Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
Buy On
  1. Feb 23, 2014
    Never boring and full of brilliant open environments, Lightning Returns tells a great story coupled with a new and very effective combat system. Square Enix could have done something more on the technical side, but the great artistic design manages to make us turn a blind eye on some of the problems.
  2. Feb 15, 2014
    Even though Lightning Returns can seem a bit unfinished at times, it has by far the biggest heart of all the games in this trilogy.
  3. Feb 11, 2014
    While those that disliked XIII and its sequel might not find anything here to convert them – or at least not allow themselves to be converted by a strong action-RPG due to its cast or past – fans will find an entertaining and surprisingly innovative full stop to this chapter of the Final Fantasy franchise.
  4. Feb 11, 2014
    Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 had some serious missteps, but Lightning Returns ends on a strong note by sticking to what really matters: great combat and a story you want to see through. No gimmicks, no tricks, no convoluted treks through time, no cliffhangers, no tunnels – just one last trip around the world with a pink-haired heroine, and then a fond farewell.
  5. Feb 11, 2014
    From its dazzling battle system to its overarching temporal puzzle, this is the best of the set - even if it's dragged down by an exhaustingly impenetrable plot that its creators will no doubt be pleased to be done with.
  6. Feb 11, 2014
    Lightning Returns is a game that tries so hard to reinvent itself that it loses some of what made its forebearers special. For every step the game takes forward in an effort to innovate, it takes two back by failing on another (usually technical) level.
  7. Feb 11, 2014
    Frame rate problems and a nonsensical story are balanced by one of the franchise's best combat systems, which is held together by a strange patchwork of gameplay mechanics. Some work, some don't, and some are too strange to properly judge.
  8. Feb 12, 2014
    It takes some getting used to with both the combat and the time mechanics, but after adjusting to how it wants to be played, it offers up a nice installment of the XIII series.
  9. Feb 11, 2014
    Square Enix takes into consideration the user critics and puts more exploration, freedom and quests on the FFXIII formula. However, listening isn't enough to make a good game. Lightning Returns is still a good enjoyment, but only for real fans.
  10. 70
    Like the outfits its drab protagonist wields like weapons, Lightning Returns is all style and very little meaningful substance. Combat works well, but the world is altogether forgettable.
  11. Feb 11, 2014
    On the one hand it’s very well-made and it shows: the visuals are great and the familiar hallmarks are all present and correct. But on the other hand, there’s something undeniably missing from the formula, an element of fun that remains absent despite the unique battle system and the returning cast.
  12. Feb 11, 2014
    As the third and final installment in the Final Fantasy XIII saga, Lightning Returns tries to distance itself from its predecessors and get back into gamers’ good graces. This results in some bold and unconventional decisions, but they don’t save this entry from being the bottom of Final Fantasy XIII’s downward spiral.
  13. 70
    Thanks to its engaging combat and spectacle, Lightning Returns manages to distract somewhat from its overarching design issues. As a game, it's notably flawed but has its moments. [March 2014, p.76]
  14. Feb 18, 2014
    Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a disappointing conclusion to what should have been a barnstorming final chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII saga. Strong combat that's severely undermined, a feeble narrative and a veritable litany of hit and miss moments all conspire to make Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII an agonising missed opportunity.
  15. Feb 24, 2014
    There is a lot wrong in this last installment for FFXIII. Fans of the franchise will need to play it to enjoy all the nods to past characters, yet it is not worth playing for those who aren't already huge FF or JRPG fans.
  16. Feb 11, 2014
    There’s a great game buried in the code of Lightning Returns, and if you’re the sort that’s willing to dig through a seemingly endless amount of mind numbing sidequests, then you might be able to find it. For me though, Lightning Returns was a draining gauntlet of fetch quests and gathering missions that occasionally allowed me to have fun with its deep combat and customization options. Unfortunately, occasional fun is not something I can recommend for a game that lasts upwards of 40 hours, especially when the rest of time spent playing feels like running errands.
  17. Mar 9, 2014
    While Lightning Returns is in most ways the opposite of Final Fantasy XIII's overbearing linearity, it ultimately shares the same core recommendation; if you manage to stick with what's a very uneven first half, there's definitely an enjoyable and satisfying role-playing game to be found. It's just a shame it takes so much time to get there.
  18. Feb 11, 2014
    I've had some good times with the Final Fantasy 13 games and a lot of bad memories, with Lightning Returns mostly falling into the latter. But now it's done and gone. And it didn't mean a thing.
  19. Mar 25, 2014
    A weak ending of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. Lightning Returns lags behind with its crappy story, atrocious dialogues, and new genre mechanics that work only sometimes.
  20. Feb 11, 2014
    Boiling it all down, Lighting Returns is a flashy combat system lacking some basic components that's wrapped up in soporific item hunts and fetchquests that don't feel worthy of the time that's required to do them.
  21. Feb 11, 2014
    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.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 226 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 48
  2. Negative: 18 out of 48
  1. Feb 12, 2014
    Lightning Returns improves upon everything its predecessors brought to the table tenfold. Having the same feel as the previous two games butLightning Returns improves upon everything its predecessors brought to the table tenfold. Having the same feel as the previous two games but improving upon the battle system, exploration, and customization are only some of many multitudes of improvements found in Lightning Returns. Another big feature is the timed mechanic not unlike those found in Deadrising and Majora's Mask, which makes the game more hectic and fast paced. All in all it is a terrific game that get's an incredibly high recommendation. Full Review »
  2. Feb 11, 2014
    I beleive people are making this game seem a lot worse than it is, people are giving this 1's and 0's! No game is worth a zero unless it isI beleive people are making this game seem a lot worse than it is, people are giving this 1's and 0's! No game is worth a zero unless it is completely unplayable. And this game isn't. This has an incredible new combat system that is extremely customisable, and is really fun. The story is told the way its supposed to, Lightning is supposed to save souls, and thats what she does, their is no other part of the story to it.I know lightning isn't the most likable character in the world but she is becoming a god basically in this game. And the people who made this understood that in all cultures gods don't have emotion. But most fof the other characters in this game are pretty likable. The open world is fantastic! I mean how many other games can you make a certain type of monster species go instinct, there is so much stuff to do in this game that are behind the scenes. I believe this game is a great way to close a fantastic triology in the Final Fantasy series. Full Review »
  3. Feb 15, 2014
    this game failed me..and whose idea to put time limit in rpg game while you can explore the open world? no sense at all and waste of money.this game failed me..and whose idea to put time limit in rpg game while you can explore the open world? no sense at all and waste of money. 1/10 just for you. Full Review »