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Review

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Review

  • Game release: February 11, 2014
  • Reviewed: February 11, 2014
  • X360
  • PS3

Cloudy weather.

"If I am a vessel, I am an empty one."

So says Lightning, aka Claire Farron, aka the heroine of Final Fantasy XIII, and now, the heroine of Lightning Returns. And she's right. In her newest adventure, Lightning is not interesting in and of herself, but because of what she means to others, and what others mean to her. To Bhunivelze--that is, God--she is the means of readying humanity for the new world soon to be born. To old friend Fang, she is the key to retrieving an artifact that holds untold power. As for Lightning, the only force driving her is her love for her dead-but-not-really sister Serah, and the possibility that they may be reunited--but even that possibility doesn't stir Lightning's emotions. Indeed, Lightning is a vessel for holding and pouring plot devices, but little more.

To be fair, Lightning's stoicism is a story point in Lightning Returns, yet it's this same stoicism that makes it nigh impossible to connect with her; she has but one personal motivation, and is defined solely by that motivation. In fact, every character in Lightning Returns is defined by the most basic of traits, all of which serve the needs of the plot, rather than the plot flowing from the needs of the characters. How amazing, then, that these characters never stop talking, finding new ways to explain the simple events occurring around them with as many words as possible. For having so little to say, the characters of Lightning Returns sure do talk a lot. You could say the same things about many other Japanese role-playing games, as well as plenty of anime and manga, but I can't remember the last time I played a game with so much dialogue that went absolutely nowhere.

Cactuars on my shoulder make me happy.

The stage for all of these histrionics is the world of Nova Chrysalia--or, more accurately, four fairly large regions of Nova Chrysalia that you traverse over and over again as you perform the tasks required of you. The world is soon to end, and Lightning is the key to God's plan for a new beginning. She is the savior, the one who will rescue as many souls as possible in order to guide them to the new world, and Serah is God's bargaining chip. In turn, returning character Hope Estheim acts as Lightning's guide in his ark, a base that exists outside of time's flow, and houses Yggdrasil, the famed tree of life that has become a JRPG mainstay.

Lightning Returns is not a game about Lightning, but about events that unfold with such melodrama and visual panache that you can't help but gawk at the beautiful spectacle before you. Some of these events have some semblance of sense, while others (such as the arc that explains the ever-annoying Chocolina's backstory) are absurd fluff, but the "whoa" moments come and go with some degree of reliability, making you wish that they were part of a sophisticated narrative in addition to being sensory delights. In my favorite of the game's many cutscenes, Lightning dons a gorgeous mauve gown and takes center stage in a theatrical production that make a Cirque du Soleil show look like a flea circus. The music swoons, fireworks and other vibrant flourishes fill the screen, and for a moment, the pageantry sweeps you away in an exuberant gust of sound and light.

Lightning is a vessel for holding and pouring plot devices, but little more.

Lively battle animations give combat some class.

If only there were a stronger character who could readily support the weight of a full game on her shoulders. Lightning's friends from Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2 have roles to play, but their stories are typically self-contained, culminating in final speeches that might represent 180-degree turns of the emotional positions they held just moments before. At least some of the actors deliver their lines with enough gusto to make you believe in their proclaimed passions. Final Fantasy XIII-2's misunderstood villain Caius Ballad has the most stage presence among them, thanks to actor Liam O'Brien's resonant baritone, though even Vanille finds redemption now that she no longer must bear the burden of an entire world (rather literally, at that). Elsewhere, Lightning Returns embraces the usual monosyllabic coos and shrill vocal deliveries that characterize Final Fantasy, though this isn't a matter of acting choices, but rather of inconsistent voice direction.

Sadly, the mediocre audio production is a major distraction. You explore and reexplore the game's four zones as Lightning, who usually travels alone, with Hope chattering in your ear via transponder so frequently, you wish he'd just shut up. He drones on so often, in fact, that he's constantly cut off mid-sentence whenever a battle suddenly occurs, when you trigger a cutscene by walking into a new area, or when you engage another character in order to complete quests. In the most extreme examples, Hope cuts off his own dialogue, though even when he isn't the one providing his own interruptions, lines are constantly shut down mid-sentence, sometimes to be repeated, and sometimes to be forgotten. The game drowns you with unnecessary audio, as if developer Square Enix were fearful that you'd forget what you were doing or why you were doing it.

The great warriors of legend have no need to cover their thighs. Or torsos. Or collarbones. Or cleavage.

You might think you could simply wait for dialogue to finish before venturing forward or engaging other characters, and in theory, you can. However, Lightning Returns is designed to make you hurry. You see, the world is going to end whether you like it or not, and the clock is always ticking. The game adheres to a strict timetable, automatically returning you to the ark at 6 a.m. every day. To see Lightning Returns to its finale, you need to add several more days to the calendar by saving the right souls--which in turn means completing story quests. Stopping to listen to entire lines of dialogue uses up precious minutes, so when faced with the decision to do nothing while you listen to Hope ramble or to move on and risk interrupting his exposition, you move on. The countdown is anti-story.

The music swoons, fireworks and other vibrant flourishes fill the screen, and for a moment, the pageantry sweeps you away in an exuberant gust of sound and light.

Not only does the time management mechanic collide with the overzealous audio, but it collides with almost every other aspect of the game. I suspect that like me, many people will discover just how frustrating the flow of time is when they reach the world's end before they have progressed far enough to have saved its populace. In this circumstance, the game abruptly concludes, and then invites you to start over again with all of your spells, weapons, and so forth intact--a New Game Plus. The moment came as a slap in the face after 33 hours of playing on medium difficulty, and the slaps continued as I played through a second time, during which I could so clearly see all of Lightning Returns' attempts to pad the gameplay and waste my time. You can mitigate the frustrations by playing on easy, but doing so bandages the wounds without addressing the disease.

How does Lightning Returns waste your time? It does it in how it handles exploration. As you complete certain side quests, others may open up, but you may not know where and when they do so, or even if they will. In that sense, the game invites you to return to regions again and again, seeking out new activities. But the clock is always working against you, and the time you spend exploring previously visited areas may not yield any fruit, making the entire journey a pointless one; even traveling to other regions by train uses up additional time. In that sense, the game punishes exploration by pushing you ever closer to imminent Armageddon. The countdown is anti-exploration.

"Passion Rouge" is this schemata's default title, but feel free to get as creative as you want with names.

We built this city on dirt and stone.

How else does Lightning Returns waste your time? It does it by forcing you to lose an in-game hour whenever you escape from battle, but not effectively communicating if you have the right tools for major enemies beforehand. You might be well equipped for the creatures in the vicinity, only to discover that you are not powerful enough for the boss that concludes your quest, or the miniboss that stands between you and the next phase of your journey. The combat system itself encourages you to try different approaches, but the clock punishes you for doing so. The countdown is anti-experimentation.

That combat has plenty of bright spots, however, and were it not for some execution issues, it may have even found a place among Final Fantasy's better battle systems. The paradigm mechanics of the previous games have been reimagined, and Lightning is the only character you directly control. At the heart of battle--and indeed, at the heart of character progression and customization--are combat templates called schemata. Schemata, in turn, are attached to the outfits Lightning wears. She can wear up to three at any time and switch between them at will during battle. Not only do various outfits have their own attributes, but so do the weapons, attacks, and accessories you can equip to them. As you earn new spoils in battle, visit vendors, and complete quests, your options grow, and schemata customization becomes more and more compelling. I enjoyed fine-tuning each schema, giving them descriptive names and maximizing various qualities with ornate shields and impossibly large katanas.

On the battlefield, additional strategic elements come into better focus. For instance, each schema has its own maximum health, but when you take damage in one schema, that damage is reflected in other schemata by the percentage of health you lost, rather than in the actual amount of damage. As a result, it's best to have the schema with the most health points equipped when the enemy lands its blows. In addition, certain costumes have a particular attack hardcoded into them; in other cases, equipping a given item or casting a particular debuff may change the nature of certain attacks. The inherent freedom of schemata makes them deeply appealing.

The game punishes exploration by pushing you ever closer to imminent Armageddon.

They say that chocobo meat tastes like chicken.

Once combat begins, however, you must face Lightning Returns' vexing blocking mechanic. Each attack you unleash costs a certain number of ATB (active time battle) points, and the ATB meter replenishes more slowly than you use it up. As a result, you must switch between schemata frequently--a strategic consideration similar to the one paradigms introduced in the other XIII games. It's the newfound emphasis on staggering that leads to the greatest aggravation on the battlefield. Staggering an enemy typically (but not always) makes it temporarily impotent in battle, and allows you to deliver a lot of damage without opposition. You can stagger enemies by bombarding them with the spells and slashes they are particularly vulnerable to, but precisely blocking their attacks is even more effective. And if you want to avoid grave injuries, it's sometimes a requirement.

The most obvious problem with blocking is that Lightning Returns, like its predecessors, values visual pageantry over precision. That was fine in the previous XIII games, which required little exactness, but when the camera is swaying about, framing the fluid animations, brilliant explosions, and fearsome monsters, it's rarely giving you a consistent view of your surroundings. You can click a thumbstick to watch from a better vantage point, but even then, the game's insistence on forcing beauty on you comes at the expense of granting you a proper perspective. Avoiding damage can require split-second timing, but you can't block attacks you can't see. And remember: while you can escape battle, it costs you time, though Lightning Returns does give you some methods to ward off the pain of lost hours, such as the limited skill to slow time to a crawl for a short while and prove yourself a one-woman army.

Adornments are an inadvertent source of comedy. This cap is one of the least amusing options.

Nevertheless, the foes you face while pursuing story quests prove a roadblock the first time through, forcing you to pursue other opportunities and hope that making various citizens' dreams come true will help extend the clock. You might suppose that grinding for levels would boost your battle effectiveness, but Lightning doesn't gain levels, and there is no experience to gather. Instead, completing quests, whether they be story quests, side quests, or tasks offered from Chocolina's minor mission board, rewards you with additional health, additional strength, or other perks, such as an increase in the number of recovery items you can possess. Pursuing Chocolina's tasks is much the same as level grinding, only instead of fighting to earn experience, you are fighting to reap objects that you can turn in for a small boost to your attributes.

Most missions are of the usual "fetch" or "kill" variety, and have you crisscrossing the desert, weaving through forests, and roaming city streets. Menial tasks like checking the time on a dozen clocks or growing greens to feed to your chocobo mount aren't absorbing on their own, but they do get you out into the world, where you can complete assignments in any order you choose. And while treading across the same sand dunes and winding paths grows tiring, there are countless details to admire. When I first encountered a trio of miniature moogles roving the woods, chirpily greeting each other and announcing it was their bedtime, I was utterly delighted. I shuddered when I looked closely at a beastly gorgonopsid's razor-sharp teeth, before vanquishing it with a shimmering bolt of frost. And Lightning herself dons meticulously tailored outfits, with every button polished to a shine, each pair of boots carefully constructed, and each fabric impeccably embroidered.

Is Lightning as dry as the desert? It's a toss-up.

Those details carry over into garb like the amazon warrior outfit, which covers only the minimum amount of skin, and features a panty line so low that Lightning looks like an extra from a hypersexual Onechanbara game. These outfits speak to the game's tonal inconsistencies; Lightning's costumes have always been body-conscious, but they've never been overtly provocative, and the sudden spotlight on Lightning's ladybits run contrary to her aloofness and professed desire to avoid the limelight. If you'd rather giggle than ogle, you can always equip Lightning with an adornment, like a bushy goatee or a feline tail, and then change her clothing colors to a garish puce-and-pea-green combo. Lightning doesn't smile, so you can't laugh with her--but at least you can laugh at her.

Games have successfully used timers to evoke a sense of urgency in the past; The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask leaps immediately to mind. Yet Majora's Mask handled its time limits with care, whereas Lightning Returns layers them on top of mechanics that don't support them. This supposedly final chapter of Nova Chrysalia's story leaves me befuddled. It's a collection of ideas and concepts that don't come together in a coherent way, led by a character who has shown no identifiable growth since her first appearance four years ago. The promising schemata system and grandiose cutscenes are solid pillars from which a great RPG could have been constructed, but Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII falls well short of greatness.

The Good
Gorgeous cutscenes bring the drama
Schemata customization is fun and absorbing
Lots of environmental and character details to admire during the journey
The Bad
Time mechanic clashes with exploration, story, and progression
Weak storytelling made weaker by rambling dialogue and a bland protagonist
Reliance on precise blocking leads to frustration and wasted time
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Against all odds, Kevin VanOrd enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2. He spent about 65 hours with Lightning Returns in total, and reached the final boss twice: once in a New Game Plus, and once in a New Game Plus Plus.

Discussion

1639 comments
thingta42
thingta42

Her outfits look awesome, and she looks gorgeous as always, but i played FF13 on xbox for 20mins and i instantly returned the game back, i hated it, being guided down a runway, no choice or anything, urghh, biggest waste of money ever. 

sickzero
sickzero

Who decided it was a good idea to give FF XIII a trilogy. What about FF XII. What about Balthier. What about building a solid trilogy on a foundation with solid characters?

armin0jrpg
armin0jrpg

FF fans these days:  I HATE LIGHTNING! SHE IS SO COLD
_ then who is your fav FF character?

_CLOUD AND SQUALL!

lol. n00bz. 

jjleshko90
jjleshko90

I cried when I played the original FF13.


Because of how bad it was, of course.

Bakutakamine
Bakutakamine

Glad someone finally stuck a fork in this series. It's been a disgrace since it started. Meaning the XIII trilogy.

twztid13
twztid13

Great review, Kevin. I will get this when it's closer to $15-$20, as I have yet to start XIII-2.

hawke_91
hawke_91

I've always read Kevin's reviews and I've found most them quite good and accurate. In this case however, I think the game's score suffers just because it has "Final Fantasy" in it's title. A 5 for this game is way too low in my opinion and it feels like the reviewer really didn't spend much time with the game.. The time mechanic clashes with... nothing! On my first playthrough I had 7 days left in the game (20 hours of game time by the way) and I had finished all main quests except the Wildlands. Also as far as side quests are concerned I've done loads of them (no I didn't rush through the main quests) and that was all done with Chronostasis, which is weird that it wasn't referred to in the review. Chronostasis is an EP spell that freezes the time for about 1 real time minute. So you kill monsters, you gather EP and then use that EP to freeze time (which also freezes during dialogues and combat). 


This makes completing all the main quests and side quests on Easy difficulty quite possible although the same can not be said on higher difficulties where you have to spend that EP on healing yourself so using it for Chronostasis is not that often a wise idea. 


The combat system is one of the most enjoyable ones I've seen in an RPG. The story is ok, not as interesting as previous installments as it spends a bit too much time trying to explain the story to new players of FFXIII rather than actually progressing it.


Overall I think that if you want a fun and different game you should definitely go for this one. If however, you want to cure your nostalgia over FFVII then forget about it.

jbhnc11
jbhnc11

I made a lot of positive comments during the first day/week this game came out and criticized the reviewer for the harsh score he gave. I'm glad to see more and more people are enjoying the game.

luna_valentine
luna_valentine

I beat the game, and I am already replaying it. I have over 50 hours, and I am loving every minute of this game. I love the characters, and I found that playing Lightning Returns actually made me love the characters even more. The gameplay is fun, and the clock shouldn't even be stressed over. I completed every main quest and a majority of the side quests with at least 4-5 days to spare. I think that the FFXIII games receive unnecessary hate. If people don't like the game, then don't bother playing it. That simple. The FFXIII trilogy are my most favorite Final Fantasy games. I played 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12, and none of those had the impact that 13 has had on me. I would say, if you enjoyed FFXIII and XIII-2, Lightning Returns is worth every penny. If you didn't, then don't bother.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

For me what makes the game frustrating- a saviour that has power gets tired from running from one side of the map to the other...... Losing an hour from escape and find that hour lost was needed to complete the side quest then having to wait till the next day at the specific time..... Only carry 6 items? So far unlike Kingdom hearts the ports don't get added for more.... Geting into a battle and finding still not strong enough and just get wiped which brings it back to not geting to complete the side quest on 'time' for extra hp..... So many things Gil wise very expensive not all but still no time to farm the Gil....

I am on day 10 one day to go and haven't complete a single main quest because of the strength issues which to me is annoying because I thought the main quests where the game iv seen ill bits and cut scenes but no actual complete.....

If some elements could have been kept to the original formula like gain exp from battles, not so much emphases on the time and more flexible... More carry items and the costumes adding the bonus level up rather being the main feature,

I'm a saviour I get tired from running, can't carry many items, level up is difficult with the side quest always need to be done at certain times....

I swear iv lost many hours going can't complete that till such a such and that at this time oh what can I do in the mean time????

Am I only one so far having the lil troubles completing the main side of things? Iv sat and gone through all the costumes I have weapons shields but not much is really making the difference I always need a potion I don't have and forced to escape, I try to run around the monsters which to me is also annoying for this being final fantasy trying to avoid and some get a lucky strike and oh I lost hp at the start? She's a saviour that loses hp at the start now that is poor.....

GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

What the fuck is all this hate for this game about....im playing it right now and its looks good and plays better...the art is amazing and i can see that immense care has been given in creating the world in this game....sure the story is a bit clunky but heck this is a video game whadaya want...the story is still better than these shooters we have here....and those still recieve higher ratings...why cant people chill the fuck out and look at this as a seperate game created by a different group of people for a different group of people than the one's who played Fucking Final Fantasy 1....were not all 85 years old here you know,..rocking our chairs and thinking of the golden games of yesteryears....fuck...

rune114
rune114

HORRIBLE review. Kevins a depressed a hole that needs to get fired for writting a BAD REVIEW. I never come to gamestop anyway because of this but I did this time so I guess you win! 

Stu-pendous
Stu-pendous

I've only enjoyed the FFXIII series in short spades. I admit that part of the reason is due to the fact I prefer old-fashioned RPGs, particularly those in the Final Fantasy franchise. However, the first instalment was fast, frenetic and enforced with a desperate sense of urgency; the sequel, in my opinion, was slow, stagey and painfully dull at its worst. It left me feeling rather disconnected and disinterested from checking out this game because, essentially, I ended up not caring enough whether Lightning saw her journey through or not. I don't know if I can stomach a story with endless scenes of characters uttering a whole lot of nothing to each other.

Scrotous
Scrotous

This is a very underrated game, the time limit can be annoying sometimes but theres a few ways around it at least. This game is very decent by it's battle system alone, the other ones had better story but the customization in this makes up for that, cause that's what was missing so much in the older 13s. And on top of all this game is hard, unlike the other 13s, so easy to kill anything.

mrwellversed
mrwellversed

To each his own. Do I think the XIII series was as good as it could've been? Not in the slightest. Are the characters somewhat offputting? Yeah for the most part. Do I agree with the score? Yes, Ive been looking at these reviews for the better part of 5 years and they haven't failed me once, even when I bought games regardless. Do I believeyou should criticize people are enjoying this game? Not at all, to those who enjoy it; lets hear what you like most about it. to those who don't; ....well we already know how yall feel haha. But as a group let us pray that regardless of whether you liked or disliked this series or this game in particular, that XV is a beacon of renewed faith in a series that has more games standing by its title than any other.

chyng85
chyng85

Must-play for hardcore fans~ 

edgarallanfoe
edgarallanfoe

The combat and systems seem a lot more entertaining than the original FF13, at least.

ant031
ant031

I really used to love the final fantasy series. 7, 8, 9, 10 are some of my favorite games. But what has happened to it? I bought Final Fantasy 13 and could not believe what they had done to it and its expansions are no better. Forgettable characters and story, no open world to explore, terrible side quests. I fully understand that Square are trying to do something different and reinvent the series but they have err greatly in this. And three add on about the same story - absolute snoozefest. Remake FF7 and make DLC for that story. That was a story that deserved more adventures with the characters. Lightning and her mates are like guest to a party that wont leave. Just plain annoying

cyclonebw
cyclonebw

I relised I wasn't a Final Fantasy fan as soon as I relised the only one I have ever like was FF8, and I have no idea why.  Played all 4 disks about 4 times through, can't play another one for 2 hours.

Coldpain
Coldpain

I finally received Lightning Returns in the mail this weekend. After about 12 hours in I can confidently say it is an enjoyable experience for any final fantasy fan. Surprisingly enough the game is not combat focused, so you’ll spend more time running around and talking to npcs than participating in (awesome) fights.


I will say that combat is not as difficult as most reviewers will have you believe. Not once have I had to escape a fight, nor have I had any gameovers. And this is coming from someone who struggled through many of the fights in FFXIII. My only complaint with Lightning Returns thus far is the fact the 13 days time mechanic is both a boon and a bane. Hope Estheim effectively guides you throughout your journey helping you reach your goals before they deadline. It’s nice because in this way the game passively holds your hand, allowing you to do what you want when you want. On the other hand this mechanic isn’t much fun because on rare occasion you will miss a deadline and have to wait another day in order to complete an objective. While this isn’t game-breaking, it does lead to insurmountable amounts of frustration in which I advise you to save your game and walk away.


Overall this is a Final Fantasy unlike any other. If you have liked their games in the past, I would recommend it. It’s full of lore and does a decent job of filling in the gaps between the events of FFXIII and FFXIII-2. If you want to read more on Final Fantasy follow me on my website here!

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@hawke_91  That countdown mechanic should have never existed it doesn't matter if you don't have problems with it honey its very existence forces you to change the way you play the game,you don't have complete freedom to do whatever you want during any indefinite period of time you have to gather EP to freeze it that sucks, if you think the battle system is enjoyable in this game then your gaming experience must be very short there are many games with much more elaborated and deep mechanics like Star Ocean,Grandia and Tales sagas, your ignorance is bliss honey FFVII fanatics cursed FFVIII only for its limited gameplay sure they can dislike FFXII as well but in the end they never make any sense about their opinions those two games are worth of its good name in one way or another the same can't be said about FFXIII and its sequels they are utter failures this franchise would be better if they never existed.

linthes999
linthes999

@luna_valentine  Nice to see others enjoying this game.  I'm just under 40 hours played and have all main quests complete, 46 Side and 48 Canvas of Prayers completed, and still 9 days to go.  If anything, I have too much time left.  This "sense of urgency" the countdown is meant to give, is really non-existent.


I'm looking forward to my second playthrough, once I find the time.  My only gripe really is the horrible framerate drop when fighting Shagains.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@luna_valentine  Do you know how much relevance your opinion have when talking about the aspects and elements of this franchise honey? your opinion is worthless you don't know this franchise and it makes me wonder if you really played those FF games its funny how you prefer FFXIII over them,considering the fact that ALL the previous FF game have a solid story and a consistent gameplay the most important factors in a JRPG that FFXIII and its sequels failed to incorporate, FFXIII and its sequels are forgetable no one will remember them and everyone still remember the previous ones that was released decades ago can you see the difference? FFXIII ''era'' was supposed to die 4 years ago honey only those who don't know this franchise could possibly like this abomination.

jbhnc11
jbhnc11

@luna_valentine I agree with you, although the 13 series/saga isn't my favorite, i'm partial to 6 and 10. It really is an enjoyable game.


I'm just over 60 hours in and I'm still on the first playthrough...I think I'm trying to do too much lol, but I stated before and as you reiterated the clock is a complete non-issue.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

Couldn't edit but time wasted geting lost in the maps and the whole moral religion story forced down our throats.... Good battle when it works blocking is still dodgy at the best or worst of times and stagger seems lil more harder.... Done with trophies but to keep hearing that annoying sound on all 3 ATMs they don't seem to refill fast enough and why should blocking cost? Attack yes but to stand there blocking costing ATM?

ThaLunatik
ThaLunatik

@GregoryBastards  I agree, this review was pretty bad. I could sense from the first paragraph that the reviewer went into this already feeling like he'd hate the game and he wrote a review to fit that.

179107199999
179107199999

@GregoryBastards  It failed to make the story cohesive like its predecessors did. For an RPG that call itself Final Fantasy that ain't good. Its funny how Kaim in Lost Odessey was stoic.He lived all those years but he had dreams of his past.It moved me when he the daughter he thought lost was still alive yet he found her just in time to see her pass.The animation for the game is old but the emotion his eyes had and the voice actor that scene touched me.Then you see the ceremony to help souls move on.You even had to control one of the characters when moving the torch.Lighting has emotions but she's hard to connect to.She almost always looks like she's sleepy or high. Its not that Old FF fans hate the game because of change.Its that they made it a regular RPG with tacked on Mechanics that were unneeded. And also if you knew the history of FF.You'd know they were all about change.No FF game was the same they all added little mechanics and quirks to keep things fresh.They followed a tradition but improved on it much like how a Mario platfom game is. Same concept but different more creative ways of reaching the objective.13 went to radical and clumped the story together.You can tell SE tried...but they tried way too hard.And even the costumes were a bad touch.I respected when Lighting was a female warrior but the costumes they did for her were way out of character. I didn't like seeing them make an ecchi heroine out of Lighting. Granted I like anime like Manyuu Hikenchou and Ikki Tousen but years ago when I saw Tetsura Nomura's design for Lighting It made me want to play the game because she was a female character who looked serious (however gave up  game becasue gameplay was mehful to me and I was playing Fallout3 during the time).Now they made costumes that are just for sexualizing a character who in my opinion represented serious Female characters who needed no sex appeal.I still feel that Lost Odessey is better than any FF13 game. and also the ripping off of Majora's Mask for an RPG that is about exploration then adding fetch quests and not really having party members to help further charcter relationships really brings the game down.Its nice to see when you can observe a party members backstory.FF6 did that well but FF7 was awesome too espcially with Nanaki's story.And even 12 was good.Didn't get to finish it because my PS2 went kaput.But the vast lands combat and characters were cool.(I liked Dragon Quest 8 more though better characters and story)

jbhnc11
jbhnc11

@GregoryBastards I feel like a good number of people judged the game before it ever came out/played it for themselves. Some feel it doesn't follow the typical path of an alleged JPRG. Others are just upset that Square Enix hasn't remade FF7.


This is a good game, and the more people that play it I think they'll see that the reviewer was far too harsh with his score.

Darkefka
Darkefka

@rune114 nahh Kevin is fine, this review is kinda off but his reviews are usually good, Tom is the one to fire (8/10 to The Last of Us, 4/10 to Bioshock infinite, 9/10 to Beyond two souls (crappy game))

jbhnc11
jbhnc11

@Scrotous I really enjoy the battle system as well, and I feel the difficulty is just right (pretty smooth overall with some tough fights thrown in).

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@mrwellversed  I agree with you honey that would be the case if we shared our opinions but ask those people who liked this game if they know this franchise or wanted to play a JRPG, naturally the answer is no they don't know anything but you constantly see them opening their mouths to state a ''fact'' about it they only started to play FF because something changed to fit their worthless interests and behind that change is the removal of the traditional JRPG elements the very essence of the genre, is that the right decision? of course not FF was supposed to be a franchise for the people who want to play a JRPG and that is what you expect of any title labeled as ''final Fantasy'' all this happened because of their greed and they followed the easier and worst way to fullfil their goals the veteran gamers can't accept this.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

This does seem to be the only selling point left, my theory in all honesty I won't be surprised if this game was made just so we all get used to the battle system from what I've seen on gameplay the ps4 final fantasy uses a similar set up....

This battle system is a beefed up version from crisis core and sets to improve with the next gen version....

edgarallanfoe
edgarallanfoe

@cyclonebw  FF8 is the best one, but I do enjoy a few others, as well. None after FF10, though.

179107199999
179107199999

 "it's a final fantasy unlike any other" Yep therefore it should have its own name. A final fantasy game that focuses on ONE character. The world revolves around her.That's not exciting.Exciting is having 2 characters who are best friends but suddenly betrayal rears its head.Character A doesn't know what to do.eventually Character B gains his senses but Character B ends up betraying A again.Also its quite sad when your Main character is given a task by the King who raised him to be a knight ends up killing a mother and destroying a village unwittingly all because of the King.Or how about you live your life under someone else's identity and have to go through a period to find yourself espcially after you fall in to your planets lifestream and are poisoned by it.This FF game is like how Capcom alienated DMC with DmC. Truth is if you want a good RPG either try Skyrim or even Oblivion Fallout3.N.Vegas or Bravely Default. You want a good mediocre RPG to play then play Lighting returns.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@Coldpain  It's a FF unlike any other honey? it's funny really let's throw away the abominable story time limit, the nonsensical story,the dull characters and the fan service that SE gave for the protagonist and then we can consider it a good game.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

So true that clock shouldnt exist, I changed the way I played and the battles are enjoyable ish.... Will the items carry over for the third play through so I can just accumulate on the second?

hawke_91
hawke_91

@cory_vet_gamer  Maybe my ignorance really is bliss because it actually allowed me to enjoy this game without forcing me to compare it with the whole franchise. And that's all it is, my opinion. The only FF I have played before is FFIX. And I actually had fun with both FFIX and all three parts of XIII. Isn't this what gaming is about? Having fun? You may think that FFXIII is an "utter failure" compared to previous installments but for me it succeeded in making me enjoy a game.

ThaLunatik
ThaLunatik

@cory_vet_gamer @luna_valentine  And yet the game is still fun. Do you have anything more to say, Cory, aside from telling everyone else that their opinion is invalid and has no relevance? Those types of comments have no relevance. The lack of relevance your comments have is exacerbated by your inability to use the period key on the keyboard. Did you notice that the only period you put in every paragraph-long comment you make is at the end of it?

Darkefka
Darkefka

@Flyin3lvl why should blocking cost ATB? are you serious, where would be the fun if it didn't? now you have to manage your ATB well, spam and clear all 3 ATB then when the boss use a huge attack you can't block it, you,re supposed to manage ATB not spam it like in all other FF. See ATB like stamina in Demon/Dark Souls, use it all quickly = end up dying from a huge attack you could've blocked/dodge

jbhnc11
jbhnc11

@Flyin3lvl Just a few things, did you start the game on easy or normal? Easy might be a bit too easy, but normal can be difficult in spots (from what I hear).


Concerning monsters, until very late in the game none of them have immunities. Use libra to figure out what their weakness is. If you're at day 10 in the game then you have access to Imperil which 95%+ monsters are suceptible to, and it increases your magic damage significantly. 


The thing with the side quests/canvas quests is you can complete many of them by just exploring/fighting monsters. While some of them have specific time requirements, there's always something else you could be doing/killing while you wait.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@179107199999 I agree with everything you said honey if you take a closer look you can see LR is a contradiction in every way, mechanics, story, gameplay elements and finally the protagonist and her unnatural closet she don't have a personality you can obviously see that in FFXIII it's strange to see her wearing colorful and sexy clothes oh SE...why the fan service now? i don't have anything against changes as long they improve the gameplay but if they want to implement something new they DEFINITELY have to maintain the core elements of a JRPG and SE never bothered to do that with FFXIII and its sequels im certain that is the main reason behind the all the hate, you can hardly recognize those games as JRPG the gameplay was twisted it lacked too many elements no JRPG gamer could possibly accept that, i don't have a good expectative for FFXV SE is insane they transformed it in a hack and slash game it will be another failure oh god...i hate the way they want to milk the franchise without doing any real effort to make it shine like before.

Scrotous
Scrotous

@jbhnc11 @GregoryBastards  I'm really enjoying this game too, much more than XIII and XIII-2,  the music and battle system are just boss. Come to think of it, i just finished all main quests from every area and i still got 6 days left until the end of the world. Seems like plenty of time to explore and do sidequests for me. But bringing down the score that low because of time restrictions seems a bit off, makes me wonder if the reviewer has time managing issues himself.

linthes999
linthes999

@jbhnc11 @GregoryBastards  A part of me wonders what this games reception would have been like if it wasn't titled "Final Fantasy".  The hate that this game is getting seems to be "justified" (I use that term loosely) because it's not standing up to the standards of the Final Fantasy franchise.  It's an enjoyable game, but it's not on par with the Final Fantasy's of old.

ThaLunatik
ThaLunatik

@cory_vet_gamer @mrwellversed  Why do you say you agree with Mrwellversed, then you go on to criticize the opinions of others? He specifically stated that there's no need to criticize people saying they enjoy it, and yet you've done nothing but that in this entire thread. You act as though you're some moral authority on FF and have to police the players into not liking something you don't like.


Know what? I've played FF since FF1 on my NES. I enjoy FFXIII. I enjoy FFXIII-2. I enjoy LR: FFXIII. That's a fact. Are you going to tell me my facts are wrong?

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@ThaLunatik Silly novice gamer my english is not perfect it's not my first language but i'm aware that it's not horrible to understand like others of your species [probably children] who tends to miss the point of my comments to insist with this matter, i don't remember you we talked before honey? if not do me a favor and scram im not in the mood to give attention for someone like you.

ThaLunatik
ThaLunatik

@cory_vet_gamer @hawke_91  "do you even know what im talking about honey?"    Probably not, because you have yet to use a period in any of your comments. Every comment is one long run-on sentence, thus making your thoughts quite hard to follow.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@hawke_91 Oh you want to give excuses to consider LR as an separate game from the rest of the franchise so that you can consider it ''good'' based in your opinion about it,yet again you show your ignorance honey unlike you im realistic no matter how you look at this game it is called ''Final fantasy'' and it miserably failed to be one so i will dislike it it's something easy for me to do, your opinion means nothing honey and im not talking about the concept of fun im talking about the essence of this franchise that FFXIII don't have it is a must for every JRPG and it's what a JRPG gamer seek when playing one,do you even know what im talking about honey?

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

I play all games in normal, some not all have complete in elite

It did seem maybe a little to difficult in places like really? Ok complete more side quests.... I did grind monsters for some parts others accumulated then the points of losing the hour

The game ended day 11 two main quest completed sazh and noal back to day one there are parts I've overlooked like imperil and finding where to upgrade weapons seen trophies for that and accessories but not got... It will be a different game this time around playing more through snows city I didn't hardly do anything thing there...

I am more tempted to play the game plus on last of us then come back to this at some point .....then 10 is round soon

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@ThaLunatik Please honey spare me of that all that nonsense,you played FF since the first game? every novice gamer says that and yet you all fail to comprehend the abismal difference between a JRPG and a game that failed to be a JRPG, looks like you don't pay attention i'm not talking about opinions that is a major issue with all of you seriously if every novice gamer could forget their opinions when someone talked about the aspects of this franchise this would never happen but no you let your opinion blind you and this always happens, your opinion is the base of every argument related with this franchise you dare to rate this game based in it,that is the problem honey you open your mouth to state a fact about a game you clearly don't understand and where are ''your'' facts? FFXIII and its sequels have a story that is severely thumbed down compared with the rest of the franchise and the gameplay is even worse it pratically don't even existed in the first game,those are the facts and you have no argument against them honey.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII incorporates a brand-new story, world, characters and an enhanced gameplay system and is the final chapter in Lightning's saga
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Check out even more info at the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Wiki on Giantbomb.com
Average Score See all 169 Player Reviews
6
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