Some fans of the “Final Fantasy” gaming series were concerned when Square Enix announced the production of “Final Fantasy XIII-2.” After all, considering how poorly “Final Fantasy X-2” was received as the sequel to “Final Fantasy X,” fans had a right to be nervous. Gaming journalists responded positively to “Final Fantasy XIII-2,” however, and praised the game’s graphics and gameplay, though they were less than pleased with the storyline.
On September 1, during the “Final Fantasy” 25th Anniversary event in Shibuya, information was released regarding a sequel to “Final Fantasy XIII-2,” saying that it would likely be released in 2013 for the PlayStation3 and Xbox360. With the name being “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII,” this game is meant to be less of a direct continuation to “Final Fantasy XIII-2” and will be more closely related to the “Fabula Nova Crystallis” series. On the other hand, it is meant to be the end of Lightning’s storyline.
Not a lot of information has been given about the game, but we do know that Lightning will be the only playable character and that Hope will be providing guidance to the player. Snow Villiers will make an appearance and will be in a new outfit, though nothing more has been said about the matter.
As far as the plot goes, “Lightning Returns” begins several hundred years after the events of “Final Fantasy XIII-2” when Lightning wakes up on a chain of islands known as Novus Partus. This island is a last refuge for the inhabitants of Pulse. Lightning only has thirteen days left before the world ends and Lightning must do everything in her power in order to prevent this from happening.
The battle system will be similar to that of “Final Fantasy XIII” and “Final Fantasy XIII-2,” which may come as a disappointment to some fans who prefer the traditional battle system in previous games. Not surprisingly, Lightning’s actions throughout the game can influence the amount of time that she has left. For instance, if the player chooses to save a character, time could speed up, while saving a different character will slow down time.
With the announcement of the latest game in the “Final Fantasy XIII” saga, I have to wonder if Square Enix is attempting to make the “Fabula Nova Crystallis” sub-series of games in the same way that they created the compilation of “Final Fantasy VII” games and the “Ivalice Alliance.” While the compilation of “Final Fantasy VII” games have been well received by some fans, others feel that the games are rather overrated and really are not needed in the series. Perhaps “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” will be different, but fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet.