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.