Ever since the devious psychological experiment that was Final Fantasy X-2, Square Enix has made a habit of putting out sequels to individual installments of their mega-popular Final Fantasy series. Despite a somewhat mixed critical reception, Final Fantasy XIII sold millions of copies. The ending of the game (no spoilers, I promise) certainly left things open for further exploration of the world of Gran Pulse. As such, it’s not much of a surprise then that Square will return to the world of Final Fantasy XIII in early 2012.

Square Enix has debuted a new trailer for Final Fantasy XIII-2 in time for E3. Get ready for all the monster-busting, androgynous character designs, and earnest dialogue you can handle.

Like all debut trailers of this sort, Final Fantasy XIII-2’s preview gives only tantalizing hints at the plot and characters. What we do know: Lightning, the main protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII, is back in armor that makes her look like valkyrie . . . but everyone thinks she’s dead. Her sister, perpetual damsel-in-distress Serah, appears to take center stage this time around — this time led around by new leading man Noel Kreiss. Together, they fight crime. Err, monsters. According to plot details floating about the Internet, FFXIII-2 will delve into Serah’s search for Lightning and will cover background elements left mysterious by the previous outing.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHsM08SNg3k

The trailer also gives us brief glimpses of Final Fantasy XIII-2’s gameplay. While it’s still unknown whether the game will continue to use the same map design as the first, the combat system appears to be roughly identical to FFXIII’s. However, it looks like some Quick Time Event-style attacks and a kind of monster-summoning (or taming?) system will shake things up a bit. It will certainly be interesting to see if FFXIII-2’s design team addresses the gameplay gripes (i.e., overly-linear level design) that many reviewers had with the original installment.

Are you a Final Fantasy fanatic? Did Final Fantasy XIII leave you breathless for more? Does this trailer tickle your fancy? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 is set to release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in early 2012.

Stay tuned to Game Rant for more news and updates as E3 2011 continues through the week.

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