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  • All Just a Dream: Throughout the game, characters wonder if the events happening are a dream or reality. By the end of the game, the player is supposed to decide whether they occurred or not.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced:
    • Given a game as anticipated as XIII already was is getting a sequel. Then again, given both Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy XIII's Broken Base...
    • Combat system issues aside, many aspects of the gameplay were changed, such as increased interactions with non-player characters, more refined battle mechanics, better-integrated side-quests, and far less linear maps.
    • Light not being the only player character was a huge relief when early trailers indicated otherwise. Her sister, Serah, is now playable, in addition to a character reminiscent of fan-favorite Zack Fair. Whoa be careful with that one.
    • The revelations that many characters from the first game would be returning in one aspect or another.
    • Pre-release and post-release DLC (especially after they failed to deliver for the first game).
    • Fans of Ultros will be pleased to hear the wacky octopus is finally going to be heard speaking!
    • The music Invisible Invaders won't have any vocals in the EU/US version, becoming this.
    • The Snow DLC.
    • Armored Lightning has her own chapter with her own paradigms. She can even join your team as one of the most powerful Commandos!
  • Base Breaker:
  • Breather Level:
    • 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.
  • Broken Base:
    • The existence of this game in general, considering the mixed reactions that the first game received, and the fact that the wait for Final Fantasy XV is becoming longer and longer as Square spends more and more time on sequels, spin-offs, and DLC.
    • The relative lack of Sazh in the main campaign has frustrated many fans (though it is likely he'll be back in DLC). Snow suffers this as well.
    • Many fans aren't too happy about the Monster System or the whole "Serah and Noel are the only controllable characters." Even less people are happy about Lightning having less than 30 minutes of cutscenes and only being playable for 10 minutes when Square Enix put her on the front cover, 40% of the back cover, is present on a dozen pages of the manual, the soundtrack, the first trailer was all about her, promoted her as the main protagonist for the first six months after XIII-2's reveal, she's been present in all of the trailers, has an action figure, was hyped as having Caius as her "fated rival", etc. Yeah... great job there, Square.
    • 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".
      • The ending of the game hints at a part three to Final Fantasy XIII; the fandom went nuts.
    • This song
    • Another song getting mixed reactions: Crazy Chocobo, a metal version of the iconic theme
    • A lot of people are mixed about this song too.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Noel has gotten this accusation thrown at him a lot since his introduction, as many of the trailers focused heavily on him, rather than the characters people wanted to see more of. This complaint extends to the actual game too, as many felt his spot should have been filled by an already-established character.
    • Lightning could also be seen as this: part of the plot is designed to "help her story come full circle"; she gets a set of Stripperific yet Impossibly Cool Clothes - complete with a shiny new Gunblade and shield; and she hogs the cover of the NA boxart even though she's not the main protagonist! Oh and there's the aforementioned nude shot.
    • Not really... since the whole "Is Lightning happy?" thing never really played a part in the overall plot, she was demoted to a background character and plot device, and she received minimal screen time and character development. With the way XIII-2 ended... if there were an XIII-3, she almost certainly would NOT play any kind of role in it.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Lightning's battle with Chaos-Bahamut (whom, you'll note, looks more-or-less exactly like Advent Children's Fiend-Bahamut). Hope's entrance in the latest trailer had plenty of fans screaming "yes" and "awesome!"
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: The aforementioned "Crazy Chocobo" is hysterical. It's a heavy metal version of the standard Chocobo theme, but the lyrics are...about a Chocobo.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The dev team honours the late storyboard artist ,Yoshinori Kanada, in the game by including a scene he intended in the first before his death: Odin cradling Lightning in their descent after Lightning uses the Zantetsuken.
  • Die for Our Ship: Alyssa suffers this just because she's close to Hope.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Yeul.
    • It must be due to Sunleth Waterscape 400AF that "Crazy Chocobo" suddenly had a boost in fanbase.
  • Everybody Remembers the Stripper: Lightning's *ahem* naked scene.
  • Gainax Ending: See also Downer Ending. Seriously. Fans who haven't lost faith in SE are already praying XIII-3 makes up for it.
  • HSQ: This trailer.
  • Fake Longevity: Square seems to have gone out of its way to make getting the fragment from the slot machine the dullest, and most time consuming activity ever.
  • Fan Dumb/Hate Dumb: And the less said about this one, the better...
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Game Breaker: Dragoons are a pretty good early example: capturing them is pretty easy, they don't take much materials to level up and their Strenght is generally double or triple that of Noel or Serah in that point of the game.
    • Getting Lightning's DLC episode as early as possible (and spoiling most of the ending in the progress if you don't skip the cutscenes) allows you get her as a monster ally at any point in the game if you 5-star both of her battles, which is pretty easy to do as the levels in her episode are independent from the main story. Even without being able to level her up until much later into the game, you can easily wreck most of the main game with her even at lv1.
  • 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 Ceit'h of Academia 400AF, 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.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • While some DLC are well-received, a part of the fanbase doesn't like how Square is implementing it by making some of it available and advertised on day one. Square has stated that this is the first title they're working on to have planned DLC in one of their titles from the start of development, which doesn't help their cause.
    • The scenario, especially the "ending", led to a lot of bashing from the Japanese fanbase.
  • 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:
    • From what we know so far, Serah's sister may or may not be dead, and her fiance is missing. And with the story being Darker and Edgier, things aren't expected to improve... Noel in general but because of his Jerkass attitude he's heading in a different direction.
    • Lightning could be seen of this too, being 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.
  • 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.
    • While Square Enix plays inappropriate music.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The narrator of the Historia Crux's voice is so soothing.
    • Helps that its backed by awesome music.
    • Once you get Victory Mode on the slot machine, Blinded By Light starts playing. Keep going and you'll get Double Victory Mode, and Eidolons plays. Hell yes.
  • 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!

  • Player Preferred Pattern: 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).
    • 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
      • Synergists: Yakshini, Sazh (DLC)
      • Medics: Flanitor, Green Chocobo, PuPu (DLC)
  • Replacement Scrappy: Serah and Noel are reviled by some and frequently accused of being less cool than the playable cast of Final Fantasy XIII.
  • Rescued From the Scrappy Heap:
  • Scrappy Level:
    • Academia 400 AF, due to the high encounter rate and the fact that you can't run from any of them. Do it correctly with a turbo fire controller and well... Have fun.
      • Academia 500 AF as well. 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.
      • Oh, you want to have a 100% beastiary? Have fun doing this twice because of the three monsters only found in one part of the area (which is just east of where the big cactuar is at), you can only find 3 monsters for one time only, two of which will battle against you. You'll need to do a Time Reversal just to get the other monster because it's a one-time spawn only.
    • AF 4XX Academia 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.
    • 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.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Hands of Time in the Time Warp Anomoly sections. Do you suck at math? Yes? Do we have a minigame for you.
    • And then there are some of them that have a time limit. Oh and some of them also are randomized as well.
    • "Oh, but surely there's a guide"- Guide my ass! Every puzzle is totally freaking random!! And you have to do these if you want all 160 fragments...AGGHHH!!
    • Mitigated somewhat now that people have made multiple puzzle-solvers for it. Of course, that doesn't improve the mechanic itself.
  • 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, Mog 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. My God. He can heal himself and buff himself up. Some boss that early in the game.
      • The Paradox Scope battle with Caius at A Dying World 700AF. Noel is alone. You need Wound and a ton of potions.
      • Slightly subverted if you exploit a weakness or two. Namely: every single one of his incarnations is susceptible to Poison, which not only nullifies Regen but lets you heal/buff while he takes constant damage. This works incredibly well against the high-HP Paradox Scope versions of him, as Poison drains a percentage of HP rather than a fixed amount.
    • Are you excited to finally kick Jihl's ass? ...Good luck trying.
    • Oh, and Gilgamesh. Possibly a very clear example of Be Careful What You Wish For, as most fans were complaining that they wanted a challenge. SE apparently took their concerns and made a superboss out of the resident Butt Monkey of the franchise. He has the most HP out of any enemy in the game and taking him down to half health makes him much stronger. His attacks also cause a ton of wound damage.
  • 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.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Looks to be Square's attempt after the more mixed reaction the previous game received.
  • 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).
      • This is likely due to the fact that he's voiced by a 14-year-old girl.
  • Villain Sue: Caius. Let us make a resume, shall we? He's immortal. He can call upon Bahamut at will, despite the fact that Bahamut already has a master, and the explanation for how he is able to do this sounds very much like an hasty Hand Wave. He can use a never-before-seen "alternate" summoning method to actually become Bahamut itself. He has the heart of a goddess inside of him. He was freed from his L'Cie curse, but somehow retained his L'Cie powers. He can travel through time. He never, EVER loses - every "defeat" he suffers is actually nothing worse than a mild inconvenience for him, and he always manages to make a comeback. He is portrayed a lot more positively than he probably deserves, in spite of his Moral Event Horizon crossing actions. He wins in the end and ends the world. Need we say more?
    • Well, to be fair, he does have the Heart of Chaos in his chest, which gives him God-like powers in addition to being immortal. As for Bahamut, the original one was used by Lightning in their battle, but Caius only turned himself into a similair-looking version (including Jet Bahamut at the end, summoning the other two Bahamuts, who are clearly not the mastered original). And also, in general, the villian actually winning is rare. And lastly... being this sue trope means he just loves being evil, but he's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, with actual motives, not just for the evil of it.
    • One could view him as a Deconstruction. He has all the power a villain could ever want but it means nothing when it comes to actually getting what he truly wants. At least until the end and by then he's dead.
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