Final Fantasy XIII-2

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (ファイナルファンタジーXIII-2 Fainaru Fantajī Sātīn Tsū?) is a console role-playing video game developed and published bySquare Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Released in 2011 in Japan and 2012 in North America and PAL regions, it is a direct sequel to the 2010 role playing game, Final Fantasy XIII, the thirteenth major installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game includes modified features from the previous game, including fast-paced combat and a customizable “Paradigm” system to control which abilities are used by the characters, and adds a system to capture monsters and use them in battle. It features a heavy time travel element, allowing the player to jump at will between different times for the same place or different places at the same time. Lightning, the protagonist of the original game, has disappeared into an unknown world. Her younger sister Serah Farron, a returning character, and a young man named Noel Kreiss journey through time in an attempt to find Lightning.

Development of Final Fantasy XIII-2 began in April 2010 and lasted 18 months. The game was unveiled at the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premier in January 2011. Many of the key designers remained in their roles from the previous game, and developer tri-Ace was hired to help with the game design, art and programming. The development team wanted to exceed Final Fantasy XIII in every aspect and make the story’s tone mysterious and darker than the previous game. The game builds upon the Paradigm Shift battle system used in Final Fantasy XIII and includes a more non-linear overall design.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 received highly positive reviews from Japanese critics, and generally positive reviews from non-Japanese video game journalists, who praised the gameplay and lack of linearity as an improvement over Final Fantasy XIII, as well as the game’s graphics, but criticized the story as weak and confusing. During the first week of sales in Japan, the game sold 524,000 units, and it reached over 3 million copies worldwide by January 2013. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was the fifth best-selling game of 2011 in Japan. A sequel, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, is currently in development and is set for a release in 2013.


The player directly controls the on-screen character through a third-person perspective to interact with people, objects, and enemies throughout the game, just as in Final Fantasy XIII. The player can also turn the camera around the characters, which allows for a 360° view of the surroundings. The world of Final Fantasy XIII-2 is rendered to scale relative to the characters in it; instead of a caricature of the character roaming around miniature terrain, as found in the earlier Final Fantasy games, every area is represented proportionally. The player navigates the world by foot or by chocobo. The game world is divided up into multiple regions and times, and includes both different regions at the same time and the same region at different times. Connecting these regions is the Historia Crux, which the player can access at will. The game regions are not accessed linearly, but instead are represented as a branching path. New regions can be unlocked via plot points or by acquiring optional special items, and the player may transfer between unlocked regions at any point.[1]

When a player accesses a region they had previously visited, they appear where they were before leaving. Upon acquiring items called seals, players can revert regions to how they were before the player visited in order to play through them again; regions can be unsealed again at any time. Unlike in the predecessor, the game is automatically saved when players enter the Historia Crux, as well as at key moments in the plot. Players may also manually save at any time. Instead of accessing stores at save points like in XIII, they can purchase items from a character named Chocolina, who is found throughout the game. An in-game datalog provides a bestiary and incidental information about the world of Final Fantasy XIII-2.[1]

When talking to characters, the game sometimes begins the Live Trigger system, in which the player chooses their response based on up to four choices; these dialogue options are generally not repeatable. The game also on occasion features temporal rifts, in which the player must complete a puzzle in order to close the rift and continue the game.[1]

Combat system

The Final Fantasy XIII-2 battle system, with the “Paradigm Shift” option, the Active Time Battle (ATB) bar filling beneath it with four slots and two actions queued, and the three active characters’ health and roles displayed. The enemy’s name and damage percentage are shown in the upper right corner.

Combat itself is almost identical to the previous game’s Active Time Battle (ATB) system. Under this system, the player selects an action from themenus, such as Attack, Abilities, and Item. Each action requires a specific number of slots on the ATB bar, which continually refills to a set maximum number of slots. The ATB bar can be increased in size throughout the game from three slots to six. The player may select less than the maximum number of possible actions or may stop the filling of the ATB bar and perform as many actions as can be done with the current ATB amount. The player may select an autobattle command, which fills the ATB slots with actions chosen automatically. Actions cannot be performed outside of battle, and the characters’ health is fully restored after each battle. During some battles, players are put through quick time events called Cinematic Actions which allows them to deal higher damage to foes and end certain battles.[2]

Monsters no longer freely roam the map like in Final Fantasy XI to XIII, but instead randomly appear like in previous Final Fantasy games. For a limited time after monsters appear, the player may attack them to gain a combat bonus; after this window expires, the monsters attack the player to begin a regular battle, and if too much time passes before combat begins the player is restricted from restarting the battle during combat. The game has both normal and easy modes.[1] When the battle begins, the screen transitions from the regular map to a separate battle screen as inXIII. Three characters are used in battle—the two main characters and a monster. These monsters must be captured from battles before they can be used, and there are around 150 different monsters available to be collected.[3] Captured monsters act just like the main characters, but can also perform a feral link attack that increases the chance of capturing another monster.[2] Either of the two main characters can be selected as the one that the player has direct control over at any point; the other character and the monster are then controlled by the game’s artificial intelligence.[1]

Each enemy has a meter, called a Chain Gauge, consisting of a percentage starting at 100 which increases when the enemy is struck by attacks or spells. Attacks by different roles have different effects; some raise the chain by a larger amount while others give the player longer before the Chain Gauge resets. The amount of damage performed by an attack is multiplied by the chain percentage before it is applied to the enemy. When the chain counter reaches a preset amount, different for each enemy, the enemy becomes Staggered. In this mode, the enemy has lowered defense and is easily interrupted, and some may even be launched into the air, preventing them from attacking and stopping their ATB gauges from replenishing. The Paradigm system allows the player to program six different roles which the characters can then assume to perform certain formations in battle in response to the specific conditions.[2]

The roles consist of Commando, which uses non-elemental attacks to stabilize the Chain Gauge; Ravager, which uses elemental attacks to fill the Chain Gauge; Medic, a White Mage-type role which can heal the party; Saboteur, which can weaken enemies; Synergist, which can strengthen allies; and Sentinel, which has protective abilities. Each of the two main characters can initially take on only three roles, but can learn the others at the player’s choosing as the game progresses. The player can select which roles the controlled character and the AI characters are using both outside and during battle, which is the only way that the player can control the AI characters during battle. The player can only choose from specific sets of paradigms that the player has set up beforehand outside of battle.[2] Monsters only have one role; different monsters are used when the player switches paradigms.[4] The player selects up to three monsters they wish to use in paradigms outside of battle.[2] Unlike in Final Fantasy XIII, the player cannot summon Eidolons to fight.[5]



Final Fantasy XIII-2 is set within the world of Gran Pulse, which is split between the surface world of Pulse and the previously floating sphere of Cocoon, now held in the sky by a giant crystal pillar. The game begins three years after the ending to Final Fantasy XIII, in which a team of six people stopped Cocoon from being destroyed. To this end, two of the characters, Oerba Dia Vanille and Oerba Yun Fang, formed part of the crystal pillar that supports Cocoon to save the people who were inside. One other member of the party, Lightning, is believed by almost everyone to be also holding up the crystal pillar, but her sister Serah Farron remembers her standing on Pulse with her and the party members Snow VilliersHope Estheim, and Sazh Katzroy before abruptly disappearing. Serah, along with Noel Kreiss, a young man originally from 700 years in the future, are the two main characters of the game. Other characters include Caius Ballad, the game’s primary antagonist; Paddra Nsu Yeul, a seeress, and Alyssa Zaidelle, a young girl who works as an assistant to Hope.


The game opens three years after the fall of Cocoon, noted in-game as 3 AF, as the Pulse town Serah lives in is attacked by monsters. A stranger named Noel appears to help fight the monsters, and claims to be a time traveler from 700 AF. He arrived in 3 AF via Valhalla, a realm at the end of time, where he claims to have met Lightning guarding the throne of the goddess Etro, who according to myth created humanity. As part of Lightning’s transfer to Valhalla, paradoxes have erupted throughout time, enabling time travel between specific time periods via the Historia Crux and modifying history. Serah joins Noel in a journey to resolve these paradoxes, she in hopes to find her sister and he in hopes to change the bleak future he was from.

They first journey to Cocoon in 5 AF, where they meet Alyssa and stop a giant war robot from the future, and then move on to Pulse in 10 AF. There they find Hope as the leader of the Academy with Alyssa as his assistant, and a recording of prophecies made by the line of seeress’s of Paddra, believed to have died out centuries prior. One fragmented prophecy shows Lightning in Valhalla. The city of Paddra is shrouded by an eclipse, which Noel says is not supposed to happen for another few centuries. While Serah and Noel resolve the paradox, they encounter Caius, who Noel knows from 700 AF and who opposes them in changing the timeline, and Yeul, who looks identical a girl named Yeul that Noel knew in the future. After resolving the paradox, a new region opens in the Historia Crux, 1X AF Paddra, denoting an alternate timeline in which there was never an eclipse in 10 AF. The prophecy now shows Caius in Valhalla fighting Lightning, as well as the pillar supporting Cocoon collapsing. Noel claims that this takes place around 400 AF, and devastates the human population as well as the world, resulting in the extinction of the species by his own time. Serah and Noel move on, while Hope and Alyssa work on finding a way to prevent the pillar’s collapse.

In 300 AF Cocoon, the pair find Snow, Serah’s fiancé, who disappeared from 3 AF while searching for Lightning. He is fighting a giant paradox-fueled monster that is dissolving the crystal pillar. After resolving the paradox, which delays the fall of Cocoon until 500 AF, Snow disappears again as an anomaly from another time. The pair then go to the city of Academia on Cocoon in 400 AF where they are attacked by the city’s AI, which claims they were killed in 200 AF. They then go to the Augusta Tower in 200 AF, where they discover that Hope, in order to prevent Cocoon’s destruction, made an AI in 13 AF to help rebuild the god-like Fal’Cie that had kept Cocoon floating prior to it’s fall. A paradox, in turn, caused the AI to lose control and kill Hope and Alyssa. The paradox is resolved when Hope in 1X AF sees a prophecy of the pair fighting the AI and decides not to build it, creating an alternate Academia in 4XX AF. In this world, the pair find Hope and Alyssa again, who had put themselves in stasis after building the Augusta Tower. They explain their new plan to mechanically float a new Cocoon to hold humanity, which Serah and Noel help with before heading to 500 AF Academia.

Along the way, they are trapped by Caius in dreamworlds. After breaking free of hers, Serah meets Yeul, who explains that she is the seeress of Paddra, continually reincarnated throughout history, while Caius is her immortal guardian. She explains that every time the timeline is changed, the resulting shock kills her; Caius has been driven mad by watching her die over and over and now seeks to prevent it by unleashing the chaos trapped in Valhalla by the goddess Etro to destroy all time. Serah, who has been seeing flashes every time a paradox is resolved, is also a seeress, and risks death every time she changes the future. Serah and this incarnation of Yeul agree to try to change the future anyway, and Serah frees Noel from his dreamworld, in which he is the last living human after his version of Yeul dies and Caius leaves for Valhalla. The pair confront Caius, first in 500 AF Academia and then in Valhalla. As they defeat him, he claims to have killed Lightning and that his death will kill the weakened Etro. When the pair return to Academia in 500 AF, Serah dies from the shock of the future changing in front of Noel and Hope, and a black cloud erupts from the sky as the chaos that Etro was keeping trapped erupts out to destroy all of time. If the player completes all of the optional parts of the game, they see an additional cutscene which shows Lightning turned into crystal in Valhalla.

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