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Monday, 13 February 2012

Toriyama'd

For those of you who have reached this post by searching "Toriyama'd" to find out what it actually means, it refers to how you should expect games directed by him to troll you incessantly and make absolutely no sense. Been screwed over by XII-2? You just got Toriyama'd my friend.

I didn't include this in my review for spoiler reasons, but I really need to vent about the ending to Final Fantasy XIII-2. Probably the worst ending in the entire series, and a desperate grab for a sequel, be it XIII-3 or a DLC. This post contains major spoiler, and by major spoilers, I mean I'll basically be describing exactly what happens. Read at your own risk, and all that jazz.

I came into the ending positively. Caius was, sadly, dead, the paradoxes had been resolved and everyone, for some reason, had been returned to Academia 500AF. The old Cocoon is collapsing, but that's OK; everyone has been evacuated, Fang and Vanille's crystals have been extracted. All of this is happening to the beautifully cheery "New World" by Charice which, unlike "My Hands" from FFXIII, actually makes sense with what's happening!

Then Serah dies in Noel's arms as she has another vision of the changing future. With the cheery music still playing.

I can accept that Serah died. I'd rather she had the opportunity to see Lightning and everyone else one more time, and that probably would have felt a little more appropriate and bittersweet, but Serah did finish her journey knowing what would probably happen to her, so her death would be a fitting conclusion to the game, even if I wanted her to live. 

What really gets me is what happens next. A portal to Valhalla opens, and waves of Chaos stream out and engulfs not only Academia and the surface of Pulse, but the new Cocoon as well. The fates of Noel, Hope, Snow, Sazh, Fang, Vanille and everyone else remotely important is left unanswered, leaving behind only a vague "to be continued" as Valhalla materialises into the real world. Turns out Noel killed a freaking Goddess when he stabbed Caius in the heart! Meanwhile, Lightning has turned into a rock.

This is... ridiculous. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was established partially to further develop Lightning's character and give her a clear conclusion. This game, and the ending in particular, fails to do this. Becoming a rock after being absent for all but 20 minutes of the game is not a good way to develop character or conclude a storyline.

Fang and Vanille stayed as crystal for the entire game, apart from a few dream sequences. They didn't even get a place in the ending, despite their fates being another reason a sequel was made. 

Perhaps the worst thing about the ending is that it left me with the impression that nothing I did was worth it, and that there was absolutely no point in playing the game. If Serah had died, but the world was still saved, that is a satisfying, if not disappointing, conclusion. I have still saved reality from Time Compression and the future is safe from villains like Caius. 

But no, the game brutally reverses all of the players effort by pretty much destroying everything. All 30 hours that I had put into the game before beating the final bosses, gone. Every side quest, every fragment, every world-ending crisis averted. Pointless. The secret ending, gotten by collecting ALL 160 FRAGMENTS doesn't help by revealing that this is what Caius had intended all along, and that the end of the world was the players fault. I probably won't be playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 again. At least not without skipping all the cutscenes to avoid being drawn in to an ultimately hopeless plot.

Actually, that's a lie. I'll be playing through both XIII and XIII-2 at some point in the future, just so the story can flow nicely from one game to the next. and yes, I know I lied when I talked about Caius's motivations, but would you rather the spoilers?

1 comment:

  1. I concur. Freaking pissed me off. They even said that the whole reason of a sequel was to resolve everything. It was supposed to show if Lightning was really 'happy' or not. It was suppose to be about saving Vanille and Fang. And yes I totally understand what you mean about building up so much hope and then it just falls apart in the end! I worked so hard - for nothing! I'm so sad... (Q_Q)

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