Cocoon: the return
Journey through the boundaries of space and time in FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 on PlayStation 3, in a bid to track down a sister many thought dead.
Three years have passed since the cataclysmic events of FINAL FANTASY XIII. The sky city of Cocoon has fallen, ravaged and sacrificed as part of a plot to destroy the human inhabitants of Pulse, the world beneath the floating metropolis.
Lightning – your sister and Pulse's saviour – has not been seen since Cocoon's destruction, and you, as Serah, refuse to believe she is gone. When a mysterious stranger, Noel, saves you from an ambush, he confirms your faith. Lightning is alive, just not in this world. Or time.
Armed with the Historia Crux, your compass through parallel timelines, the scope for adventure is near limitless. All the while, Lightning awaits in an unknown future where the potential for chaos to erupt once more is greater than ever.
Step back in time
Immense in scale and ambition, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 is the first direct sequel to a FINAL FANTASY title in the series' history. Don't worry if you missed the seismic events of FINAL FANTASY XIII – check out the Beginner's Primer from the main menu to get up to speed.
You'll then be ready to dive into a world of incredible depth. As you search for your missing sister, you'll explore the barren wilds of Valhalla, the thriving New Bodhum and the desolate mountains known as the Vile Peaks, just some of the locations that will scorch a vivid impression into your memory.
Sumptuous visuals and a swooping soundtrack swirl together to create an experience every bit as epic as the game's prequel. Should you be able to tear yourself away, a catch-up feature rounds up your progress so far every time you load up a game save, while the comprehensive Data Log lets you brush up on key characters, locations and tactics.
Advance through the game and not only will you unlock new skills and equipment for your characters, you'll be rewarded with exclusive themes for your XMB Menu. That way, you can stay focused on Serah's quest even while taking a break from it.
Que sera, Serah
Despite picking up only a few years after the whirlwind of FINAL FANTASY XIII, the world of Pulse has changed almost beyond recognition. Familiar faces are thin on the ground, so here's a guide to the key characters you'll meet in FINAL FANTASY XIII-2:
Serah Farron: Teaching the children of New Bodhum every day is not enough to distract Serah from the burning belief that her sister, Lightning, is alive. First impressions are of a shy young woman, yet she soon reveals herself to be strong and full of resolve throughout her journey.
Lightning Farron: With Pulse saved in FINAL FANTASY XIII, an easy life beckoned, only for it to slip from her grasp. Now charged with protecting the goddess Etro of Valhalla, Lightning is locked into a very lonely battle...
Noel: How did this warrior, with his strange tales of an alternative future, stumble across Serah in her hour of need? Where did he learn his startlingly lethal close combat skills? Answers emerge only as you get closer to Lightning.
Intrigue arrives with every new face, sparking a trek through multiple realities in an attempt to piece this quantum jigsaw together.
Fight, fend or flight?
Danger constantly snaps at your heels in FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, which is why Serah is transformed from a timid teacher to a conflict-hardened fighter after just a couple of hours' play. With every victory against enemies large or small, grisly or sly, you'll grow in confidence and master wildly different tactics.
Thanks to the Paradigm Shift feature, you'll be able to approach adversaries with a strategy designed to hit them where it hurts. Early on in your adventure, you'll run into the towering Gogmagog, whose giant, blazing fists seek to pummel you into the ground. A flick of the L1 button lets you switch your party members into different combat, defence or healing states, such as Twin Shields. Using this technique, you can taunt Gogmagog, block the resulting swipes and then counter with precision.
Tear into enemies as soon they appear with the Mog Clock, a dial which lets you strike with the element of surprise. With your target stunned, you can unleash a barrage of complex battle routines and earn special items, as well as buy yourself some breathing space while you synchronise your team's moves.
With bustling worlds to explore, side quests galore to complete, relationships to forge and, of course, chicken-like chocobos to race, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 is a dizzying accomplishment. Help Lightning strike twice on PS3.