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Old 09-02-2012, 09:55 PM   #1
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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

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Lightning Returns, and Now She Knows About Timed Hits

Final Fantasy continues its design evolution in this final chapter of the Final Fantasy XIII saga.



Square Enix has promised Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will bring a definitive conclusion to the saga of its titular protagonist, Claire "Lightning" Farron. But the story the FFXIII trilogy tells about Lightning may end up being much less interesting than the one it tells about Square itself.
That Square has a third FFXIII title in the works should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying any attention at all lately. The company's management has been hinting at it since FFXIII-2 launched at the beginning of the year. What may be surprising is the fact that the upcoming sequel's title isn't "Final Fantasy XIII-3", despite serving as a direct sequel to XIII-2 and (we're told) bringing the Etro-vs.-Chaos storyline of the XIII titles to a definitive close. This may not make much sense to you, the gamer who wants to have a consistent little row of game names all lined up neatly on your game collection shelf. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense from a marketing perspective: Lightning seems to command higher regard among many fans than the game she starred in. Why not give her top billing? Square's simply borrowed a page from its subsidiary Eidos' book, back when Lara Croft's name took top billing over the "Tomb Raider" title.



More to the point, though, the title "Lightning Returns" speaks to broader changes to the series. While it looks to be running on a modified Final Fantasy XIII-2 engine, its play mechanics hint at fairly radical changes to the entire concept of Final Fantasy. For starters, Lightning Returns really is Lightning's game. She's not simply the main character, she's the sole playable character. Not unlike Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and its hero Zack Fair, the entire game revolves around her; she explores on her own, fights combat solo, and singlehandedly bears the burden of saving the world from a looming apocalypse. Surprisingly, the combat system takes an even more action-oriented style than Crisis Core. Square has completely swept away the menu-driven, hands-off system that served so effectively in the first two chapters of FFXIII, pouring its resources instead into a system that allows players to control Lightning directly in single combat against foes.

Menus are out. Instead, players instead can assign four skills or commands to the controller's face buttons and execute them instantly. If this sounds suspiciously similar to Kingdom Hearts, realize the overlap only goes so far. Lightning fights in a far less button-mashy style than Sora and friends, with considerably less air-combo time, and she's not limited to a single use of each power followed by a cooldown period. Instead, her commands run on a Active-Time Battle gauge in the classic Final Fantasy style, and each ability comes with a corresponding ATB cost. This system doesn't employ the same fixed costs as in FFXIII and XIII-2, though, and the meter isn't segmented as it was in those games. The result is a faster-paced battle system than in any previous Final Fantasy, but a far less manic one than in the earlier FFXIII titles. There's far less screen clutter and extraneous information flying about, and the battle camera stays fairly fixed on Lightning rather than cutting to dramatic angles in the heat of combat.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
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*sighs*.....

Running out of ideas square? ...

Oh wait you don't even make final fantasy games anymore do you...
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #3
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These changes have the potential to be very very good or very very bad. (I'm leaning towards the latter.) Lightning is a brilliant character. I really hope this game doesn't turn out like Dirge of Cerberus.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:19 PM   #4
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These changes have the potential to be very very good or very very bad. (I'm leaning towards the latter.) Lightning is a brilliant character. I really hope this game doesn't turn out like Dirge of Cerberus.
Agreed. Sometimes, drastic changes aren't for the best..
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
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Agreed. Sometimes, drastic changes aren't for the best..
Hopefully this one is for the best :P The only thing that doesn't sounds interesting to me is that the game is only 20 hours (most likely). Most Final Fantasy games take about 60 hours, now thats what I call worth my money :3
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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We're about to get a teaser/trailer soon! I can't wait to see how Lightning looks now or everything else for that matter.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:19 AM   #7
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