Okay so I’m going to wrap up my thoughts on my first play-through of the XIII-2 Demo.
For Starters, let’s talk about where the demo starts you off.
You start in Cocoon, in the Bresha Ruins’ excavation site, where Atlas goes apeshit and attacks you.
Right off the bat it kicks off with cinematics and then the battle begins prompting about the Paradigm Shift system and if you’d like to skip the tutorial or not (I skipped it)
First let me say that the NEW Paradigm Shift system is amazing.
It’s fine tuned to switch out quickly and has 3 different modes for each paradigm so you can decide how to attack your enemies, be it normally, focusing one target, or spreading out your attacks.
Next on my list of things to discuss is the cinematic sequences or Cinematic Action.
I’m neither really here nor there with these but I can’t say I dislike them. They add a new spin on the whole storyline being integrated into the battles and I must say they’re quite fun from time to time.
OKAY so back to the demo…
After your encounter with Atlas (btw you unlock additional things for getting 100% on the Cinematic Actions). You’re still in the Bresha Ruins but it’s raining and now you’re able to traverse the map as you please.
The general area is very large and there are a lot of NPC’s walking around, some of which you can speak to in order to gather more information about what’s going on, you’re trying to find a way to stop Atlas from rampaging as he is.
As you walk around Mog (your trusty moogle sidekick who Noel calls PiggyKitty which I found to be hilarious) if you come into proximity of a hidden item his crystal on his head starts to glow at which point you can press “R1” to reveal and then collect the item. I think this feature is called the “Moogle Hunt” if I’m not mistaken.
So as you venture further into the ruins trying to find some way to stop Atlas you’ll come across monsters to fight, this is where the “Mog Clock” comes into play.
The Mog Clock is a system by which when you encounter invisible enemies you’re given a clock that counts down gauging in colour to let you know how you’re going to start off that battle. The way it works is you have to press “X” to hit a nearby monster while keeping the dial in the green or yellow (Green starts you off with either a pre-emptive strike or status buffs like haste or both) when your dial starts to veer into the red you’re fucking screwed (you start the battles with penalties, an example of which is not being able to retry the battle).
After beating your first set of Monsters, Mog goes on about some lore since Serah (who I’m very indifferent about as a character on the whole) made note of the fact that the monsters had turned to crystal.
Mog goes on to explain that they were transformed into crystal so that you can tame and use these monsters.
This is where another Mechanic steps in and also ushers in your Third party slot.
With each monster, there’s something called a Paradigm Pack. This is where a monster is assigned a certain slot in your Paradigm decks.
The monsters of course can be one of each of the 5 roles (Commando, Ravager, Synergist, Saboteur, Sentinel) and you can name and raise each of them individually.
The most interesting thing about this system is the inclusion of the “Feral Link” which would sum up to be a monster’s equivalent to a full ATB move or Limit Break but in this instance you have to enter commands just as you would during “Cinematic Action”. Of course, there’s a gauge that builds up over a period of time during battle that governs your use of the Feral Link which you activate by pressing “Square” on your controller.
CAIT SITHS ARE CUTE AS FUCK (just felt the need to throw that in there)
I’m not going to go into much detail about the mechanics of the whole Monster Capture system but I will say that I like it it a lot and the transitions between paradigms is smooth with them as well.
Ah of course, with you ability to talk to NPC’s you will be granted the option of taking up additional missions, one I encountered involved finding and defeating a C’ieth (which I never got around to because I really did rush this demo).
As you’re further exploring the ruins, Alyssa keeps talking to you and revealing random little facts and titbits
Also Chocolina the crazy bitch who sells you stuff is found ALL over the place. (There’s a part where you see Atlas towering and waiting to fight and she’s like a few feet away, waving and smiling and shit) Personally, I love her. I don’t know why…
You enter a series of tunnels in which you encounter more and more various monsters, artefacts, and items and of course Chocolina and NPC’s.
Traversing these tunnels you find a machine with which you can control Atlas (it should be noted that you can tackle Atlas head on without making use of this machine but that’s fucking suicide)
Upon trying to use the machine you are knocked into a temporal rift where you must work out 3 “Tile Trials” where you have to collect these crystals on the floor while utilizing the tiles in such a way that you make it to the gate at the end of the puzzle. After which, you then activate the machine, find your way out of the tunnels and go to take on Atlas
(At this point I decided to buy new weapons since I accumulated so much Gil within that space of time)
Yes, that’s something to be noted, you earn gil with every fight and getting a 5 star rating guarantees you your target’s rare/common drops.
While the CP yield is small, it’s significant, especially considering you’re able to level up as you see fit in each respective role.
Some of the drops from the monsters also allow you to level your monsters in your party as well.
A MAJOR ASPECT OF THE BATTLE SYSTEM TO BE NOTED is the “Blood Damage”.
A percentage of your Max HP is drained. When blood damage is dealt to you the words “Wounded” appear on the screen but no worries, you recover from Blood Damage at the end of a battle or with certain items in battle.
OKAY so the battle with Atlas goes down and BOOM it’s the end of the Demo and a video starts to play revealing different parts and aspects of the game. The first being the Lightning VS Chaos Bahamut fight.
They thank you for playing the demo and go on to show you the North American and UK release dates of the games.
so okay in summary what have we learnt about XIII-2?
I learnt that I’m going to thoroughly enjoy it.
But in a list:
Updated Command Synergy Battle
Updated Paradigm Shift System (inclusion of Paradigm Tuning)
Mini Games in the form of Temporal Rifts
Recruiting of Monsters and Feral Link
Ability to Switch Leader
Still Gorgeous Graphics
A lot of room to explore (no more linearity)
and so much more
ALL this from a demo, Square isn’t going to disappoint with this game ^_^
If you’re hoping for a rating I’ll give this demo a 4.5/5 because there were some aspects that got to me (awkward camera angles being the only one that comes to mind)