Anyway, I got a new video posted and the next one ready to go, but I'm going to sit on that one until the weekend at least. I also got the Buffy boxed set I ordered on Monday (who needs expensive shipping when it arrives in two days anyway?) and made it over to the mall to pick up my copy of Final Fantasy XIII-2. So far, it's solved most of the pacing issues from the first one, and while the story seems pretty convoluted and very little like an actual sequel, that's still probably better than any of the FFVII follow-on material. Tough call on X-2, but that one played like a completely different game, while XIII-2 keeps most of the mechanics. The Crystarium no longer branches, but you can choose which class to build up at each node, with certain nodes giving extra bonuses based on the class. It also eliminates the problem of it being more efficient to build up all the classes evenly - the number of CP to level up is entirely dependent on your total level, and each level-up can be applied to any class. You can reasonably build up a single class to the exclusion of all others for no additional cost. I don't think there are even limits to how much you can build up at a time. I'm still far from seeing everything there is in the game, but within about an hour, I was already doing Paradigm Shifts, and probably setting my own Paradigms and using Crystogenesis not much after that. Even the cutscenes offer a bit of interaction, either through choices or prompts for quick-time events. Yes, it means you can't put the controller down during long cutscenes anymore, but they haven't been nearly as long or intrusive as the ones in the first game. Yet. It also looks like there's a lot of optional stuff, some of which will span long portions of the game. I think I played for a few hours, so that's already a mark in its favor over FFXIII. My only real complaint so far is that either it's too easy or I just know too much from having played the first game, because some of the fights are over before I start. Not kidding - I had a fight last two seconds. It's an advantage of the new encounter system, which I like, but the enemies seem really weak sometimes. I'm getting tons of Potions.
Going to bed early last night worked pretty well, I guess, but I was really in bad shape. Don't know whether to try it again or just stick with what feels natural. I'm feeling just a little tired now, anyway.