Release of the Week: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (360, PS3)

Up until now there haven’t been many big video game releases. Don’t get me wrong, Margaritaville Online has its place, but it is hardly a hardcore title. Unless you mean hardcore drinking, but even that is questionable. Luckily the end of January means the first of 2012’s big console releases are beginning to trickle out.

This week will see three notable titles. Fighting game fans will be happy to see SoulCalibur V hitting consoles this week. This installment in the series will contain 30 fighters, including one Ezio Auditore da Firenze of Assassin’s Creed fame. Konami will also be bringing out a bizarre new action game called NeverDead. In NeverDead you play the part of an annoying wise-cracking demon hunter who was “cursed” with immortality. Because your character can’t die, enemies will do their best to dismember your body to defeat you. You’re much less threatening as a head rolling around, although an endless stream of bad jokes and puns prove to be just as deadly a weapon.

This week’s biggest release is of the Final Fantasy sort. Like Final Fantasy X before it, the polarizing Final Fantasy XIII is getting its own awkwardly named sequel. Final Fantasy XIII-2’s story will take place three years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII and will use a revised version of the same Command Synergy Battle system. These similar mechanics will be used to battle monsters in random encounters, as beasts will no longer be roaming around the map.

Fans of the series should be pleased with Final Fantasy XIII-2. Early reviews are saying that it has fixed many of the issues that turned people off in its predecessor. Just be prepared for a darker game then Final Fantasy X-2. And if you can’t keep track of which game is which, I don’t blame you. Hopefully the series gets a reboot soon, or simply drops the roman numerals in favor of subtitles. Otherwise Final Fantasy 30 is going to draw in the wrong kind of audience.

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