Hands-On: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII at E3 2013

You know, if this weren't the 3rd installment in what many have said is a bad trilogy I think I may actually have been interested in it. Lightning looks kind of badass. After watching the trailer for FF XV, I can't help but wonder if Final Fantasy has abandoned turn-based altogether.

I agree with Fappy. While it seems like Square has 'learned its lesson' by moving to a more direct and engaging combat system, I've grown tired of the XIII series. I'll be giving it a pass, but am still excited for XV (aka XIII-4).

Gutted this isn't coming out 'till next year. Looks fun and I'm curious about the doomsday clock.

That looks suprisingly good, after the trainwreck that was XIII-2 i could do with a dose of FF XIII goodness without those two hideous prettyboy/girl main characters

Ugh, another game I want being released so far away. Looking forward to finding out whats going on after that cliffhanger in XII-2, I hate cliffhangers. With a passion. Even more than I hate conveyor belts. Nearly.

It looks like it plays like an MMO...

I mean seriously, it looks boring, the animations and combat system just look uninspiring and dull

Bah, FFXV only mildly interests me now that we can see it's actually coming.
The 13 series? Huh, so far there all bad and the worst designed/structured, each for opposite reasons with some similar ones. I think 13-2 was better but i here others think the first was better, overall i don't mind FF changing their battle system (It worked for 12 and they should have kept to it) it just wasn't executed well or at least it wasn't something I found good.

I hope they remake FF6 soon, i'd buy two of those :)

Turn base is gone now?

That's an interesting choice, but it totally makes sense though. I personally can't wait to play it and I have a feeling I'm in the minority in that, but I don't care. The other thing that's got my interest in this is the whole 13 days timer that's playing a huge part in the game.

Game looks awesome though. :D

Man, I hate Lightning. She sounds so bloody bored the whole time, it seems to suck all the enjoyment out of anything. And don't get me started on the atrociously stilted dialogue on the reveal trailer. Having to listen to her throughout an entire game makes me want to pull out my hair. Also is it just me, or does the graphics and animation quality look a bit worse than in the previous two games?
Whatever. I'm still gonna buy it. I enjoyed FFXIII-2 too much to not get this. I just wish Noel was still on the center stage, because he was actually pretty cool, and superior to Lightning in every conceivable way. Welp, at least the combat system looks cool.

Lightning though. Goddamit.

I hated 13. I hated 13-2. And... I will likely get this, because that combat system looks damn fun.

13... this is ALL I WANTED. A FUN COMBAT SYSTEM. It could have been like Star Ocean, or even an improved 12.

You could've been a contenda!

Final Fantasy went full fucking bad anime long ago, and I still weep for what was once the epitome of JRPG.

Get your chocolate out of my peanut butter.

Crises core gameplay anyone?

NameIsRobertPaulson:
I hated 13. I hated 13-2. And... I will likely get this, because that combat system looks damn fun.

13... this is ALL I WANTED. A FUN COMBAT SYSTEM. It could have been like Star Ocean, or even an improved 12.

You could've been a contenda!

You can always just wait a bit and get Final Fantasy 15 instead.

Let's look at this realistically: You hated the first iteration of 13, you also hated the second...who's to say that you won't hate the third? Admittedly yes it COULD be good, but, if you havn't enjoyed the first two why bother torturing yourself with the third?

Honestly, just wait for 15 and that way you can go in with a clean slate and just enjoy it for the gameplay without being weighed down by the god awful missteps of 13.

Simple Bluff:
Lightning though. Goddamit.

I would like to know what people who actually like Lightning specifically like about her. I can understand the logic of how shes just as 'badass' as certain male protagonists so she kind of evens the playing field in that respect but... I don't really like those male characters either. Cloud and Squall were bloody grating, until Kingdom Hearts at least.

PunkRex:

Simple Bluff:
Lightning though. Goddamit.

I would like to know what people who actually like Lightning specifically like about her. I can understand the logic of how shes just as 'badass' as certain male protagonists so she kind of evens the playing field in that respect but... I don't really like those male characters either. Cloud and Squall were bloody grating, until Kingdom Hearts at least.

I like Lightning because she's a badass tomboy who, rather than tells us she's badass, goes ahead and shows it instead. Her personality is more angry and indifferent than emo, which is a step up from Squall and Cloud.

Infernai:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
I hated 13. I hated 13-2. And... I will likely get this, because that combat system looks damn fun.

13... this is ALL I WANTED. A FUN COMBAT SYSTEM. It could have been like Star Ocean, or even an improved 12.

You could've been a contenda!

You can always just wait a bit and get Final Fantasy 15 instead.

Let's look at this realistically: You hated the first iteration of 13, you also hated the second...who's to say that you won't hate the third? Admittedly yes it COULD be good, but, if you havn't enjoyed the first two why bother torturing yourself with the third?

Honestly, just wait for 15 and that way you can go in with a clean slate and just enjoy it for the gameplay without being weighed down by the god awful missteps of 13.

I play mostly for the combat system. FFXIII's required zero human thought, and FFXIII-2's was just a patchwork over the inherently worthless XIII system, so an entirely new combat system seems like my cup of tea. Plus, I like Lightning more than anyone else on the cast, and that goes double for Vanille and Hope.

IT'S ALL THE SAME FACES

NameIsRobertPaulson:

I like Lightning because she's a badass tomboy who, rather than tells us she's badass, goes ahead and shows it instead. Her personality is more angry and indifferent than emo, which is a step up from Squall and Cloud.

Is that it? I'm not criticising you it's just from what i know of her and how you describe her she's rather 2D and in no real good way. At least Cloud (in the first game) had an arc from just this confident hotshot soldier to just a lonely kid who missed his friend (forgive the oversimplification) that already established character being broken down to build back up to save the world speaks volumes for FF7 and Cloud... Before Advent Children¬_¬ From what i've played Lightning has no such arc, and to Squall's credit (and i might be stretching) he learned to be less of an introvert and accept the people around him, he's by no means a good character but damn it something.
Lightning is one note boring, to me anyway.

P.S. i so wanted to make a PMS Joke XD

Nurb:
IT'S ALL THE SAME FACES

Well damn :(

Still a bit put off that Lightning is the only playable character (unless they do some DLC thing), but I do like that each Schema changes what she has equipped and stuff. Sort of balances out for not having a full party in a way. The gameplay from the trailers looked really nice too, so I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully this will be better than 13-2. Felt that game wasn't as challenging as 13, nor did it have any of the good character interactions like 13. Also wondering how well implemented the whole "13 days to live" thing is going to work out.

I'll probably pick this up, maybe not right away though.

Lightnings original character design and look from FF XIII was actually one of Squares better efforts. She was clean, attractive. Her style of dress, while the somewhat typical square weirdness at least seemed functional for who she was and what she did... and then in the later installments the typical Square design dementia kicked in. FFXIII-2... feathers? a half skirt of feathers? and weird armor? errrrk! And now... Platform shoes and some sort of armored bell bottoms? I think somebody needs either more or less medication in the art department.

I'll probably be getting this. I don't necessarily hate the FFXIII universe, even if I didn't like the first two installments, and Lightning was one of the few characters in it I could actually stand. Plus, more interesting combat will make up for it if the story is still awful. If it follows its current trajectory, it will have achieved 'so ridiculous it's actually funny' by this point (parts of XIII-2 achieved that), and I find that entertaining.

PunkRex:

Simple Bluff:
Lightning though. Goddamit.

I would like to know what people who actually like Lightning specifically like about her. I can understand the logic of how shes just as 'badass' as certain male protagonists so she kind of evens the playing field in that respect but... I don't really like those male characters either. Cloud and Squall were bloody grating, until Kingdom Hearts at least.

Well I have an analytical outlook as to why I like the character:

1. Her motif. Lightning's character is "tough female", something that has not really been done in the entire series. Yeah, Tifa did it to a degree, but she was more of the "nerd's first wet dream" thanks to her giant breasts and sexualizing. More focus is put on Lightning's character motif than her sex appeal in the original game. Believe me, I have problems with some of these outfits as they are more sexualizing her and putting more focus on partial nudity. I think her character motif once refined a bit (say to like Sully from Fire Emblem Awakening level) can be a GREAT replacement to the weakly developed character motif of the "kooky girl" (Yuffie/Sephie/Rikku/Vanille) and all of her unusualness.

2a. In her development stage in the first game, she did things better than other characters I know of. Lightning is a "better Miranda Lawson than Miranda Lawson" due to having a FAR better connection with her sister Serah than with what's-her-face Oriana. With Lightning, we get to see how she interacts and acts around Serah and what exactly happened between them that caused the events of FF13 to happen thanks to the flashbacks. With Lightning and Serah, they have an "Overprotective Mother/ Rebellious teenage daughter" relationship and we see how Lightning looks over this relationship in Pallumpolum to realize that she pushed Serah away with her overbearing attitude when all Lightning was trying to do was protect Serah against anything that could harm her.

However, Miranda Lawson fails to provide that information because she is so secretive with it. All you hear from her is "I'm genetically perfect, I work for the Illusive man, I have a twin sister". This is put on a loop (much like Snow Viller's dialogue in the original game) so we don't get an idea about who Miranda's sister is. We don't know her sister's name (Oriana from what wiki told me), what their relationship is like, what Oriana sounds like, her mannerisms, her hopes, her dreams, etc. There is NO CONTEXT to the relationship between Miranda and Oriana. When you DO see Oriana, they don't give her a voice or character and after Miranda is convinced by Shepard to go talk with her, it cuts to black. Basically, me wanting to get to know Miranda was a huge waste of time and the only form of development she has is her obligatory ass shot.

2b. Lightning does what Sasuke Uchiha (from the manga Naruto) FAILS to do. In the original game, Lightning was so angry (completely justified as I will explain this next point in 2c) and was so wrapped up in her anger that she was going to go on a revenge streak. However, she begins to realize that the plan she first had was not the best one once she calmed down and traveled with Hope. She sits down with Hope and reviews what her life has been like living with Serah, which this makes her fully realize that she was as much to blame for what happened to Serah as Snow, Sanctum, and PSICOM were. She decides to learn from her mistakes and tries to give Hope the closure with his father that she never had with Serah.

Sasuke Uchiha FAILS to do so because when he goes on his revenge streak, he doesn't LEARN A DAMN THING. When the truth about Itachi Uchiha (his brother) is revealed, instead of learning from the mistakes made for going after revenge, Sasuke immediately decides "Hey you know what I should do next? TAKE REVENGE ON KONOHA"! The story of Itachi Uchiha was one of blood feuds, discrimination and blaming the many for the actions of the few, however this story goes in one ear and out the other with Sasuke by him DOING THE SAME DAMN THING AS THE COUNCILORS DID WITH THE UCHIHA CLAN AND GOING ON AN EXTERMINATION HUNT. This little dumbass goes on his "journey" and for the next 5 years, the reader watches him do acts of federal crimes including kidnapping, attacking leaders, and murder! Then out of the blue, with the use of a completely convenient flashback, Sasuke Uchiha is magically A GOOD GUY AGAIN. AFTER HE KIDNAPPED, ATTEMPTED AN ATTACK ON WORLD LEADERS AND MURDERED SOME HIGHER UPS IN KONOHA. And you know what he wants to do now? Become Hokage, A WORLD LEADER. JUST LIKE THE ONE HE MURDERED BEFORE BECOMING A GOOD GUY. When people tell him he can't do that because they would not allow it, Sasuke's answer is "fuck you, I can do whatever I want!"

I apologize for the capital letters last paragraph, I'm just angry over the dumb and idiotic character development Sasuke has and what the writer allows him to get away with.

2c. Lightning's "seemingly un relatable but misunderstood" characterization is a bit reminiscent of Byakuya Kuchiki's characterization in the Soul Society Arc of Bleach. With Lightning, she seemed unapproachable and very distant. However as time went on, you realized how screwed up her life got thanks to PSICOM, Sanctum and the Fal'cie. Lightning was having the worst day of her life in the game due to having her home, family, job, citizenship and rights taken away from her. Not to mention Lightning was unjustifiably hunted down by PSICOM because the Fal'cie wanted their precious "sleeping god" to return to this world and used her as their tool. Lightning had legit problems that would have broken a normal person down due to having so much taken away from her. She made a promise to herself to protect Serah from harm after her parents died and took the name "Lightning" over her real name Claire to signify this change.

Byakuya Kuchiki was like that in the way of how he seemed like a bad person but the situation he was put in went and put everything in perspective. Byakuya seemed like a total d*ck when you met him. He attacked Rukia, stole Ichigo's powers and almost killed him, prosecuted Rukia to being executed for the crime of giving Soul Reaper powers to a human, left his lieutenant to rot in prison for a while, and when Ichigo got Rukia out of there Byakuya told Ichigo he would "kill him first and kill Rukia with his own hands". So how does this make Byakuya a "good character"?

Getting the full context of Byakuya's story. When the arc was on the climax, Byakuya revealed the truth to Rukia: His deceased wife was actually Rukia's older sister and both Byakuya and Rukia were brother and sister in law. He had made a promise to Hisana (Rukia's sister) that she would find Rukia and take care of her. A year after Hisana died, he found Rukia. Byakuya mentioned he also made a promise to his dead mother and father that he would uphold the law with his honor and duty as the new head of the Kuchiki household. When Rukia was charged for illegal actions, Byakuya was at a crossroads due to what he promised both his wife and his parents. The situation tore him apart in the inside due to these conflicts of interest and ultimately he felt like he had to uphold the law due to being the head of the household and who others look up to. Even if that person that he was punishing happened to be Rukia. Byakuya thanks Ichigo for showing him how wrong he was and that he should have been fighting to change the law instead of just going with it.

Both Lightning and Byakuya seemed not relatable but when you heard their stories, they connections could be made and I could feel bad for both of them because both characters were given crappy situations.

3. She was not "sexualized" in any way. She does not have a big butt, or big breasts or trying to seduce people or even looking for someone to fall in love with. She has normal proportions that are not focused on and ultimately don't become part of her "development" (again, NOT like Miranda). Believe me, I do like sexy women like Tifa or Bayonetta but only when they are strong written characters. Ultimately though, I like characters like Celes or Terra from Final Fantasy VI that are not sexualized but very pretty. Lightning fits this very well.

4. Lightning's costume and gunblade were great and effective. Her costume wasn't idiotically designed like the characters in FF10 and leaned more to the FF8 designs of clothing. She was clean and attractive. Lightning style of dress seemed functional for who she was and what she did. In fact her shoulder pad is used in cutscene form to tell PSICOM units she was a Guardian Corps member and that she could not be Purged. However, she quit her job and told the PSICOM member to Purge her anyways so she could secretly get to Serah in chapter 1.

I've always HATED the gunblade before FF13. Why? Because it's an impractical and stupid design!!! Those gunblades were always leaving me on edge on how they worked and how they did not blow up in the user's face (looking at you Squall Leonhart's Gunblade)! For the first time ever, Lightning's Gunblade was PERFECT. It was practically designed, transformed from gun to blade, worked with the environment and looked like it had been properly tested by engineers and designers so it WOULDN'T explode in Lightning's hands. I loved this Gunblade and hope Square takes notes on HOW to make a good gunblade like Lightning's in the future.

5. She does not take stupidity from anyone (and neither do I). When Snow was acting full of himself, she punched him twice and knocked some sense into him. When Hope was acting whiney, Lightning taught him how to man up a bit. Eventually he decides to pull his own weight I.E taking point, and moves forward. Thanks to the training Hope was given to Lightning, Hope became a successful military man and now works with LIghtning to stop the end of the world in this upcoming game. I connect with her is the sense of how she does things I like to see and how I think things should go when a certain situation happens.

This is the reasons why I like Lightning. Hope this help =D

faefrost:
Lightnings original character design and look from FF XIII was actually one of Squares better efforts. She was clean, attractive. Her style of dress, while the somewhat typical square weirdness at least seemed functional for who she was and what she did... and then in the later installments the typical Square design dementia kicked in. FFXIII-2... feathers? a half skirt of feathers? and weird armor? errrrk! And now... Platform shoes and some sort of armored bell bottoms? I think somebody needs either more or less medication in the art department.

You can automatically get her original clothing if you have the data of FF13 for it in your PS3 or Xbox 360. You can also get her XIII-2 armor the same way if you have the XIII-2 data in your PS3 and Xbox 360. From what I have also heard of is that the game will have a choice of 100 different outfits. I saw some of them and some seem very interesting to me (Cat girl miqo'te Lighting looks so cute)

KingdomFantasyXIII:
snip

You seem to be fairly knowledgable about the series, and I'm thinking I might start playing FFXIII, so just a quick couple question. First, does it matter at all whether I get it for PS3 or 360? Second, I could only make it about 1/3 through FFXII before I wanted to kill kittens because of the combat and story so I had to stop. Am I going to experience the same thing here? Edit: Third, how much grinding am I going to have to do?

Edit: Double posting fail, damn you new CoC! *shakes fist*

For as much hate as the earlier games got, I really quite enjoyed XIII's character design and combat system. It definitely had its flaws, but the stronger emphasis on real-time party management/synergy in general (as opposed to individual character development) felt unique for a JRPG. And the art department somehow managed to come out with a world that looked simultaneously functional, yet stylistically fantastical.

Lightning Returns looks like the same art department took methamphetamines for the past year or two. Lightning's new costume looks like half a BDSM leather outfit with one third of a suit of armor and the rest made up of exposed skin. It looks like it's more about form rather than function, and despite the similarly schizophrenic-looking environment I'd say Lightning's appearance suffers from the change.

KingdomFantasyXIII:

PunkRex:

Simple Bluff:
Lightning though. Goddamit.

I would like to know what people who actually like Lightning specifically like about her. I can understand the logic of how shes just as 'badass' as certain male protagonists so she kind of evens the playing field in that respect but... I don't really like those male characters either. Cloud and Squall were bloody grating, until Kingdom Hearts at least.

Well I have an analytical outlook as to why I like the character:

1. Her motif.

2a. In her development stage in the first game, she did things better than other characters I know of.

2b. Lightning does what Sasuke Uchiha (from the manga Naruto) FAILS to do.

2c. Lightning's "seemingly un relatable but misunderstood" characterization is a bit reminiscent of Byakuya Kuchiki's characterization in the Soul Society Arc of Bleach.

3. She was not "sexualized" in any way.

4. Lightning's costume and gunblade were great and effective.

5. She does not take stupidity from anyone (and neither do I).

This is the reasons why I like Lightning. Hope this help =D

Well, shut my mouth. I never actually played the game but I watched my brother play a good 10+ hours of the bloody thing so I felt I could at least hold an oppinion on it.

1. I already said I agreed with this and I deffinatly agree that 8 looked better than 10 or more specifically Tidus and the Al-bed, freaking hot topic rejects. Just to be clear, I don't actually like 8, the battle system was boring and the story was dumb, really dumb.

2. Okay, big points for mentioning Naruto and Bleach, two series I grew up with and stating an oppinion i've held for years concerning Sasuke.

*On a side note* Is that shit about him wanting to be Hokage true!? Im a few chapters behind but SERIUOSLY!? Gawdammit Kishi sensei, NO ONE BESIDES YOU LIKES SASUKE!!!

3. (Kind of a repeat of 1) Although I have no problem with overly sexualised characters, I veiw them in much the same way I see funny, dumb or evil characters (its just a character trait), it is a nice change of pace to see someone without a dick wielding the sword.

4. Practicality is one thing I feel FF has always had a hard time with. 7 worked more or less, 8 was cool, maybe abit to cool, 9 was great, 10 was a mess and 11 was sort of a mixed bag, it worked and certain characters looked bloody awesome *cough*Balthier*cough* but it was abit much when it came to the armour/soilders.

5. This I can get behind.

I don't completely agree about Lightning but you defend what you like with passion, I definatly agree with that!

image

I genuinely enjoyed lightning as a character in the previous XIII games. She shows up as a practical, no-nonsense warrior and acts as a direct foil to Snow's inexplicable enthusiasm and Hope's...goddamn everything, while still complementing her sister's story of coming to terms with a harsh world, Sazh's genuine and earnest desire to protect his son, and Fang's raw determination. All-in-all, a good, well-rounded character, even if it took appearances in several games to get it straight.

Between Her, Noel, and Sazh, we were given three appreciable characters to follow through this segment of Final Fantasy. While I can bitch and moan about dozens of issues in FFXIII and FFXII-2, I really enjoyed playing as or with these three characters.

Hopefully LR brings us more of the awesome, cynical, and practical pink-haired wonder.

I have never played a Final Fantasy game, and this kind of thing is why. It seems needlessly confusing for anybody who isn't already into it.

It's Final Fantasy 13... but a trilogy of them. I was assuming that they were just really fickle and kept on re-making it in a similar vein as the Evanglion rebuilds.

If I wanted to get into FF, where on earth would I even start? Because they actually look quite interesting to me.

Legion:
I have never played a Final Fantasy game, and this kind of thing is why. It seems needlessly confusing for anybody who isn't already into it.

It's Final Fantasy 13... but a trilogy of them. I was assuming that they were just really fickle and kept on re-making it in a similar vein as the Evanglion rebuilds.

If I wanted to get into FF, where on earth would I even start? Because they actually look quite interesting to me.

It is confusing, you need to read all the logs (crysterium?) to get explanations on anything, Like Snows strength (from a jacket) or the Black guys chocobo(who's name will break the world like Lord Moldybutt), but that was in 13, 13-2 i can't remember so well... hum ¬_¬
Play 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 and maybe 12

KingdomFantasyXIII:

Well I have an analytical outlook as to why I like the character:

1. Her motif.

2a. In her development stage in the first game, she did things better than other characters I know of.

2b. Lightning does what Sasuke Uchiha (from the manga Naruto) FAILS to do.

2c. Lightning's "seemingly un relatable but misunderstood" characterization is a bit reminiscent of Byakuya Kuchiki's characterization in the Soul Society Arc of Bleach.

3. She was not "sexualized" in any way.

4. Lightning's costume and gunblade were great and effective.

5. She does not take stupidity from anyone (and neither do I).

This is the reasons why I like Lightning. Hope this help =D

[/quote]

I'll give you 3, 4 ,5 because some people stupid people need to be hit with a gunblade and you better look good doing it ;)

Anyway, you can't use Byakuya as an example because by the time of the revelation and even so he was not a protagonist and due to putting everything on the line lost any right or respect to stop what was going to be done.
Lightning's the main prog from the getgo, you where invested in Byakuya as a character as a whole because you couldn't imagine what it would take for a brother to do this to his own sister and it explains his behaviour and his pain.

You already know who the enemies are in FF13 and her motivations are fairly obvious, this is actually very similar to Cloud but the difference is Cloud's backstory was a revelation, she has a realisation instead. Now i'm sure this is just POV but In regards to your Sasuke comparison you are right in that she changes but to bad the dialogue and scenes of it was soo hockey and badly written it had no weight to it.

Really I find myself remembering nothing identifiable about her by that i mean, no quirks, mannerisms etc. and not for lake of trying, even Byakuya had that but to be fair many of them where subtle, even after her "change" the only thing that i could tell happened was a new found optimism but that didn't last.

I can't understand anyone who can compliment a system you can play with one hand, without looking, with no indication you achieved a higher level, an even more linear leveling up system and useless weapons you don't need to upgrade because by the 8th or so cut-scene you've maxed out everything till 20 or so hours of the tutorial. This was my second playthrough, the first i went in ignorant and as the game explained both everything and nothing.

 

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