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  • Anti-Climax Boss: If you prioritize story progression over character development, then the final boss fight can be Very Hard. If you end up with a high-level party because you've been on a long Fragment hunt or something ... not so much.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During the introduction of the game, Serah spontaneously has her clothes change from her XIII outfit to her clothing in this game. While she and a couple of other characters comment on how strange it is, none of them dwell on it beyond a brief mention, and no explanation or reason for why it happened is ever given.
  • Breather Level:
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    • Academia 4XX AF. This comes after the long Augusta Tower segments, and before Episode 5. There are no enemies, and your visit may be very quick, depending on if you collected the Graviton Cores.
    • New Bodhum 700 AF. You arrive right before the final dungeon, but the enemies are easy and, minus cutscenes, your visit will be over in minutes.
    • As an optional area, Sunleth Waterscape 400 AF. All seven Fragments are easy to collect, and the boss battle is a joke (of the easy and funny kind).
    • Oerba 300 AF and 400 AF, where a small number of base fights are interspersed with paradox events, where you not only get fragments but gain a side story about Mog in the process.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: With the greater freedom of customization comes predictable patterns.
    • Weapons-wise, most players choose between the Chain Bonus Lv. 5 weapons (Serah: Gandiva, Noel: Grasitha) or the ATB Speed +50% weapons (Serah: Indrajit, Noel: Romulus and Remus).
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    • There are some common monsters people choose in their party to tackle the post-game content:
      • Commandos: Chichu, Omega (DLC), Valkyrie Lightning (DLC)
      • Ravagers: Cloudburst, Blue Chocobo, Lightning (DLC)
      • Sentinels: Bunkerbeast, Goblin Chieftain, Pulse Gladiator, Snow (DLC)
      • Saboteurs: Black Chocobo, Celicerata, Jihl Nabaat (DLC)
      • Synergists: Yakshini, Sazh (DLC), Purple Chocobo
      • Medics: Flanitor, Green Chocobo, PuPu (DLC)
  • Contested Sequel: With so many changes from the original XIII, both in gameplay and story, this was inevitably going to happen. The general rule of thumb is that people who disliked the original found the sequel to be an improvement in most respects due to a streamlined battle system and more open world design, while those who enjoyed the original were unhappy to see the original party sidelined and the gameplay dumbed down to just two party members and a rotating third one.
  • Die for Our Ship: Alyssa initially suffered this just because she was shown being close to Hope in the previews. Then the fans actually played the game, and discovered she was The Mole and tried to kill Serah and Noel. It didn't help.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Academia 500 AF is a long platformer section with rotating platforms, switch puzzles, and enemies that are a jump in difficulty from the previous areas. It's often criticized for slowing the game to a crawl right before the final boss.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Hope, which is odd, considering that he was one of most polarizing characters from XIII. He went from a wangsty Squishy Wizard that only took a few levels in badass toward the end to the leader of the Academy and the de facto ruler of mankind. It also helps that he's now all grown up.
    • The Arbiter of Time makes only one sinister appearance in the base game, and the Coliseum DLC doesn't expand much on him despite being its host and a Bonus Boss. This hasn't stopped fans from hailing him as an incredibly cool character who would wreck Caius if not for story purposes; they're similarly disappointed by his absence in the following game.
  • Ending Aversion: The ending of the game is quite a Downer Ending, and also rather confusing, causing the fandom to split between hating the game for its ending or defending it for other merits and saying those who think it's bad "don't get it".
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • It was pretty large in XIII, but now that Hope has aged-up, oh, ten years, expect Hoprai shippers to be royally pissed if Lightning and he don't get together now that the can avoid otherwise squicky implications. Hilariously, by the time they actually get together in the next game, Hope is 14 again.
    • Noel and Serah shippers seem to be popping up everywhere as well, mostly due to the fact Snow left Serah in New Bodhum to look for Lightning and they work pretty well together during their travels.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Caius/Lightning (commonly called "Cairai") has a small but loyal following.
  • Game-Breaker: Here.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • While you can avoid enemies, some are just relentless. Some are as fast or faster than you. Others have a seemingly endless 'sighted you' zone. Why is this annoying? Well, from how the game's mechanics work, it means you have no other choice but to fight, whether you want to or not.
    • The Cie'th of Academia 400 AF, mainly because they won't go away and have a wide aggro range, leading to instances where you have no clue what you just ran into.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of Captain Cryptic's questions was who was carrying a steamy love affair, to which one of the choices was Terra Branford. Captain Cryptic was voiced by Dave Wittenberg in the English version, who also voiced Kefka Palazzo, who did have ties to another Terra Branford in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series.
    • Charice Pempengco sang the theme song of the game, which has a character named Alyssa. A year after the game was released, Charice came out as a lesbian, and her girlfriend is named Alyssa.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: It seems to bring back the same battle system with the same Auto-Battle button right there. Enjoy your Broken Base.
  • Iron Woobie: Lightning could be seen as this. She was erased from history save for the memories of a select few people, pulled into a chaotic, dead-looking world with no people and doomed to do eternal battle with her rival to protect Etro. And she ends up being Taken for Granite during the normal ending.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Alyssa, who is motivated by a legitimate fear of being erased from existence.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Caius Ballard is a Guardian tasked with protecting the seeress and became Paddra legend because of his might. Moved by his honor and tenacity, the goddess Etro awarded the former l'Cie with the Heart of Chaos to make him an immortal warrior to continue his duty forever. Once Caius realizes the curse of immortality, he concocts a plan to destroy of all time, by opening the Door to Souls, so Yeul and indirectly everyone else can no longer experience the pain of mortality. To that end, he tries to kill Etro directly in Valhalla, but when that fails, he sets to collapse Hope's New Coccoon to cause mass destruction, even manipulating a scared Alyssa to put Serah and Noel — his biggest opposition — on a dangerous detour. When that fails as well, Caius has Noel, his Guardian successor he personally groomed, stab the Heart of Chaos. In the end, Caius becomes one of the few series antagonists to completely win.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Toriyama'd" now means that if you play a game where he had a hand in the creative development, expect the story to troll you and make no sense.
    • A lot of people also had a great laugh when one of Serah's Live Trigger options is to say, "The cat is my only family!"
    • TIME AND SPACE TIME AND SPACE TIME AND SPACE TIME AND SPACE: that Historia Crux part of the song is becoming quite popular.
    • "Time and memory, frozen in crystal" is pretty popular too.
    • While Square Enix plays inappropriate music.
    • COME FORTH PUPU!!!
  • Narm:
    • When you encounter Aloeidia in the Yaschas Massif 010 AF, the screen freezes on Noel doing a flying jump kick before you enter battle. It's incredibly corny to watch.
    • Serah's overly dramatic pose when catching and aiming her bow moments before the first Atlas fight, especially since she doesn't even fire a single arrow beforehand.
    • If you choose to fight PuPu again in the Coliseum, you get this gem:
      Arbiter of Time: Come forth, PuPu!
    • The entire scene before fighting Gogmagog's final form in A Dying World is utterly cringe-inducing, especially when Serah and Noel exclaim, in unison, "We will change the future!"
  • Narm Charm:
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Much like it's prequel, this game contains backstory for events and characters in wikipedia-esque entries in the datalog and fragments. For instance, some fragments shed light on Caius' past. It would have been awesome to see him duking it out with his predecessor or performing the Incarnate Summoning of Bahamut.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Played for funny. The Miniflans in Sunleth Waterscape 400AF are attempting to destroy the crystal pillar, but they need others to help. Eventually, you have to fight them, while Square-Enix plays inappropriate music. They are defeated and scolded by Serah in mere minutes.
  • Polished Port: Zig-Zagged with the PC/Steam release. While it runs at 60 frames-per-second and all the DLC is free (although the DLC chapters are locked off until endgame), the game seems to crash for seemingly no reason and only load maps after a certain point when Steam Cloud synching is turned on, making it somewhat of a mixed bag.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Not so much with the first game, but thanks to this game, a large part of the fandom has nothing but loathing for Motomu Toriyama. The mentioned Memetic Mutation "Toriyama'd" is pretty much shorthand now for Trolling Creator.
  • Scrappy Level:
    • Academia 400 AF, due to the high encounter rate and the fact that you can't run from any of them. At least it's a great place to grind for CP and Gil if you need either.
    • Academia 500 AF. An unexpected platforming segment with long waits for platforms to get in correct positions (and featuring a few extremely difficult enemy encounters), the area was often criticized in reviews for slowing the game down to a crawl right before the big finale. Mapping the area to 100% is an even bigger chore.
    • Academia 4XX AF just because of the Captain Cryptic quiz. He'll randomly spawn in any area and the only clues you'll have are from the townspeople which isn't really helping that much. It is much worse with having to pay attention for the outline of Captain Cryptic because Mog will not detect him even once you do see him hidden in plain sight.
    • Augusta Towers because its walkable paths are very narrow, making it difficult to avoid battles or getting a preemptive strike, since the battle clock starts at yellow in Augusta Tower AF 200. There's also the fact that its AF 300 rendition is a Bleak Level, with its only purpose being a keycard to obtain and map completion.
    • A Dying World 700 AF, mainly because it's a bitch to get from one point to another, and there are tons of hidden treasure chests.
    • If you dislike the time distortion mini games, then you will HATE Oerba 300 and 400 AF. Running around the same small map playing the three distortion mini games *over and over*. Some of them have 6 stages, and there are 8 or 9 per time period.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Here.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Snow/Serah shippers and Serah/Noel shippers go pretty hard at one another.
  • Tear Jerker: The true ending, if you ignore the Soundtrack Dissonance, is this is a nutshell. Serah dies, Etro is dead and the entire world will die with her, Lightning is crystallized (by her own choice, as stated on a Fragment), and Caius has won.
  • That One Boss:
    • The first battle against Caius, for those who haven't touched the sidequests yet. He can heal himself and buff himself up.
    • The Paradox Scope battles with Caius at A Dying World 700AF and the Void Beyond, with Serah (and Mons) and Noel going it alone respectively. If you're properly leveled with above average monsters in your corner in Serah's case he shouldn't be too much trouble, but he's not to be underestimated because he can still do alot of damage in short time. Weaker characters may be forced to use Wound, which reduces max hp (useful because once you kill him he instantly revives).
  • That One Level: Academia has a labyrinthine layout that is impossible to navigate intuitively. The map doesn't help since it doesn't separate the lower, middle, and upper levels to different screens, meaning that some areas are completely hidden from view, which also makes the "Paradox Professor" sidequestnote  for this map a pain. It's even worse in 400 AF, since you're constantly being bombarded with Cie'th battles that you cannot avoid, while still trying to just find your way around.
  • That One Sidequest: The goddamn Lucky Coin fragment. To get it you have to win 7,777 coins at the slot machines. And no one seems to be able to agree on whether that's a total number across all plays or all in one sitting (luckily losses aren't counted against that number), but either way expect to lose A LOT of coins, and thus gil in the process.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Alyssa. Had they expanded her role and made her dilemma more clear to the heroes, it would have added a lot of layers of moral complexity to their quest.
    • Lightning. Despite all the marketing and trailers focusing on her, it ended up being Wolverine Publicity. Not counting DLC, she only appears in a handful of cutscenes and is only playable in the prologue, which lasts about five minutes.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The actual story of humanity rebuilding on Pulse and adapting to the new world is largely glossed over, and aside from a couple parts early in the game, the story is focused around locations and time periods centuries after Cocoon's fall.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Prada advertisements are getting in on it, despite the game being nowhere near it. Sazh's outfit, however, is getting universal praise. Lightning is generally well liked. It's Noel in particular that everybody doesn't like.
    • There is a cutscene near the end of the game with Noel, Serah, Hope and Mog on an airship. It has a more detailed render than the other cutscenes, and while every individual part of their faces is more detailed, the general effect is a little bit off.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • When the trailer was first released, along with the logo picture, there was more than one person who commented on Lightning's "sexy female rival."
    • Many seem to be confused about Mog's gender (which is canonically male).
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Possibly in response to criticism of the first game, this one has a bad habit of heaping exposition or repeating things mere minutes after they've been brought up. Unfortunately, it's not usually done subtly, instead hitting you over the head multiple times until skipping scenes suddenly doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In Chapter 4, a shadow clone of Lightning asks Serah to come live with her in the (obviously fake) dream-world they're in. Saying no will advance the story. Saying yes will give you an alternate ending, a whole bunch of experience and place you right back before the question.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Was Square's attempt to do this after the first game's mixed response, adding in a more open world design, more sidequests, and more flexibility in the Crystarium earlier in the game. It didn't take.
  • The Woobie:
    • Yeul, or rather the many reincarnations of her. No matter which Yeul it is, she's born with the Eyes of Etro which lets her see the future and everytime she uses her powers (Which is often against her will), it slowly chips away her lifespan and she dies young.
    • Serah, due to having the Eyes of Etro as well. And the journey she takes ends with her death.
    • Noel as well. He's from a time after the end of the human race and is the last human and his only goal is to save humanity from extinction, even if it erases him from time.

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