Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII Demo review
by, 9th February 2014 at 03:38 PM (253 Views)
On a semi-related note, the Lightning Returns x Final Fantasy XIV event has returned, so in case you wanted Lightning/Snow's hairstyles (bandanna non-negotiable) or are Level 13 (...I just realized it)/want your stats to suck while looking like Snow or Lightning, there you go!
Anyway, Lightning Returns - Final Fantasy XIII is the last game in this decidedly bad trilogy. Which didn't have to be a trilogy, even. Honestly, now I'm actually kind of liking Final Fantasy XIII (oh god please don't kill me). It's still aggrivatingly linear, and the fact that if your party leader dies it's a Game Over is frustrating, but it's still not horrible. Final Fantasy XIII-2 is turning me off for some reason. But we're not here to talk about those games. We're here for Lightning Returns.
The plot isn't much to start with. Chaos (sadly, not either the final boss or the esper; it's just some sort of weird thing that fucks everything up) is invading the city (which I forget the name of ._.;) and Snow (who's more emo this time around, sadly enough) is in the middle of it and Lightning has to save him. Making things worse - for both Light and the player - is Lumina, some she-demon that interferes with Lightning trying to "save" Snow. She looks like Serah and apparently Mog has rubbed off on her because she is annoying as fuck. She doesn't even do too much, but her voice...blegh.
Anyway, the gameplay is blegh. You control Lightning - and only Lightning. Whenever you enter battle (typically by using R1), an ATB gauge is lined up. This is divided up in segments, like in the previous two games, but the difference this time is that you input commands and the ATB gauge doesn't fill up unless you're in another "schema" (a set of abilities, accompanied with a (typically ugly) costume change by Lightning). Each command is mapped to Triangle, Square, Circle, or X. In the demo, X is a heavy physical attack (or for the Black Mage schema, Quick Freeze, which is the exact opposite), Circle is your standard physical attack (or, in the case of the Black Mage schema, Rapid Fire, which is a rapid firing of Fire spells), Triangle is your magic attack, and Square is whatever Guard ability you have set. The demo locks pretty much every aspect of customizing your Schema - most abilities are locked (Guard is the only one that isn't), and there's no accessories to buy to do...whatever accessories do. It really, really sucks.
Combat consists mostly of holding the attack button of choice down until you run out of ATB, then changing Schema and repeating until the enemy is dead. You can move Lightning, but she moves really, really slow. Seriously, did she spend all of her time frozen in crystal chowing down on aetherial cookies? You can't summon Odin, which sucks, because Odin is awesome. Staggering isn't really the same thing anymore (the Japanese people realized this and changed its name from ブレイク (Bureiku/Break) to Knock Out (whatever that is in Japanese), as instead of a rising bar that lets you slowly do more damage until BOOM!, +100% to whatever bonus you had before and debilitating the enemy in various ways (typically by action interruption), it's now just a weird wavelength thing that rises whenever you hit an enemy's "weak point". Whenever you hit the weak point, it goes up, and eventually it becomes staggered and a non-curable (but eventually-expiring) debuff hits it. Keep in mind that you might (will) not have the weak point on all of your schema, and that oftentimes you won't have enough ATB to hit the weakness without changing Schema, and you can see the problem.
There's also a new, "exciting" Limit Break system called Overclock. It's kind of weird with ATB costs, but it's basically time slows down for the enemy and Lightning beats them up. It's activated using a system called EP (Energy Points), which is basically TP from FFXIII. It's also the source of the only healing abilities in the game, because that somehow makes the game too easy.
It's also the only way to use Quake again, although this time it just deals non-elemental damage. Although the last few sentences were from the full game, not the demo, but still.
So yeah. Excuse me, I must play Bravely Default now.
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