Linearity was one issue some fans had with Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix addressed this in Final Fantasy XIII-2 with windy maps and multiple ways to move the story forward. The Live Event system we mentioned earlier lets players decide what Noel and Serah do. When they go toe to toe with Atlas, an ethereal giant, they have two choices – find an artifact and try to control it or "live in the moment" and flight Atlas head on.
I tried to fight Atlas, but I didn’t get very far. One punch, even when all characters were Sentinels, crushed the party. If you level up enough, it is possible to defeat Atlas, but there is another strategy. Explore the ruins a bit more and grab an artifact. When you control Atlas, the giant glows yellow and is significantly weaker.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 also has a puzzle mini-game where you guide Noel and Serah outside a temporal rift between reality. In the Void Beyond, players stand on red tiles that disappear after you move. The objective is to collect all of the crystals to "resolve the anomaly" and then touch a goal. Starting with a straight run from start to finish, puzzles get progressively more difficult. These were added to vary gameplay in Final Fantasy XIII-2 a bit.
Other factoids about Final Fantasy XIII-2 Square Enix explained and confirmed to Siliconera:
- Serah’s moogle transforms into a bow *and* a sword.
- What’s a… mog clock? It’s a new system in Final Fantasy XIII-2. When you spot enemies a mog clock appears underneath them. Trigger a fight with an enemy by hitting it while the clock is green and you’ll begin the battle with a preemptive strike and haste status. Attack the enemy while its yellow and you won’t get any bonuses. If the enemy hits you when the mog clock is in red, the enemy gets to attack first.
- You can run from fights if the mog clock runs out and the enemy is far away. You’ll know if you’re far enough if the ring around Noel and the enemy is gray. Red means you’re in a fighting zone.
- In addition to dodging damage, completing cinematic events gives your characters a positive status effect. Noel gains the attack boosting brave status. Serah’s magic gets charged with faith status.
- Switching paradigms automatically switches monsters. The Warhorn (a behemoth-like creature) appears under a commando paradigm. Flanbanero, an orange flan that’s fond of water spells, is a ravager.
- The team designed battles for players to use feral link, a monster special attack, often. A synchronization gauge lets you know when the attack is ready and it fills fast.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has secret enemies. A cactuar is hidden in a specific room of the demo, but there is only a small chance you’ll run into the monster.