Final Fantasy XIII-2 Surprised Me Like No Other


As much as I’d like to say I had oodles of hope for Final Fantasy XIII’s sequel, I’ll admit that despite all my talk tooting its horn I was still a bit nervous that the game would not pull through and that I would look like an idiot. Well, thankfully, I don’t look like an idiot, at least because of this anyway. In fact, Final Fantasy XIII-2 went above and beyond my expectations.

Interestingly enough, I’ve heard several customers at my job that weren’t all too happy with the game, but for me, the game certainly out did its previous game and made me feel as if I was playing a Final Fantasy game again.

Based in time travel you play as Lightning’s sister, Serah, and a mysterious guy named Noel. Hailing from the bleak future, he was the last child born on Pulse. Feeling defeated for reasons I will not reveal, he prays for a miracle and is sent to by the Goddess via Lightning to Serah’s time so that they can change the future.

This time around the worlds of Pulse and Cocoon is very much open compared to Final Fantasy XIII. You will find yourself exploring large maps several times. By revisiting areas in different time periods you will be able to explore the entirety of all the maps that you will encounter. The one downside is the treasure balls that you get previously will remain empty in future periods. However, future time periods usually carry a few hidden treasures themselves in previously inaccessible areas.

Along with this new time travel twist, some other changes have occurred. In particular your party will not consist of the standard storyline characters. Instead of traveling and gathering up a party you will only play as Serah and Noel along with the monsters you catch from your enemy encounters. You can kind of add Lightning, Sahz and others via DLC, however they are considered monsters and are AI characters not the legit characters. Don’t fear, however. You will encounter the real Lightning, Sahz, Hope and will even get a brief glimpse with my two favorite girls, Vanille and Fang.

In general I really enjoyed the monster addition. Although it was semi different from what Final Fantasy has always been, I quite liked trying to gather all the monsters possible. Determined to build a great party, I must have fought so many monsters Serah and Noel surely would have been exhausted if it was real life.

So what didn’t change? The Paradigm System, perhaps one of the my favorite battle systems in Final Fantasy, returns! It took me no time at all to start playing with my Commando-Ravager-Ravager role as well as even using Commando-Ravager-Sentinel for those tough monsters that just are a little too high leveled for you.

Thankfully Square Enix took out the bar on the Crystarium. I spent hours grinding and gaining CP so that both Serah and Noel were seriously nasty in combat. By halfway through the game Noel had reached level 99 in the Commando role while Serah was level 99 in the Ravager role. Bosses seriously had no chance. Meanwhile I continued to work on other roles for each and by the end of the game they had reached 99 for almost every role except for one each.

But don’t think you maxing out your stats will help you entirely. You will still need a strategy and most likely a good Sentinel. The last boss, although not ridiculously tough, was toilsome and you had to be aware of the crazy beam it/they could send your way.

Upon completion you will more than likely be awed at the end results. In fact, I hadn’t been so shocked by a Final Fantasy ending since Final Fantasy X. (And no, I didn’t just give away XIII-2 ending because it’s still quite different.) But I’ll just say it was unexpected to the max for me. In fact, I actually do hope that Square Enix does decide to really do Final Fantasy XIII-3 now just so things aren’t left so untied. Because if that’s the end then I am right in saying it’s a pretty dark ending. But hey, I like me some dark endings.

But don’t think the game is entirely over once you watch the credits role. You will be able to take control of Serah and Noel once again and replay some aspects of the game. Although you may have collected 90% of the fragments in the game, there are several you cannot get until after you beat the game, or at least until you are very leveled up.

Most levels contain special gate seals that can be used to close and reset the levels you’ve already played. By traveling there again you will be ready to take out some baddies long before you’re supposed to. In doing so you will receive a Paradox Ending as well as another fragment. That is where I’m at now in the game. While I’m taking a break to crack out on Tales of Graces F for now, I do plan on going back and beating Final Fantasy XIII-2 with 100%. So yes, Final Fantasy XIII-2 even has some really cool re-playability factors as well as DLC!

So what’s my overall rating? I’d give this Final Fantasy an 8.5.

The game kept me busy, absorbed and lost in the storyline. I enjoyed the battle system, the characters, and wanted to see them reach their goal. And I was shocked by the ending. I’d say it was a pretty damn good game.


April 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Playstation 3, Role Playing Game, Xbox 360.


  1. kickflipper1087 replied:

    I liked FFXIII. I didnt play -2 but I thought XIII was too linear 😦 Not enough free-explore. Chapter 11 was kinda open, but not like FFX, that was my favorite FF!

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