I was a harsh critic on the last two console iterations of Final Fantasy, simply because I'm very passionate about the series as a whole. But while I had to be critical of Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, I still really enjoyed playing them. Final Fantasy has long been a champion JRPG series, and as we're in an era where quality console JRPGs are scarce I always look forward to playing Final Fantasy games.
A few months back Square Enix announced a third entry into the FFXIII series, and this time Lightning returns to take the lead once more. Lightning will be the only playable character with Hope Estheim giving guidance and advice to her over cellphone. The game will involve her battle to save the world from destruction, set against the awakening of the ancient god Bhunivelze.
It will be interesting to see how things turn out with Lightning being the only playable character, I'm sure it will make epic boss battles that much more intense.
With that being said, here are 5 things I want from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
1. A redeeming storyline
Final Fantasy XIII featured a decent storyline, with some great characters and conflicts. The plot saw Lightning and friends fighting against the government who wish to purge civillians of Cocoon who have been exposed to the feared world of Pulse. Lightning must fight both the government and the creatures of Pulse in order to save her sister Serah.
It was a straight forward plot, but it worked. However when transitioning to Final Fantasy XIIII-2 the story becomes something else completely. Changing the nature of the story probably wouldn't have been such a bad thing, if it was actually a good change. Unfortunately FFXIII-2 was like a terrible throw-away time travel plot, with some of the worst dialog I've ever heard.
I just hope that Lightning Returns can bring things full circle, and deliver an epic storytelling experience that will make playing the previous games worth it.
2. Better Dialog
Like I said above, FFXIII-2 had some of the worst dialog I've ever encountered in a Final Fantasy game. Possibly it was just bad translations, but that's not so much an easy excuse when you consider that the FFXIII dialog was on point. Which leads me to believe it was just lazy writing.
I hope that in Lightning Returns the team spend more time on the actual writing, and give us the same quality of dialog that we've come to expect in Final Fantasy games. Don't slack just because it's a spin-off/sequel.
3. Tougher Battles
The new battle system introduced to the XIII series has actually grown on me. It seemed simple at first, but when you're given the opportunity to create your own Paradigms things get exciting. With Lightning being the only playable character in Lightning Returns, I fully expect some extremely challenging boss battles. Heck, It's the last game in the XIII series so why not punish us a little.
4. More exploration
XIII had little to no exploration. XIII-2 delivered on the exploration but not on the same scale we're used to seeing in Final Fantasy games. Hopefully Lightning Returns allows us to delve deep and discover things that many people will overlook by attempting to fly through the story. I want secret boss battles, hard to get weapons and items..and more side missions.
5. A kick ass soundtrack
I have no complaints about the two previous soundtracks. In fact FFXIII remains my favourite video game soundtrack of all time. Final Fantasy has consistently had quality soundtracks, and if there's one thing the team at Square know how to do really well it's having the composers write scores that become part of the storytelling itself. You can literally listen to a Final Fantasy soundtrack by itself and feel like you've experienced the epic journey without playing. The soundtrack in these games speak volumes, and I hope that Lightning Reutns: Final Fantasy XIII delivers the best one yet.
What would you like from Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII? let us know below.