We're less than a month away from the Western release of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy, and demo's are finally starting to roll out to the public. I've praised this game ever since playing it multiple times at events, and after playing it once more my faith in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has been boosted.
The demo begins with some eye catching theatrics centered around a conflict between Lightning Farron and Snow Villiers. Following the lengthy scene you gain control of Lightning, now labelled as the worlds savior. The goal at hand is track down Snow.
In this new demo we get a first hand look at the custom Schema system which allows you to customize Lightnings different equipment sets. We don't actually get to collect any new equipment in the demo but we're able to choose from a per-determined selection available to us in this demo. Though we have a limited selection, its clear that this is going to be one of the most customizable Final Fantasy games that we've ever seen.
Also among the new features in the demo is the Outerworld social system which allows players to share their progress and battle scores via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. At my time of playing the servers weren't performing well, but once this feature is up and running it could be something revolutionary for a Final Fantasy game. Mastering the battle system is half the fun in these games, so being able to share your battle results with friends and followers is a great idea.
The battle system in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy has evolved from the paradigm shift mechanism from the previous two games. This time around you'll be switching between the different schema's which you can customize yourself. Each Schema has its own ATB gauge and unique set of attacks and elements, which makes switching necessary.
The dialogue between characters is more suspenseful than I remember it being last time I had the chance to play Lightning Returns, so It's clear they've spent some time refining the voice work. Although the plot in Lightning Returns seems pretty straight forward, It will without a doubt be an enjoyable experience for those who have played through the XIII saga so far.
Final Fantasy XV could be years away for all we know, but as it stands now I'm sure that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is set to be one of the best Final Fantasy offerings we've seen in years. Some will likely steer clear of it thanks to next-gen hardware, and the loss of faith in the Final Fantasy brand. However, I feel that if gamers give this a chance it will impress in a big way.
To butter us up even more Square Enix are even giving away free DLC to those who play the demo. Not only that but if you have save data from either FFXIII or FFXIII-2 then you'll unlock Lightning's costume for the respective game. With so much content being thrown at us, it's clear that Square Enix are eager to reward long time supporters.