Top Critic Average
A game of two halves, Lightning Returns isn't a brilliant end to the XIII trilogy that you may have hoped for, but it's enjoyable. Just try to ignore the coma-inducing story.
Although a greatest hits in a sense ' what with chocobos, Moogles and more ' Lightning Returns can't shake the feeling of a track on repeat. Time is of the essence in real terms as well; time to move on, perhaps.
Square Enix have finally given us a world packed with quests, slick combat and significant depth in how we equip Lightning for battle. So why have they put all this in such a bland world and under a time limit? This could have been a rich game for us to explore and wrap ourselves in. Instead, we're pushed around and made to feel unwelcome.
The story of Final Fantasy XIII and its characters is concluded in Lightning Returns, but both the ending, and the road to it don't form a cohesiveness that you would expect from a Final Fantasy title.
Lightning Returns is the antithesis of its predecessors. The confined and plodding pace of the last two games is no more and the nonsensical narrative has been lightly improved. More still, the combat is hands-down the strongest of the three games. Unfortunately, Lightning's new quest isn't without its limitations, as while the visual fidelity has improved thanks to the transition to the significantly more flexible platform, the six year old engine is showing its age and the degree past assets are used is almost criminal.
To dwell on the debacle that is Lightning Returns's ghastly storytelling is to deprive oneself of a rather fantastically constructed battle system, one that sporadically elevates the game from disastrous lows to dizzying heights.
If you're reading this then I'm going to assumed you have, as a very brave soul, already played through the original pair of games. As such you sort of know what you're getting here. In comparison to XIII it's certainly a stronger experience, but it's a case of whether you can stomach yet another adventure in that vein.
At then end of the day, Lightning Returns is a decent game. It is worth the price and is worth the play to finally get some closure on this time travelling adventure and put an end to the world of FF XIII. There is plenty of extra content to keep you busy but if you're like me, then just finishing the story will be worth it alone.