -- and indeed, suggest that the whole concept of hundred-percenting the game is pointless -- is because…

7) Accomplishment?  Nah, man.
I don’t know if I mentioned this or not, but whenever you turn on the game and load up your file, you’ll get a brief cutscene.  “Final Fantasy 13-2: The Story So Far,” one of the game’s characters will say.  And you’ll get a menagerie of out-of-context clips from cutscenes you’ve seen before.  It’s supposed to serve as a reminder of what you’ve done in the game so far, but it only reminds you of how much time you’ve wasted.  I say this because even if you’re twenty hours into the game, you’ll see cutscenes from the start of the game.  And cutscenes that don’t really go anywhere…which is arguably EVERY cutscene, but that’s neither here nor there.     

In any case, thinking back on 13-2 and the KFJ LP, I’ve got a theory.  You can count the number of significant events in this game on one hand -- one and a half if you’re generous.  They’re barely even full episodes, at that; more often than not they’re just cutscenes that punctuate huge swaths of nothingness.  Serah and Noel just wander from one era to the next with almost no connective tissue, based on either happenstance of events or being strung there by one of the other characters.  So, let’s see how many significant, fully fleshed-out episodes there are.  And before you ask, no, that twenty-minute dick-stroking festival battle between Lightning and Caius doesn’t count.

Let’s see here.  In relative order of appearance, Serah and Noel…
-- meet and start on their journey.
-- have to figure out how to defeat the massive Atlas.
-- meet Hope and figure out what to do next have details projectile-vomited at them.
-- meet Snow, and have to figure out how to beat a giant flan.
-- endure the siege of Academia.
-- go through The Subplot.
-- follow a chain of events and crammed-in backstory/motivation through to the ending.

Off the top of my head, that’s about it.  The first meeting with Caius isn’t applicable here, because it’s pretty much a random boss fight that comes after wandering around an uninhabited town for a good hour.  Nor can I count the sequences where the plot comes to a halt and Serah and Noel waste time in some void, desolated version of Valhalla.  (Side note: why is there an area named Valhalla if there’s no Norse mythology to speak of in the world of 13?)  The visit to the outer-dimensional casino is right the hell out because it has no bearing on the plot, and is never even referenced by the leads after they see it.  The nomads’ fields have a tangential relationship to beating the giant flan -- go here and kill this dragon -- but you have no way of knowing that going in, and certainly no way of knowing an hour later when you’re wandering the fields after you’re finally allowed to access a weather machine that I’m pretty sure nomads wouldn’t be using, especially if they’re supposed to be travelers that roam the land by definition instead of building up these homes and this town and why do they even have a weather machine what the hell is wrong with you Squee-


The devs were going on in the past about the design philosophy behind 13-2, saying that it would be more “player-driven” instead of the original game’s “story-driven” mindset (both of which are in contrast to the upcoming Lightning Returns’ “world-driven” mindset).  There’s nothing inherently wrong with being player-driven; the problem is that there has to be something to drive the player.  Wandering aimlessly across repeated landscapes and doing arbitrary sidequests isn’t the way to do it.  Nor is it blocking off the plot just to find random knickknacks scattered across time.  And multiple knickknacks at that; if what I’ve heard is right, after The Subplot you don’t just collect five out of seven possible Graviton Cores.  You have to give Hope five WORKING Graviton Cores, because there’s no guarantee that the ones you give him will work.

I’ve seen potato chips thicker than the plot of this game -- and potato chips with more variation than the worlds of this game, for that matter.  If you’re reading this, then you KNOW that there are games out there that offer better plotting, better world-building, better worlds in general, better progression, and of course better satisfaction.  Pro tip: when Call of Duty is beating out your RPG in terms of offering the player a sense of accomplishment, just go home and stand in a corner.

8) This game’s not just bad; it’s lazy.
It’s no secret that I think vanilla 13 was a terrible game, but to its credit, we can all see that some serious effort was put into it.  Misguided effort, without a doubt; effort based on pandering and proselytizing, of course.  But effort all the same.  For better or worse they had a story to tell, and they wanted to do it stylishly while simultaneously offering what they hoped was the next evolution of the franchise.  It didn’t work, but at least they tried.  At least you know their hearts were in the right place.

Not so with 13-2.  It goes beyond just copy-pasting the same areas, or expecting meaningless sidequests to substitute fun and progression, or the graphical downgrade.  The original game might have had clunky and overwrought writing, but the devs knew how to make nearly every cutscene look dynamic and animated (though they have a major problem with dropping in unfitting music).  I won’t claim to know everything about the technical aspects, but at times 13-2 is downright sloppy and cheap.  Right from the get-go, you'll probably find that framerate issues abound, even on the technically-superior PS3 version.  

But there's more.  Instead of the dynamism you’d expect from cutscenes, plenty of them are resigned to swiveling lazily around an NPC…assuming that the camera angle changes at all.  The character you aren’t controlling will wander in and out of a frame with janky movements.  Serah, Noel, Lightning, and even Mog will resort to telling instead of showing ("Noel looked so sad," Serah remarks, even though the camera --however briefly -- doesn't show his face looking any different) whenever they can, and either allowing the camera to pan over unimpressive landscapes or fade to black as the voice-overs continue.  And for supposedly game-changing mechanics, neither the Live Triggers nor the Cinematic Actions really appear all that much or have a genuine effect on the story or game…which means that they’re as arbitrary as you’d expect from half-baked dialogue trees or quick time events.

It’s almost as if this game was rushed out to cash in on a brand name and recoup company losses…naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, that’s impossible.      

9) The DLC is problematic.
You know, I was about to spout off about how all DLC is awful and a waste of money, but I stopped myself before I could.  I recognize that there’s some good DLC out there.  I’ve never gone out of my way to get any, but I’d gladly assume that there’s some good stuff out there.  In my eyes, if the DLC adds something substantial to the gameplay or the story at large (without being required), then it’s fine.  If arbitrary, pointless, or blatantly ripped from the game, then we’ve got problems. 

This game’s DLC has problems.

Vanilla 13 veteran (and the best character) Sazh is mostly strapped to the DLC; if you want to find out what he’s doing, you have to pay additional money…and find out that he’s trapped in an outer-dimensional casino.  And you have to gamble for an hour or two to save him.  What do we learn about him?  That he’s a good guy that loves his son.  What do we learn about the world?  That if you gamble enough, you can alter probability…in cutscenes at least, because good luck with the slot machines.  How much satisfaction do you get out of this?  It’s proportional to how susceptible you are to a gambling addiction.

You can also buy coliseum battles (that should have been in the game in the first place) that let you fight against special enemies like Ultros, Gilgamesh, or even Lightning herself.  I think it’s pretty presumptuous to assume that people would blow more money for a chance to hammer Auto-Battle against more enemies with upwards of five million HP -- and to be fair, a couple of them at a glance look like they require a bit more strategy.  On the other hand, the fights aren’t so much “strategic” as they are “tricky”.  Snow will charge up for his Limit Break and instantly kill you pretty much no matter what you do if you aren’t careful.  Omega can’t be staggered, but automatically goes into a stagger state after a few attacks.  Gilgamesh will jump from having one million HP to ten million on a whim, and when he’s down to 50% health he’ll go into pissy-boss mode and cremate everyone.  It hardly seems ideal, especially considering that in the main story, it only raises further questions about how Snow went from one era to the next, and what he’s doing there if he was empowered by a fal’Cie. 

As you can imagine, that DLC is not too appealing to me.  But as bad as it might be, nothing could ever prepare me for --

Whoops.  I think I’m going to have to save that for next time.  See you guys around.  Be sure to check back soon, because there’s something that really needs to be said about this game.  And if nobody else is going to, then I guess I pretty much have to.

Brace yourselves.  It’s almost time for the end.  And with it, The Truth.


  1. I enjoyed your 13-2 posts (no matter how awful the game is/was), so i was initially bummed when you got that far only to give up. Glad to see the quality of the game was consistent, if anything.. right? Right? Yeahhhh, won't be playing this any time soon.

  2. Smart move. It really is remarkable how so little can happen over such a huge amount of time -- up to and including the average cutscene. It's a pretty sorry sign when the number of "episodes" over the course of 13-2 pales in comparison to what you'd see in the first few hours of a comparable JRPG...or just a game in general, I'd bet.

    The minds behind this so-called Lightning Saga said (at one point) they were trying to make the game in the mold of Call of Duty. Remarkably, they managed to fail at that; they couldn't even make it to such a low-hanging fruit.