Final Fantasy XIII-2
The Final Fantasy series has tended towards iteration, making small modifications to its gameplay with each new entry, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Final Fantasy XIII-2, the continuation of Final Fantasy XIII, plays similarly. However, there are still changes to the game that The Escapist's Sara Brown was able to elaborate upon.
Read Sara's full preview of Final Fantasy XIII-2 here. The game is due for release some time after October 2012 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Speaking of combat, it's pretty similar to its predecessor. The Paradigm Shifts are back, as well as the star grading system and the general layout. New to the series, we have Cinematic Action. Think Summoning, but without the Summon. When you pull off a cinematic action you get to watch a cut scene of the attack. However, in an attempt to merge the cut-scenes Square is so famous for with interactive gameplay, they've added quick time events during the cut to make sure you don't go cook dinner while they work on the pretty. If you successfully execute the QTE you get bonus stuff, like paradigms that you can switch up during battle on the fly. Your cutscenes outside of battle are interactive as well. This time, success or failure determines the end of the cinematic. The enemy wreaks havoc on the environment, or he leaves it alone.
I mentioned above that the moogle was helpful during exploration. That means there will actually be exploration. Color me happy. Wide open worlds with NPCs you can interact with. I like XIII just fine, but it was too claustrophobic. I'm excited to be walking around aimlessly through little towns again. You get a map, also, that starts dim and shades in with a brighter grey as you traverse through the different areas. Thank goodness for open space. Guess what else ... you can jump! There's an actual jump button. It blew my mind.