Final Fantasy XIII-2

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  • The battle system is mostly lifted straight from 13. There are a few tweaks and enhancements, like being able to specify "cross" (everyone focuses on one enemy), "wide" (focus on AoE attacks like Blitz, the -ara/-aga spells, etc), and standard versions of each paradigm, and the stupid transition scene the first time you change paradigms is gone.
  • Serah and Noel both have access to all 6 roles (though not immediately, they both start with Com/Rav/Sen). Serah is a better Ravager and Saboteur, Noel is a better Commando and Syngergist. Neither is a great medic, and neither of them get access to Bravery, Faith, and Haste is no longer in the game period (you can only get it by getting a preemptive strike).
  • As a rule of thumb, monsters are almost always better than your characters at whatever role they happen to play. There are exceptions, but even those exceptions can be fixed up with enough infusion.
  • Monsters have three characteristics, but the only you really need to note is "Early Peaker," "Well Grown," and "Late Bloomer." Early Peakers only get one pass around the crystarium, and don't get any bonuses, but they get really good stat gains to make up for it. Late Bloomers are the opposite, in that their stat gains aren't great, but they can go all the way up to Monster Grade 5 (which depending on if they started at Grade 1 or 2 means either 4 or 5 complete passes), and in the end they'll almost always be among your best monsters. Well Grown monsters fall somewhere in between.
  • The Crystarium itself has changed a ton. You can level any job on any node, but big nodes give you stat bonuses depending which job you use on the node.
  • After you finish a full pass of the Crystarium, you start over and can choose a bonus. For Serah and Noel, you get things like unlocking new jobs, getting a job level, increasing the ATB bar, and increasing your accessory point limit. Monsters can only choose from role levels and ATB increases.
  • The game as a whole is much easier than 13 was. A good monster doesn't take long to pay for itself, and you won't find near the amount of bosses with 10 million HP. Without going out of my way to grind much, I five-starred the final boss on my first try.
  • The game is really short if you plow right through it. When I beat the final boss, I had clocked about 35 hours, and half of that had to be me fucking around in time periods that either didn't pertain to the main plot, or going back to try and find more fragments. Postgame lets you go back and unlock some alternate endings and other stuff, so there's still plenty to do after beating the game.
  • Chocobos are nice, but they take forever to reach a respectable level. There's one for every job as well as a standard one that's a Commando, but the specialized ones are relatively rare and hard to find. That said, the Golden(?) Chocobo is a fucking machine and possibly one of the best Sentinels in the game.
  • Get a Pulsework Sentinel(?) as soon as possible, it's a fantastic early-game sentinel and you can max it out ridiculously quickly.
  • If you're really crazy (and a little persistent), you can tame a Behemoth as soon as you reach the area with the spotlights where they spawn.
  • The Lightning and Amodar DLC fight can give you FF13 Lightning, who is a fantastic Ravager and the one I used to endgame and then some.
  • The Sazh DLC is amazing and worth buying solely for Chronobind. You also get Sazh, who's a pretty good Synergist.
  • You can get unique skills on monsters by fusing monsters of a different job into them. For example, Ravagers get a special skill if you feed them enough Commando monsters. It takes a while (I think it's something like 100 levels worth of monsters from that job), but the skills are absolutely worth it.