How Final Fantasy XIII 2 saves the franchise for now

2010’s Final Fantasy XIII may have sold well enough, but the perplexingly bad design decisions quickly made the title a bitter disappointment for many fans. Coupled with the disastrous launch of Final Fantasy XIV, and even publisher/developer Square Enix admitted that its legendary role-playing brand had been severely damaged.
Rather than develop an entirely new game that would typically release in 5-6 years, Square Enix sought to make use of their existing engine and team with a direct sequel. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was developed in just two years, and released in Japan in December of 2011, where it scored perfect reviews from major media outlets such as Famitsu. So far, sales have been lackluster, especially compared to XIII’s launch numbers.
With Square Enix looking to release a new Final Fantasy title every year, similar to the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed franchises, there’s a lot riding on XIII-2’s success. But is the game’s reputation already too far gone?
It’s important you know from the onset that Final Fantasy XIII essentially killed the Final Fantasy series for me.
Like most gamers, my fondest memories of the franchise were shaped by the epic struggle between Cloud and Sephiroth, the angsty love story between Squall and Rinoa, and all the groundbreaking CG cinematics, monster-hunting, and mesmerizing music a kid could handle. I spent countless hours mastering materia, collecting all the Tetra Master cards, and maxing out my summons–and I still get goose bumps whenever I watch the opening of Final Fantasy VIII.
Final Fantasy releases were more than just games; they were life events. They were compelling, awe-inspiring, wholly imaginative worlds to get lost in for days, weeks, or even months on end. They weren’t always perfect, but nonetheless, there was something special about them that no other franchise managed to capture