Exploration Is Back In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

By Sato . September 26, 2013 . 4:32pm


You could say that Square Enix stole some thunder at this year’s TGS, with Lightning and her Yuna costume, along with the recently revealed Aerith costume. In addition to the extended version of the trailer showcased at the event, Square Enix also showed off some gameplay footage of the earlier parts of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.



The first part starts out with a fight against what appears to be a mid-level boss, but it is actually considered a much lower-leveled foe. As Lightning asks Hope what she should do next, he reminds her that their top priority is to secure Snow.


After skipping the tutorials, Square Enix gives us a look of what it’s like to step right into the action against Anubis. The three commands shown on the screen are Fight, Thunder and Guard. These actions can be used through a series of combos by simply pressing the buttons, in any order. Whenever the enemies attack, you can guard the hit by timely pressing the Guard button.


The action-based battle system is compared to that of Final Fantasy Type-0, with Lightning’s very own twist of style changes. At around 3:40, we get a look at a quick style-change, that changes Lightning’s appearance in addition to the Blizzard spell that replaces Thunder. Additionally, her weapon and shield also changes, which can be customizes according to your preference.


One point that will be important to take note of, is the red ATB gauge shown on the screen. It diminishes after each hit, and if it completely runs out, you’ll be required to switch out to another style.


At around 6:40, they demonstrate a successful counter guard. Pulling off this action will momentarily stun the enemy, allowing you to give them a good beating.



The next part of the demonstration starts out with a successful preemptive strike, which decreases the Anubis’ health by 10%. When there are more enemies in battle, using the guard action will be a little trickier. If you happen to take more hits, no worries, as the action comes to stop while you’re deciding on which items you’ll be using.


As seen shortly afterwards, Hope will often communicate with Lightning as she travels through dungeons, regarding current events and more. The goal of this current objective is to chase down the dark silhouette.


Another thing to take note of is the area that indicates the monster’s name. This feature is demonstrated at around 4:00, where you can see what appears to be a frequency wavelength on their health bar. This will indicate the enemy’s weakness according to various colors. Not only does it show their weaknesses, but it will also come in handy for pulling off guard actions.


At 5:37, Lightning gives a suggestion of checking out the area for something that looks different. On her right-side, you’ll see a glowing part of the pillar, which opens the gate. She and Hope will often give you various tips and other suggestions as you go through dungeons.


The silhouette seen earlier ends up being Lumina, who’d rather summon beasts to get in Lightning’s way, rather than having a nice discussion. This character will be appearing on various occasions; sometimes as a friend, and other times as an enemy.


Since enemy in particular is weak to magic, Lightning is seen barraging it with different spells. The key to winning this fight is by doing counter-guards, also known as “Knockouts,” in order to do further damage with magic while it is stunned.



Lightning heads back to The Ark after hearing some of the guards going towards her direction, followed by a cut-scene that shows us a little of the past regarding her younger sister Serah. Following the event, Lightning is back at The Ark, where Hope is located. For more information regarding The Ark and other features, check out our earlier report featuring an interview with design director Yuji Abe.


After another cut-scene with Lightning and Hope, she briefly explores the area and finds a treasure containing a weapon called “Devil’s Daughter” and several other goodies. Once all the treasures are picked up, we get a quick look at the Style Customization menu at around the 9:05 mark. In this menu, you’ll get to change your equipment for various styles along with action command configurations. Additionally, this is where you’ll also be customizing the color schemes of your equipment.


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be available in North America on February 11th, 2014, and in Europe on February 14th, 2014.

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  • Cero55

    Am i the only one that doesn’t really like the HUD? i guess ill have to deal with it…

    • lunarwhale

      I came down to make that same comment. It’s just kinda… gaudy and oversized, especially when she’s walking around. It’s a bit more forgivable in battle, I guess.

    • DivinePhoenix69

      Ehh it could use some more work, not that big of a deal though(for me atleast).

    • JuhRo

      Final Fantasy HUDs always make me happy.. so.. I’m definitely biased.

      I don’t think it’s necessary outside of battles though. Makes it feel like a DMC game.. or Dirge of Cerberus.


    Looking forward to this. I wish there’d be an option to play with Japanese voices + English subtitles though.

    • Rob Wu

      I had always assumed this option was removed in the past FF13s because of the 360 version being on DVDs (and thus not being able to fit like on a ps3 blu-ray)

      The asian market has this option for PS3 copies. But it’s pretty pricey to import one over.

  • Arcana Wiz

    maybe this will shut up the people who say that they are only showing fanservice?….. nah.

    • Sardorim

      You speak of something that is an impossibility!

    • No, they’ll still say Lightning’s being shoved down their throats, that they mashed x to win, that it’s still a giant hallway, or that they won’t play without Sazh… they always find SOMETHING…

      • Shippoyasha

        I don’t understand people who says Lightning was ‘omnipresent’ in the last 4 or 5 years. She was a part of an ensemble cast and is arguably not the sole main character in FF13. She was almost entirely absent in FF13-2, she was a bit of a ‘talk of the town’ in Dissidia games and she FINALLY is in a game that could potentially have her as a proper protagonist. Just because her image is used a lot in promos and a lot of people cosplay as her doesn’t mean she was omnipresent in the games she was in.

        • Tell that to the stubborn guys. These are the same kinds of gamers who still bash DmC to THIS day– despite it being a geniunely good game.

        • Storm

          She’s really not that much more exposed than Yuna, and definitely not Cloud. She was barely even in XIII-2.

    • Luis Ibal


    • NewestType

      They’ll skip to the last video forward to 9:00. Then, say how all the news square is responsible for on siliconera regarding the game is about costumes.

    • icecoffemix
  • DivinePhoenix69

    Game is looking really good so far, super stoked for this!

    • Luis Ibal

      ikr? tottaly buying the game. :)

  • eilegz

    shoko tan its so cute….

    i thought she only enjoy pokemon and zelda… never expected that she like Final Fantasy too

  • NightzeroAX

    Loving how the Battle System looks so far. Also the loading screen looks oddly similar to the background when you fight Final Xemnas.

  • Lloyd Christmas

    Lightning’s default outfit has really grown on me lately. It must be them sexy gloves.

  • Dark Zerato

    So Lightning can change her outfit during a battle. That makes me think of Erza Scarlet.

    • Wesacer

      oh god i thought that too O.O

    • natchu96

      They both have a suspiciously large number of fanservice outfits as well.

  • $61526767

    All of it sounds promising..But really like the color panel system they added to the game.

  • leingod

    I still dislike almost everything FFXIII, but this one is looking more promising by the day. Exploration and tons of costumes / equipment? Always good. If it has many towns to visit and a world map, it’ll feel like FF again!

  • leingod

    I still dislike almost everything FFXIII, but this one is looking more promising by the day. Exploration and tons of costumes / equipment? Always good. If it has many towns to visit and a world map, it’ll feel like FF again!

  • ShinobiBrown

    Even with not being the biggest fan of the FFXIII series and it’s story, even I have to admit this game is shaping up very nicely. I’m really digging the battle system of this installment. The mid-battle transformations remind me of X-2’s dress spheres, which isn’t a bad thing (I’m one of the few who enjoyed X-2 for it’s combat).

  • uhawww

    Knock Out > OverDrive > ORAORAORAORAORA

    Gotta admit, this game looks great.

  • Ronldbx6

    I want to be Japanese so bad. Everything about their culture is just so cool! Some of the girls are adorable, I just want to squeeze em.

    • Jon

      Take a trip there someday, dude. Pictures and even video doesn’t do it justice.

      • Ronldbx6

        Are you kidding me? If there’s any place I could travel to in the world, it would be Japan.

  • “We brought back exploration, guys, but you’re kinda on a persistent time limit all the time.”

    Please do correct me if I’m wrong here, but I was under the impression the “x time to save the world” thing wasn’t just a storytelling mechanic, which sort of steals the thunder out of being able to take your time and meander through the posies.

    • saxophone15

      I’m curious about the time limit. It’s possible you will be able to play the game normally and still beat it within the time limit (and by playing normally, I mean the main story and maybe some side stuff).

    • Nice Boat Quatro

      Who knows. Exploration must be part of missions like “Find Caius in this building”

  • Kornelious

    You can move her during battle? Sweet! I thought it was gonna be just pressing button while lightning moves on her own.

  • Nice Boat Quatro

    Ever since the first trailer I have been waiting for the full new “Blinded by Light.” I wonder when we will we listen it.

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