Final Fantasy XIII-2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Game Poster Image
Deep fantasy role-playing with elegant action sequences.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bycool d. November 19, 2016

Nothing Wrong AT ALL!

Its PERFECT! It has the occasional 'ass', but very infrequent. The violence is BARELY shown. It has some magic, but nothing bad. Every now and then yo... Continue reading
Adult Written byLPVGamer27 June 14, 2013

RPG, Adventure, Fantasy

I think that it is a great game for some people who are say in there mid teens like 18+ as well as older but, I wouldn't let any kids that are 10 or younge... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 5, 2012

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 wi... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love pretending to be others

Themes & Topics

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