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Anime News Network (Feb 11, 2014)
Lightning Returns stumbles over itself, but only because it is so excited to show you the next thing. It will make you angry, sometimes, but its rapid pace and infectious ebullience do well in warding off long-term frustration. The game is so excited by its very existence that we can't help but thrill along with it. It loves its character, it loves its world, and it loves itself. Its positivity is so relentless, and so sincere, that it's hard not to be taken in by it, even just a little, even when it's being completely stupid. Every time we notice something Lightning Returns does wrong, we're immediately reminded of all the things it does right.
MondoXbox (Feb 11, 2014)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII è un gioco che non cade mai nella monotonia e che riesce a scuotere il cuore degli appassionati del genere con le sue ambientazioni tra l'altro interamente esplorabili. Il tutto è condito da una splendida trama ben raccontata e un sistema di combattimento ben fatto ed efficace. A tutto ciò si aggiunge l'ottima grafica che rende ancora più gradevole l’esperienza. Peccato per qualche problema tecnico che non gli fa raggiungere il top, ma Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII è sicuramente uno di quei titoli che meritano di essere giocati.
Eurogamer.net (UK) (Feb 11, 2014)
It's a strong end to an uneven trilogy, then. There is little consistency across the three games, from the ultra-focused linearity of Final Fantasy 13, to the dimension-hopping skittishness of its sequel and on to this almost entirely freeform conclusion. It's a deliberate demonstration from the team that it's able to deliver on various approaches to game design (and tone) within the Final Fantasy umbrella. From its dazzling battle system to its overarching temporal puzzle, this is the best of the set - even if it's dragged down by an exhaustingly impenetrable plot that its creators will no doubt be pleased to be done with.
Joystiq (Feb 11, 2014)
Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 had some serious missteps, but Lightning Returns ends on a strong note by sticking to what really matters: great combat and a story you want to see through. No gimmicks, no tricks, no convoluted treks through time, no cliffhangers, no tunnels – just one last trip around the world with a pink-haired heroine, and then a fond farewell.
Eurogamer.de (Feb 14, 2014)
Trotzdem stimmt es mich glücklich. Glücklich darüber, dass dem Team das Gameplay wichtiger war als die Optik. Glücklich darüber, dass man lieber an vier kleinen, unterschiedlichen Gebieten arbeitete, anstatt eine riesige, homogene Masse zu erstellen. Glücklich darüber, dass man Risiken einging und den Mut zur Innovation zeigt. Und obwohl Lightning Returns manchmal unfertig wirkt, weist es von der gesamten Trilogie das größte Herzblut auf. Genau deswegen ist es sicherlich kein Spiel für jedermann. Die Geister werden sich daran scheiden und für alle Ewigkeit auf zwei Lager verteilt darüber diskutieren. Ich stelle mich jedenfalls auf die Seite der Befürworter.
RPGFan (Feb 11, 2014)
The least impressive title in the trilogy from both a narrative and gameplay standpoint, Lightning Returns is best suited to existing fans.
Worth Playing (Feb 11, 2014)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a strange game. Frame rate problems and a nonsensical story are balanced by one of the franchise's best combat systems, which is held together by a strange patchwork of gameplay mechanics. Some work, some don't, and some are too strange to properly judge. It's a rough game that was clearly made on a shoestring budget. It isn't an easy game to recommend, and it's even harder to identify an audience for it. There are a lot of bright moments to be found under the warts, and JRPG fans will find something to like in the strange stew that is Lighting Returns.
Jeuxvideo.com (Feb 12, 2014)
Oui mais voilà, alors qu'il s'agit d'un choix audacieux qu'on ne peut qu'applaudir, la contrainte de temps imposée, qui aurait pu être formidable en elle-même, semble totalement inadaptée au genre que le reste du gameplay de ce Lightning Returns représente. Tellement de choses à faire, tellement de choses à voir, et trop peu de temps pour en profiter, voilà ce qui risquera de marquer votre aventure. Une sensation d'échec constant et de frustration. Quoi qu'il en soit, la conclusion de la trilogie Final Fantasy XIII vaut largement la peine d'être vécue, au moins pour l'expérience inédite qu'elle vous apportera.
411mania.com (Feb 20, 2014)
Overall, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a good ending to the trilogy. Sure, there may be some rough edges and frustrating parts, but fans of other XIII titles will still enjoy seeing the end of Lightning and co. The game is honestly worth a look for the battle system alone. It may be hard, but it’s still enjoyable to experience once you get a feel for it. Lightning’s adventure may be over, but hopefully the combat system makes a return in the future.
Official XBox Magazine (Feb 11, 2014)
It might be worth it if you felt like you were doing quests for any sort of reward beyond all-important stat boosts, but the souls you're trying to save are an utterly boring bunch of forgettable folk. Their behavior often blatantly contradicts the logic of the story (i.e. children acting like children, despite being alive for centuries), except when it's convenient to the flow of events. Lightning's disinterest in the people she's helping mirrors our own tedium: she's not doing it for their sake, she's doing it for the rewards. The time limit, poor quest design, and uninteresting NPCs result in an open world that feels dull and constrained. Thanks to its engaging combat and spectacle, Lightning Returns manages to distract somewhat from its overarching design issues. As a game, it's notably flawed but has its moments.
Game Informer Magazine (Feb 11, 2014)
Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 trained me to look past a bad plot and appreciate good gameplay, but the positives are more buried and harder to see in Lightning Returns. It makes the same mistakes with its narrative, and swaps out systems that worked (like monster collection and the crystarium) for half-baked concepts that don’t hit the same high notes. The conclusion of a trilogy presents the opportunity for an emotional farewell to a beloved cast and world, but Lightning Returns only left me relieved to see this adventure end.
God is a Geek (Feb 11, 2014)
Fans of the previous games will find a lot to like here, but it’s neither a good jumping off point nor the type of game you play just for the hell of it. It’s destined to have the same divisive impact as its forebears, and because of that Lightning Returns is hard to recommend broadly, but worthy of some praise nonetheless.
Official Xbox Magazine (UK) (Feb 11, 2014)
Thanks to its engaging combat and spectacle, Lightning Returns manages to distract somewhat from its overarching design issues. It's notably flawed but has its moments, mostly in its fantastic battles. As an end to the long, drawn-out Final Fantasy saga, it's rather disappointing. As a beacon for the future of the franchise? Well, Square Enix certainly tried a lot of interesting things with the FFXIII series, though some of it didn't really work out well in the end. Let's just hope FFXV proves that it's learned from the numerous missteps of the unluckiest number.
3D Juegos (Feb 11, 2014)
Sea como fuere, lo importante es dejar claro que este título es todo lo contrario a lo que defendió aquel, apostando incluso por un sistema temporal al estilo Majora's Mask que suponía tirar la casa por la ventana en cuanto a atrevimiento. Por desgracia, el esquema no ha terminado de cuajar, pero eso no quiere decir que nos hallemos ante una obra desaconsejable. Puede que la barrera a superar sea elevada para los curiosos que sientan interés, pero los fans del género, y ante todo los fans incondicionales tienen aquí la última parada de una saga que esperemos se cargue de fuerzas para afrontar el futuro con mejor suerte. Hasta entonces, toca salvar el mundo junto a Lightning, si te da tiempo, claro…
ZTGameDomain (Feb 12, 2014)
Lighting returns is a good game with some interesting mechanics and a well acted story. It has some game play quirks that I could have done without, but in the end, I enjoyed my time with it. It takes some getting used to with both the combat and the time mechanics, but after adjusting to how it wants to be played, it offers up a nice installment of the XIII series.
The Escapist (Feb 11, 2014)
If you were hoping that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was going to be a return to Square's RPG greatness of yesteryear, you're going to be disappointed. This latest title continues to attempt to straddle the line between RPG and action game.
Gamereactor (Sweden) (Feb 12, 2014)
Jag gillar ändå det mer actionbetonade stridssystemet med en ensam Lightning mot världen och alla referenser till tidigare spel i det flexibla Final Fantasy-universumet, och slås med häpnad av hur komplicerad storyn faktiskt är. Men tyvärr kan jag tyvärr inte påstå att den avslutande delen i maratonloppet som är Final Fantasy XIII-trilogin, blåste mig av stolen direkt.
XboxAchievements (Feb 18, 2014)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a disappointing conclusion to what should have been a barnstorming final chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII saga. Strong combat that's severely undermined, a feeble narrative and a veritable litany of hit and miss moments all conspire to make Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII an agonising missed opportunity.
GameFront (Feb 11, 2014)
There’s a great game buried in the code of Lightning Returns, and if you’re the sort that’s willing to dig through a seemingly endless amount of mind numbing sidequests, then you might be able to find it. For me though, Lightning Returns was a draining gauntlet of fetch quests and gathering missions that occasionally allowed me to have fun with its deep combat and customization options. Unfortunately, occasional fun is not something I can recommend for a game that lasts upwards of 40 hours, especially when the rest of time spent playing feels like running errands.
Lazygamer (Feb 24, 2014)
There is no doubt in my mind, Lightning Returns is the worst Final Fantasy game that the franchise has ever seen. With gameplay that undermines the core elements of what Final Fantasy should be, it is a poor finale to an average trilogy. I was happy to see the way they tied up loose ends – players finally learn the truth about Chocolina, Yeul’s role is explained and Lightning finally seems almost human. However, the issues far outweigh the benefits.
IGN Germany (Feb 12, 2014)
Doch was nützt dieser mehr als gelungene Aspekt, wenn sich der ganze Rest dennoch immer wieder mit einer Penetranz anbiedert, dass ich mich eher wie auf einer erzwungenen Familienfeier fühle, anstatt mit einer Verflossenen erneut anzubandeln? Immerhin bewahrt dieses Quäntchen Originalität das Rollenspiel vor einem totalen Desaster und bugsiert es in die unluftigen Höhen des unteren Durchschnitts.
Trusted Reviews (Feb 11, 2014)
Lightning Returns earns high marks for fan service, and if you had the patience for the two preceding chapters then the final Final Fantasy XIII may go down well. Yet for many of us this is a disappointing conclusion to a disappointing saga, still too opaque and unenengaging to keep you locked in for the duration. There are other Japanese RPGs out there working harder to innovate, and to capture hearts and minds. Final Fantasy needs to rediscover itself if it’s to join them.
RPG Site (Feb 11, 2014)
I can think of a few words to sum up Lightning Returns. Ambitious; it's certainly that. Flawed; that too. Rushed? I think probably. Clever - in some brilliant ways, it absolutely is. That's the biggest disappointment of all.
4Players.de (Feb 20, 2014)
Statt Gruppendynamik und Teamwork zelebriert man lieber Fetisch-Modeschauen und Social-Media-Gedöns, während Story und Technik sträflich vernachlässigt wurden. Auch die Charakterentwicklung wurde noch weiter automatisiert und mittlerweile um jede noch so kleine Richtungsbeeinflussung erleichtert. Dabei hatte man nach dem Mehr an Freiheit und Experimentierfreudigkeit in Final Fantasy 13-2 eigentlich gedacht, dass die Entwickler die Kurve noch gekriegt und sich wieder auf alte Tugenden besonnen hätten. Doch stattdessen zwingen sie einen durch künstlichen Zeitdruck nur noch mehr zu einem bestimmten Spielstil: Mit Terminplaner und Scheuklappen zum Ziel galoppieren. Dabei hätten die vielen Einzelschicksale und angenehm weitläufigen Areale doch perfekt zum Erforschen und Erkunden eingeladen. Nur dank interessanter Kampf- und Ausrüstungsoptionen sowie entsprechender Herausforderungen rettet sich Lightning zum Abschied noch knapp auf befriedigendes Niveau.
Digital Spy (Mar 07, 2014)
While Lightning Returns is in most ways the opposite of Final Fantasy XIII's overbearing linearity, it ultimately shares the same core recommendation; if you manage to stick with what's a very uneven first half, there's definitely an enjoyable and satisfying role-playing game to be found. It's just a shame it takes so much time to get there.
Polygon (Feb 11, 2014)
At one point in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, a character from the previous games is talking about their past adventures and their seeming futility as the end of the world looms over them. "It didn't mean a thing," she says. "It's done and gone." The game eventually attempts to fight that fatalism, but it was too late for me. I've had some good times with the Final Fantasy 13 games and a lot of bad memories, with Lightning Returns mostly falling into the latter. But now it's done and gone. And it didn't mean a thing.
GameSpot (Feb 11, 2014)
Games have successfully used timers to evoke a sense of urgency in the past; The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask leaps immediately to mind. Yet Majora's Mask handled its time limits with care, whereas Lightning Returns layers them on top of mechanics that don't support them. This supposedly final chapter of Nova Chrysalia's story leaves me befuddled. It's a collection of ideas and concepts that don't come together in a coherent way, led by a character who has shown no identifiable growth since her first appearance four years ago. The promising schemata system and grandiose cutscenes are solid pillars from which a great RPG could have been constructed, but Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII falls well short of greatness.
Game Critics (Feb 11, 2014)
Boiling it all down, Lighting Returns is a flashy combat system lacking some basic components that's wrapped up in soporific item hunts and fetchquests that don't feel worthy of the time that's required to do them. I'm all in favor of having more female protagonists and innovation in combat systems (especially if they involve using style as a weapon!) but the interesting apocalyptic premise is wasted on a tiresome project that thinks offering a thousand boring things to do is the same as creating a worthwhile adventure.