@truthtellah: Yo, I know you find these gifs amusing (and they are) and you're not a big XIII fan, but can you maybe keep from pulling the thread completely off track?
Anyway, I finally had time to start deeper into the game tonight. I'm probably not using my time as well as I should; I've spent all of day two still in Luxerion, bumbling around on sidequests and looking for the code numbers. I've collected the key that I assume will let me fight Noel, but otherwise I should probably spend the next few days exploring the other regions and try to get more quests in general done so I can extend the time limit past the initial six day mark.
Also, that three star monster fight in the alley? Oh, fuck, I get stomped by that asshole. Effective guarding is something I'm still learning.
Well, I wasn't a big fan of the original, but I did find FFXIII-2 interesting and Lightning Returns the most enjoyable. Just because I'm not as big of a fan of the series as you are doesn't mean I or anyone else can't have a little fun. I understand your interest in keeping things on track, but come on. No need to be a bit snippy. I already made my main point and only continued because others carried along with it. It's a silly game with certainly more fun than deathly seriousness, and I'd say a little levity helps this thread actually reflect people's total impressions.
Anyway, it sounds to me like you're doing alright. You're focusing on side quests and trying to practice guarding. As you said, effective guarding is going to be more and more important. And it gets crucial later on. So good luck with learning it! :)