Journeying through the world of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Well, this should be interesting. I don't mind spoilers as much as some people, which is good, because I haven't played the second game, and only got just so far in the first, although for gameplay reasons I may bring up in another comment.
Hope bugged me in the first game because... was he not freaking there when his mom was all "gimme one too" and Snow was like "u suer?" and she said "momz r tuff"? I'm pretty sure he was present. She was not forced to fight; she chose to, and Snow even gave her a chance to change her mind. Hope spends far too much time thinking it's Snow's fault she died when he TRIED TO SAVE HER. That said, I was okay with the gameplay itself. I like that this game apparently makes explicit what's actually a really good strategy in the first game for taking things down quickly when you need to. (Flanitors and the Cognispeeder family, for one.)
All characters bugged me in XIII, except for Sazh. He's awesome.
Man, that reminds me of Sonic Adventure. The characters keep being taken to the past by a ball of light, and when they come back, they're in a different place, often not a place that they can explain as being a place they could easily have arrived at via sleepwalking. And sometimes, they think it was a dream. How?
Actually, yes, that soul fragment would only show up around the savior - he couldn't see it no matter what, even that close :P
The official guide recommends that you spam Chronostasis until your fingers bleed.
You're right; turning into a Cie'th is supposed to be a death sentence. However, for Light, who's already transcended to goddess status, it would well be within her power to reverse it.