Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Final Fantasy XIII Comes to an End

As of this moment, the final Final Fantasy XIII has been released. Lightning Returns hit store shelves in the US on 2/11/2014, and it brings a close to the trilogy. Although this isn't the first time a Final Fantasy game got a direct "mainstream" sequel, this is the first time a main Final Fantasy sequel received a sequel. While Final Fantasy X got X-2, and Final Fantasy VII received three spin off titles, Lightning Returns is a direct follow up to XIII-2, and picks up where the Lightning ending left off. It is a part of Final Fantasy XIII, and it brings the story to its conclusion.

Unlike past Final Fantasy games, including XIII and XIII-2, Lightning Returns takes a completely new approach to the gameplay. It features a massive open world filled with people and side quests to take on, the combat takes place in real time, the game features a real time clock which counts down to the world's end, and it only has one playable character as well. It completely breaks away from what fans have come to know and love, but the way it does so also manages to capture a lot of the same spirit. While Lightning is the only playable character, she has a costume change system very much like in X-2, with each costume acting as a "different" party member, with different classes. Even though you are actually playing as a single character, the customization and strategy of a full party still remains. As for the world and the real time clock, that too feels a bit more like what fans have come to expect from the series.

Just like in past entries, and unlike in XIII and XIII-2, the game features a wide verity of areas for you to explore. This has been a series staple since the original Final Fantasy, but this time around you are actually free to complete most events in any order as well. The real time clock is there to limit you at times, but it also makes the vast world much more interesting. The people in the world live out their daily lives, and as time goes on, the world changes and moves around you. An area that may be safe during the day, may turn into a nightmare once the sun sets, and people who are out at night, may not be around during the day. It is a very interesting set up for a Final Fantasy game, but it works. Just like with the party and battle system, it takes what we know and love, and puts a twist to it; turning it into something completely new.

If you're a fan of Final Fantasy XIII, or JRPGs in general, then this game is something you might want to check out. Up until now the series has gone down a rocky road, but if you just give this one a chance, you may be surprised.

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