Final Fantasy XIII-2

Common Sense Media says

Deep fantasy role-playing with elegant action sequences.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The franchise’s long-running narrative themes -- self-sacrifice, loyalty, friendship, love, and family -- are all in full force. Combat is glamorized, but it’s of a highly fantastical nature unlikely to be confused with or likened to anything in the real world. There is no sex in the game, but female sexuality is emphasized via revealing costumes. Also, one of the game’s levels is devoted to virtual gambling, with players playing slot machines and betting on bird races. Forthcoming downloadable content will enable a gambling card game.

Positive role models

All of the game’s protagonists are noble, altruistic characters whose actions are motivated almost entirely by a driving need to do right by the ones they love. They’re warriors, but they only fight when attacked, and almost never go up against human or human-like enemies. However, most of the women in the game don’t project confidence. Though she’s a good fighter, the primary heroine is dainty, doe-eyed, and almost childlike in the way she expresses herself.

Ease of play

The combat system -- a hybrid turn-based/real-time strategy design -- is quite complex and will take rookies hours to master. However, early battles are pretty easy and complete tutorials are available to walk players through the system’s finer details. Some tile-based puzzles prove highly challenging as well. Moving around the world is easy enough, but players must pay close attention to their environment lest they miss hidden objects necessary to open gateways to new areas. It’s pretty easy to get stuck.

Violence

Players spend much of their time in combat sequences in which their avatars fight wildly fantastical monsters and machines. All characters use swords, bows, guns, explosives, and magical spells. Enemies turn to black smoke and vanish when defeated. There is no blood in player-controlled fights, but a couple of cinematic scenes show crimson gushes from a sword being pushed into heroes’ chests.

Sex

Several female characters wear scant outfits revealing much of their breasts. A few characters engage in light flirting, referring to soldiers as “hotties” and talking about marriage.

Language

Occasional use of light profanity, including “damn” and “ass.”

Consumerism

This game is part of the long-running and very popular Final Fantasy franchise, from which films and toys have been spun off. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There is a passing reference to a fictional, powdery drug the effects of which are unknown. It never actually appears in the game.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a Japanese role-playing game with a strong focus on fantasy combat and emotional storytelling. Players take control of a pair of characters who alternate between fighting wildly imaginative non-human creatures in bloodless but visually spectacular combat and spending long moments talking about how they feel and their desire to save their friends and loved ones. It’s overwrought but innocuous fare with nothing inappropriate for its ESRB-rated teen audience. While the player-controlled combat is bloodless, there is blood shown in cutscene videos. Parents should be aware that the game’s female characters -- many of whom are sexualized via their meager clothing and appear dainty and helpless despite their fighting prowess -- may not make for great role models for teenage girls.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

A direct sequel to the thirteenth game in Square Enix’s titanic role-playing franchise, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 picks up where its predecessor left off. People have descended from Cocoon, an artificial world in the sky to resettle the planet Pulse, a wild world filled with ancient ruins and imaginative creatures. But something’s gone wrong. Memories are out of whack and people have gone missing. The new protagonists -- a mysterious boy from the future named Noel and his companion Serah, sister to the main heroine of the previous game -- embark on a journey through time as they attempt to set right what has gone wrong. As you surf the centuries, you engage in countless fights against fantastical beasts and machines via a turn-based combat system set on real-time battlefields, all the while growing your characters’ powers and abilities.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Square Enix clearly set out to fix most of the things that players complained about in Final Fantasy XIII, including acute linearity, a lack of towns to explore, and minimal side quests. The Japanese studio largely succeeded. You can now hop about locations in spacetime on a whim, putter around town-like environments, and undertake plenty of little optional missions, such as finding lost watches and picture frames for the hapless people and entities you encounter. What’s more, Square Enix improved upon its already elegant and satisfying battle system, which has players deftly altering party member functions like a director guiding performers in a play that has more roles than actors.

However, Final Fantasy XIII-2 also takes a step backwards in a couple of crucial areas. In Final Fantasy XIII, you were provided a strong and confident female lead who was easy to admire. Our new heroine, Serah, is by contrast frustratingly dainty and childlike -- hardly the type to save a world in peril. Her fluffy speeches and constant worrying only exacerbates the game’s already overwrought Japanese-to-English translation. It’s still a polished and fun game to play, but these narrative issues drag it down a notch.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. How do you determine what is acceptable for your teenagers? Does it matter if the violence is fantastical or gritty in presentation?

  • Families can also discuss interactive storytelling. Have you ever felt as satisfied with a story while playing a game as you have reading a book or watching a movie? Do you feel as though games can provide you with rich narratives and characters from which you can learn something about relationships and draw parallels with yourself and the people you know?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:January 31, 2012
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship
ESRB rating:T for Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Simulated Gambling, Violence (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Final Fantasy XIII-2 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byBrioCyrain May 6, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Sexy graphics and characters.

Squenix continues to revel in hypersexualized female protagonists, and returns to the more open-world nature of previous Final Fantasy titles. The addition of QTE battling though just brings the game more on-rails than ever before.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old Written byMr.I Like Videogames October 5, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

TOTALLY depends on a players maturity level

Final Fantasy is a great series. I rate it pause for 9 and under because there is violence, but it's not violence. They have swords, and they hit people with them, But a few numbers sprout outta their head and they desinegrate when defeted. Same with the main characters, Serah and Noel. If you're defeated, you fall to the ground exhausted. You don't die, there's no blood. There is minor cursing, so if there's a nine year old who repeats words he hears, DONT LET THEM PLAY. There's however no cursing using the "common letter words" such as the "f word" or S word" or "b word." ;) And the females in this game are practically halfway dressed. Very short skirts, shirts that may uncover a "crack" inbetween a female characters chest, basically they're dressed super hot...which...can't be done without the bare minimum of clothing... XD So yeah, it's a good game, but it depends on whether or not a child's mature enough to see or hear things like that and beable to handle it...so overall very good game...

But yeah you totally can't help staring at those girls during cutseens...Square Enix is good at that...lol

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bybioniclecomeback56 December 7, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Better than Final Fantasy XIII.

This game improved all the problems of Final Fantasy XIII. There is occasional mild profanity and some inapropriate clothing, but the language is limited to d--n and you could see much worse clothing on magazines. Overall: 11+.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families