Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Final Fantasy XIII

Go To
The Defiers of Fate.note 

Cocoon—a utopia in the sky.
Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever.
Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie.
The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse—the feared and detested lowerworld—awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.

Final Fantasy XIII is the thirteenth game in the ball-crunchingly popular Final Fantasy series and first entry of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series of games. It was first released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in late 2009/early 2010.

In the lore of Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy, humankind lives alongside a race of god-like beings known as the fal'Cie. Those who are chosen by the fal'Cie for a greater purpose are known as the l'Cie ("luh-see"), with each one given a special mission called a Focus and magical powers to help accomplish it. Legend states that failure to accomplish one's Focus will transform the l'Cie into a hideous monster, but success will grant "eternal life".


Final Fantasy XIII takes place in Cocoon, a futuristic utopia created and operated by the fal'Cie. Not only does Cocoon provide a life of comfort and ease, but it protects its inhabitants from the savage and hostile world of "Pulse" that lurks outside its walls.

When a Pulse fal'Cie is discovered within the walls of Cocoon, the ruling government — fearing the creation of Pulse l'Cies — takes drastic measures by quarantining the entire district where it was found and ordering that everyone within be exiled to Pulse. Seeking to rescue her missing sister from the chaos of this "Purge", a young soldier known only by the codename "Lightning" rebels against the government and breaks through the military blockade to the Pulse fal'Cie.

There, Lightning and a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits are branded against their will by the Pulse fal'Cie and transformed into l'Cie. With an unclear Focus and the entire world of Cocoon turned against them, Lightning and the others must figure out a way to fulfill their new-found fate... or a way to defy it.


Final Fantasy XIII is the first part of the "ten-year project" known as Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy, which was envisioned as a series of Final Fantasy games all sharing a common mythology. Unfortunately, development was filled with problems, the two biggest being an excessive amount of time spent developing the game engine, and a general lack of a cohesive vision amongst the development team.

A direct sequel was later released. A third game was released in 2014 and completes the trilogy.

The game was ported to Steam in October 2014; the entire trilogy is on Steam as of December 2015.

This game provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A-C 
  • Accidental Misnaming: Fang gets quite incensed at Lightning referring to Gran Pulse simply as Pulse. The game's on-board database (which had also been referring to it as Pulse) updates itself after that.
  • Adrenaline Time: Lightning's Army of One skill utilizes this style.
  • Aerith and Bob: Perfectly normal names like Serah and Claire Farron come from the same town as Snow, Gadot, and Maqui. In fairness, it's a pretty big town, but still.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Fang gives Vanille a number of these.
  • After-Combat Recovery: Your party is restored to full health after every battle — which is good, because some of the bosses and enemies are seriously hard.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The 'Lindblum' and the 'Palamecia'. The 'Palamecia' looks like the big brother of the Aigaion in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, and it even has a docking guidance system that resembles the ERS from H.A.W.X.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: At the end of Chapter 12, Yaag Rosch fights your party nearly to the death, but spends the last of his energy ordering his soldiers to evacuate the citizens, then blows himself up in what appears to be an attempt to keep your party safe from outside attack. And the 'Game Over' music plays in the background.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The datalog, which is required reading if you want to have a full understanding of the backstory and terminology. The plot summary in said datalog fully explains the characters' motivations that might be implied or vague in game (these also appear in the loading screens at the time).
    • There's also the fifth disc of the special edition soundtrack, which is an audio drama titled "Final Fantasy XIII: Episode Zero: Promise: Story 01: Encounter" which details Lightning and Snow's first meeting and Serah receiving her Focus.
    • The game manual itself contains Fang and Vanille's full names, naturally implying a connection between the two and spoiling that Fang eventually joins the party.
    • One regarding the final boss: The 'female' half of Orphan's first form? That's Lindzei. You probably won't know this unless you read up on Word of God.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English version of Final Fantasy XIII changes the Japanese theme, "Kimi ga Iru Kara", to "My Hands", by Leona Lewis. This is because the dubbers weren't able to translate the whole song into English.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Always look behind you when you enter a new area — there could be a treasure sphere lurking.
  • Always Save the Girl: Fang outright states numerous times that she'd tear down the sky if that's what it took to keep Vanille safe. Same for Snow, but in more of a self-sacrificial way; his sole focus throughout the early game is getting Serah back and marrying her, even if it means abandoning the group, after he said they should stick together. It doesn't go away, but he does get better about how he goes about it/other things.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Throughout Orphan's Cradle, but then averted for the final battle.
  • Ambiguous Robots: So the military creates biological weapons from wild creatures, but it's difficult to tell whether the resultant... things are metal, meat, a combination, or neither. Then you have the fal'Cie.
  • Amusement Park: There is one inside Nautilus. It also holds a farm where series-favorite Chocobos and adorable smiling lambs live.
  • Anachronic Order: The first half of the game (up to Palumpolum, at least) flows this way. Flashbacks to the thirteen days prior to the Purge help to develop the characters and the plot. The flashbacks themselves are done in Anachronic Order, and often plot elements set up in one flashback will be paid off in another (like the real story behind Lightning's hunting knife that's in the inventory).
  • An Adventurer Is You: Although each of the characters is The Jack thanks to having up to 6 roles they can shift between, each role fits neatly into an archetypal class role.
    • Sentinel (AKA Defender) - The Damage Sponge
    • Medic - The Healer
    • Ravager (AKA Blaster) - The Magic User and Nuker (increases Break Meter on enemies)
    • Commando (AKA Attacker) - The DPSer
    • Saboteur (AKA Jammer) - The Debuffer, with a hint of Mezzer thanks to skills like Pain
    • Synergist (AKA Enhancer) - The Buffer
  • And I Must Scream: If you are turned into a Cie'th, your body is twisted and covered in crystals, and you're barely recognizable and unable to interact with anyone. In more advanced stages, you turn into a Cie'th stone, which is the same, but you're an immobile Living Statue. Never mind that the rate in which you turn Cie'th only increases the more panicked and distressed you are on your Focus. Cie'th are practically the game universe's equivalent to the undead, with names like "Ghoul", "Ghast", or "Vampire".
  • Anti-Grinding: The Crystarium levels are blocked off from you until you finish certain chapters (and beat the game). This was likely done to encourage players to beat bosses and King Mooks with their brains rather than minmaxing, but most people just end up spending hours spamming Death on Adamantoises to max out their CP totals anyway. It also doesn't stop people grinding anyway, and just saving up CP so that when the next tier unlocks they can make instant good progress with it. It also doesn't stop anyone from grinding weapon and equipment upgrades, which can in some cases be more important than a few more Crystarium levels.
    • The most CP you can store at one time is 999,999.
  • Anti-Villain: Yaag Rosch is sympathetic to the fate of the Pulse l'Cie, but feels that protecting Cocoon is more important.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Vanille occasionally chirps "Sorry!" after a kill.
  • Arc Number: 13. The story is punctuated by flashbacks of various events taking place over a span of thirteen days before the game begins. The game's plot is divided into thirteen chapters, and there are thirteen Analects found through side missions later on. A l'Cie brand has thirteen stages.
    • There are a lot of minor ones as well. Just some examples: The game begins on Aerorail Trussway 13-E. L'cie brands (from both Pulse and Cocoon) go through a total of 13 phases. All the analog clocks go to 13 rather than 12, and there are even a total of thirteen retail networks to shop from.
    • There are 13 sub-menues in the Datalog, 13 groups of "Militarized Units", and, when counted, there are a total of 13 party members (6 l'Cie and their Eidolons, counting both Shiva Sisters)
  • Artificial Brilliance: The AI will automatically adjust to the needs of the current battle. The battle system gives you very little direct control, but the party's smart enough to do its part without you needing to micromanage it like in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Synergists will buff you with the right elemental protection to suit an enemy's elemental attacks and also with elemental charges to your attacks to hit the enemy's weaknesses, and they don't waste time using such spells if they wouldn't help.
    • Ravagers will never use something an enemy is strong against or absorbs, and will even follow your lead on whether to use single-target or area of effect attacks; if the enemy's strengths and weaknesses are unknown, they'll experiment with different attacks to formulate a strategy from there, because the game is liable to take note on its own the enemy's elemental properties.
    • Medics will adjust healing based on how bad everyone's hurt/what statuses there are, etc., with first priority thankfully going to the party leader unless someone else is about to die.
    • Oh, and Synergists always make casting Haste on everyone, starting with themselves and other Synergists, their first priority.
    • This also applies to enemies, too. PSICOM may be a bunch of Badass Normal types with no real supernatural abilities, but they compensate with teamwork. They buff each other, remove your buffs, debuff you, and focus fire. It's far more notable that they cooperate with each other moreso than other enemies.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game largely had Artificial Brilliance, but also has instances of this trope.
    • Your party will move closer to one another just as an enemy is about to unleash an area-of-effect attack.
    • Your designated Ravager also tends to alternate between physical and magical attacks, which takes about twice as long to execute as as straight-up physical or magical assault, although alternating between them does charge up the chain gauge faster.
    • AI-controlled Saboteurs start by casting the left-most debuffs (like Deprotect and Deshell) on an enemy's Libra screen and working their way toward the right (like Pain and Fog), provided they know those skills. This is more of an inconvenience, given that most battles end quickly. Fortunately, Snow only learns the debilitating debuffs, making him a very useful Saboteur.
      • Additionally, Saboteurs and Synergists prioritize defensive actions (reducing enemy damage and increasing allies' defenses) over offensive ones. While this does help the party to survive, it can make it much harder to get high ranks on shorter fights.
      • Synergists have the problem of often only casting one buff at a time even if they have the ATB charge to cast more. Though normally this does give the advantage of not having to wait to charge the ATB for the next buff, once they learn Haste, which charges the ATB faster, this is just a waste of time. They're also liable to cast buffs like Faith and Bravery, which boost magic and strength, on characters which may not be able to use attacks of that type.
      • Synergists and Saboteurs don't recast buffs/debuffs on their target until the status has worn off. This means if you can see your buffs are about to wear off, they don't recast them to renew the duration until they have done so. In fights where you need to keep yourself continually buffed, this can be a major problem.
      • Saboteurs can keep casting debuffs on an enemy to build up the Chain Gauge. The AI doesn't seem to realize this and will stop once all relevant debuffs are set, standing there and doing nothing.
    • AI Medics follow a certain AI structure, as do the others, but theirs might not fit every situation. They start with healing anyone alive (particularly the leader) at/below 30% health (ignoring wounded Glass Cannon support characters with less total health), then 70% health, but only once both conditions are satisfied do they turn their attention to those requiring Raise, followed by removing negative status ailments, and ending with whatever damage hasn't been healed yet. You'll need to control a Medic role to do things out-of-order.
    • Commandos are the only role that will refuse to target the same enemy as the party leader if there is more than one Commando in the paradigm at a time. This often greatly limits the usefulness of paradigms like "Aggression" and "Cerberus", as the AI Commandos will waste time attacking different enemies, instead of concentrating their attacks on the ONE you need them to.
      • There are times when that does have its uses; lots of weak enemies that you can mow down many-at-a-time (it happens in The Faultwarrens at least) can save you time and help get high scores or take them all out before one of them summons something really dangerous or at the very least time-consuming to defeat. Or otherwise one big guy with weak but very annoying support where trying to have everyone laser focus on the weaklings is a waste of their time; the second commando can deal with the wimps while the other two can deal with more important matters.
    • In general the game's AI is often a poor judge of when it's appropriate to use single-target attacks vs. multi-target attacks. Especially annoying when you preemptively strike a large group of enemies, and then the AI chooses single-target attacks for everyone, instead of trying to stagger as many enemies as possible with area of effect moves.
      • Thankfully, the two above examples are fixed in the sequel where you can choose if your AI companions attack separate targets, or go after the same enemy as the party leader you control when you customize your paradigms.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Stagger system encourages this, with a damage multiplier that goes up to 999%. Using attacks the enemy is weak to increases it faster, and some enemies become more vulnerable when staggered, such as losing their armor and becoming easier to stunlock.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Chapter 10 spoiler: Cid Raines and Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus. You'd think this would apply to PSICOM, but Lightning explicitly notes (after easily dispatching a whole squadron in the first chapter) that PSICOM's only real advantage is their superior equipment, and that the majority of PSICOM is made up of inexperienced recruits. As the game progresses, though, you fight more experienced troops until you're eventually fighting the Home Guard: the last line of defense who — because they're hardly ever needed — spend all their time doing combat drills and training. That said, the Homeguard isn't there long, since PSICOM replaces them again. Even though the Homeguard has been supposedly prepared for a Pulsian invasion of Eden for centuries.
  • Autosave: The game autosaves before every battle. If you die, you get the choice of Retry or Quit. Retry returns you to just before the battle, allowing you to fiddle with your strategy or just run away, depending on location. Quit returns you to your last manual save.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Pretty much all of the Tier 3 weapons, due to requiring an extremely rare component that can only be bought for obscene amounts of Gil or won off the Adamantoise-type enemies. Since most Adamantoise varieties are stronger than the final boss, this means the Tier 3's are only really good for killing more turtles and wrapping up the last few marks. A sufficiently leveled party with well-developed Tier 2 weapons can get a five-star rating on the final Bonus Boss.
    • Said components, Trapezohedrons, can be multiplied by using them to build a particular few types of weapons, level them to maximum, and then disassembling them. So for roughly the same price as it costs to buy one (up to 30% less if you do some cost/benefit experimentation beforehand), you can turn one Trapezohedron into three. Still does not mean they're actually that useful...
    • Another limiting factor on the Tier 3 weapons is that as you and your weapons become stronger, the time limits for fights and missions are tightened. In some particular cases, it becomes next to impossible to 5-star a particular mission because a strong party would have mere seconds to finish the fight.
    • On another note, some of the Full ATB Skills (a.k.a. Limit Breaks) can be seen as this. While these moves certainly look pretty, may do a lot of damage, and fill up the chain gauge quickly, it has to be considered whether this is more effective than having six separate moves instead of this one, as it takes up every ATB point available.
  • Badass Crew: Obviously, given this is a party in a Final Fantasy game, though this group take a while to get there. But incredibly evident when the group assaults Eden in Chapter 12.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sazh is a pretty standard play. Snow takes this to the next level — his coat is the source of his weapon, via the use of special embroidered patches.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss:
    • At the end of Chapter 9, Jihl Nabaat steps forward to face the party in battle... only to be unceremoniously killed off by Big Bad Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus.
    • This also happens to Yaag Rosch a few chapters earlier in Palumpolum — after giving an impassioned Reasons You Suck Speech to Snow, it looks like you're about two seconds away from fighting him when he goes down in a hail of gunfire and you have to fight a flying tank instead.
    • Later, one of the Cie'th Stone Missions has you facing off against one of the fearsome Undying Cie'ths... only for it to get shanked from behind by a Tonberry, which is your true opponent. Fortunately, the sequel has a proper battle against it.
    • The last enemy you face during Titan's trials is one of the Undying, which kills the Kehemoth King that Titan had intended for you to fight. In this case it's less glaring since unlike the above example, the mission makes it clear you're intended to fight the Cie'th.
  • Bag of Sharing: No matter how far apart the split parties are or what they are doing, they all have access to the same items.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Vanille, Fang, Lebreau, and Lightning (although it's not as obvious).
  • Barrier Change Boss: Aster Protoflorian and Dahaka. The also use attacks of different elements to match whichever element(s) they now resist.
  • Batman Gambit: Barthandelus' plan to manipulate the l'Cie into fulfilling their Focus and destroying Cocoon amounts to pushing them past the Despair Event Horizon and letting nature take its course.
  • Battleship Raid:
    • While you do not fight the entire structure, Anima was actually the entire Pulse Vestige. This is most apparent in one of the flashbacks when the face of the Vestige roars. The boss that the game and Datalog call "Anima" was actually just its core.
    • Also, the entirety of Chapter 9, which fits the trope more closely, but no boss that can be fought is actually involved with the ship itself.
  • Beehive Barrier: The protect spell manifests as this when a player is hit, and Galenth Dysley has one.
  • Behemoth Battle:
    • On one memorable location on Gran Pulse, you encounter a behemoth (a huge and nasty monster type) and a giant dog-like monster fighting each other. The two of them block the passage to your destination but are so consumed by their fight that you can sneak past them with a bit of luck. If they do spot you, it results in a Mêlée à Trois where you can play one of them against the other to make it slightly easier.
    • After defeating the Adamanchield in Chapter 12, you can see Behemoth Kings fighting PSICOM Behemoths off to the side. The Behemoth Kings win.
  • BGM Override: Most notably the "Dust to Dust" segment, but the game uses this on many other occasions.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Sazh's guns, which can combine into a rifle, and Fang's spear, which she can split into a sansetsukon.
  • Big Bad: Galenth Dysley/Barthandelus acts as the primary antagonist throughout the game. It is revealed that he is actually in a Big Bad Duumvirate with his fellow fal'Cie Orphan, whom he collaborates with to ensure the destruction of Cocoon.
  • The Big Guy: Of all the fal'Cie seen in the game, the aptly-named Titan absolutely dwarfs them all. He can swallow an Adamantoise whole.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Lightning's real name being Eclair, which is French for 'lightning'. In the English localization it was changed to Claire, which is French for 'light'. Despite this, both are referenced very frequently in-game.
    • Hope, whose last name "Estheim" means "at home", combines both Latin and German respectively. His full name and his character development frequently lampshade the underlying meaning.
    • Paradigm is the Greek word for pattern (though technically, it's also an English word for pattern).
  • Bishounen: Cid Raines is the youngest and most attractive Cid so far. Hope will qualify in a couple years, if he doesn't already.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jihl Nabaat in her initial appearance.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the upside, Cocoon is saved, Dajh and Serah are freed of their crystal stasis and reunited with their loved ones, and the party are no longer l'Cie. On the downside, Fang and Vanille are turned to crystal after they become Ragnarok together and stop Cocoon from falling. The bitterness is slightly sweetened by the knowledge that they're at least in crystal stasis together, but it's still a Tear Jerker.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The fal'Cie are sapient crystals surrounded by biomechanical shells that serve as armor and project their appearance. Beyond that their physiology differs greatly; the Cocoon fal'Cie (like Eden and Carbuncle) are distinguished by their smooth, statuesque designs, and Gran Pulse fal'Cie (like Titan and Atmos) are distinguished by their rough mechanical and utilitarian designs.
  • Blatant Lies: "... I knew that would happen."
  • Bleak Level: The village of Oerba.
  • Blessed with Suck: Becoming a l'Cie — chosen of the gods. You leave your family and home to carry out your god-given task. Your options are to A: be continuously crystallized and uncrystallized as the fal'Cie feel like using your services again, for eternity or B: turn into a Cie'th stone and spend forever not only trapped in one place but constantly awake and thinking only of your task, unless someone finishes it for you. It's totally possible that your task will involve killing a loved one who has become a Cie'th. A major theme in the story is why most l'Cie still choose to continue on despite the risk of a much worse fate.
  • Body to Jewel: Serah, when completing her Focus.
  • Bond One-Liner: The characters occasionally have a voice response after killing an enemy. They range from charming (Sazh's "Tough times, huh?") to outright disturbing (Fang's chuckle).
  • Bonus Boss: Most of the Undying, most notably Attacus and Vercingetorix. Also, the Oretoises who have insane Strength and Health, the exception being the Adamanchelids.
  • Boss Bonanza: The game ends with Orphan's Cradle. Travel to successive areas of the Cradle requires teleportation, which drops you in a room with a powerful monster and no explanation before taking you to your destination. You end up fighting three bosses because of these teleports (including a Dual Boss), in addition to the Final Boss.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: "Oh hey, I just got to Gran Pulse. There's one of those Behemoths I've been killing this whole time, except it's called the Behemoth King now. This should be easy... Okay, this is kinda tough. Damn that thing's got a lot of Hit Points. Wait, it just stood up?"
    • If it's many times larger than you and has a name starting with "Adaman", good luck.
    • Hell, just about everything on Pulse is when you first arrive.
  • Break Meter: Attacking enemies increases the Stagger gauge (known as the Break gauge in the Japanese version) and damage multiplier. When it gets high enough, the enemy is Staggered, which makes the gauge rise faster, and allows enemies to be launched for massive damage.
  • Breather Episode: The way that the plot comes to a screeching halt, to show us a parade, and put us into a petting zoo, you know something bad is going to happen...
  • Broken Tears: Vanille breaks down when she is exposed as the reason why Sazh's son, Dajh, is a l'Cie.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: This is exactly what Barthandelus and Orphan want to happen — by killing Orphan, Cocoon will lose power and crash into Gran Pulse, and if the party doesn't want to kill him, they will find other methods and pawns to do the deed. Ultimately, this is precisely what happens in the ending, Orphan is killed and its death causes Cocoon to fall, though the party still saves the day.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both Sazh and Hope have shades of this, though it's much more prominent for Sazh.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Experience Points are renamed "Crystal Points" (JP) or "Crystogen Points" (EN), but otherwise function identically to similar systems in God of War and Devil May Cry — specifically, you trade in EXP for direct rewards.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Boy howdy is there a lot of collateral damage when Vanille remembers her focus, but feigns ignorance to keep both Fang and Cocoon safe.
  • Calling Out for Not Calling: In Chapter 7, when Fang and Lightning get in touch with Snow, one of the first things Fang does is lay into him for not checking in.
    Snow: "It's me, what's up?"
    Fang: "You damn well know what's up! Why haven't you called in?"
    Snow: "Sorry. Slipped my mind."
  • Cannon Fodder: It isn't until the party returns from Pulse that the standard PSICOM - and later the Guardian Corps - enemies in general stop being anything more than annoyances, regularly slaughtered with little effort, especially once the player becomes competent at the battle system. This is particularly noticeable with PSICOM, because they are repeatedly stated to be Cocoon's "elite" forces specifically designed to counter anything Pulsian, yet are barely a problem for the party. note 
  • Cap: For those who have been playing for a while, you will notice that many enemies after a certain point, especially bosses, have something on the order of millions of Hit Points. Thankfully, these large numbers are irrelevant, because the game has no defense stat, and careful manipulation of the Break Meter means your characters can deal damage in excesses of 50,000 damage per hit (and you can chain up to six attacks, more with Sazh and Fang.) As an example, the final boss has six million hit points, but can be beaten in less than five minutes. The normal damage cap is 99,999, which can be reached in normal playthrough through Stagger-ending abilities (Smite and Scourge), Fang and Snow's character-specific attacks with a Staggered enemy and a full break meter, or liberal use of positive and negative status effects. A hidden item allows you to break this cap, allowing damage up to 999,999. With Fang's Highwind, 1.5 million damage is far from unheard of. Summons can also occasionally break this cap.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Literally in Lightning's case. Her superior officer, Lt. Amodar, tells her to stay away from fal'Cie business, but Lightning almost immediately sets out to kick ass and ask questions later.
  • Career-Revealing Trait: Sazh originally realizes that Lightning is an ex-Sanctum soldier by her outfit, which (while unique) had enough similarities to their uniforms for him to notice.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: On a Super-Encrypted Military Phone no less — but to be fair, it was being jammed. In true Plot-Driven Breakdown fashion, it happens just as Lightning is trying to tell Snow that Hope wants to kill him/Hope not to kill Snow.
  • Chained by Fashion: Many of the enemy designs.
  • Character Development: The Character Development is what's really driving the narrative. It shares a similar narrative structure with Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VIII. This reaches its natural climax in Chapter 12. Compare the arguing, Heroic BSODing, murder plotting, and bitch-slapping at the beginning to the confident, cohesive team that invades Eden.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted: Snow's NORA buddies turn up during the siege of Eden at the very end of the game after a near 20-hour absence and... open a locked door. They promptly disappear again and aren't seen again until the sequel, where they're just as useless. Of course, their presence isn't so much to lend them a hand physically as it is emotionally.
    • Rygdea, on the other hand, plays it straight when he reappears for the first time in nearly 10 hours and puts a bullet in Cid's head—upon his request, mind you.
  • Class and Level System: Outside of Summons and Full-ATB moves, characters do not have their own skillsets, nor do they even level up as per traditional JRPGs. Instead, you level up your Roles, and role combinations in battle (aka Paradigms) determine your effectiveness in fights.
  • Colony Drop: The fal'Cie's plan to destroy Cocoon is to have it fall and crash into Pulse. They believe that this mass killing will summon The Maker. Ironically, this does happen, but the killing is on the fal'Cie side: the game ends with Cocoon perched atop a crystal structure, at the cost of Fang and Vanille becoming Ragnarok and then turning to crystal.
  • Colossus Climb: While you do not fight the entire structure, Anima was actually the entire Pulse Vestige. This is most apparent in one of the flashbacks when the face of the Vestige roars. The boss that the game and Datalog call "Anima" was actually just its core.
  • Colour Coded For Your Inconvenience: The Palamecia's colored security codes in Chapter 9 don't make any sense. First an intruder alert causes Code Red, which later escalates to Code Green, and after the prisoners escape to Code Purple. Hope wonders aloud what the heck it all means, and then it's completely lampshaded when Jihl Nabaat starts having her epic Villainous Breakdown, shouting "This means we have a Code Blue! Or maybe Code Yellow. Or maybe Code Orange. If it was Code Orange that would mean...?" But then Primarch Dysley puts an end to it and remarks that "Desperate times demand flexibility: [Beat] Code White!"
  • Combination Attack: Part of the gameplay's entire basis is coordinating attacks, since combos boost attack strength tremendously, and enemies after Chapter 5 or so start packing millions of hit points.
  • Cool Horse: Odin transforms into one in Gestalt mode.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The l'Cie are this to the fal'Cie.
  • Cover Drop: The logo spoils the ending, depending on your interpretation of it, though, and if you don't know what it represents it won't actually spoil anything anyway.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world of Cocoon is a very happy and beautiful place to live... as long as you're not a l'Cie and you don't know the real reason the people are being kept happy and complacent.
  • Creepy Child: Orphan, a several-thousand-year-old fal'Cie with abandonment issue and a death wish.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Each role is only good at one, maybe two thing(s) depending on a combination of role function/damage/chain effects, meaning you have to develop multiple paradigms to deal with different situations.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Snow finds out that Barthandelus was pretending to be Serah in Chapter 11, his response is to punch his face in with a very pissed off "You son of a-!" Per Running Gag, he's cut off before he can finish either action.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Pretty much every main character due to the benefits and downsides of being an L'Cie. Sure, fantastic powers are great and all, but when they end up with you dead or eternally trapped as a living statue? No thanks.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Even random NPCs get this sometimes, with ordinary RPGs and grenades being used to take down massive combat mechs that should be able to shrug off a missile strike.
    • The l'Cie's Eidolon's count too. In-game, their combat effectiveness varies, depending on how much your party has progressed (becoming impractical at the highest areas). In cutscenes though, they do some pretty amazing things.

    Tropes D-F 
  • Dance Battler: Enemies of the Daemon subtype seem to be this.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Most of the bosses and quite a few of the regular enemies can take a lot of damage before they will die.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The game doesn't even have a "flee" command, because you can just as easily "restart", which, like dying, just takes you back to before the battle, as if you never engaged the enemy. This, however, is essential because unlike other Final Fantasies, you lose very easily, and because the world is full of these one bosses and demonic spiders. Eidolons, anyone?
  • Death Seeker: Every single one of the Cocoon fal'Cie. Vanille as well, although it's less evident.
  • Death World: Gran Pulse. While not quite as dangerous as the Sanctum claim (if only because they claim it's Hell), it is still full of creatures that would be quite happy (and fully able) to make you their next meal.
  • Demoted to Extra: Jihl Nabaat was given a lot of focus in the trailers and amassed a following prior to the game's release. Unfortunately, she is killed off rather unceremoniously by the Big Bad about halfway through the game without making much of an impact.
  • Deal with the Devil: Snow offers to become a l'Cie if Serah gets turned back into a human. It's not clear whether the deal is accepted, or if Anima just curses him out of hand. After all, he did just help beat the crap out of it not two minutes earlier.
  • Despair Event Horizon: If a l'Cie descends too close to this point, they conjure an Eidolon subconsciously to either snap them out of their funk or kill them off quickly. Every party member does this without exception — Sazh's method of invocation is covered in Mood Whiplash, listed below.
    • Lightning has one right after Serah gets crystallized, and gets even worse before she has to fight Odin.
    • Fang careens right over the Despair Event Horizon during the final cutscene, only for an equally epic 'You Are Not Alone' moment from her friends.
  • Despair Speech: Most of the l'Cie just before their Eidolon battles, notably Hope at the beginning of Chapter 11.
  • The Determinator: The Undying Cie'th. They were so angry at the fal'Cie that forced them into servitude that instead of eventually turning to stone like other Cie'th, they have managed to continue existing through nothing but pure hatred.
  • Deus ex Machina: At first glance, the ending sequence is full of these for no reason... but they are actual interventions of a goddess, Etro, of her own free will rather than any asking on the party's behalf. First most of the party is turned into Cie'th, then abruptly turned back with them thinking it was willpower and/or a trick, though Vanille/Fang were in disbelief because they didn't think that was possible. Then after defeating Orphan, which brings down Cocoon and they can't stop this, Vanille and Fang become Ragnarok to stop Cocoon's descent - literally infused with Etro's warmth as semi-explained in the sequel, allowing them this ability and direction of the otherwise-uncontrollable creature. Then after all's said and done, everyone's crystallized because their Focus is complete, before everyone save Vanille and Fang are somehow freed, despite no fal'Cie to do that for them. As revealed in the datalog below, this isn't exactly a new development; this one is particularly sympathetic to extraordinary acts.
    • Fang's initial Ragnarok rampage being stopped, via her and Vanille being put in crystal stasis 500 years before, is implied (and then confirmed) to literally be the result of divine interference.
  • Developer's Foresight
    • Move your character side to side real quickly, see what happens.
    • You know that fancy gizmo Lightning carries around to help her survive ridiculously long falls? She also doesn't take damage when falling in battle.
    • If you knock down an oretoise and your character is standing under it, they'll take damage from the falling body of the massive creature.
    • The first time you control Vanille, angling the camera just so will allow you to view part of her brand on her thigh, revealing that she's already a l'Cie before the battle with Anima.
    • Late in the game, you'll come across a choice of two treasure spheres on Cocoon, where picking one will then immediately trigger a small cutscene where an Adamantoise falls through the glass floor both were on (rending the one you didn't pick inaccessible). However, if you managed to defeat the nearby Adamantoise on the map — either legitimately, or via use of Vanille's Death Full-ATB skill — this cutscene won't play and you can access both treasure spheres with no issue.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Anima's plot may still be partly uncertain, but Barthandelus and Orphan planned on summoning the Maker with the apocalyptic fall of Cocoon. Ragnarok's suspending Cocoon via a massive crystal pillar could be seen as a hundred middle fingers aimed at the two of them, courtesy of Vanille and Fang.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Most of the party's interactions with enemy fal'Cie are to tell them, in no uncertain terms, to go to hell before the party sends them there.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The party goes up against several fal'Cie and emerge victorious.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Is Vanille having The Immodest Orgasm on her Eidolon? Judge for yourself. Or not... they even cuddle at the end. And on a lesser note, considering the noises she makes throughout the game, it can sound like Vanille might constantly be having one.
    • Fang and Vanille's gasps together during their saving of Cocoon.
    • Related, but neither sexual in context, nor fun at all: Undesirable people getting herded at train stations, put on trains to an unspecified far away destination, and told they get their personal stuff back once they get there? Thankfully, Lightning and Snow got the hint.
  • Downer Beginning: We begin with a whole city's worth of 'undesirables' being put onto trains by the military and taken to an unspecified location on Pulse (read: Hell). Our protagonist later outright states that it was a mass execution from conception. And it still manages to get much worse before it gets any better.
  • Dual Wielding: Lightning does this during Odin's Gestalt mode with twin BFS's split from Odin's. Sazh does this normally with pitsols, and also hits twice for every attack he makes. Fang gets in on the action with the fifth attack in her attack combo.
  • Dub Name Change: Lightning's real name was changed from Éclair, which is French for lightning to Claire, which is French for light.
    • Vanilla to Vanille.
  • Dungeon Town: Palumpolum, the mall area of The Nautilus, and Eden. Justified, as you're fugitives who are feared by practically everybody in the world. Later, there are the ruined cities on Pulse.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The fal'Cie, and many of the Undying.
  • Eldritch Location: Orphan's Cradle. It also has touches of Alien Geometries.
  • Elemental Powers: As always with the series, in this case the notable example is the Eidolons: Fire, Ice, Lightning, Earth, Holy, and non-elemental.
  • Elemental Tiers: While Aero has the same power as other basic spells, Aerora and Aeroga are stronger than other -ra and -ga spells. Aerora is as strong as -ga spells of other elements, and Aeroga is even stronger. However, they also cost more ATB meter, making them slower to cast. Most characters can't even cast Aeroga until 3/4th of the game.
  • End of an Age: The end of the game, and also the War of Trangression, 500 years ago. The former changes things for the people of Cocoon, and the latter was a massive shake-up for the people on Pulse.
  • Enemy Scan: Libra, in two versions. The Libra technique uses one of your hard-earned and slowly regenerating Technical Points per enemy scanned. The Librascope is a rare single-use item that scans every enemy on the field.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Yaag Rosch relinquishes war zones and gives orders to fire at will in order to destroy the l'Cie, just about every soldier protests because civilians are still evacuating.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Once you get to Pulse, like you knew you were going to eventually, you can come across the somewhat large turtles known as Adamantoise. If you engage it in battle, it will step on you.
    • Lampshaded in a skit done by Snow and Lightning's voice actors.
    Lightning: "... What have you gotten us into."
  • Evil Old Folks: Dysley is considerably older than most other main antagonists in the series. Of course, considering that he is the leader of the fal'Cie, he is likely even older than he appears.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Taejin's Tower. It's made even more creepy by the fact that most of it has fallen over.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Hope blames Snow for his mother's death after she volunteered to help Snow's resistance faction fight despite Snow trying to save her and also falling off of the same bridge moments later. Hope plans revenge for quite a while, only to be interrupted before he can stab Snow by a missile attack which causes both of them to fall to their near deaths. Snow's insistence on protecting Hope (as he'd promised Nora) at his own expense, and the revelation of how deeply he blames himself for her death, finally prompts Hope to forgive him.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Every other mook in each chapter alternates between this or being a Demonic Spider.
  • Final Solution: The Purge at the beginning of the game, meant to "relocate" the residents of Bohdum to Pulse after a Pulse Vestige was discovered to have a Pulse fal'cie within and scared the crap out of everyone on Cocoon. It's just a different word for genocide. Most of the game's conflict stems from the main characters surviving said Purge, the populace of Cocoon being scared to death of their survival and why they're so afraid.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: At the start, half the playable cast is at each other's throats. Originally Hope wants to kill Snow because Snow caused his mother's death, Sazh almost shoots Vanille (albeit at her request) because she was responsible for Dajh becoming a l'Cie, and Lightning's antipathy for Snow is obvious from the beginning. By the end, however, all of these things are forgotten as the group unites.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Five Stages of Grief: Thematically, the party members save for Fang wrestle with one each in the first half of the game, either over the loss of their loved ones or their fate as l'Cie. Lightning and Hope get Anger, just wanting to focus on fighting something to keep themselves going. Snow gets Bargaining, believing that if he tries hard enough there must be some way to put things rightnote . Vanille is in Denial, acting cheerful and happy to repress her guilt and despair about the truth. Sazh shoots right up to Acceptance, resigning himself to execution. Then they all get a turn with Despair sooner or later.
  • Foil: Lightning and Fang, right down to the Eidolons — which transform into a white horse and a black dragon.
    • Yaag Rosch and Jihl Nabaat.
    • Lightning and Serah.
    • Lightning is the foil of every main character for at least part of the game, although she becomes less of one as the group's purpose becomes more unified. During the section with her and Hope, her strength contrasting his doubt and fear is the driving force of the plot. For a while later, Vanille's optimism is constantly clashing with Lightning's anger and cynicism.
  • Foreshadowing: After the party crash lands in the Vile Peaks, Sazh asks Vanille (about her ignorance) "What, did you sleep through history or something?" Vanille laughs and answers, "More or less."
    • The vision that the party has of their Focus at the beginning of the game essentially shows what happens at the end of the game. Whether this is foreshadowing the events of the game or is simply a generic representation of Ragnarok destroying Cocoon is up to your interpretation of the dream.
    • Each character starts the game with two ATB slots, gaining a third when they are turned into l'Cie. Vanille, on the other hand, already has three long before the party is transformed.
    • When everyone is examining their new l'Cie marks, Vanille's mark is already far more advanced than everyone else's.
    • Fang's Crystarium crystal being used for an achievement icon (one related to treasure hunting) foreshadows her role in Lightning Returns.
    • If you pay attention to the Analects in the Datalog, you'll notice several of them were written by a Paddra Nsu-Yeul, who's full role as a seeress (and other, less-savory developments) only becomes clear in the trilogy's other two games.
  • Free Rotating Camera: As with every Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy X, the player can freely control the camera.
  • Freeze-Frame Introduction: The character selection screen plays a short clip of the party member when they are selected, which then freezes in monochrome when the character faces the camera, as their stats are displayed.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The player characters, as seen by the authorities on Cocoon: a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who have been corrupted by agents of Pulse and slaughter their way through everyone and everything sent to stop them.
  • Funny Background Event: On the Palamecium, when Fang is checking Vanille's brand (it's on her thigh), you can see Snow, Sazh and Hope in the background pointedly turning away and not looking at her.
  • Fusion Dance: Quite a few, actually.
    • Between the two final bosses, there's a section of Cut Scene where they combine together ( Orphan and Barthandelus... Orphandelus?). Supplementary materials explain the latter becomes a "shell" for the former.
    • The two Shiva sisters combine when they enter Gestalt mode, forming a badass motorcyle for Snow.
    • In the final cutscene, Vanille and Fang combine to make Ragnarok and are frozen together in crystal.

    Tropes G-L 
  • Gag Dub: Two of them, based on early cutscenes (Snow and Vanille and Lightning and Sazh).
    • Another gag dub was performed by Ali Hillis and Troy Baker themselves.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Doubles as Foreshadowing — everyone begins with two ATB bars and gets their third when they receive their l'Cie brand. Except Vanille already has her brand and thus she begins with her third bar already. Angling the camera right during the first time you control Vanille let's you see the corner of said brand on her thigh, long before you have any idea what it is.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • It's odd seeing Hope contemplate killing Snow during a cutscene in Palumpolum and then heal him in the very next battle. Addressed when Hope defends Snow from a monster in a cutscene — he doesn't want Snow to die because then Hope doesn't get his chance to confront him with what he's done.
    • The entirety of Sazh's Eidolon battle. After a heartwrenching scene between him and Vanille where he holds her at gunpoint for getting Dajh turned l'Cie, his Eidolon is summoned and he throws himself into the fight declaring if it wants to kill him, bring it on. During the fight however, their chatter is the same as always, Vanille cheerfully calling "don't give up" and Sazh thanking her for healing spells. The battle ends as always with the Eidolon's Gestalt Mode sequence, during which Sazh is smiling and looks to be having a blast.
    • After Yaag Rosch's final command/request to the PSICOM/Guardian Corps units to focus on evacuation rather then fighting the l'Cie, once you enter Orphan's Cradle you'll see some who haven't been turned to Cie'th and still want to fight you. Maybe they went mad from the revelation, seeing what happened to everyone else? Or maybe they just didn't receive the order, either because the location's shielded, or interference from the fal'Cie?
    • It is a plot point that the party have a very vague Focus, and this is implied to be standard practice. When they reach Pulse, however, they get the opportunity to complete the missions of people who failed their Focuses. These are all very clear, because it would be annoying for the player to have a half-remembered dream as a side quest instruction.
    • The PSICOM Bioweapons are described in the Datalog as just as powerful as their natural-born versions, yet all but the strongest are actually far weaker, and even those are nothing compared to the Pulse versions.
  • Gem Tissue: While the physiology of this process is never exactly explored in detail, when the l'Cie in the Final Fantasy XIII mythos make their Faustian Bargain, a small crystal forms somewhere inside their bodies, that allows them to manifest their superpowers and grows larger as they become stronger (this serves as the in-universe justification of the Crystarium subsystem). Eventually, when the l'Cie fulfill their end of the deal they made, the crystal grows so large, it completely encases them, freezing them in an eternal stasis.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Six playable characters: three female (Lightning, Vanille and Fang), three male (Snow, Sazh and Hope).
  • Genius Loci: Many fal'Cie are this, though some blur this with just being huge, and you would not notice all of them from just playing the game. Kujata is a power plant, Eden is Edenhall, Phoenix is ship-like artificial sun, the Palamecia is one, and Anima is clearly connected to the entire Pulse Vestige.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Eidolons will come to snap their masters back into sense when they fall into desperation and doubt; give them helping hands if they can get back on their toes and kill them if they fail.
  • The Ghost: Eden. You do see an avatar in Orphan's Cradle (three of them, in fact), but the fal'Cie itself remains unseen. Averted, but only through supplementary materials, it is Edenhall itself.
  • Ghost City: Hanging Edge and the city seen near Lake Bresha in the cutscene where Sazh escapes PSICOM jets are both devoid of citizens. There are four cities that are visitable on Gran Pulse, one for each corner of the Archylte Steppe, and all of them have been reduced to ruins in various states of decay, thanks to the War of Transgression. The city in the southwest area is so far gone, it doesn't even have a name, and all that's left to remind people that civilization used to be there is a couple of archways and spires.
    • Ghost Planet: The only things living on Gran Pulse are monsters; no humans, only the skeletal remains of cities and landmarks.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: At first, the boss of Chapter 5 - the Aster Protoflorian (a giant bug thing) - looks to be completely out-of-place with the site's local fauna, and comes almost literally out-of-nowhere. The site in question was developing biological weapons, but this thing looks mechanical... however, looks at the datalog reveal that thing is a bioweapon, i.e. a living creature gone through a whole host of enhancements. Apparently looks can be deceiving, though it's entrance is still quite sudden and somewhat out-of-place.
  • Glass Cannon: At maximum stats, Hope has the best Magic and worst HP. Lightning has the second worst HP but the second best strength, and ties for second best Magic with Vanille.
  • Global Airship: Sort of; you can briefly ride mechs that will keep you safe.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy:The Maker leaving Pulse is the ultimate reason for everything that happens in the game.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: Vanille crosses her fingers whenever she is worried things might go wrong. She does it a lot of times throughout the game.
  • Götterdämmerung: The intended outcome of Barthandelus's Evil Plan. It works — just not in the way he intended it to. Eden, Barthandelus, and (possibly) all the other Cocoon fal'Cie die right along with Orphan, but humanity survives Cocoon's (literal) fall.
  • Gratuitous English: Sunleth Waterscape's lyrics in the Japanese version are in fluent, grammatically correct, but nonsensical English. The western versions replaced them with similar but slightly more sensible words.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The weapon upgrade system is needlessly complex and not explained well. The game tells you about the XP multiplier, but it doesn't explain how it raises and lowers, and it's not really easy to figure out without wasting a ton of money and components.
    • "This is a secret achievement. Unlock it to find out more about it." Or read a walkthrough if you want to achieve it, instead of blindly stumbling across it.
    • The ATB Refresh technique is not mentioned anywhere in the game. If you have two identical paradigms in your deck (e.g. two Relentless Assaults), switching between them will cause the ATB gauge to fill up immediately under certain circumstances.
    • Item synthesis: weapons and accessories belong to hidden synthesis groups. If you equip two or more items from the same group, you get bonus abilities. Trial and error ahoy! This particularly affects weapons with Stagger Lock. These cannot stagger an enemy by themselves, which is not an attractive ability, but if you equip one with the right accessories on a character with the right full ATB skill it has a non-trivial chance of immediately staggering the enemy on each attack.
      • There are two synthesis abilities that the heavy majority of players wouldn't even know exist: Ethereal Mantle and Magic Damper. These abilities make the character that has them completely immune to physical or magical damage, respectively, but make it so that they cannot be healed magically either (so the Medic is completely worthless for them; you'd need to either use items or a technique). The issue is that the only way to see these abilities is to combine two specific weapons (or their upgraded variant) for two specific characters with four of the strongest related accessory; in other words, you'd need four Kaiser Knuckles to give either Hope or Fang Ethereal Mantle (if their weapon has Stifled Magic or Fettered Magic), or four Magistral Crests to give either Snow or Fang Magic Damper (if their weapon has Enfeeblement or Hindrance).
  • Gun Fu: Used by Lightning in some of her fight animations.
  • Hammerspace: Most of the characters' weapons are kept on their in-game models. The exception is Hope. It's especially obvious on his battle-ending animation, when he shoves a collapsible boomerang as long as his arm into his back pocket. Somehow.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
  • Heroic Willpower: The game beats you over the head with the concept of free will being the key to ending the fal'Cie's power and saving the world. Certain humans, when manifesting extreme amounts of independence, can even become something that is stronger than an ordinary human, but not quite a l'Cie or a crystal being either, such as Cid Raines.
  • Hollow World: Cocoon is this and (according to Word of God) is roughly the size of the United States. The fal'Cie Phoenix serves as its sun, and it is essentially floating in the upper Pulsian atmosphere. In addition, the floating city of Eden is located high up in Cocoon's sky, being a floating city in the center of a floating continent.
  • Hollywood Spelling: A pointed aversion, when Hope mentioned "Operation Nora", Lightning says "Nora?", but it's rendered in the subtitles as "NORA", the name of Snow's group. Hope then tells her that Nora was his mother's name, and the true meaning of the operation becomes clear to her.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: To the extreme with Snow and Serah. Serah's about average height (5'5"/164cm), but Snow is over a foot taller than her (6'7"/200cm).
  • Human Resources: All of Cocoon's population are either slaves or sacrifices to the fal'Cie.
  • Humans Are Special: According to the fal'Cie Orphan, this is why the fal'Cie use l'Cie. fal'Cie are created for a single purpose and can never rise beyond that purpose or act outside it. Humans, on the other hand, have limitless potential for growth and adaptability, so the fal'Cie seek to borrow that power to do what they cannot.
  • Humans Need Aliens: Barthandelus invokes this, telling the party that humans are foolish, cowardly and easily deceived, and "without [our] help, death is all of which you're capable". Delving into the backstory reveals that it is largely due to fal'Cie influence that humans have thrived.
  • Hurricane of Puns: It's hard to talk about Hope and not have them sound like this.
    • Snow is also an offender.
    • Concerning the Eidolons, Sazh has a hot rod and Snow has a Cool Bike.
  • HP To One: The final boss has an extremely annoying attack that reduces everyone's HP by 99%. When coupled with the poison status ailment he loves casting, this spells nearly instant death for any party member so afflicted.
    • The attack with the blade? Put a Sentinel in your team before the light orb reaches Orphan. To add insult to injury, this attack also resets its stagger meter.
    • Side note: Regardless of your armor, that attack will deal Over Nine Thousand damage easily. You can't lower it by anything except a Sentinel's resistance. Also, enter the battle with a Sentinel and two Medics to recover fast.
  • I Am the Noun: Barthandelus, upon revealing himself to be the head fal'Cie. "l'Cie? You mean me? Oh child, perish the thought. I am more than that! I am fal'Cie! My name is Barthandelus! Voice of the Sanctum, and Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon fal'Cie."
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate:
    • To become free of the fal'Cie's strings, Cid Raines asked to be shot by his right hand man, Rygdea.
    • Orphan's motivation.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: In the Lake Bresha section of the game, the newly turned l'Cie are surrounded by a PSICOM troop and ordered to surrender. While the rest of the party nervously do as they're told, Lightning clearly has an agenda. She drops her weapon and puts her hands behind her head as ordered, but then goads an officer into approaching her, where she procceds to incapacitate him and rearm herself to cut down the rest of the troop.
  • Idle Animation:
    • Lightning and Fang put their hands on their hips. Hope sways back and forth a little, and sometimes taps his fingers together nervously. Snow pounds one fist into his palm, Sazh scratches his head, and Vanille crouches down to rest.
    • The characters also have idle animations when on chocobos. From the Final Fantasy Wiki: "When Lightning overlooks the horizon, the chocobo will look at every corner ahead of it. Snow will pose with his head up high. Fang sits sideways, and when stopping, she will stretch out her arms and yawn. The chocobo Vanille rides will doze off, and she will try to rouse it. Hope and Sazh will caress the chocobo and the chocobo will return the gesture."
  • Immune to Fate: White l'Cie brands manifest from extreme displays of free will, and with them, they can take as long as they want to complete their Focus. Fang has hers because she held back from vaporizing Cocoon like the Pulse fal'Cie wanted (although wiping a third of the planet off the map satisfied her fulfillment for "destroying" Cocoon). The rest of the party gets theirs from breaking [[spoiler:Orphan's illusion and their belief in wanting to save the planet in the face of all else that was occurring at the time.]]
  • Improbable Falling Save: While falling off a broken bridge, Snow is able to grab Nora's hand, stopping her fall while he's hanging. Ultimately Deconstructed, as Snow is unable to pull himself up while holding her, Nora falls, and then the ledge collapses due to the weight put on it, sending Snow plummeting to the ground with her.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Snow uses his coat and fists against automatic weapons - and is specifically powered-up by the patches sewn or ironed on his jacket. Vanille uses a multi-hook 'fishing' pole. Gunblades and giant boomerangs would be considered exotic in any other game series.
  • In a Single Bound: Some of the jumps you make whilst moving around maps are awesome. There are valleys and chasms and the railings of an airship.
  • Indy Ploy: As Snow says, "Heroes don't need plans!" The rest of the party really take this to heart in the last few chapters.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The final weapon of each characters' set is NOT their ultimate weapon; since weapons can be augmented, it is best to constantly upgrade weapons that come with some form of stat benefit (such as Vanille's Belladonna Wand).
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Averted, as mentioned above, due to augmentation in this game. You build your Ultimate Weapon from roughly six to eight different templates, each with their own plusses and minuses, and suitable for different playing styles. Thus, you can also choose not to build an Ultimate Weapon, and complete the game with everyone's starting equipment. It isn't as hard as it sounds.
  • Injured Vulnerability: Lightning's Eidolon Odin has a Limit Break called Zantetsuken. It instantly kills any enemies with HP below a certain threshold. Nothing is immune to it; not even the Final Boss or enemies with Instant death immunity.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Not invoked for the English dub, as the actors were chosen well after character design was done, but a few coincidences. Georgia Von Cuylenburg is short, cute, cheerful, and skinny. Ali Hillis is slim and classically beautiful. Troy Baker is a tall blonde guy with plenty of enthusiasm.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Very nearly — the packaging for the 360 version winds up having the ESRB rating box in-between Lightning's thighs. If only the game had gotten an M rating...
  • Innocently Insensitive: From the beginning to Chapter 8, the game gets a huge amount of play from having one character go on at length about their current partner's worst emotional sore spot, like Sazh telling Lightning that they'd better Mercy Kill any l'Cie they find (while she's searching for her l'Cie sister), Gadot continuing the "we're heroes" schpiel to Snow (after he's been disillusioned on it by Nora's death), and any time the subject of Pulse comes up around Vanille.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Barthandelus's Evil Plan is basically to summon God by destroying the world. Okay, we get that the fal'Cie are all big time Death Seekers, but do they have any idea how pissed off the Maker is likely to be when He finds out they've blown up his world because of their own selfishness?
    • Subverted. The logic is not insane since Lindzei's plan was exactly to build Cocoon and provoke a massive genocide later to open the Gate Of Etro. So, the Cocoon fal'Cie are just fulfilling their Focus.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Although it's less obvious thanks to the fact that the party can jump over numerous obstacles, given the heights and lengths the characters can jump, there are many obstacles they really should be able to go over and areas they should be able to reach that they can't.
  • Interface Spoiler
    • A first time player might wonder why cute little Vanille has not just three ATB gauges rather than two, but nearly double the HP, Strength, and Magic stats (the last of which you can't even use yet) compared to the battle-hardened Lightning and Snow? She's already a l'Cie; when the others are also branded as such, their stats increase to around the level of her own.
    • Did Sazh just kill himself? Well, the game just told you he just gained his Eidolon summon and an ATB gauge. So, not likely.
    • The game's manual flat-out states you'll be going to Pulse eventually.
  • Interplanetary Voyage: The first time the plot has you doing this in a Final Fantasy title since Final Fantasy IX, and the first time you could travel between planets at will since Final Fantasy IV (although this time it's within the same atmosphere).
  • Interservice Rivalry: PSICOM has one going on with not only the Guardian Corps, but the Cavalry AND the Sanctum Homeguard too (which are both under the Guardian Corps). Given who their leader is (Jihl Nabaat), it's no wonder they're a bunch of dicks.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Four out of six protagonists are forced on an adventure by pure chance of being in New Bodhum when the Pulse fal'Cie Anima awakened near the city. What followed was a chain reaction of events that either killed or crystallized their loved ones, driving the four into an ill-fated attempt to rescue/avenge them.
  • Jack of All Stats: Lightning. She is considered the best Ravager, arguably tied as the second best Commando, has access to the Medic role for most of the game, is an adept Synergist (she is only missing Veil, Bar-, and the two -Ra), and can fill the roles of a Sentinel (filling the unique role of an evasion based Sentinel) and a Saboteur. She has both the second highest strength stat and second highest magic stat (which she is tied for with Vanille.
  • Jerkass Gods: Although they are not technically gods, the fal'Cie are pretty large and in charge, and largely regard humans as either pets or tools, as Hope cheerfully mentions later on in the story. They're so detached from normal morality that they practically run on Insane Troll Logic — the very concept of becoming a l'Cie is that they give you an objective to fulfill, which they may not even explain to you clearly, and your "reward" is to be turned into a crystal statue until they revive you to give you a new Focus. You're also given a time limit to complete this objective, regardless of if they explained it to you or not, and failure to complete it before time runs out turns you into a zombie.
  • Justified Trope: Say what you will about the lack of "traditional" towns, and not being able to really interact with the NPCs, but from a thematic standpoint it makes sense. The party members are basically fugitives and the general population is terrified of them. On the other hand, Welcome to Corneria is deconstructed.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Barthandelus takes a long time to lose the goodwill he earns by killing Jihl Nabaat.
  • Kill on Sight: When Lightning, Snow, Sazh, and Hope have been turned into Pulse l'Cie, PSICOM is dispatched to kill them on sight, along with Vanille, and the other Purge survivors.
  • Land Down Under: Gran Pulse. It's a world of unending wilderness, and powerful beasts and dangerous creatures roam around it. It lies underneath Cocoon, analogous to Australia's geographic location being southwards, literally being the "Land down under" from the above world of Cocoon. Throughout the storyline, Gran Pulse is also depicted as being an inhospitable Death World full of danger and horrible monsters. Fang and Vanille also have Australian accents. As they are both the last remaining survivors of Gran Pulse, it can be assumed the people who once lived there also had similar accents. Notably, the ruins of Gran Pulse's cities depict modern technology and buildings, with concrete, steel, and oil rigs.
  • La Résistance: The heroes. Team NORA, too, and The Cavalry.
  • Last Of Their Kind: Fang and Vanille are the last remaining Pulsians.
  • Last Request: Nora Estheim asks Snow to "Get him home... please..." She's talking about her son Hope, but Snow doesn't realize this until halfway through the game. When he does realize it, he does everything he can to fulfill her wish.
  • Lazy Backup: Even worse than most games with an Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Not only will the non-active party members not lift a finger in battle, but if your lead character dies, it's game over. No matter who that lead character is or whether or not any of the other party members know any revive skills.
  • Leaked Experience: All characters gain the same amount of CP, regardless of whether they are in the battle or even in the party at the time. Justified, especially in the earlier chapters, by the game not allowing you to change your party and often shifting viewpoints between characters without warning — if CP didn't carry over, you would be very liable to get thrown into a tough boss battle with severely underleveled characters and no way to grind them.
  • Leap of Faith: Many. Sazh and Vanille do not like these.
    • The Manasvin Warmech, technically the first thing you fight in the entire game, fights like a lame duck the first time. Later subverted when he shows up the second time.
  • Level Grinding: Referenced to some extent in the game. The entirety of chapter 10 is an training center designed to help Pulse l'Cie become stronger. A bit odd, since Chapter 10 is one of the worst CP grinding spots in the game, and also worse at component/gil grinding than both Chapter 9 and Chapter 11.
  • Limit Break: Changed in this game, instead you get "Gestalt Mode," where you pilot a vehicle/summon around to do heavy damage.
    • Characters also have true limit breaks, which use an entire ATB bar. These either sharply raise the chain meter (Sazh and Lightning), nuke a wide area and moderately raise the chain meter (Hope), deal heavy damage while clearing the chain gauge (Fang and Snow), or have a chance to cause instant death while dealing damage that increases the more you spam them (Vanille).
  • Literal Genie: The party saves the world on a technicality: Anima, Barthandelus, and Orphan simply tell the l'Cie to "destroy Cocoon". They never made mention of what they should do after they accomplish this...
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: All of Gran Pulse, but Taejin's Tower in particular.
  • Loophole Abuse: During some longer attack animations, especially Full ATB Skills, you can still change Paradigms and thus your party's passive skill adjustments. Doing this allows ATB Skills used in the Ravager role to benefit from the Commando's damage buff bonus by switching once they begin the attack. In-universe, it's how the fal'Cie mass-produce Cie'th. l'Cie turn into Cie'th if they fail to complete their Focus, so guess what happens when you create a l'Cie without a Focus to complete?.
  • Lore Codex: The Datalog features thirteen different categories of lore for the player to read, including history, people, and a bestiary.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Getting five stars on the Gigantuar fight. Either you get a lucky instant stagger (with very low odds) or the battle takes too long, regardless of your stats.

    Tropes M-R 
  • Magic Missile Storm: Alexander returns with his Divine Judgment attack from Final Fantasy IX, as the summon for Hope.
  • Magic Skirt: This game plays with this trope quite a bit, at least in regard to cutscenes.
    • Lightning does all manner of acrobatic things, and the camera doesn't care. This is because she wears black modesty shorts.
    • Serah's miniskirt always protects her modesty, regardless of what she does. Interestingly, in FFXIII-2, we learn that Serah also wears black Modesty Shorts.
    • Fang and Vanille, during many events where they should give people a view, have their skirts still cover themselves. However, they are many quick blink-and-you'll-miss-it examples that don't follow this trope.
  • Magical Security Cam: The "security camera" footage from inside the Euride Gorge power plant showing how Fang and Vanille's actions turned Dajh into a l'Cie is made to look like video with noise and scanline effects, but features dramatic camerawork shot from angles that would be impossible from the viewpoint of security cameras (even the floating ones seen elsewhere in the game, as they are not evident on wide shots of the same scene).
  • Magitek: All fal'Cies are a mysterious combination of magic and tecnology. Members of Cocoon's military also have access to equipment that lets them use magic (before becoming a l'Cie, Lightning uses one such device to fly through the air). PSICOM also uses "militarized" monsters like a cyborg behemoth.
  • Mana Meter: Almost completely averted. While you do have the fast and powerful Techniques that use Tech Points, everything else is based on time.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: The player controls one party member at once and has the option of customizing the AI of the party.
  • Marathon Boss:
    • For main game bosses, it's Barthandelus. The first two fights with him can easily take up to 20 minutes because of his ridiculously high HP. He actually goes down fast in his final incarnation, but that's only the beginning.
    • Vercingetorix, who has 15.8 million HP (although it's worth noting that the default damage cap in this game is 99,999, not 9,999, and the fight will probably take no more than 15-20 minutes).
    • Some of the oretoises. An Adamantoise has loads of HP and its resistances mean you only do 10% of normal damage (1% of normal with any elemental attack.), although those resistances can be lowered by attacking its legs, which renders it briefly helpless and vulnerable. The target time for killing one is around 30 minutes (although a high-level party can potentially win in 2-3). The good news is that they're susceptible to Death, so with a little luck or a lot of patience the fight can be very short. Long Gui (the more powerful version of Adamantoise), however, are not vulnerable to Death.
    • One side mission requires you to take on three Tonberries. The target time is over 37 minutes, but this can be considerably reduced if you gain a preemptive strike.
  • Mark of the Beast: The l'Cie brand may as well be a triple six or a five-star.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: fal'Cie seem to be able to make as many l'Cie as they want, and multiple times do so to create obstacles for the party. Anima also does this to the party in the beginning.
  • Meaningful Name: The l'Cie's plain English names and their meanings may be obvious, but there are other examples. The Undying, for instance, are all named for people who commanded armies against ancient Rome.
    • Hope spends a lot of the game battling between holding on to hope or giving into despair. Lightning even lampshades this at one point.
      Hope: There is no hope. Not for l'Cie.
      Lightning: There's you.
      Hope: It's my name, not who I am.
    • In the Japanese version of the game, many of PSICOM's gunships and war machines have German and Chinese names.
  • Mêlée à Trois: This game allows you to join in three-way battles. Depending on whether you're spotted doing so or not, both sets of enemies may join forces to wipe you out, or not notice you're even there and continue to fight each other while you annihilate all parties. Regardless, you need to be the victor.
    • And then there's the awesome three-way fight you can perform on the Archylte Steppe with a Behemoth King and a Megistotheran. Both of them are extremely powerful, and even Hope comments that it's awesome to watch them duke it out, on top of this being a very good grinding spot.
  • Mind Screw: The last dungeon. If you have any idea where you are, if you're making progress, or what your objective is besides hitting the next checkpoint, you're lying to yourself.
  • Morton's Fork: If you're branded a l'Cie, you've got two possible fates in store for you: complete your focus and turn into a crystal forever, or do nothing and turn into a Cie'th zombie forever. This is your first hint that the fal'Cie are nothing but a bunch of pricks. Your second hint is that focuses are only ever about as clear as half-remembered dreams anyway.
    • According to some dialogue from the sequel, turning into crystal isn't as bad as it seems. Serah sometimes mentions the happy dreams she had while she was crystallized, which isn't as much of a punishment as turning into a Cie'th.
    • And even if you do complete your focus and turn to crystal, that doesn't necessarilly mean you can rest for eternity either. If the fal'Cie decide they have further use for you, they can de-crystalize you, essentially drafting you into another round of service for them, as was the case with Vanille and Fang.
  • Mood Whiplash: Holy hell is chapter 8 a shining example of this. A carefree festival scene gets interrupted by PSICOM. That might have been expected, but the mood keeps going down from there once you defeat the boss and Sazh's toddler son wanders onto the scene, apparently completing his Focus and getting encased in crystal. Terrible secrets are revealed when Nabaat punts the dog into orbit and poor Sazh can't decide whether he should kill Vanille, who had been trying to keep his spirits up the whole journey. By the end of the entire scene, Sazh has a summon and a gun to his head.
  • More Dakka: Sazh's method of using Guns Akimbo seems to be "spray enough bullets in your target's general direction and maybe some will hit". Particularly, see his version of Blitz and his Limit Break, Cold Blood.
    • His Blitz's unique mechanics (he sprays bullets forward instead of doing a Spin Attack like everyone else) make it pretty powerful against larger enemies. Each bullet does half to three-quarters what it would in a normal attack, but he fires each gun a half-dozen times at least; if you're facing an enemy large enough to get hit by most or all of them, or if a moderately sized enemy is right in his face, it'll do considerably more damage than just having him Attack.
  • Morph Weapon: Transformation is a primary theme in Final Fantasy XIII, and most characters' weapons reflect this. Lightning's gunblade shifts between sword and firearm, Sazh's dual pistols link together to form a rifle, Fang's spear pulls apart to act as a sansetsukon, and Hope's boomerang and Vanille's staff fold for easy storage.
  • Multi-Platform: The news of this being the first game in the series to do this (and the first for the Xbox 360) was a big announcement. Although the advent of a PlayStation 3 price drop has cooled off some of the initial fire from earlier on.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: At the Vile Peaks, Lightning says that rather than spin out time trying to find her Focus or become a Cie'th, she's going to really make herself the enemy Cocoon fears by attacking Eden, the fal'Cie that rules over all the others and essentially keeps Cocoon running. Sazh starts to banter as usual, but then he realizes she actually means it and starts pointing out the many reasons that would be a really bad idea.
  • Mythology Gag: See the trivia page for a full list.
  • Naked on Arrival: When a l'Cie awakens from crystal stasis, he or she is naked for the first few seconds.
    • Averted during the ending, when the camera stays on Lightning as she awakens from crystal stasis already clothed, as you might imagine.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's one of the main themes of the game. The party's mere presence as Pulse l'Cie is making the civilian population panic and the government resorts to increasingly extreme measures to capture them and restore the peace, and as l'Cie the party members can either fulfill their Focus to destroy Cocoon, or refuse it and turn to Cie'th. They come to believe there must be a way to Take a Third Option, but in the meantime they evade capture, mow down enemy soldiers as necessary, show off their l'Cie powers in public note , and in general escalate the already-thick tensions of the people thanks to situations forcing their hands. A good portion of NPCs, and briefly some of the party members themselves, are of the opinion it would make things easier on the world if they just stopped trying and died. As for specific examples:
  • Nobody Poops: Specifically, that chocobo chick never seems to make a mess in Sazh's hair.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The act of Cocoon dropping had to have killed a hell of a lot of people, especially everyone on Eden. But no deadly aftermath is ever shown, so it can be assumed everyone on the planet had parachutes or teleporters.
    • Averted as of the sequel. While no explicit numbers are mentioned, it is stated that people died. But either way, the survivors are dead now, due to the time crash occurring 500 years after the ending of XIII.
  • Nominal Importance: Even if you haven't been spoiled going into the game, you know damn well Hope's mother is doomed when the game's subtitles only refer to her as "Mother." She has a name, but it's not revealed until long after she's dead.
  • Non-Standard Skill Learning: Most skills (including basic Attack) are represented by nodes on the Crystarium. The exception is the characters' Eidolons, which are obtained during the storyline and stored in the inventory.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Entirely true until very late in the game, when the sandbox opens up a little for sidequests. There is no backtracking except to one specific area, and there are no towns to visit. This is a big change from earlier installments, even purely linear games like Final Fantasy X.
    • The last chapter of the game is this (though with warps to the free areas) and is reminiscent of Final Destination from Super Smash Bros..
    • The linearity was explained to be influenced from first person shooters. Make that of what you will.
  • Not a Game: An exchange between Lightning and Sazh.
    Lightning: Keep running—it's die or turn Cie'th. There's no place for l'Cie to hide. No…they want a fight? Let's take it to the Sanctum's door!
    Sazh: This isn't a game!
    Lightning: No. That's for damn sure. It started with Serah. The fal'Cie took her. Now I'm a l'Cie. And the Sanctum's hunting me, an enemy of the state. But who's pulling their strings? A fal'Cie. Eden. Cocoon's sustainer and guiding light. It probably ordered the Purge, too. Pulse and Sanctum fal'Cie? They're all the same. And we're all the same to them: expendable. I'm not dying a fal'Cie slave.
  • Notice This: Treasure Spheres emit a distinctive chiming noise. You will sometimes hear this before you can see the sphere.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Prior to the game's release, many people suspected that the aged Galenth would be nothing more than a powerless figurehead. Then he started frying masses of people with magic blasts...
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Lightning utilizes a device called a Grav-Con unit to survive incredible falls and jumps (it reverses gravity just before the character hits the ground).
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: The game likes to teleport you into an area after a cutscene, with a hallway behind you that you supposedly just came through. Backtracking will often get you a treasure sphere.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Hope when he sees his mother Nora fall to her untimely demise at the beginning of the game.
    • Snow gets one when he realizes that Hope is going to kill him for his part in Nora's death.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: MIHI NOMEN ORPHANUS! OR! PHA! NUUUUUUS!!! Par for the course for final bosses in this series, really. Overlaps awesomely with Orchestral Bombing.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Ragnarok combines this with Ominous Latin Chanting. Also, there's an organ right at the beginning of Born Anew, but it's a bit drowned out by the choir. You can hear it much more easily in the instrumental version, though.
  • One Cast Member per Cover: The Xbox 360 version is split between three discs, all of which have a different character on them. The first has Lightning, the second is Snow and the third disc is Serah.
  • One-Man Army: Lightning and Snow start out this way, and everybody else grows into it in short order. l'Cie are powerful. Also, Lightning's Full ATB Skill is called "Army of One."
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Your characters only have THREE stats: Hit Points, strength, and magic power. Low strength and magic can be made up for with special abilities, staggering, and customizing weapons and equipment, but low HP means everything can kill you in two hits because you take full damage from every attack in the game. This essentially means that until near the end of the game, you'll want to keep a few HP boosters on your characters, or something that makes them take X% less HP damage per attack. The developers also locked the best HP boosts at the end of the Crystarium so they weren't available until the very end of the game.
  • One-Winged Angel: Cid Raines' l'Cie form. He gains actual wings when he loses half of his HP.
    • While Barthandelus is always a giant monster, the last fight throws on some angel wings to go with his built-in angelic choir.
  • One-Woman Wail: Some of the background music, such as that of Oerba, Fang and Vanille's Doomed Hometown.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: To the average American player, Vanille's accent sounds a little... flighty compared to Fang (Ironic considering Vanille's voice actress is Australian...and Fang's is not). However, to the average Australian player, Fang's accent, whilst mostly above average, slips into some very New Zealand sounding vowels and the odd American twang.
    • This is more of a situation from the American audience perspective as for them natural accents do not sound "authentic" to them, and need to be done over-the-top in order to sound "real" or "authentic". Another victim of this is Leliana of the Dragon Age franchise, whose voice actress Corinne Kempa (like Georgia van Cuylenburg (Vanille's voice actress) in regards to using her Australian accent) was accused of her accent being "unauthentic" and "fake", was merely using a native Parisian accent.
  • Organic Technology: Cocoon has amazing wonders such as iMac-styled Behemoths, snake mechs, cyborg dragons, and tree beasts with radiator grille faces.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Cie'th. They're zombies who grow crystals (and bigger) and eventually turn into statues, or fall apart. Or live forever fueled by pure spite.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Most bosses are immune to Death... except the final boss, when it's staggered.
  • Palm Tree Panic: Sunset Beach.
  • Papa Wolf: Sazh, as well as Hope's dad.
  • Paper Tiger: Behemoths look threatening when first encountered, with their large size and 20,000 hit points. You will soon find out that two low-level characters can Stagger them without undue effort.
  • Parental Abandonment: Many of the characters, including the Big Bad Orphan, have issues with either their parents or children.
  • Parental Substitute: Lightning became this to Serah following their parents' deaths, and gradually morphs into a mother figure for Hope, as well.
  • Party in My Pocket: Both are played with, the party members generally just do their own thing and act like NPCs while on the field. However, only the active party members are visible in the field, any not participating in battle play the pocket trope straight.
  • Patrolling Mook: Most Pre Existing Encounters who aren't nailed to a particular spot are this. They are usually easier than stationary enemies because you can get a preemptive attack on them while their back is turned.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • On Gran Pulse, there is a specific area on the Archlyte Steppe where a behemoth and a giant wolf are fighting next to a canyon. (It's unavoidable because the plot steers you towards this area.) Engage them (the encounter will almost always be a Pre-Emptive Strike), kill the behemoth, kill the wolf, run into the canyon until the spot they stood in scrolls off the screen, come back to the spot, and they're there again. Doing this gets you about 13000 CP (with the Growth Egg, which doubles CP) in roughly two minutes, and almost a million within an hour. As you get stronger, the minutes can become seconds.
    • Once you know the Death trick, Mission 63 becomes one for both CP and gil. (Adamantoises give 40000 CP and have a 25% chance of dropping Shop Fodder that sells for 150,000 gil, and you get a guaranteed Gold Nugget (60000 gil) every time you complete the mission)
    • If you reattempt a Cie'th stone mission, you usually get the useful upgrading material Bomb Cores as a reward. The Zenobia mission gives you seven Bomb Cores, is easy for a high-level party, and is very close to the mission stone.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • With the exception of the ones on Gran Pulse, every single treasure chest in the game is lost once you leave the dungeon it's in. However, this is subverted in two ways: 1) Most don't give out things that are all that rare, and in particular many accessories/all weapons found before Gran Pulse can be bought from shops later. 2) The seeming exception is three(-of-six) element-resistance rings, as while you might find their advanced variants later, there's no other treasure chests of the basic ones if you miss them, which seems like it'd lock you out of the Treasure Hunter trophy... however, if you max-upgrade the third, most advanced variant and then dismantle it, you get a copy of the basic accessory among other things. Somewhat of a hassle, but still doable.
    • There's a point in late game where if you don't fight an optional boss (way too strong for the party at normal progression, barring the Death trick if you have it unlocked), you'll have to choose between two treasure chests. The one you don't pick will be lost.
    • The final dungeon won't allow you back into its main bulk after you reach the end, so any level grinding will have to be done before then.
    • If you don't find all five parts to repair Vanille's pet robot, Bhakti, before fighting Barthandelus, then they disappear, and you lose out on a bunch of useful items.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Two types: Your party, who use their powers to defy their Foci and battle the fal'Cie, and The Undying, people who resented their fate as l'Cie, ignored their foci, and became immortal super-beings who kept going on nothing but pure spite.
  • Pinball Protagonist: The party spends more than half the game simply trying to survive in a world where virtually everyone is trying to kill them for reasons beyond their control.
  • Planet of Hats: Every single one of Cocoon's uncountable number of fal'Cie are evil and in on Barthandelus and Orphan's plan to summon the Maker via mass sacrifice, even though it would also mean their deaths. Even the ones in charge of operating the automatic doors.
  • Plot Armor: Both Snow and Nora fall off the same broken bridge at the beginning of the game, but only Snow survives. The difference? Snow is a main character and Nora is not.
  • Post-End Game Content
    • Endgame+: The final level of the Crystarium.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The name Orphan seems to be a deliberate subverted reference to this trope.
  • Power Tattoo: The l'Cie brand. It also serves as an abstract Magic Countdown to Cie'thdom. It goes through thirteen stages, becoming more complex each time until it fully develops and the bearer becomes a Cie'th. If the l'Cie manages to complete their focus, they get a cool "ruined" brand like the one Fang sports for the entire game.
  • Practical Taunt: This exists as a Sentinel skill. The default tank, Snow, just waves the enemy forward and says something like "Well? Come on!!" or "I can take it!"
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: A few, usually said by Lightning or Sazh. Example: "Been looking for you, Nabaat!"
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: A handful of important cutscenes are pre-rendered, though most are done in-engine.
  • Press X to Die: Picking a fight with an Adamantoise. (Unless you're REALLY overleveled, or you taught Vanille "Death".)
  • Programming Game: Paradigms are more or less simplified Gambits, only the AI isn't as rigid (mainly because they have less options to choose from all at once.)
  • The Promise: The main musical theme is actually called "Final Fantasy XIII - The Promise." The talk page for the song on the Final Fantasy Wiki lists at least five different promises within the game: Snow promised to protect and save Serah, Snow and Vanille both promised to protect and save Cocoon, Vanille claimed that she promised Hope they would visit Gran Pulse together, Fang promised to protect Vanille and not let her turn into a C'ieth and Hope promised to watch out for Lightning.
    Vanille: Wishes aren't enough. Prayers either. This time, I'm making a promise. I will keep Cocoon safe. I promise, no matter what.
  • The Purge: After discovering a fal'Cie from Pulse in some ruins, the Sanctum government decides to send everyone that was "near" that fal'Cie to Pulse because of the irrational fear of everything coming from that planet. Several facilities were constructed for the purged population to live happily there, and a military division known as PSICOM took over and oversaw the removal of the population. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the Sanctum government neither expected nor intended for any of the Purged population to survive - when the population being shipped out began to violently resist, PSICOM used that as an excuse to simply massacre everyone. Lightning's remark implies that this was the plan all along.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Eidolons do not yield to you based solely on pure strength. Better pay attention to what Libra tells you and act accordingly, that clock isn't slowing down.
  • Railroading: A good majority of the game is spent on a single path, with only small detour paths that don't stray very far. This is because the l'Cie are fugitives, fleeing/hiding from authorities + military in general, and must keep moving even before a direction is picked; they can't afford to stop or explore for too long. Whether this reason is good enough to warrant the trope is up to the player.
  • Randomly Drops: Thanks to the game's aversion of Money Spider, one of the only ways to accumulate large amounts of Gil involve fighting enemies that drop valuable components designed to be sold, but which often drop at rates of 25% or worse. The other, lategame method, is repeatedly re-doing the Cie'th Stone missions for the guaranteed secondary rewards, which can be sold (particularly the 60,000 Gold Nugget for the Adamantoise mission, which can be Death-tricked). Even with a guide on the upgrade mechanics, it'll take millions of Gil to buy all the catalysts needed to upgrade your weapons/accessories to max, particularly if you don't catch a lucky break on drops.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Vanille and Fang and Dysley.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lightning gives one to Hope early on, calling him out on his uselessness. She ends up accidentally calling her Eidolon, Odin, who wastes no time in trying to cut Hope in half.
  • Recurring Riff: A melodic line from one of the vocal tracks appears in several other pieces throughout the game.
    • Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, only one of the classic FF tunes appears in its entirety, the vocal J-pop rendition of the Chocobo theme. The series Prelude can be heard briefly in the game's original prelude, and the Final Fantasy theme (the one that usually plays during the credits) can be heard in the track "Miracles". Then again, this is somewhat typical of Masashi Hamauzu, who very rarely if ever pays tribute to Nobuo Uematsu's old musical cues. See: Dirge of Cerberus (scored by Hamauzu), which is bereft of any of the original Final Fantasy VII leitmotifs, compared to Crisis Core (scored by Takeharu Ishimoto) which borders on Continuity Porn in its reuses of FFVII melodies.
    • On a more minor note, Blinded By Light can be heared in Lightning's theme, and it gets a Dark Reprise later.
  • Recurring Boss: Many bosses are fought at least twice during the game. The Proudclad (piloted by Yaag Rosch) and Barthandelus stand out.
  • Reduced-Downtime Features: The game notably lacks towns to explore or to shop at, instead making the universal save points the location where the player can save their game, shop for items and gear, craft and upgrade, and level up their abilties. Furthermore, all hit-points are automatically recovered after each battle, and the early game offers no branching paths for exploration.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The military career Lightning with her cold and professional demeanor, and the tribal Fang who is flirty, hot-headed, and impulsive. The colors are inverted though - it's Lightning who wears the red, while Fang wears the blue.
    • It's not a complete inversion, though; at their first meeting, it's Fang who tells Lightning that she should cool that head of hers. Fang is in the end more easygoing than Lightning.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Yaag Rosch, though his sacrifice merely takes out a couple of monsters the party were capable of taking on. It was either that, or let them tear his wounded body to shreds... least the thought counted.
  • Redundant Rescue: Sazh and Vanille orchestrate their own escape by utilizing the distraction provided by their rescuers, meeting up with the rest of the party just as they were running into trouble.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Some of the party members' relationships are forged this way. Lightning (replaces Hope's mother, Nora) and Hope (replaces Lightning's sister, Serah) to each other, and Vanille (replaces Sazh's son, Dajh) to Sazh.
  • Respawn on the Spot: The game auto saves before every battle. If you die, you are offered the choice of Retry or Quit. Retry respawns you just before the battle, allowing you to either try again or walk away.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Inverted, concerning the final boss.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Sazh's chocobo chick and the sheep.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: At one point, Lightning realizes that to the fal'Cie, humans are nothing but pets whom they keep for amusement and some housekeeping chores they don't care to do themselves. It is eventually revealed that humans and fal'Cie are related species in the sense that both were created by the same creator deity but fal'Cie were made infinitely stronger, so when the creator has left the building, things went south for the humans.
  • Rod-and-Reel Repurposed: Pulse tribesmen have complex rods that function as both weapons and lassos-slash-bridles for the various wild mounts flying around.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: There's hints of this scattered all over Gran Pulse, but it really hits home once you make it to Taejin's Tower, and more importantly: Oerba.
  • Running Gag: Snow trying to punch Barthandelus and getting sent flying away. This happens three times over the course of the game.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Scenery Porn: Detractors would be hard pressed to find anything bad to say about the graphics.
    • Lampshaded by Sazh in the Sunleth Waterscape. "Where's a camera when you need one?"
  • Screw Destiny: The party, naturally, which in turned inspired Cid Raines as well, but that wasn't a good thing for the party. Or Raines.
    • Indeed, it's practically the theme of the game's story. Our heroes are told over and over again that as l'Cie, it's their destiny to fulfill their focus or suffer a Fate Worse than Death. In the end, however, they all decide they're going to make their own fate.
  • Second Hour Superpower: After the prologue chapters, Anima says hello.
  • Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight: The second fight with the Ushumgal Subjugator. Hope has to go it alone at first. Due to the way the battle system is designed, it is pretty much impossible to defeat a boss enemy with just one character—the best you can hope for is to keep Hope from dying by switching to the healer role often. Luckily, just before he hits 0 HP (or after he survives for a set time), a cutscene plays out where Lightning and Fang finally catch up with them and deliver a sound trashing to the boss.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Dysley tries pulling one of these on Snow and Lightning by taking Serah's form, even using Lightning's real name (Claire) on her. He gives up after about a minute and puts his trollface back on because he knows he's got the party wrapped so tightly around his finger they're going to do what he wants anyway, so why waste the energy screwing with them?
  • Ship Tease: An example that's almost invoked, in-universe. In an optional cutscene in the Yaschas Massif, Hope and Vanille have a fairly long conversation, ending with her thanking him for his words. Hope then says she should keep smiling, as it makes him happy when she does - Vanille's terribly flustered in response to this surprise, not knowing what to do... until Hope starts chuckling. He never answers her question of whether it's a joke or not, merely that they're 'even', but it's implied to have been one.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the frightened Purge victims can be heard reciting part of the Litany Against Fear.
    • The Eidolons are giant mechanical humanoids who can convert into the forms of vehicles or robotic animals in their Gestalt Modes. Sound familiar?
    • Chapter 13 has you facing off against the Jabberwocky and the Bandersnatch as a duo of mini-bosses.
    • There's also a reference to a meme from the first SaGa game. Vanille's "Death" ability is a one-hit KO on Orphan's final form, much like the instant-kill SAW weapon. This is actually confirmed to be an Homage.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Lightning pulls one of these on Orphan before the final fight.
    "You don't believe in anything. You gave up on life before you were even born! All you care about is death's release, so take it and leave the rest of us alone!"
  • SI Prefix Name: There's a monster called Microchu and a stronger version called Picochu.
  • Slave Brand: The l'Cies' brands.
  • Slave Mooks: L'Cie are only motivated to do their boss' job by the threat of being turned into one of the zombie-like Cie'th.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: It is stated that fate is undefeatable. However, later, it is not only revealed that can fate can be fought, but that humans are the only ones with true free will —- something not even the fal'Cie had. Hence the reason fal'Cie create l'Cie, to use their unlimited potential (free will).
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Level 2. The game's linearity created a good deal of discussion, not only about whether it's good or bad, but whether it was true to the series.
  • Smurfette Principle: Among the Undying Cie'th, Zenobia the Butcher is the only one referred to as female.
  • The Social Darwinist: Titan's entire reason for existing is to create new, strong species to inhabit Gran Pulse, and let them wipe out the weak ones, unless he feels like doing it himself in which case he will. However, he's relatively reasonable about it compared to usual instances of the trope, as he conducts such acts to strengthen all the races of Gran Pulse. His trial missions have briefings worded in a way that invites the party to die at the hands of a superior foe if they are unworthy or unwilling to live, and when the trials are complete, Titan acknowledges their power and that they are worthy of living.
  • Sole Entertainment Option: Nautilus, a huge entertainment city on Cocoon that is full of little spherical transports, the Pompa Sancta parade, lots of lights (of course), an amusement park, and a chocobo and sheep petting zoo, among other things.
    • There's also a Grand Prix track near the end of the game. Sadly, you don't get to participate.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Getting pummeled by monsters to the sound of vocal trance or bossa nova has never been so much fun!
  • Spam Attack: Lightning's Army of One and Sazh's Cold Blood full-ATB moves, as well as Hope's Last Resort if you only have one target. Also, what happens naturally when you're queuing up five or six Attacks or Ruins in a row during the late game.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Orphan, despite all the references (name, the changes between its forms, its music, its dungeon, thirteen orphans, etc) is called Ophan often, because it also alludes to the type of angel, Ophanim. Of course, the English release confirms "Orphan" as canon.
    • Galenth Dysley's true name is another matter of contention. Most agreed that he was named Baldanders after the mythological creature, but they Latinized it to Barthandelus in the English release.
    • Some of the names in the Spanish translation are slightly different, like Baldanders instead of Barthandelus (as referenced above), Paals instead of Pulse, and lu'Cie instead of l'Cie. Some of them are closer to the original Japanese. Some of them are way too different.
  • Stalked by the Bell: If a fight is taking way too long, a death timer will eventually appear. In some cases, this prevents winning purely through attrition.
  • Stripperific: Lebreau receives commentary from Lightning in the novella.
    If the blue-haired man could be said to have a lot of decorations, this woman could be said to be showing a lot of skin. Either one was not wearing clothes that someone who uses a gun would normally wear. All of those decorations hanging down would just get in the way of a gun fight. And a large gun like that heats up easily. With that much skin showing, she wouldn’t be protected from burns. Amateurs, she decided.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: The crux of the plot is Orphan's incredibly convoluted attempt to Rage Quit the universe. As one would expect, when the party finally confronts Orphan itself, it acts like, well, an insane child.
  • Sweet Sheep: There's the sheep of both Cocoon's Nautlius and Gran Pulse. The sheep of Cocoon in particular are decidedly cute, causing Vanille to comment "Look at these things! I just wanna squeeze 'em till they pop!"
  • Taken for Granite: l'Cie who fulfill their focus skip the zombie part and go straight to being a paperweight.
  • Take Your Time: Although the plot largely tries to avert this — the entire story takes place in the time frame of about two weeks (one month if you include the Thirteen Days), and makes an explicit point that ignoring their Focus runs risk of the party turning Cie'th — once you get to Gran Pulse, you can spend as much time as you want killing King Mooks and riding chocobos around.
  • Team Mom: Sazh is a male example.
  • Tears from a Stone: Serah, with the aforementioned Taken for Granite "reward" for fulfilling her l'Cie focus, sheds a tear that turns into a crystal.
  • Tech Points: Two Types: Crystal Points (CP), which are similar to Final Fantasy X's AP, and are given out at the end of combat. CP are how you move along the crystarium level up system. Technique Points (TP), which are a form of Mana, are rewarded at the end of combat if you finish combat quickly, or during combat if you wait until your action bar is full — essentially, wait to do a full Beam Spam type attack.
  • Tech Tree: A variant. The game uses a system called the crystarium, which is most similar to the AP system seen in Final Fantasy X. However, each character has 1-3 out of 6 different crystarium boards open initially, and each one has a different progress bar and different unlockables — they are basically this game's version of a character class. Skills and spells are only usable when you are in that tech tree, but passive bonuses to HP, Strength, etc. are permanent. All the areas of the boards are locked out until you progress far enough into the plot.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Cocoon is dependent on the fal'Cie for just about everything. In fact, this was part of the fal'Cie's centuries-long plan, so later when conflict arose, the resulting bloodshed/panic would be an even greater contrast. All to rouse the Maker.
  • That's No Moon: Gran Pulse has no visible moon aside from Cocoon, which floats in its lower atmosphere.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The logo shows an end-game spoiler: It's the image of Cocoon with the faces of Vanille, Fang, and the beast that they become: Ragnarok. Cocoon looks almost the same in the logo as at the end of the game (minus the faces, of course). If you are playing the game for the first time, however, it just looks like Serah's pendant with some modifications.
  • Theme Music Abandonment: The game switched out the series' iconic victory fanfare for an original piece, and also completely dropped the Prelude and the Prologue, featured in the series since the first game.
  • Theme Naming: Sazh's weapons are all named after individual stars or star systems, except for his last weapon, although it is named after a celestial event.
    • Hope's weapons count as well; they're all named after some kind of winged mythological beast or deity. (Or is capable of flight in general)
  • Theme Park Version: Parodied in-game. With The War of Transgressions re-enactment during the Eidolon parade. Which happens at Nautilus, which is one big theme park.
  • They Died Because of You: In Chapter 7, Snow inadvertently mentions Nora's death to Hope after battling the Ushumgal Subjugator in Palumpolum. Hope, knowing full well of what happened back in the Hanging Edge, shoves Snow over the edge of the building's roof and tells the latter that Nora died because of him before trying to kill him.
  • Three-Stat System: The game uses the Strength/Magic/Health variation.
  • Time-Limit Boss: All the Eidolons, as well as the final boss, cast Doom on the party leader at the start of the fight. In addition, many of the normal bosses will eventually cast Doom if you take too long fighting them. Although they are in reality tests to see how savvy you are about the gameplay systems.
    • An interesting note is that the Doom Timers are relatively short, (around 3 minutes max) yet the target time for Eidolon fights ranges anywhere from 20 minutes to half an hour.
    • Orphan's final form.
    • Unfortunately, all fal'Cie appear to be this in a way. If you do not finish them within the alloted time, they will cast Doom on you.
  • Title Drop: Barthandelus, in the pre-Final Boss cutscene makes mention of a "new crystal legend."
    • The title of the last Analect in the Datalog is Fabula Nova Crystallis. Fittingly, said entry makes mention of the goddess Etro.
  • Token Nonhuman: Averted for the first time since Final Fantasy VIII. Or subverted if you look at it in another way: the game could be the first in the series to have no human playable characters, as everyone in the party becomes a l'Cie. Which means in the first two chapters of the game Vanille is the Token Non-Human in the group.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The game has only four elixirs. If you do dare to use them and do so intelligently though, one is usually enough to drop the scales in your favor.
    • Shrouds, which are field items that pre-buff your characters with every conceivable positive status or let you dodge enemies entirely. While they can be bought in shops, they're not available until almost the end of the game, and even then they're ridiculously expensive. On top of that, they almost never drop from enemies unless you either rank extremely low on a Random Encounter or have a certain accessory equipped. Needless to say, you'll want to save the 20 or so you get through the course of normal play for the endgame Bonus Bosses or the later Eidolon fights.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The l'Cie are created when humans come into contact with a fal'Cie. The l'Cie then gain abilities that transcend that of normal humans, such as the use of "natural" magic instead of "artificial" magic produced by a Manadrive and the ability to summon Eidolons. Basically, they become Player Characters, or in the case of Cid, Bosses.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Even Word of God made no secret that sooner or later, the party is going to leave Cocoon.
    • Trailers Always Lie: Jihl, Yaag and Cid Raines were quite prominent while Dysley was shown little, and only Raines lived up to his implied role. The trailers also implied Fang was a traitor, showing her capturing Snow and raising her lance against the party without context for her actions, and implied Vanille was the one responsible for Serah being branded, showing her apologizing profusely when she sees her mark.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted. When you paradigm shift, the combat doesn't pause, leaving you open for attacks. Especially aggravating the first time in each battle, when the party members do the animation one at a time. Fortunately, they will shift simultaneously for the rest of the battle.
    • On the other hand, savvy players who need to conduct a Paradigm Shift can use launch periods to circumvent this flaw. Enemies will attack whether you're shifting or not; why not shift when they're done attacking?
  • Transformation Sequence: When a l'Cie is crystallized (i.e. Serah and Dajh). Or uncrystallized, as Vanille was — complete with magically appearing clothes.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Most, if not all, of the Eidolon battles will need to be retried at least once unless you're using a walkthrough or guide. Fortunately, the game included a convenient retry feature for every battle. Not only this, but losing the battle and going into retry allows you to access the menu and arrange things more to your favor going in.
    • The first time you fight Barthandelus at the end of Chapter 9 also comes down to this. There's no hints or mentions of what you should do when he's preparing to pull off Destrudo, an instant-kill attack that can be subverted if he's lost enough HP while charging up, making this a Guide Dang It! moment for the ill-informed after they've had their asses handed to them on a silver platter a few times or so.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The Sanctum publicly announces the capture of Sazh and Vanille in order to trigger a rescue attempt which will bring the rest of the gang out of hiding. The others realize this but waste little time in deciding to launch a rescue attempt anyway.
  • True Companions: If you doubt that the group will become this by the end, you are sorely Genre Blind.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Everyone, to some extent. Vanille might just have the worst of it, though, especially during the last few boss fights.
  • The Unfought: The players never get the opportunity to give Jihl Nabaat a thrashing. She was more than happy to oblige, but the Big Bad had other plans. Said person however, finally gets to show their stuff as part of the DLC for XIII-2.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It is possible to make the final boss unwinnable if you fight it with the entire party equipped with Stagger Lock weapons, as those weapons prevent the character from maxing out the Chain Gauge and staggering the enemy. And the final boss is completely invulnerable unless staggered. The reason this is "by insanity" is because staggering is one of the core mechanics, and completely cutting it off by equipping the entire party with Stagger Lock weapons is very questionable.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Fang and Vanille becoming Ragnarok and manifesting a crystal pillar to stop Cocoon from crashing into Gran Pulse originally came across like a Deus ex Machina; Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns belatedly revealed that the original intention was for all six of the party's l'Cie to stop Cocoon's plummet together, unmentioned to the player during the game.
  • Useless Item: The debuff protection accessories the game throws at you are mostly useless; there are only a few fights where it's worth spending a valuable accessory slot to prevent a status ailment instead of simply curing it after it connects or warding it off with Veil. One of these fights happens to be the final boss, who is one of the few enemies in the game that can cast Death.
    • Similarly, you can pick up accessories that protect against elemental damage, but there will almost never be a time when losing an accessory slot is preferable to just casting Protect, Shell, and the appropriate Bar- spell.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Being a recent game, this is a huge aversion; There are two roles that add buffs and debuffs. They're also the most important roles, since you may not even be able to survive bosses' attacks without being hardened by a Synergist, and some bosses you can't even touch without softening them up with a Saboteur. (Saboteur spells even deal damage and the effects stack!) There's also the Death spell, unlike the all or nothing versions in earlier games, Death actually hits pretty hard even when it doesn't score a One-Hit Kill.
    • Orphan is susceptible to Poison. The easiest way to beat him is to let Poison tick away at his health while the party keeps itself alive.
    • Poison, in particular, got a huge buff to usefulness; it drains health from its victim at a constant rate of .32% health per second. Against enemies with especially high HP, like the Long Gui or Vercingetorix, Poison will do more damage than your attacks will.
  • Use Your Head: The chocobo chick's favorite method of attack. Powerful enough to knock down adults mooks (and Sazh)! Beware: this bird is a freakin' monster!
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The motivation of Barthandelus for destroying Cocoon and killing millions. Also Rosch's reason for participating in atrocities like the purge.
  • Video Game Geography: Square Enix attempted to make its world map of Cocoon conform to the shape of a true sphere, resulting in a kind of exploded map when laid flat. It's interesting to note that almost every pocket of human civilization is on an island, thousands of miles away from the crater in the map's center; an indication that they are that scared of Gran Pulse.
  • The War Sequence: Chapter 12 begins with the l'Cie party invading the capital city of Cocoon, Eden, by crashing through a racetrack. At the same time, an army of Pulse monsters teleported in by Barthandelus are invading, and the Cavalry has also launched its coup d'état against the Sanctum. In response, all of PSICOM's remaining brigades as well as the Guardian Corps' Homeguard Regiment are mobilized to protect Eden. The end result is basically everyone is fighting everyone. The party even has to fight the Cavalry after most of them get turned into Cie'th.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: If you look at the floating Cocoon from Oerba, you will see what must be massive streams of water running down from the bottom of its outer shell.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: When the party leader dies, the game ends, regardless of the state of your other party members. Sticks out since AI medics can revive non-lead characters without any input from the player.
  • Weak to Magic: Physical attacks and magic are put on the same weakness/resistance continuum as elemental damage so that their damage multipliers stack with the elemental ones. Most of the winged Cie'th have magic as a weakness.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Deconstructed in Gran Pulse; what would have been NPCs who stand in one spot and repeat a single line of dialogue over and over are literal stone statues that are doomed to repeat the same sentiments for all eternity. Played straight with the human NPCs, however.
    • On a lighter note, an NPC in Nautilus references the original line as a Mythology Gag.
  • Well-Trained, but Inexperienced: Demonstrated with the Elite Mooks of PSICOM. Lightning explicitly notes (after easily dispatching a whole PSICOM squadron in the first chapter) that PSICOM's only real advantage is their superior equipment, and that the majority of PSICOM is made up of inexperienced recruits limited to training simulations. As the game progresses, though, you fight more experienced troops until you're eventually fighting the equally ineffective Home Guard: they're only last line of defense because they're hardly ever needed, and spend all their time doing combat drills and training that was meant to prepare them for a Pulsian invasion of Eden... without actually having experienced one.
  • Wham Line:
    Galenth Dysley: I am fal'Cie. My name is Barthandelus; voice of the Sanctum, and Lord-Sovereign of the Cocoon fal'Cie.
    • Also:
    Barthandelus: That girl ([Serah]) did nothing but assemble the tools for Cocoon's destruction!
    • Before that, we get two whams in the same line:
    "I'm from Gran Pulse. The world below you all hate so much. My partner and I had turned to crystal there and gone to sleep. The reason Cocoon's in such an uproar is the same reason you're here now. Vanille and I woke up."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Rygdea mercy-kills Raines on his request, he promptly vanishes from the game. Unfortunately, since the rest of the Cavalry became Cie'th before they could reach Orphan, things probably didn't end too well for him.
    • Lightning's real name, Claire, is never mentioned in the game after Serah (read: Dysley) says it. None of the party members call her by it, deciding to call her 'Light' instead. Not even her own sister Serah calls her that in the ending. As a matter of fact, her real name is never mentioned again until the very end of the trilogy.
    • Also, what happened to Hope's dad? You would've expected him to show up in the ending, but he doesn't. However, in the novel, PSICOM appears and tells Hope that his father is with them.
    • And Lightning's commanding officer, Lieutenant Amodar?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While Hope and Lightning are in the underground of Palumpolum, they find the fal'Cie Carbuncle, the source of nourishment for the city they are in. The latter actually considers destroying the fal'Cie and starving all the citizens of the city, including military personnel "and" civilians. This even prompts Hope to ask her "I think people hate us enough already, don't you?"
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Vanille got a lot of flack from American players for her strange, clearly-fake Australian-sounding accent. Her voice actress is actually Australian. For Australian players, Fang's accent (provided by an American actress) is the fake-sounding one and it sounds like a mangled mix of everything including Kiwi. Vanille is putting on the accent deliberately, and after The Reveal she speaks pitch-perfect Aussie rather than the Hollywood Australian from before.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: The other characters poke fun at Fang for giving into Orphan's nonsense about miracles coming out of misery.
    Sazh: Miracles out of misery. You gotta be kidding me.
    Hope: Yeah, Fang. Who'd be dumb enough to swallow that crock?
  • The World Is Just Awesome: The montage of Gran Pulse after the party leaves Cocoon. Hell, just wandering the Archylte Steppe, where you begin on Gran Pulse, can evoke this reaction.
  • The Worsening Curse Mark: an l'Cie's brand evolves as time runs out on their Focus, when it reaches the thirteenth stage, the l'Cie becomes a Cie'th. Emotional distress can cause it to advance more quickly. Which naturally does not help the situation.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Lightning says "Worst birthday ever," in response to Serah announcing that she and Snow are engaged on her birthday. It's hilarious the first time around, but in recalling it after chapter, say, 2 or 3...
  • You Have Failed Me: Cie'th, l'Cie who didn't finish their job on time and got turned into zombies.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Hope, Vanille, and Sazh begin the game with the attack command, then lose it pretty early on when they become l'Cie. Sazh gets it back automatically, the other two have to train to regain it when they unlock the Commando role late-game. Particularly jarring in Vanille's case, since she was a l'Cie to begin with.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Most of the party is quick to rejoice after Dysley has been defeated, but Lightning isn't so convinced. Cue shocked expressions and ominous chanting when his owl flies in...
    • The looks on the party members' faces, especially Lightning's, when Dysley reveals his fal'Cie form for the first time on the Palamecia pretty much reads "Oh, Crap!".
  • Zombify the Living: The mindless monsters Cie'th are considered undead, even though to become one, a human must not so much die as fail a Focus given to them by a fal'Cie. When a fal'Cie feels threatened, however, it can give humans an un-completable "null" Focus, which turns them into Cie'th on the spot, rapidly spawning a veritable zombie army around the fal'Cie.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Final Fantasy 13


Beware of Tonberries

One side mission in FFXIII involves the party hunting down a powerful Cie'th. Unfortunately for them, something even more dangerous ends up being their opponent.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlwaysABiggerFish

Media sources: