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It's a good game, yes, but imo the worst of the trilogy. I've only played them once so it's not impossible that I could change my mind a second time around. I would like to play them all in a row someday.
XIII-2 expanded on the things I did enjoy from XIII and minimized the things that frustrated me about it. I'd call that a win. Playing actually felt fun for most of this game compared to only the last half of XIII being something that I found enjoyable.
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr
The basic system is good, the problem for me is the game balance, its so easy.
I now play the game modded on my pc.
Extra monsters added in mod including caius as monster crystal. I increase enemy HP by 300% and ATK/MAG by 200% with cheat engine I can increase equipment capacity to 255 by selling certain rare items, and this makes equipment so much better. CP from enemies 10%, but increased CP from fragments to compensate.
With the new balance the game is a lot better in my opinion.