- Estimated Difficulty: 5/10 [Easy], 7/10 [Normal]
- Approximate Time: 70 - 80 hours
- Offline: 42 [1000]
- Online: 0
- Minimum number of playthroughs needed: 1.5 - 2
- Missable Achievements: Technically a lot
- Does difficulty affect achievements: No
- Unobtainable/glitched Achievements: None

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the third and final game for the FFXIII trilogy as well as Lightning’s story. The world is approaching its end, with only 7 days left. Assigned by God to be the Savior, Lightning must collect 'Eradia' by aiding people in need and releasing their souls, so as to extend the world's life.

There are several major changes to the game system that even veterans of the XIII series should pay attention to.

1. There is a limited time for a playthrough as in-game time passes whatever Lightning does. One in-game day is approximately one hour real-time.

2. The roles for the paradigm shifting system are removed. Lightning can equip three outfits (garb) as three different ‘battle roles’ (schemata), where the moves of the original Commando, Ravager, Sentinel and Saboteur can be freely arranged among the three outfits. The roles of Synergist and Medic are replaced by using medicine items or equipping Lightning with specific weapons / accessories.

3. Lightning’s stats only increase by completing quests; fighting enemies only rewards abilities/moves and spoils.

The major reason achievements are missable is that you can idle and let time pass, so that you cannot save the world and force your playthrough to Game Over. Since time is limited, time management becomes an issue.

Step 1: Complete the game on Easy Difficulty
As there is no difficulty-related achievement, you are strongly advised to start the game on Easy Difficulty, since the difficulty of Normal is raised compared to previous titles. On Easy, not only do enemies have lower stats, but also you can use one of Lightning's ability "Chronostasis" to stop time more frequently to buy time for your playthrough. If you want to start on Normal for a challenge, you may want to know that the developers themselves have even commented on preparing to be surprised by how difficult it can be.

In this playthrough, you should focus on:
1. Completing all 5 main quests.
2. Doing as many side quests as possible to extend the world's last day from Day 7 to Day 14.
3. Collect and then sell 100 'Soul Seeds' from regions called 'Chaos', whenever you see them while free-roaming.
4. Collect as many accessories (headwear type) as possible.

If careful, you can obtain 36 of the 42 achievements.

Step 2: Clean-Up in NG+ on any difficulty
Hard Difficulty & weaponry upgrading are unlocked for NG+. All Lightning’s stats, abilities, gils (money), weapons and items, except for quest-related ones, will be carried over.

This playthrough is for all the weapon/shield/accessory upgrading achievements. All but one can be unlocked very quickly. For the accessory upgrading, you will need to travel all around the continents to get 30 accessories (headwear) again, which can become nearly half of a new playthrough. However, you can still start on Easy. The game can become extremely easy this time, greatly speeding up the progress.

There are two superbosses in the secret dungeon, Ultimate Lair, and in Dead Dunes respectively. They can be challenging but are generally easier than their counterparts in XIII and XIII-2. If you have not managed to defeat them in your NG playthrough, now it is the time.

Note: If you failed your NG playthrough to start an NG+, the equipment upgrading function will not unlock, which means the two Swordsmith & the two Shieldsmith achievements will not be obtainable yet, until you do an NG++ playthrough.

The achievements for the game are not particularly difficult, and the game itself encourages multiple playthroughs, which can be a very enjoyable experience even without achievements. Congratulations for another 1000 and staying with Lightning to the end!

[XBA would like to thank ImaginaryRuins for this roadmap]

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Achievement Guide

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There are 42 achievements with a total of 1000 points

  • Proof of clearing 5 side quests. It is a fine beginning, but the journey is still long.

    See “Angel of Salvation

  • Proof of clearing 25 side quests. It is a great feat to lead so many souls to salvation.

    In each continent there are NPCs who have blue stars displaying under their names. These are side quest givers, and the blue stars are the difficulty rating of their quests, from the easiest (1 star) to the hardest (3 stars). 1-star quests weigh 0.02; 2-star quests weigh 0.04; 3-star quests weigh 0.06. If all completed quests weigh 1 or above, then you should be able to reach Day 13 and 14. (credit to Prima Guide)

    There are 66 side quests. Five are mandatory for main story progression. You are strongly recommended to do ALL side quests. For their exact locations, see https://www.xboxachievements.com/foru...d.php?t=568041

  • Proof of a brave warrior who has managed to claim 50 soul seeds from the Chaos.

    See "Unearthly Apothecary"

  • Proof of riding upon all of the great monorail lines that cross this shrinking world.

    The four continents - Luxerion, Yusnaan, Wildlands, Dead Dunes - are connected by monorail lines. You need to ride upon both go and return lines. The following order is suggested.

    Luxerion (north station) → Yusnaan → Luxerion (north station), and then Luxerion (south station) → Wildlands → Dead Dunes → Wildlands → Luxerion (south station)

  • Proof of building strong bridges to span the depths between continents, making all the world one.

    On Day 9, three Canvas of Prayers quests will spawn: Roadworks I, II, & III. These quests require a total of 6 items.

    Roadworks I: items obtained by interacting with the light on the blue guard stations on Luxerion NW strong bridge and Wildlands SE strong bridge respectively.

    Roadworks II: items obtained from two treasure spheres, one near Oasis Lighthouse in Dead Dunes, and the other outside the giant white debris to the south of Aryas Village in Wildlands.

    Roadworks III: items obtained from two treasure spheres, one in a Yusnaan underground passage, and the other inside the entrace of Grave of the Colossi Shrine in Dead Dunes. They are along main story progression pathways so should be very hard to miss.

    The achievement will unlock after completing all three quests.

  • Proof of clearing 25 quests that have appeared writ on the Canvas of Prayers.

    Near the monorail stations, there is always a chocobo-lady, Chocolina, standing next to a notice board, which is a Canvas of Prayers. Interacting with it will reveal quests, which are usually about slaying a certain amount of monsters for their spoils or fetching items around the continent. There are a total of 83 quests, appearing in small numbers per day. Complete any 25 of them, regardless of difficulty, and the achievement will unlock.

  • Proof of improving your first weapon. Did you make something worthy?

    See “Expert Swordsmith

  • Proof of improving your first shield. Use it wisely to guard yourself.

    See “Expert Shieldsmith

  • Proof of synthesizing your first ability. Did it prove useful?

    See “Expert Synthesist

  • Proof of upgrading your first accessory. Did you find the experience thrilling?

    See “Expert Craftsman

  • Proof of customizing your first schema. Continue on this path to find your own style.

    After the battle tutorials at the beginning of the game, Lightning will return to the Ark, where Hope will present gift cubes to Lightning. In one cube are a set of new garb, and the game will provide a tutorial on how to set up a schema with the new garb. Complete the tutorial and the achievement will unlock.

  • Proof of customizing the color of one of your garb. Let your true colors shine through.

    Immediately following the garb tutorial, you can customize garb colour by moving the cursor to the garb name and press to activate the colour customization function. Choose any other colour and accept it to unlock the achievement.

  • Proof of modifying weapons 30 times.

    Go to any blacksmith and follow the tutorial on weapon improving. To repeat the process, you will need to buy weapon improvement items, which can now be bought from merchants who sell enemy stats information around the continents.

  • Proof of modifying shields 30 times.

    Similar to “Expert Swordsmith”, but this time chooses to upgrade the shield instead of weapon. Required items can also be bought from merchants who used to sell enemy stats information around the continents.

  • Proof of synthesizing abilities 30 times.

    Abilities can only be obtained from enemy loots and treasure spheres. Combining two identical abilities is a synthesis. To do so, go to a spell store in any continent and the game will launch the synthesis tutorial. Completing the tutorial will result in one successful synthesizing. Repeat the process 29 times more by collecting more abilities.

  • Proof of upgrading accessories 30 times.

    Accessory upgrading is different from weapon/shield upgrading – by collecting the same accessory in NG+ a second time. As a result, you should try your best to obtain as many accessories (from treasure spheres and fighting Last Ones) as you can to carry them over to NG+ to speed up the progress. Since an accessory can be upgraded twice and still count towards this achievement, if you do not have enough accessories, then you will have to play NG++.

    Note: there are two types of accessories: headwear and bands. ‘Accessory’ here only refers to headwear, as bands cannot be further upgraded even in NG+.

  • Proof of obtaining 30 different garb.

    Garb can be bought from stores in any continents or rewarded from quests. For this achievement you only need 30 different sets of clothing. You can also speed up the process by DLC Garb, and if you have both save files of XIII and XIII-2 you can get two more for free.

  • Proof of victory over 100 foes in battle.

    See “Hero of Legend

  • Proof of victory over 300 foes in battle.

    See “Hero of Legend

  • Proof of victory over 500 foes in battle.

    The description for these achievements is a little misleading as you need to win a total of 500 battles, not just defeat 500 total enemies. Boss battles count as well. This should come naturally as long as you do not avoid fights in the earlier chapters where the amount of enemies is low. After Day 9, enemies will begin spawning in larger groups so you'll fight fewer battles before they go extinct. There are always enough large-sized enemies that spawn alone available to still get to 500 battles, but knocking off minor enemies along the way is quicker in the long run.

    This is also cumulative between all your NG+ runs, so if you don't have it after making multiple enemies extinct, you can always start a new playthrough in NG+ and continue working on it.

  • Proof of dealing damage so great that it goes beyond all reason or expectation.

    You need to deal more than 99,999 damage points for one single hit. This can be achieved by using strong one-hit abilities, and equipping good weapons for Lightning.

    The enemy Gurangatch (a yellow shelled-lizard appearing in Yusnaan and Dead Dunes) is a good enemy choice for this achievement, because after staggering, its resistance to all kinds of attacks drops to Weakness, leaving it very vulnerable for high damage output.

    Also, if you have the DLC Cloud garb, its ability is Heavy Slash Lv.2, which is an incredibly powerful move at the beginning of the game, and can easily deal more than 99,999 damage if the enemy is staggered.

  • Proof of staggering enemies 50 times with fearsome attacks. Do not ever let them rest!

    Using attacks which enemies are weak to, striking enemies while they are about to attack, or blocking with perfect timing can result in staggering. This should come through natural progression without too much difficulty.

  • Proof of one who has used 50 EP.

    EP is a new system for Lightning Returns. Replenished by fighting enemies or consuming special items, EP can be used for time stopping, fast travel, recovering HP etc. Accumulating 50 EP usage should come through natural progression, especially when playing on a harder difficulty as certain EP abilities cost more EP.

  • Proof of successfully guarding against an enemy's attack with perfect timing.

    This can be your first achievement. There is a battle tutorial at the beginning of the game about Guarding. Press to guard right before the enemy, Anubys, strike and the achievement will unlock immediately.


Secret achievements

  • Proof of one who has mastered the basics of this world and begun a great journey.

    Story-related, cannot be missed.

  • Proof of one who has seen through the dark mysteries that lurked in Luxerion, bringing justice.

    Story-related, unlocked by completing main quest 1, in Luxerion.

  • Proof of one who has stood upon the stage in glittering Yusnaan, bringing peace to the Patron.

    Story-related, unlocked by completing main quest 2, in Yusnaan.

  • Proof of one who has made it through the Dead Dunes to find ancient treasure.

    Story-related, unlocked by completing main quest 4, in Dead Dunes.

  • Proof of one who has visited the temple that towers over the Wildlands and touched the great Chaos.

    Story-related, unlocked by completing main quest 3, in Wildlands.

  • Proof of the true savior, who overthrew even the god of light to lead the people to a new world.

    Story-related, unlocked by defeating the final boss.

  • Proof of making the impossible possible by using Eradia to bring the world a 14th day.

    Story-related. By completing quests, Lightning can collect a certain amount of Eradia to postpone the world's last day. All main quests must be done, and a large amount of side quests are also needed. Out of all the 66 sidequests (See "Angel of Salvation" for more details), you should aim for 45 or above. If you calculate that you can reach Day 13, then you are very likely to reach Day 14.

    IMPORTANT: If you fail to do all 5 main quests and sufficient side quests to reach Day 14, your playthrough will fail.

  • Proof of helping a father and son reunite, bringing back a smile that seemed long lost.

    Story-related, unlocked by completing main quest 5. Quest starts in northern Wildlands in the fallen airship, which is unreachable unless gliding towards it on the holy chocobo.

  • Proof of nursing the holy chocobo back to full health among the rich pastures of the Wildlands.

    Nursing the holy chocobo is part of main quest 3, but it will not be completely healed. It will need to be fed with a couple more food items, which can be vegetables, milk, medicine, etc. Once it is fully healed a short cutscene will play and the achievement will unlock.

  • Proof of hunting down more than 30 lizards in the shifting sands of the Dead Dunes.

    While free roaming on the sand in Dead Dunes you will occasionally see small black lizards crawling on the ground. Pressing near one will prompt Lightning to use her weapon to kill it. Find 29 more and repeat the process.

  • Proof of restoring a sword, once broken, to its former glory and power.

    Before entering the final boss room, the game will instruct that there are 4 trials for Lightning. All trials are clearing very simple dungeons, requiring only defeating enemies to proceed. For each completed dungeon, a statue corresponding to it will shine a beam to the central altar. Once all 4 beams from all statues concentrate onto the altar, interact with it and Lightning’s sword, broken since the beginning of the game, will be restored to its full strength, unlocking the achievement.

  • Proof of achieving victory in the lists of the Battle Arena 10 times.

    The Battle Arena is in Yusnaan, and to complete main quest 2 Lightning must win 3 rounds in the Arena. Sign up for and win 7 more fights and the achievement will unlock. You can make a manual save beforehand and then reload it if you do not want to spend time in the arena.

  • Proof of obtaining an elixir. It's so rare that it seems almost a waste to use it, doesn't it?

    An elixir requires selling a total of 100 Soul Seeds to any soul seed merchant. Violet in colour, Soul Seeds appear only in Chaos, which are darkened regions that spawn semi-randomly in the continents and while free roaming. Within each Chaos, depending on its size and luck, there can be 0 - 4 Soul Seeds on the ground.

    You will naturally get Seed Collector when you pick up your 50th Seed, and upon selling the 100th Seed to any merchant, he/she will give Lightning an elixir, unlocking the achievement.

    IMPORTANT: Soul Seeds cannot be carried to NG+, so you MUST collect and sell 100 Soul Seeds in one playthrough.

  • Proof of obtaining the ultimate garb, imbued with destructive magic.

    See “Monster Bane

  • Proof of mastering all creation and conquering even the Ultimate Lair.

    The Ultimate Lair appears on Day 13 in Dead Dunes. It houses 28 Last Ones from 1/F to 28/F, and the boss Ereshkigal on 33/F (29/F to 32/F give treasure spheres). You must defeat enemies to proceed, and your battle scores will decide how many floors you can proceed:

    1 floor: 1 point
    2 floors: 30000 points
    3 floors: 60000 points

    If you have already killed a Last One outside the dungeon, it will not re-appear in it. This means if you have been diligently killing monsters and their Last Ones, you may as well have cleared almost the entire dungeon except the boss before you enter it, saving you time and a lot of supplies. You CANNOT use Chronostasis to stop time while you are in the dungeon.

    Ereshkigal has 7,500,000 HP on Normal (6,000,000 on Easy). You only need to defeat it, regardless of battle rating. Poison & Slow are effective abilities against it. Ereshkigal's drop is the ultimate garb, which unlocks “Holy Garb of Destruction” achievement.

    The following video is a 5-star fight with Ereshkigal. All credit to its uploader, MasterLL.

  • Proof of victory over the dragon Aeronite who brought terror to the Dead Dunes.

    Aeronite roams the central area of Dead Dunes starting from Day 7 to Day 13, appearing as a void with lightning giving out from it (like the rare enemies in XIII-2). It has 11,000,000 HP on Normal Difficulty (8,800,000 on Easy). Again, the achievement only requires defeating it, regardless of the battle rating.

    Maximizing Lightning's stats is highly recommended. Aeronite needs to be staggered 4 times until its resistance towards Strength and Magic attacks drops from Resistant to Weakness for high damage output.
    Staggering Aeronite ASAP is key to winning. During this stage, damage output is not a concern. Ra-class elemental attacks (esp. Aerora & Thundara) have a good balance between staggering power and rate of attack, making them the most efficient for the battle. Also, by completing main quest 3, the weapon reward will give a fast-stagger bonus at 75%. Once Aeronite is down, switch to a high-damage-output schema to eliminate Aeronite before it gets back on its feet.

    If Aeronite is not staggered fast enough, it would escape from the battle, forcing you to find and challenge it again later on.

    The following video is a 5 star battle against Aeronite. All credits go to its uploader, Etro's Gate.

  • Proof of defeating your first Last One, the final specimen of a species on the verge of extinction.

    See “Goddess of Death

  • Proof of defeating 10 Last Ones, exterminating forever 10 different species of monster.

    There are 31 exterminatable monster species in the game. After fighting the same species a lot of times (small enemies 120 kills; large ones 30 kills), the last-of-its-kind would spawn. A Last One is easily recognized by its pinkish purple color, and has higher stats than its common counterparts. Make 10 species extinct by killing 10 Last Ones, and the achievement will unlock.

    There is another way to fight Last Ones. By reaching Day 13, a secret dungeon, the Ultimate Lair, would appear in Dead Dunes. The Lair has 28 Last Ones. If you do not get any Last Ones before that, you can get both kill 1 & 10 Last Ones achievements there.

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