And so finishing up my May of Final Fantasy I bring you my Lightning Returns review! As usual spoilers ahead! Also fortunately unlike the last disaster, I actually really enjoyed this game so there isn’t gonna be that much rage 😂
So the plot of the 13 series has become incredibly twisted and I’m gonna attempt to ELI5 it as best as I can, otherwise you can read wikipedia or the extremely detailed post explaining why the localization was poo. Basically after that DLC ending in 13-2 where Lightning became a table ornament with Serah’s soul trapped inside of her, she’s reawakened by the god Bhunibutt (Bhunivelze) 13 days before the world is going to end. Bhunibutt just wants a clean reset by erasing all the “mistakes” that were made in the last 500 years in a new world he’s gonna create. He asks Lightning to solve the turmoil inside the people who are still “alive” by listening to their problems and doing bear ass fetch quests. When the world ends, those souls who she’s “purified” will be able to be reborn, but unfortunately anyone else and anyone who’s died before this happens will be wiped off like they never existed. Unfortunately Lightning doesn’t know this until she talks to Cid from the first game (who I completely forgot about) on one of the last days in the game.
Every day she must return by 6AM (this game runs on a timer) and give all the souls she freed into the Yggdrasil tree, get some goofy outfit and talk to Hope about what happened because he becomes her secretary in the “ark”. He’s a vessel of his former self but inside he’s a 1000 year old man and still harbors the feels for Lightning. Unfortunately he cannot act up on them because Bhunibutt is literally stalking everything he does. So then in addition to this, we got this annoying girl Lumina, who the ENTIRE TIME I thought was like young Serah – but turns out she was actually young Lightning – a piece of Lightning’s heart that she shut off in order to become the strong cool beauty character to take care of Serah after their parents died. So this Lumina basically stored Serah’s soul inside her for a bit so that it wouldn’t get sucked into the chaos (the Chaos is that bullshit that happened in the end of 13-2 and kinda wrecked everything.)
Before you can get on with all the side quests though there are 5 main quests you need to complete which involve reuniting with old friends and also freeing their souls. You free the soul of Noel who is bent on revenge to kill Lightning, free Sazh from his misery and awaken his son (and also I just found out that Chocolina is the human furry rendition of his little afro birb!?😂) You also get to meet up with Vanilla who’s dumb enough yet again to have joined the crazy cultists of Bhunibutt and wants to sacrifice herself to basically wipe people from existence without actually realizing it and thinks she’s “making up” for all the destruction she caused in the first game. Fortunately Fang is on to that shit and has been trying to stop it all behind the scenes and you get to join her for some indian jones style ruins spelunking. And of course it wouldn’t be an FF13 game if we didn’t get:
So yea once you finish the 5 main quests you got about 6 days to do all the side quests, and you can even freeze time using your skills in order to get to certain quests because some of them only appear during a certain hour and certain passageways on the maps only open during certain parts of the day. My favorite 2 areas were the Wildlands and Yusnaan. All the side quests and music there were just great and I got to meet up with my Odin chocobo!!!!! I honestly never really cared about Odin in the first game but man do I love his bird self in this one 😭😭
Now I want to talk about the game system a bit. For one I would definitely recommend using a controller for this because swapping sets during battle with a keyboard is probably really annoying. Secondly if you are playing the STEAM version, the DLC outfits are OP. Particularly at the start of the game I was basically using the 2 Yuna outfits from FFX and FFX-2. The FFX Yuna outfit I used well into endgame because Elements was an extremely OP skill. While there were a lot of nice outfits, most of the time I basically only really customized the “headgear” otherwise my outfit sets were like 1) Melee set 2) Debuff set (main) and 3) Yuna magic set. Here’s a gallery of some of my outfits I used throughout the game!
The pink dress was actually required for that specific part of the cut sene but the rest I kinda wore for fun/stats. I also discovered a couple chapters in that you could basically dye every piece of gear and not just the whole thing but you could dye different parts different colors which was great! XD You could also mix and match shields and swords for the stats you wanted so I had the Yuna outfit coupled with Caius’ ridiculously giant sword lol.
I also really enjoyed the music in the game, especially all the chocobo songs as well as the Yusnaan themes.
So once you finish all the side quests and main quests you can do optional side dungeons or hard bosses but ain’t nobody got time for that so I just slept my time at the inn, beefed up my skills and went to fight Bhunibutt, save Hope, save Lightning, save everyone (except Caius lol get rekt son) and turn this game into Final Fantasy 13: A Realm Reborn. 😂😂 And ayy muh OTP is canon and nobody can stop meeehh
Also now I see Caius as Yuel’s dad being like “I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY DAUGHTEROO NOEL!! …Alright fine you can have her I’ll just go do the time god shit alone lmao”
I guess in the end Snow x Serah is ingrained hard in stone no matter how useless Snow was in the first 2 games. At least he somewhat redeemed himself in the final game xD
So overall I had a positive experience. The only 2 things that annoyed me was 1) the quests were unclear unless you looked up a guide. You had to look up a guide to see where a quest NPC would spawn and what their “spawn hours” were which was impossible to do without a guide or a lot of trial and error. Certain quests had to be completed in a certain span of time or you would fail the quest or end up with a negative outcome (like how I got the chocobos at the farm killed because I didn’t go there 2 hours earlier than I was supposed to – and I had no notification of anyone telling me to do so.) The 2nd thing was the difference between English localized text vs what was said in Japanese. I always expect there to be some difference of course, but the names were the one pet peeve I had. For example the NPCs would clearly say “Find Rolan” and the text would say “Find Rufan” wtf. Some of the npcs were pronounced as “Kureha” or something and the English text would be “Millie” or something. I don’t remember the exact name but it was so wildly different I was really confused a lot of the time who I had to actually go see because I’m hearing 1 name but looking for another one. I found it funny how Dr. Mokomoko was Dr. Sheep in English though. 😂 Oh and one last thing is at the end my game had a lot of frame loss and crashed a lot so I don’t know what happened but I can only assume another crappy Steam port issue.
The other thing that bothered me was the side quests in the game were all very meaningful and nice but the majority NPCs were HIDEOUSLY modeled:
A lot of the NPCs also were just copy pastes of NPCs that ran around town so you gotta find the “boy with the bread” and like there’s 10 copies of the same “boy” NPC. Like I get it, I’m not asking for beautiful models like with the main cast but at least put a little effort into the models that have these deeply involved quests….they just looked like polygons with some low res texture painted on that gave me FFX vibes 😂.
Thanks to the few who came by to watch my stream and anyone who helped and gave me advice on where to go lol. As usual you can find my highlights at my twitch channel. Now that I got my rpgs out of the way I guess it’s time for me to get back to some visual novels!
Edit: I found a fan made Hope x Lightning animation that takes place after the game ends and it’s really cute (4 parts of it) ☺
P.S. I feel like Nier:Automata took a LOT of things from this game because there was a ridiculous amount of similarities to me….so in my opinion if you liked that game you might like this one too.