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Publisher Square Enix
Developer Square Enix
Platform 360, PS3
Release Date 02.11.2014
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The Rundown

As the third game in what has become the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII puts us back in control of heroine Lightning, as the warrior maiden attempts to save the world from destruction. Unfortunately, she’ll only have 13 days in which to do so—and as you play, the game’s clock will count down the days, hours, minute, and seconds until success or failure in that goal.

The Verdict

I’m going to be honest here: neither Final Fantasy XIII or Final Fantasy XIII-2 have been able to really catch my attention. I expected that to be the case again here, but after some hands-on time with this latest gameplay demo, I am legitimately interested. I love the idea of an in-game clock ticking away until the world is going to end—and, as somebody who never cared to play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, it’s also an idea I’ve not really experienced yet!

It wasn’t that “countdown to extinction” idea that most caught my eye, however—it was the game’s Active-Time Battle system. Man, I had a lot of fun getting into battles in Lightning Returns; fights are fast-paced, exciting, and engrossing. One of the key concepts is switching between Lightning’s different Styles, which is a type of job system that allows our heroine to easily transition between different attack, defense, and skill selections.

I’m often mixed on games that force players to constantly switch back and forth between different fighting styles—something I especially hated about Final Fantasy X-2. And yet, here, with the switching being so quick, and the Styles making it easy to quickly have available a wide variety of actions, it all came together pretty darn well.

So, Square Enix you win—I’m finally seriously interested in a game with “Final Fantasy XIII” on its cover.


About Mollie L Patterson

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Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI. Find her on Twitter @mollipen.