Sunday, February 26, 2012

But wait, if I can go back in time...

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is already forcing me to eat my words. Not about the plot, no that is still bat shit insane (Change the future and you change the past, bleh). It has made a few steps in the right direction with the cast, reintroducing an older Hope, who is not quite as much of a wimp as before, and Snow, who has not changed in the slightest and was passing the time punching a flan the size of a ten story building. What I was wrong about was the difficulty of combat. The random encounters are still very easy, with the exception of the ultra-rare ones that you aren't supposed to fight anyway. But the bosses? They are take no prisoners motherfuckers that require planning, fast reactions, and make liberal use of the 'retry' option.

Fist of all, I was wrong about a third person entering the party in addition to the monsters. I was planning on making third a dedicated healer - tank, but since I am not getting that third person I have to rely on the monsters to do it. What that means for the moment is that neither of my main characters have any healing spells. Again, this does not affect normal battles because they are over so quickly (side note - not have magic points and hit points resetting between battles makes everything more fun), but in boss battles I bleed through potions very quickly. I was also wrong about the way the player characters learn skills. In XIII each role had its own grid, so going back later to grab some sentinel skills just for the hp boost was really cheap. Not so this time; each character has a grid and moving along it gets more expensive as you go regardless of what role you are assigning points to. Going back and getting the basic healing spells for Sarah is going to take a while.

Translation: I screwed up my characters and am only about eight hours in. There was a boss fight that killed me so quickly that I assumed I was supposed to lose. Nope, 'game over,' try again. I will recover. It will take some grinding, but all is not lost. Here is what matters: a Final Fantasy game actually has managed to throw in a surprise or two in the game play department, surprises of the good kind, not the 'why were you tripping balls when you wrote this' kind.

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