Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Whether you asked for it or not, the newest (and possibly last) installment to the FFXIII saga has been announced. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII sees Lightning return (duh…) to face her greatest battle yet. Seems like the same song and dance from last time, but Square Enix has yet again changed everything about the formula. Probably something about needing the game to stay “fresh and new”. Major changes are headed our way, so lets take a second and see how they stack up.

First off, Lightning will now have more freedom while exploring so you can expect to be hanging off ledges, pulling yourself up from said ledges, and crouching/covering behind containers. I assume they are trying to add a bit of espionage to the Overworld. As long as guards have giant exclamation points above their head when I’m detected I’ll feel right at home. Also, you will now have full control over Lightning’s movement during battle. Some sources are saying it will be used to target specific body parts of enemies to disable them (attack the foot’s weak spot to bring it down quicker). This seems like a fun concept, but I’m worried that the player might be stuck controlling Lightning the entire game. I personally enjoyed her dynamic in battle, but I know a lot of people who would rather control other characters instead.

The time travel concept is here to stay, but with a new edition. In the story, Lightning only has 13 days to save humanity and that is reflected through a real time world clock. Yup, you have a time limit. Imagine a sort of doomsday clock that will continuously be counting down to destruction. Roughly one to two days translates to one to two hours real time. So before you get your calculators out and ask, “Does that mean the game is only 13 hours long!?” Yes and no. While yes, the game will be much shorter than most in the series, they planned it that way. There will obviously be loads of cut scenes where the clock stops, but you also have opportunities to add (or subtract) time to the doomsday clock, such as when defeating hunts or completing side quests. It will be interesting to see how they balance the world now that you can’t grind for experience until the cows come home to defeat that secret boss.

Stay tuned as we bring you more highlights to the series’ grand finale! Do you think adding a doomsday clock to Final Fantasy is blasphemy? Even more blasphemous than Lightning sneaking around in a cardboard box? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!


  1. Yeah the rumor that she’s the only playable character is coming thick and fast. If they want to make an action game then they really shouldn’t have picked this world/character/installment to do it with. This is most likely going to end up like “Dirge of Cerberus” and that was…..different. Plus certain attacks drain the time clock quicker so less than thirteen hours if you use these power moves. Also no summons to speak of as Odin is her main-bond…god this sounds worse and worse the more I hear. They should have put these concepts into a reboot of “Vagrant Story” where it would actually be in line with the pre-existing combat mechanics….just sayin’

    1. Sometimes I feel that Square Enix has no idea what their doing. Personally I haven’t been a fan of any of the FF13 games. After the first one I was kind of hoping they’d realize this isn’t what the fans were looking for. We want our classic FF back.

      1. One aspect of the Final Fantasy series that I have always liked was the fact that the stories were all self-contained, but with enough familiar elements to keep the universe connected. All these sequels seems like a change I don’t really want nor did I ask for. Also really nice of them to announce FFXIII-3 and say boo about Versus. Sure the fans loved that one.

      2. I totally agree. Each final fantasy game had it’s own tone and overall theme. Ff13 seems to be beating a dead horse. It wasn’t well accepted by fans, yet they continue to spit out sequels and spinoffs. They tried to recapture the classic combat system with the first one, but completely butchered it.

      3. Yup, I also agree with you here. What happened to Square? When did they lose their finger on the pulse of what is hot, impressive and wanted?

      4. It’s interesting to watch the shift from predominately Eastern rpgs from developers like squaresoft/ square enix, to Western rpgs from companies like Bioware and Bethesda. I think gamers have just come to expect more from an rpg experience and many Japanese developers haven’t embraced these changes.

  2. As someone who hasn’t played all the Final Fantasy games yet, I think the doomsday clock and time passing sounds awesome… and maybe a bit stressful. But it should make the game fun to play more than once, since I’ll be curious to see what actions move time forward or backward. I don’t know how Final Fantasy fans will like the game in general, but if this were a brand new game, the clock mechanic would really make it stand out. So I’m excited about that aspect.

    I do think Lightning will be the only playable character. One article I read said that Lightning fights alone. Hmm.

    1. I appreciate the idea of the doomsday clock. It puts an interesting spin on the franchise. It almost gives the game a majoras mask feel, but personally I don’t like the feel the game does a good job of fan service and the changes they are making aren’t necessarily beneficial to the franchise. I want something new, but I want it done right.

  3. I think X-2 was when Square-Enix finally lost what was left of their sense. FFX was the last good FF game on the PS2 and they decided to squeeze off another to continue the story. I admit I liked X-2 even though like everyone else I didn’t ask for it, but even liking it I could tell it was a bad sign of things to come. It seems like Square-Enix has just become a company that wants to specialize in beating a dead horse, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy and it’s millions of spin offs when you consider the hand held versions I know I’ll probably rent this one out of morbid curiosity, but I strongly doubt I’ll actually buy it.

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