Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released in December 2011 in Japan and the rest of the world in January/February 2012. As of 2013, it’s sold 3.1 million copies. It’s playable on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, and was rereleased on the PC in December 2014, selling 300,000 copies to date.
Three years after the fall of Cocoon, Lightning has disappeared, and all believe her to be part of the crystal pillar supporting Cocoon along with Fang and Vanille. The only one who remembers the original ending of Final Fantasy XIII is Serah, who insists that her sister is still alive somewhere. In truth, Lightning is in a place called Valhalla, fighting against a mysterious man called Caius. When Noel, a young man from a doomed future, falls into Valhalla, Lightning sends him to Serah and tells them to change the future. This sparks the beginning of a time-traveling journey that spans hundreds of years.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 features many locations from the previous game, and the time-travel aspect means that Serah and Noel visit some areas in multiple times and sometimes alternate realities as they change the future. Along their journey they encounter old and new friends, and find themselves a number of mysteries to uncover as they try to untwist the timeline.
The game engine used in FFXIII-2 is the same as its predecessor, and the gameplay improves on several key aspects from the previous game. Serah and Noel are the only party members, but almost all of the enemies are tameable monsters that can round out the party, which makes the gameplay incredibly dynamic. The storyline is also non-linear, in response to the heavy criticism of linearity in the previous game. In many ways, this makes FFXIII-2 similar to FFX-2, in the same way that FFXIII is similar to FFX.
If you’re looking for a tightly written plot, you won’t find it in this game; FFXIII-2 makes a lot of choices best described as “nonsensical.” Yet it’s a ton of fun to play, and both Serah and Noel get plenty of character development to make them well-rounded leads capable of carrying even this silly story on their own. Plus, FFXIII-2 has one of the best soundtracks in the FF series, bar none.
You can pick up FFXIII-2 for the PS3, Xbox 360, or PC. I’ve only played this title on the Xbox 360, but based on my experience with the previous game I assume it looks slightly better on the PS3. PC quality depends on your PC specs.
Both games have been released digitally on the Xbox and Playstation stores. You can also pick up a physical copy if you prefer.
Either way you choose to play the game, a significant amount of Downloadable Content has been released for the game, some of which is key to the experience.