Time Travel Opens Up Worlds of Possibility in Final Fantasy XIII-2

One of my favorite features of Final Fantasy XIII-2, time travel allows the player and their party to jump back and forth between different eras in the game's history, small self-contained 'What If?' scenarios filled with stories to experience and items to collect.

For fans of the Final Fantasy XIII setting, XIII-2's different time periods are a veritable smorgasbord of new background information, further fleshing out the fiction of the game. Each new area grants a fresh perspective on the world and its people, neatly tied into the main storyline in creative ways.

And for me? Well I am OCD about collectibles, so giving me separate locations with a set number of treasures to find appeals to me on a primal level.

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I just wish there was a way to make the game play the Doctor Who theme every time that portal opens up. OOOOOOeeeeeoooooo.

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DISCUSSION

Eh. Time travel would be great if it involved visiting new versions of an actually compelling setting or interacting with interesting characters. The problem with XIII-2 is that frankly? The characters and setting just aren't interesting or fleshed out enough for the time travel mechanics to be worth it. Do I really care about seeing Hope as a grown man? Not really. Do I have any interest in seeing what life was like on Pulse before the Fal'Cie nuked it? Not particularly.

The central problem of XIII-2's existence is that they're treating the game like a world that people WANT to visit again, despite not doing nearly enough work in the original for said world to resonate on a lasting level with the majority of players. XIII didn't leave people wanting more, it left people asking "Wait, what?"

Square seems to be trying to repeat the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII for XIII without the understanding that the reason the Compilation worked at ALL was because VII occupies a special place in a LOT of JRPG fans' hearts. XIII is too new and too uneven to have the same effect. Nostalgia doesn't work that way.