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Nightmare Fuel / Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

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Behold the Face of God. Feel free to Freak Out!
Considering the game is the final stretch in the End of the World as We Know It where God Himself is the driving force behind the end of the world, you can guess the nightmares get pretty surreal.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

  • Just the entire idea of the world of Nova Chrysalia all the characters are living in. It has been 500 years since Etro has died and Chaos has swept over the entire world, and since then, several things are just wrong. Nobody ages, so whatever age you were when Chaos broke loose, that's the age you have been, physically, for 500 years. You could be stuck in an elderly body, a spring, healthy body of a 20 - 30 year old, or even stuck as a kid. Moreover, no new life is born because of Etro's death, which means every human is now infertile. And most of all: nobody is immortal. So while you don't age and time doesn't really flow, you can still die if you catch a disease that can't be cured, get fatally injured or murdered by whatever monsters the Chaos is spitting into existence (and there are lots of them). This has taken a toll on everyone: some are doing whatever they want now, others are following that lifelong dream they had of travelling, opening a shop or similar, while others have grown apathetic and lost all hope. Virtually all of the main heroes from the previous heroes have reached the Despair Event Horizon, the end of the world is looming closer, and the only reason Lightning is around is to act as the angel of death to pick and choose souls to save to be moved to the new world under the orders of God Himself before the world flickers away for good.
  • The fact that the towns and wildlands are filled with people, and there are only quests to save a tiny fraction of them. Even if every canvas quest is also a saved soul, you probably haven't even saved the people you can see in a stroll through Yusnaan, let alone all the people you don't see or the ones in other areas. Made even worse if you skip most of the side quests. So many doomed souls.
    • That being said, it's not that the only souls you save are the ones that you have quests for, it's that the quests are for people having trouble overcoming their darkness to achieve salvation. Not to mention the ending and the revelation of Vanille being able to save everyone, living or dead, kind of makes it moot anyways. Not to say it doesn't do a damn good job of instilling a sense of urgency in the first place.
  • In the Four Trials of the final dungeon, you can view the outside world being ravaged by what could be described as a world-spanning tornado, with each Trial showing a different location being torn apart. It's... disconcerting, to say the least.
  • Snow's room in his palace. The rest of the palace and the wealthier portion of Yusnaan would get five stars from any critic. What does Snow give his own self? A jail cell dressed up to barely resemble a bedroom, complete with what looks like some torture equipment. He could very well have been forcing that punishment on himself for at least four centuries! It's made even more disconcerting by the ice that's coated that entire deep center of the palace, near the chamber he's sealed himself into.
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  • Caius. He's been trapped in a state of undeath for over 500 years - just imagine the toll it's taken on a guy who's already well over 700 years old already. And he can't die, no matter how much he wants to, as several of the Yeuls don't want him to, despite that others do want him too, and he is thus living a life of complete misery.
  • One sidequest involves a kind man searching for a lost journal; Lightning is told more than once to not read the contents should she find it, and the closer she gets to finding it, the more ominous the warnings become. when she finally finds it, of course you're told once more to not read it, but still given the option to. Should Lightning opt to finally learn the journal's secret, she finds out that the kind man's wife and daughter were killed by a particularly vicious business rival and he began his journal with the exact purpose to not forget about them and plot revenge, an endeavour that took at least five decades and his sanity along with it, to the point that he could no longer cope with it all and shut his family's memories away, forgetting they ever existed. The last few pages Lightning reads are the same sentence written over and over:
  • By themselves, the Skeleton enemies aren't scary. However... they inspire a low-level vibe regardless. After trekking through the lesser runes in the Dead Dunes, just after you've picked up the tablets at the end, suddenly the doors and hallways are sporadically barred with statues (which were not there before). Most crumble into dust when you attack them, but some are alive, which you must fight.
    • Then there's the main runes, which are almost littered with statues along the hallways and some walls. A select few of them face the wrong direction or are different from the others, cluing you in that they're enemies instead of statues... but every now and then, one of these 'different' statues are actual statues, when you were expecting an enemy...
  • Hope. Admittedly he was in Broken Bird territory as of the last game but getting tortured and having your emotions taken from you for over 100 years by a Physical God, only to then be forced to serve as his puppet, is taking his general Trauma Conga Line Up to Eleven.
  • A meta example but, during the final boss fight the majority of Bhunivelze's attacks are references to older Final Fantasy bosses. The most notable of these being Final Fantasy VI 's "Dancing Mad" and Final Fantasy VII 's "Heartless Angel". Dancing Mad especially can be very shocking to see flash across your screen if you are not expecting it. And the Heartless Angel attack - where two angels with childlike voices dance around you and giggle - is just plain creepy....
  • Speaking of the final chapters of the game, The Cosmogenesis is just plain terrifying. The entire world is gone: Space, land, air, fire... everything is void. The only thing that could be defined as existence at that point is a small dimensional pocket space, enough to fit Bhunivelze and Lightning, and that soon will be absorbed into nothingness as well. Oh, and said pocket space is a disturbing swirl of colours and clouds that seems to reject any law of science and looks more like a Dali painting. Sweet dreams.
    • A little detail many wouldn't notice: at certain intersections, if you decide to go back down the path, you'll soon see that the previous sections aren't there anymore. Ie, Bhunivelze is inexorably drawing you forward, with no means of escape or delay...
  • This falls into Fridge Horror territory as well, but the final fight with Bhunivelze is this, although it's explained better in Japanese. The closest thing Hope has to a theme in LR is The Ark, and the Japanese version states that the reason that Hope can't feel emotions is because Bhunivelze has Hope's Heart (the Japanese version of the game goes on to clarify that each person is made of three parts: the Body (physical form), the Soul (memories), and the Heart (emotions) and implies that the version of Hope on the Ark is made from the Soul. It's also worth noting that the game implies that it's the Heart that makes you who you are.) and Bhunivelze's had it for over a century and a half (torturing Hope damn near the whole time). The Ultimania for Lightning Returns says that the reason Lightning casts Last Resort (Hope's Limit Break) and uses the survival knife is that she's actually trying to appeal to Hope's Heart inside of Bhunivelze. It all comes together when you listen to the final boss theme. Almighty Bhunivelze repeatedly features a HEAVILY distorted arrangement of The Ark. In other words, Bhunivelze's boss music uses Hope's theme. They've merged. You're not just fighting Bhunivelze, you're fighting an insane Hope!

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