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.
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.