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E3 2011: Final Fantasy XIII-2: Finding Work is Hard

When Square Enix first announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 earlier this year, I had one thought: <i>this is it.</i> I was finally getting a job class system in a current-generation Final Fantasy. I thought all the signs pointed to the right place: Lightning appeared in the teaser trailer wearing an entirely different outfit, and the only other direct sequel in Final Fantasy history was a light-hearted adventure that integrated -- you guessed it -- a job class system. But as it turns out, I was wrong. There's no job class system to be found in this RPG sequel.<br/><br/>I appreciated the battle system in <a target="_blank" href="http://ps3.ign.com/articles/107/1075772p1.html"><b>Final Fantasy XIII</b></a>, but by the end of my 60 hour journey I was ready for something different. The job class system would have been a perfect way to reboot Final Fantasy XIII's combat and give the developers an excuse to dress all the characters up in sweet outfits. Would Lightning look good in a black mage robe? You bet your ass. Should Snow have the chance to dual wield pistols that fire ice bullets? Absolutely.<br/><br/>Sadly, I won't get a job class system in Final Fantasy XIII-2. But there are other things to get excited about. I'm intrigued by the prospect of collecting and training different monsters to fight alongside your party. With more than 100 monsters available to recruit, there's a tremendous amount of opportunity for you to customize your team. It's also badass to see a behemoth-class critter prowling the battlefield, defending your tiny little heroes.<br/><br/> <object id="vid_4df0279fdad0bd234b00005c" class="ign-videoplayer" width="468" height="270" data="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf"/><param name="" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"/><param name="flashvars" value="url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/06/08/e3-2011-ign-live-final-fantasy-xiii-2?objectid=97872"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/></object> <div style="width:480px"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/06/08/e3-2011-ign-live-final-fantasy-xiii-2?objectid=97872"><center>Final Fantasy XIII-2 Live Demo</center></a></div><br/><br/>While the Paradigm and Role systems have returned, I've been told that you'll be able to make adjustments to specific roles. For example, two characters assigned to the Commando role could be tweaked to behave differently in battle. This, again, opens up more strategic possibilities.<br/><br/>The most promising change Square Enix has made to the Final Fantasy XIII formula is the emphasis on player choice. Now, you can select different actions at specific points in the story to alter the course of your quest. For example, when preparing to face a giant known as Atlas, heroes Serah and Noel can either charge in head first or attempt to weaken the giant before engaging it directly. These branching plot points will occur throughout Final Fantasy XIII-2 and, believe it or not, affect the ending. Yes, there are multiple endings in Final Fantasy XIII-2, which is extremely rare for the series.<br/><br/>I'm still disappointed over the lack of a job class system, but Final Fantasy XIII-2 has potential. It also has an adorable moogle mage that follows Serah around and transforms into her swordbow for combat purposes.<br/><br/>Did I mention I love Japan?<br/><br/><hr><i>This article is based off information acquired in two different sessions with Final Fantasy XIII-2. The first session was a live, hands-off gameplay demonstration conducted by a Square Enix representative. The second was a private, translated interview with Square Enix's Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama.</i><br/><br/><IFRAME SRC="http://scripts.ign.com/clinkscontent/ign/e3/2011/IGNE_e3nav.html" FRAMEBORDER="0" MARGINHEIGHT="0" MARGINWIDTH="0" SCROLLING="no" STYLE="width:468px; height:430px;"></IFRAME><br/><br/>&#169;2011-06-08, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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