Published on February 17th, 2014 | by pea
REVIEW: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Summary: Synchronise your watches, your time starts now. Lightning returns one final time to close out the Final Fantasy XIII epic.
Concept: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII begins five hundred years after the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2 where Lighting returns from her crystalised slumber to effectively save the world and be reunited with her sister, Serah. As the clock ticks down to the inevitable end you must manage your time and chose the souls you save before it’s too late.
Graphics: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII looks sharp but my expectations for Final Fantasy graphically are very high. Time after time the franchise has exceeded the standard with gameplay comparable to their exquisite cut scenes. With that in mind, I felt Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII failed to push the boundaries like previous titles. Where it manages to maintain the quality of XIII and XIII-2 it seemed to me that the limits had already been stretched and they couldn’t quite match the standard of other end of gen titles.
Gameplay: Know your garbs. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII replaces the previous paradigm shift battle system with costume changes called schema. Each schema offers different skillsets and weapons all of which you can customise – yes even in colour. I found it was a neat way of countering the lack of teammates in battle. The battle system becomes a more refined, pseudo real-time experience where your timing counts. You have three schema to switch between as you spam your attacks then block your enemies’. Preventing it from being a simple hack and slash however, is that your ability to attack or defend is restricted by your ATB meter. And for those of you who hated ‘auto-attack’ but couldn’t resist clicking it, you’ll be happy to now the feature has been removed.
Sound: Brace yourself for more heart pumping, hectic battle music amongst skill related blings, bams and booms as Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII continues the frenzied soundtracks of its predecessors. The soundtrack does well to maintain the stylistic approach of the XIII series, which makes it easy to audibly pick up from where you left off. Voice acting is a little ho-hum at times but to me that felt more like the script being damaged in translation.
Awesomeness: There’s something satisfying about mastering your timing in battle. As a big fan of Lightning I was really looking forward to this game and I wasn’t disappointed. Where I initially thought the excessive costume options were an unnecessary addition I was quickly convinced with the way in which they were incorporated into the battle system as schema.
Final Word: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is all about timing from the story to the battle system. If you were a little disheartened by Final Fantasy XIII or you’re itching for something that goes beyond simple turn-based and hack and slash then I can safely say you will be pleasantly surprised with Square Enix’s return to form. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a must have for fans of Lightning and the XIII series.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing