When I sat down to start playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 it was with a lot of trepidation. The previous version was a big disappointment and I could even go as far to say it was one of the worst instalments of this popular franchise. It had very good movie scenes almost the quality of an animated Disney movie, but the main problem was the linear gameplay. You went through the game going in a linear fashion and there was nothing to explore. Also the battle system for fighting enemies was a mess. This made for a very repetitive dull and uninteresting game.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 fixes all these problems and I have to admit that it was a joy to play. There is a very big open world that you get to explore. There are also side missions that you can get to play. These are optional and give you a lot of choice in the way that you get to play the game. The battle system has also been substantially improved. There is auto battle with your abilities determined by what role needs to be played to defeat the enemy. There are also paradigm shifts that allow you to change your battle tactics based on the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy. So for example you could aggressively attack and then defend if you are fighting a boss battle and the boss launches a lethal strike. You also get to collect monsters. This is really nifty when you are fighting and a monster fights in battle with you. For certain boss battles you will not be able to defeat the boss without the assistance of the monster that acts as a medic and revives your health. You also need to purchase weapons that help with your tactics and potions etc that restore your health and even revive you from the dead.
An interesting fact that I learned about Square Enix is that they are closely aligned with Sony and use PS3 tools to develop the game. Once done they export it to XBOX and PC. So you are assured that the PS3 version is the best. They also have developers that left to go work with Sony so the relationship is much better than with Microsoft.
The story of final fantasy goes as follows. Lightning finds herself protecting the throne of Valhalla. She meets Noel from the future and asks him to travel back in time to find her sister Sarah. Based on this main plot you get to travel between time gates to get to your various destinations to complete your missions. Things that I liked was the quick time events system in the movie scenes. These make you feel like you are playing in the game. The boss battles are also epic and require a lot of concentration and tactis to defeat the boss.