- Summary: A direct sequel to the unhelpfully titled Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns is another action-RPG, this time with a heavily retooled gameplay system and a story that picks up a mere 500 years later, concluding the FFXIII saga.
Mar 6, 2014It'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.
Feb 11, 2014Square 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.
Feb 14, 2014Lightning 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.
Feb 11, 2014Lightning Returns has some genuinely great ideas as far as modern RPGs are concerned, and despite being let down by a shoddy story and some graphical issues, it remains a shining example of how dynamic battle systems and thoughtful character customisation can save an otherwise trite, lifeless game.
Feb 14, 2014The main problem with Lightning Returns; it’s a game so desperate to refine each individual element that they’ve become disparate. There’s undoubtedly stuff here worth exploring – the cerebral combat, fan-serving storyline and grand finale to a three-game story – but despite Square Enix’s intentions, it’s not a world you’ll make time to revisit.
Feb 11, 2014Contrary 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.… Expand
Feb 11, 2014The game is pretty good actually. I played the demo and loved the battle system. The actual game didn't disappoint at all. Also the cinematic and music is amazing which is expected of SE. The only part where I didn't like the thing was everything is time limited. It kinda annoys me. Some people are bashing the new battle system for not being like the previous(turn based) which is pretty hypo-critic. And talking about plot holes Hey which FF game hasn't had it… Expand
Feb 15, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Concept: A doomsday clock ticks off the days, hours, minutes, and seconds of your world's life as you race to find a way to stop it in a terrible story that is almost as big an enemy as any you'll face in the game. Thankfully, XIII-3 continues the trend of having worthwhile gameplay, so it isn't all too terrible after all.
Graphics: The environments look just as good as the previous two titles, the main characters are designed well- as is their wardrobe for the most part, with some exceptions, and the cutscenes are well rendered. However, in the other aspects of the game, enemies, generic NPCs, and other objects have some pretty muddy and basic textures. It's almost like the developers ran out of time or wanted to rush to complete the game, because some textures sort of fall flat on their faces.
Sound: While the majority of the music is retuned from the previous entries, there are a few new soundtrack additions as well, and for the most part- even if some are older than others, all of them set the mood and blend together quite well. Certainly one of the stronger aspects of the game.
Playability: The battle system, while risky to implement something so new, works very well and keeps your interest more than previous entries- making this one more of an Action-oriented role-playing game than anything else, and catering to a broader fanbase I'd reckon as well. As for other gameplay elements, while some are flawed in several ways as mentioned previously, they get the job done well enough to save the story in most places.
Entertainment: Maybe it's better after all that the doomsday clock forces us to finish in thirteen in-game days, as the horrible thought has occurred to me that actually having the opportunity to drag such a poor story out could actually kill the world faster than any number of soulless enemies could... An intriguing thought indeed. Poor story, dialogue, and "epic" moment aside- Lightning Returns is an action title at heart, and its gameplay is where it appropriately shines.
Replay Value: High.
Overall Score: 8.0… Expand
Feb 28, 2014I'm going to give this the score I think it deserves even though I agree with the people who are giving 10's to counter act the other people that are giving excessively low scores.
I think this is being unfairly rated based on comparing it to other final fantasy games. While I understand the rational for this, it creates sort of a weird paradox where if you compare this to other games with a 5.6 score and the quality of this game is magnitudes higher.
That being said this game has 2 major faults that I see.
Now the concept behind this isn't necessarily inherently flawed but the execution was poor. As it is executed this feature acts as a major immersion killer. You are constantly having to micromanage this and it is disruptive to game play. You have to go 2 menu's deep to activate something that you basically have to do every 4th battle and not only that but the graphics and sound are very poorly executed. Activating is like a a flash grenade on your screen, you can't see for a few seconds immediately after activation. The sound that it does when it wears off sounds way too similar to the sound of an enemy spawning and is easily missed. In Summary it's a completely game disruptive and immersion disruptive feature due to execution. An easy fix in my mind was to increase the resources and duration of the effect and of course change the graphics and sounds.
2) Sandbox Execution
I understand that players have very much been demanding more of a sand box like gamestyle where you can explore and choose your own path. Past Final Fantasy games have been criticized for being too linear. This motivated the developers to try and create this atmosphere and naturally they tried to innovate on it. The end result was something that technically is a sand box but doesn't feel like it to the player. You are in a mediocre sized sand box and you have to replay it over and over again. Now to be fair the experience alters slightly on each iteration but the overall feeling of a sandbox game is completely lost.
So I want to talk about Pros to the game:
As usual the graphics and cut scenes are outstandingly crafted, additional cool features include being able to customize your look for the cut scenes. I don't see this game as really lacking in any way from past installments in terms of graphics.
2) Combat System
I for one am a fan of the combat system, so much so in fact that it is the driving reason I have played all of the FF13 games. I love the way they have balanced the needs for the different roles, nothing feels useless and nothing feels like it's so overpowered that you shouldn't use anything else. In contrast Bravely Default which I also enjoy uses the more historical combat setting and it is extremely unbalanced. The customization for your schemata in FF13LR is amazing, you can put a magic move in each scheme and switch between them while continuing a combo, or you can put all your magic on one scheme, all your physical in another and min max your stats for it. There's just so many possibilities and I have been using some for awhile then I go online and find people who are using something fundamentally different and being just as successful. It's a lot faster paced and skill dependent as well. Additionally it's not all about damage anymore, you can be successful while focusing on staggering and then turning on the damage for short bursts or you can just try to do it the traditional way and put out consistent damage (poison is helpful for this). I feel the combat system receives the most unfair criticism, people don't like it purely because it's different and they don't judge it based on it's own merits.
I have to say that I am not a huge fan of the story, not necessarily because of the themes or the plot but just the character execution, motivations, metaphors etc... I'm not going to judge it harshly because I know a lot of people that enjoy these types of stories, but it is not my cup of tea. The biggest flaw I see in not just this story but other similar japanese inspired storylines are the excessive use of metaphors and lack of realism. To clarify I'm not talking realism like dragons and magic I'm talking realism like people's personalities and decision making. I would use metal gear solid franchise as another example of this.
4) Overall Gameplay
I rated this as a 7 as you can see, I love the combat, don't love the repetitiveness and micromanagement. Graphics and sound are great, story was so so.
In closing I wish some of these people that rated it 0-4 would go play a game deserving of the rating and then come back and rate this properly. There are some truly terrible games out there, this game has issues but it is not one of them.… Expand
Feb 11, 2014From the amount I've played into this game so far, I have to say that while it makes up for the XIII saga in some aspects, it lacks in others.
First, the combat system is a huge improvement over the one offered in XIII and XIII-2. Square finally seems to have broken the shell over this series and allowed us to customize to our play styles. The branching paths, and tension you feel as you play through the game are palpable.
The graphics, while good, are starting to show their age a little. The score is subpar, especially compared to the score of previous FF's (including XIII itself). But overall the presentation of the game is passable.
The largest detraction I can label on this game is its story. I'm one of the few that actually got drawn in by the story of XIII. While it certainly wasn't amazing, I found it to be interesting enough for me to warrant exploring (the little you could) the world to learn more about it. XIII-2 was a marked downturn in this, as the world merely grew more convoluted and the characters grew seemingly less important. This downturn has hit the depths with Lightning Returns. I don't want to give any spoilers, but suffice to say that the payoff to those who have been loyal to the XIII saga does not seem like it will be worth it.
I say check it out if you're a rabid fan of FF, or if the only major problem you had with the previous games was the combat system. Otherwise stay away.… Expand
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