I played FFXIII for like 6 hours and lost interest very quickly. I was very hesitant of picking up this copy but I liked the demo so I bought XIII-2 yesterday. I read the Prologue's 14 chapters I beleive and definitely filled me in as to what happened on the first game. By the way, I've had more fun with the few hours played on FFXIII-2 than I did with FFXIII.
Thank you for the replies, all. I will probably take John G's approach and fill myself in with what happened on XIII. I've always been (and still) a fan of FF games, ever since FFII (SNES). But because of the linearity play style that I've read on every post for FFXIII, I didn't bother picking it up because I am the type that enjoys more of the side missions, character leveling up, etc. Remember the Chocobos in FFVII when you hadt to breed a golden one just to obtain the Knights of the Round in an island way off the map). That was frustrating and fun. It's those kind of side quests, not required to finish the game but fun to acquire anyhow, that I enjoy about RPG games.
I found FF13 to be a great game, I will admit it was very boring for the early levels, but once you get past that it is quite an enjoyable game, especially after you beat the game and continue on the hunts. I also found the story of FF13 very enjoyable. Yes it was a very linear game, but I'm playing 13-2 and it is also very linear as well. FF13 was an enjoyable game at onlly 9.99-14.99 nowadays it's definately worth picking up and passing through the boring parts to get to the excitement. You don't have to play and beat FF13 to play FF13-2 but the story tells it a bit different than the ending of the actually FF13. I think the hunts on FF13 will satisfy your need for Side quests, especially if you trying for 100% completion.
The stories of both games aren't too interconnected, but playing the first game will familiarize you with the characters. When the first game's characters show up in XIII-2, there's no explanation of their background at all, which is kind of important in a lot of cases.
I think they're actually very interconnected, but most of the connections are small, subtle things that add to the experience rather than being important plot points. In addition, you end up in several locations that you once experienced as part of XIII, so there's a fun familiarity that comes with that.
I just beat 13 and I'd say no. The story is simple and drug out honestly. I was thinking the same thing so I played through this first, it's definitely not worth spending 40+ hours to see. It even has me turned off from wanting to play 13-2 now, as much as the combat system is decent, I don't think I can stomach another fully length game with the "automated" combat (even though that wasn't my issue with 13, that would be the main thing that carries over to 13-2).
I wasn't asking whether I should play XIII-2 over XIII, I was asking the opposite; but you're saying you did the opposite of what I was asking and now highly suggesting that I shouldn't play XIII-2. I'm confused.