Graphically you should expect pretty much the same as the previous game however I did feel that the first one looked more polished.
You play as Sarah who is joined by Noel and you can swap between the two at any time. Your 3rd party member is a monster which is different to what we are used to. Monsters are collected during battles like Pokemon and can also be levelled up and even fed to other monsters to pass on abilities, this I found was a nice touch however I still miss having 3 character party members. You can add up to three monsters in your paradigms, each one will have their own role. The battle system used remains relatively the same as 13’s
Before the Game was released I heard all sorts of rumours which all turned out to be true, the first being random enemy encounters. When you hear this you automatically think that Square-Enix have turned back the hands of time and released a classic game where you get stopped every few seconds by invisible enemies. While it’s basically that you do have the ability to see your foe for a few seconds, some will come at you while others will linger around waiting for you to either attack or run away. Something called mog clock is introduced and basically it’s a timer you have until the fight becomes inevitable, once the timer starts you can get the drop on an enemy and attack them before the clock turns amber, this allows you to get a pre-emptive strike and the ability to retry the battle if you wish.
The other rumour I heard was that there would be quick time events! I really did hate this idea but luckily it’s a very small part of the game and only used against certain boss battles! Phew!
The story is much better than 13’s adding the laws of time travel and the ability to create and solve paradoxes really does add something new to RPG gaming and allows the game to step away from being too linear like the previous game. Because of the time paradox you can revisit time lines and even restart each story and change the way it’s resolved.
The story in FFXIII-2 can be finished in a relatively short time and I found myself flying through the chapters until I stopped and got distracted by side stories and mini games. There is a time-line that opens up a place called Serendipity which is like The Golden Saucer from FFVII, you can bet and race Chocobos which can get relatively easy as you progress through the game and also play on slot machines. The Slot Machines are my biggest issue with the game
**SMALL SPOILER** To get 100% in the game you have to earn a total of 7,777 Casino Coins from the slot machine to earn a fragment but this is done completely by luck! I know some people who have gotten this after 2 hrs, it took me 8hrs of just playing a slot machine to get the required amount. In the end I had to use a book to put pressure on the L1 button so it would do it itself until I gained enough. This should have been handled better and not left to chance **SPOILER END**
Even though my game time seems like a lot the game feels quite short for a JRPG and there are not any major boss battles (maybe 1-2 you will have some issues with) you can level up to maximum quicker than any previous FF game I have played which stops you becoming over powerful for any of the big boss fights.
While I still miss town’s with shops you can purchase items and weapons from a travelling vendor but I found myself using her less and less as I went through the game. FF13-2 see’s the end of save points allowing you to save wherever you wish, which is probably the best as the areas are quite short.
All in all the game is a huge improvement with enough to keep you entertained for hours. Finding things you need to 100% the game can sometimes be a chore along with answering random questions to gain needed items and the slot machine being two of the games low points. I would recommend it to JRPG lovers, and haters of XIII should pick this up and give it a chance.