Go Back to Search 

General Description

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is an RPG developed by Square Enix and released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in January 2012. It is the sequel to 2010’s Final Fantasy XIII, and takes place after its central events. Exactly how far after these events varies, as XIII-2 is largely concerned with time travel. Players control Serah, the sister of XIII protagonist Lightning, as she teams up with Noel, a young man who appears from centuries in the future. Together they travel through time, jumping back and forth, solving paradoxes, and eventually trying to put a stop to the apocalyptic world that Noel comes from.


Plenty of new mechanics are added to the mix. The game is much more open-ended, allowing players to jump around between points on the timeline. A major change is that the third slot in the player’s party is taken up by a monster. Monsters can be recruited after battle, and can be levelled up individually and absorbed into one another to transfer skills around.


Player creativity and problem solving are the game’s biggest strengths. They come into play largely because of the complexity of the game’s systems. Combat, statistics, equipment, classes, and dozens of monsters to choose from combine to give players a wealth of options at any moment.

Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C- C-
Ratings at a Glance
Facts: 2 Title: FINAL FANTASY XIII-2
Creativity: 6 Publisher: Square Enix
Business: 2 Developer: Square Enix & tri-Ace
People: 1 Year: 2012
Problem: 5 Genre: Role Playing
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity, problem
Popularity: 8 Platforms: PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts


XIII-2 contains some small focus on math, in the same ways many RPGs do. Players need to watch their characters’ health, manage various statistics, levels, and money throughout the game.


There’s also a straightforward and essential map system that shows players the locations of their goals as well as other landmarks including vendors, ridable Chocobos and NPCs. The map fills in as players navigate the world, and they are eventually rewarded for every map that they’ve filled in 100 percent.


Creativity & Imagination


By the Player:


One of the biggest changes in XIII-2 is that it is much less linear than its predecessor. This applies in two major senses. One is that each individual area offers branching paths and hidden items, and players will often be hard-pressed to snatch everything from an area on their first visit. Another is that the game’s overall structure concerns time travel, and players are free to visit different areas and timelines as they please. As new time-warping gates are discovered and opened, new areas are added to a massive timeline that players are free to return to at any time, jumping between locations to advance the story or complete sidequests at will.


Naturally players also have plenty of control over the development of their characters. Every level-up allows players to choose which of six classes gets advanced, leading to different skills and even different basic statistical bonuses. The new monster-recruiting system adds an even deeper layer, as players collect monsters, level them up individually, and even feed them to each other to manipulate stats and gain access to unique skills.


Besides this the game also contains plenty of sidequests and optional content, including a minigame-filled casino complete with an elaborate Chocobo-racing minigame, which allows players to enter their captured and trained Chocobos into various circuits.


By the Developer:


XIII-2 borrows many of XIII’s basic ideas. Its battle system is basically ripped straight out of the original, and the systems players use to advance their characters has only had some minor tweaking. XIII-2 makes the interesting decision to take these mechanics and graft them onto a much more traditional RPG structure, and the results are sure to please fans. In place of XIII’s linear corridors and straightforward character progression, players will find branching paths, complex monster-capturing options, time-traveling exploration and plenty of towns, NPCs and sidequests. While nothing here is revolutionary or even particularly unique, it is kind of novel to see XIII’s battle mechanics in a more traditional setting.


A new storyline that takes place over the several centuries that follow XIII’s events is populated by plenty of familiar faces and new foes, and is overall a much more comprehensible experience. Nearly every one of the game’s varied environments is worth lingering in just to look around, and a solid, often eccentric soundtrack rounds out the game.


Business Skills


Players collect gil from treasure chests and defeated enemies, which can be used at the time-traveling vendor that pops up regularly. Players can purchase an array of items to use in battle or to advance their monster party members, and can also purchase new weapons and accessories if they’ve also collected the proper monster parts.


There’s an elaborate casino that offers plenty of unique rewards, and players use gil to purchase casino tokens, a secondary currency, in order to gamble. Conserving money won’t be too much of a problem until players get wrapped up in collecting the best weapons and purchasing the best items for their monsters.


People Skills


XIII-2 is a single-player game. Much of its plot revolves around helping people, and dialogue trees are often introduced and allow players some control over conversation. Ultimately these features are pretty shallow, as players never get any control over the story’s major events and the relationships between characters are never really impacted by the player’s decisions.


Problem Solving


Every time players level up they have to choose which basic class to advance. Physical, magic, defensive, healing and buffing classes are all available, and each level boosts the stats associated with the selected class. The player’s third party member is always a monster that’s been picked up somewhere in the game world, and each individual monster is sorted into one of the six class roles that the two main characters can choose from.


Finding different combinations of these classes is they key to the game’s combat system. Characters can switch classes and monsters can be swapped out in the middle of battle, and players can prepare a handful of preset combinations to toggle between. As the game’s more lengthy battles rage on, players will usually need to rearrange their characters multiple times in reaction to whatever occurs.


The game’s complex battle system requires players to deal magic damage to enemies in order to break their guard, which opens them up for significant damage for a period of time. Players will need to maintain a balance between doing physical and magic damage in order to reach these breaking points, giving battle a distinctive rhythm. Players will also need to incorporate healing and defensive maneuvers to succeed in more challenging sequences.




Final Fantasy XIII-2 is not a simulation game.




Critics have praised the game’s integration of Final Fantasy XIII’s mechanics and setting with a more traditional and open RPG. Sidequests, time travel elements and the new monster recruiting system have all been praised, though the game has been criticized in some circles for returning to a more traditional structure without introducing any new innovations.


Controls & Options


XIII-2 contains most standard options. It also includes an easy battle setting for players that are looking primarily to enjoy the game’s story.




Final Fantasy XIII-2 was rated Teen by the ESRB with descriptors for Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Simulated Gambling and Violence.