As most Final Fantasy XIII almuni can attest, scouring Gran Pulse in search of character-building Crystarium was a bit of a grind, as was tooling around inside each character's Crystarium paths to essentially unlock the same skills across all classes. In FFXIII-2, Square Enix has pledged to make the Crystarium system a little deeper and a lot more streamlined, as well as add some spice to battles with the inclusion of collectible monster combat. See how these improvements are coming along in the studio's latest screenshots.
As demonstrated in the new images, FFXIII-2 will will combine all roles into one Crystarium path, allowing players to branch off in exclusive growth routes as they level up each character. On the surface, this compacted system sounds like the same thing in a new package, but Square Enix has noted each character will level up in their own unique way. Similar to their human masters, captured monster will be upgradeable in various ways via 'growth items' won from battle. They will also be privy to adornments, which can be worn to change the appearance of each monster, but reportedly do little else for their actual skills on the battlefield.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is being developed for PS3 and Xbox 360 with an anticipated release date of February 2012. Check out the newest images in our gallery below.