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View Full Version : [LR] To those of you that have played all three games...



Loony BoB
02-18-2014, 06:43 PM
...how do you feel this one compares with the other two? Which had your favourite story/combat/gameplay? What about the world itself?

Sephiroth
02-18-2014, 08:06 PM
Story: The ending of the whole Compilation is the best thing about Lightning Returns but the first Final Fantasy XIII is the best character-wise and considering what is logical as it has no impossible causality paradoxes and other plotholes. The whole Caius-Yeul-story is very touching, however. When it comes to Episode Zero plus Final Fantasy XIII-1 there is the whole Lightning-Serah-Snow story, how she became Lightning, what she thought about Snow, how he proposed to Serah, Kimi ga iru kara and everything. Lightning is like Nier. She does whatever it takes to save the most precious person in her life.

Gameplay (Battle): They are all very similiar, just modified. but I like what Lightning Returns made out of it the most.

Gameplay (Out-of-battle): Lightning Returns the most non-linear one but I would have liked something between it and Final Fantasy XIII-2 a bit more. A bit more strict but in great areas. NPCs, sidequests and all are very good in Lightning Returns.

And someone who needs to grind an hour for EP, even on Normal or still forces himself to do that while trying to do almost everything on one day while saying time, which has about 12 of 14 days usable is killing him, does not know how to play the game. Telling people this and that is right while ignoring context and official material and in this case in-game mechanics and all does not justify some lecturing posts. Play the game as intended but don't say it is bad because you don't know how to sole something in 1 day instead of 14. This is no fairness to the game.

Atmosphere: I love all Final Fantasys and it hurts me everytime to see something in them I do not like. The atmosphere however is always Final Fantasy-like. I was very disappointed when I had Final Fantasy XIII because it was so great in the trailers. Not disapponted because it was not great but because the whole trailers and Kimi ga iru kara made it look so epic but actually showed much of it together with Kimi ga iru kara and then it was so restrictive. It was very difficult for me because I wanted to like it that much and I did like it very much but something I love was just missing which I thought of as very sad because I did not like "not liking something about it" but it is okay. I do not like many other things in other Final Fantassy as well, still the core of what makes Final Fantasy great is there. Nevertheless I do love it and I also love Final Fantasy XII which has many flaws in my eyes, but I need a few more options in a Final Fantasy. Make Enemies spawn, get a few more various sidequests, these kind of things. I got Final Fantasy X HD and I was very impressed how linear it is and I said that even 5 years ago already but I got to replay it with this version and so I also had something very restrictive to a certain point but still Final Fantasy XIII is just not the kind of Final Fantasy where you can decide to go through a village for a while and just look around. I want to be able to go through some rooms and just check them out, find things and maybe a sidequest. It is an absolute eyecatcher, the whole trilogy is but removing the visible enemies and converting the 64 Cie'th missions into 32 Cie'th missions and a bunch of other sidequests, including fighting Fal'Cie=Titan as superboss would have been cool. It is Final Fantasy, however.
Lightning Returns however is the part where I caught myself in the Japanese version so often saying "This is so great ... THIS is Final Fantasy."

The fantasy world atmosphere is definitely there and you can see many aspects of why it is Final Fantasy.

World: As world without seeing how restrictive the first part of the story is, Cocoon, Gran=Pulse and Nova Crysalia all are great. I like nature parts the most such as Sunleth but also some citys, that goes for all Final Fantasys.

Characters: It is one big story even with Final Fantasy XIII-1 having an ending that would not necessarily ask for a sequel - but I am glad it did - and I love what the characters have become. Expanded Universe just allow to make them more human, give them more character and show how they learn in their life. And I love that they finally can find happiness and peace. The greatest focus and so a very good situation on all of them is in the first one but that is just one part of their life and I like how they have gotten more human afterwards as well with their "okay, I am this type of person, how do I react to such things and how much does it change me?" situations. This is why I have no problem with Cloud in Advent Children. He is a human being and not one-dimensional, not just arrogant sometimes or self-critical sometimes, but has many levels of what kind of person he is and how he handles life.

Music: Kimi ga iru kara is the best Final Fantasy XIII theme. The trilogy has some other great themes such as Miracles and also some I don't really like or notice - as in other Final Fantasys - I liked that there were tributes to other Final Fantasys with themes in Lightning Returns. Some themes sound very sad and a bit depressing, others are just wonderful. I think it is very sad that Kimi ga iru kara is just the ending theme of Final Fantasy XIII and never appeared again in the other storyparts as it was pretty much the storytheme in the trailers and made it that wonderful for me together with its scenes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQWOreArKbs

THIS is Final Fantasy XIII.

THIS is Final Fantasy.

sir helix
02-18-2014, 08:26 PM
Dammit! How's anyone supposed to follow up after that lol nice review it was a good read

Skyblade
02-18-2014, 11:29 PM
I'm just going to use this as a place to talk about my first impressions relatively spoiler-free, and I'll get to my comparison to the rest of the series at the end.

First, let me get the story out of the way. I don't really care about the main plot of this game. It has a ton of flaws even this early on, and since I've been spoiled for the ending, I can say it's going to get way, way worse. The main plot sucks. Moving on.

I'm really enjoying the combat. It's fun, it's fairly well designed. I do think the Stagger-wave system is a downgrade from the numeric bar, but other than that, it's pretty much solid. Both of the boss fights I've been involved with have been fun and engaging.

The atmosphere and non-combat gameplay are, however, where this game shines. I love the despair filled world, and I absolutely adore the quests to go help city folk and villagers. I'm currently in Day One (still), and I've done something like eleven quests. I love exploring the town, finding people who want help, and figuring out what I need to do in order to help them.

That said, both of those strengths are marred by a single, massive design flaw which absolutely ruins a lot of the game. This is, of course, the Doomsday Clock. I've been playing with it for a while, and it is horrible. It has no redeeming features whatsoever. It is a blight upon an otherwise quite strong game.

Let me explain why. As I said, I'm still in Day One. So I've managed to figure out how to get permanent Chronostasis (and I'm playing on Normal). That said, my gameplay goes something like this: Complete a quest, maybe a quest and a half. Go grind for an hour to gain EP. Complete another quest. Go grind for another hour. Rinse and repeat. It is absolutely horrible. It utterly destroys the game's pacing, and feels like padding of the worst kind. The actual fights that are a part of the quests, or are me stumbling across a fight on my way across an area? Those are fantastic. The forced grinding for EP? Nowhere near as much.

There's not even any reason for it. The writing of the characters and world already convey the impending sense of doom well enough (just as FFVII did with Meteor, even though you have unlimited time). Heck, you could even revamp the EV system and have a better result: Completing a quest tops off your EP. Problem solved.

But, no. You have to grind, and you have to grind a lot. You can't afford to explore the city, because you have to plan all your activities around the monster hubs. Find an area where monsters spawn that give good EP? Congratulations, you are now going to calculate all your activities based on how long it takes to get to them from that point. You are going to return there after every quest, just to top off your EP. You are going to grind those enemies for hours, until you are sick of seeing them.

It adds nothing to the game, and it ruins the fun of it. You can't immerse yourself in a world when you have to stop every fifteen minutes and just slaughter monsters for an hour.



So, how does this game compare to the others in the series? Overall, it's really good. The story is just as bad as the other FFXIII games, if not worse, but what do you expect by this point? The gameplay is really solid, and the atmosphere and quests are really strong. Even the "main" quests for each area are, so far, solid. That said, the Doomsday Clock is killing it for me. It's probably still better than XIII, but at this point, it's not going to be rated above XIII-2.

Noctis Caelum
02-19-2014, 12:18 AM
Don't know why you are trying to do so much on the first day. It took me until Day 3 to finish both bosses, and I only had a few sidequests done. Now I'm on Day 8, and I have 45 sidequests and 43 Canvas of Prayer missions done. Continuing on either the Dead Dunes story. And I still have oodles of time. It's really no where near as bad as you make it. The game isn't forcing you to grind for EP. That's you doing it to yourself.

Del Murder
02-19-2014, 12:39 AM
I think this game is a complentionist's nightmare.

Sephiroth
02-19-2014, 12:45 AM
I think this game is a complentionist's nightmare.

Why that? If anything Final Fantasy XII is.

Skyblade
02-19-2014, 01:50 AM
Don't know why you are trying to do so much on the first day. It took me until Day 3 to finish both bosses, and I only had a few sidequests done. Now I'm on Day 8, and I have 45 sidequests and 43 Canvas of Prayer missions done. Continuing on either the Dead Dunes story. And I still have oodles of time. It's really no where near as bad as you make it. The game isn't forcing you to grind for EP. That's you doing it to yourself.

The game ticks a minute approximately every three seconds. So a full day (assuming only the first is cut short) would last just over an hour. Even factoring out my grinding, I have been playing considerably longer than that, and I am not yet even halfway through exploring the first city, let alone doing quests in it.

Noctis Caelum
02-19-2014, 04:42 AM
I think this game is a complentionist's nightmare.
XIII is the completionists nightmare. 100+ hours? Fuck. XIII-2 is tamer but also pretty brutal. 100% LR looks a lot easier than both of them, but it will take some time to do. Absolutely.

When I saw the achievements for Lightning Returns I thought it would be the easiest game to 100%.

Skyblade
02-19-2014, 06:54 PM
I think this game is a complentionist's nightmare.
XIII is the completionists nightmare. 100+ hours? smurf. XIII-2 is tamer but also pretty brutal. 100% LR looks a lot easier than both of them, but it will take some time to do. Absolutely.

When I saw the achievements for Lightning Returns I thought it would be the easiest game to 100%.

There's more to completionism than just achievements. In my case, it means doing every quest, acquiring every piece of gear, maxing out my character, and basically anything else that can be done in the game.

Carl the Llama
02-26-2014, 03:08 PM
If you dislike the grinding of the ep, why dont you play on easy, 1 kill of a behemoth = 4ep... and you get something like 1.2? from those meowhatcamacallits with so much ep you could stagger them, kill them in 30ish seconds and then be on your way.

I personally love the game and I have only had it less then a day.

Scotty_ffgamer
02-26-2014, 05:15 PM
Part of me is a bit conflicted with how I'd rank these games at this point. The first one was definitely the weakest of the bunch. However, it does have some advantages such as having a larger, diverse cast and a more focused story. The story still had a lot of flaws in the first game, and none of the stories have been been very well written I feel.

I'd say Lightning Returns is the best of the bunch, though. It's certainly a pretty game, and the gameplay is pretty phenomenal. I think it's the weakest of the bunch in the story department; though, it has the most interesting premise I think. There was a lot of variety in environments and quests, which was nice. The time management was also handled phenomenally well, much better than I expected. At first I was worried about the doomsday clock and about not gaining experience from battles, but I grew to like them in time. Once you move to locations with the bigger enemies, permanent Chronostasis becomes a non-issue (and I didn't have to grind for EP for that. I just fought an enemy here or there for that). Gaining stat increases through completing quests made sense in the context of the story, and it helped create incentive to do the sidequests. You also had flexibility that if you wanted, you could just sleep in Inns if you wanted to go through days quicker. I don't know. I felt everything gameplay-wise was really well designed.

XIII-2 is pretty close behind LR though. I had a lot of fun with that game and put a bunch of hours into it. I had fun collecting monsters, I enjoyed the story for what it was, and the gameplay was a lot of fun.

Sephiroth
02-26-2014, 05:43 PM
Yes, the story in general has plotholes or is not accurate enough in some parts but like how the characters react to what happens and as everything ends happily for them I am very happy about it, too.

Noctis Caelum
02-26-2014, 07:28 PM
I think this game is a complentionist's nightmare.
XIII is the completionists nightmare. 100+ hours? smurf. XIII-2 is tamer but also pretty brutal. 100% LR looks a lot easier than both of them, but it will take some time to do. Absolutely.

When I saw the achievements for Lightning Returns I thought it would be the easiest game to 100%.

There's more to completionism than just achievements. In my case, it means doing every quest, acquiring every piece of gear, maxing out my character, and basically anything else that can be done in the game.
Of course there is. Particularly for Lightning Returns since the achievements are made a lot easier. But for the previous two games, the achievements are a little tougher and make you have to do the mass majority of everything you CAN do in order to 100% the game.

XIII is still my favourite in terms of diversity, and certainly story. I feel like XIII-2 and LR copied (most) of the enemies in the game and added little things to make it unique. Not to mention that Lightning Returns has some shockingly bad low textures. Even if the game can run 1080p, that isn't saying much when the textures are horrifically outdated. I expect better from a 2014 previous generation game. I was still able to enjoy it (and on my really disgusting 480p TV regardless, but I think calling it a pretty game is a little redundant.

A strength for all three games is the solid voice acting. Particularly Troy Baker as Snow. Fuck sakes he needed a much larger role in XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. Then again, they probably couldn't afford to lock him up in a room since he's busy lending his voice to every other game in existence. I also missed the CGI cutscenes that were plentiful in XIII. I know a lot of people hate that kind of thing, and it's a detriment to a game if it can't run cutscenes off its own in-game engine, but even still I find it a lot more enjoyable.

Skyblade
02-27-2014, 02:20 PM
If you dislike the grinding of the ep, why dont you play on easy, 1 kill of a behemoth = 4ep... and you get something like 1.2? from those meowhatcamacallits with so much ep you could stagger them, kill them in 30ish seconds and then be on your way.

I try to avoid playing these games on Easy (a fairly new habit that started with Kingdom Hearts and its bonuses for beating it on higher difficulties, IIRC). If I had some ability to take the extra EP without reducing the enemy difficulty, I'd do it in an instant.

krissy
05-18-2014, 07:42 AM
i dont platinum a game unless i really like the gameplay and im two trophies away now

i platinumed ff13-2 as well

but i'm not going to platinum ff13. :s

they are all very different games so it's hard to compare. in terms of battle system, this one is the hardest to learn for me. too much happening at once, and i couldnt keep up; i was used to a more spread out paradigm system in the other games, and here i was out of my element. the stagger gauge being a whiny sin function didn't help matters, it seemed arbitrary at first. i didn't like having a team, but it added to the solitude uberlightning was supposed to be feeling i think. the party additions in 13-3 don't really count. they're extra spells but you can't modify them in any way.

story? it's the same story that just continues. they wrap everything up nicely, but a lot of it you have to assume things were clear for previously, which i never felt like they were, but that wasn't an to me issue after the second game. ff13 took itself too seriously, with all its holes, to be taken seriously by gamers i think. ff13-2 didn't care as much and took a more lenient route towards story and continuity, and it knew it too (one of the reasons i enjoyed it actually). ff13-3 was much more balanced here, and i liked that about it as well (moogle throwing and theological questions all at the same time)

world/atmosphere, i felt like LR had the best one. it was most coherent, in a way. ff13-2 was a jumbled thing because of the span of time it took to explore the world, and the world developed without your involvement for many many years. no such missingness in LR, where you see how immortality has affected a people, and you mingle with a society that has been hurt tremendously by being given eternal life, in a way. most people in LR are either in disbelief the end is near, or are looking forward to it, it seems like. this is a crazy thing to feel in a video game. LR is still plauged with the weird exposition/monologue story pieces that the previous games had, but the writing's better and tighter this time around. lumina rocks the show and certainly adds to the atmosphere.

the concept is much better than ff13, where you're fighting a big bad sole entity who dragged you into this/big bad govt, and ff13-2 where you fight _the passage of time_. in ff13-3 you are fighting both the actual LOSS of the passage of time, as well as the impending equivalent of heat death in the end. bhunivelze is a nice personification of it, but there's deeper themes here, like perserverence in the face of complacency.

the world design itself is difficult to gauge. i think ff13-2 was prettier, but ff13-3 was more thought out (and even there it still could've used polishing). was happy to see less corridors this time around. even ff13-2 was very corridor happy. ff13 isnt even in the running compared to its children. it was boorish and pragmatic and it makes sense storywise, but its not a fun place to be and experience in a video game. in ff13-3 however, i enjoyed my time. same with 13-2, but in ff13-3 you have time to develop a connection to a place, and in 13-2 your connection never lasts.

i also like that you don't gain exp from fighting. i also had beggars beads on the whole game so i didnt get gil either. it makes more sense this way.

Silent Warrior
05-19-2014, 11:55 AM
I can haz oh-pinyuns!

I prefer the 'real' XIII (XIII-1?) over the others by a country mile. That said, I have to confess that the others have their qualities - but XIII does more stuff well. XIII-2 was just like another Kingdom Hearts for a slightly older target audience - that you could go through conversations multiple times and pick different responses for the fun of it appeared more enjoyable than I first expected. But only if you don't take the game seriously, which is... a very challenging proposition for me.
LR's sort of sandboxy setup felt... somehow invigorating. The importance of time, and how sidequests worked - I actually loved that. The music was improved from XIII-2, but I wish it would've been better still. However, I just can't get past the inane characters, strange terminology, and playing smurfing dress-up?!? Lightning being reduced to this, from the bad-***ery of XIII-1? Sure, the sequels are polished releases, but they just feel like bad fan fiction, despite their many qualities...

Lamia
01-11-2015, 01:19 PM
Graphics - ffxiii
The original was stunning, but the quality dropped in xiii-2, and even more so in LR.

Gameplay - Lightning Returns
LR just has a ton of things to do, as does xiii-2, but the customizable paradigms (garbs), and ability upgrade system of LR give it the edge.

Story - Final Fantasy XIII/LR -tied
The first game had the most coherent narrative, no doubt. But I must conclude world building in this critique, and that's an area LR trumps the original xiii in. Ultimately, I felt that I got to know the world of Nova Chrysalis and it's inhabitants far better than I did Pulse/Cocoon. As for xiii-2, it only succeeded in being convoluted as far so both world building and narrative are concerned, but had excellent characters - yeul, Noel, and caius. But in the end, xiii-2 is the weakest despite strong characters, with LR and xiii being tied for best.

Music - Final Fantasy Xiii-2
One of my personal favorite OSTs, with many tracks that honestly emotionally impact me, such as Noel's theme. All three games have strong music and fellow ff fans will crucify me for saying this but... I prefer the music in hype xiii trilogy to nobuo's work.

Overall, I think the original xiii is the strongest game of the three, if imply because it is the most polished.