Yes. Square Enix has decided to give us a rpg that isnt a corridor with side missions that actually involve interaction with other characters. What suffers from this though, the story itself. The game is not driven by the story quite as much due to the fact that there isn't a cutscene right around the corner that explains things along the way.
The graphics although for the most part the same as in FF13 are beatiful and will not dissapoint anyone with both the in game graphics and the pre-rendered graphics that the cutscenes have to provide.
The gameplay still involves the paradigm system and the auto-xxx button is still there for people that want to use it. There are 2 difficulties: easy and normal. Why they didn't decide to put in any other difficulties, I'll never know. During boss battles there are also some quick time events, but thats nothing too special.
The game took me 20 hours to beat on the normal difficulty and the story was really dissapointing. I really didn't care about the main characters, Serah and Noel. In addition to the normal ending there are multiple paradox endings and a secret ending that can be seen after aquiring all the fragments in the game.
FF13-2 is worth the rent and for fans of the series you may look into actually buying the game to get the perfectionist ending, I myself will be fine with looking up the the 8 extra endings myself.
For those of you familiar with Final Fantasy 13, you know the one nagging flaw that everyone complains about: it's too linear. The game feels like a RPG version of a modern FPS, walk down a hall, event, walk down another hall, event, etc. etc. Well Square-Enix hear our complaints and and released what the original should have been in XIII-2.
The game uses a slightly modified version of the combat system from XIII, and introduces the monster system into combat. Like any monster combat system, capturing a monster isn't certain, you need to evolve the creature after you get it and so on and so on.
The story is good as well. First, as Lightning, you are thrown into a strange but intense combat with unknown forces for unknown reasons. Then you take over Serah, who is thrown into an improbable situation against insurmountable odds with almost no hope of changing your destiny. Sound familiar? The story is different enough that despite the commonality of the themes, it still feels like a new and fresh story.
For the completionists out there, this title is mostly story related and most of the other achievements can be acquired while completing the "get all ___" achievements. All in all it will take around 80-120 hours of work depending on how you play and your level of insanity.
FFXIII-2 is a great idea, but from the beginning, the game seems to fall a little flat. There are no other party members besides Serah and Noel, but you do meet up with others from the first game. A cool idea instead are the monsters you obtain from crystals which act as your 3rd character. An average game and worth the rent.