What’s New In Final Fantasy XIII-2’s Battle System

By Spencer . June 7, 2011 . 12:04pm


At a glance, the screenshot above makes Final Fantasy XIII-2’s battle system look just like Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix added a number of tweaks, which I discovered last night when I played the PlayStation 3 version.


I was in control of Noel, a new character who protects Lightning’s sister Serah. Noel’s basic moves are quite similar to Lightning he has Attack and the magic spell Ruin as his two basic commands. Switch paradigms to Sentinel and Noel’s commands switch to Steelguard and Provoke. Serah acts like a mage either spamming Fire when set as Ravager or cure spells as a Medic.  You still pick attacks and use paradigm shifts to control your partners. The core hasn’t changed, but Final Fantasy XIII-2 adds quick time events.


When the words cinematic action popped up in the top left, the camera panned to a giant hand ready to crush Noel. I had to move the left analog stick to block the attack. Final Fantasy XIII-2 smoothly went back into battle after the event and I continued pummeling Paradox Alpha. Later, the quick time event was in my favor. After taking a massive fist to the face, Noel slid back asked Serah if she was OK and jumped on the monsters arm. He ran up the creature preparing to strike, but only if I hit the triangle button on time. This move damaged the invisible giant, but did not defeat it.


You can use quick time strikes during regular fights too. I knocked a behemoth with a QTE finisher where Noel leapt into the air and came crashing down with his swords.


During the demo I gained a third "character". And by "character" I mean a monster joined my party. A behemoth first and later an orange Flanbenero. Monsters can execute Feral Links, another kind of QTE attack. Take "Hundred Fists," the move from the Flanbenero as an example, trigger it and you have to mash X for one set of attacks and then triangle for the next round. The Feral Link move continues even if you fail the first QTE. The orange flan remained in my party after the Feral Link, but the meter underneath its life bar was empty.

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  • RagnaXBL

    i’m guessing feral links are the equivalent of blue magic in FF XIII-2?

  • leadintea

    People are speculating that the monster in your team may be Mog since its pom-pom is made out of crystal and you only get access to monsters that you’ve defeated and gained their crystal. It actually seems like a pretty interesting system to me, at this point.

    • Oh gosh. That reminds me of Sprigg from Chrono Cross.

  • imaguni

    Ohhhh, I like this! I was apprehensive over this sequel, but the trailer from the previous post and this are causing me to lean more towards being excited over XIII-2 than skeptical. Cinematic actions should definitely make things a bit less tedious, depending on how often they occur and whether or not they’re predictable and I’ll be more than happy to protect my Medic/Ravager. Are the cinematic actions optional?

  • FFXIII – Dawn of the New World

    • The difference is Dawn of the New World actually ended up decent and is the sequel to A GOOD GAME.

      • Decent and Symphonia 2 don’t belong anywhere near each other. Even when ignoring the bugs, bad writing and smaller areas you still have bad balance, uninspired puzzles and ending with very silly requirements.

  • Aoshi00

    QTE is nice.. So Noel is not satisfied in stealing Serah from Snow, he stole Steelguard too :(?  Where are you off to Snow.. I hope to see the cameo of the old cast like X-2..

  • I wish enemies hadnt looked like they were just ripped from the first game…Anyway sounds hot, thanks for the in depth detail on the demo.

    • Aoshi00

      That’s how this game is coming out so fast.. like X-2 used a lot of old elements from X too, seems like XIII-2 would have more new stuff though.. would import but keep my expectation low..

  • Jrpgfanatic

    I’m guessing they’re omitting answers about the obvious questions to try to build some mystique and mystery. I’d say that’s a good plan with the overall reception XIII garnered.

    I hope they keep some mysteries unanswered even into the release of the game, that’ll be half the fun of playing XIII-2 in my opinion.

  • skymap

    When they said they were taking the battle system and making something new out of it, I expected that they would take the battle system and make it operate at least slightly differently. Not slap on QTEs.

  • Roses4Aria

    Awwww.  I guess I was one of the few who actually liked Snow and Serah.  I thought they were pretty cute together.  I honestly hope they haven’t killed him off, but I don’t mind if he’s not playable.  Noel looks interesting, but I guess I must also be one of the few who actually liked and will miss Lightning.  Hopefully she’ll have a bigger part in the proceedings than it’s looking like she will.  :(

    • They in an interview that since Lightning saved the world in the first game, she is not a “level 1” character, thus we see her doing much more damage in her Bahamut battle.

      Maybe the same can be said for Snow? Maybe he’s stuck with Lightning, or just somewhere doing something different since he would be too overpowered for this point in the game? Just speculation.

  • kroufonz

    so still can’t control all party member?

    • Guest

      If you actually played the first game, you’d realize how useless a feature like that would be.

      • I think it would be useful. Synergists controlled by the AI were pretty dumb, and since it’s Game Over if your leader dies, controlling the frailer characters was unnecesarily risky.

        At least it would have been nice to circle between who you control or something.

  • karasuKumo

    Disappointed with the lack of truly new elements and characters but it’s still early I guess. Lightning riding Odin was pretty cool. Still looks rather linear in some ways.  XIII’s story wasn’t too bad so I’m looking forward to how they continue it in this. They better not have constant flashbacks and references to the first!

    • Guest

      “Lightning riding Odin”

      Something sounds dirty about that…

      • karasuKumo

        Could be a mini-game ;)

        • Guest

          *mashes buttons rapidly*

  • Thanks for sharing that info on the battle system. Did you also had the chance to control Noel on the field? Did you per chance managed to interact with NPC’s, visited any towns or shops? :D

  • So lets take a game that wasn’t very good and slap on some QTEs? Really?

    Square is so very very fail these days.

  • Wiccan1109

    Mm, the more i hear of this game the worse i feel about it. I’ve never enjoyed monster capturing games, i didnt like XIII’s battle system at all and adding QTE’s isn’t going to change that. I’m pinning all my hopes on the atmosphere and story, because thats what kept me going through XIII, but i think this game will just be far too similar in mechanics to be anything other than average. Knowing SE it’ll probly still be a fun game for a week or so, but my hype meter is pretty low. Graphics look great as usual though.

  • I hope Versus XIII is something that the majority of fans end up enjoying, because it’s fairly disheartening to see so many negative comments about Square and the series these days.

    I thought XIII-2 might do it, because I think it looks nice, but it appears it’ll only hurt their reputation even more. Such a shame.

    I quite liked Final Fantasy XIII, despite its shortcomings. It isn’t the best Final Fantasy, or even a great one. It certainly wasn’t the worst game to ever hit store shelves though, as most comments would have you believe. That title is reserved for only the most grotesque of titles, which I cannot call Final Fantasy XIII by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how much I’d prefer a return to the oldschool approach.

    Oh well, to each his own. I just hope Square doesn’t go under as many would hope. I’d take a hundred more Final Fantasy XIII’s over nothing at all. They would be opportunities for improvement at the very least, and you can’t improve if you aren’t making games anymore.

    /thought of the day

    • “It wasn’t the worst game to ever hit store shelves though.”

      Yeah, that was already taken by Final Fantasy 14.

  • Barrit

    “Switch paradigms to Sentinel and Noel’s commands switch to Steelguard and Provoke.”

    I hope this means no Snow or hardly any airtime for him. He was the least interesting looking member of NORA. I was happy to see NORA in the trailer. I’m hoping we get a lot more of Gadot and Lebreau!

  • runesong

    It looks fantastic! I realize many people have different opinions on FFXIII, but I thought the battle system for it was excellent.  I hope they don’t lose the challenging difficulty, either.  It was so refreshing to play an FF that handed me my ass.  

    And monsters as party members?  That’s the secret sauce to making me happy right there.  


  • zhemos

    Can you control and walk around as Serah or do you always just control noel?

  • 128bitigor

    QTE?! Is that how they tweaked the battle system? 

    LOL. Nuff said.

  • hadjimurad

    not a fan of QTE. i just want more types of classes or jobs so i can have more variety of paradigm shifts.

  • it dose alot of action choice what to press and one mistake your gone anyways i love it and cant wait to import it! here my link! it’s 15 min of FFXIII2 E3

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlVJiIzWqw it’s only 15 min enjoy

  • It is looking like Dawn of the New World. lol. 
    So now there are action commands? I barely survived Prince of Persia with those controls. Oh well I’ll play it.

  • My problem with XIII-2 is that it’s too soft, like most Japanese media in the last decade. I would like to use the term ‘feminine’, really, but that doesn’t quite describe it, either. For some reason, Square and popular Japanese media likes male leads who come act more like teenage tomboys. It’s rather disheartening.

    (Actually, it’s probably just me getting older and Square targeting Japan’s upcoming generation of herbivore teenage males.)

  • aBrokenFate

    I think i’m going to have to agree with Yahtzee on this one…Square actually doesn’t want to make games anymore, they want to make movies. Just everyone keeps buying the games so the boss makes them make more. Eventually its just going to be one long cut scene with QTEs 

  • So I guess there’s another similarity between XIII-2 and X-2.

    The “monster in your party” thing was available in the International + Last Mission version of FFX-2. And just like back then, it also gains EXP and such.

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