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Final Fantasy XIII-2 review round-up - in full

Nightmare or Fantasy? All the Final Fantasy XIII-2 reviews right here...

Just two years after the release of Final Fantasy XIII and we're being treated to another entry in the franchise. An exciting prospect for sure, but is it any good?

Reviews have started to surface for the game and from the looks of it fans are in for a good time - provided they keep expectations in check.

In our own Final Fantasy XIII-2 review we say "Square Enix has succeeded in crafting a significantly better title than Final Fantasy XIII " by "listening to the fans' complaints and addressing the grave mistakes".

However, the "design-by committee process has still fallen well short of recapturing the highs of the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 games." We awarded the latest entry in the storied franchise 7.7.

To keep you up to speed we've gathered verdicts from as many reviews as wel could find stuck them in an easy-to-digest list below.

Have a look...

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OXM: 8/10 - The true paradox of Final Fantasy isn't a temporal one. It's how it can conjure a feeling that's a combination of love, hate, derision and awe. XIII-2 gets less love than XIII. And the simplification dampens the open awe of previous games. But it's still the dominant feeling. And the fact I finished the game with only a quarter of the collectible fragments and very little idea of where to find them? Well, I just can't wait for the FAQs to start coming out.
OXM US: 9.0 - Maybe the best way to sum up Final Fantasy XIII-2 is with an oft-repeated line of dialogue from the game itself: "Change the future to change the past." It's not just a paradoxical plot point: FFXIII-2 repairs almost every problem with Final Fantasy XIII, delivering an experience that feels like what that original game should have been. If your faith in Final Fantasy has been damaged by past disappointment, playing FFXIII-2 will restore your excitement for the franchise's future.
Machinima: 9/10 - Recommending Final Fantasy XIII-2 is an interesting proposition. If you don't like menus and cutscenes, Final Fantasy XIII-2 won't change your world view, because they're still there. However if you, like me, have been waiting for a reason to like Final Fantasy again, this is it.
VideoGamer: 8/10 - It's not a watershed for the genre, nor is it a return to the franchise's glory days. This is a game for admirers (however grudging) of Final Fantasy XIII and JRPG fans in general.
The Guardian: 4/5 - If you're a newcomer, answer this question as honestly as possible; are you likely to be put off a game by the idea that one of the protagonist's most powerful weapons transforms into an adorably cute imp that says "Kupo!" at the end of every second sentence? If the answer is no, then FF XIII-2 is well worth exploring. If the answer is yes, then move on - there's nothing for you here.
Digital Spy: 4/5 - Final Fantasy XIII-2 does a tremendous job at addressing the complaints of its predecessor. While it does so by dramatically changing how the adventure plays out, the results are at times stunning, with a well integrated time travel mechanic that benefits the adventure's pacing and story. While the side-quests can underwhelm and frustrate, the sheer amount of extra content is a welcome addition, making for a more well-rounded role-playing experience and one that well lives up to the Final Fantasy name.
G4: 4/5 - For Final Fantasy XIII-2, Square Enix set out to correct the issues fans had with the first game, and they have succeeded across the board. With improvements to combat, exploration, and storytelling, it feels like this is the game that XIII should have been. But it isn't just a sequel, as it carves out its own tale to stand among the Final Fantasy pantheon.
Eurogamer: 8/10 - For all its mechanical cleverness and forward-thinking design, Final Fantasy 13-2 is also convoluted, complicated and unfriendly to newcomers. In Square-Enix's desperation to discover what its flagship series looks like in the modern world, what should be an interesting curio has been inflated to blockbuster proportions.
IGN: 8.0 - Final Fantasy XIII-2 proves itself the better game, but it lacks the same focused storytelling employed in the original. It benefits from an improved battle system, open environments, and an overall level of polish that deserves a nod of respect. Despite its severe lack of closure, Final Fantasy XIII-2 still deserves your time, especially for a few poignant moments set at the end of days.
1UP: B - As a whole, the package doesn't come together nearly as well as FFXIII did. It's a mishmash of interesting systems and bold ideas that never quite gel. Still, it's an encouraging step in the right direction; if nothing else, it at least demonstrates that Square Enix is open to other studios being involved in the production of its tentpole franchise and realize they can't expect to sell on name alone.
GameSpot: 7.5 - Just remember to keep your expectations in check: Final Fantasy XIII-2 isn't a timeless adventure in the grand tradition of the beloved series. But if you're curious to see the next stage in this ongoing tale, there's no reason you shouldn't chase after Lightning. After all, she can't defeat Caius without you.
Joystiq: 3/5 - Ultimately, if Final Fantasy XIII took the series five steps back, Final Fantasy XIII-2 takes it one hesitant step forward. Features like non-linear dungeons, optional side quests and NPC-populated towns are wonderful and all, but they were RPG staples twenty years ago. While Final Fantasy XIII-2 does quite a bit to fix the mistakes of its predecessor, it does very little to stand out on its own merits. It's enjoyable, but it's also disappointing in many ways. Final Fantasy deserves better.
GameInformer: 8/10 - In most respects, the team at Square Enix did a great job singling out and addressing the chief problems. Progression is player-driven, combat is even more entertaining, and an array of other adjustments makes it one of my favorite RPGs from a mechanical perspective. I just want all of that integrated with a story that isn't laughable and borderline insulting, and that's where Final Fantasy XIII-2 falters.
Metro: 6/10 - An improved sequel on paper only, with an overall experience that is still ruined by incoherent storytelling and unsympathetic characters.
Gaming Nexus: A - I had great hopes for this game, just like I had for the original title. Square Enix addressed nearly every issue from the previous title and delivered in a huge way. With a non-linear world, plenty of side quests, puzzles, and much more, Final Fantasy XIII-2 adds yet another smash hit to the RPG powerhouse.
Machinima: 9/10 - Recommending Final Fantasy XIII-2 is an interesting proposition. If you don't like menus and cutscenes, Final Fantasy XIII-2 won't change your world view, because they're still there. However if you, like me, have been waiting for a reason to like Final Fantasy again, this is it.
RPG Fan: 80% - It's quirky, it's melodramatic, and it's convoluted, but I couldn't help but crack a smile during much of Final Fantasy XIII-2. It's a guilty pleasure for me - just like Quantum Leap.
GamesTM: 8/10 - It's hard to recall a sequel that makes such major changes to a great game and still manages to get things so right. If XIII was making a case for the quickest route from A to B being a straight line, XIII-2 instead argues that a time gate directly to your destination is both more practical and more interesting. We're inclined to agree.
1UP: B - It's an encouraging step in the right direction; if nothing else, it at least demonstrates that Square Enix is open to other studios being involved in the production of its tentpole franchise and realize they can't expect to sell on name alone. Final Fantasy is sporting the clothes and attitude of its cooler peers; now it just needs to learn to wear them with confidence.
Escapist: 3.5/5 - Final Fantasy XIII-2 is beautiful and packed with tons of tiny details that will keep you interested even when you've run into your umpteenth random battle. It misses a few opportunities and at times bogs down with its story, but overall provides a satisfying adventure.

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