Mixed or average reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 62
  2. Negative: 3 out of 62
  1. 90
    It's a pity that a lot of players have been so fixated on the perceived gameplay weaknesses of each of the games in this trilogy, because in doing so they've really missed the broader philosophical richness of the story of Lightning and her ragtag crew of allies and antagonists. Ironically, those people will also find Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII the weakest game in the series, when thematically speaking, it's actually the most powerful.
  2. Feb 11, 2014
    It’s the third game in the thirteenth of a series dating back to 1987, yet it’s also one of the most successfully inventive games I’ve ever played. It puts you in control of everything, which is a total inverse of Final Fantasy’s traditional position.
  3. 85
    Lighting Returns takes to the end of the world with vivacity and conviction, reshaping the way that RPGs can and should be in many great ways. Even if the game engine is well past its prime and the voice acting is weak at times, the overall package is an entanglement of nostalgia and intrigue for fans of Final Fantasy XIII and the RPG genre.
  4. Feb 11, 2014
    The incredibly fun combat system and the sheer amount of customization options make this final entry in the trilogy well worth seeking out. If you’re coming into this with the hopes of seeing the story turn itself around then you’re going to leave disappointed. But if you enjoyed the refinements made in Final Fantasy XIII-2, then I think you’ll find a lot to love about Lightning Returns.
  5. Feb 27, 2014
    Lightning Returns is a fun game filled with myriad things to do. The combat system is excellent, and the many options with with you can customize Lightning brings are impressive. It's a fitting end to the series and bodes well for the future of Final Fantasy.
  6. Feb 11, 2014
    As a game for XIII’s downtrodden fans, Lightning Returns is excellent. It fleshes out the interesting world, gives each of the cast a little more screen time without singling any out as more or less important (well, except Lightning) and brings an extremely stupid story to an extremely stupid conclusion in style. And the haters? They’re gonna hate, clearly. That’s kind of their thing. But this isn’t a game for them. No, it’s a reward for those bold enough to be of the apparently controversial opinion that Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t awful. And a fine reward it is too, so long as you don’t go into it expecting a traditional Final Fantasy experience.
  7. Feb 11, 2014
    It's quite a new adventure, or at least it's the first Final Fantasy that changes the old-school scheme the franchise has used for many years. Doesn't look like Final Fantasy anymore, but at least it's worth the try... and the money.
  8. Feb 11, 2014
    Square seems to have taken critiques of the first two games to heart and corrected them. Gone are the oppressively limited environments and the convoluted stories. In their place are a large world, clear story, and the latest refinement of what was already among the most radically inventive combat systems to hit JRPGs in years.
  9. Feb 11, 2014
    For all its weirdness it actually is a pretty compelling adventure. Excellent combat mechanics and the pairing of an open world with a harsh time limit help the game overcome its technical shortcomings and impenetrable story.
  10. Feb 11, 2014
    Surprising, but not for the reasons you might think. With only thirteen days to go before the end of the world, Lightning has her hands full. This final chapter tries a lot of new ideas, many of which work. Unfortunately, the game is a little messy and tonally all over the place. Fans of the series will be satisfied with the emotional finale.
  11. 80
    Even with its mediocre plot and heavily emphasized fan service aspects, I really enjoyed Lightning Returns. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve followed the series since the beginning, or because I’m a sucker for the characters and their relationships between one another, but this game made me experience a range of emotions that I haven’t experienced from a game in a long time.
  12. Feb 11, 2014
    The game has several technical flaws but on top of this it tries to emulate the western RPGs suffering with NPC you’ll forget easily and gameplay that fans of the series may not fully enjoy.
  13. Feb 11, 2014
    It does not have the soul of a Final Fantasy game, but still we had lots of fun playing it. If you take it as a spin-off, then you'll find a very enjoyable game, especially for Lightning fans.
  14. Feb 17, 2014
    Unsurprisingly, Lightning Returns : Final Fantasy XIII is like the trilogy it ends: full of appeal but ruined by flaws you can't help to notice. We're speaking about the technical aspect that the ip has stacked since its arrival on PS3 and Xbox 360, which still harms the game and our eyes. We're even more disappointed to see that it ruins the good artistic direction of the game. We also have to mention the difficulty, set on extremely hard in a hope to increase the life of the game. But Lightning returns also has some great features, the 13 days left to Lightning to achieve its mission, and the quests to be achieved give a good rhythm to the title, while the costume system give a true strategic dimention to the fights. Don't miss it and hang on tight.
  15. Feb 14, 2014
    Lightning Returns is not the closure we hoped for and represent a slight step back for the series Nevertheless is a good game, graced by an amazing combat system that that probably deserved a better context. If you are a fan you certainly enjoy the game, but its magic seems to be lost somewhere else.
  16. Feb 11, 2014
    There's plenty of fun to be had in Lightning Returns if you're open to it, and are willing to overlook some of the messiness.
  17. Feb 11, 2014
    Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the last installment of a trilogy that has had its ups and downs. This third installment can't escape from it, with a dynamic battle system, but with a defective story unfolding because of the lack of time you have to explore each chapter of the game.
  18. May 11, 2014
    Lightning Returns shows us a flashy new wardrobe but looks still rule over personality. Sadly Lightnings chance of clothes does nothing for the lack of her personality. Overall it is enjoyable, but messy story and flimsy characters don't do it any favours. [March 2014]
  19. Apr 2, 2014
    I spent 25 hours with Lightning Returns and most of them were pleasant, but it was mainly entertainment for my eyes and fingers rather than my brain. I reckon it to be the best game of the XIII trilogy, but it’s far behind those really outstanding Final Fantasies. [04/2014, p.60]
  20. Mar 4, 2014
    The end of the XIII trilogy, from a gameplay standpoint, gains and loses its strength from design mechanics and decisions that sets Lightning Returns apart from its predecessors. It’s nevertheless a title that caters to the trilogy fan, giving also a different perspective and a fresh air of play to the veteran Final Fantasy players.
  21. 70
    It’s not an excellent product but it is a gem for the future and at the end of the day I'm happy to say that Final Fantasy is still for me.
  22. Feb 28, 2014
    It is a bit disappointing to learn that the story is quite weak in this Final Fantasy game. If you compare it to other Final Fantasy titles you would expect a more thought out storyline. On the other hand, the new battle system is very good, but it cannot compensate for the lack of a good plot.
  23. Not bad, just disappointing. The best combat in the series spoiled by subpar plot and too-often-iffy visuals. [March 2014, p74]
  24. Feb 21, 2014
    Topping off the XIII subseries with a competent capstone, Lightning Returns has some bold ideas lost amidst the glitz and glamour of Square’s schizophrenic tone-shifts.
  25. Feb 18, 2014
    Ultimately Lightning Returns introduces some fresh and novel ideas, but spends an equal amount of time hampering these and introducing a new set of problematic aspects.
  26. 70
    It’s more melancholy than anything else—sad at times, joyfully freeing for the franchise at others.
  27. Feb 11, 2014
    In the end, it’s not a bad title, but it certainly ends the trilogy on a lower note than its predecessors. Buy it if you want to see the end to the story, but prepare for some drastic changes.
  28. Feb 11, 2014
    Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a good game with many issues. The brand new combat system is the most interesting element of this project, but a weak storytelling and the lack of a true challenge are enough to affect the final score. The game is still good and interesting enough to entertain players till the very end.
  29. Feb 11, 2014
    There's a lot of fan-service in this last chapter of the Fabula Nova, something the fans of the thirteenth chapter won't probably dislike. On the other hand, linearity and the time mechanic make this less and less an JRPG.
  30. Feb 11, 2014
    Full of good ideas, that's a given. Unfortunately, most of them are lost in a miscalculated open world structure, and a bloated, badly written story. It's still a decent jrpg, mostly due to its gameplay and interesting formula, but if you consider that there's a "Final Fantasy" in the title, being "decent" is really nothing to be happy about.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 477 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 140
  2. Negative: 50 out of 140
  1. Feb 11, 2014
    Contrary to the popular belief that the FFXIII series is garbage and no one likes it, I actually love it. I know the characters can be overContrary to the popular belief that the FFXIII series is garbage and no one likes it, I actually love it. I know the characters can be over the top at times but that's true of most anime you watch and just part of the culture from where the game originated. I enjoyed the entire series. Full Review »
  2. Feb 14, 2014
    Worst ff game i have ever played and i have played x-2 and dirge of cerberus(another pos).
    What's the point of having an open world to
    Worst ff game i have ever played and i have played x-2 and dirge of cerberus(another pos).
    What's the point of having an open world to explore when you have a freaking time limit?
    What the hell were they thinking?
    This is not final fantasy.
    Do yourself a favor take those 60 bucks and buy ff1-6 on psn and play those again.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 15, 2014
    I've been a fan of the FF franchise for 20 years now and this is the first installment where I simply don't want to play anymore. I might giveI've been a fan of the FF franchise for 20 years now and this is the first installment where I simply don't want to play anymore. I might give it another shot later, but here are my first impressions after 3 hours of playtime. I really enjoyed the last two games in this trilogy and was excited for a third.

    Story: I'm immediately adverse to the story line. The game basically seems pointless. In 13-1 we were tasked with saving Cacoon. (We may have failed, but we gave people a new home on Gran Pulse.) In 13-2 we were tasked with saving Lightning and restoring the timeline. In 13-3 the world's going to end in 6 to 13 days no matter what we do. We can potentially resurrect Serah (to live on some new planet) if we save enough souls before the end of days. We are essentially Bhunivelze's pawn for this task. We feel much less like a hero, and Lightning herself doesn't seem thrilled about the task.

    Combat: The combat is often one of my favorite parts of an FF game. Being able to strategically plan out my moves and watch my characters grow there combat skills has always kept me entertained. This is the reason that I gave this game a 1 and not a 0. The combat system is new, but it seems to have potential for keeping you engaged. Setting up your schema is a lot like choosing combat roles in the previous installments, but you have even more flexibility. The problems, not enough combat and you don't get XP from killing monsters, you only gain skill ups through quests (which so far have not been entertaining).

    Open world / Time Limit: The open world would not normally be a bad thing. In fact my complaint about many of the recent FF games was how linear they felt. The problem is the time limit. I want to go exploring, but I feel like I can't because I need to be completing quests. In fact if I don't complete enough quests, Lightning won't even get 13 days to save souls in the world. This makes me very stressed about how I spend my time in game, and I have enough stress in my lift. I play games to relax, and this game doesn't give me that luxury.
    Full Review »