Click here to return to the main site.

PS3 Game Review

Lightning Returns
Final Fantasy XIII


Format: PS3
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
RRP: £49.99
5 021290 057272
Age Restrictions: 16+
Release Date: 14 February 2014

Having spent five hundred years in slumber, Lightning is reawakened by the mighty god Bhunivelze as the world is coming to an end. The forces of chaos impinge on the planet and its influence has spread over the preceding centuries. Lightening is brought back to save the remaining souls and with their power Bhunivelze plans to create a new world. However, time is limited and Lightning has only thirteen days in which to save a world...

Review imageFinal Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns is the new FF game for the PS3 from Square Enix. The story follows directly on from FF XIII-2, with Lightning's sister, Serah, dead in the events which precipitated the invasion of chaos and forms part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries. The game is produced by Yoshinori Kitase and directed by Motomu Toriyama.

As well as Lightning, some of the other characters return as well, although their inclusion makes little logical sense, but then if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to accept that Lightning could have engaged in a Rip Van Winkle impression, you may as well accept the inclusion of other characters, especially as the game is designed to bring the overall story to a close.

Review imageThe FF series is infamous for continually tinkering with the combat system and in truth there have been very few which I liked first time out, so it’s no surprise that I find myself underwhelmed with the new combat and power-ups , which seems to have been made overly complex for complexities sake, rather than add to the players enjoyment. True, it does lead to even more depth of tinkering which can be engaged in and the inclusion of the ability to flee a fight with no penalties is a welcome addition and if history repeats itself, I’ll eventually get to see its advantages.

More worrying is Enix’s insistence of concentrating the last few games on Lightning as the central character. One would think that she represented an overwhelming desire by the fan base to see yet another Lightning story, when in fact the overwhelming request is usually for a modern remake of FF VII. In fact the weakest aspect of the game is the overall story, possibly of great interest to those who have followed the series, but lacking in the humour it needed to give a balanced experience.

Review imageThe story unfolds across four main areas. After you get through the tutorial stage you will find yourself in the city of Luxerion, where you are introduced to some of the new elements of the game, including the Order of Salvation and the Children of Etro, two organisations which have grown in the five hundred years of chaos. The game is designed to be more open than previous releases in the series, so there is the main plot as well as numerous sub plots to work your way through. You have full mobility to travel between Luxerion, the city of Yusnaan, the Wildlands and the Dead Dunes. This may not seem a lot, but the areas are quite extensive.

Praise must be given for the game's graphics, although they may suffer in comparison to the newer games on the PS4 and Xbox One. The CGI remain one of the most impressive aesthetic elements of the game, but the expansive arenas in which you play often have the wow factor. I really wouldn’t spend too much time enjoying the view with only thirteen days to play in you soon find that you will need to seriously plan what you plan to do each day, failure to do so may mean that Lightning may well run out of time.

Review imageThe game is more of a continuation of the previous series, rather than a strong stand alone experience, fixing many of the issues that fans had with the previous entries, especially the linier nature of the first one. It still has enough elements to make it a demanding and pleasurable experience, but I can’t help but feel that Enix have finally wrung out the last creative possibilities with this game.


Charles Packer

Review image

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.