Yeah, that’s the title of the game: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. After the somewhat misleading marketing approach of Final Fantasy XIII-2 that fixed itself around Lightning, even though her appearance in the game was little more than a cameo, Square Enix is not taking any chances and apparently shoving the main marketing theme right in the name: Lightning is back and that’s a good thing. Somehow, despite the mixed reception of the first game in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy and the more positive if cautious welcome of Final Fantasy XIII-2, the one thing people seem to agree on is that we all want more Lightning.
So Square Enix is obliging, but in a radical departure from the previous two games, which I applaud because that’s the main reason I love Final Fantasy. Details are still scarce, but we know that Lightning is the only playable character in the game, but is highly customizable, allowing you to change her combat style and appearance in drastic ways. The biggest shock is that the menus are gone as this is an action-RPG, giving you direct control over her movements and actions for the first time. It’s something Square has hinted at in the previous two games, but now they appear ready to fully embrace it. It’s a direction the series has been heading for quite some time, so I am anxious to see how they pull it off.
The other big gameplay difference is the presence of a Majora’s Mask type Doomsday countdown clock. The game will take place over 13 days and every action you perform, including healing, casting spells and reviving yourself will drain precious time from the clock, hastening the final showdown. Oh and the game takes place hundreds of years after FF XIII-2. Consider me intrigued.
What about you? Do the drastic changes Square is implementing only further turn you away from Final Fantasy? Or does their desire for innovation make you want to give it a chance? Hit the comments!