Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 186 Ratings

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  • Summary: A direct sequel to the unhelpfully titled Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns is another action-RPG, this time with a retooled gameplay system and a story that picks up a mere 500 years later, concluding the FFXIII saga.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  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 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.
  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. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 13 out of 40
  1. Nov 10, 2014
    I had to rewrite this review because I felt compelled to respond to the other issues people had with this game. But before I do that, let me get to the review.
    Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the third installment in the XIII trilogy. The story is set 500 years after the events of XIII-2, with the world ending in thirteen days. Your job is to save as many souls as you can to earn the world more time. Once you've completed all main story quests, you will have reached the thirteen day limit (fourteen if you save a bunch more people).
    My opinion on the game: I LOVE IT. The battle system was something I enjoyed more than the paradigm system. I enjoyed switching between different outfits that were very customizable in both the appearance and as well as the moves you select. Call it "dress-up Lightning" if you will, but it's "dress-up" with amazing battle sequences! The story is very clear-cut if you know the background story of the XIII trilogy. The story was something worth looking back to, hence why I've done multiple re-runs of the story in different ways. Everything was perfect, even for an FPS gamer like me who's new to RPG, with the exception of Assassins Creed.
    Now with the issues people have been complaining about. The story, Lightning's character, the side quests, the time limit, and the opinion of deranged game-critics stating that LRFFXIII was completely marketed on Lightning's sex appeal. The story may seem terrible to some people, but it all depends on preference. Lightning's character only appeals to people who share similar emotional aspect with her (i.e. her seriousness, which is totally me at times). Only a few have a preference for overly-grim and serious characters, and being serious themselves, hence why only a few people like me like Lightning's character. The side quests are only there to do once you've done everything else you have to do (5 main quests) and it's solely the player's decision to do the side quests or not. The time limit is not a thing to worry about. As long as you do the main quests and ONLY the main quests, you should be done by day 4-6 and have 9-7 extra days to do anything as you please, whether it be to explore or do those side quests. The side quests ARE NOT the priority people! And finally, the whole thing about Lightning's sex appeal being key to marketing. Although it is kinda nice, it's not the reason why I played this game. The FPS population is starting to deteriorate, and so now is a time of great transitions. I was starting to get sick of COD, Halo. and other FPS games, and so I decided to try RPG. I discovered Assassins Creed, and most importantly Final Fantasy. It's NOT about her boobs, though I was intrigued about it at the beginning (hey, it's Japanese logic, what can you do?). This brings me up to my opinion on what LRFFXIII's purpose was. It was about breaking away from the main series and to attract new players to the Final Fantasy universe. Here that you old first-gen FF players? This game wasn't for you. Now F*** off if you are just going to rant about this. It's our generation, our game. Stay in generations 1-6 and leave the seventh-generation to us younger players.
    My brother has had a bit of minor issues with this game such as shadow issues, enemies despawning at times when you try to hit them, and how the Masamune in-game did not look like the one in FFVII. He felt that the game did not deserve a perfect score for having these minor flaws, so he gives this game a 9 out of 10.
    Overall LRFFXIII was a game I enjoyed alot. I feel that the issues my brother stated weren't enough to drop it's overall quality. I give this game a Perfect 10 out of 10, and I'm very impressed with my first Final Fantasy game. If you're an old time first-gen FF player, don't even think about playing or even looking at this game, 'cause you'll just disappoint yourself. But if your new to RPG and are considering trying it, then play the demo first, and if you like it, go pick it up and play it. Trust me, you won't regret it.
  2. Feb 20, 2014
    While I totally agree FFXIII was a terrible game, it also appears this game is being unfairly judged in it's wake. The storyline and voice acting is mediocre at best, but the game play is excellent. After completing my first play through the time issue seems intimidating but I assure you its not. Obsessing with freezing the clock through in game abilities only added unneeded stress as I completed the majority of the game by day 6 of 13 or 14 depending on how many side quests you do. There is more than enough time. Play the demo and if you like it ignore the games low rating. You won't regret it. Expand
  3. Feb 12, 2014
    Lightning 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. Expand
  4. Apr 5, 2014
    The biggest detraction for this game is having a time limit to complete main quests.I spent a lot of hours completing many side quests and exploring besides finishing 2 of the main quests only to face a "Game Over" screen.However,I love the series too much to put it down.I'm almost halfway done with my 2nd time around - in about a third of the time.This is because they allow you to keep almost everything you earned and found from the first attempt.I discovered the best way to do quests is to keep moving to different regions everyday,use chronostasis a lot but keep main quests a priority and finish what you can.The story is ok but Lightning plays the tough girl a bit too much.

    For me the battle system had a big learning curve to grasp (playing in different costumes that alter your stats rather than a party).Sure dress up was fun, but speaking as (a guy) the nicer outfits definitely need more experience to master.This has been a revised review as I'm having more fun the (2nd time around).
  5. Jul 17, 2014
    They changed a little the Battle System, and it became really good, but the game has a lot of boring empty routes, which you have to walk through. Most of the times the game miss in action and the gameplay is really confusing. Expand
  6. Feb 27, 2014
    Such a wasted opportunity. I've been looking forward to a new RPG to play from SE, even after the mediocre FF13 and sequel. And it could have been good. BUT:
    No xp for fights - why bother, apart from MMO style collect quests.
    Time limit... in an RPG? WHY? Other reviewers say 'oh its good, it makes you strategise and plan'. But being 'made' to play a certain way is awful. Sure some people play that way anyway, and this game is for them. But many play rpgs to relax, explore, delve deep into stories and side quests.
    Not knowing rewards before doing a quest, kind of like a blind sphere grid.
    Lastly, being reminded of said time limit constantly, 'sense of urgency' you say? Fun-killing anxiety rather

    Whoever put the time limit in should not be allowed near games, never mind RPGs. Stop ruining FF. Ugh.

    Maybe Mistwalker will make a sequel to Lost Odyssey... I give up on Square
  7. Feb 19, 2014
    In a word: "shovelware." Extremely disjointed and obtuse story elements compound the many problems of an already poorly written plotline; rather, a poorly localized plotline, marred by inconsistencies, contradictions and apparent fanservice that goes awry the minute the models start moving. Technical issues abound including many npcs clipping through each other to an increasingly staggering framerate likely due to a possible memory leak, poor lighting and poor collision only heighten the disjointed presentation.
    Square-Enix plastered "IT ALL ENDS HERE" on the back of the XBOX box for Lightning's return. . . .
    -Let's hope so! :(

See all 40 User Reviews