The final part of "Final Fantasy 13" series engages with creative gameplay mechanics. But the story is lukewarm.
"Final Fantasy 13", was criticized for its linear structure and menial role-playing elements, but nevertheless spawned off in the two sequels. "Lightning returns" is the final leg, and the game studio Square enix seems to have taken that criticism.
The main character in "Final Fantasy 13", Lightning, returning after 500 years of absence to a world on the brink of ruin. She has turned into a messiah figure, with the mission of saving souls from the world's destruction. But for Lightning is not about a divine journey, she would just see her deceased sister.
In "Lightning returns" is not the downfall only a backdrop. The world will be destroyed in 13 days, and the time is ticking slowly downward. The only thing you can do is to postpone the time by helping the remaining people.
Unlike the previous games in the series, presents here a relatively open world, with four different locations: a religious city, a desolate desert, an entertainment metropolis and a grassy landscape. They are richly populated, beautifully decorated and feels both free and alive. However, it is a thief of time to lounge around, and I have to constantly revise my strategy on how I can help the most people in the shortest time. It is impossible to help everyone because not enough time. Should you not shoot up over time long enough, you lose everything.
The use of time is stressful, emotional and certainly makes it feel like the end is near. It is a smart brainteaser mechanical grip that manages to create commitment and seriousness in a right over used frameworks.
"Lightning returns" has also renovated the combat system for the better and added a lot more RPG elements. They play only as Lightning, and changes during the fighting between three different armors. These tailored for certain kinds of battles or by your preferences. An armor, for example, arranged with sword skills, another to do magical damage. During the game picks one up new armor, attributes and skills and it makes you constantly edit your costumes and reformulate strategies. It's a very refreshing battle system that maintains the game through.
"Lightning returns" are both games mechanically more rewarding and more challenging than its predecessors. Rather it is the story that valleys. Much of the story involves the Lightning must rescue her companion from previous games. They are either pure sleeping pills or emotional wreck, and none of them seems to have changed since the first game.
To see again Lightning is the bright spot. Her hard-boiled surface and crushing dry replicas that are balanced by the love of her sister, making her one of the game's few truly interesting characters. But even Lightning’s personal journey feels familiar from the first game.
In fact, the story is often overshadowed by the side missions. To arrange a failing restaurant and at the same time bringing a family is really touching, with unexpected fun chat of Lightning as a bonus.
But otherwise quit "Lightning returns" series in a much better way than it started. It does almost everything as "Final Fantasy 13" should have done, from its vibrant open world and elaborates battle system to the framework's actual seriously.