I honestly don't know if this is a good 'game'. And by that, I mean that I truly don't know if it could stand alone. The average person off the street who plays video games once in awhile would probably *HATE* this game if they weren't already a die-hard FInal Fantasy devotee. It expands upon the universe of XIII, and though that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does present it's difficulties. I guess the easiest thing to do would be to compare is to XIII, so that's what I'll do.

There are definitely some improvements, but you've already heard about all of them. The Paradigm system is starting to wear a little thin, though, and I hope that in the next installment they take a different approach. It just isn't fun anymore, and part of the thrill of X-2 was the new job/combat system. Take a lesson, folks. Keep it fresh.

The music annoyed the everloving hell out of me. Too much inappropriate J-Pop, reminiscent of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Even when '*** gets real' and the faux-metal music comes up, it's still some generic lyrics talking about the past, blah blah blah, and it's just annoying. The only music that I like in this game is the almost drum-and-bass track on the Steppe that was also present in the first installment. 

The story is just... it's just... damn. It's just damn, and you'll understand what I mean when you play it. It comes off like one of those annoying holier-than-thou spiritualists, in that it tries to introduce a complex story and uses a lot of intricate language to make you feel like there should be some deeper meaning to what is actually being said, while the content is truly just a lot of vacuous fluff. The story doesn't work, will only frustrate you, and should honestly just be ignored. I say that, because there's a LOT to love about this game, if you can just get past everything... well... else.

The new monster collection system is FUN. I wanted a Tonberry, and by gumbo I had to work my ASS off to get one, but it was SO worth it to see one of those little bastards scuttling around, shanking my enemies. The ability to go back and re-play areas which you've already cleared is also nice. 

Eh, I said that there was a LOT to love... but it's really one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of deals. If you're a fan, you'll be a fan and you'll level the *** out of your characters and yours monsters just so that you can eat a solid Ochu in a matter of seconds. Apart from the blatant fan service, however, this installment falls pretty flat.

By the way... what happened to Marlboros in this universe...??