[Don't worry, no spoilers.] Sometime during the final third of Final Fantasy XIII-2, I suddenly paused and realized: I love this game as much as X.
I care about the world, the characters, and the myths. Everything that was wrong with the first game was fixed, at least for me.
XIII had one of my favorite end sequences ever. (Okay, I'm biased. LESBIAN SQUEE FANG MMRPHLE MMRF.)
Both games had strong female characters and female leads. Moreover, the relationships between female characters, whether they're lovers or dear friends or sisters, are major plot-driving themes, the way het "boy meets girl and finds twue wuv" is usually a major plot thread of previous editions of the franchise. (Well, there's a fluffy het ship as well, but it's not THE STORY.)
Now, having just had my ass utterly and completely handed to me in xiii-2's final boss battle, I'm going to spend another two weeks on sidequests and minigames that I actually enjoy (take THAT, X-2) to level up. And maybe even find some
linking books to new MYST Ages gates to other times/places I haven't yet explored. Time travel done well is one of the reasons I love this game.
I confess, because it's Squeenix, I'm waiting for some fatal mistake to mar XIII-2 before it's over. Is the ending going to suck with great suckitude, to balance out the previous game's great ending after far too much slogging to get there? I... I dare not get my hopes up. But holy cow and all kinds of swearing, the last couple of hours of the game have left me physically hyperventilating again and again.
...Not ONLY because my previous-owner-customized, used, back-compatible PS3 has a bad habit of freezing at awkward moments far from the last save. It froze TWICE during the hour-long final epic boss battle sequences, forcing me to replay a big chunk. When I finally got to the really-truly-last boss battle, my party was creamed like a soap bubble hit by Mega Gigaton. (Again, twice. I tried a different strategy and still died after putting up a heck of a fight.)
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