Final Fantasy titles are normally just one-shot stories that go from point A to point B, but the formula matured when Final Fantasy X debuted. Final Fantasy XIII was another one of these evolved titles, and has since spawned two more incarnations of both story and character: Lightning is a strong, independent white woman with pink hair who “don’t need no man” made her appearance in Final Fantasy XIII and has continued to do so in Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Returns the third installment in her series.
Playing the first Final Fantasy XIII, you were introduced to many key characters, and honestly, I disliked Lightning‘s tough exterior, as well as her character in general. I admit she is designed well and looks great, but the overall feeling from her personality is that of sandpaper.
Unless you read spoilers somewhere else (as this is a PC port review) is straightforward enough, but lacking in detail. If you haven’t played the previous two iterations of Final Fantasy XIII, you are Lightning, a girl bound by fate and the will of God to grab souls from people. This is so you can help bring them to the new world that God will create since Chaos is destroying the world.
Now I find it kind of amusing that they are portraying Lightning in a way such as this; the savior of all humanity…like a little pink-haired Jesus trying to save us all. It gives me a good chuckle, and despite my ever-growing loathing for her, I must admit I love the changing of her outfits in the game. It makes her a bit more bearable; being able to dress her up as Cloud Strife gets me excited about the new Final Fantasy VII remake coming out.
Another interesting fact of the story is that humanity cannot bear children anymore, and they age endlessly. I wish they elaborated on this a bit more because the way I see it, you wouldn’t need condoms anymore. Now about the combat, it seems like it’s more advanced in a lot of ways compared to the previous versions. But it also feels more convoluted and confusing as I had to relearn a system that should’ve already been in place.
The controls in general are pretty clear, although I wish it was possible to explore more areas. The guests in the game are fairly nice as well, although it’s mainly just finding and giving items to them in exchange for bonuses.
Overall the story is fairly good, albeit a bit dry at times and hard to follow. As a standalone game, it isn’t great. I first recommend playing the other titles in the series so you have something to go on.
Do I recommend Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII? Sure I do. It has great visuals and an even better musical compilation. I really enjoyed it, so be sure to pick it up if you get a chance.
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