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YMMV: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  • Accidental Innuendo: "One day, the light touched me." from trailers. That it's the character herself saying it doesn't change the fact the main protagonist's nickname is "Light".
  • Arc Fatigue: It's the second sequel to a game that had mixed fan reception in the first place, and the trilogy's plot as a whole contains much Mind Screw.
  • Awesome Art: Much like the previous two games, Isamu Kamikokuryo's art direction is fantastic.
  • Broken Base:
    • Given it is another sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, a game that had already split the base in two, this is to be expected. Also, since Lightning's the only playable character, some fans are not happy. On the other side of the base, fans are actually interested by the idea of a new battle system, as well as the prospect of customization options for Lightning.
    • Either the game being called Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is a fitting title considering the change in gameplay style from 'XIII & XIII-2, or it's narmtastic & should've just been called Final Fantasy XIII-3.
    • Pre-release, Snow and Noel being enemies that will try to kill Lightning. Fans who like them didn't want to defeat them. Post-release, this has mellowed out as the full circumstances of the situations became known.
    • Lightning's costumes in general. Some of them are criticized for sexualizing the character and not fitting her.
      • Cloud's costume & Buster Sword being DLC. Some appreciate the Fanservice, whilst others are declaring that it's heresy that Lightning is able cosplay as Cloudnote . And of course, some hate it because, once again, it seems like VII favoritism where it wasn't needed; but then these people seem to be ignoring/unaware that Yuna's costumes from Final Fantasy X & Final Fantasy X-2, a Miqo'te costume from Final Fantasy XIV, and a costume resembling Locke's are also available.
      • And some hate the Cloud costume because it's blatantly overpowered to the point of being unfair.
    • Hope being de-aged back to fourteen is getting a lot of flack from people who had been looking forward to seeing Lightning interact with a grown up Hope. It doesn't help that Hope almost has the same outfit as in the first game (when he was The Scrappy).
    • The ending. We won't go into details for it here, but all you have to do is post a screenshot from it to make people lose their shit.
    • The Collector's Edition. Not because of its content in itself, but because it's only available on Square's own site, which means processing and shipping is handled by Digital River, a company infamous for its horrendous reliability (the incident involving Ni No Kuni is a good example). This delivery was no exception, as people who placed additional items in their order, such as pre-ordering the Final Fantasy X/X-2 collection, found their orders delayed until everything was available.
    • The changes the English dub made to the dialogue in the game's final boss fight & ending caused no small amount of ire on Tumblr and folks who watched the Japanese release of the game before it was released in the West, with opinion split on whether it's a Woolseyism or if too much was Lost in Translation.
    • The reduced role of Caius left many bitter and annoyed since he went from the strongest villain in the franchise, to a minor one bit boss who shows up in the ending to simply "die". Some however are happy his role was reduced because he came across as a God-Mode Sue.
  • Demonic Spiders: A good amount of the enemies qualify.
    • The Dryads, who love to split into four and then gleefully spam Aerora at you in unison. In fact, all of the demon-type enemies count.
    • The Meonekton, which was once a pitifully weak monster in XIII-2, is now an obnoxious pain in the ass to fight: It's difficult to successfully stagger, and it loves spamming high-powered "Force Darts" at you.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Lumina. After being revealed in a scan and some screenshots, she's all over Tumblr now.
    • A lot of people agree that Snow is rather snazzy in his new outfit.
    • Hope's handkerchief.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The Last One system seems to encourage hunting to extinction, and even rewards it.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Still Lightning/Hope; people who are against Shotacon are disappointed that Hope is de-aged to 14, though.
  • Game Breaker: The Cloud outfit for hard boss fights. When you fight bosses, and you have trouble, the easiest thing to do is just stagger them, then use Overclock to speed yourself up and slow them down, and then just spam Heavy Slash, the locked ability mapped to the Triangle/Y button in the Cloud outfit. It has a passive ability that says when your enemy is staggered, it changes into the Slayer ability, which multiplies the damage output exponentially, and when you have your enemy slowed down with Overclock, you can spam the attack For Massive Damage. You can take out hard bosses like the first two main quest bosses in mere SECONDS by doing this.
    • Under the right conditions, the time-stopping ability Chronostasis. Normally you're on a time limit, period, and this ability will stop time for one in-game hour as long as you have EP to spend. However, while small- and medium-sized enemies only give around 0.05 and 0.20 EP upon defeat on Normal, the large ones give 4, 2 or 1 EP depending on the difficulty level (your starting max being 5). In short, careful manipulation of Chronostasis and defeating large enemies Example  allows you to near-infinitely keep time stopped, turning what would otherwise be an entire day of exploration/quest progression into hours.
    • Unlike in the previous two games, it's possible to attain complete immunity to physical or magical attacks with the right Garb/Accessory setup. It does reduce that schema's offenses to near-zero, but tactical schema changes can render you Nigh Invulnerable to most enemies and it has no effect on stagger buildup and preservation even though you'll be doing single-digit damage per hit to most enemies, allowing you to use those schemata to stagger most troublesome enemies with little to no risk.
    • The Soldier of Peace garb comes with the Artemis's Arrows ability, which is similar to the Slayer ability mentioned above... except that it ignores a target's resistances and deals Stagger-level damage even if the enemy isn't staggered, allowing it to tear huge chunks out of the strongest enemies in the game. It's mitigated somewhat by having highly variable damage, and the garb starting battle with an empty ATB gauge.
    • The Beat Down attack, combined with a weapon that has the Jump passive ability. Jump works much like the "Slayer" passive mentioned above, as it greatly increases the power of an attack under certain conditions. Unlike Slayer however, the condition is simply the 2nd strike of Beat Down, regardless of stagger. Beat Down is also a High Stagger rate attack, meaning versus any foe staggered via Physical attack, doing so becomes extremely easy. Have we mentioned yet that garb options which include Beat Down as a set ability often have passives such as Stagger Drain or Siphon?
  • Genius Bonus: Lumina's name very clearly foreshadows her true nature to people familiar with the root languages involved. Lumina is the plural form of lumen, the Latin word for light. It's easy to forget since it's only mentioned twice over three games, but Lightning's real name is Claire, which is French for light. So Lumina's name literally means "multiple lights", and she's an aspect of Lightning given form.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Lightning is now a god-like being, guiding people's souls to a new world. And her nickname just happens to be Light.
    • A sidequest detailed that, amongst many of the exploits that the Shadow Hunter, aka Noel, had done, one included him sneaking into the headquarters of the local mega Church, and left a note on their pillow while they slept. This was one of the many things attributed to the legendary real life Assassins. Hmm, an Assassin Noel Kreiss? Where have I heard that before? note 
  • Internet Backdraft: After Director Motomu Toriyama's comment that Lightning is the "first female Final Fantasy lead," fans were quick to point to Terra from Final Fantasy VI, the entire party in Final Fantasy X-2 & Serah in Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Otherwise known as the prequel to this game) as evidence to the contrary. And that's not even getting into the debates on who the real lead characters were in Final Fantasy X, XII, or XIII, with some saying that Yuna, Ashe, Vanille & Fang are more the lead characters than Tidus, Vaan, and Lightning are. Toriyama gives a Hand Wave that VI has an Ensemble Cast with no main hero, seemingly oblivious that you could say the same about XIII.
    • The fanservice costumes were considered Pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator by many. The fact that this was also during a period where the game industry has started to become more conscious about female representation in video games only made it stand out more.
  • Les Yay:
    • Fang and Vanille may have even more subtext than they did in Final Fantasy XIII. For example, the Datalog describes them as having "bonds beyond those of family."
    • And not just Fang; Lumina gets a little too physically close to Vanille for a friend, Troll or not...
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Most Wonderful Sound: That glass-shattering sound effect whenever an Artemis' Arrow attack connects.
  • Narm: From the Japan Expo trailer: "One day, the light touched me."
    • The Samurai pre-order armor costume certainly looks awesome on Lightning. Problem is, the fancy way she sheathes her weapon when wearing this suit ends up looking absolutely ridiculous because there is no scabbard. So she's basically sheathing her blade into thin air.
    • The Game Over caused by the end of the world would be actually good if it weren't so anticlimatic. It lasts less than twenty seconds and it is followed by "And so the world ends."
    • The ending of the "Get The Girl" sidequest could have been a real Tearjerker except that Lackley's voice actor (at least in English) hilariously overacts his anguished reaction to hearing of Philiana's death, complete with a truly cringeworthy Big "NO!" that gives Darth Vader a run for his money.
      • He sounded just shy of falling-down-drunk, though, and especially if you have any personal experience with alcoholic loved ones, then his obvious impairment lends the whole situation an uncomfortable and pitiable, even tragic, light.
    • Did you pick your default garb by "Will this be good for starting a fight?" instead of "Will this look dignified in cutscenes about the fate of souls?" Did your tactical preferences come in a Stripperiffic wrapper? Then this trope.
    • The message on a loading screen late in the game loses some dramatic impact by containing a typo:
    ... his new world will be populated only be the ideal humans.
  • No Yay: In the Japanese version of the final boss fight, some of his dialogue with Lightning is rather suggestive. He's also saying all this in Hope's voice. These lines were mostly excised from the English dub.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Was anyone expecting Cid Raines to make a surprise appearance as the representative of the dead souls in Chaos?
  • That One Boss: May Bhunivelze have mercy on you if you take too long to fight Noel and Snow. After the 7th day Noel will have his stats increased, represented by a "+" next to his name; the same with Snow after the 5th day, but he takes the cake by having a "++" after the 10th day. Though he does tear off his shirt for this form...
    • While Caius doesn't get a boost if you wait to fight him, he's just as annoying as ever, retaining almost his entire arsenal from the previous game in addition to powerful physical element attacks. Luckily he doesn't get Re-Raise this time.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The announcement that the paradigm battle system was being scrapped in favour of an entirely new one was not taken well.
    • What really caused ire was the fact that in this game, fighting random battles does not give you any experience points. The only way to increase your stats is to do tons and tons of Side Quests which devolve into Fetch Quests and hunting for Twenty Bear Asses over and over again. One let's player noted that this system combined with the time system demands that the player somehow grind while avoiding grinding. Compounding this, as Yahtzee pointed out, is that with the worlds so big and massive and the fetch quests having almost no way to find them out aside from talking to EVERY single person to find out, that precious time gets wasted to do a quest that Lightning may not be strong enough to complete. The only reason to get into fights is to either find a Rare Random Drop, grind gil, or replenish EP. However, it should be noted that if you want better skills, you need to do a lot of skill-fusion, which require you to hunt a lot of monsters since most of them drop skills upon death.
  • The Untwist: Bhunivelze is the Big Bad. What, did you think Final Fantasy, especially the XIII trilogy, was going to have a God that wasn't evil?
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The game looks even better than the previous two games, with completely amazing environments that surpass anything shown on Coccoon and Pulse. However, this is balanced by often seen low-resolution enviromental textures, frequent framerate issues in some areas and as a result of some enemy attacks as well as some questionable-looking lesser NPC models, like the cats.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: ANY boss can potentially be this depending on which one you fight first. You may have mastered the opening hours of the game, but you can bet that the guys above have been doing it a lot longer.

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