They said it was hard to do, almost impossible without a strategy guide but I did it. I beat the game on my 1st play through, although it was rather difficult of course and I may have gotten some help towards the end but I still did it. This has been a long time in the making but I have finally finished Lightning Returns and have gotten the green light from Warren to write a review.
(The following content is a spoiler if thou has not played XIII and XIII-2, Shame on you)
For those that are new to the game, this is the 3rd and final entry in the XIII series. I have played all three entries in this game and have enjoyed the story being told. This game stood out the most because it felt more like an Action/Adventure rather than a RPG. Of course I was not complaining because for once I did not have to worry about leveling up other characters.
Taking place 500 years after the events of XIII-2. Yada yada 13 days yada yada you guys knows the story, end of the world stuff…Literally..but yea lets get to my review. The open world experience in this game was amazing. There was a lot to do in so little time. So I did what any normal person would do and charge through the game, trying to complete all the main quests as quickly as possible. While doing this I took time and explored the world before me. Surprisingly even with the time limit, I managed to explore much of the vast lands. It was a a sight to behold to say the least. They really put a lot of detail in making each area of the game unique. In each of these areas the creators decided to throw in some homages from old FF games. Of course there were the costumes, I was an avid user of the Cloud costume, but what really stood out was the music. In one particular area I stumbled upon the FFIII over-world theme Eternal Wind and it sounds beautiful.
The story, to me, was good enough to keep me entertained. Even though I would go weeks without touching it when I decided to actually play it I was sucked right back in. The most interesting part of the story to me involved Caius Ballard. It follows up on endings from XIII and XIII-2 which helps really pull the story together. Another interesting discovery was while on missions to save the souls, I heard plenty of stories of the characters and how they have been for the past 500 years. It would seem like a life that anybody would want, until they actually live for that long. It actually gets pretty dark because these people have been alive for so long. Can you imagine what it would be like to never age, yet you could still die from disease and other such things, till death due us part really does hold some meaning and to top it off nobody can have kids. But back to the main topic, Lightning’s story wraps up with a nice pretty bow on top, like all games do after a hard fought battle. Speaking of battles lets segway into the combat.
The combat in Lightning Returns is refined even more to resemble Real-Time Combat, which I do like because in XIII it was crap in comparison to this. To make up for the lack of party members they allow Lightning to have three different forms to alternate with in battle at any given time, each with there own ATB gauge. This makes for some decent strategic implementations among the three forms. Me personally I’m normally all guns a blazing till I have to resort to a little thinking. To my defense, its hard to plan when in certain situations I have no idea what to expect and I rather not play to defensively because it drags out the fight. Outside of that though the fighting never got boring because you are always adjusting to new enemies for the best advantage. It even pays off to run away at times because it will allow you to readjust your strategy. Like Rumpelstiltskin says,” All magic comes at a price” in this case it would be an hour of in game time. Sometimes though you just have to use it.
Overall Lightning Returns was a great final game to the XIII series. Though my main complaint would be the NPC’s, after playing for awhile they all end up looking the same with very small differences. Heck I don’t know if this was a joke or not but I ran across one the had on an old mans beard that looked like someone just copy and pasted it on his face last minute. Then when I talked to him it didn’t even move -_-.