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Psyforce avatar 3:28 PM on 01.22.2014  (server time)
Impressions: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 Demo

So I am writing this post as I found myself doing something yesterday that I thought I would never do again. I played a FF XIII game, more specifically the FF XIII Lightning Returns demo that dropped on PSN. Now I surprised myself by doing this as the original FF XIII was one of the worst RPGs that I had ever had the displeasure of playing. This in result had me skipping over FF XIII-2 when that came out shortly after the original. So as you can guess my opinion of the FF XIII series is not a favorable one. Yet with this newest entry I have found a few things that have piqued my interest.
(I swear I will never understand why people are so infatuated with this character)

The new battle system was where I started to began to take a passing interest this new title. When I happened upon a combat video for Lightning Returns I was surprised with how the combat was presented. It seemed less like standard RPG combat and more like an action game. The new dress system also caught my attention not because I like to play dress up but since there is a fair amount of in game cutscenes you can wear funny outfits that counter the tone of serious moments. The outfits also act like different character classes or “Jobs” as final fantasy calls them. So with the arrival of the demo I decided to throw my dislike of the FF XIII series aside and give it a shot.

(Truer words have never Been Spoken Al Pacino)
So in typical Square Enix fashion the game starts with a beautiful CG cutscene that the franchise has become known  for that does very minimal to give a set up of the game (to most likely avoid spoilers of course). Despite not following the series I did go back and do some research to know what was going on, but for those who may be new to the series don’t expect too much explanation from the demo.  To sum up the plot quickly the world has been invaded by a corrupting force called chaos and it is slowly destroying the world. The previous protagonist of the FF XIII franchise Lightning has returned after the events of XIII-2 when comes to her and tells her of the upcoming end of the world and turns her into the Savior, a powerful warrior in charge of saving as many souls as she can before the end of the world.
So the demo begins when lightning crashes a huge party being thrown in celebration of the end of the world to find another of the games previous characters Snow. For some reason Snow does not want to be “saved” by Lighting and after a short conflict you are then tasked with chasing him down. It is here where the combat tutorial begins. Now while the combat system looks incredibly fast and fluid in promotional videos don’t expect to be performing crazy combos out the gate. The battle system can seem confusing at first since it is a bit of a departure from the other two previous entries with Lightning going solo without any party members. This is made up for with the new system that allows Lightning to alternate between three different costumes with different abilities and stats applied to each. Some of these outfits are more magic based while other focus on being combat oriented.

(To be fair if Lightning crashed your party you would probably be a little pissed too)             

All of the actions in battle like hitting and enemy and using magic take away from the action gauge. When you use the gauge you can then switch to another costume that has a full gauge and use that while the other costume’s gauge recharges. So you will want to pick three different outfits that all have different abilities to deal with different situations, but also can complement each others attacks and skills to do some serious damage. So I cleared out the first three enemies and continued on my way.
While from what I have seen the main world of Lightning returns seems to be a decent size with some exploration, the demo is sadly very linear and reminded me of those early hours of FF XIII that were literally point A to point B. Also if you do not like the character Hope then I have bad news for you as he will constantly be chatting away at Lighting through the whole demo (at least he doesn’t sound as whiny as the first XIII game). So after you run down some hallways and fight some more monsters you encounter a boss fight.

(Ladies and Gentlemen behold this dramatic reenactment of playing Final Fantasy 13)

The fight was sadly disappointing as the boss was more or less like the other enemies I had been fighting on the way to him, just with more power and HP. This brings up my main problem with the combat because while you can be moving around and doing multiple combos the enemies kind of just sit there and take the hits, occasionally remembering to try and hit you. Then shortly after the fight Lightning finds a locked door that Snow is behind, but she cannot get through and has to leave him for now, thus ending the demo.

Overall I have to say that the demo was pretty average overall. The combat system was kind of fun to mess around with, but everything else was kind of dull and only reminded me why I did not follow the FF XIII games. Overall it did not wow me or get me too interested in the game, but it might be something I look into for a rental if I have nothing better to do for a week.
So what do you think of this demo Dtoid? Did it impress you and get you excited for the game or did it do the opposite and make you less interested in it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and till next time you stay classy Dtoid.

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