Thank god for the digital world we live in, increasing the boundaries of the gaming community beyond a few players huddled together in a dark room, squished in front of a glowing CRT television. I've come here to the digital arcade of the Internet to ask for a lending shoulder, and some help: I'm completely lost in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
Now it should be said for those interested, this will include SPOILERS.
The last things I remember was...
After running into Snow as he's battling a giant tomato monster and adventuring in the jungle like tree canopy, riding a quadrupedal beast across a passage and chasing several tomato monster colonies created by a time paradox, Serah and Noel are swept away to another time(level) where they reunite with Hope in Yaschas Massif -010 AF-. After Hope and his female friend (the academic chick that knows of Serah) explain paradoxes and alternative timelines, Serah and Noel return to the same location, Yaschas Massif, but an different era, deemed -01X AF-, where they again talk to Hope, but this time must journey under spotlights avoiding a pitch black night created by the Giant Crystal blocking out the sun and moon.
I'm not sure when it occurred, but I remember going to Oerba, an abandoned village in the snowy regions of the world, eventually running into Ciaus and the seeress, Yeul, who Noel recalls from his time. After some exposition you learn that with the multiple timelines, there are multiple Yeuls monitor each one. Serah and Noel then battle Ciaus for, I believe, the first time. After defeating Ciaus, the duo are transported to a castle entrance, with no explorable area at the moment. With a Historia Crux Title "locked location" and even a description of " with nothing here, the party is forced to go back" I get the picture there's not much to do besides collect a handful of items.
With several attempts to hop back into it, usually only leading to some level grinding and sight seeing without any real progress, I can't help but feel lost. I have access to New Bodhum -003 AF-, the island resort that started the journey; the Bresha Ruins -005 AF- whose streets worked as a tutorial, along with its frozen alternative -300 AF- that I believe is only for a fragment side quest; the aforementioned Yaschas Massif -010 AF, -01X AF- and Oerba -200AF-; I've traveled to the Sunleth Waterscape -300 AF- several times, believing killing the Giant Tomato would progress something, but I remember hearings its a side quest as well.
I even have the guide, but since FFXIII-2 is a game based on time travel and paradoxes, it's complicatedly put together, leaving no actual help with gauging progress.