Ah yes... Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Where to begin?
I've been waiting a while to play this game. In fact, I was quite anxious to play it, counting the days and even joking that there were "only thirteen days to go" at some point. It's funny because I consistently bash Final Fantasy XIII on every opportunity, so this is quite confusing to me. Why was I so anxious to play the the second sequel to the much divisive Final Fantasy XIII? The truth is, I don't really know.
When I first played XIII, I felt nothing but disgust, boredom and hatred towards the game. Sure, there were some moments were the game shined, such as some of the boss battles, but these moments were too few and far between to change my overral opinion of the game.
Then came Final Fantasy XIII-2, the second Final Fantasy game to be a direct sequel to another one (Spin-offs such as Dirge of Cerberus do not count), the first game being Final Fantasy X-2, curiously also directed by the same person who directed the XIII saga: Motomu Toriyama. The first thing you think when you read his name is probably Akira Toriyama, which is a completely different person.
See, I usually give Motomu a lot of shit because, quite frankly, Final Fantasy XIII was a failure both as a game and a movie. So, what was he trying to do exactly? I don't really know. One thing is that I'll say about him is that he tried to do something different. And even though it arguably failed horribly, it was still something fresh. The plot was totally incomprehensible, but it somehow managed to be interesting enough for me to play the game through it's end.
Returning to Final Fantasy XIII-2. In a nutshell, I enjoyed the game. I could actually play the game, for one, the characters weren't annoying fucks, and the story, while still somewhat confusing, was a lot easier to understand due to the realization that good narrative in woven in the game itself, not in Wikipedia articles.
Some time later, I heard news of another sequel. "Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII". Part of me wanted to laugh at Square-Enix for trying so hard to sell a character which was utterly unlikable, and another part of me wanted to see the trainwreck in all of its glory.
I looked up release dates, watched trailers, interviews, behind-the-scenes and other assorted articles about the game. During the beginning of the game's production, one key term that the developers and specially Toriyama were droppping was "World driven". The development was focused on the world, which according to the interview videos was inspired by Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
I laughed inside. "Surely, Squeenix has finally went mad? Is this the sign of the end?" But I was still interested in learning more about it. I was developing a bizarre bile fascination towards the game and everything that surrounded it. I remember an article which showed a screenshot of Lightning's new outfit for the game, and it looked like the most retarded thing that Tetsuya Nomura ever designed. Seriously, they even admitted that they increased Lightning's breast size. Things were looking pretty hopeless.
Over time, I began to sympathize with the developers of the game, watching the videos and seeing them voice their opinions on the game. One thing is certain, they did listen to criticism and tried to fix things.
But I had to see the game for real. I needed to play it and see if it was truly as bad as I thought they were making it to be.
In these next blog posts, I will be chronicling my adventures in the world of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and sharing my views on things.
Be warned that there will be heavy spoilers for the first two games ahead. By reading the next blog posts, I am assuming you already played and finished both games or somehow knows the plot of the games.
To the world of Final Fantasy XIII. Once more with feeling.
But what feeling will it be this time?