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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

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GF Rating
6.6

339 ratings

Critic & User Reviews

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GF Rating
4

Weak

Please stop using the Final Fantasy title.

posted by lordkor (MANAHAWKIN, NJ) Feb 21, 2014

Top Reviewer

Member since Mar 2008

4 out of 4 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

I've been a long time fan of the FF series since the very first. It's a shame to see how far they strayed from tradition. The best thing FFLR has going for it is the graphics. Other than that it's a tedious button mashing RPG which totally lost sight of the FF name. They took away several RPG elements. You no longer get XP when killing monsters. You can only increase your stats through quests and equipment. Also you don't learn new abilities, they have to be either found or part of equipment and the abilities can only be assigned to select buttons. Some equipment already has locked abilities that you can't remove so you're limited to what you can map. It's a chore to equip and setup three different sets and constantly switch them through battles or remap abilities. The stat increases from quests are so miniscule it's almost pointless. They are generous, however, awarding you a bunch of useless accessories that have no effect on your stats at all. Quests can be EXTREMELY drawn out. What you might think is a quick quest turns out to be a tedious bore. For example, an NPC might want an item. You get it and bring it to them. Should be the end right? No, then they want something else, then something else. It's rarely straightforward and some quests will take DAYS game-time to complete because an NPC won't give you all the info you need right away. Mostly, the whole game you're racing against the clock. You only have up to 13 days until the end of the world so for the most part you're rushing around trying to finish quests and help people in order to "Save" their souls and extend the time. Also, you fight mostly alone without any party members save for a few spots in the game.

THE GOOD
Graphics

THE BAD
Tedious multi part quests.
No party.

THE UGLY
Nothing like the traditional FF series.
Controller smashing boss battles.

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GF Rating
1

Horrible

Trash bin

posted by randomall (FPO, AP) Feb 20, 2014

Member since Feb 2014

3 out of 3 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

"Square spent so much on a proprietary engine that it was in their best interest to create sequels that re-use assets from the original game....to sum it up. the games a MMO fetch quest with no leveling and a time limit."...watch out for fake accounts claiming this game is anything but...talk to someone you know that has played this and ask.....worst FF.

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

Different is Good

posted by Yakixx (PINOLE, CA) May 28, 2014

Member since May 2013

1 out of 1 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

I haven't played a traditional FF in years, but to be honest I'd hate to throw away this amazing graphical power of the 360 or PS3 waiting for my ATB bar to fill up. Is there anything better than casting Firaga, or Flare on a bunch of monsters?

If you hated FF13 and 13-2 DON'T play this. This is the same story, same characters similar battle system. Why would you try it again if you didn't like the first two?

Where this game shines is it's battle system. Not only are the fights exciting, but they require a lot of preparation and precise timing to win. You will get your butt handed to you more than a few times, but it's very satisfying to finally nail down the guard and reduce an attack to nothing when just the fight before it was taking away half your HP. The boss fights are amazing and the music puts you right in the action as you try your best to guard and figure out what is the best way to win.

As a lot of people have complained there are no XP points. Here your stats grow after every quest. It's a different system but with a quick look on the internet you can plan out your days to make the most efficient use of your time. Unless you 're like a genius you must use the internet to help you with this, I mean what century are we in anyway? I finished the main quest by day 8, started doing side quests after that and was able to finish around 50 with no problem. It does get tedious, but that depends how much time you want to put into it. I spent almost 45 hours on my first playthrough, and trust me 13 days is plenty of time.

The story is okay at best, kept me wondering what would happen. Sort of. The biggest twists at the end definitely made it worth it. Also don't diss the side quests storylines, some of them were actually quite interesting.

Overall if you like action oriented RPGs you should give this game a try. You have to have played the other two to fully understand the story but if not this game will try to give you a quick crash course.

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GF Rating
5

Fair

Frustrating.

posted by AutoEuphoria (MIDLAND, MI) Mar 25, 2014

Member since May 2011

1 out of 1 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

Most of my FF experience has been with the XIII series (this is the third in that series). I loved the previous two, even with the over-the-top writing and really hard to follow storyline.

This is my least favorite of the three. The game is nothing but fetch missions. "Go here and collect this and bring it back". "Find X number of these things". "Find this person and report back to me". That's the entire game. No defined leveling system at all. No defined progression of abilities (you earn and find abilities throughout the game, but can earn the same one multiple times). Confusing item management. Restrictive use of certain abilities (limited "RP" used for certain abilities, like healing). No party system at all, minus a few short times where you have a chocobo or Fang as an ally. No buffing abilities at all. Opressive time restraints for missions. Ridiculous difficulty curve near the end. All with a combat system that is too fast-paced (no time to strategize or plan), that basically reduces down to button mashing. These are the main problems I had with the game.

What happened to the party? What happened to the paradigms? The ability to choose the speed of combat? The ability to EXPLORE and GRIND if you want to level up before difficult battles? LEVELING UP?! It's like they threw away everything that was good and tried to rebuild it with the scraps left behind.

It gets a 5 from me. The story was probably the most followable in the series, even if the game treats you like an idiot through most of it...constantly repeating points like you need to be spoon-fed everything. The cinematics are great, as always. The voice acting is very good (it's the writing that is bad, not the voice acting). The worlds are varied enough to not be the same scenery all the time. It also does a good job of wrapping up the story from the FFXIII series. So, for all of that it gets a 5. The bad stuff is just overpowering.

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GF Rating
2

Really Bad

Worst Final Fantasy Ever Created

posted by gurx33 (MORENO VALLEY, CA) Feb 16, 2014

Member since Feb 2014

5 out of 6 gamers (83%) found this review helpful

This by far is the worst FF I have played. And it definitely shouldn't hold a classification as an RPG. Removing the ability to level up makes this game a straight fighting adventure. And a time deadline to finish the game is nonsense. Completely removes the thrill of exploring the world and taking your time to complete every side quest. They really force your hand to do the minimum and not enjoy anything. Bosses are even worst then before. To beat most you have to do very specific things with precise timing otherwise your wasting your time. No multiple outlets for fighting or leveling up yourself to make yourself stronger. Also playing this ruined the story line from XII-1/2 as well.

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

How do they do it?

posted by Tav_ (SALT LAKE CITY, UT) Feb 18, 2014

Member since Mar 2012

1 out of 5 gamers (20%) found this review helpful

In a time where sequels are carbon copies of there predecessors, (CoD, and most FPS come to mind) the FF13 trilogy is a breath of fresh air. All three games have a different take on a battle system that can be both easy, and incredibly complex. I was skeptical about the timer when I first read about this game using one but you have ways of stopping it to explore, it does keep you on your toes and reminds you that you have a job to do, and I have come to love that aspect of the game. It is hard to get every side quest done in the time you have but it ads to the games replay ability, I know I will play through again to get the quests I missed. If you are a fan of final fantasy games the music, voice acting, and open world environment are all done beautifully. Most people might not give it the 10 I did but if you are a fan of the other two FF13 games you will enjoy this one.

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GF Rating
5

Fair

An Unwanted Return

posted by Breazy (PORT ORCHARD, WA) Jul 28, 2014

Member since Oct 2013

Lightning Returns is the third and final chapter of the Final Fantasy XIII story. While it maintains many similarities with the previous two entries, it strays in areas that are both puzzling and unwanted.

I'll avoid talking story to avoid spoilers, but I would be doing a disservice by not saying that the plot in this game is a hot mess. It's nonsensical and the characters, particularly Lightning, are unlikable. She comes across as the most monotone sourpuss you can imagine, and her supporting cast of characters are just as dull and lifeless.

The open areas of the game are a welcomed change, as is the ability to tackle the game's five main missions in whatever order you wish (however, this is somewhat gated by difficulty). I could overlook a lot of these flaws if it wasn't for the time limit the game imposes on you or the silly system for leveling up. The premise of the story puts a real time limit on Lightning which you can extend via quests, but this puts unnecessary stress on the player and detracts from the experience forcing you to rush. Also, to level up you must complete quests. Battles give you nothing. Silly.

The battle system is also intriguing to some degree, and reminds me a bit of Final Fantasy X-2's dress up system. Basically, you equip Lightning with different costumes and from these she gains the ability to do different...abilities in combat. It's interesting and keeps you on the hunt for new costumes, constantly tweaking things to create the perfect layout. It's also important to note that you do all of your battles with just Lightning. This is a radical departure from any other non-MMO entry in the series.

The difficulty has also been ramped up considerably. Normal mode is no joke and I'd recommend starting on easy, proceeding to normal on subsequent new game+ playthroughs. Achievements are also a slog, and you'll have to play through multiple times if you wish to unlock them all.

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GF Rating
2

Really Bad

easy money

posted by Knightsbane (INDIANAPOLIS, IN) Jul 6, 2014

Member since Aug 2012

the game is cheap to look at.

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GF Rating
5

Fair

Bad.

posted by TeenageRiot280 (CORONA, CA) Jun 30, 2014

Member since Nov 2011

This is the first FF game I couldn't bring myself to complete, and that's coming from a 25 year old, longtime FF fan who actually relatively enjoyed XIII and XIII-2. I got about 15 hours in until I figured I was hardly enjoying any part of this game.
The biggest turn off is the time system, making every side quest have to be rushed and having to figure out a way to schedule these quests so they can be finished without wasting your precious in-game time. The player is forced to carry out a great number of these "side" quests in order to advance the game clock to its full 13 days which is necessary for the story to advance. Almost every quest also happens to be an arduous chore with almost no guidance, causing you to run around and waste more time from completing the actual story. It also doesn't help that many of these side quests can only be carried out at a certain time of day, with quests taking place in different parts of the game world, meaning the player will have to either find a way to travel as fast as they can or waste a day until the next day arrives.
The battle system is also unnecessarily tricky and convoluted, making you want to avoid battles whenever possible, especially since no experience nor attributes are earned from battle. If you were expecting Kingdom Hearts controls (like I was), this is far from it.
I never write reviews but I was so disappointed by FFXIII-3 that I had to let others know. Avoid wasting your time with this one and just read the plot online. Aside from that, the graphics are good (but it plays at an average of 20fps), the ending story is decent, and the soundtrack is superb. 5/10.

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GF Rating
7

Good

To be honest ... I enjoyed the game.

posted by nick2quick (SAINT LOUIS, MO) Jun 22, 2014

Member since Jun 2014

I'll come right out with the bad, TOO many repetitive side missions, I think that's what everyone hated when it came to this game. In the end I ended up saving everyone's souls except for two though. Die heart FF fans will not like the fighting system really. Another bad thing is that there is no partying system, you only get two party characters out of the whole game, and are both on temporary. Equipping yourself in this game can be a hassle sometimes, and you'll find yourself spending 30+ minutes sometimes trying to make a class to be able to encounter any situation, but with certain clothing items you'll already have a preset skill, so sometimes you'll be limited to being able to add 3 or sometimes 2 moves to one class.

As far as good things go, the graphics are GREAT, ever since FF 13 (when I got into the series) I loved the graphics and especially how great they get the cinematic scenes to come out. So many customization features as far as clothing goes if you're in to that sort of thing. Decent story, and nice ending. There's certain garbs you can equip to make yourself 100% immune to Physical or Magic damage as well. If you've played the first installments to FF 13 then you need to finish it off by playing this one, there's also a New Game+ mode so if you want to challenge yourself to achieve and uncover better and stronger items, but I was like nah this game took long enough. Another upside, unless you play non stop you can beat this game in two days, when I finished it said I put 43 hours into the game, so that's close to two days/

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GF Rating
6

Above Average

Not What I expected

posted by silentdark22 (HOLLAND PATENT, NY) Jun 10, 2014

Member since Jun 2014

This game is a continuation of another Final Fantasy game. It can be picked up and played even if you may not have played the other game. Which is a plus. Game play was fun but takes a little getting used to. I did not like switching between different sets of the same character. I like it better in the past when you had a party you could actually equip and play with throughout the game. In my opinion I thought some of the bosses were extremely challenging, especially the last boss. I didn't bother to complete. I didn't like that the game has a time aspect as it took multiple play throughs to figure out where I needed to go when I got lost. A good game graphically with alot of cinmatic cut scenes.

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GF Rating
5

Fair

Could have been good.

posted by ichimaru360 (BALTIMORE, MD) May 25, 2014

Member since May 2014

This game could have been a good game if it was built differently. First I hate time management in a rpg, I like to explore the world at my own pace and it's impossible to do that when you have a time limit on everything you do. Second, I hate pointless battles, in this game there is no exp system so all the battles are kind of pointless, also you can't even run from the battles when you get tired of doing them because if you do you lose an hour of ingame time that you can't get back. And lastly the battle system, the battle system in this game is ok but could have been better. They let you freely move around during the battle but you move so slow that it serves no purpose, most of the monsters i encountered moved too fast and had quick attacks that were impossible to dodge. Now i didn't get as far as i would have liked into the game so its possible that it could get better but from what i played i wasn't going to force myself to power through this game just to see if it does get better. The one good thing about this game is the story. If you really want to see the story but don't want to play the game i recommend finding a lets play for it on youtube.

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

well not what i...

posted by gaffdecks (JACKSONVILLE, FL) May 21, 2014

Member since Jun 2013

well not what i expected playing a real-battle-in-time and Final Fantasy's has always been one of my favorites since FFX and X2. I dont have a right or wrong answer for this game. Maybe next FF games will looks good on the next gen consoles.

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GF Rating
1

Horrible

Just bad

posted by eholmes0514 (CARROLLTON, GA) May 3, 2014

Member since May 2014

This has to be the worst game every not only are you not giving enoungh time to complete mission but the combat mode sucks. The game has almost broken me from every playing any final fantasy title

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GF Rating
10

Perfect

Awesome

posted by SubjectFantasy (GRANITE CITY, IL) Apr 29, 2014

Member since Apr 2013

just loving this game i enjoyed it and yes it IS a Final Fantasy Game i love this Final Games XIII XIII-2

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GF Rating
8

Very Good

Its tough to wrap your head around.

posted by alaskanassasin (ANCHORAGE, AK) Apr 14, 2014

Member since May 2013

I've been hearing a lot of bad reviews cause the games throws alot of the original elements away apart from past series. I think they are just trying to stray into a different gameplay feel to attract a newer crowd. I haven't played any other series beside the Lightning series.

In my own opinion i found it hard at first not know where anything is or what to do half the time especially with the time limit an only having limited time to do certain things like side quests. The only thing that help my case was constantly looking online for help via guides an youtube. Though Once i did start managing the time an making use of cronostasis an getting use to the play style i actually found that i liked it. The new battles mechanics are pretty cool further in the game when you actually have abilites(But that takes finding them which isnt easy). I enjoyed the fast pace feel to the fights an how you can customize schemata an map abilites the way you want. Though it would have been nice to have people to party with other then Fang an chocobo for a limited time only. Now that atleast i know what to do an where a majority of everything is i can see replayability in this now that i have countless garbs, accs, weapons, an so on but in a harder difficult.

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GF Rating
6

Above Average

6/10

posted by KnightofPoo (BALLWIN, MO) Mar 28, 2014

Member since Mar 2014

Love what they were going for.

Story makes no sense or only goes in one direction.

Dialogue when chatting with NPCs can be awkward.

Quests (Sidequests) can be confusing and unclear.

S3x appeal only goes so far.

Characters have very little motivation for their actions.
(Snow)

Ark makes no sense How can you stop time?

Overall people with little patience shouldn't play this game. It's a confusing mess and Battles can take a very long time. Quests are long and theirs a overall time limit put in the game forcing you to rush through every quest instead of admiring the environment.

Atleast Square Enix tried. 6/10

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GF Rating
4

Weak

Better in theory than application

posted by Dookiesan (BUFFALO, NY) Mar 27, 2014

Member since Mar 2014

Stunning graphics. Confusing schematics, Get rid of the day counter. This game could have been awesome if it followed the original game play.

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GF Rating
3

Bad

Don't Do It Bro.

posted by abeny (moosic, PA) Mar 21, 2014

Member since Jan 2012

I personally love Final Fantasy. I even appreciate the recent series' concept of exploratory evolution of gameplay. But this? This thing is stinky water trash. It is a tedious, random fetch game with no leveling and no rpg soul. The visuals and cutscenes are literally the only not-terrible things about Lightning Returns. And even those very visuals make the battles themselves a seizure-inducingly chaotic affair. You wont like this game. Any review that rates this disgrace above a 4 is either bogus or from some larping fanboy(or girl) who does not care one iota about playability and execution. Now if you absolutely love this current lineup of characters, this may be a rent for you. (Personally, I find them all whiny, vapid and tolerable at best.) Be aware though, even the voice acting seems disinterested. Did I mention the game is also timed?? It is. And that also sucks. In conclusion..

Dear SquareEnix,

Don't do this to us again. It is a waste of all of our time. If you insist on doing exploratory story arc trilogies then take what was well received from the first and build on it in the second. Then take all of that input and make something beautiful as the final installment. And frack, if you are looking for a money grab then just release a 3D HD remastered version of one of your beloved previous installments with a generative loot system and custom build weapons and armor. Pssh.

Dont' do it bro!

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