Final Fantasy XIII-2 takes place right after the events of XIII, only altered. Lightning has been swept away by the hands of time, erased from people’s minds. Her sister Serah is the only one who remembers her surviving the final battle. Along with that she’s having bizarre dreams involving Lightning and a mysterious man named Caius. Enter Noel, a time traveling hunter from the far future that’s come in the name of Lighting to request Serah’s help to correct the timeline. The story, from there, revolves around them traveling to new timelines. It’s interesting, if not somewhat convoluted, but the main story feels disconnected, as it’s more about each individual period and their issues. The ending is a little disappointing as well as it seemingly wrap up, but then ends abruptly on a cliffhanger. Final Fantasy XIII-3?
The battle system from XIII returns, though tweaked a bit. You control Serah, Noel, and now one monster you can collect as you battle. The battles themselves are fast paced, fun, strategic matches, revolving around switching between paradigms, classes, on the go. If Noel and Serah happen to die, you just restart from before your last battle. Aside from the battles, there’s of course the exploration and XIII-2 fixes people’s issue with XIII’s linearity. There are now multiple paths in the environments, side quests, mini games, and NPCs to talk to in each time period.
The overall look of XIII-2, graphically, is very similar to XIII, but that’s not a bad thing. Bright colorful worlds spread across multiple timelines with excellent detail given especially to the characters. As I just mentioned above, you’ll unfortunately be seeing the same environments repeatedly, only altered by time. It’s sort of a cheap way to extend the game without adding a lot of variation, but there’s at least a lot here: between 30-40 hours. And the music, as always, is fantastic and very poppy this time around.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 aims to please those disappointed by XIII and it does an admirable job. The world is more open; there are side quests, and numerous NPCs to talk to. The goods of the last game i.e. the music and battle system are still great. However, the story, I think, took a hit in trying to please everyone else. Still, whether you liked XIII or not, this game deserves a chance especially for FF fans.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on April 25, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.