So let's be honest here: Even if you liked Final Fantasy XIII (and I did), odds are that you still thought the game had some issues.The battle system, while nice and complex, did take a while to really get rolling, and put a few levels of control between you and your characters. The world was very linear, making for a long chain of fights rather than any real exploration. And dead mother or not, (again, we're being brutally honest here) Hope was a whiner of the highest order.
The last time we had a sequel to a numbered Final Fantasy game, Square was coming off of Final Fantasy X, and they took the opportunity, with X-2, to go a little goofy with fan service ("Dresspheres"? Really?). There will be some of that in XIII-2, but the stakes are higher this time. The game represents two opportunities: the chance to re-introduce players to what XIII did right, and to smooth out some of the problems players had. According to a little hands-on time we had with the game last week, Square Enix is taking full advantage of that first opportunity, and only grudgingly stepping up on the second one.