Final Fantasy XIII-2 DLC Round-Up – I Hear The Beaches on Pulse are Lovely This Time of Year
Final Fantasy XIII and its offspring have been the subject of quite a fair amount of debate, and have split fanbases down the middle in many cases. Say what you may about the games, there’s no doubt that they continue to push the envelope in terms of including features and designs that no other Final Fantasy game has before them. FFXIII-2 now stands as the first in the series to receive a healthy helping of downloadable content support, and new releases are still being announced. And, in traditional FFXIII style, the value of each DLC release is creating more and more arguments, such as “why spend money on this”, “do you really like playing dress-up with your JRPG characters”, “$1.59 is too much for a digital bikini”, among others.
Is it all well-valued post-release content or video game fashion faux pas? Where one player says yes, another says Square Enix is a bunch of money hungry fat cats – but really, they’re no different from any other major developer nowadays, are they? There’s no denying that SE seems intent on pushing the value of their title as much as they can, and also pay fans some tribute and, all in all, they seem to be trying to have fun with it – which was central to whole idea of XIII-2 in the first place.
The first line of DLC, which released in February, was based around bringing fans some service in the form of Lightning as a Coliseum foe then, subsequently (if you manage to snag her monster crystal), as an ally in battle. While the core idea is great, Square Enix should have made it quite clear to those wishing to purchase this DLC that this is NOT intended for gamers who are earlier in, or even near the middle of, the story. Lightning and her former-C.O. Amodar create quite a formidable team, even for highly developed post-game players. Even if defeated, there’s still a chance that Lightning will not drop her monster crystal. These facts certainly hinder the overall value of this downloadable content, simply because reaching the desired goal of having Lightning as a team member can be both incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
Next, SE announced that they were planning on releasing DLC episode detailing side stories of some of the original main cast from XIII. The first of these episodes was an extra episode entitled “Sazh: Heads or Tails” and detailed some brief trials of afro-king-Sazh being separated from his son, Dajh. While the playtime is fairly short, the DLC opens up new mini-games at the game’s casino, Serendipity, and also unlocks Sazh as a playable character in the player’s monster deck. Overall, for the $2.99 price tag, the content is snappy and fun, and playing Poker and other card games at the casino is certainly a lot of fun (and addicting) – and getting to play with Sazh in your party is a pleasure.
Along with this first DLC episode, SE announced that the pre-order bonuses that were exclusive to certain retailers were getting public releases. These included three unique weapons for Noel and Serah each, as well as some optional outfits for the two main characters. Also, Omega Weapon was made available as a Coliseum opponent, which much like Lightning, is no pushover. This inherently carries the same criticism in that players will have a difficult time snagging Omega as a teammate. The fact that most of these items are separate from each other and at fairly low prices makes it easy to pick some, all or none of them to purchase, and while the outfits are good for nothing but aesthetic value (and seeing Serah in a bikini), the element of adding more light-hearted fun to your playthrough is alive and well here.
With each new month, new DLC was detailed and released. More Coliseum opponents (such as XIII villain Jihl Nabaat) and cross-franchise outfits were made available, the latter of which probably caused more than a few eyebrows to rise. SE partnered up with both Ubisoft and Bioware to present Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect 3 themed wardrobe changes for Noel and Serah, and while to some this may have seemed out of place and just plain strange, I actually enjoyed the attempt at bringing some new, unique flavors to my game. Being a fan of both the aforementioned franchises, I was probably more than excited than most to see my characters dressed in Ezio’s ensemble from AC: Revelations, and the Mass Effect content was certainly a strange (but welcome) change of visuals for the game’s fantasy-themed world and visual style.
In May, a DLC episode detailing heroine Lightning’s conflicts and struggles behind the scenes of XIII-2, which provided a little more closure for those unhappy with the ending of the game. This content gives players more playtime with Lightning herself and shows more details of her battles against the game’s antagonist, Caius. Allegedly, the battle system will be slightly different than the design in XIII-2, but exactly how will remain to be seen. While this will probably be short-lived like the Sazh episode, it should be entertaining to step back into Lightning’s shoes again and embark on another adventure (and spend more time in this fantastic universe).
Also still yet to be released, more Coliseum battles have been announced as well as a new playable episode featuring Serah’s estranged fiancée, Snow. The new opponents have been revealed to be Gilgamesh (a series mainstay for many a FF entry) and the mysterious alien, PuPu, who was featured in FFVIII. It’s also been confirmed that Snow will be faceable in the Coliseum as well, in addition to a new foe named Valfodr.
What lies beyond is anyone’s guess, but SE has shown more than a passing interest in continuing to release DLC for XIII-2, and have promised that fans can expect to see even more to come in the following months. Some may remember game director Motomu Toriyama stating that the reason that XIII didn’t feature any downloadable content was that they believed in shipping as complete a title as possible, so it may seem strange that its sequel is being given so many DLC packs.
Hypocritical? I don’t believe so. It can be argued that Final Fantasy XIII-2 in and of itself was already a complete product and offered tons of game hours, and that the recent swathe of new content is only serving to give players more bang for their buck and continue the lifespan of the game (as well it should). As many people as there are that may be opposed to a Final Fantasy title receiving DLC, it’s a common developer strategy that won’t soon disappear, and may as well be embraced instead of lamented. Digital content is increasing in both popularity and value for developers, and I’m only excited to see this much attention being paid to one of my favorite franchises. As far as future releases in the months to come, Final Fantasy XIII-2‘s developers seem to have a hat their just pulling ideas out of – in other words, there’s no sign of the extra content slowing down anytime soon.
For the complete list of Final Fantasy XIII-2 downloadable content, both Western and Eastern, visit the Final Fantasy Wiki.